The Way the Lord hath Led Me;

or, Incidents of Gospel Work.
by Charles Stanley.
London: G. Morrish, 20, Paternoster Square.

Contents

Chapter 1.

Nothing to read but the Bible. — Trying to Reform. — Conversion. — Need of Fellowship. — First Sermon on John 3:16. — Early Life. — Visit to the Old Butler. — Remove to Sheffield. — No advance in divine knowledge. — Hear of the Second Coming of Christ

Chapter 2.

A Room opened for Preaching. — Captain W. — Found out our ignorance. — Captain W. charged with error. — Testing him with Syllogisms proved my own folly. — A great change in the current of my course. — Visit to those who were gathered round the Lord Jesus. — Gathered to the Lord’s Table. — Led to read 2 Corinthians 1, but read by another. — Real Guidance of the Spirit. — My second start in preaching. — God blesses His Word, though we are ignorant. — Visited many Towns

Chapter 3.

A preacher and a man of business. — Two cases of my need met by God. — God cares for our temporal things. — The lost dinner. — Led to go where the Lord directs, and found fruit after many years. — Sent to Scarborough. — Expenses paid. — A collision on the way. — Met at the Terminus, though unknown. — Call to preach on a Steamer. — A Sermon, twenty miles long. — Many Saved

Chapter 4.

Committing children to the Lord in faith. — The Lame Captain. — Sent to Scarborough, when there was no one else to preach. — The full gospel much needed. — The Lord’s bag. — The work began at York. — Preaching at the funeral of a Roman Catholic. — Lecture on the Signs of the Times. — An After Meeting in a cottage. — T. S. sent to York, and then W. T.

Chapter 5.

First visit to Southport — Lecture, on the “Second Coming of the Lord”. — J. H.’s prayer answered. — Good to be afflicted. — Went to Wath-on-Dearne. — Lydia M. and her house blessed. — Preaching at the Pottery, and many saved. — The Railway Tracts. — Other Tracts followed. — “Mephibosheth” especially blessed. — The dying Shepherd in Australia. — “Victory” on board ship. — The Hindoo and Mahometan. — The dying Infidel.

Chapter 6.

Looking for guidance daily. — The Bell-man at Wootton-under-Edge. — Preaching at Llandudno. — Diagram on the Lord’s Coming. — The Revivals. — A ton of tracts asked for America. — Meetings at Birmingham. — Faith answered at Stafford. — Meeting at Leamington. — Unitarian lady

Chapter 7.

Preaching in London. — At John Street Chapel. — The old Prodigal. — In the eastern counties. — Ipswich, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Norwich, Bury St. Edmunds. — The Lord’s special leadings. — At Sudbury

Chapter 8.

Preaching at York. — At Bradford and Rochdale. — John 5:24 and Acts 13:38. — What more can an anxious soul want? — Early and after meetings. — The greatest sinner in Exeter. — One blessed at six in the morning. — After meetings. — Leadings of the Spirit real. — A case in point.

Chapter 9.

Direct answers to prayer. — Led to Leeds, and preserved from danger. — Danger in Sheffield from the Roman Catholics. — The Church of Rome in the year 60. — The Roman Catholics in Glasgow gladly hear the preaching.

Chapter 10.

Visit to a village in the Yorkshire Moors. — Need of faith. — Preached at the Moravian Settlement at Fulneck. — Peace with God, and no Condemnation. — Preaching tour in Yorkshire. — Call to an old woman blessed. — An aged relative

Chapter 11.

Encouragement to young Evangelists. — The three aged Saints. — An old man in a grey coat at Bournemouth. — One great secret of success in preaching. — Servants of Christ, not of men. — Lectures and preachings in a colliery district. — Many helped. — Meet for breaking of bread. — Decay. — Scattering

Chapter 12.

Help from a life’s experience. — Study of the Epistle to the Romans. — Love alone not enough. — What God is and what He has done. — Dependence on the Holy Spirit. — Deliverance. — Searching the Scriptures as to the Second Coming of Christ

Chapter 13.

The Church the body of Christ. — Is this held truth? — Separation from evil. — Guidance from Scripture in days of difficulty. — The ministry of John commended. — Dates of the Epistles. — Errors in the Church. — The Word of God a sure guide

Chapter 14.

How to walk in days of evil. — The Word of God. — Righteousness of God. — Righteousness of Christ and Redemption. — In Christ

Chapter 1.

How wondrously true is that word which the Lord spake to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” The writer of these pages desires for His glory, who hath shown mercy to him, to record His ways of sovereign grace.

As a child I had very little opportunity; but I had a great thirst for books and learning. One day I happened to say, in the presence of a poor woman, how I longed for books, and had nothing to read. “What, Charles,” she said; “there is the word of God on that table, and you have nothing to read!” She said no more, but those words could not be forgotten. They were used by the Spirit to show me that I had no heart for God. This, no doubt, came with deeper force as I had, though only twelve years of age, a good knowledge of the letter of the word. In those days it was the lesson book in the village school, which I had left about a year; and for which I have ever been thankful.

As yet I had no knowledge of my true condition as a lost sinner, and at once set about becoming religious. I tried hard to reform my outward conduct. What surprised me much was this, the more I tried, the worse I became. This went on for some months. There were none in those villages who could point me to the finished work of Christ. All who seemed to have, any care for the things of God, were working for salvation. From acquaintance with the letter of scripture, I was sure there was a peace with God that I could not obtain by all my doings and efforts. After months of struggle and distress, I was returning home one dark rainy night, when the burden on my soul was so great, that I fell down on my face in the road, and cried out, “Oh Lord, I can do no more,” and a deep sense that I was lost came over my soul. It was there, as I lay in the dark lane alone, that the Spirit of God revealed to my soul the finished work of Christ. Then it was that I saw that which I was vainly trying to do, had been done by my precious Substitute on the cross. I do not remember that I saw beyond this; but, like Israel in Egypt, I found shelter and safety beneath the precious blood. And as I rose from the ground, I do not doubt, I was a new creature in Christ Jesus; but though born of the Spirit, how much had I yet to learn as to what the flesh was.

When I was converted, I began at once to long for the fellowship of Christians. Fifteen to twenty minutes’ preaching once a week, was all we got. Nothing could have been more lifeless. Indeed, I do not remember that there were any who attended the village church that knew their sins were forgiven. I attended other preachings a few times, was greatly impressed, and enjoyed their hymns and prayers; but felt their preaching was not the finished work of Christ, through which God had spoken peace to my own soul. I had, moreover, in my conversion and ever since, a deep sense of the sovereignty of God, and I soon felt that this was set aside too much in the preaching.

I can see now, that what the new nature longed for, was the fellowship of saints in separation from the world. There was a little meeting begun in the neighbourhood, and the preaching was much in keeping with what the Holy Ghost had taught me in that dark lane. There was a gracious work of God, and a good many souls were converted to God. This was at Laughton, in Yorkshire, in the year 1835. In that year, when I was 14 years of age, it so happened that the preacher, one day, failed to come. The Lord then, for the first time, opened my mouth to tell of His wondrous love, to a world lost in sin. I remember the text was John 3:16. In visiting the village more than forty years after, I happened to call on a man who well remembered the sermon, and the text. It is very interesting to me at this long distance of time, now fifty-three years ago, to remember that in that first preaching, it was what God is to us: “God so loved.” It was not, it is not, what we are to God. Oh, if this were the case, I should have been lost a thousand times since then. No, if that were the case, I for one have found, that if my salvation depends on what I have been to God, I am lost for ever. In my case, nothing short of an infinite Saviour could have met my sins and need.

Here I would just name how God had educated and prepared me, as a vessel of mercy for His future work. Left an orphan at the age of four, I had been brought up by a grandfather, a man of the strictest integrity. I believe I was brought to know the Lord at the time of which I have just spoken. From the age of about seven, I had partly to earn my bread, by working in the fields in summer; and in winter I went to the village school. At the age of eleven, a gentleman took me to his house, and for two years I had the most remarkable instruction from this gentleman. I had little book education, but he made me learn everything that could be learnt by observation; the garden, the stables, the duty of the butler, with all this he made me perfectly familiar. One day he would say, “Charles, I give thee three hours to catch a crow.” Another, he would give me a covey of partridges to bring up. Sometimes he would require an answer at once to a difficult question, such as this: once before company, he asked me, What was the cause of an eclipse of the sun? I replied, “If I place my head between this lamp, sir, and your head, you will not see it, just like when the moon is between us and the sun.” Amongst other things, I had, at times, to act as chaplain, and read a sermon in the drawing-room; and this was done with great solemnity, though a child, when God had begun to work in my soul.

It would take up too much space to tell of many interesting particulars, and why and how I left that gentleman. It seems like yesterday since he gave me his long and last address. His last words were: “Charles, thou wilt either be a curse or a blessing to mankind.” Sure I am, if it had not been for the grace of God, I should have been the former; and if, in the least measure, it has been the latter, to God be all the praise! I am quite sure God used this kind man, during these two years, to the benefit of the whole of my after life.

I left him, and walked over two fields, and then sat down on a stone stile, and wept; and I saw him no more. Thirty years after this, I felt led to go into the neighbourhood, to see the aged butler, now with the Lord. We had never met during those years. He said, turning quite pale, “How strange, I have just been reading your tract ‘Mephibosheth,’ the same which my master gave me before he died, saying to me, ‘Thomas, take this, and keep it. God has shown me by it, that I have been wrong all my life. I thought I had a great deal to do for God. I see it is all the kindness of God, for Christ’s sake, and what He has done for me.’” I am thankful to be able to add, that aged Thomas was also brought to the Lord, and to rest in His finished work.

After my conversion I removed to Sheffield, then a town of 70 to 80 thousand inhabitants. Here I was apprenticed to a gentleman who kept a steel, iron, and general hardware store. He was also a file manufacturer. I thus became acquainted with the Sheffield trade, and all classes of its people. My various occupations had given me a wide acquaintance with human nature. But in those years God was pleased to show me the utter corruption of my own evil nature. It is a terrible lesson, but it must be learnt. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not!” This must be learnt. The full truthful history of the two natures, would be like the history of two distinct persons. The history of the flesh, with its lusts, would not be to the profit of any: to the individual believer, he learns, by its history, that salvation is wholly of God. What will be recorded then in the following pages, will be the dealings of God in perfect and amazing grace.

In looking back on those years, I am struck with one fact, that is, I made no advance in divine knowledge. I was greatly interested in eloquent preaching, but learnt nothing. Indeed, I was in a state of self-satisfaction, and felt as if I knew all there was to be known. In one word, I had no idea of my own ignorance. This was not so in reference to any branch of secular knowledge; but in divine things there was no advance. Indeed, there was the most astonishing ignorance of the true meaning of the word of God. I thought the world (that world which had rejected and killed the Lord Jesus) was rapidly getting better, and that we were the people who would gradually mend it, until it was a converted world!

I will now tell how all this self-satisfaction, and delusion, was broken in upon. I should be about 23 years of age, and at this time was keeping a little store of material for the Sheffield trades. A neighbour came in one afternoon, looking very serious, and said to me, “Have you heard the news?” “No,” I said; “what news?” He replied, “There are two men lecturing at the Assembly Room, and they declare that the world will be at an end, and Christ will come at four o’clock to-morrow morning!” I turned round, for I could not keep from laughing. He begged me to go and hear the lecture that night. I went. The lecturer said nothing about the world coming to an end the next morning; but he went over Matthew 24, and showed, from that chapter, the impossibility of the world being converted before the coming of the Lord. Now, though this man held much false doctrine, and probably was not a Christian, yet God was pleased, by this lecture, to awaken in my soul an earnest desire to know the truth as to the Lord’s coming again.

I was amazed at my own ignorance of scripture, and could scarcely sleep. About eight or ten others were also awakened to inquire. We met at five in the morning, to search the word. We had no idea, either, as to what the church was, or the coming of Christ to take away His saints; but we were occupied with the coming of Christ, to set up the kingdom on earth.

Chapter 2.

At this time, two of us opened a little room at Sheffield, in Duke Street, for preaching the gospel. The late Captain W. was then labouring in the service of Christ in Sheffield. Hearing of this little meeting, he called on us, and asked if he might preach the gospel in our little room. We gladly consented. He set before us the living Person of Christ meeting the sinner at Jacob’s well — meeting the woman just as she was. Christ did not shun her, or tell her to go and reform her sinful character, before He could speak to her, or save her. It was the Son of God saying to a poor sinner, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10.) I had never before heard Jesus thus set forth by any preacher; but I found it was the same precious Jesus, who had met me in that dark lane, and on that rainy night, and had spoken peace to my troubled soul. The effect of this preaching, I doubt not, has been felt by me ever since that night. It is a wondrous revelation of how God can, and does, meet the sinner.

We soon found that, for the present, instead of preaching, we needed close and continued study of the word of God. For eighteen months we read together the epistle to the Romans; and for that period, I scarcely read anything else but the word of God. This has been a great blessing to me. I must, however, relate one incident that occurred at the commencement of these readings. As almost everybody spoke of the errors of Captain W., I thought he must hold some; and, strange to say, the most precious truths he sought to bring before us, I, through my own ignorance, thought to be errors. I have often noticed the same thing since. At that time I had no little conceit of myself, and great confidence in logic. I thought the best thing to do would be to prepare a number of syllogisms, bearing on the points I judged to be error. An opportunity soon occurred, and, in answer to a question from the Lord’s servant, I let off a volley of syllogisms. I shall never forget his kind, pitying look, as he clapped his hand on his knee, and so quietly read the next verse. In that moment the Lord showed me what a fool I was, and all my trust in logic was for ever gone.

I now come to an event that turned the whole current of my future course from that day to this.

I had heard that Captain W. and a few other Christians met on the first day of the week to break bread, like the disciples, in Acts 20. One Lord’s day morning, I went to see what this could mean. I found them gathered in an upper room, in Wellington Street, Sheffield. I sat behind, and naturally looked for the pulpit. There was no pulpit, but a table spread, or covered with a white cloth, and on it the bread and wine, in commemoration of the death of the Lord Jesus. I then looked for the minister, or president; there was no such person. All the believers gathered were seated around the table of the Lord. A deep, solemn impression fell upon me: “These people have come to meet the Lord Himself.” I have no doubt it was the Spirit of God that thus spake to me. It is impossible to describe the sense I had, for the first time, of being in the immediate presence of the Lord Jesus, according to that word, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I could scarcely notice what was done, I was so overwhelmed with the presence of the Lord. No one can have any idea what this is, unless really gathered to His name. What a contrast to everything I had seen before, and yet how simple! It was like going back to that which was in the beginning of Christianity, before any priest was heard of to offer in the church a sacrifice for the living and the dead. I was much surprised to find, strange as this gathering together of Christians to break bread appeared to me, that it was exactly what we find in scripture. Instead of even a minister at the Lord’s Table, I found the same simple liberty as described in 1 Corinthians 14:29-37. I was greatly struck with each worshipping before the Lord, in dependence on the Holy Ghost. I felt that was my place, deeply unworthy as I was of it. Well do I remember the thought, “This is my place, if even it were to be a door mat, for these Christians to wipe their feet on me.”

After some weeks, I was named as one who desired to obey the Lord, “Do this in remembrance of me;” and, through grace, I took my place as one redeemed to God, at the Table of the Lord. Shortly after this, I experienced one morning, whilst we sat in silent worship, what I had never known before — the leading of the Spirit of God. It came as a gentle whisper from the Lord, “Read 2 Corinthians, chapter 1;” and very precious thoughts came into my soul on verses 3-5. I felt agitated, so much so, that perspiration ran down my face and body. We had sat some time in silence. I felt bid to rise and read, but had not courage to do so. At length, Captain W., who sat at the other side of the room, arose and said, Let us read 2 Corinthians 1, and then he ministered the very thoughts the Spirit had laid on my heart. This was how I first learnt the leadings of the Spirit, in the midst of Christians gathered to Christ. This has been a matter of frequent occurrence for these many years. Some instances I shall relate. We cannot read the Acts without seeing that, after the Holy Ghost formed the church, He was really present to guide the servants of the Lord. I am persuaded it is our unbelief that hinders much more of His distinct guidance now.

