Sermon 175. The Two Talents
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 31, 1858, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained twoother talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a fewthings, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."-Matthew 25:22-23.
EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." All that men have they musttrace to the Great Fountain, the giver of all good. Hast thou talents? They were given thee by the God of talents. Hast thoutime? hast thou wealth, influence, power? Hast thou powers of tongue? Hast thou powers of thought? Art thou poet, statesman,or philosopher? Whatever be thy position, and whatever be thy gifts, remember that they are notthine, but they are lent thee from on high. No man hath anything of his own, except his sins. We are but tenants at will.God hath put us into his estates, and he hath said, "Occupy till I come." Though our vineyards bear never so much fruit, yetthe vineyard belongs to the King, and though we are to take the hundred for our hire, yet King Solomon must have his thousand.All the honor of our ability and the use of it must be unto God, because he is the Giver. The parable tells us this verypointedly; for it makes every person acknowledge that his talents come from the Lord. Even the man who digged in the earthand hid his Lords money, did not deny that his talent belonged to his Master; for though his reply, "Lo, there thou hast thatis shine," was exceedingly impertinent, yet it was not a denial of this fact. So that even this man was ahead of those whodeny their obligations to God, who superciliously toss their heads at the very mention of obedience to their Creator, andspendtheir time and their powers rather in rebellion against him than in his service. Oh, that we were all wise to believeand to act upon this most evident of all truths, that everything we have, we have received from the Most High.
Now, there are some men in the world who have but few talents. Our parable says, "One had five, and another two. To them Ishall address myself this morning; and I pray that the few pointed things I may say, may be blessed of God to their edificationor rebuke. First, I shall notice the fact that there are many persons who have but few talents, and I will try to account for God's dispensing but few to them. Secondly, I shall remind them that even for these fewtalents they must be brought to account. And thirdly, I shall conclude by making the comforting observation, that if our few talents be rightly used, neither our own conscience nor our Master's judgment shall condemn us for not having more.
I. First, then, GOD HAS MADE SOME MEN WITH FEW TALENTS. You very often hear men speak of one another as if God had made nomental differences at all. One man finds himself successful, and he supposes that if every one else could have been as industriousand as persevering as himself, every one must necessarily have been as successful. You will often hear remarks against ministerswho are godly and earnest men, but who do not happen to have much attracting power, and theyare called drones and lazy persons, because they cannot make much of a stir in the world, whereas the reason may be, thatthey have but little talent, and are making the best use of what they have, and therefore ought not to be rebuked for thelittleness of what they are able to accomplish. It is a fact, which every man must see, that even in our birth there is adifference. All children are not alike precocious, and all men certainly are not alike capable of learning or of teaching.God hathmade eminent and marvelous differences. We are not to suppose that all the difference between a Milton and a man who livesand dies without being able to read, has been caused by education. There was doubtless a difference originally, and thougheducation will do much, it cannot do every thing. Fertile ground, when well-tilled will necessarily bring forth more thanthe best tilled estate, the soil of which is hard and sterile. God has made great and decided differences; and we ought, indealingwith our fellow-men, to recollect this, lest we should say harsh things of those very men to whom God will afterwardssay, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
But why is it that God has not given to all men like talents? My first answer shall be, because God is a Sovereign, and ofall attributes, next to his love, God is the most fond of displaying his sovereignty. The Lord God will have men know thathe has a right to do what he wills with his own. Hence it is, that in salvation he gives it to some and not to others; andhis only reply to any accusation of injustice is, "Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?" The worm is not to murmur because God didnot make it an angel, and the fish that swims the sea must not complain because it hath not wings to fly into the highestheavens. God had a right to make his creatures just what he pleased, and though men may dispute his right, he will hold andkeep it inviolate against all comers. That he may hedge his right about and make vain man acknowledge it, in all his giftshecontinually reminds us of his sovereignty. "I will give to this man," he says, "a mind so acute that he shall pry intoall secrets; I will make another so obtuse, that none but the plainest elements of knowledge shall ever be attainable by him.I will give to one man such a wealth of imagination, that he shall pile mountain upon mountain of imagery, till his languageseems to reach to celestial majesty; I will give to another man a soul so dull, that he shall never be able to originate apoeticthought." Why this, O God? The answer comes back, "Shall I not do what I will with mine own?" "So, then, the childrenbeing not yet born, neither having done good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, it was written,the elder shall serve the younger." And so it is written concerning men, that one of them shall be greater than another; oneshall bow his neck, and the other put his foot upon it, for the Lord hath a right to dispose of places and of gifts, of talentsand wealth, just as seemeth good in his sight.
