Sermon 114. Preaching for the Poor
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 25, 1857, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"The poor have the gospel preached to them."-Matt. 11:5.
JOHN, the forerunner of Christ, had some followers who continued with him after Christ had come in the flesh, and openly manifestedhimself among the people. These disciples were in doubt as to whether Jesus was the Messiah or no. I believe that John himselfhad no doubt whatever upon the matter, for he had received positive revelations, and had given substantial testimonies onthe subject. But in order to relieve their doubts, John said to his disciples, in some suchwords, "Go and ask him yourselves;" and, therefore, he dispatched them with this message, "Tell us whether thou art hethat should come, or do we look for another?" Jesus Christ continuing his preaching for a while, said, "Stay and receive youranswer;" and instead of giving them an affirmative reply, "I am that Messiah," he said, "Go and show John again those thingswhich ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, thedeadare raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." As much as to say, "That is my answer; these things aremy testimonies-on the one hand, that I come from God, and, on the other hand, that I am the Messiah." You will see the truth and force of this reply, if you will observe that it was prophesied of the Messiah, that he shoulddo the very things which Jesus at that moment was doing. It is said of Messias, in the 35th chap. of Isaiah, at the 5th and6th verses, "Then theeyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart,and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." The Jews had forgottenthis too much; they only looked for a Messiah who should be clothed with temporal grandeur and dignity, and they overlookedthe teaching of Isaiah, that he should be "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." And besides that, you observe, theyoverlooked the miracles which it was prophesied should attend the coming of the glorious one, the King of kings and Lordof lords. Jesus gave this as his answer-a practical demonstration of John's problem, proving to an absolute certainty. Buthe not only referred to the miracles, he gave them a further proof-"The poor have the gospel preached to them." This, also,was one evidence that he was Messias. For Isaiah, the great Messianic prophet, had said, "He shall preach the gospel untothemeek;" that is, the poor. And in that Jesus did so, it was proved that he was the man intended by Isaiah. Besides, Zechariahmentions the congregation of the poor who attend on him, and therein evidently foretold the coming of Jesus Christ, the preacherto the poor.
I shall not, however, dwell upon these circumstances this morning; it must be apparent to every hearer, that here is sufficientproof that Jesus Christ is the person who had been foretold under the name of Shiloh, or Messiah. We all believe that, and, therefore, there is little need that I should try to prove what you have already received. I rather select my textthis morning as one of the constant marks of the gospel in all ages and in every land. "The poor havethe gospel preached to them." This is to be its semper idem its constant stamp. And we believe, where the poor have not the gospel preached unto them, there is a departure from thedispensation of the gospel, the forsaking of this which was to be a fundamental trait and characteristic of the gospel dispensation:"The poor have the gospel preached to them."
I find that these words will bear three translations; I shall, therefore, have three heads, which shall be composed of threetranslations of the text. The first is that of the authorised version: "The poor have the gospel preached to them;" it is also Tyndal's version. The second is the version of Crammer, and the version of Geneva, which is the best, "The poor are evangelized," that is to say, they not only hear the gospel, but they are influenced byit;-thepoor receive it. The last is a translation of some eminent writers, and above all, of Wyckliffe, which amused me when I read it, although I believe it to be as correct as any of the others. Wyckliffe translates it-"poremen ben taken to prechynge of the gospel." The verb may be equally well translated in the active as in the passive sense:"The poor have taken to the preaching of the gospel." That is to be one of the marks of the gospel dispensation in all times.