One thing that made me now slow to speak, was the continued discovery of my astonishing ignorance of scripture. The more I studied it, the more I discovered my ignorance. I suppose it is always so. With a deepening sense of my ignorance, I will relate how I began again to preach the gospel. A brother in Christ was over from Ackworth. Before he returned home he said to me, “It is much impressed on my heart, that you are to go back with me, and preach the gospel at Ackworth.” “What,” I said, “I go and preach! nay, it will take me all my life to unlearn what is wrong, before I can preach what is right.” He said firmly, “You will; I believe, go, and the Lord will bless the word.” This was quite another thing. I dare not doubt that He could bless His word. After prayer I went, and proved then and ever after, that the Lord could, and would, bless His word.

This, then, was the second start to preach the word, about ten years after the first, when a boy of fourteen. Seldom, in those days, did the Lord open my lips throughout the towns and villages of England, without some soul being converted. Not that this appeared at the time, but I have met them everywhere, ten, twenty, or thirty years after. As I did not keep a journal, it would be impossible to give an account in order of those preachings, readings, and conversations for forty-two years, in Sheffield, Rotherham, and the villages all around; in Hull, York, Wakefield, Scarboro', Malton, Whitby, Redcar, Newcastle, and around; in various parts of Scotland; in Manchester, Rochdale, Oldham, Bury, Southport, Liverpool, Llandudno, Stafford, Gnosall, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Leamington, Banbury, Swindon, London, and around; throughout Kent, Cheltenham, Malvern, Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol, Clifton, Bath, Taunton, Exeter, Torquay, Plymouth. Then in the Eastern Counties: Ipswich, Colchester, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmunds, Norwich, Grimsby, & c. & c.

Chapter 3.

It may be asked by some, how could I preach all my life in so many places, and provide for my family? Well, I found there was nothing too hard for the Lord. I may say I never gave up my business, until the Lord had given me sufficient to live upon; but my custom was to preach three or four times a week, sometimes more, and work the rest. Indeed, often after a day’s work in commercial travelling on my own business account, I found the Lord with me in preaching the word. The Lord often helped me in a very remarkable way. I will give two instances when I felt greatly in need of His help.

At the time I kept a store of material for the Sheffield trades, I had only small capital, but desired no more than I had. Indeed, I had learnt that the Lord took special care of His little dependent ones. I was walking about in my shop, having been absent of late about half my time preaching. I had a bill to pay on the following Monday, and I felt a Christian should always pay as payment was due, but in this case I had not the money, and did not know where it was to come from. I lifted up my heart in prayer to the Lord about this, and immediately thought of a large stock of emery; I had many casks which I could not sell. I told the Lord about this emery. He said, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship.” I said, Lord, which is “the right side of the ship”? Immediately the thought came, He must be the right side of the ship. I then asked the Lord to sell for me the emery, for I could not, and the amount would just meet my need. Whilst I was in prayer, a man walked into my shop, and said, “Have you any emery to sell?” “Yes, I have,” I said; and went and took a pinch of the heavy stock I had to sell and placed it in his hands. “Aye,” he said, “this is exactly what I want: how much have you?” I told him the number of casks (a twentieth part as much I had never sold at one time in my life); he said, “We will have it all at the price you name, send it down to our firm to-morrow. And we always pay for all we buy casually on Monday morning.” I said, “I will do so; and now tell me how it is you came here, and how is it you can use this kind of emery? I have tried, and could not sell it anywhere; indeed I ought to have returned it, as it was sent in mistake to me.” He replied, “Such and such a grinder told me you had a quantity to sell; we wanted it badly, so I came on to see it. You might well not sell it, as we are the only manufacturers who use this particular kind: we use it for scratching saws for the Russian market.” I sent it on, and received just the money I needed.

I will give another out of the hundreds of instances of the Lord’s care; and then return to speak of His work. Years after the former case, when I was a Sheffield merchant, supplying export houses in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, London, Liverpool, and Glasgow, I had been travelling three days, and preaching at night, and had received no orders — this was trying. I was walking down B… Street, in Birmingham, in prayer that the Lord would direct me to the house where I might receive an order for goods. As I was thus in prayer, I felt distinctly bid to walk exactly opposite to where I had arrived. There was a small plate on the side of the door, H. and G., but it did not say what they were. I looked in, and from what I saw, I said, “Why, Lord, this is a leather warehouse. This is nothing in my way!” But the Spirit of God seemed to say, “Go forward!” I did so. I opened the warehouse door, and found a number of men doing something to skins of leather. I presented my card and inquired if Mr. H. was within. I was shown into the private office, where I found Mr. R, and inquired if they were requiring Sheffield goods for the export trade, naming Australia, as there was a great demand for those colonies. He looked with some surprise, and said, “Do you supply such goods for Melbourne?” I replied, “Yes,” and named several firms in the neighbourhood that I supplied. Opening the order book brought by a clerk, he said, “Are you sure that you supply R. & Sons?” “Certainly,” I replied. “Well,” he said, “this is very strange. We are export leather merchants, and one of our clients in Melbourne has just sent us an order for Sheffield tools, & c. We know nothing about these goods. But here is the order, reading out some of the numbers and prices of my goods, which had been sent by some one else.” He ordered the clerk to write out the order, which came to several hundred pounds. This was the commencement of a large and most satisfactory account with a most honourable, straightforward house.

How can we account for all this, except on the ground of the tender care of Him who hears and answers prayer? The history of that ever watchful love, even in temporals, would fill a volume. From a child I had been led to believe that God heard and answered our prayers. This will be seen from a circumstance that occurred to me soon after my conversion. I was in a field two miles from home, and had put my dinner in a hedge; a young horse had got the dinner out of the hedge, and destroyed it except one small piece of bread. Also my tinder and flint were gone, for making a fire, the weather being cold in winter. I knelt down and prayed for a fire, and also that the Lord would make the bread sufficient for my dinner. I found the steel, and walking in the field soon found a flint. I gathered some dry leaves and rotten wood, and soon had a fire. I then sat down, and whether the Lord multiplied the bread, or made the little give the same sustenance, I know not; but certainly I was as strengthened and satisfied as if I had had the best of dinners. Many may smile at this; for my own part, I only pray that we all had more, childlike faith, that expects and then enjoys answers to prayer. Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” I felt thankful for the need which gave the opportunity for asking and receiving.

This is a little digression, but it is happy to think of His loving care. From that first visit to Ackworth, about forty-three years ago, I was led to go just wherever the Lord sent me, depending on what He could and would do, by the Holy Spirit, in blessing to souls. Now I would not so much relate what appeared at the time; but for the encouragement of the Lord’s servants I would say, I scarcely ever have visited a place twenty years after preaching but there I have found fruit to His praise.

Some may be ready to ask, What do I mean by going wherever the Lord sent me? I will try to give a few distinct cases out of very many.

I had gone down to Hull to collect a few accounts. At the time I was only in a small way of business, and as I was pretty sure to collect the same, I had not taken money with me. I was at a meeting for prayer and reading the word, with a few Christians from different places, at eleven o’clock on the Saturday morning. As we were reading, the Spirit of God laid it on my heart that I must go to Scarborough to preach. I went into a room alone, and looked to the Lord in prayer that I might be assured of His will in the matter. He gave me distinct assurance that I must go. This was a long journey then, via York, and I had not money to take my ticket. But then the Lord knew that. I took my bag, told the friends I was staying with, that I felt distinctly called to go to Scarborough, though I had never been there, and only knew the name of one person there, and I had not money to pay my fare. I named this to no one. But when God gives faith, it is faith. I left the house, and walked until I was just stepping up to the booking-office, when A. J. cried out behind me, “We have just heard you are feeling led to go to Scarborough to preach to-morrow. A brother, Mr. H., desires to have fellowship with you, and has sent you, [I think it was £3] to pay your expenses.”

On the way we had a slight collision, exactly at the corner of the carriage where I sat, which was broken through. None of us were injured beyond a shaking. I thought this was surely a token that the Lord would have me speak the word to some one. I got into conversation with a young man who was, I judged, going home to die of consumption. I found him somewhat anxious about his soul, but thought he had a great work to do before he could be saved. I believe God blessed the message to his soul. “It is finished” was a wondrous new truth to him. As we drew near to Scarborough, his mother who was with him, was so delighted with the joy and peace of her son, that she begged I would make her house my home whilst I stayed in Scarborough. I thanked her very much, but said I could not do so, as I had just been making a request to the Lord that would hinder me from accepting her kind offer. As I only knew one name in Scarborough, I had been asking the Lord to bring him to the station, and show me which was he. At last, the train stopped. A gentleman came, and looked very earnestly at me. And the Lord said to me, “That is he.” Still I hesitated to speak, and got out of the carriage. He continued to look at me. I thought, how foolish I am to pray, and not to believe God, so I said: “May I ask, Is your name Mr. L.? ” “ Yes, it is,” he said; “is your name Stanley, of Sheffield?” “Yes, it is,” I said; “but how do you know my name?” He said, “Mr. J., of Hereford, was expected by this train, to preach to-morrow; and this is the last train, and there is not one in the morning. And as I was feeling disappointed, my eye caught you, and it was just as if a voice had said to me, That is Stanley of Sheffield: I have sent him.” He assured me of a hearty welcome, and a large congregation on the morrow. There is something very blessed in preaching Christ, feeling the certainty that He had sent you. Certainly I had that assurance on the following day.

Shortly after this, I was again at Hull, having preached on the Lord’s day. I was seated with Mr. A. J. after dinner, when I had a distinct call to preach on a steamer. I told Mr. J. He said, “There is a market steamer which will leave at 2 or 3 o’clock (I forget the exact time), and it will be crowded with market people.” I felt assured I was called to preach there on board that day. I therefore took my bag, and Mr. J. went with me to show me the way. At that time there was no proper landing-stage for this steamer, and as I was walking the plank from the pier to the steamer, it suddenly lurched from shore, my plank fell in the water, and I just caught on to the steamer’s side, and was got on board. There was a great shout and excitement, and I was a good deal shaken. In this weak condition, I looked to the Lord in prayer that He would raise me up, and give me a fellow-helper on board. I walked the crowded deck in prayer, and as I passed a man sat down; the Lord pointed him out as the one to help me. I stooped down, and asked if he were a Christian. “Yes,” he said, “through mercy I am.” I said, “Have you faith?” I then told him how the Lord had sent me to preach on board, how shaken I was, and weak, and I had been asking the Lord for a helper. He jumped up, saying, “Faith and works, man,” and ran away. I now felt much cast down. How strangely the Lord prepares His servants for His work. I had about become low enough for the Lord to use, when the man came back with a beaming face; “All is ready,” he said. I asked, “What is ready?” He said, “I have got the captain’s permission, and a number of people are ready to sing a hymn.” He gave out a hymn, which was heartily sung. The Lord then gave me strength to preach the gospel all the way, nearly to Thorne — that was the name of the place. The people kept getting off at different landing stages up the river. At the time I was not aware that a single soul was saved that day. I was preaching all the afternoon until night.

Many years after this, when I had almost forgotten the circumstance, after preaching in Birmingham, a gentleman came up, and said, “I dare say you have forgotten me.” I did not recollect him. He said, “Do you remember preaching a sermon twenty miles long?” I did not remember him, I said. “Well,” he said, “Do you remember preaching up the river, from Hull to Thorne, which was twenty miles or more?” Then it came to my mind very distinctly. He was a Wesleyan minister, and said, “I have long wished to see you.” He was the man who helped me so kindly that day. He told me he was stationed at Selby afterwards, and visited the different towns and villages up the river where the steamer stops, and he had found souls who had been saved that day all up the river. Thus, after many days the Lord gives us proof that His “words shall not return unto him void.” Oh to preach in full assurance that souls will be saved!

What a joy it will be in the presence of the Lord, at His coming, to see the thousands, (it may be) of souls, who have been brought to Him, through the riches of His grace, by His weak servants! Oh depths of mercy, not only to have saved us from hell, but to use us as channels of mercy to others. The apostle could say, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” I have never, that I am aware of, seen one of those dear children by the river. No doubt by this time, after so many years, many of them are with the Lord. I shall meet them in the glory, so near at hand.

Chapter 4.

Just about this time I well remember an incident that may encourage many a parent in prayer. More than seventy years before this event, a godly mother committed her babe to the Lord, in faith that the child would be converted, and join her above; such was her faith as she departed, to be absent from the body, present with the Lord. For seventy years there was no sign of answered prayer. The child grew up a careless, ungodly man, a captain of a man-of-war. He had both his heels blown off by a splinter of a shell. He was now an aged and lame man. He had been brought to hear the word, being carried into the crowded room. That night the Spirit led me to preach from “Mephibosheth.” (See the Tract written about that time.) I was describing the sinner’s utterly lost, lame condition, and the kindness of God shown in Christ, not only in giving Christ to die for our sins, but in fetching the poor sinner, just as he is, to His own presence, as David sent and fetched Mephibosheth, lame on both his feet. I said, “Now, you poor lame old sinner, you who have been fetched into the presence of God to-night, where are you?” The poor old captain felt it was God speaking to him, who knew all about him; and, trying to get up, he cried out, “I am here.” God saved his soul that night, and thus answered a mother’s prayers, but in His own way and time. It was a happy sight to see the dear old captain rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and sitting at the King’s table as a King’s son, “and he was lame on both his feet.” Read, in connection with this little story of grace, 2 Samuel 9.

We were having a little prayer-meeting one, Saturday evening, when I had a very distinct call, that I was to go to Scarborough again, to preach on the following day. I went home, but my dear wife on this occasion did not feel it was the Lord’s mind that I should do so. I asked the Lord that if it were His will, He would give us both the same judgment about it. After prayer, I went to bed and fell asleep. At two o’clock I found myself standing on the floor, and the Lord said, “You must go to Scarborough.” I awoke my wife, and she now was of the same mind. I quietly prepared a little breakfast, and then walked to the station. There was a train to York, I went by it in faith. After' waiting a little at York, I found there was, at that time, a train to Scarborough on Lord’s day morning. I arrived there about nine. I thought I would not call on any one until the time that a few Christians met to break bread, according to scripture, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

I walked down on the shore, there I saw G. A. walking slowly, and looking rather down. I walked up behind, and laying my hand on his shoulder, I said, “How are you?” He turned round and said, “Well, this is a rebuke: Mr. B. has been suddenly called to a funeral in London, and there will be a large company at the room to-night; I was feeling down at the thought that there would be no one to preach, and now the Lord has sent you.” Those who have never experienced this kind of direct guidance, cannot have any idea, what a solemnity it gives.

There was another thing that gave great interest in preaching the gospel in those days. And this caused great delight in breaking up new ground. You might often go into a town or village, yes, even a city, and there would scarce be a soul in it, that enjoyed the certainty of eternal redemption. If you had asked them the meaning of Hebrews 10:2-14 they could not have told you. And real Christians had only “a good hope that they would be saved.” Then, in almost every case, you found souls under law, and therefore in bondage. It was my delight to go throughout all England, telling out the full gospel of God.