Now, most men quarrel with this. But mark, the thing that you complain of in God, is the very thing that you love in yourselves.Every man likes to feel that he has a right to do with his own as he pleases. We all like to be little sovereigns. You willgive your money freely and liberally to the poor; but if any man should impertinently urge that he had a claim upon your charity,would you give unto him? Certainly not; and who shall impeach the greatness of your generosityin so doing? It is even as that parable, that we have in one of the Evangelists, where, after the men had toiled, someof them twelve hours, some of them six, and some of them but one, the Lord gave every man a penny. Oh! I would meekly bowmy head, and say, "My Lord, hast thou given me one talent? then I bless thee for it, and I pray thee bestow upon me graceto use it rightly. Hast thou given to my brother ten talents? I thank thee for the greatness of thy kindness towards him;but I neitherenvy him, nor complain of thee." Oh! for a spirit that bows always before the sovereignty of God.
Again: God gives to one five, and to another two talents, because the Creator is a lover of variety. It was said that orderis heaven's first law; surely variety is the second; for in all God's works, there is the most beautiful diversity. Look yetowards the heavens at night: all the stars shine not with the same brilliance, nor are they placed in straight lines, likethe lamps of our streets. Then turn your eyes below; see in the vegetable world, how many greatdistinctions there are, ranging from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop on the wall, or the moss that is smaller still.See, how from the huge mammoth tree, that seems as if beneath its branches it might shade an army, down to the tiny lichen,God hath made everything beautiful, but everything full of variety. Look on any one tree, if you please: see how every leafdiffers from its fellow-how even the little tiny buds that are at this hour bursting at the scent of the approaching perfumeofspring, differ from each other-not two of them alike. Look again, upon the animated world: God hath made every creaturelike unto another. How wide the range-from the colossal elephant, to the coney that burrows in the rock-from the whale, thatmakes the deep hoary with its lashings, to the tiny minnow that skims the brook; God hath made all things different, and wesee variety everywhere. I doubt not it is the same, even in heaven, for there there are "thrones, and dominions, andprincipalities, and powers"-different ranks of angels, perhaps, rising tier upon tier. "One star differeth from anotherstar in glory." And why should not the same rule stand good in manhood? Doth God cast us all in the same mold? It seems notso; for he hath not made our faces alike; no two countenances can be said to be exactly the same, for if there be some likeness,yet is there a manifest diversity. Should minds, then, be alike? Should souls all be cast in the same fashion? Should God'screation dwindle down into a great manufactory, in which everything is melted in the same fire and poured into the samemould? No, for variety's sake, he will have one man a renowned David, and another David's unknown armor bearer; he will haveone man a Jeremy, who shall prophesy, and another a Baruch, who shall only read the prophesy; one shall be rich as Dives,another poor as Lazarus; one shall speak with a voice loud as thunder, another shall be dumb; one shall be mighty in wordanddoctrine, another shall be feeble in speech and slow in words. God will have variety, and the day will come when, lookingdown upon the world we shall see the beauty of its history to be mightily indebted to the variety of the characters that enteredinto it.
