It has always been a subject of satisfaction to me that Newington Butts was the site selected for the erection of the Tabernacle. It appears that in the old days of persecution, some Baptists were burnt 'at the Butts at Newington'--probably on the very spot where thousands have been brought to the Lord, and have confessed their faith in the identical way which cost their predecessors their lives. If this is not actually an instance in which 'the blood of the martyrs' has proved to be 'the seed of the church', it is certainly a most interesting and pleasing coincidence. Our district seems to have furnished other martyrs, for in a record dated 1546, we read: 'Three men were condemned as Anabaptists, and burnt in the highway beyond Southwark towards Newington'. Though that description is not very explicit, the region referred to could not have been very far from the place where, these many years, there has been gathered a great congregation of those believers whom some people still erroneously persist in calling 'Anabaptists', though we strenuously hold to 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism'--C.H.S., in notes prepared for his Autobiography.
Building 'Our Holy and Beautiful House'
On September 7, 1817, a meeting was held at New Park Street Chapel, for the double purpose of giving thanks to God for the success that had attended the Pastor's labours in gathering funds for the new Tabernacle, and of encouraging the people to do their utmost for the same object. On this occasion, Spurgeon said that the many thousands of hearers, who regularly worshipped at the Music Hall, proved that, as soon as a building could be erected to seat 5,000 persons, that number of friends might be safely calculated upon to fill it, and they would then have the best and strongest church in London. Sir Morton Pete had promised to get his agent to look out for a suitable site, and he had also guaranteed substantial help to the Building Fund, which continued to grow, though not as rapidly as the young Pastor desired.
The following resolution, preserved in the church-book, shows that, in July, I858, the time appeared to have arrived for making a further advance in connection with the much-needed new Tabernacle:
`Meeting of the male members of the church,
Monday, July 26th, 1858.
Our Pastor convened this meeting in order to acquaint the church with the position of the great design for erecting a new Tabernacle, and also to obtain the opinion of the church as to immediate progress.
The church unanimously resolved-- That the Committee be desired to proceed with all prudent speed, and agree that our Pastor should leave us alternate months, if he saw it necessary to do so, in order to collect the needful funds.
The meeting afforded a most pleasing proof of the unity and zeal of the brethren.'
It was not long after this time that the public announcement was made concerning the purchase of the freehold site for the new sanctuary; and on December 13, 1858, New Park Street Chapel was once more crowded with an eager and expectant audience, which had assembled `to hear a statement of the progress made, and to devise steps for recruiting the funds necessary for building the Proposed Tabernacle.' The venerable deacon James Low, presided; and deacon Thomas Cook, the Honorary Secretary, presented a report which contained the following information with regard to the financial and other progress made by the Building Committee:
'Their first efforts were directed to adopt measures for raising funds, and obtaining a site for the building, in both of which they have met with abundant success. Since the opening of the account, in September, 1856, to the present date, a period of 27 months, the sum of £9,418 19s. 7d. has been received, or an average of £348 17s. per month. The object, however, of paramount importance to the Committee was obtaining an eligible site for the building. This was, indeed, surrounded with innumerable difficulties, which seemed at times to be beyond the power of the Committee to overcome. At length, however, their labours were crowned with complete success, and they were rewarded for their long and tedious negotiation by obtaining the promise of the Fishmongers' Company to sell a portion of their land at Newington.'
