THE friends assembled in the afternoon, when upwards of 1,000 partook of tea. In the evening, large numbers went away unable to gain admission, the aisles and every part of the building being occupied. A large number of ministers were in attendance. The meeting commenced by singing the hymn,
“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;”—
after which Mr. J. Pells engaged in prayer.
The SECRETARY then read the following letter from Mr. Vickers:– “Mr. Butt.—Dear Sir, –Unforeseen circumstances will deprive me of the pleasure of taking part in your public meeting on the 19th instant. Please put me down a donor of fifteen guineas, and with kind regards to Mr. Wells, and kind wishes, I remain, yours faithfully, JOHN VICKERSs;”– and moved that Mr. T. Pocock be requested to preside.
Mr. WELLS seconded the motion, and observed: “Mr. Pocock is a friend known well to us all, and he has taken and is taking a very great interest in the forwarding of this movement. In the kind providence of God he is what we may call a retired gentleman—in fact, he is one. He therefore gratuitously, and with much Christian pleasure, devotes a great deal of his leisure time to the forwarding of the gospel of God, and he is helping in this movement, and therefore I have much pleasure in seconding the motion,”— which was carried unanimously.
The CHAIRMAN said: My dear Christian friends, I very much regret that Mr. Wickers is not among you this night. I have had the pleasure of his friendship for many, many years, and when I heard that he was to take the chair at the meeting this evening, it gave great gratification to my mind. But of course we cannot foresee what events may take place; and I have to regret his not being here, because I feel myself to be such a poor substitute in his place, that I should be sorry that this cause in any way should suffer on that account. But there is one compensation in my own mind relative to his absence, I feel positive that God, who is our best Friend, is present with us to-night; and if that be so, if he is here to bless us, what more can we need? And though I regret that I do not see the faces of some that I should like to have seen here, yet nevertheless, as you have sung that beautiful hymn, —
“God moves in a mysterious way,”
we shall see that every day develops those wonderful purposes which he is always working, and as time rolls on, so we see what he intends to do.
Now my firm conviction is this, that God Almighty has produced this movement among his people here; and consequently, if he has done it, his blessing will accompany all your movements. Without his presence and his blessing we can indeed do nothing. You know Moses said, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” And what a blessed thing it is to have the comfortable assurance in our own souls that we have the presence and the blessing of God with us; because that will carry us through many disappointments, many difficulties, and we shall find that the troubles of the way are comparatively nothing.
Now you had your first public meeting in the month of August, a large public meeting, and it was the unanimous opinion of that meeting that a new place of worship should be built, in preference to attempting to patch up this old one; and there was a very handsome response to that feeling. That gave me some idea that the Lord was saying to this people, and to my worthy friend on my left, the pastor here, “Ye have compassed this mountain long enough,” and that you must now “turn,” as he said to Moses, “northward;” but I somehow seem to think that he is saying to this people, turn westward. Whether it will be so or not I cannot say; but I seem to have that impression upon my mind, that that is the turning that you will take. However, time will develop that to us all; but I hope and trust—I speak my own mind, and I speak, I believe, the minds of a large number who have some knowledge of the idea I am throwing out—I do hope and trust that it is his will it shall be so; but that we must wait to see.
Now, my dear friends, I will not take up much of your time, because there are so many excellent ministers around me who will have to move resolutions, and to say some few words to each resolution. I am glad to see so very large a meeting here to-night: it shows what a hearty good feeling there is in this grand movement. I do hope and trust that, if it be the Lord's will, he will spare my life, and the lives of all of us, to see a noble temple built to his honor, and that we shall hear our brother Wells proclaim those grand and glorious truths, wherever that temple shall be built, for many, many, many long years. Why, it is only a short time ago since I heard our brother on the right, —our brother Jones, who is eighty-four years old;—I heard him with pleasure, proclaiming those grand and glorious truths of the gospel, as strong, and as vigorous, and as hearty as many a man at fifty years of age. And I believe that if my brother Wells is spared to see the age of seventy-five, according to human appearance, such a hale body as he has got, such health and strength, and such a vigorous mind, if our good God is pleased to continue that to him at the age of seventy-five, he will be able to preach, in a place twice as big as this, all those grand and glorious truths which have been proclaimed by him now, I believe, for thirty-three years. How encouraging that is! And you know there is nothing impossible about this; it is said that all things are possible with our God. And therefore I do feel to-night so sanguine about this movement, because I trust it is the Lord's will. Without his will of course we cannot move; our blessed Lord and Savior says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” You cannot move a finger without him; “In him we live, and move, and have our being” in this present life; and, spiritually, we who know anything about our God, we know that we cannot think a thought that is right without it comes from him.
I would merely say, in conclusion, that I hope those of our friends who will have to speak will not make long speeches, because I should like to hear as many speak as possible to-night. If each were to speak for only fifteen minutes, that would carry us to nine o'clock. We shall have to make a collection about the middle of the meeting, because I don’t want anyone to go away and say, “I only wish there had been a collection sooner, but I was obliged to take my money home.” We don’t want you to have to say that, and I do trust that, as far as God has given you the means, you will give, and give with all your heart and soul.
Now there is one thing especially I want to impress upon your minds. I meet you all here to-night in charity, hoping and trusting that each of you knows something about the glorious truths of the gospel. And if that is so, do make this a matter of prayer; let it be an earnest petition at the throne of grace that he will, so far as consistent with his blessed will and pleasure, give his blessing, and that we may succeed in the efforts which we have put, and shall put, into operation to bring the great event about we so much desire. And I will therefore close with that verse, I think the last verse of the 27th Psalm, where the Psalmist, to encourage us, says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
The Secretary will now read a statement which will give you an account very concisely, of what has been done in this place.
Mr. BUTT then read the following statement:—
This day we are called to celebrate our thirty-third anniversary, for, on the evening of October the 19th, 1819 (our friend and brother, Mr. John Foreman, presiding), a little band, consisting of twenty persons, whose hearts the Lord had opened, felt constrained by the love of Christ to form themselves into a Strict Baptist Church, five of whom remain steadfast to their profession, while the other fifteen have ended their pilgrimage, and entered into their rest.
On that evening Mr. James Wells was chosen to be their pastor, and it is a source of much thankfulness that, amidst the various changes which have taken place, he has been enabled, through the grace of God, to abide unmovable and faithful to those great truths he was led to embrace, and from his own soul's experience to proclaim to others. Though our beginnings were small, we must indeed say, “the Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.”
The Lord still blessing the preaching of the Word in the ingathering of many souls, the place became too strait, and, after much and prayerful consideration, the present chapel was erected in the year 1838, at a cost of about £3,000, and, by the perseverance of the people, was paid for. An enlargement was made in the year 1850, which cost £1,056, and in 1853 a vestry was added, giving room for 150 persons, at an outlay of £453: the whole has been paid for without any application being made beyond our own people. While helping ourselves, many have been helped through our esteemed minister. The poor have been cared for, and their sufferings alleviated. Many poor ministers and churches in different parts of the country have been assisted; the sum raised and distributed for the poor and various benevolent objects being upwards of £4,500, besides that most valuable institution, the Aged Pilgrim's Friend Society, having received towards its funds the sum of £2,170. While we speak of these minor things, the preaching of the gospel within these walls has, by the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit, been attended with great and lasting results. Sinner’s dead in sin have been awakened to a sense of their condition, and led to embrace the rock Christ Jesus for want of a shelter; while the saints of the Most High have been refreshed, their souls established in the truth, and the purposes of Jehovah accomplished.
In the year 1859 it was proposed to publish the Sunday morning sermons. Many instances of their usefulness have come to light, from various parts of the country as well as foreign lands. More than 250,000 of this little messenger of mercy have been circulated, and the present sale fully justifies its continuance.