I. First, then, THE AUTHORISED VERSION, "The poor have the gospel preached to them." It was so in Christ's day; it is to beso with Christ's gospel to the end of time. Almost every impostor who has come into the world has aimed principally at therich, and the mighty, and the respectable; very few impostors have found it to be worth their while to make it prominent intheir preaching that they preach to the poor. They went before princes to promulgate their doctrines; theysought the halls of nobles where they might expatiate upon their pretended revelations. Few of them thought it worth theirwhile to address themselves to those who have been most wickedly called "the swinish multitude," and to speak to them theglorious things of the gospel of Christ. But it is one delightful mark of Christ's dispensation, that he aims first at thepoor. "The poor have the gospel preached to them." It was wise in him to do so. If we would fire a building, it is best tolight itat the basement; so our Saviour, when he would save a world, and convert men of all classes, and all ranks, begins atthe lowest rank, that the fire may burn upwards, knowing right well that what was received by the poor, will ultimately byhis grace be received by the rich also. Nevertheless, he chose this to be given to his disciples, and to be the mark of hisgospel-"The poor have the gospel preached to them." Now, I have some things to say this morning, which I think are absolutelynecessary, if the poor are to have the gospel preached unto them.
In the first place, let me say then, that the gospel must be preached where the poor can come and hear it. How can the poor have the gospel preached to them, if they cannot come and listen to it? And yet how many of our placesof worship are there into which they cannot come, and into which, if they could come, they would only come as inferior creatures.They may sit in the back seats, but are not to be known and recognised as anything like other people. Hence theabsolute necessity of having places of worship large enough to accommodate the multitude; and hence, moreover, the obligationto go out into the highways and hedges. If the poor are to have the gospel preached unto them, then we must take it wherethey can get it. If I wanted to preach to English people, it would be of no use for me to go and stand on one of the peaksof the Himalayas, and begin preaching; they could not hear me there. And it is of little avail to build a gorgeous structurefora fashionable congregation, and then to think of preaching to the poor; they cannot come any more than the Hottentotscan make their journey from Africa and listen to me here. I should not expect them to come to such a place, nor will theywillingly enter it. The gospel should be preached, then, where the poor will come; and if they will not come after it, thenlet it be taken to them. We should have places where there is accommodation for them, and where they are regarded and respectedas muchas any other rank and condition of men. It is with this view alone that I have laboured earnestly to be the means of buildinga large place of worship, because I feel that although the bulk of my congregation in New Park-street Chapel are poor, yetthere are many poor who can by no possibility enter the doors, because we cannot find room for the multitudes to be received.You ask me why I do not preach in the street. I reply, I would do so, and am constantly doing so in every place exceptLondon, but here I cannot do it, since it would amount to an absolute breach of the peace, it being impossible to conceivewhat a multitude of people must necessarily be assembled. I trembled when I saw twelve thousand on the last occasion I preachedin the open air; therefore I have thought it best, for the present at least, to desist, until happily there shall be fewerto follow me. Otherwise my heart is in the open air movement; I practise it everywhere else, and I pray God to give to ourministers zeal and earnestness, that they may take the gospel into the streets, highways and byeways, and compel the peopleto come in, that the house may be filled. Oh that God would give us this characteristic mark of his precious grace, that thepoor might have the gospel preached unto them!
"But," you reply, "there are plenty of churches and chapels to which they might come." I answer, yes, but that is only onehalf of the matter. The gospel must be preached attractively before the poor will have the gospel preached unto them. Why, there is no attraction in the gospel to the great mass of ourrace, as it is currently preached. I confess that when I have a violent headache, and cannot sleep, I could almost wish forsome droning minister to preach to me;I feel certain I could go to sleep then, for I have heard some under the soporific influence of whose eloquence I couldmost comfortably snore. But it is not at all likely that the poor will ever go to hear such preachers as these. If they arepreached to in fine terms-in grandiloquent language which they cannot lay hold of-the poor will not have the gospel preachedto them, for they will not go to hear it. They must have something attractive to them; we must preach as Christ did; wemust tell anecdotes, and stories, and parables, as he did; we must come down and make the gospel attractive. The reasonwhy the old puritan preachers could get congregations was this-they did not give their hearers dry theology; they illustratedit; they had