After several other ministers had addressed the meeting, Spurgeon said:
'I do not feel in speaking order tonight, because I seem to have something in my heart so big that I am not able to get it out. I cannot, however, resist the temptation of saying a few words on a topic which you may think far remote from the object of the meeting. The times in which we live are most wonderful; and I wish that this church should be in the future what it has been in the past--the advance-guard of the times. I cannot help observing that during the last four or five years a remarkable change has come over the Christian mind. The Church of England has been awakened. How has this been accomplished, and what means have been used? I cannot help remembering that God honoured us by letting us stand in the front of this great movement. From our example, the blessed fire has run along the ground, and kindled a blaze which shall not soon be extinguished. When I first heard that clergymen were to preach in Exeter Hall, my soul leaped within me, and I was ready to exclaim, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace! "When I heard that Westminster Abbey was opened on Sunday evenings for the preaching of the gospel, and then St. Paul's Cathedral, I was overwhelmed with gratitude, and prayed that only the truth as it is in Jesus might be preached in those places; and that the ministers might travail in birth for souls, that Christ might be formed in them the hope of glory. I never felt such union to the Church of England as I now do. The fact is that, when a youth in the country, I was accustomed to associate with the name of clergyman, fox-hunting and such-like amusements; I abhorred them, for I thought they were all like that. Now I see them anxious to win souls to Christ, I cannot help loving them; and as long as they go on to feel the value of souls, I shall continue to pray for them. Now, seeing that the Lord has thus honoured us to be leaders of others, we must continue to lead; we must not take one step backwards, but must still be the very van of the army. What if God should spread the late revival, and let the New Park Street Church still go on as the advance-guard of the host?
Now, as to the Tabernacle, I am quite certain that it will be built, and that I shall preach in it; and I have no doubt that the money will be forthcoming-that matter is no burden to me. Some of you have done a great deal, but you ought to have done a great deal more. There are others who, if measured by thoughts, ought not to have done so much. We have not done badly, after all; for, after paying £ 5,000 for the site, we have a balance in hand of £3,600. I hope that you will all agree that the spot is a most eligible one; though some recommended Kensington, others Holloway, and others Clapham. Having secured the ground, the next thing we did was to advertise for plans, and the following is the circular issued to architects:
"The Committee for building the new Tabernacle for the congregation of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon give notice that they are prepared to receive designs or models from architects or others, for the erection of a building on land situate near The Elephant and Castle, Newington, for which they offer the following premiums: £50 for the best design, £30 for the second, and £20 for the third. The following are the conditions: The building to contain on basement floor (which is to be five feet below the level of footway) school-rooms, twelve feet high, for boys and girls, and lecture-hall to seat 800 persons. The chapel above to seat 3,000 persons, with standing-room for not less than 1,000, and with not more than two tiers of galleries. Each sitting to be not less than two feet six inches by one foot seven inches . Gothic designs will not be accepted by the Committee The plan of the Surrey Music Hall has proved to be acoustically good, and will be decidedly preferred. The total cost, including architect's commission, warming, ventilation, lighting, boundary walls, fences, paths, fittings, and every expense, to be about £16,000. The architects competing will be requested to act as judges, and to award the first and third premiums. The second premium to be awarded by the Committee."
More than 250 architects have applied for this circular, all of whom appear desirous to build the place; so that I anticipate we shall have a very pretty Tabernacle picture-gallery by-and-by .There are many friends with us tonight who attend the Music Hall; they cannot get in here on a Sabbath evening, so they are obliged to be content with half a loaf. For their sake, I want to see the new chapel built, for I cannot bear the thought that so many should come here Sabbath after Sabbath, unable to get inside the doors.
Now, as to money; we say that the building is to cost about £16,000; but depend upon it, it will be £20,000. Someone asks, perhaps, "How are we to get it?" Pray for it. When I thought of the large sum, I said to myself, "It may as well be twenty thousand as ten; for we shall get one amount as readily as the other." Brethren, we must pray that God will be pleased to give us the money, and we shall surely have it. If we had possessed more faith, we should have had it before now; and when this Tabernacle is built, we shall find money enough to build a dozen. Look at what Mr. Muller, of Bristol, has done by faith and prayer. When this land was threatened with famine, people said, "What will you do now, Mr. Muller? "Pray to God," was the good man's answer. He did pray, and the result was, that he had an overwhelming increase. Do you ask, "What is required of me tonight?" Let me remind you that all you possess is not your own; it is your Master's; you are only stewards, and must hereafter give an account of your stewardship.'