We cannot pass over a most important Institution, established in this place in the year 1843, called the Surrey Tabernacle Benefit Society, now numbering 920 members belonging to churches and congregations of truth in town and country. The members have received in times of sickness, and their families after the decease of their parents, the sum of £4,987. It has an invested capital of £2,500, and is in good working order. We trust our ministering brethren will commend this Society to the attention of their congregations and churches.
As to our present movement, our lease is short, having only nine years to run. Our inconveniences are great; families are separated for want of accommodation; and the friends, at a meeting held on the 10th of August, determined to lay no more out upon the present chapel for enlargement, but unanimously passed the following resolution:—
“That the congregation now assembled, in reviewing the goodness and mercy of the God of all grace, in establishing and maintaining his truth within these walls, and continuing the labor of his servant so successfully from its commencement, do feel called upon to erect a larger and more convenient chapel, on the most eligible spot which can be obtained,”—
and at once commenced a subscription to the amount of £800. Since then others have helped, and we have now invested in trust £1,000, and promises of £1,500, making, in less than two months, £2,500. Collecting books and cards are actively at work, and it is our desire that a building shall be erected in keeping with the times, and more especially as a memorial of the Lord's goodness, which shall stand when the present minister, deacons, and people are inheriting the promises. In conclusion, affectionate and zealous co-operation is called for, and we are encouraged by the sanction already received, as well as from the divine benediction, “Be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts,” Hag. ii. 4.
Two verses were here sung of the hymn,-
“Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.”
The CHAIRMAN: I am glad to see our good brother, Mr. John Foreman, present at this meeting. I recollect, at a public meeting some years ago, it was said that there were three great Johns; and two of them are gone to glory, but, thank God, one of them is left among us, and he is present here to-night. You say, Who were the three great Johns? Well, there was John Stephens, John Bayley, and John Foreman. Now two of those Johns are in heaven, but I am glad that the Lord has spared the third John upon earth; he is here now to meet us, and I have the pleasure of calling upon our brother Foreman to move the first resolution.
Mr. JOHN FOREMAN, Minister of Mount Zion Chapel: Christian friends, I hold a resolution in my hands that reads as follows:–
“That this meeting rejoices at the success which has attended the labors of the pastor of the church at the Surrey Tabernacle, and earnestly prays that he may long be spared to minister the truth, and that he may realize in a large measure the words of our Lord, ‘Thou shalt see greater things than these.’”
I hold a letter from your beloved secretary, speaking of the formation of the church thirty-three years ago—“This is the thirty-third anniversary of the formation of the church at which you,” meaning me, “presided, on the 19th of October, 1830.” Now, Christian friends, I was at that meeting, I think, in Princes Street, Westminster, not quite so large as this; however, small beginnings are sometimes the means of showing more clearly and distinctly the power and goodness of God. I said when I came to London, when people said, “Why didn't you come to Blandford Street? you might have had there a good church; you were asked to it.” I said, I am not so fond of that; there is a great deal of difference between a minister's coming to a people, and they run away and leave him, and a minister coming to a place, and the people gather to him; that people will always love the minister more, and abide with him longer. I said, if I came to Blandford Street, I should be something like a man that had married a widow, and then the old widow, perhaps, sometimes telling the young husband, “Ah, our pastor preached from that text, and didn’t he preach a good sermon " as much as to say, mine wasn't worth a groat in the recollection of his. And so I came to a few that had been worried almost out of their lives with the chapel that they had; it hung about their necks like a millstone, and not a minister in London thought the doors could be kept open; but the Lord in mercy has kept them open, and I have never heard a reference made to the former husband. No. Well, I was at the formation of this church, and on the same day I gave a charge. I tried to give something like a cautionary charge to our brother, an exhortatory charge, an authoritative charge, and an affectionate charge, and an experimental charge, and I trust that my dear brother has proved the applicability of my remarks to a day like that, and to the position occupied by him at that time. Our dear old friend, George Francis, was there, and brother House; they, neither of them, would take an active part, but both said, “Brother Foreman, you act, and we will confirm your movements. We can trust you in this case, and consequently, we wish you to act.” And I did so. And the manner in which we acted—because our brother did not stand very popular with a good many ministers at the time—the manner in which we acted was this. I said, “You have got some people here, I understand, that have got transmission from other churches, or letters of transmission of membership, with a view to the formation of a new church here.” “Yes.” Well, there were several of that sort; and after they were united, I then said, “Now, there are some that have not got letters of recommendation, and I would say, all that you well know, and have confidence in, and need nothing whatever more to satisfy you that you can take, and have a heart to take them by the right hand of fellowship, let them be next brought in.” And they were so, and they all took each other by the right hand that they would unite in one faith, one hope; and they could hope that they should in one heart, one mind, and one faith, aim to glorify God, and to profit one another. So, I say, the church was formed among them and brother Wells; and after this was done, I then declared them to be a church, formed, so far as we understood, after New Testament order. If we did not do the thing exactly right, we did the best we could, and we hoped that it would be approved of God, and that he would bless the little church thus formed. I recollect, friends, that I then proceeded to the next particular. I said, “Our brother Wells is now a private member among you, he is a speaking brother among you; now if you wish him to be your pastor, all you have to do is to hold up your hands. You have heard him preach, you have had opportunity of forming your own judgment of his preaching, as to whether he is called to the ministry, and whether you will accept him under the belief that God has called him to preach to you.” They all held up their hands, and one, to represent the rest, gave him the right hand of fellowship, and I gave him and that member—I do not recollect who it was, I forget names—I gave them the united hand of fellowship. “Now,” I said, “you stand in my humble opinion as an organized church of the New Testament; made up, as I understand it, of New Testament materials, holding New Testament doctrines, acting in New Testament fellowship and communion, now being a Baptist church; and you have chosen now our brother to be your pastor. We have nothing to do now in making him your pastor, but the following business of the day is simply to publish and announce, and let it be shown, that you have chosen him for your pastor, and that our brother Wells accepts that choice, to do his best in the principles upon which you have heard him, and upon which you have chosen him; to do his best to go in and out before you as a minister of God's truth, and as the minister that you have chosen, and, I hope, to your own profit.” It was so. Well, friends, I will not detain you very long here, but the text that I took on that occasion I think you will find in the 6th chapter of Nehemiah, where his enemies wanted him to come into one of the villages; they were so fond of him they wanted to have a little private conversation with him. It was very evident, from their former conduct and the creed they were of that you might just as well trust a Pharisee with the life of a man of God, as that Nehemiah might trust himself in their hands. And he, being aware of it, and feeling his position to be one of too much importance to be trifled with, said, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” My text was, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.” Well, I named the doctrines; I named the work, so far as I could describe it; I named the order of the church; and my exhortation was, that as far as God should help him, he should maintain the position that he then occupied: and I wished him success. He has had success. I have never envied him, I have always been pleased to hear him; and I don't think he has envied me, though there has never been much to envy me about; but, however, I believe he has wished me success as well as himself. It is well known that we have had our enemies, and I know that I, for one—and I do not think my friend much differs from me–care little about them. It is well known, Christian friends, and I hear of it in the country as well as in town, that my brother Wells on one side of the water, and myself on the other, are considered to be two of the leading Antinomians in London. When people tell me that, I say, I don't care what people call me, it is what I am that I care about; and if I was not called a bad name by bad folks, I should begin to suspect whether I was so good as I hope to be, for “woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you!” Brethren, the matter lies in what we have to appeal to. Our principles: can we maintain them with the sacred text? Yes. And as I told a minister in the country some years ago, my text was, “Study to show thyself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed;” and I told my brother that he should be a workman, a working man, and not a loiterer; a workman at his work, and showing himself a workman needing not to be ashamed,—not ashamed of your materials; second, not ashamed of your putting of them together, and above all, not ashamed of your motive; let your motive be right. With, regard to the success of our brother, I think this congregation indicates that God's blessing has been upon him, and is upon him. And I trust that the principles of my brother and myself will bear sunlight at noonday; I trust that we have embraced nothing that, when we come to die, we shall wish we had excluded; and