A PUBLIC TEA MEETING was held in the evening in REA'S Repository which was appropriately fitted up for the occasion. About two thousand persons sat down to tea at five o'clock, and at half-past six, the cloth having been removed, and the seats re-arranged, the chair was taken by the Right Hon. the LORD MAYOR.
The Doxology having been sung, the Rev. JOHN SPURGEON (father of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon) offered up prayer as follows:--
OUR Father and our God, we supplicate thy blessing upon us at this time. O may we feel thy presence to be in the midst of us. May we realize thee as a God of love in Jesus Christ, and O do thou send that rich blessing which shall make us all happy and fill our hearts with joy through the precious Saviour who bled and died for us. We thank thee that we have lived to see this happy day. O our Father, may we never forget thy goodness and mercy to us. Accept the free will offerings of thy people, and O may that foundation stone which is laid to-day be blessed by thee, and may that building be erected to thy glory, honor, and praise. May we each be made living stones of that living temple which is to adorn the world of glory, and may we live there for ever with Jesus Christ. O bless us all; and bless thy young servant. Do thou stand by him and keep him from the mighty foes against whom he has to contend. Keep far from him the influence of sin and Satan, and may he find joy and peace in God. O our Father, keep him,O keep him, let him not be lifted up by what he has seen, or by what thou hast done for him today. Oh do thou keep his soul humble, and then he will always be strong to praise thy great and holy name. Oh, may he draw from that fountain which is full--which runneth over, and may he find that the God of peace and love is continually with him. Bless, his church and congregation, O Father smile upon them. We leave them in thy hands; we seek thy favor and presence with us tonight. Grant, great God, that sinners may be converted unto thee. There are some in thy presence who are but a few steps from the grave, some hastening on to the abyss of woe, walking with the giddy multitude in the way which leads to death and eternal destruction. God save them! Oh, pluck them as brands from the eternal burning! May thine all-sufficient grace turn their hearts, and thy name be glorified! Bless every one now present. Prepare us for this service, accept our song of praise, and fill our hearts with joy, for the dear Redeemer's sake. Amen.
The LORD MAYOR said: My Christian friends, I do not think that it is possible for me to be heard at the extremity of the building, but, if you will have patience with me, I trust I shall be able to get up my voice so that every one shall hear. This is a happy day, a day long to be remembered in the annals of the country, because here to-day, we are permitted to meet in quietness, in order, with the guardians of the peace around us to prevent any disturbance; a proof that civil liberty and religious freedom have made great advances in this country. In former days we had to meet in holes and corners and alleys, but now we can meet in open day in the front of the high road, inviting the assembled public to come and be witnesses of the order of our ceremonies, and to partake of the benefits which are to be derived therefrom. I therefore urge upon all, when they have anything to do with the question of civil and religious liberty, never to give up their efforts until they see it extended far and wide. Our beloved young friend has, through the providence of God, been raised up to gather the largest congregation ever gathered together; he has dispensed the truth as it is in Jesus to thousands upon thousands; and he is a despised--no, an honored Baptist minister. He comes amongst you, not in Episcopal guise, clothed in secular authority, and robed in the habiliments of office, but he comes amongst you a simplehearted man. He comes clothed in the authority of his divine Lord and Master, speaking the truth in simplicity and love, winning, not by human power, but subduing by the power of the gospel. Evidently God has called him to do a great work; and you are the people who ought to love and honor him, esteeming him for his work's sake, and ever protecting him against the calumnies of the world, to prove that he is a true servant of Jesus Christ. I have said you ought to adhere to the principles of civil and religious liberty; but for them you never could have seen the thousands at the laying of the foundation stone; but for them you would not have been gathered together now in peace and safety and an honor be to the men in church or state, who during the past centuries have suffered advocated, bled and died, that you might meet in peace and comfort. Well, when you hear of the assumptions of church authority, remember that if they are not sanctioned by the gospel of Jesus Christ, the world may fight for them, but truth will prevail; and though our Episcopal brethren have the authority of the state, and the wealth of the state, tell them that you envy neither, because you can proceed without the authority of the state, and you can raise money without its power to compel. When they tell you that there is no certainty in the doctrine taught in the Dissenting congregations, that they have no creed, you can reply, they have a creed--the best, the purest that ever man possessed. Their creed is the Bible. They glory in the saying of one of the churchmen, "The Bible, the Bible, the Bible only is the religion of Protestants." We stand in an age when Popery is making a large aggression upon the religious liberties of the people--secretly, silently, openly, and boldly. They are anticipating the time when they shall take possession of the cathedrals and churches, and once more dominate over the English people. But religious liberty is safe in your hands. You will endeavor, I am sure, so to hold the word of truth, that it may everywhere prove a barrier against the approaches of error. The Tabernacle which is to rear its walls in the adjoining ground is to be consecrated not by the authority of men, but by the dependence of men upon the teachings of the Holy Spirit. The gospel, and the gospel only, is there to be preached: sinners are to be invited to Christ, and the full sufficiently of his salvation is to be maintained. We do not despise things in their proper order. The ordinances of the church will be respected by its worshippers, and it will be necessary therefore, not only that the gospel should be preached, but that you who hear it are to be "living epistles, seen and read of all men," of the power, the truth, the purity, the holiness, enjoined by the gospel. It is a solemn charge committed to your trust, and woe be unto you if you neglect the sound, and swerve from the gospel. And then to maintain the gospel it is not only necessary that you should love it and have it, but that you should do all in your power to propagate it everywhere--to rich and to poor, to learned and to unlearned; to all classes and conditions of people the gospel is to be preached. You can preach it as well as your pastor,--he in the pulpit, you in your lives. There are Missionary Societies which will require your aid, and though you tarry at home, you have a power to prevail in earnest supplication before the throne of divine grace, that all the labors you undertake may be blessed. And then you have something else to do with the work at home; the gospel is to be preached in your Tabernacle, but that will not be sufficient, if you do not go abroad, and carry with you the essential principles that you have received, and tell the people that they may see from your walk and conversation, that you have sat under one of the most successful and useful of Christ's ministers, and that you have learned from him to do your duty to your neighbors. Remember "the poor ye have always with you." What a blessed and happy thing that is that you have the poor with you and that they are standing monuments by which you may prove your faith in Jesus Christ. Let it not be said, that while ye hear the gospel you have forgotten to practice it. I beg to commend you and your work to the blessing of him who along can make it prosper. May this be but the beginning of the undertakings throughout the country, where the Dissenting places of worship, like the palaces of our land, may stand as landmarks to prove the onward progress of society, and that among Protestant Dissenters there is loyalty to the Queen, obedience to the laws, a desire to promote the wellbeing of society, and to make this nation blessed, peaceful, and happy, until, as from Zion, the perfection of beauty, the glory of the Lord may shine upon all the earth.