But a little further. God hath a deeper reason than this. God gives to some men but few talents, because he has many smallspheres, and he would have these filled. There is a great ocean, and it needs inhabitants. O Lord, thou hast made Leviathanto swim therein. There is a secret grotto, a hidden cavern, far away in the depths of the sea; its entrance is but small;if there were naught but a Leviathan, it must remain untenanted for ever: a little fish is made, and thatsmall place becomes an ocean unto it. There are a thousand sprays and twigs upon the trees of the forest; were all eagles,how would the forests be made glad with song, and how could each twig bear its songster? But because God would have each twighave its own music, he has made the little songster to sit upon it. Each sphere must have the creature to occupy it adaptedto the size of the sphere. God always acts economically. Does he intend a man to be the pastor of some small parish with fouror five hundred inhabitants? Of what use is it giving to that man the abilities of an apostle? Does he intend a womanto be a humble teacher of her own children at home, a quiet trainer of her own family? Would it not even disturb her and injureher if God should make her a poetess, and give her gifts that might electrify a nation? The littleness of her talents willto a degree fit her for the littleness of her sphere. There is some youth who is quite capable of assisting in a Ragged School:perhaps if he had a higher genius he might disdain the work, and so the Ragged School would be without its excellent teacher.There are little spheres, and God will have little men to occupy them. There are posts of important duty, and men shall befound with nerve and muscle fitted for the labor. He has made a statue for every niche, and a picture for every portion ofthe gallery; none shall be left vacant; but since some niches are small, so shall be the statuettes that occupy them. To somehe gives two talents, because two are enough, and five would be too many.
Once more: God gives to men two talents, because in them very often he displays the greatness of his grace in saving souls.You have heard a minister who was deeply read in sacred lore; his wisdom was profound, and his speech graceful. Under hispreaching many were converted. Have you never heard it not quite said, but almost hinted, that much of his success was traceableto his learning and to his graceful oratory? But, on the other hand, you have met with a man, rough inhis dialect, uncouth in his manners, evidently without any great literary attainments; nevertheless, God has given thatman the one talent of an earnest heart; he speaks like a son of thunder; with rough, stern language, he denounces and proclaimsthe gospel; under him hundreds are converted. The world sneers at him. "I can see no reason for all this," says the scholar;"it is all rubbish-cant; the man knows nothing." The critic takes up his pen, nibs it afresh, dips it in the bitterest inkhe can find, and writes a most delightful history of the man in which he goes so far as to say, not that he sees hornson his head, but almost everything but that. He is everything that is bad, and nothing that is good. He utterly denounceshim. He is foolish, he is vain, he is base, he is proud, he is illiterate, he is vulgar. There was no word in the Englishlanguage that was bad enough for him, but one must be coined. And now what says the church? What says the man himself? "Evenso, O Lord;now must the glory be unto thee for ever, inasmuch as thou hast chosen the base things of this world, and the things thatare not, to bring to naught the things that are." So it seemeth that out of the little God sometimes winneth more glory thanhe doth out of the great; and I doubt not that he has made some of you with little power to do good, with little influence,and with a narrow sphere, that he may, in the last great day, manifest to angels how much he can do in a little space. Youknow,dear friends, there are two things that always will attract our attention. One is skill embodied in a stupendous mass.We see the huge ship, the Leviathan, and we wonder that man could have made it; at another time we see an elegant piece ofworkmanship that will stand upon less than a square inch, and we say, "Well, I can understand how men can make a great ship,but I can not comprehend how an artist could have the patience and the skill to make so minute a thing as this." And ah! myfriends,it seems to me that God is not a greater God to our apprehension, when we see the boundless fields of ether and the unnumberedorbs swimming therein, than when we see a humble cottager, and behold Godly perfect word carried out in her soul, and God'shighest glory wrought from her little talent. Surely if in the little, man can honor himself as well as in the great, theInfinite, and the Eternal, can most of all glorify himself when he stoopeth to the littleness of mankind.
