Archive for the ‘Visitation Evangelism’ Category

0_engraving_-_one_2_224_west_portI recently gave a lecture (sermon?) on the fascinating and inspiring story of Thomas Chalmers’ West Port Experiment in the slums of Industrial Edinburgh, from 1844-1847.  You can listen to it hereAd urbem!


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The following is an article that appeared in the ARBCA Quarterly Update, Feburary 2012, by the Rev. David Campbell, on Thomas Chalmers’ famous West Port Experiment of the mid-1840’s.  (British punctuation retained! Proper.)

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“The Most Joyful Event of My Life”

So Dr. Thomas Chalmers describes it in a letter to his friend, Mr. Lennox, of New York City. Explaining, he says, “I have been intent for thirty years on the completion of a territorial experiment, and I have now to bless God for the consummation of it. Our church was opened on the 19th of February…I presided myself, on Sabbath last, over its first sacrament. There were 132 communicants, and 100 of them from the West Port.”

0_engraving_-_one_2_224_west_portAnyone know where the West Port is? When I was a student in Edinburgh in the mid 1980s I occasionally walked through it as I made my way to the Free Church College. I recollect it as decent enough, just a little run-down and nondescript. It was very different in the early 1840s. Back then it was one of the worst districts in the city, notorious as the scene of the Burke & Hare murders, and infested with beggars, thieves, and prostitutes. The following will give you a sense for just how bad it was:

“When Mr. Tasker, the minister of the West Port, made his first visits to some of the filthiest closes, it was no uncommon thing for him to find twenty to thirty men, women, and children, huddled together in one putrid dwelling, lying indiscriminately on the floor…Upon one occasion he entered a tenement with from twelve to twenty apartments, where every human being, man and woman, were so drunk they could not hear their own squalid infants crying in vain to them for food…He went once to a funeral, and found the assembled company all so drunk around the corpse, that he had to go and beg some sober neighbours to come and carry the coffin to the grave.”

It was this poor and depraved district that Dr. Chalmers selected for his “territorial experiment”. As the term is his so also will be the explanation: “The very essence of our scheme lies in the thorough operation of what we have called the territorial principle. We limit our attention to a single district or locality, itself split into sub-districts, having each a Christian agent attached to it; so that not a home or family which might not be frequently and habitually visited by one having the charge of not more, if possible, than twenty households.”

Chalmers believed this to be the only effective way of evangelising the degraded and over-crowded districts of major towns and cities, and for years he had been eager to demonstrate what, with the divine blessing, could be achieved. With its 411 families and 2000 inhabitants, its poverty and depravity, the West Port of Edinburgh was an ideal place for the attempt. It was a work, he admitted, “greatly too much for my declining strength” (he was then almost 65). But he threw himself into it heart and soul – and with wonderful results.

The first step was the opening of a school. Almost three-quarters of West Port children were growing up without any education at all. So successful, however, were the district visitors in persuading parents to take advantage of the provision (even though it wasn’t free), that when the school opened on 11th November 1844 there were 64 day students and 57 evening students. In the course of the first year the numbers grew to 250. Most of them were from the West Port.

The school was located in an old tanning-loft. In the same place, on Sunday morning the 22nd of December 1844, public worship was held for the first time. It was a far from attractive location: “The interior was bare and dilapidated; the walls coarse and unplastered, pierced her and there with little, dingy, unsightly windows; the roof low and scantily slated, scarcely affording decent shelter; the floor decayed, uneven, and shaking at every tread.”

Dr Chalmers’ son-in-law and future biographer, William Hanna, was present at the evening service. “When we looked round and saw that the whole fruit of the advices, and requests, and entreaties which for many previous weeks had been brought to bear upon all the families by the visitors, was the presence of about a dozen adults, and those mostly old women, we confess to strong misgivings as to the result.” In April 1845, however, Chalmers secured the help of William Tasker, later the West Port minister, and attendance grew under his ministry.

Dr. Chalmers himself, as health permitted, met with the district visitors once a week for discussion, encouragement, counsel, and prayer. He also habitually attended the Sunday services, sometimes as a preacher, often as a hearer. An eyewitness records that “when he was a hearer only, one would see him near the pulpit, in a crowd of deaf old women, who were meanly clothed, but who followed the services with unflagging attention and interest. His eye was upon every one of them, to anticipate their wishes and difficulties. He would help one old woman to find out the text; he would take hold of the Psalm-book of another, hand to hand, and join her in the song of praise. Any one looking at him could see that he was in a state of supreme enjoyment; he could not be happier out of heaven.”

The West Port was deeply upon his heart. In prayers that only came to light after his death we hear requests like this: “Moving fearlessly onward, may I at length obtain such possession of the West Port, as that the gospel of Jesus Christ shall have the moral ascendancy over a goodly number of its families”. “O that I were enabled to pull down the strongholds of sin and of Satan which are there”. “Do thou plentifully endow him [Mr. Tasker] with the graces and gifts of the Apostle Paul. May he have many souls for his hire”. “O may he not only be himself saved, but may he be the instrument of salvation to many.”

On Friday 19th February 1847, the West Port Church was formally opened by Dr. Chalmers. On the 25th of April, as we noted in the opening paragraph, Chalmers presided at the Lord’s Supper. On the following Monday he wrote to William Tasker: “I have got now the desire of my heart – the church is finished, the schools are flourishing, our ecclesiastical machinery is about complete, and all in good working order. God has indeed heard my prayer, and I could now lay down my head in peace and die.” And thirty-five days later that is exactly what he did.

It was feared that that the work would founder with him gone. It did not. Three hundred seats had been let when the church opened and attendance continued to grow steadily. By 1879 the membership was in excess of eleven hundred. By 1896 the number of communicants was upwards of 1300. Also, and almost from the beginning, through the educating of the children, through the efforts of the visitors, and through the public preaching of God’s word, the district itself began to visibly change for the better. It was all a magnificent monument not just to Chalmers’ labours and prayers, but to his faith. He loved the maxim of John Eliot, missionary to native Americans, that “prayer and pains can do anything”. He used to quote it often. And be believed it.

