I do not think any human being upon earth ever felt so much repose of soul and body as I do. Many years of toil are all rewarded by this blessed rest, which only seems too good to be true. I have no task work, and do more voluntarily, as a recreation, than I have often done of obligation. No idle tongues disturb me, or cares molest me. The burden is taken from the shoulder and the bit from between the jaws. If anything can make me young and strong again, this will. It is rest of a sort which I never knew before in all its forms; for, at other times, pain, or dulness, or too much company, has made it less enjoyable. I rest on the wing, as the swallow is said to do.--C.H.S., in letter from Mentone, written in 1882.
Up in Dr. Bennet's garden, when Harrald read me the following lines, I adopted them as my own:
IT would have been easy to fill a volume with the account of Spurgeon's experiences in the sunny South, but the many other interesting records of his wondrously full life make it needful greatly to condense the story of about twenty annual visits to the Riviera. He was fairly familiar with most of the favourite resorts on that part of the Mediterranean shore, and he occasionally made a short stay at one or other of them; but Mentone was the place he loved beyond all the rest. Sometimes, after going elsewhere for a change of scene, a few days sufficed for the enjoyment of the beauties and charms of the new region, and then he would say, 'I think we will hasten onto Mentone.' On settling down in his old quarters, he generally exclaimed, with a sigh of relief, 'Ah I now I feel at home,'
Spurgeon's first visit to the Riviera was made before the railway had been completed along the coast; and he used often to describe to his travelling companions in later days the delights of driving from Marseilles to Genoa, and so being able to see, under the most favourable conditions, some of the loveliest views on the face of the earth. On that journey, one incident occurred which was quite unique in the Pastor's experience. While staying for a few days at Nice, he received a letter from the captain of the Alabama, an American man-of-war lying in the harbour of Villefranche, inviting him to pay a visit to that vessel. On accepting the invitation, a very pleasant time was spent on board, and then the captain asked Spurgeon to come another day, and preach to his officers and men, and to those of a second man-of-war which was stationed not far off. Though the preacher was seeking rest, he gladly availed himself of the opportunity of conducting the service desired; and after it was over, he chatted for some time with a number of his sailor hearers. Amongst them, he found one who, when a boy, had been in Newington Sunday-school, and whose uncle was a member at the Tabernacle, and another who, as a lad, ran away from his home at Dulwich, Several different nationalities were represented, and a good many Roman Catholics were there; but all seemed exceedingly pleased to listen to the gospel message, and Spurgeon said that he did not know that he had ever enjoyed preaching more than he did on that occasion, and that he should, ever afterwards, reckon himself an honorary chaplain of the United States Navy.
Tidings of the service at Villefranche probably reached other American vessels, for, several years later, when the U.S.S. Trenton, the flagship of the European squadron, was at Gravesend, the chaplain wrote to Spurgeon: 'Could it be possible for you, amid your abundant labours, to come down some day, and address our officers and men, it would be esteemed a great favour, and I know it would be the means of doing incalculable good. All through the cruise, it has been my desire that the ship might go to some port in your vicinity, hoping thereby that you might oblige us with a visit.' The Pastor was unable to accede to the request so kindly conveyed, but he fully appreciated the honour, and perhaps all the more because he was never invited to preach on board a British man-of-war.
One of the travelling companions on the first visit to the Riviera was the Pastor's friend, deacon, and publisher, Joseph Passmore; and he was usually a member of the little company which gathered at Mentone year by year; though, latterly, his partner, James Alabaster, had the joy of taking his turn at holiday-making with the author whose works he had so long published. In 1879, Joseph Harrald, Spurgeon's personal secretary and 'armour-bearer', went for the first time; and, from that year, until the never-to-be-forgotten last visit of 1891-2, he was only absent twice, when his services seemed more urgently required at home.