II. Our second proposition was, that even A FEW TALENTS MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR. We are very apt when we think of the day ofjudgment, to imagine that certain characters will undergo a more trying process than others. I know I have often involuntarilysaid, when reading the history of Napoleon, "Here is a man of tremendous ability, the world's master; a dozen centuries mightbe required to produce such another man; but here is a man who prostitutes all his ability toambition, carries his armies like a destroying deluge across every country, widows wives, and renders children fatherless,not by hundreds but by thousands, if not by millions. What must be his solemn account when he stands before the throne ofGod? Shall not the witnesses rise up from the fields of Spain, of Russia, of Italy, of Egypt, of Palestine, and accuse theman who, to gratify his own bold ambition, led them to death?" But will you please to remember that though Napoleon must beaprisoner at the bar, each of us must stand there also P And though our position is not very high, and we have not stoodupon the pinnacle of fame, yet we have stood quite high enough to be borne under the observation of the Most High, and wehave had just ability enough and power enough to have done mischief in the world, and to be accountable for it. "Oh!" saidone, "I thought that surely in the day of judgment he would pass me by; I have been no Tom Paine; I have not been a leaderamong lowand vulgar infidels; I have not been a murderer; I have not been a prince among sinners; I have not been a disturber ofthe public peace; what few sins I have committed have taken place quietly; nobody has heard of them; I don't think my badexample has gone far; perhaps my children have not been much blessed by my behavior, but, nevertheless, mine has been a verysmall quantum of mischief, too small to have poisoned any one beside myself. I have been, on the whole, so tolerably moral,thatthough I cannot say I have served God, yet my defalcations from the path of duty have been slight indeed!" Ah! truly friends!you may think yourselves never so little, but your making yourselves insignificant will not excuse you. You have had but littleentrusted to you! Then the less trouble for you to make use of your talents. The man who has many talents requires much hardlabor to use them all. He might make the excuse that he found five talents too many to put out in the market at once;you have only one; anybody can lend out his one talent to interest-it will cost you but little trouble to supply that;and inasmuch as you live, and inasmuch as you die, without having improved the one talent, your guilt will be exceedinglyincreased by the very fact that your talent was but little, and, consequently, the trouble of using it would have been butlittle too. If you had but little, God required but little of you; why, then, did you not render that? If any man holds ahouse at arental of a pound a year, let it be never so small a house for the money, if he brings not his rent there is not one halfthe excuse for him that there would be if his rent had been a hundred pounds, and he had failed to bring it. You shall bethe more inexcusable on account of the little that was required of you. Let me, then, address you, and remind you that youmust be brought to account.
Remember, my hearer, that in the day of judgment thy account must be personal; God will not ask you what your church did-hewill ask you what you did yourself. Now there is a Sunday-school. If God should try all members of the church in a body, theywould each of them say, O Lord, as a body we had an excellent Sunday-school, and had many teachers, and so they would excusethemselves. But no; one by one, all professors must come before him. "What did you do for theSabbath-school? I gave you a gift for teaching children-what did you do?" "O Lord, there was a Sabbath-school." That hasnothing to do with it? What did you do? You are not to account now for the company with which you were united, but for yourself as an individual. "O," says one,"there were a number of poor ministers; I was at the Surrey Hall, and so much was done for them." No; what did you do? Youmust be held personally responsible for your own wealth, for your own ability. "Well,says one, "I am happy to say there is a great deal more preaching now than there used to be; the churches seem to be roused."Yes, sir, and you seem to take part of the credit to yourself. Do you preach more than you used to? You are a minister; do you make any greater efforts? Remember, it is not what your brethren are doing, but it is what you do that you will be called to account for at the bar of God; and each one of you will be asked this question, "What hastthou donewith thy talent?" All your connection with churches will avail you nothing; it is your personal doings-your personal service towardsGod that is demanded of you as an evidence of saving grace. And if others are idle-if others pay not God his due-so much themore reason why you should have been more exceedingly diligent in doing so yourself.