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Glasgow_map_1878“Now the specific business which we would like to put into the hands of a Christian minister is, not that he should fill his church any how – that he may do by the superior attractiveness of his preaching, at the expense of previous congregations, and without any movement in advance on the practical heathenism of the community: But what we want is, to place his church in the middle of such a territory as we have now specified and to lay upon him a task, for the accomplishment of which we should allow him to the labour and preference of a whole lifetime; not to fill his church any how, but to fill this church out of that district. We should give him the charge over head, of one and all of its families; and tell him, that, instead of seeking hearers from without, he should so shape and regulate his movements, that, as far as possible, his church-room might all be taken up by hearers from within. It is this peculiar relation between his church, and its contiguous households, all placed within certain geographical limits, that distinguishes him from the others as a territorial minister.”

– Thomas Chalmers

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Chalmers standingThe following are the words of exhortation Dr. Thomas Chalmers gave to his ruling elders upon their induction to office to the newly formed St. John’s parish in Glasgow, in 1819.  These men were installed not simply to attend to the communicant and baptized membership, but each was assigned a small district of contiguous households  within the parish.  They were thus ordained as missionaries to all within the limits of their assignment, visiting each house in turn, seeking lost sheep.  The address below highlights the tension frequently stressed by Chalmers – the obligation diligently to use all lawful means to reclaim the unsaved and at the same time to look alone to the Mighty Spirit to bring it all to pass.

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“The whole habit and tendency of my thoughts on the subject of Christian usefulness incline me to attach a far higher importance to your relationship with the parish of St. John’s than to your relationship with the Church, and I do honestly believe, that never till the rights of parishes come to be better respected, never till the attention of ministers and elders be more restricted to the population of a given local territory, never till God put it into the hearts of men to go forth among our heathen at home with the same zeal and enthusiasm which are expected of missionaries who go abroad, will there be any thing like a revival of religion throughout the mass of our city families, or a reclaiming of them from those sad habits of alienation from God and from goodness into which the vast majority of them have fallen.

“There is one circumstance of encouragement which you will soon in the course of your movements through the districts that arc assigned to you be enabled to verify by your own experience. All the householders, with scarcely one exception, and whatever be their character in respect of Christianity, will welcome you with the utmost cordiality and courteousness. There is something in the very presence of one human being when he comes with the feelings and the desires of friendship, which serves to conciliate and to subdue another human being. Bear an honest regard to the people, and the people will, in spite of themselves, bear you an honest regard back again. This is what may be called an open door for you in the first instance, and the effect of frequent intercourse between the higher and lower orders of life in tranquilizing the general spirit of a community, and softening their malignant antipathies which else might ferment and fester and break out into. open violence, and consolidating something like a system of brotherhood through a mighty aggregate of human beings, this I say would confer a civil blessing on the establishment of an eldership that is altogether incalculable.

“But it must be remarked, on the other hand, that so wide and universal a welcome from the families may lead at the outset to a most delusive anticipation. A civil comes more easily and readily than a Christian effect. You are not to infer, because the good will of the people can be so immediately carried, that the conversion of the people will therefore speedily follow in its train. There is much of what is constitutionally attractive among men distinct and apart from any religious tendencies; and there is none who sets himself in good earnest to the working of a Christian effect, that will not soon feel himself engaged in a business where aids and instruments are necessary that are altogether superhuman. You will, in particular, be struck with the obstinate and determinate stand which the manhood of the population will make to all your proofs and all your earnestness. In sad proof of the progressive hardening of conscience will it be seen how arduous if not how impossible it is, with all the arts and resources of Christian philanthropy, to make any sensible advances on those who have been suffered to ascend from boyhood without the Word and without the ordinances.

“It is this which has shut up so many adventurers on the field of Christian usefulness, both at home and abroad, to the melancholy conclusion, that the grown-up generation are to be given up in despair, and that the hope of brighter and better days all lies with the capabilities of the young; and I certainly do recommend, among the foremost objects of your attention, the encouragement of those religious schools which may be situated within the limits of your respective localities, and for the discouragements which you will experience in the obstinacy and immovableness of many parents, you will often meet with a cheering compensation in the

promise and docility of their children.

“At the same time, I would never give up any human being in despair. Forget not the affirmation of the missionary Eliot, that it was in the power of pains and of prayers to do any thing. We are apt to confide in the efficacy and wisdom of our own arrangements—to set up a framework of skillful contrivance, and think that so good an apparatus will surely be productive of something—to please ourselves with parochial constitutions, and be quite sanguine that on the strength of elderships and deaconships, and a machinery of schools and agents, and moralizing processes, some great and immediate effect is to follow. But we may just as well think that a system of aqueducts will irrigate and fertilize the country without rain, as think that any human economy will Christianize a parish without the living water of the Spirit—without the dew df heaven descending upon the human administrators, and following them in their various movements through the houses and families under their superintendence. Still it is right to have a parochial constitution, just as it is right to have aqueducts. But the supply of the essential influence cometh from above. God will put to shame the proud confidence of man in the efficacy of his own wisdom, and He will have all the glory of all the spiritual good that is done in the world, and your piety will, therefore, work a tenfold mightier effect than your talents, in the cause you have undertaken; and your pains without your prayers will positively do nothing in this way, though it must be confessed that prayers without pains are just as unproductive, and that because they must be such prayers of insincerity as can not rise with acceptance to heaven. It is the union of both which best promises an apostolical effect to your truly apostolical office; and with theso few simple remarks do I commend you to Him who alone can bles3 you in this laudable undertaking, and give comfort and efficacy to the various duties that are involved with it.”

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“If a poor child be capable of being thus transformed, how it should move the heart of a city philanthropist, when he thinks of the amazing extent of raw material, for this moral and spiritual manufacture that is on every side of him—when he thinks, that in going forth on some Christian enterprise among a population, he is, in truth, walking among the rudiments of a state that is to be everlasting—that out of the most loathsome and unseemly abodes, a glory can be extracted, which will weather all the storms, and all the vicissitudes of this world’s history—that in the filth and raggedness of a hovel, that is to be found, on which all the worth of heaven, as well as all the endurance of heaven, can be imprinted—that he is, in a word, dealing in embryo with the elements of a great and future empire, which is to rise, indestructible and eternal, on the ruins of all that is earthly, and every member of which shall be a king and a priest for evermore.”

– Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847)

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James Bannerman (1807-1868), one of the “Disruption Worthies,” wrote a comprehensive two-volume work on the Presbyterian doctrine of the Church, The Church of Christ.  It is a definitive treatment of the subject and really ought to be on the shelf of every Reformed minister, if not of every Reformed head of household.