I was by no means rich in this world’s goods, yet I always had means to go and preach wherever the Lord sent me. Perhaps the reader would like to know how this was the case. I will tell him. I had a little bag which I called the Lord’s bag. Whatever was given me by the Lord’s people for travelling expenses was put into that bag, and for all those years of gospel work, I never could reach the bottom of it. This continued until the Lord gave me the greater privilege of Acts 20:35.

I will now relate how the Lord began His work in several places, these can only be a few samples out of many.

The city of York had been on my mind for some months, and I had often looked to the Lord in prayer about it. I was returning home one day from Scarborough, and had about three hours to wait at York. As I walked over the bridge, I lifted up my heart in prayer, and asked the Lord, if it were His will that I should preach the word there, to give me a congregation that day. Whilst I was in prayer, I met a great crowd turning down by the castle. The Lord said, “Follow this crowd.” I found there was going to be a funeral of some Roman Catholic dignitary. We walked on until we came to a large shed. The rain fell at this moment, and the people rushed in and filled the shed. I felt it was the Lord’s will I should stand in front of the shed. I took out my Bible and read the words, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” A very large company gathered in front. Some hundreds heard the word with marked attention. The Roman Catholics seemed to think I was one of themselves, and, crossing themselves, came very close. I was led to dwell first on the blessedness of those who now fall asleep in Christ. I did not refer to the special time to which this text applies; but, as a general fact, how blessed is the soul that departs from this scene to be with the Lord. I then showed that the word did not say, “Blessed are they that die in the Roman Catholic church, or in the Protestant churches, but in the Lord.” This caused rather a flutter, and then even greater attention, whilst I endeavoured to show from scripture, what it was to be “in the Lord.”

As I closed, a man asked me, in a distinct, clear voice, that was heard by all, “Do I understand you to say, that a man may know in this world that he is saved, and that he has eternal life?” This question, and the answer, appeared to have great effect on many, as I showed from scripture that it was the privilege of all believers, to know that they were “justified from all things,” and had peace with God. For the word says, “Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him, all that believe are justified from all things.” If we believe God, how can we doubt what He says: “Be it known unto you”? Other scriptures were quoted, and just as I finished my answer, the head of the funeral approached us, being about two hours behind time. Let us not say this was very strange, it would not be so at all if we walked more in faith.

Some little time after, I felt led to go and give a lecture in York, on the large market space, called the Pavement. I put out a little notice, “Lecture on the Signs of the Times.” This was at the time of the Chartist agitation, just at the crisis. Somehow a report got abroad, that I was a Chartist, come to revolutionise the city. The Mayor sent for me, and as I was only a Christian that belonged to no denomination, he could not understand it, and therefore thought it must be wrong. He thought it best to order out a large force of police, to keep the peace. There was an immense concourse of people, which filled the market place. I was very weak, and had almost to be lifted into a chair to speak. It is a solemn thing to address so many thousands of souls, all of whom will be so soon in eternity. I dwelt much on the approaching judgment of the living nations, at the glorious appearing of Christ. Then I showed Christians how the Lord would come first and take them to Himself (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13, 18.) All this was quite new then in the city of York. And as the preaching went on until it grew dark, the thunder rolled and lightning flashed. Altogether, it was a night never to be forgotten by many.

I should have said I had heard of a Christian of the name of S., and though unknown to him, I went to his house before the lecture, and asked him if he would allow me to preach Christ in his house at ten o’clock that night. He looked somewhat astonished, but consented. A little before ten the lecture closed. I then invited all those who were anxious, or desired to know more of these things, to go with me to his house. The largest chapel would have been filled had it been opened. The little house was crowded, and we had the after meeting until near twelve o’clock.

Thai night the Lord sent His servant, the late T. S., from Leeds, to labour awhile in York. He arrived late, went to his lodgings, and heard nothing of our meetings. Early the next morning, the Lord directed him to that very house; and there the work began, and there the table of the Lord was spread in the city of York. Soon the work spread, and the Lord sent His dear servant, the late beloved W. T.

Chapter 5.

Soon after this, I paid my first visit to Southport. It was then a comparatively small place. On my arrival, a serious, if I remember aright, a fatal accident had occurred on the sands. I felt greatly pressed to preach the gospel on the sands, but the people were, scattered all over the extensive shore. I spoke, however, to one man, and found he was a believer. I asked him to stand whilst I read a portion of the word of God. He did so. I got on a sand hill, where the promenade is now. I trembled to begin, and made a little hole to stand in. I read the chapter, and the people collected from all sides. After the preaching, I announced a lecture on the “Second Coming of the Lord,” and we had, it was said, 2000 to hear the word in a large sand valley, half way to Church Town. Soon after I began, I noticed an aged man come right through the crowd, and sit down on the sand just before me. In a little while he sprang up, and stood in amazement and ecstasy. His name was J. H., of Church Town, long since gone to be with the Lord, though quite a colony of his descendants still live in the place. The Lord had awakened this dear old Christian in that most out of the way place. The Holy Spirit had opened his understanding, to understand the scriptures, and to wait for the Lord Jesus from heaven. The church of God was fast asleep around him, as foretold in the parable of the ten virgins. Many other precious truths had God taught His aged servant, such as the apostasy of Christendom from its heavenly calling. After standing alone for many years, he had become greatly tempted. He had been praying earnestly to the Lord to send, at least, one of His servants, to confirm him in the truth. A young man had told him of the lecture, and brought him to hear it. But when he heard, for the first time, the blessed truth of the Lord’s return, exactly as the Spirit had taught it to him, he could scarcely contain himself for joy. And this was the beginning of that work which resulted in Christians being gathered to the Lord Jesus in Church Town and Southport. Yes, in those days many souls passed from death unto life on the sands of Southport, and in the open air at Church Town. To the God of all grace be all praise.

In the midst of such service, my Father and God saw it well and needful to afflict me. I can truly say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.” I had repeated haemorrhage from the lungs very seriously several times, until I was brought nigh to the grave in consumption. I spent a winter at Torquay in 1850, and few expected to see me return alive. Dr. T. told me one lung was nearly gone, and that I could scarcely live in the north, but might, as an invalid, in the south. There was much prayer throughout England, and the Lord heard and answered; and for 37 years since then have I been strengthened to preach to hundreds, and sometimes thousands, with only one sound lung.

When unable to preach to large companies in towns, the Lord has given me great joy and blessing in village work. I will here give a sample. A poor widow invited me over to her house at W.-on-D. I went, and she asked a few professors to meet me. They were quite sure there was no need of any preaching at W…, but there was a very neglected, and, as they said, wicked colliery and pottery village a mile away. Immediately I felt assured this was the place where I should preach. I went and preached in a house there that night or afternoon. In twelve months, to a day, I felt led to go again. I may say, when going to preach at a fresh place, I have often felt the exceeding importance of being guided to just the right place in the village. In this case, I was guided to take a stand exactly opposite the little homestead of W. M. His wife’s name was Lydia. Of course, all were strangers to me. These people were, at that time, greatly averse to what they would have called dissenters, and, I suppose, would not have come twenty yards to hear me. I was speaking on the cleansing of the leper (Lev. 14.) Lydia was crossing the yard as I happened to say, “The little bird is let fly.” This rather aroused her curiosity, and she came to her gate to look what little bird it was. She listened with deep attention as she heard how one bird pointed to the death of Jesus for her sins; and the other bird dipped in the blood of the bird that was killed, and sprinkled on the poor leper, and then let fly, to show that the leper was cleansed. That this showed how God declared, by the resurrection of Jesus, our justification; that if the little bird was let loose, the leper was cleansed. If Jesus, our substitute, who died for our sins, be risen, we, believing God, are justified from all things. Lydia had never known before what the resurrection of Jesus had to do with our justification; and she was greatly arrested. She could not help listening again at night. She was converted, or perhaps, as a quickened soul, found peace. She and her whole household, from her aged mother, over eighty, to her grandchild, aged about four, all were saved. We had preaching there seven Lord’s days, when the table of the Lord was spread in the house of Lydia, and was continued there for many years, and afterward removed to W. Thirteen first met to obey the Lord in the breaking of bread. This brings to my mind one of the most remarkable displays of the Lord’s grace I have ever witnessed. It took place in this same village some years after.

We had a preaching of the gospel one night in the Pottery, just after the close of the day’s work, in one of the large workshops, called the Throw room. A number of colliers had also come in, just as they left the pit. It was a strange-looking company, some as white as millers, some as black as sweeps. It was a very quiet preaching, the word only was preached with expecting, faith; and there was a deep solemnity on the whole company. At the close, I was repeating the following scriptures, slowly, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” Precious words of Jesus. (John 5:24.) Also, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38.) I did not make a single remark, but there was the deep sense felt that God the Holy Ghost was speaking these words to lost, guilty sinners. You have seen the wind pass over a field of corn, bowing every blade and stalk. It was just like that. The divine presence passed over the meeting, from end to end, and bowed every heart and every head. A deep sigh was heard from end to end, many fell, some against the wall, some on forms. There was a profound silence, only broken by sobs. Then the Christians present began to speak to the unconverted. I will give one instance. D. M. said to one who leaned against the wall, one who had been a very careless youth, “David, are you anxious to be saved?” “No,” he said, “I am saved, I have everlasting life.” David had passed from death unto life, and the new creation was manifested in him to the last; he is with the Lord. There were few words said to any, but the Lord opened their hearts to receive His word. They heard His words, they believed God that sent Him, and the Spirit imparted faith to believe it, because He said it. And is not that a blessed moment when the ear is opened to hear God’s message of forgiveness of sins, and then to know one is justified from all things, for God says so? But what was so remarkable, Lydia, a Christian of very clear judgment, told me years after this meeting, that she had carefully watched the result, and she had no doubt, that every unsaved person at that meeting was converted, and had either departed to be with the Lord, or were living proofs of the grace of God. Dear Lydia! one of the first fruits in those parts; she and her husband, and how many more, who were converted in the times I describe, are now with the Lord.

There are few joys more deep and real than to see your children in the Lord depart in peace. What a picture of calm, perfect peace was the face of aged Lydia, as she lay in the sleep of death! What will it be in that morn, too bright for mortal eyes, to see thousands to whom the word has thus been blest, rise in the glory of Christ, to meet Him in the air! Will you, dear reader, be there, or for ever shut out?

My heart lingers on these village labours, but I must hasten away to other scenes.

I would now relate how the Lord laid it on my heart to write the Railway Tracts, and from them all that followed. I had been preaching the word at Tetbury, where I frequently went in those days. Our brother W. said to me, “Why don’t you print some of those incidents of the Lord’s work in the railway carriages? I am sure the Lord would use them.” I said, I had never thought of it. He urged me to do so. I felt the Lord had spoken to me thus to do it for Him, expecting Him to bless them to souls. How little did I think, at that moment, how the Lord would use them in so many languages all over the world. Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 Railway Tracts were the first that were written, and how many souls have been saved through the Spirit of God using those four little papers. I had already written “What is the Sabbath?” I will name a few thoughts I had in writing every tract. To look to God to give me to write just what He pleased, and to enable me to write it plainly, without any adornment. To never allow me to write with a party feeling, but to write for the whole church of God, or gospel to every sinner. In every incident related, to give the exact words, as near as I could possibly recollect.

It has thus been my constant habit to write a paper, as I believe the Lord has led me to do so; such tracts as “Mephibosheth,” “Joseph,” “Ruth,” “Jonathan,” “Job,” “Nehemiah” &c., &c., &c. These have been written after preaching them in different parts of the country, during a period of over forty years. I believe the Lord rarely ever led me to preach from Mephibosheth, as a type of Christ, without souls being converted. He has also been pleased to use that tract very often, when repeated or read to the sick and dying, and also through others preaching it. Mr. M. told me he had preached it in almost every city and town in America, and, he thought, never without souls being brought to God. It would fill a volume to tell of the great number of cases that the Lord has been pleased to bring to my own notice. Oh! how often has our God and Father, by the Holy Ghost, been pleased to use a tract in the dark places of England, when the door seemed closed against the light of the gospel.

Over thirty years ago, I was told of a tract, I think it was “Smashed to Pieces,” that was given to a poor woman in Rutlandshire. She was taken ill. The Lord spoke peace to her soul through this little paper. She died with it enclosed in her hand. Her dying request to her husband was, that he should read it to her children. After her departure, that tract was blessed to the conversion of eight persons. Many similar cases have occurred, and many in America, India, and Australia. I will name one.

An overlooker on a very large sheep run, far out in the Australian bush, found a poor, lonely shepherd, on a distant station, in a dying state, and greatly alarmed at the prospect of death and judgment. There was no person near him to point the way to Christ. The young man rode a great distance to his residence, and took a tract, and read it to the dying man. God spoke peace to his soul. He departed from the lonely bush to be with the Lord, which is far better.

And how many of that deeply interesting class, the sailors, have been blest through a tract. I was walking one day in Glasgow, when the late Captain G. met me, and said, “I must tell you of a very interesting case, how the Lord was pleased to bless the tract ‘Victory.' During my late voyage,” he said, “one of my men was taken very ill, and became anxious about his soul. I got the mate to hold the lamp whilst I read the tract ‘Victory' to him; and it pleased the Lord to use the reading of the tract, both to the conversion of the poor man, and also of the mate. The man died in peace, and we buried the body at sea.” That was the last time I saw Captain G. He sailed with his mate shortly after for the West Indies, and was never heard of again.

I am sure it is God who thus is pleased to use these little papers, because, in themselves, they are so unlikely to meet the cases. Take the following: A poor Hindu coolie, in Demerara, was in great distress about his soul. He could no more bathe in the Ganges, and, therefore, could get no relief for the distress of his soul. He had a friend, a Mahometan, who was much moved at his distress. He said, “I believe I have a paper that would give you the relief you long for.” He read and translated to him the little paper, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” They were both converted to Christ, and became preachers of the gospel. Now there was nothing in the paper likely, to human reason, to accomplish so wonderful a result. God was pleased to use His own word in the tract. This same little tract was used to a dying infidel in Sheffield, in the following manner: This man refused to read, or receive the visit of any one, to speak to him about Christ. He was a soul going down to hell in darkness and unbelief. A woman folded the tract in her hand, so that just the text only was seen, as it lay inside her hand. She put her hand before him, and said, “Can you see this? Can you read?” He read the words “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” He started. It was God speaking to his soul. Yes, God said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” He said, “What, my sins! Is it possible, my sins!” And the sins of a past life stood out before him; and God, in infinite love for Christ’s sake, said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” Through divine grace he believed God, and the next day he was in heaven. Who can measure or limit the grace of God? I might tell of hundreds of cases, but must now return to the way the Lord hath led me.

Chapter 6.

It is important to look to the Lord every day, for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as we never know when or where He may use us in sovereign grace. I was crossing the country, one day from Bristol, where I had been preaching, to Tetbury. I had never been in some part of the country before. On arriving at Wootton-under-Edge, I had some time to spare before going on. It was about five o’clock on a hot day in the midst of harvest. There was scarcely a person to be seen in the little town. I was very distinctly impressed from the Lord, that I must preach the gospel there that afternoon, yet there appeared to be no people to preach to. Nearly all seemed to be out in the harvest field. Yet the conviction deepened, that I must preach. I took a few tracts, and gave them where I could find any one. I was standing in a little shop, speaking to a woman about her soul, when a man came running up the road, the perspiration streaming off his face. He turned into the shop, and said, “Please, sir, are you a preacher of the gospel?” “Yes,” I said, “I am, through the Lord’s mercy, but why do you ask?” He replied, “I am the bell-man, and if you will preach today I will cry it.” “Well,” I said, “it was very much laid on my heart to preach the gospel here to-day, but I do, not see any to preach to. Tell me, how is it you came in such haste, and asked me the question?” He replied, “I was working in the field, and a woman came past and told me some one was distributing tracts in Wootton, and it was just as if a voice had said to me, ‘You must run, and there must be preaching in Wootton to-day.' That is why I left my work, and came immediately.” As he was the bell-man, I involuntarily put my hand in my pocket to give him the shilling. “Oh dear no, sir,” he said, “I don’t want the money, I want souls to be saved;” and the earnestness and solemnity of the man confirmed his words. In half-an-hour he had washed himself, cried the preaching, and we were on the way to the Chipping, to preach. To human reason it seemed impossible to get any to preach to.