Recollect, again, that your account will have to be particular. God will go into all the items of it. At the day of judgmentyou will not have to cast up a hurried account in the gross, but every item shall be read. Can you prove that? Yes. "For everyidle word that man shall speak, he shall be brought unto account at the day of judgment." Now, it is in the items that mengo astray. "Well," says one, "If I look at my life in the bulk, I am not very much ashamed, but it isthose items, those little items-they are the troublesome part of the account, that one does not care to meddle with."Do you know that all yesterday was made up of littles? And the things of to-day are all little, and what you do to-morrowwill all be little things. Just as the tiny shells make up the chalk hills, and the chalk hills together make up the range,so the trifing actions make up the whole account, and each of these must be pulled asunder separately. You had an hour tospare theother day-what did you do? You had a voice-how did you use it? You had a pen-you could use that-how did you employ it?Each particular shall be brought out, and there shall be demanded an account for each one. Oh, that you were wise, that yedid not slur this matter, but would take every note in the music of your behavior, and seek to make each note in harmony withits fellow, lest, after all, the psalm of your life may prove to be a hideous discord. Oh, that ye who are without Godwould remember that your life is assuredly such, that the trial of the last great day must end in your condemnation.
Again, that account will be very exact, and there will be no getting off without those little things. "Oh! there were a fewpecadillos, and very small matters indeed; I never took stock of them at all." But they will all be taken stock of then. WhenGod comes to look into our hearts at last, he will not only look at the great but at the little; every thing will be seeninto, the pence sins as well as the pound iniquities-all must be brought against us, and an exactaccount given.
Again, remember, in the last place, upon this point, that the account will be very impartial at the day of judgment, whenall will be tried without any reference to their station. The prince will be summoned to give an account of his talents, andside by side must stand his courtier and his slave. The mightiest emperor must stand at God's bar, as well as the meanestcottager. And all must appear and be tried according to the deeds they have done in the body. As to ourprofessions, they will avail us nothing. We may have been the proudest hypocrites that ever made the world sick with ourpride, but we must be searched and examined, as much as if we had been the vilest sinners. We must take our own trial beforeGod's eternal tribunal, and nothing can bias our judge, or give him an opinion for or against us, apart from the evidence.Oh, how solemn this will make the trial, especially if we have no blood of Christ to plead! The great Advocate will get hispeoplean acquittal, through his imputed merits, even though our sin in itself would condemn them. But remember, that withouthim we shall never be able to stand the fiery ordeal of that last dread assize. "Well," said an old preacher, "when the lawwas given, Sinai was on a smoke, and it melted like wax; but when the punishment of the law is given, the whole earth willquake and quail. For who shall be able to endure the day of the Lord, the day of God's fierce anger?"
III. The last point is, IF BY DIVINE GRACE (and it is only by divine grace that this can ever be accomplished)-OUR TWO TALENTSBE RIGHTLY USED, THE FACT THAT WE HAD NOT FIVE, WILL BE NO INJURY TO US.
