C. H. Spurgeon: As our friends coming in will make too much noise for prayer, let us sing the third hymn, "All hail the power of Jesu's name!"
C. H. Spurgeon: My one deep anxiety and prayer has been that every part of the proceedings of these two days should be to the glory of God. It would be deeply to my grief as long as ever I lived if there should be anything said or done which should be contrary to the mind of our Lord. We meet together, with congratulations very hearty and very loving. I cannot tell you how hearty and how loving they have been already: but we want God's blessing or we shall fall into evil rather than good. I want the brethren representing the deacons and the elders to pray very briefly, if they please, but I am sure very heartily, for God's blessing upon us now. My dear brother and deacon, Mr. Allison, will pray, and then our dear and venerable brother, Mr. Bowker, will follow him in prayer.
Mr. C. F. Allison and Mr. TV. Bowker then offered prayer.
C. H. Spurgeon: Now, dear friends, having thus sought the Divine blessing, we expect to have it. I do not think anybody imagines that I ought to speak at any length to-night, but I should like to say very much in very little. I feel to-night overwhelmed with gratitude to you, and because of you to God. I am sure I went home on Monday night feeling that I was buried in mercies, crushed beneath the weight of God's loving-kindness to me. I feel just so to-night; therefore a man cannot speak much, especially after the kind things which many of you have said to me. I have much to do not to cry, indeed, I have had a little distillation of the eyes quietly, but I try to keep myself all right. I feel very much like weeping now, at the remembrance of all the good and gracious things that have been said to me this day. But let me say this for my speech: the blessing which I have had here for many years must be entirely attributed to the grace of God and to the working of God's Holy Spirit among us. Let that stand as a matter not only taken for granted, but as a matter felt and distinctly recognised among us. I hope, brethren, that none of you will say that I have kept back the glorious work of the Holy Spirit. I have tried to remind you of it whenever I have read a chapter by praying that God the Holy Spirit would open up that chapter to our minds. I hope I have never preached without an entire dependence on the Holy Ghost. Our reliance upon prayer has been very conspicuous, at least, I think so. We have not begun, we have not continued, we have not ended anything without prayer. We have been plunged into it up to the hilt. We have not prayed as we should, but still we have so prayed as to prevail; and we wish it to be on record that we owe our success as a church to the work of the Holy Spirit, principally through its leading us to pray. Neither as a church have we been without a full conviction that if we are honest in our asking we must be earnest in acting. It is no use asking God to give us a blessing if we do not mean it, and if we mean it we shall use all the means appointed for the gaining of that boon; and that we have done. One of my first duties to-night will be to remind this audience that it very largely consists of representatives from the various institutions. A partial list will be read to you, but, incomplete as it is, it is a long one; and though one or two of the institutions represented may be small ones, yet many of them are so large that they might have constituted public societies having annual meetings at Exeter Hall; and these things have sprung out of this church through that same Holy Spirit who set us praying and set us working. Next to that, it behoves me to say that I owe the prosperity I have had in preaching the gospel to the gospel which I have preached. I wish everybody thought as much, but there are some who will have it that there is something very particular and special about the man. Well, I believe that there may be something particular about the man, something odd, perhaps. He cannot help that, but he begs to say there is nothing about him that can possibly account for the great and long-continued success attending his labours. Our American friends are generally very 'cute judges, and I have a good many times read their opinion of me, and they say over and over again, "Well, he is no orator. We have scores of better preachers in America than Mr. Spurgeon, but it is evident that he preaches the gospel as certain of our celebrated men do not preach it." I so preach the gospel that people coming to hear it are impressed by it, and rejoice to rally to the standard. I have tried, and I think successfully, to saturate our dear friends with the doctrines of grace. I defy the devil himself ever to get that out of you if God the Holy Spirit once puts it into you. That grand doctrine of substitution, which is at the root of every other—you have heard it over and over and over and over again, and you have taken a sure grip of it. Never let it go. And I wish to say to all preachers who fail in this matter that I wish they would preach more of Christ, and try to preach more plainly. Death to fine preaching! There is no good in it. All the glory of words and the wisdom of men will certainly come to naught, but the simple testimony of the good-will of God to men, and of his sovereign choice of his own people, will stand the test not only of the few years during which I have preached it, but of all the ages of this world till Christ shall come. I thank you, dear friends, for all your love and your kindness to me, but I do attribute even that in great measure to this fact: that you have been fed with the pure gospel of the grace of God. I do not believe that the dry, dead doctrine of some men could ever have evoked such sympathy in men's hearts as my gospel has aroused in yours. I cannot see anything about myself that you should love me: I confess I would not go across the street to hear myself preach. But I dare not say more upon that point because my wife is here. It is the only point upon which we decidedly differ; I differ in toto from her estimate of me, and from your estimate of me too, but yet I do not wish you to alter it. You remember the picture Punch gave us of the man and his wife who had bought a teapot—they were æsthetics—and she said, "Oh, what a teapot!" "Yes," said the husband, "I do not know how we shall ever be able to live up to it." That was their high ideal; but the model you set up for me in your kindly estimate of me is one which I must labour to reach. Anything that stimulates us to do better cannot be a very bad thing; therefore I thank you with all my heart for your generous esteem.