The Rev. C. H. SPURGEON: I have but a word or two to say with regard to the order of the meeting. I feel myself so extremely ill just now that I must go away for a little time, I nevertheless may say a word or two. There is a large amount of talent here to-night, far more than we can bring out. Here are dozens of ministers, all of whom could speak to edification. I trust none of them will think that any invidious distinction is made when we call upon one and not mother. For myself I have this much to say--thanks, thanks to every one. My Lord Mayor, I have to thank you sincerely for your kindness in coming this evening. I hardly expected you, knowing how it has pleased God to lay the heavy hand of affliction upon out I thank God that you are able to come, and I thank you for the will to come. May every blessing rest upon your head, and when earthly honors shall fade before your eye, may you have the more lasting glories and the eternal splendours which God has prepared for his faithful servants! I have to thank a large number of ministers who are not here for their kind letters; especially must I mention the name of that honored father of all the Dissenting churches, the Rev. John Angell James, of Birmingham. There is no name I think just now that ought to be more venerated than his. Long has he worn the harness, and in the kind letter which he sent me he said his work was done, and he could do but little more to serve his Master. It was just like his humility. I had written to him sometime before expressing my candid opinion concerning him, and my hearty respect; and he told me that I was mistaken in him. I am quite sure that I was not. I know that I could not think too highly of him. My dear friend, Dr. Campbell sent me a note to-day, that he read in the papers that this strike had put off the laying of the first stone. He should have learned by this time, as an editor, to believe nothing he sees in the newspapers unless he himself knows it to be true. I confess I take a tattle time to chew everything I read there; I am not clear upon it the first time I see it. If I were clear upon it, my dear friends, this chapel would need no subscriptions from you. I only wish newspapers would make true what they say about me--not in the abuse line, but with regard to this magnificent fortune which they had the generosity to confer upon me. I mean to distribute the dividends of this fortune among the newspapers, and much good may the share do to each of them. No one has left me a sixpence. The headache and the sickness I now feel almost seem to say that somebody is thinking of doing so. Don't do it. It is the ruin of many ministers. It is no use your giving them money: give them a right good income every year for their preaching. I can say, with regard to that, that I have nothing more to ask, or to desire, but I am afraid that if minister get money they will have the bronchitis, and all the rest of it. It is such a common thing that I hope no one will try me. I say again, I have to thank many who are not here, and then I have to thank the brethren that are here. I did not think there were so many of them that loved me. I do feel quite beaten up to-night I sometimes say some hard things. Well, I shall go on, but they will have no reference to the brethren here, I dare say. I am sure if they think that I should be hard or unkind towards any of them, they do not know me. When all the world abused me I just bent my fist and set my teeth together and said, "I'm a match for you." But no sooner did the papers begin to praise me some little than they brought tears in my eyes, for I began to say, "No, I do not deserve that; I cannot take that credit to myself." If any man wants to make me preach more vigorously than I have against any doctrine, let him abuse me, and the doctrines I preach, and I will soon come out strong upon it, rest assured. The only danger we fear is--being thrown off our guard by success. But this I rejoice to know, wherever God puts his servants they are safe. I have sometimes met with some minister who has an average congregation of fifty, perhaps, whose back was as stiff as possible, and whose neck was never bent, and he has said, "My dear brother, you are in a very dangerous position; I hope you will not be carried away with pride." Poor dear soul! I thought if he had kept his advice to himself it might, perhaps, have been profitable to him. I do feel myself crushed down by the weight of divine mercy; I am bowed to the very earth by it, I know not what to say to you to-night, nor how to express my thoughts and feelings. Glory be to him that hath done all this! May he continue to bless! But even should he stay his hand, if I were laid aside and could never preach again, I feel I have such mercies that I must praise him throughout eternity for what I have received. Again I say, to him be glory! Yet I do thank my kind and loving friends from many a fond expression of affection that I have received this day. Oh, my dear friends, pray for all the ministers of Christ, that God would make them more abundantly useful. Ask for us more liberty in speech, more unction on our heads and in our hearts; ask for us a greater intensity of agony on account of the souls of men, ask for us greater earnestness in prayer. Pray for us that we may be masters of the sacred art of wrestling with God. Pray for us that a revival of religion may come into this land. What is Ireland that it should have a revival denied to us? What is Scotland that it should be stirred, and we should sleep? God hath blessed this nation first and foremost aforetime--why not now? Let us cry unto him mightily, and he will hear our prayers, and grant us his richest blessing. Before I sit down, I would ask the Lord Mayor kindly to forgive me for being long, but not to let any speaker speak more than ten minutes, as there are so many to address us. Then I want to observe that our dear brother, Mr. Joynson, the second most liberal subscriber to our fund, would have been here, but that he is sore sick, and has had to remove to Teignmouth. I wrote to him, hearing that he was near death's door, and he wrote me a kind reply, saying that he was not so bad as I thought, but he was far too in to come. Pray for him that he may be restored. He is a very prince in Israel in his generosity; he hath served this cause, and may God Almighty bless him! I must also publicly acknowledge my obligations to the Crystal Palace Company for the use of chairs this day. I suppose I did them a good turn once. I did it, however, out of love to those poor creatures who were injured in India, and out of a desire to preach the gospel to the great numbers assembled in that building. Still it was very kind of them so to act. Some places of worship in the neighborhood, have denied us the use of forms and the like; the Crystal Palace Company have kindly done it for us.