Extracts from his letters of the same period will furnish details of the manner in which some of his days of holiday were pleasantly and profitably spent:
I went up to Dr. Bennet's garden at 11 o'clock, and remained there alone with Harrald till 3:30. He read to me, and then I dictated to him, changing to a talk, a walk, a pun, some fun, and then reading and speechifying again, the electric shorthand bottling all up for future use. I did enjoy it, though the mistral blew savagely. We were in a corner of the kiosque, out of all the wind, and yet in the open air, with mountains, and sea, and garden all around. No one disturbed us; it was the beau ideal of an artistic author's studio.'
'Harrald read to me, yesterday, The Life of Cromwell--grand, soul-inspiring. How the man trusted in the Lord! How sweet is the life of faith, and how splendid are its triumphs! I would live equally above joys and sorrows, and find my all in the Lord Himself.'
'It came on to blow, so Harrald and I resorted to Dr. Bennet's garden from 10 to 3, having a grand read all alone till about 2 oclock, and then admitting the other friends to be silent disciples among us. I gathered sheaves of texts for sermons, and a few subjects for articles, and had a very happy day. The wind blew in hurricanes, but we sat with a wall at our backs, and the sun shining upon our faces. Trees were bending in the gale, and the swift ships were flying across the main; but we had a hiding-place from the wind, and sat therein with comfort.'
Spurgeon never saw cyclamen growing anywhere without recalling an amusing incident which happened in Dr. Bennet's garden at the time when visitors were freely welcomed there in the morning. The Pastor and his secretary had found a sheltered spot where they were completely hidden from view, and during one of the pauses in the reading or dictating, they were greatly interested in hearing a young lady, quite near them, exclaim, in unmistakable Transatlantic tones, 'O mother, du come here! There are some lovely sickly men (cyclamen) just here. I du love sickly men!' Perhaps the speaker would not have been quite so enthusiastic if she had been aware of the proximity of the English listeners who mischievously gave to her words a meaning she never intended them to convey.
Within the garden was an ancient ruined tower which Dr. Bennet restored to usefulness. This done, he placed it at the disposal of Mr. Spurgeon, who at once availed himself of such a delightful retreat. Perched high above the sea, it afforded a view indescribably lovely, while, by turning the key in the lock, absolute immunity from intruders was secured; and, as a result, some of the brightest of the articles in The Sword and the Trowel were here written or dictated, and some of the choicest sermons in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit were here composed, at least in outline. Only a short distance, away from this tower, and perched on the very edge of the cliff overhanging the sea, stands the Italian guard-house which Spurgeon had to pass every time he went to see his friend, Mr. Thomas Hanbury, at the Palazzo Orengo, La Mortola. The Pastor often told the story of an incident that happened within this building. In the days when the phylloxera was committing such deadly havoc among the vines of France and Italy, the two countries tried to prevent its further spread by forbidding the transport of fruit, flowers, and shrubs from one land to the other. It was a foolish and useless regulation, for the phylloxera was already in possession of both sides of the frontier; and it led to many amusing scenes. One day, Spurgeon was going with a party of friends for a picnic; and, amongst the articles under his charge, were a couple of oranges. He understood sufficient Italian to comprehend that the fruit could not be allowed to pass; but his ready wit suggested the best way out of the difficulty, so he walked into the soldiers' room, peeled the oranges, carefully putting all the peel into the fire, and ate them, to the great amusement of the defenders of the crown rights of the King of Italy! As the story has been published in various papers and books, Spurgeon is represented as having 'stepped back, five or six paces, into France,' in order to defy the Italian guards; whereas, at the time, he was probably one or two hundred yards beyond the boundaries of the Republic.