The following quote comes from a selection in the first volume on the subject of the necessity of a friendly connection between the Church and State.  One of the reasons is that the State cannot be altogether neutral to the universal claims of the of the Kingdom of God within its boundaries.  While the Church does not have a right to interfere in the sphere of civil government, yet it demands audience from king and people of all lands.  Her warrant comes from none less than the Most High:

[The Church’s] first principle and first duty is that of aggression. The ministers of the Gospel claim it as a right to go into every nation, however fenced around and guarded from intrusion, and to demand an entrance in the name of Him who sent them, even although the magistrate should bid them depart from his coasts. Further still, the messengers of the Cross arrogate to themselves thee title to enter into every human dwelling where a sinner is to be found, – seeking admittance in the name of the Saviour of sinners, that they may negotiate with the inhabitant in behalf of their Master, however sternly the door may be closed against them by jealousy of their errand, or hatred to their cause.

It has been the eloquent boast of freedom in our country, that every man’s house is his castle; and that, be it but a straw-built shed, open to every breath of heaven, yet fenced about by the protection and the sanction of law, there even ‘the king cannot and dare not enter.’  But where the king cannot enter, there the missionary of Christ claims to be admitted; and, with a higher warrant in his hand than that of human law, bids the gates be lifted up, that with the Gospel he may enter in” (The Church of Christ, 1:142).

Too often we fail to appreciate this authoritative dimension to missions.  While the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be patient with all men, yet he is not go to into the world hat-in-hand.  Mission forbids timidity, for we have been sent by the King of kings.   No, we should not force entry, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.  Yet alternately, we should not so ‘respect’ the boundaries of men when our Lord counts it no trespass.  It is His claim after all, the deed and grant of His Father.  And the warrant is in our hand.

So let us go.  Aggressively.

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The following essay by A. T. Pierson, successor to Charles Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, is a nice little overview of Dr. Chalmers’ heroic Christian labors among the urban poor.  Before wading into Pierson, two observations from the essay. 

While I’m very familiar with the old West Port story, one of Pierson’s statements raised yet another angle on territorial outreach that I hadn’t considered in awhile.  The old, Reformed territorial plan helps reduce evangelistic recidivism. 

Second, I’m reminded of how Chalmers’ care for the unchurched aimed to ‘elevate’ that culture, if you will, into the culture of the Church.  Here’s a positive model for modern Reformed missions.  Cultural sensitivity, o.k.  But faithful mission ultimately means the inculturation (reformation?) of the outsider.  That may seem patronizing; but then again, so is mission.  For more on that, read on!

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By A. T. Pierson, D.D. (Presbyterian), Philadelphia.

Dr. Thomas Chalmers is a name especially worthy of a permanent record, as one of the men who led the way in the practical solution of that great problem of our civilization: How to deal with the masses in our great cities.

At his sixty-fifth year we find this greatest of Scotchmen on fire with all his youthful ardor, in this mission to the masses in Edinburgh, in which, as in Ephesus, the gold, silver, and precious stones of the sacred fanes and palaces were in strong contrast to the wood, hay, stubble of the huts and hovels of the poor. With sublime devotion Chalmers at this advanced age, when most men retire from active and arduous toil, entered upon the most difficult experiment of his life, that he might demonstrate by a practical example what can be done for the poor and neglected districts in a great metropolis.

The West Port, in the “old town” of Edinburgh, was the home of a population, whose condition may be described by two words, poverty and misery.  He undertook to redeem this heathen district by the Gospel, planting in it schools and a church for the people, and organizing Christian disciples into a band of voluntary visitors.  The name “territorial system” was attached to the plan as he worked it, and has passed into history under that sonorous title.

In St. John’s parish, Glasgow, he had already proved the power of visitation and organization.  Within his parochial limits he found 2,161 families, 845 of them without any seats in a place of worship.  He assigned to each visitor about fifty families.  Applications for relief were dealt with systematically, and so carefully yet thoroughly that not a case either of scandalous allowance or scandalous neglect was ever made known against him and his visitors.  There was a severe scrutiny to find out the fact and the causes of poverty, to remove necessary want and remedy unnecessary want by removing its cause.  The bureau of intelligence made imposture and trickery hopeless, especially on a second attempt.  And not only was poverty relieved, but at a cost which is amazingly small.  While in other parishes of Glasgow it averaged £200 to every 1,000 of the population, and in many parishes of England it averaged a pound for every inhabitant, in St. John’s it was but thirty pounds for 1,000 people!

It was an illustration of heroism in these latter days, when a man passed threescore years, whose public career both with his pen and tongue had made him everywhere famous, gave up his latter days to elevate the physical, mental, moral and spiritual condition of a squalid population in an obscure part of the modern Athens.  His theory was that about 400 families constituted a manageable town parish, and that for every such territorial district there ought to be a church and a school, as near as may be, free to all.  This district in West Port contained about this number of families, which were subdivided into twenty “proportions,” each containing some twenty families.

A careful census, taken by visiting, revealed that of 411 families forty-five were attached to some Protestant church, seventy were Roman Catholics, and 296 had no church connection.  Out of a gross population of 2,000, 1,500 went to no place of worship; and of 411 children of school age, 290 were growing up entirely in ignorance.  It is a curious fact that these 411 families averaged one child each of appropriate age for school; and that of these 411 children there were about as many growing up untaught as there were families without church connection.  This careful compilation of statistics revealed that the proportion of ignorance and of non-attendance at church correspond almost exactly; in other words, families that attend a place of worship commonly send children to school, and the reverse.

Another fact unveiled by this effort at city evangelization was that about one fourth of the inhabitants of this territory were paupers, receiving out-door relief, and one-fourth were habitual, professional beggars, tramps, thieves, and riff-raff.

Here was a field indeed for an experiment as to what the Church could do in her mission among the masses. Chalmers was hungry for such an opportunity; it stirred all his Scotch blood.  So he set his visitors at work.  But he did not himself stand aloof.  Down into the “wynds” and alleys and “closes” of West Port he went; he presided at their meetings, counselled them sympathetically, identified himself with the whole plan in its formation and execution, while his own contagious enthusiasm and infectious energy gave stimulus to the most fainthearted.  He loved to preach to these people, not less than to the most elegant audiences of the capital, or the elect students of the university.  He would mount into a loft to meet a hundred of the poorest, as gladly as ascend the pulpit of the most fashionable cathedral church, crowded with the elite of the world’s metropolis.  And those ragged boys and girls hung on his words with characteristic admiration.