Just as we came outside the town, we were passing a gentleman’s house on the right. The Spirit of God stopped me, and distinctly directed me to stand on that door-step, and on that end of it nearest the town. By this time, perhaps, half a dozen people had collected, and came and stood before me. I gave out the hymn,
“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
Oh Lamb of God, I come.”

There were very few to hear; but I was much led out in showing the exceeding riches of the grace of God, in receiving the sinner just as he was; and that in perfect righteousness, through the accomplished work of Christ. That it was not so much the joy of the prodigal, as the great joy of the father, in receiving him. I found afterwards that the master and mistress of the house hearing some one singing on their doorstep, had come into the passage behind me, and had heard every word.

When I closed, the gentleman, who was a doctor, begged me to go in, and see his aged mother, upstairs. He said, as tears of joy rolled down his face, “I never heard this before: I thought I had a great work to do before I could be saved, and now I hear it has all been done, and God has joy in receiving me, just as I am.” I found the aged, bedridden, mother had heard every word, her window being exactly over that end of the door step. The circumstances of this day had almost passed from my mind, when years after, I was preaching at Cheltenham, and a lady there told me that the Lord blessed the word that day, in the conversion of the doctor, his wife, and also the aged mother, through the chamber window. The doctor and his mother had both departed to be with the Lord.

Is it not true that “He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy”? Up to that day the doctor had been enveloped in the dark cloud of Ritualism. What a contrast when the gospel is heard for the first time. How blessed, when the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

There was often much blessing at that time when preaching at the seaside places. At Llandudno there was remarkable attention for twenty-one days. I had no need to give it out, if I went up Orme’s Head the people followed, and we had preaching on the hills. There was a great commotion one night owing to the Ritualist clergyman hiring a band of music to drown the sound of the gospel. There was great resentment felt by the people. Several magistrates and clergymen stood by me every night. They advised me to retire into the house, whilst they quieted the people, who were with difficulty restrained from throwing the instruments into the sea. After a time all was quiet again, and I continued the preaching. It was a remarkable time, I could not step out of doors but I met with anxious souls. And many passed from death unto life (John 5:24.)

There was also considerable awakening as to the coming of the Lord. It was there the diagram on the Lord’s coming was drawn, with the assistance of Colonel B. The day will declare the harvest of those three weeks' sowing. “He knoweth them that are his.”

The way the diagram originated was this: I was speaking on the coming of the Lord. And finding some difficulty in explaining the difference between the present gospel period and the millennium, or the period of the reign of Christ, I took up a piece of chalk, or lime, and made two circles on a garden door, and said, “Now we will suppose one of these to represent the present period, and the other the millennium.” I then read out such scriptures as describe the present period, during which Jerusalem is trodden down under-foot, as Luke 21:24. Then, during the millennium, or kingdom of God on earth, this same Jerusalem shall be the centre of blessing to the whole world. Many other scriptures were also read, to show the great contrast between these two periods. Then different questions being asked, a line was marked to indicate the history of the Jews, and the ministry of Christ previous to the commencement of this present circle of time. Then another line, to show the ascension of Christ to heaven, the heavens retaining Him during this period of grace on the part of God, and impious rejection of that grace on the part of man. Then another line was marked, to show the coming of the Lord Jesus to fetch His saints. (1 Thess. 4.) Then a short line between this period, after the saints are taken to meet the Lord. The time of judgments, described in the book of Revelation. Then another straight line downwards, to show the coming of Christ with all His saints, to execute judgment and to commence the millennial reign. Then at the end of that blessed dispensation, a short line was marked, to show the short period when Satan will be let loose — ending with the judgment of the dead, and the beginning of an endless circle, to show the eternal state. All these were crude marks, on the garden door, but wonderfully helped the audience to understand dispensational truth. As noticed above, Colonel B. kindly drew it correctly, on pasteboard. Such then was the simple origin of the diagram tract on the coming of Christ. It will be known to many who read this, how God has been pleased to use this little paper. Thus He gives, and thus He uses what He gives.

I omit a great number of incidents of those days, some of which are related in the Railway Tracts; and here I would observe that those few incidents in the Railway Tracts are strictly true. They were written at the time, and word for word, as exactly as could be remembered.

We will now pass on to what was called the revival time, 1859. I had heard of the wonderful effects of a quarter of a pound of gospel tracts, in the highlands of Scotland. I believe that wave of blessing rolled on to Scotland. The tracts were single leaves, “Bread Cast,” and only one left in each village. I had also been deeply moved by the faith of one aged man, in America. He was over seventy years of age, and a few of the tracts had somehow reached him. He found the Lord graciously using these tracts to many souls. The dear old man ordered a Ton of them to be sent to him. He said he would send them throughout the States. He had no money to pay for them, but he was sure faith could trust the Lord across the Atlantic, and He would pay in the coming day. It is only known to God how the faith of this dear aged H. was honoured. We did not send a ton, but we sent many cwts., and the dear aged servant of the Lord sent them throughout the States of America.

Well, the wave of divine power reached Scotland. Dear W. T., now long with the Lord — one who ever did, and does to this day leave the precious savour of Christ behind him — had been to Glasgow, and had seen hundreds of souls seeking mercy, and being brought to Christ. He came over and told me of the wonderful works of the Lord. A most remarkable sense of the Lord’s presence came over me, I felt moved by divine power to go at once to Birmingham. A strength of faith and expectation that souls would be saved, such as I had never had before, filled my soul.

The large room in Broad Street was crammed night after night. At the after meetings nearly all stayed. There was no excitement in the preaching. There was not even much invitation, or pressing of sinners. It was more the righteousness of God in justifying the sinner, and the completeness of that justification in the risen Christ. Indeed, I have always found the more God is revealed in Christ, in preaching, the more lasting the results. There must also be undoubting confidence in the word of God: that all who are brought by the Holy Ghost to believe God, are justified from all things.

Whilst these meetings were being held in Birmingham, a brother in Christ came over from Stafford. He was filled with faith that God was about to bless souls there. He returned, and asked some brethren to come together to cry to God in prayer, at six o’clock the next morning. Quite a number came together, to ask the Lord to bless the word there that same night. But when this brother borrowed chairs and forms, so as to seat every available space in the large meeting-room, some did not know what to make of it. At a quarter to seven the large room was simply packed. Several were fainting, but could not be got out. A gentleman present stood up, and said “the danger from the crush was so great, that he would, as deacon of a large chapel near, open it on his own responsibility.” In a very short time it was filled. I remember seeing a man come in in a state of drunkenness. The solemnity of the presence of God seemed to sober him in a moment. He professed to be converted, but I never heard whether it proved to be real. I have never had a doubt that God was working in a remarkable way at these meetings. Many professed to be saved. Some fell away as stony-ground hearers; but the day will declare what was of the Spirit of God.

A few days after, three of us felt led to go to Leamington. We had a little notice printed, about the size of a small envelope, asking the Christians of Leamington to come together in the music hall at three o’clock, for prayer, for the Lord’s blessing on the word to be preached in the hall that night. About two hundred came together. And oh, what a cry of united expecting prayer went up to the throne of grace. It must have been truly blessed when the assembly were gathered in the unity of the Spirit, as in Acts 4. At seven, the large hall was filled. That night God answered prayer. It was the birth-night of many precious souls, and the deliverance of many more. It was said some hundreds found deliverance and blessing that night. At nine o’clock there was no inclination to leave, and the meetings continued until eleven. The people could not go away. Great numbers were in deep concern about their eternal salvation, and all classes were alike moved by the Spirit of God. It was not so much during the preaching, as in simply quoting scripture, after the preaching had closed.

The case of one lady was striking, and at the same time illustrated many others. She had been brought up with soul-destroying Unitarian ideas. She was arrested in hearing of the righteousness of God revealed in the atoning death of the Lord Jesus. But it was whilst I was quoting those blessed words of Jesus, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [judgment,] but is passed from death unto life.” She exclaimed, so as to be heard by all around, “hath! oh does Jesus say hath, hath everlasting life?” I read the words of Jesus again: and assured her they were His very words. Therefore he who believes Jesus cannot have a shadow of a doubt that he hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life. I do, not know what exercise of soul she had had previously, but no sooner had she realised that Jesus was the Son of God, God speaking to her, than she felt a deep sense of her sins. She said, “What about my sins?” I told her the blood of Jesus, the infinite and holy One, cleanseth from all sin. The exact words I do not remember, but that was the substance. It was a hard struggle, but is anything too hard for the Lord? She passed from death unto life. The pressing upon her John 5:24 and Acts 13:38, 39, gave her the certainty of two things. She knew that she was justified from all things, and that she had eternal life. She believed God. This is a sample of what took place that night with great numbers, from 9 to 11 o’clock.

I know some may question the grace of God in such immediate conversions. About eighteen years after that remarkable night, I met a lady in M., who told me she came to that preaching at the request of her mother, with a number of other young ladies, in fact, a ladies' school. She came in a most unprepared state of soul, having just returned from a kind of convent school in France. She and all (if I remember rightly) of the young ladies, who sat with her on that seat were converted that night, and she knew that all had manifested, in after life, that the work was of God. Thus hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy.

Chapter 7.

At that time I was accustomed frequently to preach in London. I named to a few that it was on my heart to take the Myddelton Hall, Islington, for a week’s preaching. Some doubted, but many hearts were lifted up in prayer to God. It was taken in dependence on God. I had no arrangements or preparation, or even knowledge of what subjects I might speak upon. The hall was filled every night. Many written petitions for prayer for dear ones were offered up. A very solemn circumstance occurred one night. As we commenced, a person came bringing a request for the prayers of the meeting, for a lady in a worldly family, who was dying without Christ. Mr. G., now with the Lord, went back with the messenger. We bowed in solemn earnest prayer. He found the poor lady in the midst of the folly and finery this world can produce. But none there knew Christ, or could speak a word to an affrighted soul, about to pass from London society to outer darkness and eternal woe. God answered prayer. He opened the heart of this poor lady to receive the word of life; she was eternally saved. There was a great solemnity fell upon the meeting. Eternity felt very near to us all. We asked the anxious to retire into an anteroom. In a few minutes it was crammed. It was a wonderful sight to see young and old, rich and poor, with streaming eyes and anxious looks, asking what they must do to be saved. We were obliged to go into the large hall. And whilst some looked to the Lord in silent prayer, others spoke to anxious souls. The interest seemed to deepen every night; the large hall being quite full. Known only to the Lord is the number of those who passed from death unto life.

About this time I was invited by the Hon. B. N., to preach in John Street chapel, three nights. The subject was the righteousness of God in justifying the sinner. After preaching we invited the anxious into the schoolroom adjoining. Nearly 200 came in. It was impossible to speak to them all individually. I was too exhausted to speak again. And so Mr. N. went over the discourses, and enforced it with most sweet simplicity. This was remarkable, as I was told he had held different views on the subject. He now explained very clearly how God was righteous in justifying the sinner that believes Him, through the death and resurrection of Christ.

I dwell on this a little, to show that the preaching was not in the least of a revivalistic character. Indeed, Mr. N. said to a friend, that they were more like lectures on divinity. I am more and more convinced this is the kind of preaching needed; not excitement, but the calm unfolding of the gospel of God.

After Mr. N.'s addresses in the after-meeting we spoke to a few, and then dismissed them. I shall never forget one case; a fine tall old gentleman, about seventy years of age. He had long been in the dungeon of dark despair. I had been speaking of the deep joy of God, in receiving the prodigal. The work of the shepherd was done; He had sought and died for the sheep. The Spirit had come down from heaven to seek and to find the lost one, like the woman that swept the floor for her lost piece of silver. And now the Father in righteousness and grace can meet and receive, can kiss and clothe the prodigal. I heard the deep groan of that tall old gentleman, or once a gentleman. He said, “I have spent all. I have spent my health, my fortune, every comfort, wife, children, all gone; here I am, sunk in sin, and misery,” &c. &c. It is impossible to describe the agony and distress of this aged man. We put the gospel before him, and we trust the grace of God shone into his dark soul. Where is he now?

Many souls professed to find peace. But I rather judge the Lord used these three preachings to many who were the children of God. At this time I had invitations to preach in the large chapels in London, but felt more led to preach in town halls, assembly rooms, &c.

I will now try to describe a week in the Eastern counties. I stayed with a christian lady in Ipswich, had met her in Birmingham. I had barely time to take a cup of tea on my arrival from London, as a large audience was waiting at the assembly rooms, at seven o’clock on the Saturday evening. I went to the hall, gave out a hymn, but felt all a blank in my thoughts. Not a scripture, or a thought had I on my mind. I knelt down in prayer, still all appeared a blank. As I rose from my knees that scripture came to my mind, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” I said, “Lord, I will tell them that, any way.” I read the words. That night will never be forgotten. Years after, I met a lady who told me she, and her brothers and sisters, received blessing that night. They were then quite young people. And many others, especially the young, were brought to God. The next day, the Lord’s Day, we had preaching at Needham Market, at half-past two. The number was so great that all could not get in, and the power of the Lord was felt. At night the Assembly Room, Ipswich, was crowded. A large bundle of petitions, for relatives, were sent up to be read. As I read them out, before lifting up our hearts in prayer, I had noticed an aged man near me, hang down his head in deep distress. He was filled with sorrow that he had not sent up a petition for his daughter. Just as I closed reading the papers, I saw a tall young lady forcing her way through the crowd, with flushed face and weeping eyes, she came close up to the aged man, and sinking down by his side, said, “Father, won’t you pray for me?” The coming day, so near, will declare the results of that night. It was late before we could leave the many anxious souls. The following night the interest was equally great.

On Tuesday afternoon we had a meeting at Stowmarket at four, for prayer and fellowship. Well do I remember one prayer. A dear Christian from Bury said, “Lord, thy servant is here, we do not ask him if he will go to Bury, but we ask Thee if he is to come and preach Thy word there.” Those words are as fresh as though I had heard that prayer last night. The large new corn exchange was taken, and at seven it was full. People had come in from all around the country, in carts, waggons, carriages, &c. Hour after hour went on, still the interest deepened. If we closed, all remained, only to go on again; until at last, about eleven, the gas was turned off. I then spoke of the coming of the Lord, and the vast company still remained in the dark. It was near twelve when we got away. God only knows the results. Many professed to be saved. In many cases, no doubt, the work had been going on before.

On Wednesday at two o’clock, a large company was assembled in the Theatre, or Assembly Room, Norwich. And at seven the crowd was so great that it quickly filled; two other large buildings were also filled. At about nine o’clock the crowd outside was so great, still waiting, that the one company went out, and the place filled again for another service. One aged minister stood up and said, he had never known real peace with God before that night. This produced a deep solemnity. It was felt God was working by the Holy Ghost. Very many professed to have been brought to Christ that day.

The next day I went on to Bury St. Edmunds. The brother who had prayed at Stowmarket had taken the large Town Hall. Some Christians had rather remonstrated, saying it would be so discouraging to see the large place half filled. At seven there was scarce a seat to be found. Here the word seemed to be specially blest to such as had been under serious impressions. There were many also, that had never enjoyed the certainty of sins forgiven, and sin not imputed. Oh how blessed that God is righteous in reckoning us righteous before Him.