Dr. Bennet's garden, was not the only open-air study that Spurgeon had, at Mentone. A cypress walk up the hillside led to numerous quiet nooks where the Pastor and his secretary spent many a delightful day. They started from the hotel soon after the little company of friends who had gathered for morning prayer had dispersed, and if the weather was favourable for a long stay out of doors, they carried the materials for a light lunch with them, a waterproof rug to spread on the ground to ward off rheumatism--and some books, of course, generally including a volume of Brooks, or Manton, or some other Puritan divine, with a biography or other work to give variety to the reading. The reader had to pause, every now and then, to jot down texts that struck the attentive listener as being suggestive, or to preserve, by means of shorthand, any happy and helpful thoughts that might be of service in after days. Sometimes, the dictation would only be sufficient for a paragraph or two, and then the reading would be resumed; on other occasions, a whole article for the magazine would be ready for transcription before the return journey to the hotel. A large part of The Clue of the Maze, and several of the Illustrations and Meditations, or, Flowers from a Puritan's Garden, were thus recorded.
Occasionally, the time devoted to reading in the open air was spent in one of the many lovely valleys by which Mentone is surrounded. Spurgeon never forgot one experience which he had in a portion of the Gorbio valley: 'In this valley I have spent many a happy day, just climbing to any terrace I preferred, and sitting down to read. I once left Manton on Psalm 119 by the roadside, and before the next morning it was returned to me. Here, too, on Christmas-day, 1879, I learned what is to "Walk in the Light." I had been ill with gout; and, on recovering, we arranged to drive up this valley as far as the road would serve, and then send away the carriage, walk further on, have our lunch, and, in the afternoon, walk gently back to the spot where we left the conveyance, the man having orders to be there again by three. Alas! I had forgotten that, as far as the upper portion of the valley is concerned, the sun was gone soon after twelve! I found myself in the shade before lunch was over, and shade meant sharp frost; for, wherever the sun had not shone, the earth was frozen hard as a rock. To be caught in this cold, would mean a long illness for me; so, leaning on the shoulder of my faithful secretary, I set forth to hobble down the valley. The sun shone on me, and I could just move fast enough to keep his bright disc above the top of the hill. He seemed to be rolling downward along the gradually descending ridge,; like a great wheel of fire; and I, painfully and laboriously stumbling along, still remained in his light. Of course, it was not the time for our Jehu to be at the appointed spot; so, with many a groan, I had to stagger on until a stray conveyance came in our direction. Out of the sunshine, all is winter: in the sunlight alone is summer. Oh that spiritually I could always walk in the light of God's countenance as that day I managed to keep in the sun's rays
The Gorbio valley was one of the special haunts of the trap-door spiders until visitors so ruthlessly destroyed their wonderful under ground homes. Concerning these and other curious creatures, the Pastor wrote to Mrs. Spurgeon: 'How I wish you could be here to see the spiders' trap-doors! There are thousands of them here, and the harvesting ants also, though the wise men declared that Solomon was mistaken when he said, "They prepare their meat in the summer." I shall send you a book about them all.' When the volume arrived, it proved to be Harvesting Ants and Trap-door Spiders, by J. Traherne Moggridge. On its fly-leaf was the choice inscription:
One of the charms of Mentone to Spurgeon was that he could constantly see there illustrations of Biblical scenes and manners and customs. He frequently said he had no desire to visit Palestine in its forlorn condition, for he had before his eyes in the Riviera, an almost exact representation of the Holy Land as it was in the days of our Lord. He was greatly interested in an article written by Hugh Macmillan upon this subject, in which that devoted student of nature traced many minute resemblances between the climate, the conformation of the country, the fauna and flora, and the habits of the people in the South of France of today, and those of the East in the time when the Lord trod 'those holy fields.' In several of his Sabbath afternoon communion addresses, the Pastor alluded to the many things that continually reminded him of 'Immanuel's land,' while the olive trees were a never-failing source of interest and illustration. One of the works, with which he had made very considerable progress, was intended to be, if possible, an explanation of all the Scriptural references to the olive.