Now I am going to ask Mr. Harrald to read the list of societies represented here to-night. I think everybody should know what the church has been moved to do, and I beg to say that there are other societies besides those which will be mentioned, but you will be tired before you get to the end of them.
Mr. J. W. Harrald read the following list:—The Almshouses; the Pastors' College; the Pastors' College Society of Evangelists; the Stockwell Orphanage; the Colportage Association; Mrs. Spurgeon's Book Fund, and Pastors' Aid Fund; the Pastors' College Evening Classes; the Evangelists' Association; the Country Mission; the Ladies' Benevolent Society; the Ladies' Maternal Society; the Poor Ministers' Clothing Society; the Loan Tract Society; Spurgeon's Sermons' Tract Society; the Evangelists' Training Class; the Orphanage Working Meeting; the Colportage Working Meeting; the Flower Mission; the Gospel Temperance Society; the Band of Hope; the United Christian Brothers' Benefit Society; the Christian Sisters' Benefit Society; the Young Christians' Association; the Mission to Foreign Seamen; the Mission to Policemen; the Coffee-House Mission; The Metropolitan Tabernacle Sunday School; Mr. Wigney's Bible Class; Mr. Hoyland's Bible Class; Miss Swain's Bible Class; Miss Hobbs's Bible Class; Miss Hooper's Bible Class; Mr. Bowker's Bible Class for Adults of both Sexes; Mr. Dunn's Bible Class for Men; Mrs. Allison's Bible Class for Young Women; Mr. Bartlett's Bible Class for Young Women; Golden Lane and Hoxton Mission (Mr. Orsman's); Ebury Mission and Schools, Pimlico; Green Walk Mission and Schools, Haddon Hall; Richmond Street Mission and Schools; Flint Street Mission and Schools; North Street, Kennington, Mission and Schools; Little George Street Mission, Bermondsey; Snow's Fields Mission, Bermondsey; the Almhouses Missions; the Almshouses Sunday Schools; the Almshouses Day Schools; the Townsend Street Mission; the Townley Street Mission; the Deacon Street Mission; the Blenheim Grove Mission, Peckham; the Surrey Gardens Mission; the Vinegar Yard Mission, Old Street; the Horse Shoe Wharf Mission and Schools; the Upper Ground Street Mission; the Thomas Street Mission, Horselydown; the Boundary Row Sunday School, Camberwell; the Great Hunter Street Sunday School, Dover Road; the Carter Street Sunday School, Walworth; the Pleasant Row Sunday Schools, Kennington; the Westmoreland Road Sunday Schools, Walworth; the Lansdowne Place Sunday School; Miss Emery's Banner Class, Brandon Street; Miss Miller's Mothers' Meeting; Miss Ivimey's Mothers' Meeting; Miss Francies' Mothers' Meeting.
C. H. Spurgeon: "We have need to praise God that he enables the church to carry on all these institutions. Let us sing hymn No. 7, "Hallelujah for the Cross."
(The hymn was sung.)
I want you now to hear me a moment while I say that the brother who is now about to speak, Mr. Moody, is one whom we all love. He is not only one whom we all love, but he is evidently one whom God loves. We feel devoutly grateful to Almighty God for raising him up, and for sending him to England to preach the gospel to such great numbers with such plainness and power. We shall continue to pray for him when he has gone home. Among the things we shall pray for will be that he may come back again. I might quote the language of an old Scotch song with regard to Prince Charlie,—
"Bonnie Moody's gang awa.
Will ye no come back again?
Better loved ye canna' be,
Will ye no come back again? "
Now let us give him as good a cheer as ever we can when he stands up to speak.