When I look back upon that week, I say, “Who but God could have given strength to a poor weak body to go through such a week of labour, with only one sound lung? And who but God could have gathered such numbers of anxious souls, to listen to His blessed word?” Often unknown to me, and without any effort but simply obeying the guidance of His eye, and leading of the Spirit of God, doors of blessing have been opened; and in altogether a different way from the above. On another occasion I was at Ipswich, and it was much on my heart that I should go to Sudbury and preach Christ. I named it to several, but they discouraged me, all except one brother. I only knew the name of one person there. I wrote and said I hoped to come and preach on such a day. I called at Bury on my way, and found the brother who prayed at Stowmarket had been praying for Sudbury about two years. How much have such praying Christians to do with the work of the Lord! The brother said he would go with me. I will give this as a specimen of many a first visit to a town.

We arrived at Sudbury station. A young gentleman came up to me, and asked if my name was Stanley? I replied it was. He said his mother would be glad to see us at her house, and there were a few waiting to read the word. We found quite a company at four o’clock. Of course, all were strangers to us. We had a very blessed time over the word, and whilst reading, a minister sent word to offer me his chapel. I said I could not accept it, unless on the understanding that I was free to speak whatever the Lord gave me to speak. He made one condition. However, I said I would come on at the time, seven o’clock. I went, and the chapel was pretty well filled. But I felt I could not go on there; and I was led to propose that we should go outside, and have the preaching in the open air. They were quite agreeable, and we all went out. To my surprise there was a large company assembled on the green, by the parish church, who would not come into the dissenting chapel. I preached there in the open air until about ten o’clock, to a large company. It might be asked, How could all this be? How could they get to know? I will tell you. I was told afterwards (I had only to obey the Lord at the time) Mr. H. had been preaching in the parish church, and had given it out that I was expected to preach in Sudbury during the week, and he begged his congregation to come and hear.

It might also be asked, Where should I lodge upon I going thus, as a stranger, to different towns. Well, at the close of the preaching, a lady came up to me, and said a gentleman, who could not be there himself, owing to the funeral of a near relative, at a distance, had sent his carriage, and begged us to accept his hospitality for the Lord’s sake. We drove a few miles, came to a mansion, and had a meeting until near midnight, and then another for the large household in the morning, returning to Sudbury, where we had a reading the whole day.

As I write this, a letter has just turned up, from which I will give an extract: “You may remember standing up to preach God’s glad tidings, on a bit of ground called the Croft, Sudbury. I was amongst that crowd; and through the Lord’s grace and love, got complete deliverance… and was brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God, and can bless and praise the Lord for His wondrous love to me, in giving One who could, and did, do all, things for the poor sinner. By the Spirit of God you showed me it was all on the Lord’s side, that a complete satisfaction had been made to God by the Lord Jesus Christ; and that God’s mercy had been shown out to the utmost, when He gave His Son. I felt like one unfettered from the influences of Satan and the bondage of men, content to come outside the camp to that blessed object who is outside all man’s pretensions.”

Chapter 8.

But I must still go back a little, and linger in that remarkable work of God in so many places. In the city of York there was a blessed work, though some excitement was mixed up with it, and some cases turned out to be such as had no root. The meeting-room was so crowded that people got up to the windows. The meetings at six in the morning were times of great refreshment and communion. In the evening believers would go out into different parts of the city, and bring the unconverted to hear the word. One lady would go into the lowest parts, and almost compel them to come. She would marshal them in rows, and walking by their side, would bring them to the room. The little tract, “Awake, awake,” expresses very much the character of the preaching at this time, also “Justification in the Risen Christ.”

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Mechanics' Hall, Bradford, also in Rochdale. It was in the latter place John 5:24 began to be used so remarkably. Precious words of Jesus which have been used of the Lord in giving certainty and rest to thousands. There was a young woman in distress of soul at the after meeting. She had longed for some time to know, with certainty, that she had eternal life; and from the various doctrines she had heard, she was perplexed to know how this certainty could possibly be enjoyed. She said, “How am I to know that I am saved?” The words of Jesus were quoted, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” The amazing fact that it was Jesus that spoke these words of assurance, broke in upon her soul. She then said, “But my sins.” Then the words of the Holy Ghost were quoted to her, “Be it known unto you… that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him, all that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts 13:38.) The change that took place was even manifested in her countenance. It was from the gloom of unbelief to the brightness and joy of simply believing God. The same precious verses were quoted to a number of anxious souls at the other end of the room, and a similar change passed over them, like a bright ray of sunshine. From that memorable night those two verses have been used of God wherever the gospel of His grace is preached.

If an anxious soul reads these lines, let me ask, What can you want more than the assurance of the words of Jesus, that believing God, you have eternal life (compare 1 John 5:10-13), “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life. These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”

Are you oppressed with sins? Does the remembrance of them overwhelm you? Oh look back at Jesus, dying on the cross, the propitiation for sins. See Him raised from among the dead for the justification of all who believe God. For God has thus accepted the atoning sacrifice. And now does not God most distinctly proclaim to you the forgiveness of sins? Does He not declare that all who believe are justified from all things? Then if you believe Him are you not justified, accounted righteous before God? Will you answer these questions in the presence of God?

Here I would make a few remarks on the before and after meetings we were accustomed to hold at that time. The before, or early meetings, at six a.m., were greatly blessed. My own room at Rotherham was crowded at six a.m. almost every morning. There was earnest and continued prayer. Then, as a result, the room in the Crofts, an old hay-loft turned into a meeting-room, would be crowded at night, and many an anxious soul professed to find peace with God. Early preachings, too, were often owned of God. We were having preaching at 6 a.m., at Exeter, near the castle. A young woman was passing, and just heard the sentence, “The greatest sinner in Exeter is welcome to the Lord Jesus Christ.” It was a message from God to her soul. She went home, and kneeling by her bed, she sobbed out, “Lord, I am the greatest sinner in Exeter! Oh, am I welcome to Thee?”

Some months after this, a brother in Christ was called to see a dying woman. From the character of the neighbourhood and the house, he expected to find a sad case of a soul about to pass into eternity unsaved. He was surprised to see a face radiant with heavenly peace. It is a lovely sight to see one just about to depart and be with the Lord. He was so surprised he could scarcely speak. At last he said, “What has made you so happy? Has any one been to see you? Or have you had some tract given you?” “Oh no,” she said, “No one has been to see me. I have been here alone with the Lord Jesus.” She then related what she heard at six o’clock one morning; how she came and kneeled by that bed; what she said to the Lord; and the everlasting welcome she had found to His infinite love. Many years has she now been with the Lord. Oh, ye dear servants of the Lord, that have bodily strength, will you not try a few meetings at six o’clock in the morning?

But we must not forget the after meetings. These have, no doubt, been greatly abused. What has not been? That God was pleased to work in them by the Holy Ghost, there can be no question. The people had not to be asked to stay. They would not leave. God was working by the Holy Ghost, and very many found peace during the after meeting.

Unbelief might be ready to say, that many of these apparent leadings of the Spirit were but incidental occurrences. In many cases this could not be. Take the following:

On one occasion I felt a very distinct call to go and preach at a place I had only seen once in my life: a town on the left-hand side coming from the Potteries to Derby. I did not know the name of the town, but it was vividly before my eye, and I felt assured that I must go there and preach Christ. I described the town to a person from Staffordshire, and he told me at once the name of the place was Uttoxeter. I continued in prayer during that week; and on Friday I received a letter from Tenby, South Wales, enclosing a letter from Mrs. H., of Uttoxeter, asking the lady in Tenby if she knew my address, to forward an enclosed letter to me; which letter was an earnest request for me to go to Uttoxeter, and preach the gospel. I immediately went, the word was owned, and a number were gathered to Christ. Was this a mere accident, on the day that I was called to go and preach at this, to me, unknown place? A Christian was also led to write a letter, to ask me to go? Why should we doubt the presence and guidance of the Holy Ghost now, as He was manifestly present in the beginning? Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall send you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” Yes, He abides with us; and if we were more simple, we should know far more of His divine guidance in our path of service. It is just as ecclesiastical arrangements increase, that the direct guidance of the Spirit is set aside. We have little idea how much we lose by this.

Chapter 9.

There is something most strengthening to faith in having direct answers to prayer even in little things, but especially in the service of God. You preach in quite a different way if you have the certainty that God has sent you to a place. I remember being distinctly led to go to Leeds to preach, and immediately went. A prayer meeting was being held when I arrived. I kneeled down without its being known I was there, near the door. Prayer was being offered for me at the time, that I might be sent in the power of the Spirit, and that there might be blessing on the following day. I think it was Saturday night; and if I remember rightly, it was on that occasion my life was threatened, whilst preaching to a great company in what was called the Vicar’s Croft. The infidel party seemed filled with Satanic rage; but the Lord preserved me, and the result was the room was crowded to hear the word that night.

I had a much narrower escape whilst preaching in the open air in Sheffield, at the pump, in Gibraltar. I had noticed a good number of Irish Roman Catholics gradually close around me. Then two men, one on each side, got behind me, and pressed my arms close whilst speaking. At that moment I felt the point of some sharp instrument at my back. I immediately said, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command you to make an opening for me, that I may walk out of this throng; my life is being attacked.” It was a strange sight to see the people fall on each side, until an opening was made, as it were, in an instant. It was the hand of God. I walked firmly away for one or two hundred yards, and then my legs seemed utterly to fail me, and I could scarcely walk home.

It would, however, be an injustice to leave the impression, that I usually received this kind of treatment from the Roman Catholics. Generally they have listened to me with respectful attention in the open air, as I was accustomed to preach the gospel, and not attack them. I will give an instance: —

I was walking with a friend one Lord’s day morning, at Newcastle, in the Potteries. My friend said, “The man we are meeting is a very earnest, devoted Roman Catholic.” I turned aside to him, and said, “Here, I want you for a particular matter this afternoon. I want you to make known to the Roman Catholics that I hope to preach in the Market, at three o’clock to-day, and mind you let them know that I am about to prove that the doctrine of the Church of Rome, in the year 60, is the only true doctrine.” “I quite understand,” said he. “And,” I continued, “you see now that they all stand as near me as they can get, and that they don’t let any one disturb or hinder me from going through the discourse.” It was astonishing what a number of them were there by three o’clock; and they stood packed all round, so that no one could have got at me. I then commenced, and showed that we were not left in any uncertainty as to which was the true church at Rome, in the year 60. It was composed of all the believers in Rome — the one church, the only true one church at Rome. Neither were we left in any uncertainty as to what were the true doctrines of the church at Rome in the year 60. We have an inspired account of those doctrines, and to that document we ill turn our attention. From chapters 1 to 3 we found the statement as to the total ruin of man through sin. Whether Jews or Gentiles, all were sinners, all guilty, all utterly unable to acquire righteousness by works of law. Every man found it so, also, by his own experience. It must be so, for this was the true doctrine on the subject of the church at Rome, in the year 60; and it was the only true church in the year 60, at Rome. There was no other.

I then went on to show God’s righteousness revealed in the glorious plan of redemption. How He is righteous through the atoning death of Jesus, in justifying all that believe Him. “Their faith is reckoned for righteousness.” (Chap. 4.) Believing God, “who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our iniquities, and was raised again for our justification.” They are thus accounted righteous — justified. I gave illustrations of these, to show that the mighty debt of our sins had been paid; and the everlasting proof was Jesus risen from the dead. He is our everlasting righteousness. Now this being the case, there was one striking peculiarity of the church at Rome, or the believers at Rome. A mark of the true doctrine was this, that they did not hope to be saved. They did not hope to make their peace with God. They had peace with God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here is the true doctrine of the church at Rome in the year 60. All doctrine contrary to this is heresy and falsehood. The utter corruption of human nature: all guilty. Redemption through the blood of Christ, not human works, is the remedy. All that believe God are justified, and have peace with Him — are not hoping to make their peace with God. Jesus has finished the work on the cross. They believe it, and have peace with God through Jesus Christ.

Well, the application began to be too pointed for my friends. They looked at each other, as I asked if this was the doctrine of those around me. Had they found that they were utterly lost sinners; and that, try as they might, they could not acquire righteousness or peace by works of law? Had they accepted this full salvation through Jesus Christ? Did they really believe God? Were they hoping to get peace, or could they say, with the Roman believers in the year 60, “We have peace with God”? I assured them there was no salvation apart from the doctrine of the church of Rome, as revealed in this epistle in the year 60.

By this time some of my inside friends had become outsiders, and some had disappeared, but many listened to the end; and I had not an insulting word. Oh, may the day declare, that souls were that day brought to rest in Christ, and believe the word of God.

This brings to my mind the remarkable way in which the Roman Catholics stood by me in the Salt Market, Glasgow. It came about in this way. On arrival in Glasgow from Birmingham, one day, a beloved christian friend walked with me to the Salt Market, a large open space, where, at that time, there were frequently preachings and lectures of all kinds. An aged Scotch minister was preaching. He was urging the people to give up their sins, become good, religious, and sober; and finally asked them all to attend the kirk, and at once to go with him to such a kirk. When he concluded, I stood up and said I had just come about 300 miles, and I wished to add a few words; indeed, I had something I wished to tell them. Scarcely a person went off to kirk, but all listened with eager attention; and the crowd began to gather from all sides. I did not think it wise to tell them what I thought of the preaching they had been hearing, but took up the matter in this way.

I said, “You have heard now what this aged preacher has told you; and now, would you not be most happy if you did as he has told you to do? Would it not be far better for every one of you if you were to give up your sins, and to become a sober, holy, religious people? You know it would be far better with you were you holy; yes, so holy that you were fit for heaven, and sure to go there? Would anything make you more happy than to be quite sure of going to heaven?” Many were the responsive sighs. “But,” I said, “now tell me, Have not many of you tried to do all this, that the preacher has told you to do? You have tried to give up all sins, and you have tried to be holy. You have longed to be fit for heaven, and you have utterly failed. Some of you have felt as if it were no use trying. You feel as if you only get worse and worse. You go to kirk, and try to be religious, but you are not a bit better for it. You long to do what this preacher has told you to do, but you fail to do it. Now is not this the honest truth?”

The people seemed convicted on the spot. I then said (I give the substance as near as I can remember), “I will now tell you what I have come 300 miles to say. God knows our utterly helpless, guilty condition. Yes, He saw us not only guilty, but without strength to be better, just as you have found. He saw us lost, and we should not be lost, if we could help ourselves. That vessel among the breakers is not lost if the crew have the least hope of reaching shore. But see, all hope is gone; she is on the rocks; she is going to pieces. Now, if a man is saved it must be by the lifeboat. You are lost! Every effort to save yourselves only proves you are lost, lost. Oh, to you is Jesus, the lifeboat, sent! Yes, God sent His Son ‘to seek and to save the lost.’“ The scriptures were then opened, and they were shown how God had so loved them, lost in sins, and helpless, and had sent His Son to make propitiation for sin. And if they had learned that they could not attain to holiness or righteousness, by their efforts or works, I had now the glorious message to declare to them, free forgiveness of sins, through Jesus Christ the Lord. I then concluded, as it was getting late; but not one person would move, and I was entreated to go on, and tell them more of the blessed news. I had to preach again, I should say, a full hour.

Many may read this who heard the gospel of their salvation that night. There are many Roman Catholics around the Salt Market, in Glasgow. Many came and heard, and none paid deeper attention. Some years after, I went again, and immediately I walked on the open space I was recognised, and especially by the Irish Catholics, who came and stood, from beginning to the end of the preaching, which had again to be prolonged to a late hour. Indeed, I was told that they were most interested in these preachings. I name this to show the importance of preaching the grace of God, so needed by every soul, instead of attacking others. Nothing exposes our human errors like the truth of God. And let us remember, that man in his natural state, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, is darkness; not merely in darkness, but darkness itself. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” (Eph. 5:8) There is no true knowledge of God, no light, but in Christ: out of Him all is moral darkness.