Spurgeon often remarked that there were many Biblical allusions which could not be understood apart from their Oriental associations; and, as an instance, he said that some people had failed altogether to catch the meaning of Isaiah 57:20, 'The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.' Those who have affirmed that the sea never can rest have not seen the Mediterranean in its most placid mood, when for days or even weeks at a time there is scarcely a ripple upon its surface. During that calm period, all sorts of refuse accumulate along the shore; and then, when the time of tempest comes, anyone who walks by the side of the agitated waters can see that they do 'cast up mire and dirt.' Usually, during the Pastor's stay at Mentone, there was at least one great storm, either far out at sea, or near at hand. In 1882, in one of his letters home, he wrote the following graphic description of the scene he had just witnessed:
'This afternoon, I have been out to watch the sea. There was a storm last night, and the sea cannot forgive the rude winds, so it is avenging its wrongs upon the shore. The sun shone at 3 o'clock, and there was no wind here; but away over the waters hung an awful cloud, and to our left a rainbow adorned another frowning mass of blackness. Though much mud was under foot, all the world turned out to watch the hungry billows rush upon the beach. In one place, they rolled against the esplanade, and then rose, like the waterworks at Versailles, high into the air, over the walk, and across the road, making people run and dodge, and leaving thousands of pebbles on the pavement. In, another place, the sea removed all the foreshore, undermined the walls, carried them away, and then assailed the broad path, which it destroyed in mouthfuls, much as a rustic eats bread-and-butter'! Here and there, it took away the curb; I saw some twelve feet of it go, and then it attacked the road. It was amusing to see the people move as a specially big wave dashed up. The lamp-posts were going when I came in, and an erection of solid stone, used as the site of a pump, was on the move. Numbers of people were around this as I came in at sundown; it was undermined, and a chasm was opening between it and the road. Men were getting up the gas pipes, or digging into the road to cut the gas off. I should not wonder if the road is partly gone by the morning. Though splashed with mud, I could not resist the delight of seeing the huge waves, and the sea birds flashing among them like soft lightnings. The deep sigh, the stern howl, the solemn hush, the booming roar, and the hollow mutter of the ocean were terrible and grand to me. Then the rosy haze of the far-ascending spray, and the imperial purple and azure of the more-distant part of the waters, together with the snow-white manes of certain breakers on a line of rock, made up a spectacle never to be forgotten. Far away, in the East, I saw just a few yards of rainbow standing on the sea. It seemed like a lighthouse glimmering there, or a ship in gala array, dressed out with the flags of all nations. O my God, how glorious art Thou! I love Thee the better for being so great, so terrible, so good, so true. "This God is our God, for ever and ever."'
Another phenomenon was thus described in a letter of the same period:
'About six in the evening, we were all called out into the road to see a superb Aurora Borealis--a sight that is very rarely seen here. Natives say that it is twelve years since the last appearance, and that it means a cold winter which will drive people to Mentone. Our mountains are to the North, and yet, above their tops, we saw the red glare of this wonderful visitant. "Castella is on fire," said an old lady, as if the conflagration of a million such hamlets could cause the faintest approximation to the Aurora, which looked like the first sight of a world on fire, or the blaze of the day of doom.'
Spurgeon had been at Mentone on so many occasions that he had watched its growth from little more than a village to a town of considerable size. He had so thoroughly explored it that he knew every nook and cranny, and there was not a walk or drive in the neighbourhood with which he was not perfectly familiar. His articles, in The Sword and the Trowel, on the journey from 'Westwood' to Mentone, and the drives around his winter resort, have been most useful to later travellers, and far more interesting than ordinary guide-books. Many of the villas and hotels were associated with visits to invalids or other friends, and some were the scenes of notable incidents which could not easily be forgotten.
At the Hôtel d'Italie, the Pastor called to see John Bright, who was just then in anything but a bright frame of mind. He was in a very uncomfortable room, and was full of complaints of the variations in temperature in the sunshine and in the shade. His visitor tried to give him a description of Mentone as he had known it for many years, but the great tribune of the people seemed only anxious to get away to more congenial quarters. The Earl of Shaftesbury was another of the notable Mentone visitors whom the Pastor tried to cheer when he was depressed about religious and social affairs in England and on the Continent.
