Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Supplying spiritual destitution

From the inaugural issue of The Sword and the Trowel:
London needs to have its spiritual destitution supplied. We must all give a stone towards erecting new places of worship. By the united help of friends far and near, could we not build four new places in the year 1865. The country needs help; let us aid in forming Churches where there are none. The field of work is boundless; there is no need to pause for spheres of labor.

But a voice says, “Begin at home.” I agree with the suggestion, and will proceed to carry it out. The penny post is a great tax on our time, but now and then we get a letter worth the reading; here is one addressed to us by one of the elders of our Church; it will do all pastors good to read it, and will be of no small service to Church members also.

“December 1st, 1864.

MY DEAR PASTOR,

The fact that God has pleased of late more than ever to lay on your mind the necessity for a larger outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our Church and congregation, should be, and is, I believe, a matter of very solemn interest. There is, I know, a very general sympathy with you in the minds of the members of our Church; and to give a practical expression of this sympathy, I beg to lay before you for your consideration, the following suggestions:—

1st. That you should call a meeting of the Deacons and Elders of the Church for special prayer for their own families.

2nd. That you should fix an evening when you would meet the elder children of the Members of the Church, to urge them to immediate attention to the salvation of their souls.

3rd. That you should call a Church meeting for special prayer for a still larger blessing on the ministry, the College, the Sunday School, the Tract Visitors, the Classes, and the other efforts to extend the knowledge of the Savior now in operation among us.

4th. That a general meeting of the Church should be held also for thanksgiving for the blessings we have enjoyed in the past.

5th. That you should invite from the pulpit ALL the Members of our Church to set apart, in their own homes, one particular day (which you should name) for special prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

6th. That you should invite the Deacons and Elders, and from fifty to one hundred of the Members of the Church to open their houses from seven to nine on some particular evening, for special prayer for the same object. The subjects to be attended to at these meetings, and the list of the houses, to be laid before us by yourself in a printed leaflet which should be placed in every pew in the Tabernacle.

7th. That you should set apart an evening in which yourself, with the Elders, should meet all those in your congregation who are as yet undecided, but seekers after salvation. The object of this meeting would be for special exhortation and prayer with these friends, urging them to immediate decision for Christ.

8th. That yourself with the Elders of the Church, should meet the Students, the Sunday School Teachers, the Tract Visitors, and the several Classes, for special prayer and conference, that their labors may be made more effectual in the salvation of sinners.

9th. That you would draw up for our consideration as a Church, and have printed a selection of promises out of the Bible which we might plead before God on this matter, and so lead us to attend to this object with understanding, having the mind of the Holy Spirit made clear to us all.

10th. That with a view of gathering in the fruit which I believe such a course of proceedings as is now suggested would certainly produce, the Elders should be appointed to see inquirers after every one of the services, both on Lord’s-days and week-days.

I submit, my dear Sir, these suggestions to you with considerable reluctance, as I feel if they are carried out, they will involve considerable labor on you personally, and take up much of your valuable time; but the importance of the object, and the deep-seated feeling which I know you have in this matter, induce me to lay them before you; and I pray that God may guide you in reference to the acceptance or rejection of any or all of them.

If there is one of more interest than another, I believe it is the One having reference to our families. There has not been as yet so large a blessing on many of our families as we could desire, nor so great an ingathering as the Word of God would lead us to expect, and therefore I feel that this matter will commend itself to the minds of all our Church members. Excuse reference to one other subject; it is this, that whilst we have abundant reason to bless God for the constant tokens of his presence and approving smile, we have not as yet realized the fullness of the blessing, and I think it is very desirable that our Monday Evening Prayer-meeting should be even better attended than it is. Many of our brethren who are standard bearers among us, men of worth and influence, both in the Church and the world, either do not come at all, or are seldom there. If they could be induced to attend, I feel certain the results to themselves and the Church would be very gratifying.

Leaving these suggestions in your hands, and praying that the blessing we desire may come down first and chiefly on yourself, so that you may be still more greatly honored in the conversion of sinners, and that the largest and best desires of your heart for a revival of pure and undefiled religion amongst us, and in the Christian Church generally, may be more than realized,

I remain, my dear Pastor,
Yours in the bonds of Christian affection,
AN ELDER OF THE CHURCH.”

All these suggestions we will endeavor to follow, and shall be glad to receive others as good and practical from the same or any other hand.
Charles H. Spurgeon (2010-04-18T23:58:59). The Sword and the Trowel Volume 1. Kindle Edition.

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