The Rev. W. G. LEWIS, of Westbourne Grove. My Lord, ladies, and gentlemen: I have been thinking since the commencement of this meeting, if it were possible, that one or two of the humble Godly folk, who two centuries since assembled with prayers and tears in Horseliedown, to commence an obscure and almost unknown Baptist church could have foreseen the gatherings of this day, and the still further events in the future connected with this Tabernacle, how marvellously overwhelming, how astounding to the sense, how almost beyond the power of their credulity would have been the prospect. Verily, this church connected with New Park Street, has been a chosen object of the divine regard. In the characters of the excellent men of God who have been its pastors, in the wondrous success that they have attained, in the conversion of sinners and the recovery of lost souls to Jesus Christ, its past annals have been truly wondrous, and nothing is certainly more wonderful than that portion of its history which attaches to our beloved brother, Mr. Spurgeon. I beseech you, Christian friend, who are connected with the church as its members, to respond to that appeal which God in his mercy makes to you today, to offer unto him the sacrifices of thanksgiving and of praise. I say that your experience and that of your ancestors demand to-day a tribute of unwonted extent, both as to the feeling of your hearts and as to the action of your hands. It becomes you indeed to remember well those touching, those beauteous annals to which we have listened already, and which I trust the committee in charge of the operations connected with your building, will print and promulgate far and wide. And oh, my dear friends, when I look upon the vast extent of this meeting, and reflect that very seldom, if ever, has there been such a congregation, even in this metropolis upon such an occasion as this, I feel constrained to address my brethren in the ministry also to hear the appeal which God in his providence makes to them, to be faithful, uncompromising, simple, and bold in their declaration of gospel truths. What a marvellous blessing is that which God hath poured out upon this stripling! How has he been pleased as of olden time to select his own instrument where men little thought--to call him forth, and try place him before the eyes not merely of this million-peopled city, but of our whole country, and I trust that when the reports of this day's proceedings have gone forth on the swift wings of the press, the country will feel that Spurgeon and his people are in their hearts, and that they have a claim not merely upon denominations, but upon all who love the Saviour. The man is national property. They know it on the other side of the Atlantic, and I, as I believe him not to be present, I say it with the greater freedom--Mr. Spurgeon's conduct in relation to that American proposal to procure his labors on the other side of the Atlantic--his noble conduct upon that occasion, wholly in harmony with all the other acts of his public career, demands some acknowledgment from the Christians of England. He might have money enough for his Tabernacle if he would stoop to the course that men of the world would dictate. Before my ten minutes have elapsed, I must be allowed to ask the members of Mr. Spurgeon's church, as individuals, have you done what you ought in contributing to this building? I ask have you done what a congregation, I believe I may say of five thousand persons, ought to have done? Do that and then I am sure the country will share your feelings, approve of your self-denial, and complete what is wanting. Oh, it is a blessing even to have been present at the proceedings of this day--we will cherish the memory of it to life's latest moment. It is a greater blessing still to have had the mind to work, and to put forth the hand in exertion towards the completion of this undertaking. I beseech you, therefore, every one of you, do your share, either in giving, or in collecting; and fear not that God in his mercy, who has hitherto so marvellously prospered you in days of darkness, in times of peril and persecution--who has blessed you so much in the person and ministry of your beloved pastor, will in the future annals of this New Tabernacle, still more abundantly and more wondrously shower down upon you of his heavenly favor and most divine regard.
The Rev. EVAN P ROBERT of Bristol: My Lord Mayor, and Christian friends, I cannot less than say, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear," what your ancestors desired to see and to hear. We must consider ourselves this day highly privileged in being permitted to meet on such a very important and delightful occasion. I need not tell you, because your esteemed chairman has announced it, that I am come from the city of Bristol--a city where your pastor is very highly esteemed and beloved, a city ready to receive him with open heart and arms; a city in which Christians of all denominations hailed with gladness the approach of my dear brother Spurgeon, and I have not the shadow of a doubt, from my knowledge of Bristol, that the Christians in that city will be ever ready to contribute their mite towards the erection of that large building, the foundation of which has been laid this day. The first time that I had the privilege of meeting with Mr. Spurgeon, I felt that I loved him; and my love to him has increased with my acquaintance with him. I feel this evening, as I have felt before, a deep interest in the movement that is now going on in this place, and I am sanguine as to its results. I have not the shadow of a doubt that by the time the last stone is to be placed upon the building, the money will be forthcoming, and our esteemed brother will have to ascend the pulpit and preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, in a chapel out of debt. I could not less than think, Christian friends, while our excellent chairman was addressing us on the subject of civil and religious liberty, that we ought all to be thankful, and not only so, but that we ought to be more zealous to maintain our ground, and to make advances in that respect. I rejoice that, notwithstanding all the oppositions that are made to the progress of civil and religious liberty, it is going forward--going forward in the metropolis--going forward in the provinces--going forward through the length and breadth of the land, in spite of the Puseyism, of the Popery, of the infidelity, and all the power of that is brought to bear to oppose it; it is a principle that must go on and prevail, until it shall be felt throughout the habitable world. I am afraid to trespass on your time. We Welshmen are very dangerous: when we begin to speak and get the steam up a little, we hardly know where to stop. You must tell me therefore when my time is up, for I find I cannot trust myself. I have been thinking with regard to the stone that is laid to-day, that it stands there as a witness of the working of the voluntary principle. Some people have told us that the principle has failed. Where has it failed? Wherever it has been exercised, wherever it has had fair play, it has done great things. What has erected our chapels? What has erected, too, some of the churches in our land? Why, the voluntary principle. And what has moved my esteemed friend, Mr. Spurgeon, and his beloved people to take this very important, this noble step, but the voluntary principle working in their hearts? There is no compulsion from the throne, all the compulsion they have is the love of Christ in their souls. May God increase that principle a thousand-fold! What has made my brother Spurgeon so popular?--to use the term, for want of better? What has given him such power with the people in this city, and wherever he has gone? It is this; he has preached the full and plain gospel, and the Spirit of God has rested upon his words. That stone stands as a witness of the power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, as preached by our little stripling, our little David, who has been the means of effecting such good. And not only so, we see that stone as a witness of the faithfulness of God to his church. God has said that he would be with his people always, even to the end of the world. That stone stands as a witness there, and stone upon stone as it is laid upon it will give an additional testimony to the fidelity of him who said, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world." That stone stands as a witness to angels to devils, to infidels, and to the Christian church, of the zeal of the people of God at Park Street. May that zeal burn as a vehement flame! May it break out on the right hand, and on the left, and may your liberality be exercised until the whole money for the Tabernacle shall be contributed, and the building be completed, and out of debt. I hope the blessing of God will attend this meeting; that it will be the means of stirring up our brethren in the provinces, and reviving religion in the land, that we shall have some of the showers that are descending upon Ireland and Scotland, and that this shall be the beginning of better days. God grant that it may be so! Only let us retire from this place imploring God's blessing and devoting ourselves to his service, and the showers will come down, for God has said, "As the snow and the rain cometh down from heaven and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth and maketh it bring forth and bud, so shall my Word be that cometh forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I have sent it."