Two years of toil, with the aid of Rev. W. Tasker, enabled Dr. Chalmers to open a new free church in this district; the Lord’s Supper was administered, and out of 132 communicants one hundred were trophies of the work done by him and his helpers in that obscure district. With a prophetic forecast Chalmers saw in this success the presage of greater possibilities, and a practical solution of the problem of city evangelization; and hence he confessed it was the joy of his life, and the answer to many prayers.

The plan pursued by Dr. Chalmers was not at all like the modern evangelistic services, an effort spasmodic if not sporadic, preaching for a few weeks in some church edifice or public hall or tabernacle, and then passing into some other locality, leaving to others to gather up results and make them permanent.  From the most promising beginnings of the sort, how often have we been compelled to mourn that so small harvests have been ultimately gleaned!  He organized systematic work that looked to lasting results.  The plowman and the sower of seed bore his sickle and watched for the signs of harvest.  And whenever the germs of a divine life appeared, they were nurtured, cherished, guarded, and converts were added to the Church, set at work, kept under fostering care, and not left to scatter, wander at will, or relapse into neglect.

As to his mode of dealing with pauperism, the sagacious Chalmers saw that while a ministry of love to the poor, sick, helpless, was a first necessity, it would be unwise and hurtful to their best interests to encourage them to depend on charity. The Church must not be an asylum in which indolence and incompetence and improvidence should take refuge. The poorest must be educated to maintain, not to sacrifice, self-respect, and must be compelled to form and maintain habits of self-help, industry, economy, thrift. Instead of clothing the poor with the half-worn garments of the better classes, he would have them taught to save money worse than wasted on tobacco, drink and vicious indulgence, and buy their own garments.  And the results of this wise policy were seen in the gradual and rapid improvement in appearance of the attendance at church—rags gave way to respectable raiment, and it was not the castoff clothing of their betters, either.

Chalmers had no less an ambition than to ameliorate and finally abolish pauperism; and his success in St. John’s parish, Glasgow, had proven that he was master of the situation; and no one can tell what results might have followed but for the poor law, enacted in 1845, which, by the admission of a statutory right to public relief, encourages improvidence, weakens family ties among the poor, conduces to a morbid satisfaction with a state of dependence, and thus sows the seed of the very pauperism it professes to relieve and reduce.

[Taken from The Pulpit Treasury: An Evangelical Monthly, Vol. 5, 1887-88]

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The following is an extract from Thomas Chalmers’ personal notes from house to house visitation in his first parish of Kilmany, with comment by William Hanna, editor of his Memoirs.  It well illustrates the Scottish Reformed legacy of the spiritual care for all souls in a defined geographical area as well as the ancillary custom of pastoral journaling.  Here are the records of a true, spiritual physician.

A few specifics are worthy of special observation.  Note the frequent entreaties raised to the Lord, reminiscent of another memoir-writer, Nehemiah (Neh. 2:4, 5:19, 6:14, 13:14, 22, 29, 31).  Here is one devoting himself to the ministry of the Word and prayer.  We also should observe amid these ‘ejaculatory’ prayers an ongoing willingness to engage in self-criticism.  May we too rest in the Lord for whom we labor, and not in our labors themselves.  They are fraught with sin and imperfection – “but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Cor. 3:5). 

Last, Hanna includes an overview of Chalmers’ practice of catechizing, in the well-worn path of the old Church of Scotland practice.  His method was evidently very gracious and dialogical, yet it clearly honored the high authority vested in the Catechism’s biblical doctrines.  Firmness in confession, pastoral finesse in method.  A delicate balance indeed!

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“February 15th, 1813.—Visited Mrs. B., who is unwell, and prayed. Let me preach Christ in all simplicity, and let me have a peculiar eye on others. I spoke of looking unto Jesus, and deriving thence all our delight and confidence. O God, give me wisdom and truth in this household part of my duty.

“February 21st.— Visited at Dalyell Lodge. They are in great affliction for the death of a child. I prayed with them. O God, make me wise and faithful, and withal affectionate in my management of these cases. I fear that something of the sternness of systematic orthodoxy adheres to me. Let me give up all sternness; but let me never give up the only name by which men can be saved, or the necessity of forsaking all to follow Him, whether as a Saviour or a Prince.

“March 25th.— Visited a young man in consumption. The call not very pleasant; but this is of no consequence. O my God, direct me how to do him good.

“June 2d.— Mr. ——— sent for me in prospect of death; a man of profligate and profane habits, who resents my calling him an unworthy sinner, and who spoke in loud and confident strains of his faith in Christ, and that it would save him. O God, give me wisdom in these matters to declare the whole of thy counsel for the salvation of men. I represented to him the necessity of being born again, of being humbled under a sense of his sins, of repenting and turning from them. O may I turn it to my own case. If faith in Christ is so unsuitable from his mouth because he still loves sin, and is unhumbled because of it, should not the conviction be forced upon me that I labor myself under the same unsuitableness?  O my God, give me a walk suitable to my profession, and may the power of Christ rest upon me.

“June 4th.— Visited Mr  — again. Found him worse, but displeased at my method of administering to his spiritual wants. He said that it was most unfortunate that he had sent for me; talked of my having inspired him with gloomy images, but seemed quite determined to buoy himself up in Antinomian security.  He did not ask me to pray. I said a little to him, and told him that I should be ready to attend him whenever he sent for me.

“August 9th.— Miss — under religious concern. O my God, send her help from Thy sanctuary. Give me wisdom for these cases.  Let me not heal the wound slightly; and, oh, while I administer comfort in Christ, may it be a comfort according to godliness. She complains of the prevalence of sin. Let me not abate her sense of its sinful ness. Let me preach Christ in all his entireness, as one that came to atone for the guilt of sin, and to redeem from its power.

“March 15th, 1814.—Poor Mr. Bonthron, I think, is dying. I saw him and prayed, after a good deal of false delicacy. O my God, give me to be pure of his blood, and to bear with effect upon his conscience. Work faith in him with power. I have little to record in the way of encouragement. He does not seem alarmed himself about the state of his health, and, I fear, has not a sufficient alarm upon more serious grounds. It is a difficult and heavy task for me; and when I think of my having to give an account of the souls committed to me, well may I say, Who is sufficient for these things?