Evidently many who were present were touched by the Pastor's words, for the sums collected and promised during the evening amounted to nearly £l,000.
In February, 1859, the competing architects' drawings (sixty-two sets and one model) were exhibited in the Newington Horse and Carriage Repository, and proved exceedingly attractive both to the New Park Street congregation and the general public. By a vote taken among themselves, about forty of the competitors assigned the first premium(£50) to the design submitted by E. Cookworthy Robins. The following letter from Spurgeon to Mr. Robins shows that the Pastor himself placed the prize design among the first three, but that the drawings submitted by W. W. Pocock had been selected by himself and the Committee:
I am requested by the Committee to forward the enclosed cheque for £50 as the first premium. In so doing, allow me to congratulate you upon the architectural taste which is so manifest in your drawings. In my own personal selection, your design was one of three which I considered to be preeminent among the many. We have inspected the designs with great care, and long deliberation; and, although we are compelled to prefer Mr. Pocock's design .as the best basis for our future building, we could not but regret that we were thus compelled to lose your services in the erection. You may not be aware that we have received from private friends of yours, and persons for whom you have erected buildings, the most flattering testimonials of your ability. Since these were unsolicited on your part, and probably unknown to you, we thought them worthy of the highest consideration, and should have felt great pleasure in entrusting our great undertaking to your hands. Wishing you every prosperity,
C. H. SPURGEON.'
The Committee awarded the second premium (£30) to W. W. Pocock, and the Tabenacle was erected after his design, though with considerable modifications, including the abandonment of the towers at the four comers of the building. When Spurgeon found that they would probably cost about £1,000 each, he thought that amount of money could be more profitably expended, and therefore had them omitted, and the style of the structure was altered to the form which has since become familiar to hundreds of thousands of earnest worshippers from all quarters of the globe. The motto on the envelope accompanying Mr. Pocock's drawings was the word 'Metropolitan'--a singularly appropriate one, for the building erected under his superintendence was to contain that word in its official designation, The Metropolitan Tabernacle.
When the plans were finally settled, and the tenders were received and opened, it was found that the highest amounted to £ 26,370, and the lowest to £21,500, with a saving of £1,500 if Bath instead of Portland stone should be used. This was the tender of William Higgs; and at the net estimate of £20,000, the very figures the Pastor had stated some months before, the contract was signed. Spurgeon often said that it was one of his chief mercies that Mr. Higgs was the builder of the Tabernacle, and it was a special cause of joy to many that the contract was secured by one of the Pastor's own spiritual children, who afterwards became an honoured deacon of the church, and one of the dearest personal friends and most generous helpers his minister ever had.
All needful preparations for the great building having been made, the foundation stone was laid by Sir Samuel Morton Peto, Bart., M.P., on Tuesday afternoon, August 16, 1859.· About 3,000 persons were present at the ceremony, which was commenced with the singing of the hundredth Psalm, and prayer by Spurgeon; after which B. W. Carr read the statement, which he had drawn up on behalf of the deacons, rehearsing the history of the church. The closing paragraphs, narrating the unparalleled advance made during the five years from 1854 to 1859 at New Park Street, Exeter Hall, and the Surrey Gardens, reveal the need there was for a larger place of worship:
'From the day the Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon commenced his labours in our midst, it pleased the Lord our God to grant us a revival which has steadily progressed ever since. Among the earliest additions to our number, there were not a few disciples of Christ, who, after making a profession under, faithful ministers long ago departed to their rest, had wandered about, and found no settled home. Many such were gathered into the fold of our fellowship. Here their souls have been restored, while they have found the presence of the good Shepherd, who maketh us to lie down in green pastures, and leadeth us beside the still waters. But the greater work was that of conversion. So did the Holy Ghost accompany the preaching of the gospel with Divine power, that almost every sermon proved the means of awakening and regeneration to some who were hitherto "dead in trespasses and sins." Thus our church became an asylum for the aged, as well as a nursery for the babes of our Saviour's family. . . .