an anecdote from this and a quaint passage from that classic author; here a verse of poetry; here and there evena quip or pun-a thing which now-a-days is a sin above all sins, but which was constantly committed by these preachers, whomIhave ever esteemed as the patterns of pulpit eloquence. Christ Jesus was an attractive preacher; he sought above all meansto set the pearl in a frame of gold, that it might attract the attention of the people. He was not willing to place himselfin a parish church, and preach to a large congregation of thirteen and a-half, like our good brethren in the city, but wouldpreach in such a style that people felt they must go to hear him. Some of them gnashed their teeth in rage and left hispresence in wrath, but the multitudes still thronged to him to hear and to be healed. It was no dull work to hear thisKing of preachers, he was too much in earnest to be dull, and too humane to be incomprehensible. I believe that until thisis imitated, the poor will not have the gospel preached to them. There must be an interesting style adopted, to bring thepeople to hear. But if we adopt such a style they will call us clownish, vulgar, and so on. Blessed be God, we have long learntthatvulgarity is a very different thing from what some men suppose. We have been so taught, that we are willing to be evenclowns for Christ's sake, and so long as we are seeing souls saved we are not likely to alter our course. During this lastweek I have seen, I believe, a score of persons who have been in the lowest ranks, the very meanest of sinners, the greatestof transgressors, who have, through preaching in this place, been restored and reclaimed. Do you think then I shall shearmy locksto please the Philistine? Oh, no; by the grace of God, Samson knoweth where his strength lieth, and is not likely to dothat to please any man or any set of men. Preaching must reach the popular ear; and to get at the people it must be interestingto them, and by the grace of God we hope it shall be.
But, in the next place, if the poor are to have the gospel preached unto them, it must be preached simply. It is a waste of time to preach Latin to you, is it not? To the multitude of people it is of no use delivering a discoursein Greek. Possibly five or six of the assembly might be mightily edified, and go away delighted; but what of that? The masswould retire unedified and uninstructed. You talk about the education of the people, don't you, and about the vastextent of English refinement? For the most part it is a dream. Ignorance is not buried yet. The language of one classof Englishmen is a dead language to another class; and many a word which is very plain to many of us, is as hard and difficulta word to the multitude as if it had been culled out of Hindostani or Bengali. There are multitudes who cannot understandwords composed of Latin, but must have the truth told them in round homely Saxon, if it is to reach their hearts. There ismy friendthe Rev. So-and-so, Doctor of Divinity; he is a great student, and whenever he finds a hard word in his books he tellsit next Sunday to his congregation. He has a little intellectual circle, who think his preaching must be good, because theycannot understand it, and who think it proven that he must be an intelligent man because all the pews are empty. They believehe must be a very useful member of society; in fact, they compare him to Luther, and think he is a second Paul, because nobodywill listen to him, seeing it is impossible to understand him. Well, we conceive of that good man that he may have a workto do, but we do not know what it is. There is another friend of ours, Mr. Cloudyton, who always preaches in such a stylethat if you should try to dissect the sermon for a week afterwards, you could by no possibility tell what he meant. If youcould look at things from his point of view you might possibly discover something; but it does appear by his preaching asif hehimself had lost his way in a fog, and were scattering a whole mass of mist about him everywhere. I suppose he goes sodeep down into the subject that he stirs the mud at the bottom, and he cannot find his way up again. There are some such preachers,whom you cannot possibly understand. Now, we say, and say very boldly too, that while such preaching may be esteemed by somepeople to be good, we have no faith in it all. If ever the world is to be reclaimed, and if sinners are to be saved, we cansee no likelihood in the world of its being done by such means. We think the word must be understood before it can reallypenetrate the conscience and the heart; and we would always be preaching such as men can understand, otherwise the poor willnot "have the gospel preached to them." Why did John Bunyan become the apostle of Bedfordshire, and Huntingdonshire, and roundabout? It was because John Bunyan, while he had a surpassing genius, would not condescend to cull his language from thegarden of flowers, but he went into the hayfield and the meadow, and plucked up his language by the roots, and spoke outin words that the people used in their cottages. Why is it that God has blessed other men to the stirring of the people, tothe bringing about of spiritual revivals, to the renewal of the power of godliness? We believe it has always been owing tothis-under God's Spirit-that they have adopted the phraseology of the people, and have not been ashamed to be despised becausetheytalked as common people did.