I trust we have excluded nothing that, when we come to die, we shall wish we had embraced. What did not come under the high priest of old did not belong to the Jewish religion; what is not comprehended in the priestly character of our dear Redeemer does not come under that especial government with which, as King of Zion, he rules his church. Our brother has gone on laboring, and sometimes they have said one thing of him, and sometimes another; but when I have met him and looked at him, he was the same man. As people have said of me, “Whoever sees John once, they know him, for he is too plain-faced not to be known; and whoever knew him at one time is sure to know him years after, because he never wears but one face.” No.; I have but one face, and I trust that is in the sight of God like my heart. When a man's heart and face go together, there is no deception. I do not like for people to sit for years under a ministry, and, “What principles does your minister advance?” “Oh, dear me, I’m sure I don’t know.” “What is he, a free-grace man or a free-will man?” “Well, he talks about a free something, but I really can’t tell you what.” Well, but if a man is not himself understood, he either does not understand the thing himself, or he is not a man that wishes to make other people understand him. Now I trust my friend understands the importance of the subject himself, and wishes it to be laid down so plain that there can be no mistake on the part of those that come under his ministry. Not like a woman that went to my late brother Curtis once: “Ah,” she says, “sir, what a beautiful sermon, sure enough, our priest did preach yesterday.” “Well, what was his text?” “Faith, I don’t know, it was all in Latin, and sure I didn’t know a word of it; but it was a beautiful sermon.” Now we don’t want our beautiful sermons to be not understood; we like the beauty to shine forth in the simplicity of the great principles of the gospel, in the Christ-exalting character of those principles, and the soul profited under the blessing of God. We live in a very fickle age; we live in an age in which there is an amazing deal of shuffling about. I view it as a lamentable case. And with almost all the movements that I can witness over the kingdom, there is a tendency to depart from the simplicity of the gospel. I went down the other day and preached four sermons in Devonshire;—pretty smart work for a man of my age!—travelled 400 miles in four days, and preached four sermons, and came home and preached three sermons the next day. However, I did one thing at a time, and got over it. And I went down to encourage the old cause. A young man had written to me, and I gave him my advice, and he abode by it. A gentleman gave £300 to build a new chapel, but it was for more liberal principles; and so he had some of the Church of England with him, and some of one sort, and some of another, —I don’t know how many sorts. More liberal principles! Those liberal principles are just so far a departure from the truth of God. I don't profess to be fashionable; I don't court popularity; I am a dying man, and I mean to abide by the text if I stand there alone. Ah, but there are so many respectable people that see so very different from you. There's the text. I have offered to pay off the National Debt of England, eight hundred millions, in four instalments, in forty-two months, if they can find me any other church than the baptized church of Christ on personal profession of faith in the New Testament; and as that is the order in which the church was formed, what right has any man or men to call themselves a church of Christ if they have not followed the example of the first ministers of Christ, who understood their Master quite as well as we can, and kept to that order, and there it is? Time does not alter the truth of God; men may alter their minds concerning it, but as soon as ever they begin to shuffle a little, they want sacred texts, and all they then talk is “liberality,” and they say there will be no sectarians in heaven. I never did possess much ability, and I never shall now, of course; but with all my littleness and insufficiency of talent, I believe the churches have seen that I regard truth with too much heart and soul honesty by the Spirit of the living God to deceive any one. And if they send for me, they know what they will have; it is no lottery. So it is with our brother Wells; his name is well known throughout the country, that if you send for James Wells you know what you are to have. Well, that's just what I like.
Well, I did hear something about a college being provided in connection with this chapel; I was told so, and I said on that point I should differ. And I will tell you the reason why. I had none of that sort of teaching, and my brother had none of it; if he had the teaching, he had to teach himself. And I agree with the late Robert Mansel, who was but a tailor by trade; God called him by his grace to preach the gospel, and he was one of the most eminent ministers of this last century in the part of the kingdom where he preached; he always said, “God knows what his ministers are when he calls them, and where they are; and if they are called to preach, don't stop them at school; and if they are not evidently called of God to preach, don't try to make parsons of them.” A very eminent man has said, “My opinion is this, that every man that God calls to the ministry, let him be never so illiterate when called, he gives that man the disposition and the capacity to make all the improvements in letters that the situation he is called upon to occupy will ever require.” I never heard anyone say that I had not got enough of my mother's good sense to fill the place that the Lord has assigned me; I never heard anybody complain of it. Nay, so far as I have been enabled to watch things, I have seen, in proportion as a learned ministry has crept into our Dissenting cause—I call it so, -I have found that with that learning there has been a getting respectable, and too much of a gentleman, to put up with common things; and there is a sort of a bending to this, and a bending to the other; and I say that, so far as I have been enabled to watch it, the meddling with God's ministry is next thing to a curse. Let it take its course. I am willing to use all proper means; I am a practical man, and a working, man, and as much for good works as any man; but let them be in their proper place,—don't let those works be put in the place of God's prerogatives, either in saving the sinner or qualifying the ministry. And I do mean to say, that so far as I have been able to watch it, the deviation from the truth, the cunning, the craftiness, all that we see practiced, is done by the aid of the literature that these men have been put in possession of And then, again, there is another thing; as soon as ever they begin to smatter a little about Greek and Hebrew they begin to be critics, and this rendering and that rendering, and bring our translation into contempt that it is not deserving of And I say, my Christian brethren, whatever imperfections there are—and there are some that I could point out to you as to transposition more than as to translation,—I could point out to you a few cases of that sort; nevertheless, God has been pleased to bless our translation to a degree that I wish to have it remain as it is. I will tell you why, -because I don't know where to find a company of learned men sufficiently honest to be trusted with another translation. I say, has God done anything by brother Wells, or has he not? If the Lord has wrought by him, the conclusion is that brother Wells is God's servant, employed in God's work, owned by the Master. He won’t presume ever to be more than an earthen vessel; and I suppose that text has some relation or some reference to the travelers, the mercantile travelers, through the wilderness. They used to put their treasure into vessels, and if they had a silver vessel, or any valuable vessel, they put common goods into that, and they put their most valuable goods and jewels into a rusty-looking earthen vessel; so that when the wandering Arabs came to rob them, they would steal all the best-looking vessels, and think they had got the best property, and thus they would be deceived. And so the Lord has put his heavenly treasure into such unlikely, rusty looking vessels as brother Wells and me; so the devil, he comes and steals the worst, and leaves the best. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” So then, my Christian brother has been enabled to maintain his stand hitherto; the Lord has done wonders with him. And, let me tell you, he has not gone to Shakespeare or Walter Scott's novels to learn how to address the people, to work upon their passions, and at one time make them cry, and then they repent ; and then make them laugh, and then they are converted; and what will become of them afterwards ! Why, Gabriel could not find them, if he were to come to look for them. Now my brother has not gone upon that ground; he has gone upon plain and honest principles. Let me have some proof that the work of God is real in your soul. I do not want a church of mere formalists, nor yet mere passionists; I want them that are born of the Spirit of God, and can give a reason of the hope that is in them. Now, notwithstanding what they call our rigidity of movement, and our particular narrow-mindedness in general, here has been a growing increase. What church, with all what they call liberality, has gone on like it? Where is the church in London, with all their taking in whoever they could catch,--I ask, where is the church that could show, in standing united members, when assembled together, such a people, that can give really a solemn account of themselves? Is there a church to equal it? No. Well then, my Christian brethren, my dear brother has thus maintained his stand; what he was, he is. I can only say, I wish my dear brother to be as successful in the future as he has been in the past; I wish the blessing of heaven may attend his ministry, to the joy of those who have believed through grace, and to the bringing of many, many souls out of darkness into the faith and hope of the gospel. I pray that the church may be a united church, praying for our brother; for if you would profit by his ministry, ask God to make it profitable; that's the best way, that's the best source to look to. “Well, I don't know, I don’t think our minister preaches so well as he used to do.” Perhaps the meat is as good, but the stomach is a little out of order; and therefore that is another reason why you should pray to God. God is pleased to work by means; the means that we call means of grace are means of worship with us, and they are means of grace with God; and while we use them worshipfully God uses them graciously. If we omit them, we may expect to get nothing; if we don’t go into the field, we can't expect to win.