The prejudice against entering a Nonconformist sanctuary has, in many instances, been laid aside by those who have worshipped within the walls of an edifice (the Surrey Gardens Music Hall) that is justly accounted neutral ground, it being sacred or profane according to the temporary use it is made to serve. Every week has borne testimony to the saving influence of the gospel, as it has been proclaimed in the Music Hall to an assembly of 5,000 persons. Still, with so large a congregation, and so small a chapel, the inconvenience of a temporary meeting-place becomes more and more grievously felt. There is, and has been for the past two years, as fair an average of that large congregation, who are devout persons, and regular attendants, as in any sanctuary in London. Yet not one-third of them can find a place under the same ministry for more than one service during the week. The church members far exceed the extent of accommodation in our own chapel to provide all of them with sittings. It is only by having two distinct services that we can admit our communicants to the table of the Lord. The necessity therefore for the undertaking that we assemble to inaugurate, must be perceived by all. Every attempt to trace the popular demand for Evangelical teaching to spasmodic excitement has failed. The pastor of New Park Street Church has never consciously departed from the simple rule of faith recorded in the New Testament. The doctrines he has set forth are identical with those which have been received by godly men of every section of the Church since the days of the apostles. The services of religion have been conducted without any peculiarity or innovation. No musical or aesthetic accompaniments have ever been used. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty. The history of our progress for five years is patent to the world. The example has been found capable of successfully stimulating other churches in their aggressive efforts to save perishing souls. With earnest individual and united prayer, each step has been taken; and to the exclusive honour and praise of our God, our stone of Ebenezer is this day laid.'
After the reading of the paper, Spurgeon explained: `In the bottle which is to be placed under the stone, we have put no money--for one good reason, that we have none to spare. We have not put newspapers, because, albeit we admire and love the liberty of the press, yet that is not so immediately concerned in this edifice. The articles placed under the stone are simply these: the Bible, the Word of God, we put that as the foundation of our church. Upon this rock doth Christ build the ministration of His truth. We know of nothing else as out standard. Together with this, we have put The Baptist Confession of Faith, which was signed in the olden times by Benjamin Keach, one of my eminent predecessors. We put also the declaration of the deacons,, which you have just heard read, printed on parchment. There is also an edition of Dr. Rippon's Hymn Book, published just before he died; and then, in the last place, there is a programme of this day's proceedings. I do not suppose that the New Zealander who, one day, is to sit on the broken arch of London Bridge, will make much out of it. If we had put gold and silver there, it is possible he might have taken it back to New Zealand with him; but I should not wonder, if ever England is destroyed, these relics will find their way into some museum in Australia or America, where people will spell over some of our old-fashioned names, and wonder whoever those good men could be who are inscribed here, as Samuel Gale, James Low, Thomas Olney, Thomas Cook, George Winsor, William P. Olney, George Moore, and C. H. Spurgeon. And I think they will say, "Oh! depend upon it, they were some good men, so they put them in stone there."These deacons are living stones, indeed; they have served this church well and long. Honour to whom honour is due. I am glad to put their names with mine here; and I hope we shall live together for ever in eternity.'
When Sir Morton Pete had duly laid the stone and offered his congratulations to the Pastor and to the Church, Spurgeon said:
'Before I speak about the building we are going to erect here, I want just to mention that I had a sweet letter from that eminent servant of God, John Angell James, of Birmingham, in reply to one I had written asking him, to come to this meeting. He said, "I would have done so if I had been well enough, but I am unable to travel. My work is almost done, I cannot serve my Master much longer; but I can, still do a little for Him. I preach perhaps once on the Sabbath, and I still continue to do what I can with my pen. What a mercy," he adds, "to have been permitted to serve my Master so long." We frequently exchange notes, and in his last letter to me he said, "My dear brother, be on your watch-tower, and gird your sword on your thigh. The devil hates you more than most men, for you have done so much damage to his kingdom; and, if it can, he will trip you up." I am sure what good Mr. James says is true, but I know that he, and you, and many more of the Lord's people are praying that I may be upheld, and that we may successfully carry through this great undertaking. I never answer any slanders against myself, and very seldom answer any questions about what I mean to do. I am obliged to be a self-contained man, just going on my own way, and letting other people go in their own way. If I am wrong, I will be accountable to my own Master, but to no flesh living; and if I am right, the day will declare it. God knows how sincere are my intentions even when I may have acted unwisely.