It was very remarkable, as in the above case, how the Lord gathered large companies to hear the word preached without any of the usual means of post bills, or otherwise. When I spoke first in the Glasgow Salt Market, I only knew four Christians north of Scarborough.

Chapter 10.

Sometimes in going into strange and out of the way places, faith was tried. I had heard of a few poor Christians, in a village about nine miles from Penistone, on the borders of the Yorkshire moors. I knew none of them, but a dear fellow-labourer had visited them. I started early, one Lord’s day morning, and walked nine miles over a hilly country. When I arrived, they were holding a prayer meeting, in the forenoon. I found the house, and kneeled with them before the Lord. After the meeting, I told them I had come to speak for my Master. They seemed very shy, and in no hurry to welcome a stranger. It was agreed, however, I should preach in a house near, at three o’clock. No one asked me to dinner, for which I was quite ready, having breakfasted at seven, and walked nine miles, after a journey by rail. I believe it was poverty, and the poor people were ashamed to offer me their poor fare. I walked about the village until two, and then a man asked me if I would take what he had, he would be glad for me to do so. I went in, and we sat down round the cottage table. There was a rice pudding baked hard in a brown dish. I should think it was made with water; and we drank good water out of one yellow mug. That was our dinner, and I, for one, was thankful for it.

Still, my new friends were shy. I went to the house to preach. There was a wooden chair, with high sides, and I sat in it, and sang a hymn, “One there is above all others, O how He loves.” Not a soul would come in to sing, or pray, or hear. A few crept to the door to hear there. Certainly, if I had walked by sight that day, I should have got out of that chair, and walked straight to Penistone. I have often found, the greater the difficulty, the greater the blessing. I came out of doors, and found a few of my shy friends standing about. The Spirit of God directed me to point to a tree, on the green. I said to the men near, “You see that tree, and if God has sent me to preach here, you will see a congregation under that tree at such o’clock.” I forget whether it was four or six. At the time named, there was such a congregation as had probably never been seen in that part of the country before. The Spirit of God gave me much liberty in telling out the kindness of God, as illustrated by the history of Mephibosheth. And such was the interest awakened, that the meetings, out of doors and in, continued until twelve o’clock that night. I slept in a little closet; but at four they came calling me up for another meeting, before I left, at seven, for Penistone station. How the news spread, and the people were collected, I never knew. And this was one of the many places I never saw again. Jesus says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;” and as David sent and fetched Mephibosheth, so the Holy Ghost can bring whom He will to hear the word, and be saved. And whilst depending on Him we should let no circumstances discourage us.

Sometimes we cannot, by any means, account for His sovereign actings, or the way in which He brings about His purposes. I received a letter from the minister of the Moravian Settlement at Fulneck, near Leeds, to say that by some means a report had got abroad, that I was to preach at the Settlement on the following Lord’s Day evening. The impression was so universal in the neighbourhood, that it was no use trying to alter it. I gathered that the hand of the Lord was in the matter, and went. A few of us had prayer in the vestry, and on coming out we had the greatest difficulty in reaching the pulpit, the crush was so great. From all parts of the country the people streamed to the large hall. I was sorry to hear that many of the Moravians could not get in. I was led to speak on “Peace with God,” and no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 5:1; 8:1.)

This was evidently the very subject needed, as the aged minister told me afterwards, he scarcely knew one in the Settlement, who knew with certainty that he had peace with God. Is it not sad, that so few even of those who are Christians enjoy this blessed certainty? How many who read these lines may not have that enjoyment! Yet, surely, Jesus made peace by the blood of His cross, for all who believe. It was truly a blessed time, and I have no doubt of meeting many in the presence of the Lord, who passed from death unto life that night.

But it is not always in public preaching that God displays His sovereign grace. Nothing perhaps shows that grace more strikingly than the call of the aged; and the various, nay peculiar means, that He may use in calling them by His grace. A few Christians had it laid on their hearts to take a long drive in a waggonette, through the villages in Yorkshire, around my native village, Brookhouse, and leave a tract at every house, and preach the gospel as the Lord might direct. After passing Whiston some distance, we came to where one road turned up to Laughton, and the other down to Brookhouse. I felt deeply impressed that the Lord had now some special case I must see in Brookhouse. I called to the driver, who was a Christian also, and said, “B., you must drive down to Brookhouse and stop just when I tell you.” He said, “We cannot turn round in the place.” I said, “We must go, and you can drive on to Hooton, and there you can turn the vehicle.” We drove down the village. I was in prayer to the Lord to guide me to the right person He had in view. At last, I felt assured, “This is the place!” and called out for B. to stop. I got out, and found myself exactly opposite a little bridge over the brook. I had well known that bridge in childhood, and often had I crossed it to buy sweets, as a child, from a little shop up a short walk, kept then by a person known as Becky F. To the door of that once little shop I felt directed. I knocked at the door. A middle-aged woman came to the door. I said, “May I ask you, is Mrs. F. still living?” “Yes,” she said,” she is still alive; please walk in.” And she took me to the little parlour, and there, propped up in bed, was the aged dying woman, Becky F. I do not know that I had seen her for forty years. It was a solemn moment. She was perfectly sensible, and knew me, She said, “Is that Charles Stanley? Why the Lord has sent you. I am dying; and I have no one to tell me how I can be saved, and go to heaven. Oh, tell me how I can be saved.” I assured her God had sent me to declare to her, through the atoning death of Jesus, the free, full, everlasting forgiveness of sins. (Acts 13:38, 39.) I showed her from scripture that that atoning death was finished; that God had raised Jesus from the dead; and declared that, through Him, all who believe are justified, and have peace with Him.

It was, however, the blessed Person of Christ speaking those words, that had been blest to so many, and that will be yet blest to many who read this paper, until Jesus comes. The Spirit had prepared this very aged dying woman to hear the words of Jesus. I said, “Now Jesus says to you, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life.'” (John 5:24) Oh, it was blessed to see how she drank in those life-giving words. I said, “Do you hear these words of Jesus?” “I do,” she said. “And do you believe that God sent Him; that God so loved?” “I do.” “He says, then, you shall not come into judgment. Do you believe Him?” “I do.” Yes, it is most true, for He has borne the judgment due to all who believe Him. “He says, then, you have passed from death unto life. Do you believe Him?” “I do.” Yes, she, through grace, believed the words of Jesus. She sweetly passed from death unto life. I said, “We will now give thanks.” I kneeled down, and gave thanks unto God. As I rose, I heard the carriage returning. I left her a new creation, soon to be for ever with the Lord; a blessed trophy of infinite grace. In what a variety of ways will God be glorified!

This was not the only case that day. We then drove on to Laughton. We got out, with tracts, and gave to every house, and also to all the children in the school where I had sat, a little boy, so many years before. We also had a preaching opposite the chapel, where the Lord first opened my mouth, when a little more than fourteen years of age. We then drove on to Firbeck. I suddenly remembered that some of my ancestors lived in that village. I called at a cottage, and inquired if any of that name were left in the village. I was soon directed to the house of my grandfather’s sister-in-law, the very aged widow of his brother. She was sitting in her cottage, with the door open, surrounded by her children, and their children, and their children, who had come to see her that day. She had never seen me since I was eight years of age. Yet, strange to say, she knew me, and felt that I was a messenger sent from God. She was anxious to be saved, and had no one to show her the way of life. I have every reason to believe that God blest His word to her that day. I was accustomed after that to visit her unto the day of her departure. Though so aged, she was able to walk over to Roche Abbey, one mile, and there we had preaching of the gospel. The large and excellent school from Worksop was there that day, and the boys desired to hear us preach. The masters very readily gave their consent. The boys, and also my aged friend, listened with the deepest attention. It was a happy day’s service, because spent in communion with Christ, in telling out the love of God to lost sinners. It is a most solemn thought, that even service, if not in communion, is worth nothing nay, is it not sin?

Chapter 11.

I will here give a case for the encouragement of the young evangelists, who may not, at the time, see any fruit of their labours in the gospel. An aged woman, of the name of Hannah F., had come some eight miles to hear a lecture, on the Lord’s coming, in the Mechanics' Hall, Rotherham. She was nearly blind, but God was pleased to open her spiritual eyesight, and two things were made known to her in the power of the Holy Ghost. God gave her the certainty of eternal salvation, and also made known to her the blessed hope of the coming again of the Lord to take His saints. These two things were entirely new to her; she had never heard them before. She returned to her home at Anston, filled with “the peace of God which passeth all understanding.” She told her aged husband, about one year older than herself, the blessed news she had learned. The Lord opened his heart also to receive the glad tidings, and much of their time was spent in thanksgiving and worship. They had an aged neighbour, a farmer, about the same age as themselves. One day they had knelt down, giving thanks together that they were both washed in the blood of the Lamb from all sin and were waiting and longing for the coming of the Lord in the air to take them to Himself. The aged farmer came in to see them, as had been his custom; and as both of them were rather deaf, and so entirely absorbed in thanksgiving, they did not hear him come in.

He listened with amazement, such joy he had never witnessed, such words he had never heard. It was not prayer, but they were giving thanks to Him who had saved them with an everlasting salvation, who had made them fit for His holy presence, in purity and glory. They were in spirit in heaven, not at Anston; and they were talking to One they knew so well, and never seemed tired of talking to Him. They talked to Him about His coming, to take them to Himself. The old farmer was fairly lost in amazement. At last the dear aged couple rose from their knees. Their visitor said, “Whatever does all this mean? I have been going to church these seventy years, and saying my prayers; but I cannot say that I am even saved, much more saved for ever, and saved perfectly. No, indeed, I cannot. And you are speaking to God as if you knew Him. And what can you mean about the coming of Christ to take you?”

Then aged Hannah told the gospel she had heard: how God loved; how He had sent His Son; how He had offered Himself the infinite sacrifice for sins; how God declared that all who believed were justified from all things, and their sins and iniquities God would remember no more. Yea, how that, by one offering, all who believed were perfected for ever. And Jesus assured all who heard His words, and believed God that sent Him, that they had eternal life, and should never come into judgment, but were passed from death unto life. And that Jesus told them not to be afraid; He was gone to prepare a place for them, and would come again to receive them to Himself. She spoke from the deep enjoyment of Christ in her own soul. God blest her words to their aged farmer friend. Though over 80, he, too, was brought into the enjoyment of peace with God. As a little child did he receive the truth from the lips of Hannah. Heavenly was the communion of these three aged pilgrims, when a friend of mine found them some months afterwards. Much of their time was spent together in worship and communion, waiting for Jesus from heaven. When the farmer saw the smoke from the cottage chimney, he was soon with them in sweet employ of thanksgiving and praise.

But it became necessary that the aged couple should be taken care of. Hannah was now blind; and a loving son took them to his home twelve miles away. But how was this happy little band to be separated? How could the home be broken up? Well, the secret was not told them. They were taken as on a visit first, and then told. Morning after morning the dear aged farmer looked for the smoke from the chimney. It never arose again, and after a few mornings, the Lord said to the farmer, “Come up hither;” and sweet as is fellowship here below, it was with him now “far better.”

Once only did I meet this aged saint, Hannah. I met her at the house of the friend who first told me of them; and my heart feels melted within me as I remember the interview. She was now quite blind. Truly she might have said, Once was I blind, but now I see. An aged temple of the Holy Ghost unhindered. It is impossible to give any idea of that holy, waiting Hannah, so full of Christ. So my dear brethren, do not be discouraged, though you see not the fruit for many days. Blessed truth, “He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.”

Oh the riches of the grace of God in meeting and calling the aged! He will be glorified by each one amongst those myriads who shall sing His praise as the One who is worthy, “the Lamb as it had been slain.” Whilst preaching in the Assembly Room at Bournemouth, I had felt much interested in an aged man, with a long worn grey coat. I had spoken to him repeatedly. He was like a man before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle; but his hand was never laid on the head of the sin offering. (Lev. 4.) There never seemed to be the link of true faith in the sacrifice of the Son of God for him. I had been speaking from Romans 8:1-3, and showing the ground on which there can be no condemnation to the believer in Christ. That not only had Jesus been delivered for our iniquities, and had borne them away, that God had raised Him from the dead without them for our justification; but also sin, the very root of all sins, had been utterly and for ever judged. “God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin [or by a sacrifice for sin] condemned sin in the flesh.” So that there is nothing left to be judged. After the preaching the aged man came up to me, and said, “Now I see it all. Now I have peace with God. All is done; my sins have been judged, and the very sin of my nature judged, condemned, and all is finished. No condemnation.” He went home to his humble lodgings. He had been much reduced in circumstances; all his children were dead; he had lost his property. He had come with his last child, and opened a shop for her with his last little property; but the business failed, and the daughter had died. He had broken into his last sovereign; but he returned that night to his lodgings, justified from all things, and he knew it, and had peace with God. He sat down in the arm chair; he told the people with whom he lodged that he had now peace with God; he was now ready to depart. His head fell back on the chair; calmly the spirit departed. He was gone to be for ever with the Lord.

We must not forget one great secret of success in preaching the gospel. It is one that has impressed me all my life, and never more so than at present, after more than 53 years, through much failure, in preaching the word of God. Long have I noticed how the apostle Paul takes care to show that he was not the servant of any party; neither did he derive authority from any human source, not even from the apostles at Jerusalem. He could say, “Paul an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.” See the whole context of this verse. (Gal. 1:1-24.) No doubt the Holy Ghost foresaw the authority that men would assume in the place of Christ as to this.

But is it not as important for the humblest servant of Christ to be the servant of Jesus Christ now, as for Paul to be so then? Think what it is to receive your commission from Christ Himself, and to be His servant alone, whatever may be the state of the church. “Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Jesus Christ.” These are searching words. Who can say them from the heart? Surely they do not set aside the blessedness of the fellowship of saints. But the church does not give authority to the servant of the Lord to preach the word, as is clearly seen in the above scriptures. Well then, if I am the servant of Christ, what would He have His servant do in any place, to which He may send him? What is the heart’s desire of Christ as to all that are His in that place? What is the will of God as to the whole world, or the unconverted in that district? We will take an illustration.

I received two anonymous letters from the centre of a large colliery district, to go and preach a full gospel, including the coming of the Lord Jesus. The last letter was so urgent, that I gathered it was the will of the Lord I should go over and help them. We took the Town Hall, and gave four lectures on the second coming of Christ, with a profound sense of the love of Christ to His saints in the neighbourhood. I had no thought of forming a party, or serving a party; but as the servant of Christ, to serve all that were His. The hall filled, and very many of the Christians in the neighbourhood, for miles around, came to hear. They were deeply interested; but from conversation with them, it was evident they did not understand what to them was so entirely new. We then took a room at a temperance house, that would seat forty or more. This was filled at once with local preachers, class leaders, &c., all being free to ask questions or make remarks. It soon became so crowded that we were obliged to have the reading in the Town Hall, and also preaching of the gospel on Lord’s day evenings. The numbers so increased that the reading had to be more like a sitting lecture. For one whole year these meetings were continued, and most, if not all the Christians of the district, heard the word. I think it was one of the happiest years of my service for Christ. I had a drive of eighteen miles twice a week; but it was so peculiarly blessed to go with the assured presence of Christ, and in the full unhindered sympathies of His love to all whom the Father had given to Him, to have no object but to serve and please Him.