And now, brethren, what shall I say more? I don’t know that I am required to say anything about whether this chapel is a good one, or how long the lease is, or anything of the kind. I only say, that if you contemplate having another house, more convenient, why, I can see nothing against it. This is a large place, and that you should want a larger still is to the admiration of God's conduct, and is to us a sign of his blessing upon your minister's labors. Well, then, our brother is now about sixty years old; what's the use of thinking about building a new chapel at his age? My brethren, we do not build chapels for man's years, nor for one man's life; the kingdom of God is not confined to the life of brother James Wells, nor of John Foreman. I am now in my seventy-third year, and our people have just been laying out £500 to take the top off the chapel, and give more space for atmospheric air. Now, that's not done for my days. We build chapels with a view to the kingdom of God for generations to come, and we pray for generations to come; and I can tell you I trust my brother has his eye, and I have mine, upon generations to come. Our brother does not want this chapel built merely for his days, but as a permanent place of worship for this denomination and for this church, in hope that this place shall be a memorial, not of James Wells's life, but of God’s blessing upon his labors through life, years and years after he is dead. And then succeeding generations will be able to say,–See that permanent building, that convenient place for the worship of God by the Strict Baptist denomination; it arose out of a few particles, a few materials, that were first of all through grace collected together in Princes Street, Westminster; there is a memorial of God's blessing upon our departed brother, and a warning to us not to deviate from the principles by which so large a cause was raised; for who, with other principles, should do better than brother Wells did with the truth?
I wish you every blessing, my brethren; I wish you may be as steadfast in your profession of the truth as our brother has been in the preaching of it; and if there is anything rubbing and chafing against him, he must stand more firm than ever he did.
Mr. JOHN ANDREW JONES, of Jireh Chapel, City Road: Mr. Chairman, and Christian friends, in seconding this resolution, I would say that it has my cordial and complete approbation. A good many years ago, there was a minister named John Martin, of Keppel Street, and in his day there was a controversy respecting interested and disinterested love, and John would have it that there was no such thing as disinterested love, and I fully agree with him. I am a very bold man; if every one of you goes against me I will keep my opinion still. The apostle says, “We love him, because he first loved us.” We love God the Father because he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; we love our Lord Jesus Christ because he has died for our sins; we love the Holy Spirit because he changes our hearts, and makes them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. There is, therefore, no such thing as disinterested love God-ward. And I am here to-night out of regard to my highly esteemed brother, and I don’t think anyone present esteems him more than I do. I really do love him,-God knows I do, -and I am not so dishonest as to say I am disinterested in that love. My friends, there is a saying, that those that have helped others, they are the people that are entitled to help when they stand in need of it. Now my dear brother has helped me, and I will tell you how he has helped me. I remember, about five years ago I think it was, that the people that owned our old Jireh wanted to get us out of the chapel, and they thought the best way would be to frighten us out; so they sent us a bill of dilapidations to a rather large amount. My dear brother here heard of it, and without saying a word to me—never asked whether we were agreeable to it or not—brought it forward in this place, and, to my surprise, our brother Butt brought me the very next day, six-and-twenty pounds. I call that friendship. You see, therefore, I am not a disinterested lover of our brother Wells. There are some people that do a good thing—they never did one before—and they are sorry for having done it, and they never do one afterwards. We go on a little further; the Lord laid his afflicting hand upon me, and I was laid upon my bed for several weeks. My dear brother here, he heard of it, and he left his house and his study—let me say it was upon what we parsons call a net-mending day, -he came to see me, spoke kindly and affectionately to me as I was lying in my bed, prayed with me, and he didn't put a farthing into my hands when he left me. But then, you hear me out, please. He went home, mentioned it the next day, and it produced £20. My dear brethren, think of our Lord, that turned the water into wine; but our brother Butt, I will tell you what he did, he turned the pounds into guineas; he put his hand in his pocket, and added a pound to the twenty pounds, and that made twenty guineas. Well, I have to thank him, and I have had more reasons than one to thank him. Well, then, what shall I say further? They that help others are entitled to be helped. And I would just add, that I do consider that our esteemed brother finding the dilapidation money of six-and-twenty pounds, convinced them that they could not get old Andrew and his people out of the chapel very easily; it appears so to me; and the consequence was, that after a while they made us what we considered a liberal proposition; we accepted it; they found us several hundreds of pounds in money, and they gave us the old chapel, inside and outside, every stick and stone of it, into the bargain; and with that, for we were encouraged, we set about to build our new Jireh, and I had the honor of laying the corner-stone, and while I was doing it, my dear brother was as near to me as he is now. The corner-stone was laid the very day I was eighty-one years of age. Well, then, I do think that we are indebted to our brother Wells.
I only say, then, if I was a rich man, you may depend upon it there should not be one penny collected for this chapel; I would pay the whole myself. But I only say to every one of you, do what you can in your day and generation, hither and thither, all around, until it is said, I think, in some part of the word of God that they told the people that were collecting to leave off collecting; they had got money enough.
I add no more. I am thankful I have been here, and I think I have given you proof that I have come here as an interested brother.