The Rev. JOHN SPURGEON: My Lord Mayor, I am very happy to meet you to-night. We are Essex men; we come from Colchester. Colchester has something to boast of great men. The chief physician of London comes from Colchester, the Lord Mayor comes from Colchester; and I need not tell you who else. I have never had the headache in my life, friends; but if I ever had it, it would have been to-day. I feel nervous and excited. But I do feel very happy to-day to acknowledge my fault; and when a man confesses his faults, he has done a great deal towards amending them. I always thought my son did wrong in coming to London, now you see that I was wrong. I always thought he was wrong in not going to college, I tried three or four hours with him one night with a dear friend that loved him, but it was no use; he said, "No, I will never go to college, only in strict obedience to you as a father." There I left the matter; and I see that God has been with him, though I thought it was a wrong step in him to go to London. And I thought it was a wrong step for me to come here to-night, but perhaps I may be mistaken again. I can tell you it is one of the happiest days of my life. I feel beyond myself when I think of the kindness that has been shown to him when but a youth. I ascribe it all to God's goodness and the earnest prayers of his people. He has been exposed to temptations from every source, and even now, my friends, he is not free from it. You have prayed for him, and God has sustained him. Oh! let me entreat you to continue your prayers. Every one here to-night go home and pray for your pastor. A meeting like this is enough to carry a man beyond himself and fill his heart with pride; but the grace of God is all-sufficient. Several persons said to me--I do not know what their motive was--"Your son will never last in London six months, he has no education" I said, "You are terribly mistaken, he has the best education that can possibly be had, God has been his teacher, and he has had earthly teachers too." I knew, as far as education went, he could manage London very well. Then they said his health would fail; but it has not failed him yet He has had enough to shake his constitution, it is true, but God has been very merciful to him. I think if there is one thing that would crown my happiness today, it would have been to see his grandfather here. I should have loved to see him here. He said, "Boy, don't ask me to go, I am too old; I am overcome with God's goodness and mercy to me." He is always talking about him. Old people like to have something to talk about, so talks about his grandson. And next to that I should like, my dear friends, to have seen his mother here. I believe, under God's grace, his mother has been the means of leading him to Christ. You are well aware that I go and talk in the best manner I can to a few poor people on the Sabbath day, and God has blessed my labors. I thought, however, I ought not to go out on the Sabbath day, as God's people should train up their children in the best way they: can, I thought I was neglecting my children, and as I came home one evening about seven o'clock, and went upstairs, I heard the voice of a mother pleading for her boy Charles, and talking to him and the others, and pouring her heart out in prayer in such a way as I never did in my life, and as I never heard before. It is for the encouragement of mothers that I mention this, that you may pray for your children for God is a prayer-hearing and prayer answering God. My heart is too full to say more. May God bless you and keep you, and may we be brought together when this building shall be finished, and entirely out of debt! I hope to-night that some gentlemen will come forward and give each one hundred pounds. You know we must work as well as pray, and there has been a kind offer made to-night, that if twenty hundred pounds are laid down, a gentleman will double it. I trust, therefore, our good friends will come forward and make their free-will offerings to that God who has done so much for them. Oh, may God bless you all, for Christ s sake! Amen.
The CHAIRMAN: I have now to call upon the gentleman who made the best speech this morning, and laid upon the foundation stone three thousand pounds.
EDWARD INSKIP, Esq., of Bristol.--My Lord Mayor, and Christian friends, as regards "the best speech" that has been made to-day, I trust that any merit in the speech, or in the donation will be laid at the feet of our covenant head. I was thinking during the speeches to which we have listened, of a line or two of one of the poets of the sanctuary:--
"Let party names no more, the Christian world o'erspread."