Mr. D. L. Moody: Mr. Spurgeon has said to-night that he has felt like weeping. I have tried to keep back the tears. I have not succeeded very well. I remember, seventeen years ago, coming into this building a perfect stranger. Twenty-five years ago, after I was converted, I began to read of a young man preaching in London with great power, and a desire seized me to hear him, never expecting that some day I should be a preacher. Everything I could get hold of in print that he ever said I read. I knew very little about religious things when I was converted. I did not have what he has had—a praying father. My father died before I was four years old. I was thinking of that to-night as I saw Mr. Spurgeon's venerable father here by his side. He has the advantage of me in that respect, and he perhaps got an earlier start than he would have got if he had not had that praying father. His mother I have not met, his father I have; but most good men have praying mothers—God bless them. In 1867 I made my way across the sea, and if ever there was a sea-sick man for fourteen days, I was that one. The first place to which I came was this building. I was told that I could not get in without a ticket, but I made up my mind to get in somehow, and I succeeded. I well remember seating myself in this gallery. I remember the very seat, and I should like to take it back to America with me. As your dear Pastor walked down to the platform, my eyes just feasted upon him, and my heart's desire for years was at last accomplished. It happened to be the year you preached in the Agricultural Hall. I followed you up there, and you sent me back to America a better man. Then I went to try and preach myself, though at the time I little thought I should ever be able to do so. While I was here I followed Mr. Spurgeon everywhere, and when at home people asked me if I had gone to this and that cathedral, I had to say "No," and confess I was ignorant of them; but I could tell them something about the meetings addressed by Mr. Spurgeon. In 1872 I thought I would come over again to learn a little more, and again I found my way back to this gallery. I have been here a great many times since, and I never come into the building without getting a blessing to my soul. I think I have had as great a one here to-night as at any other time I have been in this Tabernacle. When I look down on these orphan boys, when I think of the 600 servants of God who have gone out from the College to preach the gospel, of the 1,500 or 2,000 sermons from this pulpit that are in print, and of the multitude of books that have come from the Pastor's pen—(Scripture says of the making of books there is no end, and in his case it is indeed true)—I would fain enlarge upon all these good works, but the clock shows me that if I do, I shall not get to my other meeting in time. But let me just say this, if God can use Mr. Spurgeon why not the rest of us, and why should not we all just lay ourselves at the Master's feet, and say "Send me, use me"? It is not Mr. Spurgeon after all. it is God. He is as weak as any other man away from him. Moses was nothing, but it was Moses' God. Samson was nothing when he lost his strength, but when it came back to him then he was a mighty man; and so, dear friends, bear in mind that if we can just link our weakness to God's strength we can go forth and be a blessing in the world. Now, there are others to speak, and I have also to hasten away to another meeting, but I want to say to you, Mr. Spurgeon, "God bless you." I know that you love me, but I assure you I love you a thousand times more than you can ever love me, because you have been such a blessing to me, while I have been a very little blessing to you. When I think of a man or woman who has been in this Tabernacle time after time and heard the gospel, I pity them deep down in my heart if they are. found among the lost. I have read your sermons for twenty-five years, and what has cheered my heart has been that in them was no uncertain sound. In closing, let me give you a poem that one of our American Indians wrote. The first line began with "go on," the second line was "go on," and the third line was "go on," and this was all he could write. I say "go on, brother, and God bless you." You are never going to die. John Wesley lives more today than when he was in the flesh; Whitefield lives more today than when he was on this earth; John Knox lives more today than at any other period of his life; and Martin Luther, who has been gone over 400 years, still lives. Bear in mind, friends, that our dear brother is to live for ever. We may never meet together again in the flesh, but by the blessing of God I will meet you up yonder.
C. H. Spurgeon: Now, dear friends, we have a very good programme. God has given us a blessing at the commencement, and we want to have it all through. There is a great deal to be done to-night, and all the speeches will have to be tolerably short. I believe every word will be blessed of God. Now I will call upon our dear brother, Mr. Chamberlain, who often enlivens our prayer meetings with his music, to sing for us one of the songs of Zion. It has always done my heart good to hear him, though perhaps I have never yet said as much in his presence. Many sons have sung well, but thou excellest them all!
Mr. Chamberlain then sang Hymn No. 8, "Whoever receiveth the crucified one."
C. H. Spurgeon: Dear friends, we have judged it better on the whole to allow some things to be done twice over rather than to seem negligent. Many friends who are here to-night, cannot be here tomorrow night; indeed, I should be glad if nobody present this evening would attend tomorrow, but give an opportunity to others of coming here; but I think that the address which has been prepared in the name of the church here, and which is to be presented to me, should be read on both occasions, that all may hear it. I do not know anything about it. I have not seen it as yet, and I should not wonder if it contains a great deal that I would have struck out, had it been any part of my duty to overhaul it. You must understand that this is a family meeting, and that we do not have reporters present; if they are here they are in the strangers' gallery. We had no reporters when my father had been married fifty years. We said some good things in his praise, and he did not grumble; indeed, he could not have helped himself if he had grumbled. Nobody said they should not praise the old man like that; because what was done was kept within walls, and this also will be within the walls—of the universe. We cannot anyhow keep it closer. Before the address is read, our Secretary will announce the other bodies that have sent in their congratulations in addition to those afterwards given.