But now we have something to say more important than this. We may preach, very simply too, and very attractively, and yetit may not be true that "the poor have the gospel preached to them," for the poor may have something else preached to thembeside the gospel. It is, then, highly important that we should each of us ask what the gospel is, and that when we thinkwe know it we should not be ashamed to say, "This is the gospel, and I will preach it boldly, though all menshould deny it." Oh! I fear that there is such a thing as preaching another gospel, "which is not another, but there besome that trouble us." There is such a thing as preaching science and philosophy attractively, but not preaching the gospel.Mark, it is not preaching, but it is preaching the gospel that is the mark of Christ's dispensation and of his truth. Letus take care to preach fully the depravity of man, let us dwell thoroughly upon his lost and ruined estate under the law,and hisrestoration under the gospel; let us preach of these three things, for, as a good brother said, "The gospel lies in threethings, the Word of God only, the blood of Christ only, and the Holy Spirit only." These three things make up the gospel."The Bible; the Bible alone the religion of Protestants; the blood of Christ the only salvation from sin, the only means ofthe pardon of our guilt; and the Holy Spirit the only regenerator, the only converting power that will alone work in us towill andto do of his good pleasure." Without these three things there is no gospel. Let us take heed, then, for it is a seriousmatter, that when the people listen to us, it is the gospel that we preach, or else we may be as guilty as was Nero, the tyrant, who, when Rome was starving, sent his ships to Alexandria,where there was corn in plenty, not for wheat, for sand to scatter in the arena for his gladiators. Ah! there be some whoseem to do so-scattering the floor of their sanctuary, notwith the good corn of the kingdom, upon which the souls of God's people may feed and grow thereby, but with sand of controversy,and of logic, which no child of God can ever receive to his soul's profit. "The poor have the gospel preached to them." Letus take heed that it is the gospel. Hear then, ye chief of sinners, the voice of Jesus. "This is a faithful saying, and worthyof all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." "Him that cometh to me Iwill in no wise cast out." "Whosoever believeth and is baptized, shall be saved." "For the Son of man is come to seekand save that which is lost."
And just one more hint on this point, namely, this,-it must be said of us, if we would keep true to Christ's rule and apostolicpractice, that "the poor have the gospel preached to them." In these days there is a growing hatred of the pulpit. The pulpit has maintained its ground full many a year, butpartially by its becoming inefficient, it is losing its high position. Through a timid abuse of it, instead of a strong stiffuse of the pulpit, the world has come todespise it; and now most certainly we are not a priest-ridden people one-half so much as we are press-ridden people. Bythe press we are ridden indeed. Mercuries, Despatches, Journals, Gazettes and Magazines, are now the judges of pulpit eloquenceand style. They thrust themselves into the censor's seat, and censure those whose office it should rather be to censure them.For my own part, I cheerfully accord to all men the liberty of abusing me; but I must protest against the lying conduct ofatleast one editor, who has misquoted in order to pervert my meaning, and has done more; he has, to his eternal disgrace,manufactured a quotation from his own head, which never did occur in my works or words. The pulpit has become dishonoured;it is esteemed as being of very little worth and of no esteem. Ah! we must always maintain the dignity of the pulpit. I holdthat it is the Thermopylae of Christendom; it is here the battle must be fought between right and wrong-not so much with thepen,valuable as that is as an assistant, as with the living voice of earnest men, "contending earnestly for the faith oncedelivered unto the saints." In some churches the pulpit is put away; there is a prominent altar, but the pulpit is omitted.Now, the most prominent thing under the gospel dispensation is not the altar which belonged to the Jewish dispensation, butthe pulpit. "We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle;" that altar is Christ; but Christhasbeen pleased to exalt "the foolishness of preaching" to the most prominent position in his house of prayer. We must takeheed that we always maintain preaching. It is this that God will bless; it is this that he has promised to crown with success."Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." We must not expect to see great changes nor any great progressof the gospel until there is greater esteem for the pulpit-more said of it and thought of it. "Well," some may reply, "youspeakof the dignity of the pulpit; I take it, you lower it yourself, sir, by speaking in such a style to your hearers." Ah!no doubt you think so. Some pulpits die of dignity. I take it, the greatest dignity in the world is the dignity of converts-thatthe glory of the pulpit is, if I may use such a metaphor, to have captives at its chariot-wheels, to see converts followingit, and where there are such, and those from the very worst of men; there is a dignity in the pulpit beyond any dignity whichafine mouthing of words and a grand selection of fantastic language could ever give to it. "The poor have the gospel preachedto them."