And when I tell you that this gift of three thousand pounds, together with that which follows, comes from a man who was born a Churchman, and who was brought to a knowledge of the truth under a minister of the Church of England, and who is a Churchman at heart, you will see that his liberality is profound, and that he comes here in the true philanthropic principles of the Christian religion. But since I had the honor and privilege of laying that painted piece of paper, as I termed it, upon the stone this afternoon, I have been going round the boundaries of the proposed walls of this intended sanctuary, and I was thinking as I mused upon the various portions of the stones and gravel, cement, lime, ashes, bricks, and timber--what would be the position which the multitude before me would occupy in that better temple, where we all hope to adore the Lamb. I was led to ask, is my name, however mean and humble, inscribed there as a living stone? Believe me, if you value his instructions there, and wish to see that building the birthplace of souls nothing short of an earnest and agonising entreaty that God the eternal Spirit will sanctify that Word will ever promote your views, or bring about the realisation of your wishes. Believe me, it has afforded me great gratification to be the bearer of this honored man's donation--my esteemed friend unknown to you. I said this afternoon, there is something more to follow. Three thousand pounds will not erect the building. I understand that it will take no less than seven times as much again. Where is it all to come from? I hear that the response to-day has realized only about three thousand nine hundred pounds, and that about two hundred pounds more is promised. Now, I do not pretend to be a Goliath, but I come as a simple stripling, and ask, who am I and what my father's house, that I am thus honored to ask twenty other persons to come forward and give their one hundred pounds apiece, or even forty persons their fifty pounds each, with the promise that the sum shall be doubled when that is done? This I am sure is nothing less than your pastor deserves. He has devoted his time, his energy, his health, to this matter. He has been incessant in his labors, and he has found that they have been crowned with success. As for you, the fruit of his labors, it behoves you to see that he has a place in which he can address the multitudes who flock to hear him. This afternoon he spoke of this building being erected and the roof put on, and the Tabernacle being left seatless. Surely this will not be permitted. Whether it be by the humblest mite or by the large donation, I am sure that those who love the Lord Jesus Christ will see that this thing is accomplished, and speedily too. We were speaking just now of the living stones in the temple above, and I was thinking of a scene which occurred to me in the Music Hall yonder, some year or two since. When I heard the sounds of the voices of the multitude there, I bethought myself on that occasion, why, what must be the heavenly choir; if such be the perfection of sound realized by the humble few here upon earth?--what must be the sound rising from immortal voices and from angelic tongues? Surely while we contemplate the grandeur of that scene, we shall all be in earnest in asking ourselves the one question--are we heirs of the kingdom of God? We shall all be asking ourselves that marvellous question, "Is my name inscribed on the walls of Zion?" Remember, Jesus dwells there, and if Jesus dwells there, we desire to dwell there too. See to it, then, my friends, that this meeting conclude not without some large, some noble response to that which I consider a noble offer I have been permitted, on behalf of another, to make to you to-day. The offer you have heard; it rests with you to accept it; and whenever it may be accepted the money will be forthcoming, as the three thousand pounds is forthcoming now, on the very day when the two thousand shall be realized. But then I was about to disclose to you a secret--although, perhaps, Mr. Spurgeon may not like me to disclose it to you. I must tell you that he was very desirous that I should come and bring a large mass of feathers with which to line this beautiful nest. I trust it will be a nest indeed, but not a nest in which you may nestle yourselves into fatal security: I trust it will be a nest which you will find the birds of the air, whose feathers are of yellow gold, will set and brood over, and that there the sweet influences of those heavenly scenes will descend into your heart. I trust I shall be able to carry back with me to-morrow the intelligence that the offer I have made has been accepted, and that I shall shortly have the great pleasure of presenting to you the additional two thousand pounds.
The Rev. J. A. SPURGEON: My lord, ladies, and gentlemen--Your lordship said at the commencement of this meeting, that it was a happy day. I am quite sure I can echo that sentiment now from the depth of my spirit, and I think that I have in my cup one sweet ingredient which must be lacking in yours,--that of having such a brother as I have, in your ministry. If ever pride can be a sinless thing, I think it will be in my case when I say I am proud of my brother. But I would desire to take that stand which the Apostle Paul took when he determined "to know no man after the flesh." Though I rejoice tonight most heartily in the success my brother has achieved, I rejoice more profoundly in the success which has attended the preaching of the gospel, and in the principles of the cross of Christ which I see here to-night. Whilst I look around me and see that every other religion is beginning to fade--that every other system is tottering to its fall--that everything that is of man seems like man to be fading--Christianity is growing in strength, and seems to have the dew of its youth upon it, and is going forth crushing all things before it, and it shall triumph till it shall fill the world with its knowledge, power, and glory. I rejoice to think that whilst I come in to take up that standard which aged hands must soon begin to let fall I see on it the "Excelsior" motto inscribed, and I see that it is going higher and higher, and it shall go so high till my Master shall be lifted up and shall draw all men unto him. I rejoice most devoutly in that divine dispensation which makes a luxury in doing good and a blessedness also, so that he who puts forth his hand to bring down a blessing upon others evokes the shower of divine blessing on his own head,--that he who does good must get good,--that he who serves the Lord shall never serve the Lord for nought. I am sure in our meeting here to-day--met as we are seeking the welfare of others--that there shall be the richest blessing poured out upon our heads; and I trust that there will be some departing from this place to-night who will be made rich with those riches which add no sorrow therewith. It has been said that there are sermons in stones, and if ever there is one class of stones that may be expected to have a voice, and eloquence, and depth of wisdom above others, it would be that class of stones to which we refer the one that has been laid to-day. Would that we could bring the corner and foundation stones of some of our old chapels and make them speak to-night! Methinks they would cry, "shame," upon some of our fearful trembling-hearted ones to-night. The difficulties our ancestors had to encounter were far greater than ours. The stones they laid were laid under far less favorable auspices than our stone has been laid. This is an age of panic, and of fears, but I rejoice to think that we are putting our panic and fears in a practical way of building up defences for Zion; and I hope there will arise many more mighty arsenals, in which the great guns of our denomination may come and fire with great success into the camp of our enemies. I rejoice to think of the success that has already attended the efforts of our friends in collecting money; and whilst we feel very happy here tonight, I think we ought to give our happiness a practical turn. I cannot leave this meeting unless we once again raise our solemn thanksgiving to God for the great goodness and the great love that he hath shown our brother. I yield to no one in the profound respect I entertain for my brother's peculiar talents, but I hold that it has not been so much how he has said, as what he has said, that has achieved his success. I hope that this meeting will take a practical and that we shall go forth tonight determined that we will preach more earnestly and simply, and then I trust with more success, the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mr. JAMES LOW: The object of my rising is to call your attention to the noble offer that our friend, Mr. Inskip, has made. Our friend has given us a promissory note for two thousand pounds, on one condition, that is, that we raise another two thousand pounds in hundreds and fifties. This morning I screwed up my courage to fifty pounds, but as soon as that challenge was given, I altered my mind and made it one hundred pounds. This is a large meeting, containing some thousands of persons. I know there are some here who are very rich, and who could pay the whole expense of this building out of their own pockets and scarcely miss it, and I can hardly imagine that you will allow my friend Mr. Inskip, to go away disappointed. Let me beseech you to fix him at once. Now, I have to ask that nineteen other gentlemen, or ladies, if you please--for their money is equally valuable--to give a pledge for one hundred pounds each, and that will make up the two thousand pounds which our friend, Mr. Inskip, has promised to double. If you would only do that this evening, it would give such an impetus to our efforts to raise the whole of the money required for this building, that I do believe we should get enough, in a month, to complete it. But lest I should be disappointed, our kind friend has given me a still greater latitude. I do not want to check the nineteen friends from coming forward with their hundred pounds; but he has very kindly allowed me to say, that if a portion of it comes in hundreds, the deficiency may be made up in fifties. Now, surely with such latitude as that, we must succeed in getting the two thousand pounds. And then he has done another thing which I think was very liberal. If I fail to succeed after making this offer, I do not know what sort of a character I shall be able to give you. It is this: he will not only take it in hundreds and fifties, but, if it is more convenient for you to pay within three months, he will give you credit for that time. Now, as an old tradesman, I have known in my time what it is to be tempted by having a little credit offered me, but I took care I would not take credit for any article that I did not feel confident to be able to pay for in a given time. I feel the greatest encouragement in asking you either to send up your names for one hundred pounds each, or to those who cannot afford so much, for fifty pounds, and those who are not prepared to pay the money down, we will give three months credit. Do not let me plead in vain.