I said, some time ago, when our brethren were half afraid, "The Tabernacle is to be built, and it will be built, and God will fill it with His presence and glory." There is no doubt whatever about the money being obtained. I scarcely know that I have asked an individual to give anything, because I have such a solid conviction that the money must come. I suppose that, out of all that is now in our hands, I have myself collected more than half through my preaching; and I daresay that is how the larger part of the remainder will come, through the kindness of the provincial and metropolitan churches, who have almost all treated me with the noblest generosity. I give this day my hearty thanks to all who have helped me; and I do not know but what I may as well add, to all who have not helped me. Many of them mean to do so, and therefore I will thank them beforehand. There is one gentleman here today who is to address you. I think (albeit that he can speak admirably,) the best part of his speech will be made with his hand, for he has three thousand pounds with him to give as a noble donation from an aged servant of Christ long sick and confined to his house, but who loves Christ's ministers, and desires to help Christ's cause. He would not like me mention his name, and therefore I shall not do it.
And now, my dear friends, as to the place to be erected here. I have a word or two to say with regard to its life style, with regard to its purposes and with regard to our faith and our prospects.
It is to me a matter of congratulation that we shall succeed in building this city a Grecian place of worship. My notions of architecture are not worth much, because I look at a building from a theological point of view, not from an architectural one. It seems to me-that there are two sacred languages in the world. There was the Hebrew of old, and I doubt not that Solomon adopted Jewish architecture for the Temple--a Hebrew form and fashion of putting stones together in harmony with the Hebrew faith. There is but one other sacred language-not Rome's mongrel tongue--the Latin; glorious as that may be for a battle-cry, it is of no use for preaching the gospel .The other sacred language is the Greek, and that is dear to every Christian's heart. Our fullest revelation of God's will is in that tongue; and so are our noblest names for Jesus. The standard of our faith is Greek; and this place is to be Grecian. I care not that many an idol temple has been built after the same fashion. Greek is the sacred tongue, and Greek is the Baptist's tongue; we may be beaten in our own version, sometimes; but in the Greek, never. Every Baptist place should be Grecian--never Gothic. We owe nothing to the Goths as religionists We have a great part of our Scriptures in the Grecian language, and this shall be a Grecian place of worship; and God give us the power and life of that master of the Grecian tongue, the apostle Paul, that here like wonders may be done by the preaching of the Word as were wrought by his ministry!