Many of the local preachers were greatly surprised to learn the truth of Hebrews 9:27, 28. They had been preaching a general judgment to all, and of all — the day of doom. This seemed to be the first truth that struck many — that Christ had borne the judgment due to His own, and therefore into judgment for sins they could never come. They had read that scripture as if it had said, that it was appointed unto all men once to die, and after death the judgment. They had never noticed it did not say so, neither had they noticed the contrast, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation.” Neither had they ever really noticed that Jesus assures believers that they shall not come into judgment, as the word should be translated in John 5:24. The infinite value of the one sacrifice of Christ, also now became understood, and really caused their peace to flow like a river. Then eternal life as a present thing: what they had regarded as great error, became their deep joy. Eternal redemption also led them into perfect rest in God. It would fill a book if one could remember all the questions put at these meetings.

We will just relate one: I had been speaking on Romans 3, especially on the righteousness of God, when man was proved to have none. Not only guilty, but his condition utterly lost; his incompetency to keep the law, and so be righteous on that ground. A local preacher suddenly rose in the midst of the crowded hall, and said, “Mr. S., I want to ask you a question: If a father was to set his lad a task to do, that he well knew he could not do, and then because he did not do it he was to thrash him well, would that be right?” Every face was fixed, waiting for an answer. I said, “Mr. B., you have been a local preacher forty years.” “Yes,” he said, “I have.” “Have you found anything more difficult than to convince a man that he is a lost sinner?” “No, I don’t know that I have.” “Very well, then, I will just suppose you were the captain of a life-boat. You are sent out to rescue the crew of a ship going to pieces on the rocks. You know they are helpless, they cannot get the ship to land. Laws of navigation are good in themselves, but they cannot help this crew; they have no power to work the ship. You see they are stiff and helpless. You would not stop a hundred yards short to discuss the laws of navigation. You would not tell them to do their part and meet you a hundred yards off. No, you would pull alongside, and assuring them it was impossible for them to save themselves, you would take them from the breaking wreck, and pull to shore. Now, Mr. B., would you be very much to blame?” Mr. B. by this time had forgotten his half infidel question, and said, “No, I don’t think that I should.”

I tried then to explain how Christ was the life-boat, sent to save those who were lost, and could not save themselves. Is it not so, dear reader? The law of Moses, nay, the law of God, will no more help in this matter for the salvation of a soul, helpless on the rocks of guilt and sin, without power to escape, than the laws of navigation will help to save the crew from a ship, breaking to pieces on a rocky shore. Yet man is blind as to the grace of God in sending the life-boat, after first giving the law to convict man of his lost and helpless state. We may justly question whether any who raise such cavils, have ever known themselves really lost. How many there are who have yet to learn the utter ruin of fallen man!

The presence of the Holy Ghost on earth, and his true, real personality was also very new to these people; and also the blessed truth, that all believers are baptised by the one Spirit into one body. (1 Cor. 12:13.) And that according to the word of God there is “one body,” just as there is “one Lord.” All this greatly surprised them, in contrast with the many religious bodies of men. For the Lord gave me great freedom, as I regarded all Christians in the district alike members of the body of Christ; and by the grace of God sought to declare to them the whole counsel of God. And the joy with which these truths were listened to and received can never be forgotten.

One person gave a vivid description of the meetings. She said, “It must be very easy to speak at these meetings.” I said, “Why?” “Well,” she said, “they are like a bird’s nest, full of young, with all their mouths open.” It was exactly so. It was remarkable to see both men and women coming long distances, in the depth of winter, to drink in the word of life.

After twelve months, they felt the words of the Lord Jesus as to breaking bread, “Do this in remembrance of me.” They said they felt the time was come when they must obey the Lord. I said to them, “If you do this, it must be your own act to Him alone. For twelve months I have sought to declare unto you the whole counsel of God; and I call on you to bear witness that I have never lifted a finger, or spoken a word to ask you to leave your chapels or churches. If you meet now to break bread I shall not be with you, lest it should have the least appearance of leading you to follow me. It must be to the Lord.”

On the following Lord’s day, about twenty-five came together to show forth the Lord’s death; and I was told it was a time of great blessing, and they had such a sense of the Lord’s presence as they had never known before. Soon many more were gathered with them to the Lord. Thus it was as at the beginning, Peter preached, and the Lord gathered. (Acts 2.)

Beloved fellow helpers and servants of Christ, let us not be discouraged. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” Our hope is not the church being restored to order, and visible unity here in this world. No, the apostle could say in the very beginning of the work of God in Europe, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crow of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” though we surely are responsible to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit. Many now have left the village; some are with the Lord, waiting with Him, some here, some there. That which is of God will stand for ever. All that the Father gave to Jesus shall soon meet, where scatterings are no more.

We dwelt a little at length on the history of the work of God at the above place, as it illustrates the experience of nearly a lifetime in the service of Christ. I have always found blessing and results in proportion to communion with Christ, in His love to the whole church, whether in writing or preaching; and no Christian can prosper in his own soul unless he is seeking the welfare of others. He must come unto Christ and drink, and then “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Thus may we serve Him according to the sympathies of His own heart. I might add page after page of incidents in His blessed service, but hope I have not already wearied the patience of my readers.

After four years' absence I have just been to the same place, and have found much freshness and blessing. To Him be all the praise.

Chapter 12.

I will now seek to give a little help from a life’s experience, to those who desire to be the servants of Christ; and more as to how God has opened to my own soul the scriptures of truth.

I have already stated how I was led to study the epistle to the Romans. This was not the work of a few months, but of a life-ever finding how little I knew of that wonderful epistle of foundation truth. The result of those meditations has lately been published, at the request of a fellow-labourer.* Nothing short of the revelation of the righteousness of God in justifying the sinner can sustain the soul, either in passing through the storms of temptation, of the world, the flesh, and the devil; or in faithfully preaching the gospel to others. I would then strongly press the prayerful study of the Romans on all young preachers of the gospel, as to the basis, and revelation, of the righteousness of God.

{*Notes on the Epistle to the Romans." G. Morrish, London.}

It is no doubt very blessed to preach the love of God, but this alone you will find will neither sustain your own soul in peace, nor prove lasting good news to your converts. A mother’s love is very precious; but if a daughter has fallen into sin, and in disgrace has had to flee her country, when walking the streets of some far off city in the wretchedness of sin, will the remembrance of that mother’s tears and undying love make that daughter happy? Far from it. But go and tell that fallen one that her mother’s love has found a way of restoring her to her home and a mother’s heart, with all her sin and shame gone for ever, to be remembered no more — this will be glad tidings to that broken heart. Oh tell first how the Shepherd has died for the sheep; then tell how the Holy Ghost has come to seek and to find the lost; then tell how the Father has His own joy in receiving that lost prodigal. Yes, if God has so loved this world, it was to give His Son to be lifted up.

Ever keep God revealed in Christ before you. It was not man reconciling himself to God, but God reconciling the world to Himself. The gospel is what God is, and what He has done, in sending that Son to die for us and to rise again. Like the daughter far off from her mother in the wretchedness of sin; so we were far, oh, how far from God, in the untold wretchedness of sin. And what has God done to redeem us to Himself! Yes! sing, oh ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it!

Another thing I would press, unfeigned dependence on the Holy Ghost, whether as to a holy life or preaching the gospel. As to the former, we must learn that “in me, that is in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing.” Oh how distressing this lesson is to most of us! To find every hope of improvement in the flesh end in failure. To long to do the will of God, and yet in an unexpected moment to fail. To discover the desperate wickedness of the human heart. Yes, self must be utterly set aside, an Christ be all. To cry out, with Hezekiah, “O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me.” And then with deep untold joy of heart, to be able to say, “What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it.” (Isa. 38:14, 15.) Or with the one under law, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 7:24, 25.) It may be years before we really learn the riches of His grace, and the depths of His mercy. When He first called us, we did not know, but He did know all that we were, and all that we should do; and He did undertake for us, and He hath done it! All our iniquities were laid on Him. God has done it in sending “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” The way of deliverance is made clear in this way: We learn that the old “I,” my old self, has been utterly judged and condemned in the holy Person of my Substitute. All that I am is judged and put out of the sight of God, not reckoned now to or as me. The Holy Ghost makes this truly known in the soul. I am now of the same mind and judgment with God as to the flesh, that is, as to myself, as a child of Adam. I therefore give up all hope of walking in the flesh. I give up my old self as utterly bad.

What then! Is this that I may walk in sin, or in the flesh? No! but walk in the Spirit. Thus it is the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” If walking in the flesh, and seeking as in that condition to keep the commandments, I am just liable to fall into the deepest wickedness in breaking them; for I should find the law of sin in my members too much for me. But if all is given up as bad and lost, and without strength to be better, the new law of the Spirit of life takes the entire place of self. Then, oh how blessed, to enjoy the delivering liberty of the Spirit of life.

Now sometimes this deliverance may be learnt at conversion; but this is rarely the case when God calls us in childhood. In times of weakness and temptation we learn “to esteem others better than ourselves.” And, oh, how we learn the riches of His grace! But it will be when we know as we are known, that we shall fully have learned to say, “Worthy alone art thou, O Lamb of God.” It is here also we learn our need of the all-sufficient priesthood of Christ to help us in every time of need, and His advocacy to restore us when we fail. Sad will it be in our experience if we neglect the reading of the word. We need the constant washing, not again of the blood of Jesus, but the washing of the word. The mark of a soul not in darkness, but walking in the light, is “that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” Without this light to the soul, there is no power for a holy walk.

For a holy walk, then, there must be entire dependence on the Holy Spirit: not less so in preaching the word to others. Having been actively engaged in business, I have often had to go from a hard day’s work of commercial travelling, or manufacturing cares and difficulties, with only just time to look to the Lord in prayer, sometimes not knowing, up to the last moment, what portion of scripture to take. Yet I can say, for the encouragement of others, those have often been my happiest times of freshness of soul, and sense of His presence, without which all preaching is utterly in vain. I can say, with one now gone to his rest, “It is far the happiest way never to allow the thought, that you are going to preach from such a passage of scripture. Study the scripture for your own soul’s need and profit, but in no bondage of preparation for preaching. Then either speak from that or any other portion, as the Spirit may direct you.”

It is also most important that the servant of Christ should search the scriptures as to the second coming of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul had this blessed hope always before him; indeed, without it the gospel is incomplete. The effect of his preaching was to turn men to God to wait for the Son from heaven. There is no doubt this blessed hope gives a new turn, and a fresh colour, to every thought in your heart. Like many more, after discovering the teaching of the Millerites to be very carnal and earthly; I was led to search the scriptures apart from all human books or opinions; and was greatly struck with the fact, that the truth as revealed to me in the word, was exactly the same as made known to so many others in different parts of the world, unknown to one another at the time. For it is remarkable in how many places, and by what a variety of means, Christians were led to the same blessed expectation of the Lord Jesus, to take His Church before the tribulations coming on this earth.

In one place I visited, a little boy, eight years of age, had read a verse of scripture which spoke of the dead in Christ, that they should rise first when Jesus came. The child could not find it again, and begged his parents to seek for it. They knew nothing of such a thought; but they searched the scriptures until they not only found 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, but also they became first interested, and then well informed, on the subject of the second coming of Christ. And many others came to hear, and hold fast the blessed hope. I believe thousands were thus taught by the Spirit in the word; and then, when they came to know each other, they found their views exactly the same. And, above all, these were not wild speculations, but the Person and coming of the Lord Himself, as the object of immediate hope. Where the truth of the Lord’s coming was received direct from the scriptures, it invariably had a separating effect. It was, as many said, like a second conversion.

Further, it is all the more needful now to search the scriptures, I and not merely read books, as many are little more than the wanderings of the human mind. I could easily name such, but I prefer saying, Search the scriptures. The tracts I wrote on that blessed subject are just as I wrote them long years ago — just the result of reading the word. If any reader would like to have simply a reference to the scriptures on the subject of the coming of the Lord, he would find the halfpenny little book, called the Diagram Tract, helpful for that purpose; but I beg of him to search those scriptures in the fear of the Lord.

Chapter 13.

There is another subject that the humble reader of the Word is sure to find, and which may, at first, give him some perplexity; that is, if he compares what he finds in scripture with what he sees around him. I refer to the church, the body of Christ. He will find such words as these, “one body,” “one Spirit,” “one Lord.” (Eph. 4:1-5.) He will also find such words as, “For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13); and many such scriptures. It will become more and more clear to him, that in the beginning all Christians formed the one body of Christ. There was only one body, as truly as there was only one Lord.

He will then say, How is this? There are now many bodies of Christians. He will soon perceive it is not one of these bodies that is the “one body,” neither is it that all these bodies compose the “one body,” as 1 Corinthians 12 will teach him that the body is composed of individual members. If simple as a little child, he will soon learn that the body of Christ, the Church, is composed of all true believers now on earth. But then he finds divisions multiplying. What is he to do? Before I close I will tell the reader a little of the Lord’s dealings with me in this matter. Very sorrowful difficulties these are, that are sure to cross the path of the servant of Christ.

The first question is this, Do I hold the truth of the one body? That all believers since Pentecost are members of that one body? That all believers now form that one body in Gods sight? The next question is this, Do I personally desire to act on that truth; to love all that are the Lord’s, and seek to serve them? Whatever others do, do I desire to shape my ways in accordance with this great truth — the truth of the “one body”? I find others do the same. Not that they, for a moment, assume to be that one body, but seek to recognise no body but the one body of Christ, composed of all that are His. If I find others desiring to walk according to the word of God, then surely I can have fellowship with them. But if wolves come in and scatter, and if men arise speaking perverse things to lead away disciples after them, then there is the necessity of separation from evil. Is the Christian who desires to walk in the fear of the Lord to give all up in despair? Or if evil abounds, is he to allow it and go on with it? He will find these questions distinctly, answered in the word of God. In the midst of all the evil of the last days, he will hear the voice of scripture, “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” “Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Give all up! No, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (Read 2Tim. 2, 3.)

“But,” you may say, “in times of great perplexity, how am I to know who is right?” Have you noticed, in that epistle which reveals the church more than any other, which is the first precept? “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” (Eph. 4:25.) And read carefully every word that follows to the end of the chapter. If all believers walked according to these precepts, division would be impossible. Neither will it be very difficult to discover who do, and who do not, act on these blessed principles. Ah, it is the state of the soul that is the root cause of division. False representation, bitterness, and evil speaking, spiritual pride, vain conceit, worldliness, want of uprightness. If we walk in the fear of the Lord, we shall have no difficulty in discerning what is of the devil.

Still many a young, ah, and old Christian, too, is distressed beyond measure at the state and failure in the professing church; and many an evangelist is sorely hindered in his work. Would that I could help such. Have you had the right hope before you? Has it been the church presented glorious at the coming of the Lord? Well, that hope has not altered, and it is nearer than when we first believed. Or have you had some undefined hope of the church being restored here on earth? If this is so, no doubt you will be greatly disappointed. Or have you imperceptibly slidden into the thought, that the church has been restored, and that some one company of Christians is the church restored? No wonder if you discover your mistake. Now whilst fully maintaining the privilege of the Christian to hold fast all that he has been taught from the word of God as to the Church of God, yet I would bring a subject here before you that has been of no little comfort to my own soul, in these days of perplexity. Many of my readers will remember almost the last words of one now with the Lord, at the last reading meeting we had with him, “Brethren, do not neglect the ministry of John.”

The ministry of John, in his inspired writings, what is its place in the word? In this paper I can only just call attention to this important inquiry. You may have noticed the remarkable order, or development, of revelation in the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi. But have you carefully studied the order in which the New Testament was given, so far as the dates are known? It would be beyond the scope of this paper to go through the whole. But just observe that the church is seen in order up to about A.D. 65. This is marked in 1 Timothy and Titus. Bishops or elders, and deacons, are officially recognised. What a change had taken place in about a year, may be seen by reading 2 Timothy, 2 Peter, and Jude. The church, as a testimony for God on earth, had failed. Deceivers and corrupters had crept in, and for a time inspiration ceased; yes, as is generally supposed, for about twenty-five years.