The Rev. GEORGE SMITH, of Poplar: My Lord Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, I have very great pleasure in taking some part in the deeply interesting proceedings of this night. When I think of the men who have already spoken with fervor, with pathos, with eloquence, and with the intimate knowledge of your Master, which justify them in honoring him as they have, and when I think of the other brethren on the platform of your own denomination, who will further vindicate the cause with which you are connected, and advocate the great object which you have in view,--I should shrink from the responsibility of occupying any portion of your attention, but for the fact that I belong to another denomination. I am with you in heart though I am not with you altogether in practice. I am connected with the Congregational denomination, as most of you if not all know, and I am here to testify on behalf of myself and of my brethren generally, to the very great regard we have for that gifted young man, under thirty years of age, whose name has become a worldwide reputation, and who everywhere has been greatly honored of God in turning multitudes from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. I never had any doubt about him from the beginning. I never entertained a suspicion of him from the commencement. I never uttered an unkind word about him from the time when he commenced his ministry. I always thought that he was raised up of God to do a great and good work, and we might well rejoice if men are raised up in a way rather different from that which we had anticipated. There is a fact upon record of very great value in relation to liberty of preaching. In the days of Oliver Cromwell, many soldiers went to Edinburgh on the Lord's day, and finding there was very indifferent preaching in the pulpits, Cromwell's chaplain took possession of the churches and preached the word of life. The Presbytery wrote a letter complaining to the Lord Protector, that his soldiers--the men connected with the iron-hearted regiment that he headed--those iron-sides, who feared God and kept their powder dry--actually had ventured to preach the word of life in the regular sanctuary. Cromwell's reply was worthy to be written in characters of living light, and handed down from age to age. "What! doth that offend you? I would to God that all the Lord's servants were prophets." And with that feeling, my lord, I am sure that we have hailed the advent of our beloved brother, Mr. Spurgeon. I hope his life will long be spared, and that a great and important work will be carried on by him. If there be a man under heaven that we might envy, and if there be a man under heaven in whom we might glorify the Grace of God, he is the man. I honor the man that he has never pandered to the public taste. He has always preached the word of life fully, faithfully, and effectually. I honor the man for the large-hearted Catholicity which has characterized him. The pulpits of the land have properly been opened to him, and he has ever been ready to preach for his brethren of every denomination. I have heard him preach in my own pulpit to crowded and delighted audiences. And I am sure that we ought to be prepared to help him in return, for he has been prepared to help very many. I am sure I am only among a large number of my brethren--and I mention it as an encouragement to others--I proposed a short time ago to the deacons of our church that, as he had often preached on behalf of other objects for us, we should invite him to come and preach, and give him a liberal collection towards this New Tabernacle. And it only waits for the time to be fixed by him, and I trust we shall all be prepared to do everything we can to promote the common welfare of this great church and congregation. I congratulate this meeting to-night most heartily and cordially upon the fact that three beloved honored men, bearing one name and related to each other, have taken part in this meeting. May they be a three-fold cord that cannot readily be broken. In expressing the largest desires for the welfare of the Baptist denomination represented by Mr. Spurgeon, I am only giving utterance to feelings that we all entertain. There is but little difference between us, but a very little difference indeed. Different sections of the church of God look at each other in the distance through the mists of prejudice and passion, and they think they are monsters; they get a little nearer and they find they are men--brethren, related to one common Father, related to one divine Redeemer who is not ashamed to call us brethren, and whether we be Baptists or psuedo-Baptists, whether we be Presbyterians or Congregationalists, whether we be Arminians or Calvinists (though I am not ashamed to call myself a Calvinist) if we are good men and true, we are related to each other, and to the Lord. Let us, then be limited, and angels shall look down from the crystal battlements of heaven and say of our congregations here--"Behold how good and how pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"
The Meeting then sung the following verse, commencing, "Jesus is worthy to receive honor and power divine."