As for our faith, as a church, you have heard about that already. We believe in the five great points commonly known as Calvinistic; but we do not regard those five points as being barbed shafts which we are to thrust between the ribs of our fellow-Christians. We look upon them as being five great lamps which help to irradiate the cross; or, rather, five bright emanations springing from the glorious covenant of our Triune God, and illustrating the great doctrine of Jesus crucified. Against all comers, especially against all lovers of Arminianism, We defend and maintain pure gospel truth. At the same time, I can make this public declaration, that I am no Antinomian. I belong not to the sea of those who are afraid to invite the sinner to Christ. I warn him, I invite him, I exhort him. Hence, then, I have contumely on either hand. Inconsistency is charged against me by some people, as if anything that God commanded could be inconsistent; I will glory in such inconsistency even to the end. I bind myself precisely to no form of doctrine I love those five points as being the angles of the gospel, but then I love the centre between the angles better still. Moreover, we are Baptists, and we cannot swerve from this matter of discipline, nor can we make our church half-and-half in that matter. The witness of our church must be one and indivisible. We must have one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. And yet dear to our hearts is that great article of the Apostles' Creed, "I believe in the communion of saints." I believe not in the communion of Episcopalians alone; I do not believe in the communion of Baptists only, I dare not sit with them exclusively.. I think I should be almost strict-communionist enough not to sit with them at all, because I should say, "This is not the communion of saints, it is the communion of Baptists." Whosoever loves the Lord Jesus Christ in verity and truth hath a hearty welcome, and is not only permitted, but invited to communion with the Church of Christ. However, we can say, with all our hearts, that difference has never lost us one good friend yet. I see around me our Independent brethren; they certainly have been to Ænon today, for them has been "much water" here; and I see round about me dear strict-communion brethren, and one of them is about to address you. He is not so strict a communionist but what he really in his own heart communes with all the people of God. I can number among my choicest friends many members of the Church of England, and some of every denomination; I glory in that fact. However sternly a man may hold the right of private judgment, he yet can give his tight hand with as tight a grip to everyone who loves the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now with regard to our prospects. We are to build this place, and the prospect I anticipate is that it will be paid for before it is opened. I think it is likely to be so; because, if we carry out our intention, as a Committee, we have a notion that, if our friends do not give us liberal contributions, we will put up the carcass and roof it in, and allow them to come in and stand. Those who want seats can buy them. I am sure my people would soon get me a pulpit, and such is the zeal of our brethren that they would soon build me a baptistery. 1 leave it open for any generous friend here, who pleases to do so, to engage to provide some part of the Tabernacle, and to say, "I will give that." Churchmen give painted windows for their places of worship; add if some of you agree to give different parts of the chapel it may be so erected. You must understand that our large expenditure is caused partly by the fact that we have immense school-rooms underground, and also a lecture-hall, holding between 800 and 900 persons, for church-meetings. This is necessary, because our church is of such an immense size, and our members come out every service if possible; there is no church-edifice in London so well used as ours is; they hack it to pieces. We must build this Tabernacle strongly, I am sure, for our friends are always with us. They love to be at the prayer-meetings. There are no people who take out their quarter's seat-money so fully. They say, "We will hear all that we can;" and, depend upon it, they never give me a chance of seeing the seats empty. But our desire is, after we have fitted up our vestry, schools, and other rooms, that we shall be able to build other chapels. Sir Morton Peto is the man who builds one chapel with the hope that it will be the seedling for another; and we will pretty soon try our hands at it. Our people have taken to chapel-building, and they will go on with it. They built a chapel that held "near a thousand hearers, in Horse-lie-down," for Benjamin Keach; then they built one in Carter Lane for Dr. Gill; then one in Park Street for Dr. Rippon; and now we have set about building one here. God sparing my life, if I have my people at my back, I will not rest until the dark county of Surrey is covered with places of worship. I look on this Tabernacle as only the beginning; within the last six months, we have started two churches, one in Wandsworth and the other in Greenwich, and the Lord has prospered them, the pool of baptism has often been stirred with converts. And what we have done in two places, I am about to do in a third, and we will do it, not for the third or the fourth, but for the hundredth time, God being our helper. I am sure I may make my strongest appeal to my brethren, because we do not mean to build this Tabernacle as our nest, and then to be idle. We must go from strength to strength, and be a missionary church, and never rest until, not only this neighbourhood, but our country, of which it is said that some parts are as dark as India, shall have been enlightened with the gospel.'
The first donation to be laid on the foundation stone was one of £3,000 from a wealthy gentleman in Bristol who was at that time house-bound through sickness, but who also promised that if twenty others would give £100 each, he would add another £2,000 to match theirs. Many other donations were laid upon the stone before the proceedings ended. By the end of the day the contributions amounted to little short of £5,000.
In an evening meeting on the same day, the chair was taken by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Wire, who said that he looked on Spurgeon as one who was called to accomplish a great work for God. Among the speakers was the father of the young pastor. He confessed that he was there to acknowledge a fault. He had thought that his son had done wrong in not going to College, and again in coming to London; but he now saw that God had opened the way. `Several told me', he said, `that my son would not do in London; he had not sufficient education; but he had after all the best education, for God had been his teacher. If anything could have crowned my happiness, it would have been to see my son's grandfather present. He is always speaking about him'.