You say, when such a man dies, who stood in the midst of the church, a triumphant for the truth, the angels will crowd toheaven's gates to see him, for he has been a mighty hero, and done much for his Master. A Calvin or a Luther, with what plauditsshall they be received!-men with talents, who have been faithful to their trust. Yes, but know ye not, that there is manya humble village pastor whose flock scarcely numbers fifty, who toils for them as for his life, whospends hours in praying for their welfare, who uses all the little ability he has in his endeavor to win them to Christ;and do ye imagine that his entry into heaven shall be less triumphant than the entry of such a man as Luther? If so, ye knownot how God dealeth with his people. He giveth them rewards, not according to the greatness of the goods with which they wereentrusted, but according to their fidelity thereunto, and he that hath been faithful to the least, shall be as much rewarded,as he that hath been faithful in much. I want you briefly to turn to the chapter, to see this. You will note first, thatthe man with two talents came to his Lord with as great a confidence as the man that had five. "And he said, Lord, thou deliveredstunto me two talents; behold, I have gained two talents beside them." I will be bound to say, that while that poor man withthe two talents was trading with them, he frequently looked upon his neighbor with the five talents, and said, "Oh, I wishI could do as much as he is doing! See now, he has five talents to put out, and how much interest he has coming everyyear; Oh, that I could do as much!" And as he went on he often prayed, "O my Lord, give me greater ability, and greater graceto serve thee, for I long to do more." And when he sat down to read his diary, he thought, "Ah, this diary does not tell much.There is no account of my journey through fifty counties; I can not tell how I have travelled from land to land, as Paul did,topreach the truth. No; I have just had to keep in this parish, and been pretty well starved to death, toiling for thispeople, and if I have added some ten or a dozen to the church, that has been a very great deal to me. Why, I hear that Mr.So-and-so, was privileged to add two or three hundred in a year, Oh, that I could do that! Surely when I go to heaven, I shallcreep in at the door somehow, while he by grace will be enabled to go boldly in, bringing his sheaves with him." Now stop,poorlittle faith, stop; thy Master will not deal thus with thee. When thou shalt come to die, thou wilt through his gracefeel as much confidence in dying with thy two well-used talents, as thy brother with his ten, for thou wilt, when thou comestthere, have thy Lords sweet presence, and thou wilt say, "I am complete in Christ. Christ's righteousness covers me from headto foot, and now in looking back upon my past life, I can say, Blessed be his holy name. It is little that I could do, butI havedone as much as I could for him. I know that he will pardon my defects, and forgive my miscarriages, and I shall neverlook back upon my humble village charge without much joy, that the Lord allowed me to labor there." And, Oh, methinks, thatman will have even a richer commendation in his own conscience, than the man who has been more publicly applauded, for hecan say to himself, after putting all his trust in Christ, "Well, I am sure I did not do all this for fame, for I blushedunseen-Ihave lost my sweetness on the desert air. No one has ever read my deeds; what I did was between myself and my God, andI can render up my account to him and say, 'Lord, I did it for thee, and not to honor myself.'" Yes, friends, I might tellyou now of many a score of earnest evangelists in this our land who are working harder than any one of us, and yet win farless honor. Yes, and I could bring you up many a score of city missionaries whose toil for Christ is beyond all measure ofpraise, whonever got much reward here, nay, rather meet with slights and disrespect. You see the poor man start as soon as he goesfrom his place of worship to-day. He has got three hours this afternoon to go and spend among the sick, and then you willsee him on Monday morning. He has to go from house to house, often with the door slammed in his face, often exposed to mobsand drunken men, sometimes jeered and scoffed at, meeting with persons of all religious persuasions and of no persuasion.He toilson; he has his little evening meeting, and there he gets a little flock together and tries to pray with them, and he getsnow and then a man or a woman converted; but he has no honor. He just takes him off to the minister, and he says, "Sir, hereis a good man; I think he is impressed; will you baptize him and receive him into your church?" The minister gets all thecredit of that, but as for the poor city missionary, there is little or nothing said of him. There is, perhaps, just his name,Mr.Brown, or Mr. Smith, mentioned sometimes in the report, but people do not think much of him, except. perhaps, as an objectof charity they have to keep, whereas he is the man that gives them charity, giving all the sap and blood and marrow of hislife for some poor sixty pounds a year, hardly enough to keep his family above want. But he, when he dies, my friend, shallhave no less the approval of his conscience than the man who was permitted to stand before the multitudes and raised the nationinto excitement on account of religion. He shall come before the Master clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and withunblushing face shall say, "I have received two talents; I have gained beside them two talents more."