Mr. Harrald read the following list, in which are inserted a few names of those whose addresses have been received since the meeting:—
The Canada Baptist Union, the Philadelphia Conference of Baptist Ministers, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland, the Western Association of Baptist Churches, the Denbigh, Flint, and Merioneth Baptist Association, the Carmarthen and Cardigan Baptist Association, the Devon Baptist Association, the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Baptist Association, the Midland Baptist Association, the Cornwall Baptist Association, the Anglesea Baptist Association, the monthly Fraternal Meeting of General Baptist Ministers in London and its vicinity, a large number of Baptist Ministers and Churches, the Tutors of the Pastors' College, the Canadian Branch of the Pastors' College Association, the former students of the Pastors' College, settled in Victoria, Australia, the Tasmanian Baptist Union recently formed by Pastors' College men in Tasmania, the First Baptist Church Sunday School, Middletown, Ohio, U.S.A., the Baptist Church, West Troy, New York, U.S.A., the Reading Club of the Central Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., the Professors in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A., the Knox Presbyterian Church, Galt, Canada, several French Pastors and Missionaries, in addition to those afterwards mentioned, the Committee and Officers of the Paris City Mission, and the Methodist Conference of Ireland, meeting in Belfast.
Mr. B. W. Carr, one of the deacons, then read the following address to Mr. Spurgeon:—
"To the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
"With a united voice of thanksgiving to our ever blessed God on your behalf; with a cordial acknowledgment of the good services you have rendered to the universal Church of our Lord Jesus Christ; and with a profound sense of the high character and wide reputation you have established among your fellow Christians, we beg to offer you our sincere congratulations on this the fiftieth anniversary of your birthday.
"Accept our assurance that no language but the language of personal affection could fitly express the esteem in which you are held by ourselves and by the numerous constituency we represent. Were it possible for the lips of all those who love you as a brother, and those who revere you as a father in Christ, to sound in your ears the sentiments of their hearts, the music of their chorus at this glad hour would be like the noise of many waters.
"Gathered together as we now are in this sacred edifice,—sacred not by reason of any superstitious ceremony at the opening, but by the soul-saving miracles of grace subsequently wrought beneath its roof,—it becomes us to greet you first as Pastor of this Ancient Church. More than thirty of those fifty years you chronicle today have been spent in our midst. As our Minister, you are known to the utmost ends of the earth. Richly endowed by the Spirit of God with wisdom and discretion, your conduct as our Ruling Elder has silenced contention and promoted harmony. The three hundred souls you found in fellowship at New Park Street Chapel have multiplied to a fellowship of nearly six thousand in this Tabernacle. And under your watchful oversight the family group has increased without any breach of order.
"You came to us in the freshness of your youth. At that flowering age when boys of good promise are wont to change their curriculum from school to college, you had already developed into manliness, and there was ripe fruit as well as pleasant foliage on your branches. The groundwork of your education appeared to be so solid, and the maturity of your character so thoroughly reliable, that you were unanimously elected by venerable members of the Church of Christ to preside over their councils. The fair prospect of your spring-time has not suffered from any blight. Your natural abilities never betrayed you into indolent habits. The talents you possessed gave stimulus to your diligence. A little prosperity did not elate you, or a measure of success prompt the desire to settle down in some quiet resting-place. You spread your sails to catch the breeze. The ascendency you began to acquire over the popular mind, instead of making you vainglorious, filled you with awe, and increased the rigour of that discipline you have always exercised over yourself. These were happy auguries of your good speed. Not that the utmost vigilance on your part could have sufficed to uphold you amidst the vast and accumulating responsibilities that have devolved on you as the sphere of your ministry widened. He who ruleth in the heavens has screened you in times of peril, and piloted you through shoals and quicksands, through straits and rapids. His grace and his goodness, his promises and his providence, have never failed you. From the hour when you first committed your soul, your circumstances, and your destinies to the keeping of our Lord Jesus Christ, you have never feared such a disaster. To your unwavering faith in his guardian care we venture to attribute the coolness of your head and the courage of your heart in all the great adventures of your life. Some of us have been with you from the beginning of your charge. Since then a generation has almost passed away. According to a law as legibly written as any law of nature, the Scripture has said, 'Instead of the fathers, shall be the children.' Hence, in not a few instances, you must miss the sires while