Mr. JAMES WELLs: I think we have obtained now, if I rightly understand it, the full sanction of the Foreman for our movement; his very presence proves it; and therefore, having his sanction and sympathy, I am sure we have the interested love of our brother Jones, and I am sure the approbation of all the ministers present. Of course the object of this meeting is not only of a demonstrative kind, to show that there are ministers and people that wish well to the gospel, but it is a practical meeting. I want to know how many of the ministers will allow me some Sunday afternoon or week evening to preach in their chapels, to get money towards the new tabernacle. They have been exceedingly kind upon that matter hitherto, and at present I am very well furnished with chapels: I have a dozen or two; but I shall want some more very soon, and therefore I should like to be furnished with them as soon as possible. Our brother Foreman, we see that his congregation has laid out more money lately. The fact is, many of the Baptist churches have got into bad habits, and that is, they incur perhaps three or four hundred pounds debt, and then, perhaps, have an anniversary once a year just to pay it off; and that little bit of debt lingers about a lifetime pretty well: whereas, if a committee were formed, and collectors started in the congregation, such a congregation as Mr. Foreman's would pay off his £500 in six months, and they needn't know they ever owed it. And that would be quite as soon as I should like to exchange pulpits with him some Sunday morning. And I am very glad to have this opportunity of addressing you, because it is very natural that there are many among the Christian churches that think our movement unnecessary. But there are two or three things to be considered. In the first place, there was a large number of people who met here the first evening—our own people—and it must be allowed that they are the best judges as to our real position, and in their judgment it was absolutely necessary that we should obtain such a building as we now contemplate. They therefore determined at any rate to establish a fund to that effect, and we have £2,500 already, and another $500 in the wind, wholesale form, that will make £3,000; so that we are getting on. And what is this meeting this evening? Has there been for years and years such a demonstration of a united wish for the progress of the gospel as appears in this crowded meeting to-night? I am sure our brother Foreman has spoken this evening as he could not have spoken if the Lord had not enabled him so to do; he has spoken with power and with decision; and I am sure we are all proud of him, as you showed when he addressed the meeting. And therefore I see nothing at all to discourage us. I might, perhaps, strictly and literally say that we have a beautiful piece of ground in contemplation, that it is by the side of an open road, and with all our brother's hints about respectability —though I know what he means—after all, we mean to improve very much in that respect. I must say that we are not surrounded with very respectable buildings, and we certainly have not a very respectable ingress and egress. But the ground we now contemplate is thoroughly respectable, just like ourselves; so that we ought to have a place in keeping with ourselves. Why, the Lord has done wonders here, and what is there to discourage us? I only say this that as for a college to make ministers, of course that is a thing I never dreamt of. But all sorts of reports are going abroad. I just hinted as to whether anything could be done to encourage those that we are satisfied know the truth, to encourage them in a way of supporting the truth, and by helping to maintain weak causes in different parts of the country. I suggested that. The fact is, one object I have in view, and I believe we have in view too, in this great chapel, is for it to be a center of annual meeting for our own denomination. Why should we not meet year by year, and say, How do you do? the same as other people * Why should we be always so far off that we hardly ever hear of each other, and be as though we were working against each other, instead of together? Let us put shoulder to shoulder, and know more of each other. Some of our ministers, their chapels are so placed that they have downright uphill work; and we may hope to call a little more attention to each other in this respect. And if we have a noble building, that can hold upwards of two thousand people, we can have our meetings there, and we can state our circumstances, and our purposes, and our plans. Why should not we occupy such a position as to form a sort of tangible body, and to show a formidable front? Our brother has said that error is rampant in the land. Then let us take a stand against that error, and be determined to have none with us that show any faint-heartedness. As I have said before, my thunderstorm sermon cut off the ears of several opponents of this movement: I succeeded in putting most of them on again, but not quite all. Thanks to mercy for that I would not if I could, some of them. I said in that thunderstorm sermon that persons that are neutral are drones, and they must be turned out. And as to this work, we shall get the ten thousand pounds fast enough, and perhaps we may not want quite so much as that; we are going on very well. Now I say this, that if I were in that chapel to-morrow that we contemplate, there is not a minister present, a minister of truth, if he were to come to me and say, Well, we want a little assistance, I should feel bound, after their helping me, to say, There is the chapel; any Sunday afternoon or week evening that you like to occupy my pulpit, and make your case known to the people, we will help you all we can. I will do this; I will let brother Foreman have my pulpit any Sunday he likes, all day, to pay off his £500, and then let him help me afterwards. It is time we began to work. We have been spoken of as though we did nothing; you have had some proof this evening that at the Surrey Tabernacle we have not been altogether negligent of our brethren; but still I think we have been deficient somewhat in that matter. Now I will not occupy your time much longer. You hear quite enough of me, most of you, without my occupying your time now. I am, nevertheless, exceedingly proud to see so many ministers of truth here, and so many Christian friends from other churches; and I dare say there are some Christian friends and deacons here this evening from other churches, that came out of a curious sort of feeling, and that said, “Ah, I won't give a farthing towards it; they don't want a new chapel.” I have no doubt they have been converted an hour ago; I venture to say it. I do not think that those who feel the force of the excellent address of our brother Foreman, and the remarks of our venerable brother Jones—I do not believe that any one can feel the force of those remarks without feeling that this is a Christian meeting, and that we are met with an entirely Christian feeling, and with no fleshly motive whatever. And I will just make one or two remarks here. When I first came on to this ground I took the chapel; I paid for the lease; it was my own—the old chapel—my own personal leasehold property. When this chapel was built, I said, “I have no desire whatever to make a gain of the church. If you want a new chapel, the public will pay for it; the property, strictly speaking, is theirs. I will give up all my right, on the ground that you allow me to preach in the chapel for life, and the chapel shall be yours.” So I say of the now chapel. I have not the least desire to make it my own; I want to make it the people's property; let it be invested in trust in a way that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, shall be preached therein. As to helping other churches, and missionary considerations, Sunday schools, and so on, all those may be matters of discussion, where ministers who are now met can meet in a large place like that, and discuss any question whatever. But as to compromise with error in ever so small a degree, if you once get one particle of poison into the bread, you then get a little more, and a little more, and that fleshly sympathy is a very dangerous thing. There are ministers that I know now, half-way men, excellent men; I can see clearly, if I were to go, as some of them have wanted me, into private friendship with them, I should lose a deal of my power. I have no antipathy, I have no unkind feeling, and I can appreciate the excellent qualities that are in them; but what communion can there be? I dare not, I cannot move an inch from my position, and I know the devil won’t let them move, and God won't let me move, and so I will stand firm, if I stand alone. But I don't stand alone; there are ministers with me this evening with all their hearts and souls. Well, then, I respect and appreciate those ministers. I would not have referred, but our brother Jones has kindly referred to our little bits of Christian feeling towards him. Certainly, that £26 to which he referred enabled them to build their chapel; the owners of the old one thinking that, on the ground of dilapidation, they could exclude them from the chapel; that £26 prevented that, and brought over into the hands of brother Jones and his friends several hundred pounds, that enabled them to build a new chapel. So you see what a few pounds sometimes, rightly timed, will do.
Well now, friends, it is getting late, and we are met—for after all I am a practical man, that's about the fact of it, and so are all men of God; and I do think, now you all look very good-tempered, it will be a very good time to bring the plates round, and get all the money we can. And I am not unreasonable, of course; we are aware that many of the friends that are here have contributed, and will contribute, and do so. And all we want is two things,—the approbation and sympathy of other ministers and churches. And I am sure no one can tell the pleasure I feel (and I must be excused for being so personal) in seeing Brother Foreman here this evening. It is thirty-three years ago, as he has said, since he preached at the formation of the church from these words—“I am doing a great work;” and they have been with me ever since, and I trust will be to the end.
(The collection was then made.)
The Rev. GEORGE MOYLE, of Rye Lane: My dear brethren and Christian friends, it would be inconsistent in me to occupy your time or attention, because I am sure that my voice could not reach you. But I should think now it is nearly forty years ago since I first was in the chapel that was then standing here. I remember hearing our brother Foreman preach that sermon at the ordination of our brother Wells thirty-three years ago. It was the first ordination service that ever I had heard. I was just then coming out in the ministry myself. I felt it as powerfully as he did, and I have never lost the feeling and sense of that sermon to the present day. I had a deep sense of the greatness and importance of the ministry upon my mind at the time, and that seemed to come with such sealing power to my soul that it has always seemed to me an awful thing to depart from God's truth, and I believe it is. Well, now, with respect to this movement, my dear friends, I would simply say that the minister, church, and congregation are the best judges as to whether they require a new place or not; and as they have come to that determination, nobody has any right whatever to say No. But let all those who love the truth as it is in Jesus, and sympathize with this church and congregation in their present movement, come forward and help it. I am sure I will do so myself, with all my heart. Our brother Wells shall be welcome to my pulpit either on a Sunday afternoon, or any week evening that is most convenient to himself. I wish you, in your undertaking, prosperity. And I would very affectionately suggest to you that in your work you endeavor to be united. It is a struggle; but with union of purpose, union in truth, I am very confident there is nothing to discourage you, but there is everything to encourage you forward in the work of the Lord. May the grace of God be with you all! Amen.