“March 23d.— Mr. Bonthron was able to be out, and drank tea with us. I broke the subject of eternity with him. He acquiesces; you carry his assent always along with you, but you feel as if you have no point of resistance, and are making no impression.

“March 26th and 27th.—Prayed each of these days with Mr. Bonthron. I did not feel that any thing like deep or saving impression was made. O Lord, enable me to be faithful!

“April 3d.—Visited John Bonthron.

“April 5th.—Prayed with more enlargement with John than usual. I see no agitations of remorse; but should this prevent me from preaching Christ in His freeness?  The whole truth is the way to prevent abuses.

“April 6th and 8th Visited Mr. Bonthron.

“April 9th.—Read and commented on a passage of the Bible to John. This I find a very practicable, and I trust effectual way of bringing home the truth to him.”

The next day was the Sabbath, on the morning of which a message was brought to the manse that Mr. Bonthron was worse. While the people were assembling for worship, Mr. Chalmers went to see him once more, and, surrounded by as many as the room could admit, he prayed fervently at his bedside. No trace remains of another visit.

Prosecuting his earlier practice of visiting and examining in alternate years, he commenced a visitation of his parish in 1813, which, instead of being finished in a fortnight, was spread over the whole year. As many families as could conveniently be assembled in one apartment were in the first instance visited in their own dwellings, where, without any religious exercise, a free and cordial conversation, longer or shorter as the case required, informed him as to the condition of the different households. When they afterward met together, he read the Scriptures, prayed, and exhorted, making at times the most familiar remarks, using very simple yet memorable illustrations. “I have a very lively recollection,” says Mr. Robert Edie, “of the intense earnestness of his addresses on occasions of visitation in my father’s house, when he would unconsciously move forward on his chair to the very margin of it, in his anxiety to impart to the family and servants the impressions of eternal things that so filled his own soul.”  “It would take a great book,” said he, beginning his address to one of these household congregations, “to contain the names of all the individuals that have ever lived, from the days of Adam down to the present hour; but there is one name that takes in the whole of them—that name is sinner: and here is a message from God to every one that bears that name, ‘ The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.'” Wishing to tell them what kind of faith God would have them to cherish, and what kind of fear, and how it was that, instead of hindering each other, the right fear and the right faith worked into each other’s hands, he said, “It is just as if you threw out a rope to a drowning man. Faith is the hold he takes of it. It is fear which makes him grasp it with all his might; and the greater his fear, the firmer his hold.” Again, to illustrate what the Spirit did with the Word: “This book, the Bible, is like a wide and beautiful landscape, seen afar off, dim and confused; but a good telescope will bring it near, and spread out all its rocks, and trees, and flowers, and verdant fields, and winding rivers at one’s very feet. That telescope is the Spirit’s teaching.”

His own records of one or two of these visitations are instructive:

“February 18th, 1813.—Visited at Bogtown, Hawkhill, and East Kinneir. No distinct observation of any of them being impressed with what I said. At East Kinneir I gave intimation that if any labored under difficulties, or were anxious for advice upon spiritual and divine subjects, I am at all times in readiness to help them. Neglected this intimation at Hawkhill, but let me observe this ever after.

” February 16th.— A diet of visitation at ——. Had intimate conversation only with M. W. I thought the —— a little impressed with my exhortation about family worship, and the care of watching over the souls of their children. I should like to understand if —— has family worship.

” March 9th.—Visited at ——. The children present.  This I think highly proper, and let me study a suitable and impressive address to them in all time coming.

“May 19th.— Visited at ——. I am not sure if Icould perceive any thing like salutary impression among them; but I do not know, and perhaps I am too apt to be discouraged. C. S. and J. P. the most promising. O my God, give me to grow in the knowledge and observation of the fruits of the Spirit and of His work upon the hearts of sinners.

“August 9th—Visited at Hill Cairney. Resigned myself to the suggestions of the moment, at least did not adhere to the plan of discourse that I had hitherto adopted. I perceived an influence to go along with it. O my God, may this influence increase more and more. I commit the success to Thee.”

In examining his parish he divided it into districts, arranging it so that the inhabitants of each district could be accommodated in some neighboring barn or school-house. On the preceding Sabbath all were summoned to attend, when it was frequently announced that the lecture then delivered would form the subject of remark and catechizing. Generally, however, the Shorter Catechism was used as the basis of the examination. Old and young, male and female, were required to stand up in their turn, and not only to give the answer as it stood in the Catechism, but to show, by their replies to other questions, whether they fully understood that answer. What in many hands might have been a formidable operation, was made light by the manner of the examiner. When no reply was given, he hastened to take all the blame upon himself. “I am sure,” he would say, “I have been most unfortunate in putting the question in that particular way,” and then would change its form.  He was never satisfied till an answer of some kind or other was obtained. The attendance on these examinations was universal, and the interest taken in them very great. They informed the minister of the amount of religious knowledge possessed by his people, and he could often use them as convenient opportunities of exposing any bad practice which had been introduced, or was prevailing in any particular part of his parish. Examining thus at a farm-house, one of the plowmen was called up. The question in order was, “Which is the eighth commandment?”  ” But what is stealing?”  “Taking what belongs to another, and using it as if it were your own.”  “Would it be stealing, then, in you to take your master’s oats or hay, contrary to his orders, and give it to his horses?”  This was one of the many ways in which he sought to instill into the minds of his people a high sense of justice and truth, even in the minutest transactions of life.

“November 30, 1813.—Examined at . J. W. and B. T. both in tears.  The former came out to me agitated and under impression.

“January 20th, 1814.—Had a day of examination, and felt more of the presence and unction of the Spirit than usual.

“January 21st—Had a day of examination. Made a simple commitment of myself to God in Christ before entering into the house.

“February 8th—Examined, and have to bless God for force and freeness.  D. absenting himself from all ordinances. Let me be fearless at least in my general address, and give me prudence and resolution, O Lord, in the business of particularly addressing individuals.  I pray that God may send home the message with power to the people’s hearts.

“February 23d.—Examined ——. A very general seriousness and attention. B. and his wife still, I fear, very much behind.

“April 5th.—Examined at P.  I can see something like a general seriousness, but no decided marks in any individual.