you meet the sons. The retrospect of your career, to those who have followed it throughout, appears like one unbroken series of successes; but as our memory retraces the steps you have taken, we can testify to the exhaustive labours in which you have blithely engaged, the constant self-denial you have cheerfully exercised, and the restless anxieties that have kept you and your comrades incessantly calling on the name of the Lord. By such an experience you have enlarged the field of evangelical enterprise in the various institutions of the church. And it has been your happiness, not only to see the growth of those institutions beyond the most sanguine hopes you cherished when planting them, but to have received the grateful thanks of those who derived unspeakable benefit in partaking of their fruits. Such gratitude demands our notice, though only in the lowest degree. Your skilful generalship has laid ten thousand happy donors to your charities under lasting obligations to you for providing outlets for their benevolence. It has pleased the Lord to make whatever you do to prosper. You have been the faithful steward and the kindly executor of hundreds and thousands of pious individuals, whose fond design has been to lay up treasure for themselves in heaven by paying into the exchequer on earth of their substance, for the widow and the fatherless in their distress, for the poor and those who have no helper. Let the acknowledgments of subscribers to the various purses you hold in your hands, as well as those of recipients, cheer you as you enter on a fresh decade of the days of the years of your earthly pilgrimage.
"An occasion like this is so solemn, and an address like the present is so serious, that we may well search the sacred volume for suitable words. We feel sure that brethren in all parts of the earth pray for you. And we are equally certain that the churches which are in Christ throughout the world glorify God in you. The Lord preserve and keep you to the end. To this hour you have maintained an unsullied reputation among men. Erring as we all are before God, it is our sincere conviction that if such a thing were possible, a second edition of your life, revised by yourself, could hardly be an amendment.
"You braved much calumny on the outset of your career, and you have outlived it. The secularists who once denounced, now salute you. Where your theology has failed to convert them, your philanthropy has sufficed to enchant them. You are lifted in public esteem above suspicion, as a true man—no traitor or time-server. Your kindness to everybody has made everybody kind to you. You have illustrated the force and the fulness of a divine proverb which has puzzled many a philosopher: 'When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.' "If, dear sir, you give us full credit for the intense sympathy we have felt when sickness and sorrow have weakened your strength in the way, you will not deny us the gratification of alluding to the private and domestic joys that pour down like sunbeams on your face and gladden your Jubilee.
"Your beloved and estimable wife, whose life long trembled in the balance, has been restored to health. Had she been less heroic and more exacting in her protracted illness, you must have been more reserved and less generous in the consecration of your time and thought to the good works you were doing. In the stillness of enforced retirement her inventive genius discovered new channels of usefulness. Her 'Book Fund' is beyond all praise. And her delicate mission has been so appreciated, that throughout the British Isles, and in foreign lands, her name has become linked with your own at every station where an ambassador of Christ publishes the glad tidings of the gospel.
"Your father and mother, walking before God in quiet unpretentious piety, have both been spared to see their first-born son in the meridian of a career that has made their once obscure patronymic famous throughout the world.
"Your worthy brother, and trusty yoke-fellow in the pastorate, is still by your side rendering good service, for which his fine business tact, and his manly but modest desire to second all your motions to go forward, eminently qualify him.
"Your two sons have both devoted themselves to the ministry; and each of them in his own sphere of labour has found proof that he was divinely anointed to his pastorate.
"To yourself, however, we turn as a central figure, recognised from afar by tens of thousands of people, to whom your name is an emblem of purity and power, and by whom you are accounted second to none among living Preachers; and your sermons are appreciated as a faithful exposition of the Gospel of God, instinct with the witness of the Holy Spirit, and therefore quickening in their influence on the consciences and the hearts of men.
"On your head we now devoutly invoke those blessings which we believe the Almighty is abundantly willing to bestow.
"May your steps in the future be ordered of the Lord, as they have been in the past. May a generation yet unborn witness that your old age is luxuriant and fruitful as your youth. May your life on earth wind up like the holy Psalter that you so much love. Be it yours to anchor at last in David's Psalm of Praise, prolific as it was of other Psalms, into which no groan or sigh could intrude. So may you rest in the Lord with a vision of the everlasting Kingdom dawning on your eyes, and Hallelujah after Hallelujah resounding in your ears."
—Mr. Spurgeon's Jubilee