Mr. JAMES WELLs: Time is so far gone that I fear we cannot speak to any more resolutions. Everyone must recognize, of course, the importance of such a movement, whether we take it in relation to our families, or whether we take it in relation to this metropolis, or whether we take it in relation to the nation at large. Every onward movement of God's truth is a blessing to us, a blessing to our families, a blessing to the town in which we live, and a blessing and a glory to the land. And, therefore, we all feel sure that we are moving with a right object in view.
Mr. JOHN PELLS, of Soho Chapel: Mr. Chairman and Christian friends, I am very happy to meet with you here this evening. The second resolution, as the chairman has justly observed, is a very important one:—
“That this meeting heartily sympathizes with the church and congregation in their movement for the erection of a new chapel, which shall stand as a memorial that hitherto the Lord hath helped us, and trusts that they will be generously aided by other churches, both by means of congregational collections, and the contributions of individuals.”
I trust that we shall not be backward. As far as my people are concerned, I am sure we shall be most happy for our brother Wells to occupy my pulpit on some future occasion, either some Lord's day afternoon or some week evening. I went into the house of one of my members the other day, and she said, “Look here, pastor.” I said, “What have you got?” She said, “It is a collecting card for Mr. Wells's new tabernacle.” “Well,” I said, “what do you mean to do with that?” and she said she meant to do what she could.
It was in the month of December, 1849, that, with forty-three others, I was baptized by our brother Wells. I think my brother has told me that I am the only one of the seventeen males who were then baptized whom God, by his grace, hath called to the work of the ministry. Some kind friend—or unkind person—has sent a notice to one of our leading magazines for the present month, in which my name appears associated with men with whose views and practices in the churches I do not sympathize; and my name is there stated, with another brother of the like opinion with myself, as being on the subscription list, and neither of us have given one penny, nor promised one penny; and as there are friends here to-night associated with that magazine, I hope they will eradicate that impression from the minds of the people in the next number of the magazine; for they say we know a man by the company he keeps, and I have no desire to be known by the company I do not keep, Instead of deviating from the truths I stated when I appeared before the deacons and the pastor here, in the year 1849, I have grown, I trust, a little in deeper acquaintance with them; at any rate, I know I have grown more and more in love with them ; they are the support of my soul in trial, they will be my only hope and comfort in death, and my joy to all eternity.
And with regard to the new tabernacle, I would just observe that the grand leading objects, and which ought ever to be had in view, in building a sanctuary for divine worship, are, an eye single to God's glory, and the welfare of souls. And I believe, whatever men may say, they may say what they please, but I have said in private and I say it in public, that that is the pure motive in the sight of God in regard to the church and people here. I always read my good old pastor's sermons, and there is a sermon he very recently preached, headed “Sincerity;” and I know there are some that are not over fond of my good old pastor, and I purchased a number of copies of that sermon on purpose to give them away, to make them more in love with him that have not loved him yet. If they love God's truth they must love him. And much to his honor has he preached that sermon in the presence of a large congregation; and if any of you here to-night do not love him, buy that sermon on “Sincerity,” and I defy you to say that you don't love him after that.
The Lord bless the movement with success, and may the time speedily come when it shall be erected and opened, and may the gospel trumpet ever give a certain sound and not an uncertain sound; for if it give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle? but may it ever give a certain sound. Someone said to me, “Why, look here, in nine years brother Wells will be seventy years of age, and then who is to succeed him ?” I said, “With all deference to my dear brother and fellow pastor, that is making too much of him, and too little of God Almighty; just as though God, when he has gone to heaven, could not raise up another James Wells to occupy his position.” Nothing is possible without God; all things are possible with him.
Mr. HENRY MYERSON, of Hackney: Mr. Chairman, and Christian friends, I have great pleasure in seconding the resolution. And I have three reasons for so doing: first, because our brother Wells is sincere; secondly, because he has been, and still is, a blessing to the cause of God at large; and third, that by assisting in this great cause we shall be the means, in God's hands, of doing much good unto the church of God. In reference to our brother's sincerity, we all know he belongs to the church of Jesus Christ, I mean the true church of Jesus Christ; that he is a sincere minister of the gospel. If we hear him preach, he preaches the gospel, and he preaches it with sincerity. And when our brother is invited to preach in our chapel, to assist us in God's cause, we always find him sincere in begging for us; and therefore, as he is sincere in endeavoring by all possible means to assist us, we should, in return to him for his great kindness and love, endeavor to assist him in this great movement. He has been a blessing to the cause of God. I don’t think that if we refer to the country at large, we can speak of one place of worship where the truth of God is fully preached but what our brother Wells has been a blessing to that cause. I for one have proved that our brother's ministry is the gospel of Jesus Christ; and I think, if we were to ask this great assembly to hold up their hands by way of confirmation of this declaration, we should all say that our brother's ministry is a blessing to the cause of God. Now then, if this is the case, surely there is not any one here, nor any one in any of the causes of God, but would, as far as enabled by providence, assist in this noble and great cause. Let us all do what we can, not only by putting our hands in our own pockets, but by endeavoring by all possible means to get others to assist; let us use all means, wherever we go and in whatever company we are. Never mind from where it comes, so long as we get the money. I for one would advise this: those of you that have children may have cards, and let those children, when they meet their Sunday schoolmates, endeavor to get what they can. The fund is to erect a tabernacle for the preaching of the glorious gospel. And therefore I have no fellowship with those, no friendly feeling towards those that find fault with this movement. I believe it arises from a jealous feeling on their part, and a hatred to the truths of the everlasting gospel. We know there are many that would, if they had it in their power, tear our brother down from that pulpit where he proclaims the glorious truths of the everlasting gospel. The Lord has sustained him; then never mind what is said; let us go on with our work, looking to the God of all grace, and be assured of it, dear brethren, he will bless us in endeavoring to assist our brother in this great and noble movement. And lastly, we should do so as Christians, because by this means we are doing that which is glorifying to God. Error is abounding, as our brother Foreman has said. As Christians and lovers of the truth, let us help our brother Wells in this movement; let us show that we have love in our hearts to the truths of the everlasting gospel, and to him whom God has honored, and through whom we have derived so great a blessing. It will be a means, I believe, of putting down the abounding’s of error, and it will also be a means of establishing the truth in a greater and in a larger degree than ever it has been established before. And I feel grateful to brother Wells for his liberal remarks in relation to the tabernacle when it is built. We are there to meet as we never have met before. It does not seem to be a right and proper thing that ministers of the everlasting gospel should be so disunited as we appear to be, seeing so little of each other. I believe that such meetings as he has alluded to would be productive of very important results. And I also felt very grateful for what he said in reference to allowing his brethren in the ministry to come to his large tabernacle and preach there. Really, it would do me good to preach there, it would indeed. Though I am a little man, and can’t say much, I should certainly like the honor of standing up in our brother Wells's pulpit when the great tabernacle is reared, and to the best of my ability preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.
God grant that each and every individual present here may use every means in their power to forward this work, and you may rest assured that you will never regret that you did what you could.
The CHAIRMAN: Now, friends, you have heard this resolution, and I do hope it is one that you will heartily join in, not only by holding up your hands, but by all the means you can possibly put in operation. (Carried unanimously.)