JOSEPH PAYNE, Esq.: ladies and gentlemen, I am very glad to meet you all upon the present occasion. I am one of those Churchmen whom my Lord Mayor has been digging in the ribs in rather an extraordinary manner; but I am not one that he would find fault with, I am sure. We have been working together too long and too often for any of his observations to be applied in that way to my humble self. The late Rev Mr. Branch used to say, that an old woman once asked him, "Mr. Branch, can you tell me what Mr. Payne is?" "Why," said Mr. Branch, "he is a Churchman." "No, no," said the woman, "I am sure he ain't." "Why?" "Because wherever I go I sees him--at Wesleyan meetings, at Baptist meetings, at Congregational meetings, and at all sorts of meetings--well, if he is a Churchman he's a rum un." The Rev. Dr. Archer was once speaking at a meeting, (you see I am giving myself a character,) and he went through the list of speakers, and said--"The first is Dr. Archer, a humble Presbyterian; the second is Mr. Branch, a sturdy Baptist; the third is Mr. Gladstone, an Episcopalian; the fourth is Mr. Edward Corderoy, who belongs to the Wesleyan body, and the fifth is Joseph Payne, who belongs to nobody;" and he gave the reason--"he belongs to nobody because he belongs to everybody." Now, I think I have said enough about myself; I am aging to say a word or two about my excellent friend, the Rev. Mr. Spurgeon. Among these decorations, there is one that I do not see, but I have it before my mind's eye--I mean the three letters C. H. S. [A voice: "It is outside."] Then we have it outside and inside too. Now, what does C. H. S. mean? Why, it means first, "Charles Haddon Spurgeon." But I do not mean that. C. H. S. means a Clear-Headed Speaker, who is Clever at Handling Subjects in a Cheerful-Hearted Style; he is a Captain of the Home of Surrey; he is a Cold-Hating Spirit; he has Chapel-Heating Skill; he is a Catholic Humbug-Smasher, he is a Care-Hushing Soother; he is a Child-Helping Strengthener: he is a Christ-Horouring Soldier, and he is a Christ-Honoured Servant. Those are all the C. H. S's, and a very good set of C. H. S's they are. Now I desire to look back upon the past, to look round upon the vast, and to look onward to the last. I desire to look back to the past. Our friend was always popular, always clever, always active, but he was not always so popular, he had not always the large number of friends that gather round him now. I knew him and loved him, and admired him from the beginning, therefore I look back upon the past with great satisfaction to think that I had so much discernment, that has been so admirably proved, and so magnificently repaid. I look round upon the vast. It is a goodly and glorious sight to see such a meeting as this, with the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor in the chair. You know it is said there are four descriptions of speakers to preside at public meetings:--some who are able and not willing, some who are willing and not able, some who are neither able nor willing, and some who are both able and willing. Now the Lord Mayor belongs to the fourth class. He is a first-class man in some respects but a fourthclass in that respect. He has shown his willingness in coming here, and he has shown his ability in that splendid, magnificent, glorious speech that he made, though he was a little too hard upon some of us Episcopalians. I look onward to the last. Oh! what a glorious thought that will be when all the instrumentality shall be at an end, when we shall see the grand glorious gathering in the brighter and better world above! The Lord Mayor will be there, Spurgeon the grandfather will be there; the father--the mother--the brother--and Spurgeon himself will be there, and I pray God that you and I may be there also. I have a high opinion of our excellent friend for four reasons: he is a preacher that does not mumble, he is a preacher that does not grumble, he is a preacher that does not stumble, and he is a preacher that never will crumble. He is a preacher that does not mumble. One of our celebrated authorities in the law, old Seldon, says, that if a man were to call out murder in the same tone in which he would make love, nobody would come to his assistance. A minister of the gospel is calling out murder, and it is to be called out in a loud tone; not in a namby pamby style. He is also a preacher that does not grumble. You heard him tonight say how pleased he was with the salary given by the people of Park Street. He is perfectly satisfied with what he gets; though he has not half that he deserves. He is a preacher that does not stumble. Did you ever see a man walk more firmly than he does before the world and the church? He walks firmly, physically, morally, and religiously. Then he is a preacher that will not crumble. The man himself will die--many many years let it be before that consummation is arrived at! We all must die, but the reputation and character of a faithful preacher of God's free and glorious gospel will never die. We may address the character and reputation of such a man in the language of the poet, and say:--
"The stars shall fade away; the sun himself Grow dim in age, and nature sink in years. But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth, Unhurt amid the war of elements, The wreck of matter and the crash of worlds."
I would say--pray and believe; then persist and receive. In connection with the first, let me tell you that there was a number of farmers somewhere in Essex, who met to pray for rain in a large open field. The deacons were there; the "Lows" and the "Olneys," and the good men of that stamp, the five pounders and the fifty pounders, and the hundred pounders were there for the purpose. It was a fine day but there was a little Sunday school girl who came with an umbrella under her arm. The minister, who was not so clever as Mr. Spurgeon, said, "Why, bless you, my good girl, what do you mean by bringing a great umbrella on such a fine day as this?" "Why, sir," said she, "have not you all met to pray for rain? Don't you expect to get it if you pray properly? I do, so I picked out the biggest umbrella I could find." Well, there came a heavy shower and the ministers and the deacons were all very glad to get under the little school girl's umbrella. And the ministers and deacons went out from under that umbrella with their heads lower than they had been before, because they had been shamed into propriety by a little Sunday school girl. Pray, then, and believe. Pray that God will give you friends, and believe that you will get them. The next is, persist and receive. There was a clergyman in Ireland who met with a ragged boy, and he took him to a ragged school. The boy was very fond of using his slate and pencil; he never put sums upon his slate, but drew ugly pictures of the boys and the master. The master did not like it, because schoolmasters, you know, are very uppish people, some of them; stuck-up people who think they ought not to be caricatured. He sent to the clergyman, saying "I cannot manage the boy at all, I wish you would take him away." "Indeed I shall do no such thing," said the clergyman, "I will come and see him, and talk to him. So the clergyman came, and there was the boy in the school working away with his slate and pencil. "Well," said the clergyman, "bring up your slate let us see what you are doing." The boy did not like to do so, but however he brought up his slate, and, giving it to the clergyman, bobbed his head down to avoid a box on the ears, which he knew he deserved and thought he might get. But that was not the clergyman's plan. He looked at the slate and he there saw the ugliest picture of the good old clergyman himself, with long ears, very long hair, a hole in his coat, and his white choker as dirty as it could be. He looked at it and said, "You have a very good notion of drawing, my boy, my daughter draws beautifully, and if you will come to the parsonage house three times a week, she shall teach you to draw. Well, she did teach him to draw, and that boy is now an artist,--a capital painter in London. And the very first thing he did, was to paint a beautiful picture of the good clergyman and the daughter who had been so kind to him, and presented it to them in a beautiful frame, as a token of his respect and gratitude for their having saved him from destruction, and putting him in the way of gaining a honest livelihood. That clergyman persisted and received the end of his perseverance. Now I want you to persist and go on with this great work, and you will, in spite of all discouragements and difficulties, be sure to receive. You will draw people in the Tabernacle, and money to your funds, and then great things will be done. Now I have to read some verses, and then there will be an end.