II. now, the next translation is, THE TRANSLATION OF GENEVA, principally used by Calvin in his commentary; and it is alsothe translation of Thomas Crammer, whose translation, I believe, was at least in some degree moulded by the Genevan translation.He translates it thus:-"The poor receive the gospel." The Genevan translation has it, "The poor receive the glad tidings ofthe gospel," which is a tautology, since glad tidings mean the same thing as gospel. The Greek has it,"The poor are evangelised." Now, what is the meaning of this word "evangelised?" They talk with a sneer in these daysof evangelical drawing-rooms and evangelicals, and so on. It is one of the most singular sneers in the world; for to calla man an evangelical by way of joke, is the same as calling a man a gentleman by way of scoffing at him. To say a man is oneof the gospellers by way of scorn, is like calling a man a king by way of contempt. It is an honourable, a great, a glorioustitle,and nothing is more honourable than to be ranked among the evangelicals. What is meant, then, by the people being evangelised?Old Master Burkitt, thinking that we should not easily understand the word, says, that as a man is said to be Italianisedby living among the Italians, getting their manners and customs, and becoming a citizen of the state, so a man is evangelisedwhen he lives where the gospel is preached and gets the manners and customs of those who profess it. Now, that is onemeaning of the text. One of the proofs of our Saviour's mission is not only that the poor hear the Word, but are influencedby it and are gospelized. Oh! how great a work it is to gospelize any man, and to gospelize a poor man. What does it mean?It means, to make him like the gospel. Now, the gospel is holy, just, and true, and loving, and honest, and benevolent, and kind, and gracious. So,then, to gospelize a man is to make a rogue honest, to make a harlot modest, to make a profaneman serious, to make a grasping man liberal, to make a covetous man benevolent, to make the drunken man sober, to makethe untruthful man truthful, to make the unkind man loving, to make the hater the lover of his species, and, in a word, togospelize a man is, in his outward character, to bring him into such a condition that he labours to carry out the commandof Christ, "Love thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself." Gospelizing, furthermore, has something to dowith an innerprinciple; gospelizing a man means saving him from hell and making him a heavenly character; it means blotting out hissins, writing a new name upon his heart-the new name of God. It means bringing him to know his election, to put his trustin Christ, to renounce his sins, and his good works too, and to trust solely and wholly upon Jesus Christ as his Redeemer.Oh! what a blessed thing it is to be gospelized! How many of you have been so gospelized? The Lord grant that the whole ofus may feelthe influence of the gospel. I contend for this, that to gospelize a man is the greatest miracle in the world. All theother miracles are wrapped up in this one. To gospelize a man, or, in other words, to convert him, is a greater work thanto open the eyes of the blind; for is it not opening the eyes of the blind soul that he may see spiritual matters, and understandthe things of heavenly wisdom, and is not a surgical operation easier than operation on the soul? Souls we cannot touch,although science and skill have been able to remove films and cataracts from the eyes. "The lame walk." Gospelizing aman is more than this. It is not only making a lame man walk, but it is making a dead man who could not walk in the rightway walk in the right way ever afterwards. "The lepers are cleansed." Ah! but to cleanse a sinner is greater work than cleansinga leper. "The deaf hear." Yes, and to make a man who never listened to the voice of God hear the voice of his Maker, is amiraclegreater than to make the deaf hear, or even to raise the dead. Great though that be, it is not a more stupendous effortof divine power than to save a soul, since men are naturally dead in sins, and must be quickened by divine grace if they aresaved. To gospelize a man is the highest instance of divine might, and remains an unparalleled miracle, a miracle of miracles."The poor are evangelized."