The CHAIRMAN: Now I have a little bit of paper put in my hand relative to a kind friend who has supplied the whole of the tea and sugar for the tea meeting this day. He has given it gratuitously; and I am told that about a thousand persons have partaken of tea to-day. Now you see the whole of that is entirely going to the fund. And I can also tell you that this same friend has promised, and paid a portion of the money, and would pay the whole to-morrow if he was called upon, —he has promised fifty guineas, in addition to giving this tea and sugar. You see, friends, we have some very strong, warm-hearted friends in this cause. And I believe that this fire will grow, and that many who have not come forward yet will still come forward. I have much pleasure, therefore, in proposing a vote of thanks to this gentleman, his name is Hart, that our cordial thanks be given to him for his kindness on this occasion.
Mr. JAMES WELLs: The gentleman's name who gave the tea and sugar is Hart; our friend suggests that he is a good Hart. I beg to second the resolution. (Carried unanimously.)
Mr. HAWKINS, of Trinity Street Chapel, Borough: Mr. Chairman and Christian friends, I am proud to have such a neighbor as our brother Wells, and have not a spark of envy in my bosom—not one. There was, before I came to Trinity Street, some rather doubtful sort of preaching there, and when I came among them I set to work, and they had not had such high doctrines preached to them before as I was enabled to preach, under the constraining influences of the God of heaven. So we went to work. And I will just say this, we had our anniversary, and your pastor preached the afternoon sermon, and with all our Antinomianism they never have had such a prosperous Sunday sermon anniversary since the place has been built. Well mow, I call that a good beginning, and I hope that we shall go on well.
Now when I first heard of this movement arising as a united and practical demonstration of the people that they require a larger house for God’s worship, I thought it was a very reasonable thing, did much honor to the people, and that it was a great encouragement to the pastor; and from the first I believed that God would carry it out for you, and I wish you every prosperity; and whether it be nearer to me or farther off from me, I am anticipating the time when you will have a temple of the glorious truth of God, which will be, as I believe, one of the greatest honors in this country that we have ever paid yet to the whole truth of God. With regard to your pastor, I have no sympathy with people who think he is going to die. The fact is, I believe he don’t intend to die at all, he is only going to be transferred from an earthly to a heavenly home. But why should he not be continued as long as others? Even if the Lord was to take our brother Wells home to-morrow, it would be a glorious change, I am sure; but I don’t believe he is; but if he should, there is the same truth, and it will be continued as long as the Holy Ghost dwells in the church and Jesus Christ dwells in heaven. Or else, I say, don’t let us look at it at all; the truth of God deserves it, and the glory of God shall be promoted. We wish our brother success, and as he has filled this house, give him a larger, for God to bless it through his means. I have to move,—
“That the best thanks of this meeting be presented to Mr. Thomas Pocock, for his kindness in presiding on the present occasion.”
Mr. J. WEBSTER, of Cave Adullam, Stepney: I most cordially agree with this resolution, and second it. We have had the chair indeed well filled. I do like to see those fill it where we cannot look at them and detect any compromise of truth in order to what is called respectability. Some with very high titles are often invited, but let me ever see a Christian gentleman presiding at a Christian meeting. We are of one heart, we are of one mind; we know him, we love him, we esteem him.
As regards your beloved pastor, I remember him above three-and-thirty years ago; but I tell you this, he is of the same principles now as he was then. That he is much polished and improved we all know; but what has done it? He has not taken a degree of M.A. or B.A., but he has become a master of arts, and not a few. And how did he acquire this command? God gave him a talent, and a disposition to cultivate it, and he has been a working man ever since the Lord called him to work. And this I am sure of; when the Lord calls a minister—I speak personally, for I am not indebted to academies for my training, but what I have had, and what I have, I bless the Lord for, —where the Lord calls a minister, he always gives him what is necessary for his work.
I am sure that our brother Pocock deserves your thanks, but there are other characters that this evening got into hot water on your account, labored hard to provide you with such an ample tea, though the materials have been furnished by the benevolence and liberality of a Christian brother, —I mean the ladies, who shone so conspicuously. They ought to have been coupled with this vote, but, however, I will undertake to do it. I do admire Mary, but I love Martha too, and we can’t do without them.
I most cordially second the motion that has been put into my hands, with this addenda, if you will allow it: -
“That the thanks of this meeting be presented to the ladies, for the excellent tea that they prepared, and the manner in which it was served.”
And a very onerous duty it was to serve so many.
Mr. J. BUTTERFIELD, of China Hall Gate Chapel: Christian friends, I wish it was not so late, as I should like to make a few remarks. I have good reasons to wish this, because I call to mind some fifteen or sixteen years ago, when I did not know who Mr. James Wells was, but being deeply affected on account of my state, and living at Chelsea, I used to take the Earthen Vessel in, and at six o'clock on Sunday mornings, when I had obtained it, perhaps, on Saturday night, you would find me walking about the streets at Pimlico, reading with tears those articles that were signed, “A Little One.” Who the “Little One” was I never knew, until I became acquainted with him magisterially. And though I have never said this in public before, I say it to-night, that those articles signed by “A Little One” were the means of opening my eyes, illuminating my understanding, and giving me a better acquaintance with the truth as it is in Christ Jesus than ever I experienced by any other book that ever I read. And I have another reason why I wish it was not so late, and that is to speak, as our beloved and aged sire has done, of my interested love to our brother Wells. All know that I have never had an anniversary, either of my pastorate, or of the opening of the chapel, without having our good brother amongst us—save and except last week you disappointed us (to Mr. Wells), that's one against you. And is it asked why? I answer, because I have ever found it good for my people to have our beloved brother to come and confirm the truths which I have feebly preached unto them. I am sorry to acknowledge that I stand in a position that has pretty nearly killed me. I recollect at the tea-table looking at our brother Pells, and looking at the cheerfulness, too, of our brother Myerson. “Ah,” I said, “ten years ago I was as cheerful as he, and could smile and make a pun as well as he; but I have been so broken down by my position in Rotherhithe, in standing against the opposition that has been offered to my maintaining my principles in that place, that I have become pretty nearly an old man before I am a young one.” And I am sorry, not only on my own account, but the opposition is strong in Rotherhithe against your pastor. But about three months ago, I was astounded at a remark that the reason why certain persons would not come to hear him at our chapel was because he should say at the opening, when he gave me those good advices, that he should say that I was to have nothing to do with the harlot churches around. Now I maintain that he did not say any such thing at our meeting. But this is taken, amongst other things, in order to make a thrust at the truth of God, that is it; and if our people would but watch those enemies who get up all manner of slanders and lies against the ministers of the gospel, they would pretty soon find that the under current is to sweep minister and ministry away entirely. I have had to stand in Rotherhithe against a torrent that, perhaps, hardly any young men here have had to stand against. I have groaned bitterly. I have been cheered, though, a little to-night, by the unselfish, the kind, the liberal remarks of your beloved minister. I have to call to remembrance that you kindly gave me the opportunity of preaching in this chapel for a collection towards our place, which your beloved minister promised, for which I will take this opportunity of thanking you. And I will just say another thing; we have hard work to do to get up our money to pay our debt; but I shall, of course, do all I can to help this work; it is a matter of course with us who love the truth, and love the idea of having a glorious tabernacle, you said, twice as large as this. And I must confess, that although, as a Christian, I shall rejoice at such a thing, yet I must confess, as a poor little minister, I shall be glad of it for this reason, because your minister has said that it should be open now and then to help the little causes throughout the country. It will give me an opportunity to speak for myself: I will take good care to come.