“March 8th.— Examined at S.   The man P. B. deficient in knowledge, and even incapable of reading; the father of a family too.  I receive a good account of ——. Oh! that they may be added to the number of such as shall be saved.

“July 2d.—Examined with more enlargement and seriousness.  I feel as if there was an intelligence and good spirit among the people. O God, satisfy me with success; but I commit all to Thee.

“July 27th—Examined at ——. The family afraid of examination, I think, and they sent me into a room by myself among the servants. This I liked not; but, O God, keep me from all personal feeling on the occasion. I brought it on myself by my own accommodating speeches. I have too much of the fear of man about me. Never felt more dull and barren. I feel my dependence on God. I pray for a more earnest desire after the Christianity of my parish, and, oh may that desire be accomplished. O God, fit a poor, dark, ignorant, and wandering creature for being a minister of Thy word!  Uphold me by Thy free Spirit, and then will I teach transgressors Thy ways.”

The family here referred to was that of a farmer recently settled in the parish, and who, unfamiliar with the practice of examination, felt at the first a not unnatural reluctance to be subjected to it. On his return to the manse, Mr. Chalmers jotted down the preceding impressive notice of his reception and its result. In the afternoon of the same day he went back to the family; told them that, as they had not come to him in the morning, he had just come to them in the evening to go over the exercise with themselves. The frank and open kindness of the act won their instant compliance, and brought its own reward.

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The following is extracted from Thomas Cochrane’s Home Mission Work (1878).  The chapter, “The Territorial System,” is a nice overview of the urban mission strategy advocated by Thomas Chalmers.

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In the later years of his eventful life, with all the experience and mellow ripeness of a mind that had given very much of the best of its powers to the advocacy and outworking of the grand old parochial system of Scotland, the illustrious Dr Chalmers, while carrying on with undimmed and undiminished lustre the labours of his distinguished professoriate, worked out, alongside of this theoretical training for the students of theology, the grand practical work of Territorialism. He thus devised and carried out, in a most singularly successful way, a scheme which, because it sought to cope with all the difficulties, and to grapple with all the obstructions that might be encountered, and set itself to the prosecution of true mission work, in a certain selected locality or territory, and to cultivate regularly and thoroughly that district so assumed, has been most fitly termed— “The Territorial System.

In the great metropolis of the West, among her merchant princes, in St John’s parish there, Dr Chalmers had previously developed, and very successfully worked out, under the wing of the State, the system, as strictly parochial; now he was to unfold and develop the same system, minus State support and State influence in any way.

The chosen field in Edinburgh, “The West Port, was the most unlikely, and, seemingly, unpropitious that could have been selected.

The hall opened for public worship was an “old Tan Loft,” near to the spot which had earned an unenviable notoriety, because of revolting murders that had been perpetrated—more revolting than any that had either before or since disgraced the fair escutcheon of that noble city—a locality where purity and outward decency alike blushed for very shame!

Nothing daunted, however, that truly great man, surrounded by a staff of devoted volunteers, went forth into the thick of the conflict, to do battle with the sin and crime that met them, at every corner of the district, and to soothe the sorrows and assuage the trials of human misery and woe.

It was indeed a noble scheme, a grand enterprise; and let that interesting chapter, “The West Port,” in the classic and eloquent biography of Dr Chalmers, written by his son-in-law, the late Dr Hanna, tell in his inimitable style, how, under more than wizard wand, of that Great Moral Conjuror, the wilderness became a fruitful field, and the desert rejoiced and blossomed as the rose, becoming “A Garden of the Lord.

All around now in Edinburgh, from the west to the extreme east, ‘neath the shadow of hoar Holyrood, there have been erected churches and schools upon this territorial system, so that, in addition to “The West Port,” there are more than seven other churches with as many ministers, and fully equipped agencies and congregations, carrying on with greater or less success the operations of the Territorial system.

Glasgow, too, has had her full share of the benefits of this scheme. The development of this system, however, is not confined to Edinburgh or Glasgow. Many other large towns in Scotland, such as Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, &c, have reaped golden harvests from the seed sown, through the carrying out of this important work; while England, too, in measure, has caught the infection and influence, from the spell of the mighty charmer, who though “being dead, yet speaketh,” while his works, all around, follow him; and far hence, away across the broad Atlantic, the winds have wafted on and o’er the story, and there, too, in several instances, the system is being tested and tried.

In the prelude to his lecture on “Transcendentalism, Dr Joseph Cook of Boston, rehearses the story of “The West Port,” and presses upon his readers the importance and moral grandeur of the scheme; while, as Dr Cook himself informed us, when on a visit to this country, the system has been found in America to be the only true system for elevating the community, civilly, socially, and morally.

It may here be stated that the system, both scholastically and ecclesiastically, can be worked out in such a manner as to be self-sustaining; so that the big thoughts, and large desires of the illustrious founder, have not only been proved not to be Utopian, but fruitfully workable; and that too, not only during his distinguished life, under his own eye, and by the cunning of his own right hand; but now, also, a full generation after he has been gathered to his fathers, the work progresses and advances still more and more, and we believe will continue to do so, after its present promoters have gone the way of all the earth.

It may be argued, however, that if so much has been done,—if such harvests have been, or are being ripened and reaped all round, in the town and country districts of Scotland, and elsewhere, is there still need for the advocacy and extension of the practical outworking of this scheme? There is much land yet to be possessed. When we are reminded that in Edinburgh alone, there are perhaps not less than forty thousand, in Glasgow a much larger number, while over broad Scotland, there are about five hundred thousand living in entire neglect of the means of grace; living “without God,” if not dying “without hope,” we cannot fail to perceive that this scheme is of prime importance, and that the necessity for the thorough outworking of it is as great as ever.


The idea of the great founder of the scheme, in regard to the chosen district, was very decided. His firm and unwavering conviction was, that the field selected should be very carefully and deliberately chosen, and that it should be of adequate proportions,—not too large, lest it should not be fully and thoroughly cultivated; not too small, lest there should not be a population sufficiently large to yield material for a good, self-supporting congregation.

Holding these views strongly, Dr Chalmers was in the habit of affirming that a population of about 2000 was quite large enough, in ordinary circumstances, for the purpose in view, and that a district less populous was not adequate for the formation of a Territorial Congregation. Hence a district of about 400 families, or 2000 of a population, according to the system under review, would require about forty visitors in order to cultivate it thoroughl, giving manageable sub-divisions of about ten families to each agent.