We should not forget that, for all those years, declension and failure rolled on. Then the Holy Ghost spake by John. He spake of the church only as that which had failed on earth, and to be judged. (Rev. 2, 3.) One assembly is selected and described in the epistles; but an entirely new order had been established there, one person taking authority. This was so opposed to the true principles of the church of God, that this man refused even the apostle John! We are left in no uncertainty whether God, by His aged servant John, approved or disapproved of this new order, which, I doubt not, had then become general. (2 John.)

If the Spirit did not then bring the church before us, except to judge its failures, and commend a weak remnant at Philadelphia; and if it was then the last time, and antichrists abounded; and if that last time has continued through the patience of God ever since, what did the Spirit present to us, as that which would abide during this last hour? If the church had failed as a testimony, what would not fail?

The Person and glories of Christ. In the 1st epistle he says, “That which was from the beginning,” &c. In the Revelation it is, “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” In the gospel it is, “In the beginning was the Word.” When all had failed, the eternal relationships and glories of the Son who never fails, were revealed. God is revealed in the Son, “The only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

Now when we are sorely tried by the failure of man, the failure of the church, as seen on earth, yea, the sad sin and sorrow of all that is of man, how blessed to turn to the last full revelation of God in Christ. This will be increasingly important as the darkness settles on this poor world and the professing church.

We repeat we must hold fast all the inspired word of God. But has not that full revelation of the Son of God, the faithful witness of God, given so long after all the rest a peculiar place? One thing is certain, we have the very desires, the breathings of His heart to the Father for us, during these scenes of failure. If everything ecclesiastical utterly breaks down, still we have the most minute instructions for the children of God. In the gospel of John it is God the Father revealed in Christ; the infinite love of God to the world, Jesus, the Lamb of God, lifted up, that whosoever believeth on Him may have everlasting life. Tell the glad tidings to every creature, yet mark divine sovereignty on almost every page. He says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Do not forget this. Then mark how God in Christ has been rejected by religious man, the Jews. “He came to his own, and his own received him not.” They have rejected Him; and in this gospel they are set aside. Sovereign grace takes out a remnant. Salvation was not by incarnation; He must die or remain alone. (John 12:24.)

Then mark how much we have in John’s gospel that is omitted in the others. Take chapters 13 to 17; and if our eyes are opened we shall see all this as an answer to the errors and departures of what has been called the church in, and of, this world. Shall we notice a few? As to the Lord’s supper, the great error for centuries has been to turn it into a sacrifice for sins. He says to believers born of God, “Ye are clean every whit.” He takes the water, not blood, to wash their feet. The work of the brazen altar is finished; and now it is the laver, the washing of water by the word. (Compare Eph. 5:26.) Jesus takes the place of the paschal redemption lamb, and His redemption is eternal. It is possible that even by the time this gospel was given, the Lord’s supper may have been greatly abused. The Spirit well knew how it would be put in the place of Christ; and it (the Lord’s supper proper) is scarcely named. Chapter 13 scarcely goes beyond the Passover supper. In every way it is Himself that is before us. It is remarkable when we think of what is made of the eucharist that John, the last inspired writer, never names it!

Then how universal has been the error that true Christians should come into judgment at the great day! All this is anticipated. Jesus assures us it shall not be so. (John 5:24.) Nay, He says, “Let not your heart be troubled;” “I will come again and receive you unto myself.” (Chap. 14:1-3.)

And what is the remedy for all the conflicting ecclesiastical forms of church government. Simply the presence of the Holy Ghost on earth, as promised in chapters 14, 15, 16. What a stay and comfort, and security, to all believers if they really believed that the Holy Ghost, as a Person, was as truly on earth as Jesus was with His disciples. Could you not have trusted Christ? Can you not trust the Holy Ghost, come what may?

But, says the evangelist, the sorrow of my heart is when I see souls converted, I know not where to direct them. I see that which bears the name of the church split up into contending, and often bitter parties; some of these arrogating the title, to be regarded as the church. And the thought with many others seems to be that we are at liberty to do as we like. I am not satisfied. If you would know the mind of Christ, you will find it revealed, just meeting this very state of things. You will find that one object of His atoning death was to “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” (John 11:52) And mark, it was after this last hour of failure and abounding of antichrists had begun, that the breathings of His heart in His prayer was recorded by inspiration. (Read John 17.) Does He not pray for all who shall believe on Him, “That they all may be one: as thou Father art in me, and I in them,” &c.? Yes, whatever may be the state of that which is called the church, surely every true believer will seek to respond to the heart of Christ. We merely give these few suggestions for the study of this last inspired utterance of the Holy Ghost — the writings of John.

What an intense interest this gives to these late epistles. How are we then always to know what is of the devil, and what is of God? Nothing can be more simple or more sure. “He that practiseth sin is of the devil,” “and whosoever is born of God does not practise sin.” These two things characterise the children of God, and the children of the devil. “In this the children of God are manifested, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” No wickedness has ever been surpassed on earth greater than that development which began in, or before, the days of the writings of John.

It may be asked, Will this divine instruction be a sufficient and sure guide now? Not a doubt of it. If a work be of Satan it may come in by men as angels of light; but soon, very soon, it will bear the marks described in 1 John 15:6-15. The devil is a liar, and his work will show itself in misrepresentation, and a spirit of hatred against the brethren; such as are most used of God are sure to be the objects of hatred. This is invariably the case, whatever pretensions there may be to righteousness. Look through the history of that which has called itself the church, or of those true children of God all through this last hour, and you will find what is described in this epistle to have been the case. It is so at this moment; and if the children of God walk in the patience of Christ, and in His gentleness and meekness, they will find it so.

Yes, fellow labourers, let us hold fast the righteousness of God as revealed in the Romans, and the dearness of the church to Christ as in the Ephesians; the special instruction in 2 Timothy, when evil had already come in, and every truth revealed to us in the whole word of God. And let us not forget the special instruction when all had failed in the hands of man, in the writings of John. I will not here speak of the special place of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, as I have written a tract upon it, and notes in “Things New and Old,” 1885-1886. What has been written here is for the encouragement of the servants of Christ. If any would wish to read the subjects, or substances of subjects, I have been led to preach during now near 53 years, they will find them in the tracts, a list of which will be found at the end of this paper, and in “Things New and Old,” new series.

Beloved fellow labourers, our time and opportunity for service will soon have closed. How soon we shall see His face, and be with Him and like Him for ever. He says, “I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” May we be waiting as we serve. If these few incidents out of many of His goodness and mercy, shall be used in encouraging the hearts of others, it will be my joy. And to Him be eternal praise.

Chapter 14.

The publication of these “Incidents” has been delayed some years. It is difficult to write about that which concerns one’s self, except to set forth the riches of God’s grace to the chief of sinners. The fully developed evil, and blasphemous character of evil doctrine, is now rapidly coming to a head. How would the Lord lead His servants to walk in such days? It is not so much in attacking the evil as in holding fast the truth, “That ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3). This can only be by taking heed to the word of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16.)

Let us dwell a little on this. It is not that the scriptures were given by inspiration of men. It is not what they thought, but absolutely of God. He has not left us in uncertainty, but has surely spoken to us, and His word is truth. It is not what man says. It is not what the church says. May we have an ear to hear what the Spirit saith unto the assemblies. What a priceless treasure the holy scriptures are then, God speaking to us. It will not do to look at them through human spectacles, so to speak, or hear them explained by human authority. We must individually hear what God says to us. To say I can only believe what God says, if my minister or my church says it is so, is to put man between my soul and God, yea, to exalt man above God. Yet how often this is done.

How gracious, how consistent with Himself, to give us a divine certain revelation of Himself in His word! That revelation is complete: there is no further development. But how little have we studied and searched it! How little we understand of its fulness! With many, the distinct object of the Spirit in each book of the scriptures is very little understood, and hence what confusion! Passages are often quoted which, if examined, would be found to refer to totally different subjects.

Let us take one or two important illustrations: “The righteousness of God.” How commonly this is quoted from such scriptures as Romans 3:21-26, as if it meant the righteousness of Christ. Is not this great and serious confusion? Is it not as clearly as words can express, the righteousness of God in justifying the believer, whether before Christ came or after — the righteousness of God without law, or apart from law altogether? Not on the principle of law in any sense, but “being justified freely by his grace [by God’s grace], through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his [God’s] righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time, his [God’s] righteousness: that he [God] might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” This great foundation truth, how God is righteous in justifying, is scarcely ever heard, even in evangelical preaching. I have read carefully the preachings at Exeter Hall and elsewhere, in defence of the gospel, as attacked by hosts of infidel ministers; and I thank God for the zeal of so many who spoke. Yet we are compelled to say on this most important truth, “the righteousness of God,” the trumpet gave a most uncertain sound. No anxious inquirer could tell from those preachings what “the righteousness of God” means. It is so confused with the righteousness of Christ. Far be it from me to seek to oppose those learned and gifted men. I would only seek to help. I am sure nothing would help them and the whole church of God more than a clearer understanding of this subject.

What then is the righteousness of God? and what is the righteousness of Christ? Righteousness is perfect consistency of character and actions, according to the relation of one being to others, or with himself. Thus the righteousness of God is the perfect harmony of His attributes in His dealings with all created beings — perfect consistency with Himself, and that in justifying the ungodly sinner. How could His perfect love to me a sinner, and His infinite hatred of my sins, be in absolute harmony? The redemption work and infinite propitiation for my sins, and substitution on the cross, is God’s only possible answer to this awful question. Blessed be God, He is righteous, and my justifier! Let a man place himself in honest truth before God as a guilty sinner, and then he will find in the gospel the only possible, revelation of the righteousness of God in justifying him. Now the way God is righteous in justifying the sinner is “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” The scripture does not say through the righteousness of Christ imputed to the sinner to restore him before God, just as if he had kept the law, and never failed to keep it. It is quite a different gospel to seek to reinstate man as a fallen child of the first Adam; and there is no mistake we are so liable to make as this.

Bearing in mind, then, that the righteousness of God is God’s whole purpose of salvation for guilty man, from first to last, and that purpose has been accomplished by Christ in redemption, let us then inquire, What is the righteousness of Christ? and then what is the redemption that He has wrought? The reader may not be aware that there is not exactly such an expression in scripture as the righteousness of Christ; 2 Peter 1:1 is the nearest to it. But there His Godhead is spoken of. We may say, however, the gospels present the only perfect righteous Man that ever trod this earth: perfect, and in absolute harmony with the mind and will of God, consistent with every relationship in which He stood. But that obedience must go up to the death of the cross. He must die, or remain alone. That one obedience must meet all the sinner’s need, in order that the many may be made righteous. (Rom. 5:18, 19.)

He must be a spotless victim, without sin, to do this, as it is written, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21.)

Thus “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Every type and shadow, every sacrifice, the utmost demand and curse of the law on the guilty (and that is what we surely are) has found its very end in Christ. God is glorified above the heavens, in absolute righteousness in justifying the guilty. Yes, God’s righteousness is exalted above the highest heavens, before the whole universe. Praise ye the Lord!

But is this Christ keeping the law, and that placed to man’s account to restore him, and make good his standing before God as a law keeper? Does righteousness come in this way by law? If so, there is no meaning in redemption. And it is remarkable, that wherever this different gospel is preached, which is not another gospel, redemption is not understood and seldom referred to.

What is redemption? Now, before reading another line, take a sheet of paper, and write down what you understand by redemption, especially if you have held that Christ’s keeping the law is one half of our salvation, and His atoning death the other half.

Let us take God’s own type for illustration: the redemption of Israel from Egypt. It would require quite a different story to illustrate the different gospel. Take just one point in Exodus 5. They are in bitter bondage as slaves; they have no straw, and they cannot make the count of bricks. They are in sore distress. Does Moses, as a figure of Christ, make up the count of bricks for them? Are the bricks that Moses made imputed to them, so as to make up the full legal count? There is no such thought in a single figure of the Old Testament, or a verse in the New. Redemption is not the amelioration or improvement of man as the slave of sin and Satan; but, as in Egypt, it is the bringing man out of the place of slavery altogether into an entirely new place and condition. And this could only be by the blood of the Lamb. Is it not so whether we speak of the present redemption of our souls by His precious blood, or the still future redemption of our bodies at the resurrection? It is the bringing of that which is ransomed from one state to another. Redemption is not the improvement or making good the old man. When Israel had passed through the water, figure of death, they were dead to the law of brick-making in Egypt. They passed out of that state altogether. Is not this the very secret of the believer’s power for a holy, righteous life even here? Being dead to sin (Rom. 6:11), is he not to reckon this to be so? Is he not also as dead to law? “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that ye should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Rom. 7:4)

This is God’s way. Man’s way is just the opposite. He would say, “If you are born of God now, you must be married to the law to bring forth fruit by keeping it; and where you fail, the law-keeping of Christ will be imputed to you to make up.” Can any soul have peace or deliverance in that way? Read the whole of this chapter before us. (Rom. 7.) Here is the very case: a man born again, but still under law, trying to find some good in the flesh, in the utmost distress as we have all found: he cannot make his count of bricks. It is not a make-weight or helper he needs. He finds there is not a bit of good in the flesh. As born of God he delights in the law of God; but, ah, that other law in his members! He needs, and in Christ he finds, full deliverance.

Well, you may say, I have, through the grace of God, believed the free forgiveness of sins, through the atoning death of Christ. Is there not something more? I do not seem satisfied. Well, it is blessed to hear and believe, that “Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of I sins.” And even as to this part of the gospel, it is well to know the sure witness God has given. Not only has Jesus been delivered for our offences, but God raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, and for this very purpose, in view of this which we so need: “And was raised again for our justification.” Believing this we are reckoned righteous. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus. Christ.” (Rom. 4:24, 25; 5:1.) Yes, we are justified from all our sins accounted righteous through what Christ has done for us on the cross. But then Paul not only preached free forgiveness through Jesus, but he also said, “And in Him every one that believes is justified from all things,” &c. (Acts 13:39, literal translation.) If we are believers, what have we not in Christ? Do you say, I want to be sure I have righteousness? “In Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30.)

Do you want to be assured that there is no condemnation to you? “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1.)

Do you say, I want this old sinful nature to be improved, and made fit for heaven? Ah, there is no such thought in scripture. No, on the cross the Holy One of God was “sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3, and 2 Cor. 5:21.) No, the righteousness of God is seen condemning our sinful nature on the cross, as well as in Jesus bearing our sins; and thus, by the cross, He set aside for ever the old man with his deeds, and gives the believer a new place in Christ, the second or last man.

Oh think what it is to be in Christ. This was the purpose of God before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; but all this “in Him.” (Read Eph. 1:3-7.) And mark what God has given us in Him, according to His eternal purpose. No, it is not the lost man restored and made a good Jew under law. Mark these words: No, we do not know Christ after the flesh. It is not Moses making up the bricks under law, but, “Therefore, if any man, be in Christ he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God,” &c. (2 Cor. 5:15-17)

What can the believer need or even desire more, except grace to walk worthy of this high calling in Christ Jesus. He is thus our righteousness, but not to make good the old man under law. It is what He is now, made unto us, as risen from the dead. As He is so are we, and all of God. Oh what a difference is felt and enjoyed, when we come to the end of all hope of the flesh under law, and find all in Christ in resurrection! Not I, but Christ. Oh God, our Father, bless these few remarks to the deliverance of many souls; and to Thy name be all praise!

C. Stanley.