Not to detain you, friends, I often have a remark from friends and foes as to why I ask brother Wells to come and preach for us. My answer is, because I love the truths which he preaches. And whenever he has preached at our place, I know he must have seen it, at all events, five times out of six when he has preached at our place I have been melted down like butter would melt before the sun, under the powerful influence of the words which he has preached. Without telling him anything about what my experiences and exercises have been, he has come right into those exercises, and come right down with his great big sledge-hammer and long arm upon the head of some My Lord or My Lady that have been trying to put their foot upon the little one. I shall never forget once—I cannot give it as he would give it—on one occasion, when I was in most dreadful trouble; one don and his lady had kicked up against me; after sitting about three months in a pew right opposite to me, looking as black as thunder at me, and wriggling, and twisting, and turning the whole of the time that I was preaching the sermon, they went off, and pulled me down to about fifteen in number; but we got the chapel full again, though. Just about that time, our brother came; he did not know much about our circumstances, and he gave us an anecdote of a fellow that was on a coach; the coach was going along, and the poor fellow was drunk, and every now and then he was rolling, and rolling, and rolling, and, says he to the coachman, “Coachman, why don't you stop? The coach is going over, the coach is going over, the coach is going over!” “No,” said the coachman, “it’s not the coach that's going over; it's you that's going over.” The poor fellow fell off the box, and when he was very nearly under the hind hoof of the horse, he cries out, “There! didn’t I tell you the coach would go over?” “No,” said the coachman, “it’s not the coach that's over, it's you that's over, and we will leave you behind, and that will teach you to keep sober.” So, said he, there are some people in churches, they think, Oh, if we give up our sitting, if we give up our support, if we walk out of the place, the coach will be sure to go over, said he; instead of which we shall go on, the horses will go on, the coach will go on to its destiny, and we shall be enabled to turn round and say to those who thought the coach would go over if they were to leave it, we shall be enabled to turn round and say, “Why, it's not the coach that's gone over, it's you that's gone over.” I would say, to any that hate the truth—go, and joy go with you. Try to muzzle the ox that is in the pulpit treading out the corn, and trying to get a little for his own soul! Go, and joy go with them. Yes, dear friends, it is no use mincing the matter. I must confess—I confessed it to one or two of my dear deacons who have borne the storm with me—I said to them the other day, “Well, I really think I am beginning to be frightened of the people; I really do think I am beginning to be afraid of them.” And yet I hardly know it; but looking round myself, I don't think I am half so impudent as I used to be. People say, you ought not to be impudent. Ah, it's all very well to talk like that; but we know what it means. It means that you are not to come out so boldly with the truth of God as you do.
I am glad of this opportunity of just expressing my gratitude to you as a church, and to your beloved minister; and I will go and trumpet it out from my pulpit that you are going to build a new chapel, and it will go like wildfire over Rotherhithe. I have very great pleasure in supporting this motion. (Carried unanimously.)
The CHAIRMAN: My dear Christian friends, I can only return my grateful acknowledgments to you for this token of your kind respect towards me. I feel that my voice is giving. I have got a cold upon me, and I was almost afraid I should not have been able to come here to-night; but, thank God, I am here. It is very pleasing to me to see you all of one heart and one mind in determining, by the good pleasure of God, to carry out this great object. We shall no doubt have an opportunity of calling you together again, as we proceed in the business, and I trust that I shall have the pleasure of meeting you very frequently, and that the Lord may spare my life to work with you until I see this great object fully accomplished. I therefore say I thank you heartily as it respects myself. And on the part of the ladies I cannot express that gratitude which I ought to express, because they certainly, if I might be allowed the expression, are determined to supersede us in all their movements, as it respects the gentlemen. And very often, where I am favored to meet on different committees with ladies, I do find that their determination, and their zeal, and their love in prosecuting purposes of this kind, vastly supersede all the gentlemen. And therefore, on their behalf, I thank you most sincerely.
Mr. JAMES WELLs: I would just say that an impression, I believe, has been abroad for a long time, that the people of the Surrey Tabernacle were an isolated people, and that they held other churches in very light esteem, and that we remained here by ourselves, and did not care for others, and that others had no feeling towards us. I trust this meeting is a full answer to all that.
It is very clear that the feelings which the ministers have expressed this evening are not feelings that have come upon them this evening, but feelings which they have had towards us for years. You have listened with great pleasure to them; and although it would be out of order for us at the Surrey Tabernacle to have a vote of thanks to the ministers, still it would not be out of order to propose a vote of acknowledgment of their kindness in coming to sympathize with us in this movement, and to promise to do all they can to forward the movement. I think, sir that would not be out of order.
Mr. CARR (Treasurer): I beg to second that, and I am bound to say we do feel much encouraged in this work. We had no idea we should have had so large and noble a meeting as we have had this night; one of the largest meetings, I should say, that ever assembled in this metropolis for a similar object. Therefore, I say, it is very encouraging to us. We have a great amount of labor, of course, and shall have, for some time, to go through in this matter; and this will encourage us, and give us fresh spirit and fresh life to go on. We do feel very grateful to our friends, and particularly to our kind friends and neighbors the ministers round, in giving us that patronage which they have done this evening by their presence, and for the exceedingly kind way in which they have spoken. I am sure our Brother Foreman's remarks to-night have warmed all our hearts, I trust we shall have the presence of our Lord with us. We must expect difficulties; we must expect a little opposition, and so on; but I believe, upon the whole, our way is clear. We have nothing to fear, but, I believe, everything to make us hope; and, as I said at our first meeting, —
“Faith laughs at impossibilities,
And says, It shall be done.”
I have much pleasure, therefore, in seconding a vote of acknowledgment to the ministers for their great kindness this evening. (Carried unanimously.)
Mr. CARR, Junior : I should just like to mention, before the meeting separates, that a gentleman who has been a member of the Surrey Tabernacle for many years, and who approves of the erection of the new Tabernacle, he first gave a hundred guineas; he then gave twenty pounds; and he called upon me to-day and gave me another cheque. I am not allowed to mention his name, nor should I take so public an opportunity of mentioning it, but for this reason; he has adopted the principle of giving a certain percentage on all the profits he makes in his profession towards the building of this new Tabernacle. The thought crossed my mind, perhaps someone else will follow his example; and although I assure you I never stood up before so large an assembly, I felt emboldened to do so, and I am glad that you have given me your attention. The amount of the cheque is forty pounds, gentlemen, -a hundred guineas first, then twenty pounds, and now forty pounds more, making in about one month a hundred and sixty-five pounds!
The meeting closed with singing the doxology,
PUBLISHED WEEKLY, PRICE ONE PENNY,
SURREY TABERNACLE PULPIT;
The Sermon Preached On Sunday Morning,
By MR. JAMES WELLS, *
AT THE SURREY TABERNACLE, BOROUGH ROAD.
SURREY TABERNACLE BENEFIT SOCIETY.
The Committee take this opportunity of calling attention to the following facts connected with the Society:
Present —MR. JAMES WELLS.
Established 1843. Paying at Sickness, per week, £1.
Invested Capital, £2,500. Free Member's Death, £15.
Number of Members, 900. Free Member's Wife's Death, £710s.
SUBSCRIPTIONS ONLY 2s. 6d. PER MONTH.
Printed Forms of Application, Rules, and every information, forwarded on application (enclosing four stamps) to the Secretary, Mr. JOSHUA THOMPSON, 28, Great Titchfield Street, Oxford Street, W., London; or the Treasurer, Mr. JAMEs Cox, Surrey Tabernacle, and 100, Borough Road, S.E., London.
THE NEW SURREY TABERNACLE BUILDING FUND.
Mr. JAMES WELLS, Minister, 2, Ampthill Place, Vassall Road, North Brixton.
Mr. JOHN CARR, 20, Lawrence Lane, Cheapside
Mr. EDWARD BUTT, 3, Denmark Terrace, Cold Harbour Lane, Camberwell.
To whom Remittances of Post Office Orders or Postage Stamps are earnestly solicited.