The duties of visitors may be regarded in many aspects (see pages 57-60), but the great, the chief duty is to visit their districts, with a view of promoting the highest good of the families in the district allocated to them. Assuming the visitor to be truly Christian, and devoted to the work, how very much will depend upon the judiciousness manifested in the discharge of duty. What care will be required, lest their visits should hinder, rather than help on the work to be accomplished. How important, all-important, to make the families visited feel that we are really and truly their friend; that we visit, not with a prying over-curious eye to spy into their household affairs, far less in a censorious spirit, ever insinuating our fancied superiority, and finding fault with what, we imagine, may be their little delinquencies; but that, placing ourselves upon the same platform on which they stand, we thus make it clear that we have their highest good at heart, and have love in our heart for them, as well as expressed sympathy upon our lip with them. Hence our aim should be to influence the heart for good.

“They build too low who build beneath the skies.”  They aim too low who aim not at the heart.  The effect of mere gossip in visiting, is always fruitless, if not of evil tendency.  By all means let us be happy, with a gleam of sunshine ever lighting up our countenances.  By all means let our words he happy words, and happy social words.  If time permit there may be talk about the common affairs of life, and the current events of the day; but we should never let our conversation degenerate into flippant talk, idle talk, or jesting which is not convenient; and, if possible, we should never leave any house, without making it clear that our object in visiting was with respect to the highest good of the family.

Even in the distribution of tracts let us have a care of the manner we manifest in so doing. Let us keep in view that, while we are as messengers of mercy bearing the silent message in the tract we give, we are to make it plain that we need the message we bear, as well as those to whom we bear it, as Mr M’Cheyne would have said, in his own tender, touching way, “I need it, my brother, as well as you.”  Or, as we have it from an inspired pen, “We, that we say not you.”

The importance of house-to-house visitation can never be over-estimated. There may be—there are —some who weary in this seemingly slow process, and who would fain “rush into print,” in placards large, fancying that by sleight-of-hand, or speed of foot, or by monster meetings in large halls, and other general schemes, they may speedily evangelise the outlying population in our vast moral wastes.  All success to these, and every good scheme!  It is not so, generally, however, that this work is to be done. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.  The patient, laborious, conscientious worker, who realizes what is implied in faithful labour for the Great Master, is the labourer that will here prevail.  If it be true that the time shall come when they shall no more teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” does not this imply that, until that time shall have come, this system should be carried on?  And here, again, the conscientious worker must be content to be hidden from the world’s eye, but work ever under the eye of His Lord and Master. He must be willing to be unknown, perhaps unheard of.  Down in the damp, dark cellar;  high, in the lone garret room; concealed in some back court where the sun scarce shines; or in the loathsome land, where fever holds its perpetual sway, and revels, in the luxury of human misery, all prodigal of life,—there must the visitor be prepared to labour, there the missionary be contented to toil, from day to day.

” Go labour on, ’tis not for nought:
Thy earthly loss is heavenly gain;
Men heed thee, love thee, praise thee not;
The Master praises; what are men?”

Prevention is better than cure.“—There are congregations whose membership may not be able to supply agents for carrying out the scheme we have been commending, and where it would be of immense advantage, to such a congregation, to have the scheme thoroughly and earnestly worked out, in connection with their own work, and into their own congregation.  In such a case why should not some healthy and vigorous, if not wealthy and numerous, congregation, come with all its flow of life and love, and work for, at least, if not in connection with the work of such a congregation?   Would not many a struggling congregation thus take heart and begin anew? Would not many a downcast and cheerless minister obtain encouragement, and gird on with fresh ardour the armour of the Gospel of Peace?  Nay, would not this be a true exhibition of the members of the church, looking “not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others;” and of manifesting in the clearest sense, how the strong could help the weak, thus showing to the world and the Church alike that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”?

Having, throughout the volume, touched upon the main features of the Territorial system, and having had the privilege, for very many years, of being a humble labourer in the Territorial field, in closing our remarks we may be permitted to say that the longer we have laboured in the outworking of the system, the more thoroughly have we been convinced of the value and effectiveness of it.

One of our greatest and sincerest regrets is, that we should have been so little able to do anything like justice to it. We feel this all the more, that we are not now so agile, as heretofore, in buckling on our armour, and sallying forth at the trumpet’s sound against the common foe.  We must soon retire from the field of action, but, when retiring, we hope to do so by handing down the banner, unfurled and untarnished, with the device thereon, as ever, full, perfect, and undimmed—




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Here is the fifth & last installment in this series.  To begin at part 1, click here.  Certainly, we observe that territorial missions is not for the faint of heart!

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In my Mission district, I was the witness of many joyful departures to be with Jesus,—I do not like to name them ” deaths ” at all. Even now, at the distance of nearly forty years, many instances, especially amongst the young men and women who attended my classes, rise up before my mind. They left us, rejoicing in the bright assurance that nothing present or to come “could ever separate them or us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Several of them, by their conversation even on their death-bed, were known to have done much good. Many examples might be given; but I can find room for only one. John Sim, a dear little boy, was carried away by consumption. His childish heart seemed to be filled with joy about seeing Jesus. His simple prattle, mingled with deep questionings, arrested not only his young companions, but pierced the hearts of some careless sinners who heard him, and greatly refreshed the faith of God’s dear people. It was the very pathos of song incarnated to hear the weak quaver of his dying voice sing out,—

“I lay my sins on Jesus,                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The spotless Lamb of God.”

Shortly before his decease he said to his parents, ” I am going soon to be with Jesus; but I sometimes fear that I may not see you there.”

“Why so, my child?” said his weeping mother.

” Because,” he answered, ” if you were set upon going to heaven and seeing Jesus there, you would pray about it, and sing about it; you would talk about Jesus to others, and tell them of that happy meeting with Him in Glory. All this my dear Sabbath school teacher taught me, and she will meet me there. Now why did not you, my father and mother, tell me all these things about Jesus, if you are going to meet Him too ? ”

Their tears fell fast over their dying child; and he little knew, in his unthinking eighth year, what a message from God had pierced their souls through his innocent words. One day an aunt from the country visited his mother, and their talk had run in channels for which the child no longer felt any interest. On my sitting down beside him, he said,—

” Sit you down and talk with me about Jesus; I am tired hearing so much talk about everything else but Jesus; I am going soon to be with Him. Oh, do tell me everything you know or have ever heard about Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God!”