My breath I will spend, and my horn I will blow, The claims and requirements to let the world know,-- (Though my horn is not gold, but is only brass gilt,) Of the great Tabernacle that is to be built.
Sir Samuel, Baptist, and Baronet too, In handling the trowel to science was true, And charged it with mortar right up to the hilt, For the great Tabernacle that is to be built.
Unconquered, at present, friend Spurgeon is found, But soon he will hold unapproachable ground; For no one will dream with the pastor to tilt, Of the great Tabernacle that is to be built.
With wonderful talent all ranks to comprise,-- The truth that he preaches to make people wise He'll spread o'er his hearers, just like a great quilt, In the great Tabernacle that is to be built.
The Englishman plainly and soberly dress'd,-- The Irishman clad in his holiday vest,-- Will sit, side by side, with the Scot in his kilt, In the great Tabernacle that is to be built.
Rich merchant of London, if such should be here, Thou, friend to a preaching sublime and sincere, Can'st not give too much, give whatever thou wilt, To the great Tabernacle that is to be be built.
Poor widow, neglected, distress'd, and forlorn, The prop of thy age from thy dwelling withdrawn, To cast in two mites will not fix thee with guilt, T'wards the great Tabernacle that is to be built.
Friend Spurgeon, the clearest of preachers I know, Look on to the time when thy language shall flow Like a beautiful stream, without thickness or silt, In the great Tabernacle that is to built.
And thousands deliver'd from sin and from hell, In mansions of glory for ever shall dwell, Who heard of the blood which for sinners was spilt, In the great Tabernacle that is to be built.
The Rev. C. H. SPURGEON: If our friends are not tired I should like another brother to speak, and I have a few words to say before I call upon my brother Bloomfield. I have been treated somewhat severely by that class of brethren who are exceedingly strong in their Calvinism. Many suspect me of being a great heretic. Now, a great heretic I certainly am, if it be heresy to judge of the Scriptures as God the Holy Ghost gives me ability, and not to bend myself to the dictates of man. I am, I ever must be, from my deep and terrible experience of the depravity of the human heart, a high Calvinist, in the best sense of that term. I am not bitter towards others; but I do love to preach the fullness of the decree of God. I do love, however, so to preach it that I may combine it with practical exhortation and fullness of precept. There are many brethren who believe the same. The stone has to be rolled away from the spulchre of Calvinism yet. The Calvinism of some men is the Calvinism of John Calvin, nor the Calvinism of the Puritans, much less the Christianity of God. My dear brother Bloomfield is one of those who hold the truth very strongly. I hope he may hold it never less sternly. He has an affectionate loving heart, and he is not prepared to condemn one who, in some points, differs from the brethren. I do differ from some in certain matters, those are but small matters compared with the grand fundamentals of that holy faith delivered to us by Christ, translated by Paul, handed down by Augustine, clarified by Calvin, vindicated yet again by Whitfield, and held by us as the very truth of God, as it is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Rev. J. BLOOMFIELD: I rejoice to be with you to-day, just to showmy firm attachment to that honored servant of God who has been the means, under the influence and power of the Spirit, of bringing you together. I believe that the preaching of Mr. Spurgeon is in harmony with our good old puritan divines. I cannot understand that Christianity which dries up the sympathies of the human heart. I feel a strong sympathy with one expression dropped by Mr. Spurgeon's father. He said he thought his son did wrong when he first came to London. I thought so too, but what made me think so was loosing a great many persons from my own congregation. However, I am very glad that so good a man has them, and I wish them well from my very heart, and him too, and all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth. Any man that preaches the atonement in its perfection is a brother that I am glad to shake hands with and bid God speed. Whether or not he preaches the high and distinguishing doctrine of divine grace in the phraseology that I employ; whether or not he chooses to preach those doctrines in the plain language in which I am bound to preach them, because I can preach them in no other, I say I bid him God speed, and trust the blessing of God will go with him wherever he goes to preach the everlasting gospel of the blessed God. Christ said, when on earth, "If any man serve me, him will my Father honor." I ask any man to look at the vast numbers that have testified before delighted audiences to the way in which the ministry of Mr. Spurgeon has been blessed to them; and I ask if God has not honored him; I ask if the Holy Ghost has not honored his testimony, and if the Father in heaven, if the Holy Ghost has sealed his ministry, where is the man that dares to speak against the success which he has realized so largely in his work. I love some of the friends that have spoken harshly of him, but I have always hated their harshness; I have told them so to their faces, as I would tell them again. I hate their bigotry, while I love the truth they preach. May God continue to bless the ministrations, of our excellent friend, and honor him with increasing and abundant success, for his own sake. Amen.
The Rev. C.H. SPURGEON proposed a vote of thanks to Sir Morton Peto, for his kindness in laying the stone, to the Lord Mayor for presiding, and the Lady Mayoress for coming to the meeting.
The motion having been seconded by James Low, Esq., was carried by acclamation.
The LORD MAYOR: The best thanks you could give me would be this, that you fill every box, and put your names to the piece of paper until you have got two thousand pounds. I believe you will have it tomorrow, if you do not get it to-night.
Mr. SPURGEON: The Lord Mayor has kindly said he shall contribute fifty pounds himself. I am sure, with his very great claims, it is far too much for us to expect from any Lord Mayor. He has out-done himself in liberality and I heartily thank him.
The Doxology was then sung, and the proceedings terminated.
The Committee think it needful to add, that notwithstanding the very great assistance afforded upon this occasion, their enterprise is very far from accomplishment. The freehold ground has been purchased and paid for, the excavation and throwing in of concrete for foundations have also been completed; and when this expense shall also have been fully defrayed, the Committee will find themselves with about ten thousand pounds in hand. The present contract for the erection of the building is twenty thousand pounds, which does not include lighting, boundary walls, and necessary furniture. The Committee therefore earnestly appeal to the Church of Christ for help in their arduous undertaking.
Subscriptions will be joyfully received by the Rev. C. H. SPURGEON; or by Mr. T. COOK, Hon. Sec., New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, S.E.