Beloved, there have been some very precious specimens of poor people who have come under the influence of the gospel. I thinkI appeal to the hearts of all of you who are now present, when I say there is nothing we more reverence and respect than thepiety of the poor and needy. I had an engraving sent to me the other day which pleased me beyond measure. It was an engravingsimply but exquisitely executed. It represented a poor girl in an upper room, with a lean-to roof.There was a post driven in the ground, on which was a piece of wood, standing on which were a candle and a Bible. Shewas on her knees at a chair, praying, wrestling with God. Everything in the room had on it the stamp of poverty. There wasthe mean coverlet to the old stump bedstead; there were the walls that had never been papered, and perhaps scarcely whitewashed.It was an upper story to which she had climbed with aching knees, and where perhaps she had worked away till her fingers wereworn to the bone to earn her bread at needlework. There it was that she was wrestling with God. Some would turn away andlaugh at it; but it appeals to the best feelings of man, and moves the heart far more than does the fine engraving of themonarch on his knees in the grand assembly. We have had lately a most excellent volume, the Life of Captain Hedley Vicars;it is calculated to do great good, and I pray God to bless it; but I question whether the history of Captain Hedley Vicarswill lastas long in the public mind as the history of the Dairyman's Daughter, or the Shepherd of Salisbury Plain. The historiesof those who have come from the ranks of the poor always lay hold of the Christian mind. Oh! we love piety anywhere; we blessGod where coronets and grace go together; but if piety in any place do shine more brightly than anywhere else, it is in ragsand poverty. When the poor woman in the almshouse takes her bread and her water, and blessed God for both-when the poor creaturewho has not where to lay his head, yet lifts his eye and says, "My Father will provide," it is then like the glow-wormin the damp leaves, a spark the more conspicuous for the blackness around it. Then religion gleams in its true brightness,and is seen in all its lustre. It is a mark of Christ's gospel that the poor are gospelized-that they can receive the gospel.True it is, the gospel affects all ranks, and is equally adapted to them all; but yet we say, "If one class be more prominentthananother, we believe that in Holy Scripture the poor are most of all appealed to." "Oh!" say some very often, "the convertswhom God has given to such a man are all from the lower ranks; they are all people with no sense; they are all uneducatedpeople that hear such-and-such a person." Very well, if you say so; we might deny it if we pleased, but we do not know thatwe shall take the trouble, because we think it no disgrace whatever; we think it rather to be an honour that the poor areevangelized, and that they listen to the gospel from our lips. I have never thought it a disgrace at any time. When anyhave said, "Look, what a mass of uneducated people they are." Yes, I have thought, and blessed be God they are, for thoseare the very people that want the gospel most. If you saw a physician's door surrounded by a number of ladies of the sentimentalschool, who are sick about three times a week, and never were ill at all-if it were said he cured them, you would say, "Nogreatwonder too, for there never was anything the matter with them." But if you heard of another man, that people with theworst diseases have come to him, and that God has made use of him, and his medicine has been the means of healing their diseases,you would then say, "There is something in it, for the people that want it most have received it." If, then, it be true thatthe poor will come to hear the gospel more than others, it is no disgrace to the gospel, it is an honour to it, that thosewhomost want it do freely receive it.