In January, 1860, the total receipts had grown to £16,868 6s. 2d., and on Monday evening, April 2, one more crowded meeting was held at New Park Street Chapel, under the presidency of the Pastor, `to hear a statement as to the progress of the Building Fund, and to adopt measures for obtaining additional contributions.' Spurgeon mentioned that the number of members had nearly reached 1,500, and that there was a constant and regular stream of enquirers and candidates for church-fellowship; and he had no doubt that, soon after the new Tabernacle was opened, and all the organizations were in operation, they would have over 3,000 members in full communion with them. Mr. Cook reported that there had been received, up to that date, £18,904 15 s. 2d., but it was estimated that a further sum of £12,000 would be required before the Tabernacle could be opened free of debt. Towards this amount, upwards of £500 was contributed that evening.
Soon after the building operations commenced. I went to the site with Mr. Cook, the Secretary of our Committee, and there, in the midst of the bricks, and mortar, and stone, and scaffold poles, and so on, we two knelt down, and prayed for the Lord's blessing on the whole enterprise, and also asked that no one of the many workmen employed might be killed or injured while they were helping to rear our new place of worship; and I was afterwards able to testify that our prayer-hearing God had graciously granted both of our requests.
I have one, among many reasons, for speaking with 'bated breath as to anything which God has wrought by me, because, in my heart of hearts, I am made to feel that the true honour belongs to unknown helpers, who serve the Lord, and yet have none of the credit of having done so. I cannot help being pushed to the front; but I envy those who have done good by stealth, and have refused to have their names so much as whispered. I do not think I ever told in public, until the night of my pastoral silver-wedding celebration (May 19, 1879), one fact which will ever live in my memory. The Tabernacle was to be built, and some £30,000 would be wanted. We did not know, when we started, that it would be so much; we thought about £12,000 or £15,000 would suffice, and we felt that we were rather bold to venture upon that. When we came to the undertaking of responsibilities, there was a natural shrinking on the part of the Committee with which we started. No one could be blamed; it was a great risk, and, personally, I did not wish anyone to undertake it. I was quite prepared for any risk; but then I had no money of my own, and so was a mere man of straw. There was, in some of our friends, a measure of fear and trembling, but I had none; I was as sure upon the matter as possible, and reckoned upon paying all the cost. This quiet assurance, however, had a foundation which reflects credit upon one who has for some years gone to his reward. When I was riding with a friend to preach in the country, a gentleman overtook us, and asked me if I would get out of the trap, and ride with him in his gig, as he wished to speak with me. I did so. He said, `You have got to build that big place.' I said, `Yes.' He said, `You will find that many friends will feel nervous over it. Now, as a business man, I am sure you will succeed; and, beside that, God is with the work, and it cannot fail. I want you never to feel anxious or downcast about it.' I told him that it was a great work, and that I hoped the Lord would enable me to carry it through. `What do you think,' he asked, `would be required, at the outside, to finish it off altogether?' I replied, `£20,000 must do it in addition to what we have.' `Then,' he said, `I will let you have the £20,000, on the condition that you shall only keep what you need of it to finish the building. Mark,' he added, `I do not expect to give more than £50; but you shall have bonds and leases to the full value £20,000 to fall back upon.' This was truly royal. I told no one, but the ease of mind this act gave me was of the utmost value. I had quite as much need of faith, for I resolved that none of my friend's money should be touched: but I had no excuse for fear. God was very good to me; but, by this fact, I was disabled from all personal boasting. My friend gave his £50, and no more, and I felt deeply thankful to him for the help which he would have rendered had it been required. There were others who did like generous deeds anonymously, and among them was the giver £5,000. If there be honours to be worn by anyone, let these dear brethren wear them.