Furthermore, and to conclude, you will notice there was no difference in his Master's commendation-none in the reward. Inboth cases, it was "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee rulerover many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Here comes Whitfield, the man who stood before twenty thousand ata time to preach the gospel, who in England, Scotland, Ireland, and America has testified the truth of God,and who could count his converts by thousands, even under one sermon! Here he comes, the man that endured persecutionand scorn, and yet was not moved-the man of whom the world was not worthy, who lived for his fellow men, and died at lastfor their cause; stand by angels and admire, while the Master takes him by the hand and says, "Well done, well done, goodand faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!" See how free grace honors the man whom it enabled to do valiantly.Hark!Who is this that comes there? a poor thin-looking creature, that on earth was a consumptive; there was a hectic flushnow and then upon her cheek, and she lay three long years upon her bed of sickness. Was she a prince's daughter, for it seemsheaven is making much stir about her? No, she was a poor girl that earned her living by her needle, and she worked herselfto death!-stitch, stitch, stitch, from morning to night! and here she comes. She went prematurely to her grave, but she iscoming,like a shock of corn fully ripe, into heaven; and her Master says, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hastbeen faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." She takes herplace by the side of Whitfield. Ask what she ever did, and you find out that she used to live in some back garret down somedark alley in London; and there used to be another poor girl come to work with her, and that poor girl, when she first cametowork with her, was a gay and volatile creature, and this consumptive child told her about Christ; and they used, whenshe was well enough, to creep out of an evening to go to chapel or to church together. It was hard at first to get the otherone to go, but she used to press her lovingly; and when the girl went wild a little, she never gave her up. She used to say,"O Jane, I wish you loved the Saviour;" and when Jane was not there she used to pray for her, and when she was there she prayedwith her: and now and then when she was stitching away, read a page out of the Bible to her, for poor Jane could not read.And with many tears she tried to tell her about the Saviour who loved her and gave himself for her. At last, after many aday of hard persuasion, and many an hour of sad disappointment, and many a night of sleepless tearful prayer, at last shelived to see the girl profess her love to Christ; and she left her and took sick, and there she lay till she was taken tothehospital, where she died. When she was in the hospital she used to have a few tracts, and she used to give them to thosewho came to see her; she would try, if she could, to get the women to come round, and she would give them a tract. When shefirst went into the hospital, if she could creep out of bed, she used to get by the side of one who was dying, and the nurseused to let her do it; till at last she got too ill, and then she used to ask a poor woman on the other side of the ward,who wasgetting better, and was going out, if she would come and read a chapter to her; not that she wanted her to read to heron her own account, but for her sake, for she thought it might strike her heart while she was reading it. At last this poorgirl died and fell asleep in Jesus; and the poor consumptive needle-woman had said to her, "Well done"-and what more couldan archangel have said to her?-"she hath done what she could."
See, then, the Master's commendation, and the last reward will be equal to all men who have used their talents well. Ah! ifthere be degrees in glory, they will not be distributed according to our talents, but according to our faithfulness in usingthem. As to whether there are degrees or not, I know not; but this I know, he that doeth his Lord's will, shall have saidto him, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
And now, friends, this one word only. I have told you that there are many in our denomination who are preaching the gospelcontinually. I should bring some few of the letters, written by the poor ministers to us to read, but sometimes I think thisa violation of delicacy, and I do not like to do it. But when I did that one year, the collection was almost twice as good;so I think I might almost commit a breach of etiquette in order to help them. However, I can solemnlyassure you, that if there is poverty anywhere, it is to be found among the ministers in the Baptist churches, and I amsorry to say that one cause of it is the fault of the people themselves; they are so little in the habit of giving, that theirministers are starved. Now, if Christ will say, "Well done," hereafter, to many a humble preacher, do you think he intendsthe church to starve them while they are here on $30 or $40 a year? Now, brethren, if Christ will say, "Well done," at last,wemay anticipate his verdict and say "Well done to-day." And can we better say, "well done" than by unmuzzling the ox thattreadeth out the corn, and give these poor ministers something out of our own wealth, as God may help us, that their necessitiesmay be supplied? There will be pretty well a score of persons who will be dependent next year on what you give this year;perhaps you will remember that and assist them. One kind gentleman, who usually comes here, says, "I could not come to-day,soI forward my pound to be put in the box by the minister." And I trust, if there are any not here to-day who will be herenext Sabbath, that they will not forget this collection. It is always very dear to the heart of my church.