III. And now I must close up by briefly dwelling on the last point. It was the third translation, WYCKLIFFE'S TRANSLATION.To give it you in old English-"Poor men are taking to the preaching of the gospel." "Ah!" say some, "they had better remainat home, minding their ploughs or their blacksmith's hammer; they had better have kept on which their tinkering and tailoring,and not have turned preachers." But it is one of the honours of the gospel that poor men have taken tothe preaching of it. There was a tinker once, and let the worldly-wise blush when they hear of it-there was a tinker once,a tinker of whom a great divine said he would give all his learning if he could preach like him. There was a tinker once,who never so much as brushed his back against the walls of a college, who wrote a "Pilgrim's Progress. Did ever a doctor indivinity write such a book. There was a pot-boy once-a boy who carried on his back the pewter pots for his mother, who kepttheOld Bell. That man drove men mad, as the world had it, but led them to Christ, as we have it, all his life long, until,loaded with honours, he sank into his grave, with the good will of a multitude round about him, with an imperishable namewritten in the world's records, as well as in the records of the church. Did you ever hear of any mighty man, whose name stoodin more esteem among God's people than the name of George Whitfield? And yet these were poor men, who, as Wyckliffe said,weretaking to the preaching of the gospel. If you will read the life of Wyckliffe, you will find him saying there, that hebelieved that the Reformation in England was more promoted by the labours of the poor men whom he sent out from Lutterworththan by his own. He gathered round him a number of the poor people whom he instructed in the faith, and then he sent themtwo and two into every village, as Jesus did. They went into the market-place, and they gathered the people around; they openedthebook and read a chapter, and then they left them a manuscript of it which for months and years after the people wouldassemble to read, and would remember the gospellers that had come to tell them the gospel of Christ. These men went from market-placeto market-place, from town to town, and from village to village, and though their names are unknown to fame, they were thereal reformers. You may talk of Cranmer, and Latimer, and Ridley; they did much, but the real reformers of the Englishnation were people whose names have perished from the annals of time, but are written in the records of eternity. Godhas blessed the poor man in preaching the truth. Far be it from me to depreciate learning and wisdom. We should not have hadthe Bible translated without learning and the more learning a man can have, if he be a sanctified man, the better; he hasso many more talents to lay out in his Master's service; but it is not absolutely necessary for preaching of the Word. Rough,untamed,untaught energy, has done much in the church. A Boanerges has stood up in a village; he could not put three words togetherin grammatical English; but where the drowsy parson had for many a year lulled all his people into an unhallowed rest, thisman started up, like the herdsman Amos, and brought about a great awakening. He began to preach in some cottage; people throngedaround him, then a house was built, and his name is handed down to use as the Rev. So-and-so, but then he was known as Tomthe ploughman, or John the tinker. God has made use of men whose origin was the most obscure, who seemed to have little,except the gifts of nature, which could be made use of in God's service; and we hold that this is no disgrace, but on thecontrary an honour, that poor men are taking to preaching the gospel.
I have to ask you this morning to help some poor men in preaching the gospel. We are constantly receiving letters from ourpoor brethren, and it is very seldom that we say "No," to their appeals for assistance, but we must do so, unless our friends,more especially those who love the gospel, really will do something towards the maintenance of God's faithful servants. Ihave, during the past year, preached many times for ministers on this ground, that they could not liveunless some preached a sermon and made a collection for them. In some places the population was so small that they couldnot maintain their minister, and in others it was a new movement, and therefore they were unable to support him. Some of yousubscribe to the Church Pastoral Aid Society. That is a very excellent society, but I never could see any good in it. Thereare many poor clergy in the Church of England who want assistance bad enough; but if you want to know the right way of keepingpoor curates, I will tell you. Split a bishop up into fifty, and that will do it. If that could be done at once and speedily,there would be no need of Pastoral Aid Societies. You will say, perhaps, "Let such a thing be done in our denomination." Ianswer that we have no bishops with whom such a thing could be done. I believe there is not to be found one minister in thewhole Baptist denomination whose salary has ever exceeded Â£600, and there are only three, I believe, who receive as much asthat, of which I am not one, and these three men are in such a position that their demands are great, and they have notone penny too much, while the great mass of our denomination receive Â£20, Â£30, Â£40, Â£50, Â£60, and so on, but below Â£100. Thesum collected to-day will be given to those whose incomes are below Â£80, and whose needs are great.
And now, beloved, I have opened my mouth for the dumb, and pleaded the cause of the poor, let me end by entreating the poorof the flock to consider the poor man's Christ; let me urge them to give Him their thoughts, and may the Lord enable themto yield him their hearts. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
May God bless the high and low, the rich and poor; yea, all of you, for his name's sake.