At last the child literally longed to be away, not for rest, or freedom from pain—for of that he had very little—but, as he himself always put it, ” to see Jesus.” And, after all, that was the wisdom of the heart, however he learned it. Eternal life, here or hereafter, is just the vision of Jesus.

Amongst many of the Roman Catholics in my Mission district, also, I was very kindly received, and allowed even to read the Scriptures and to pray. At length, however, a young woman who professed to be converted by my classes and meetings brought things to a crisis betwixt them and me. She had renounced her former faith, was living in a Protestant family, and looked to me as her pastor and teacher. One night, a closed carriage, with two men and women, was sent from a Nunnery in Clyde Street, to take her and her little sister with them. She refused, and declined all authority on their part, declaring that she was now a Protestant by her own free choice. During this altercation, a message had been sent for me. On arriving, I found the house filled with a noisy crowd. Before them all, she appealed to me for protection from these her enemies. The Romanists, becoming enraged, jostled me into a corner of the room, and there enclosed me. The two women pulled her out of bed by force, for the girl had been sick, and began to dress her, but she fainted among their hands.

I called out,— “Do not murder the poor girl! Get her water, quick, quick!” and leaving my hat on the table, I rushed through amongst them, as if in search of water, and they let me pass. Knowing that the house had only one door, I quickly slipped the key from within, shut and locked the door outside, and with the key in my hand ran to the Police Office. Having secured two constables to protect the girl and take the would-be captors into custody, I returned, opened the door, and found, alas! that these constables were themselves Roman Catholics, and at once set about frustrating me and assisting their own friends. The poor sick girl was supported by the arms into the carriage ; the policemen cleared the way through the crowd; and before I could force my way through the obstructives in the house, the conveyance was already starting. I appealed and shouted to the crowds to protect the girl, and seize and take the whole party to the Police Office. A gentleman in the crowd took my part, and said to a big Highland policeman in the street,—

” Mac, I commit that conveyance and party to you on a criminal charge, before witnesses ; you will suffer, if they escape.”

The driver lashing at his horse to get away, Mac drew his baton and struck, when the driver leapt down to the street on the opposite side, and threw the reins in the policeman’s face. Thereupon our stalwart friend at once mounted the box, and drove straight for the Police Office. On arriving there, we discovered that only the women were inside with the tick girl—the men having escaped in the scuffle and the crush. What proved more disappointing was that the lieutenant on duty happened to be a Papist, who, after hearing our statement and conferring with the parties in the conveyance, returned, and said,—

“Her friends are taking her to a comfortable home; you have no right to interfere, and I have let them go.” He further refused to hear the grounds of our complaint, and ordered the police to clear the Office.

Next morning, a false and foolish account of the whole affair appeared in the Newspapers, condemnatory of the Mission and of myself; a meeting of the directors was summoned, and the Superintendent came to my lodging to take me before them. Having heard all, and questioned and cross-questioned me, they resolved to prosecute the abductors of the girl. The Nunnery authorities confessed that the little sister was with them, but denied that she had been taken in there, or that they knew anything of her case. Though the girl was sought for carefully by the Police, and by all the members of my class, for nearly a fortnight, no trace of her or of the coachman or of any of the parties could be discovered; till one day from a cellar, through a grated window, she called to one of my class girls passing by, and begged her to run and let me know that she was confined there. At once, the directors of the City Mission were informed by me, and Police were sent to rescue her; but on examining that house they found that she had been again removed. The occupiers denied all knowledge of where she had gone, or who had taken her away from their lodging. All other efforts failed to find her, till she was left at the Poor House door, far gone in dropsy, and soon after died in that last refuge of the destitute and forsaken.

Anonymous letters were now sent, threatening my life ; and I was publicly cursed from the altar by the priests in Abercromby Street Chapel. The directors of the Mission, fearing violence, advised me to leave Glasgow for a short holiday, and even offered to arrange for my being taken for work in Edinburgh for a year, that the fanatical passions of the Irish Papists might have time to subside. But I refused to leave my work. I went on conducting it all as in the past.  The worst thing that happened was, that on rushing one day past a row of houses occupied exclusively by Papists, a stone thrown from one of them cut me severely above the eye, and I fell stunned and bleeding. When I recovered and scrambled to my feet, no person of course that could be suspected was to be seen!  The doctor having dressed the wound, it rapidly healed, and after a short confinement I resumed my work and my studies without any further serious annoyance. Attempts were made more than once, in these Papist closes, and I believe by the Papists themselves, to pour pails of boiling water on my head, over windows and down dark stairs, but in every case I marvellously escaped; and as I would not turn coward, their malice tired itself out, and they ultimately left me entirely at peace. Is not this a feature of the lower Irish, and especially Popish population.  Let them see that bullying makes you afraid, and they will brutally and cruelly misuse you; but defy them fearlessly, or take them by the nose, and they will crouch like whelps beneath your feet. Is there anything in their Religion that accounts for this? Is it not a system of alternating tyranny on the one part, and terror, abject terror, on the other?

About this same time there was an election of elders for Dr. Symington’s congregation, and I was by an almost unanimous vote chosen for that office. For years now I had been attached to them as City Missionary for their district, and many friends urged me to accept the eldership, as likely to increase my usefulness, and give me varied experience for my future work. My dear father, also, himself an elder in the congregation at Dumfries, advised me similarly; and though very young, comparatively, for such a post, I did accept the office, and continued to act as an elder and member of Dr. Symington’s kirk session, till by-and-by I was ordained as a Missionary to the New Hebrides, where the great lot of my life had been cast by the Lord, as yet unknown to me.

All through my City Mission period, I was painfully carrying on my studies, first at the University of Glasgow, and thereafter at the Reformed Presbyterian Divinity Hall; and also medical classes at the Andersonian College. With the exception of one session, when failure of health broke me down, I struggled patiently on through ten years. The work was hard and most exacting ; and if I never attained the scholarship for which I thirsted—being but poorly grounded in my younger days—I yet had much of the blessed Master’s presence in all my efforts, which many better scholars sorely lacked ; and I was sustained by the lofty aim which burned all these years bright within my soul, namely,—to be qualified as a preacher of the Gospel of Christ, to be owned and used by Him for the salvation of perishing men.

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