The genial Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Member of Parliament and temperance advocate, scarcely needed anyone to raise his spirits, for he was in one of his merriest moods when he met Mr. Spurgeon at the hotel door, and the half-hour they spent together was indeed a lively time. The Right Hon. G. J. Shaw-Lefevre was another politician whom the Pastor met at Mentone. The subject of Home Rule for Ireland was just then coming to the front, and the Liberal statesman heard that day what Mr. Spurgeon thought of Mr. Gladstone's plans; the time came when the opinions then expressed privately were published widely throughout the United Kingdom, and materially contributed to the great leader's defeat in 1886.
In the earlier visits to Mentone, the Pastor stayed at the Hôtel des Anglais. In later years he used often to say that he never passed that spot without looking at a certain room, and thanking God for the merciful deliverance which he there experienced. One day he was lying in that room, very ill, but he had insisted upon the friends who were with him going out for a little exercise. Scarcely had they left, when a madman who had eluded the vigilance of his keepers rushed in, and said, I want you to save my soul.' With great presence of mind, the dear sufferer bade the poor fellow kneel down by the side of the bed, and prayed for him as best he could under the circumstances. Spurgeon then told him to go away, and return in half an hour. Providentially, he obeyed. As soon as he was gone, the doctor and servants were summoned, but they were not able to overtake the madman before he had stabbed someone in the street. Only a very few days later, he met with a terribly tragic end.
In the garden of the same hotel, the Pastor once had an unusual and amusing experience. A poor organ-grinder was working away at his instrument; but, evidently, was evoking more sound than sympathy. Spurgeon, moved with pity at his want of success, took his place, and ground out the tunes while the man busily occupied himself in picking up the coins thrown by the numerous company that soon gathered at the windows and on the balconies to see and hear the English preacher play the organ! When he left off, other guests also had a turn at the machine; and, although they were not so successful as the first amateur player had been, when the organ man departed he carried away a heavier purse and a happier heart than he usually took home.
It was while staying at the Hôtel des Anglais that the Pastor adopted a very original method of vindicating one of the two Christian ordinances which were always very dear to him. At a social gathering, at which Spurgeon and a large number of friends were present, John Edward Jenkins, M.P., the author of Ginx's Baby, persistently ridiculed believers' baptism. It was a matter of surprise to many that he did not at once get the answer that he might have been sure he would receive sooner or later. The party broke up, however, without anything having been said by the Pastor upon the question, but it was arranged that, the next day, all of them should visit Ventimiglia, about six miles to the East. On reaching the cathedral, Spurgeon led the way to the baptistery in the crypt; and when all the company had gathered round the old man who was explaining the objects of interest, the Pastor said to his anti-immersionist friend, 'Mr. Jenkins, you understand Italian better than we do, will you kindly interpret for us what the guide is saying?' Thus fairly trapped, the assailant of the previous evening began, 'This is an ancient baptistery. He says that, in the early Christian Church, baptism was always administered by immersion.' The crypt at once rang with laughter, in which the interpreter joined as heartily as anyone, admitting that he had been as neatly 'sold' as a man well could be. He was not the only one who learnt that the combatant who crossed swords with our Mr. Great-heart might not find the conflict to his permanent advantage.
For several years, Mr. Spurgeon stayed at the Hôtel Beau Rivage. As he generally had several companions, or friends who wished to be near him, his party usually occupied a considerable portion of the small building, and the general arrangements were as homelike as possible, even to the ringing of a bell when it was time for family prayer. Not only were there guests in the house who desired to be present, but many came from other hotels and villas in the neighbourhood, and felt well rewarded by the brief exposition of the Scriptures and the prayer which followed it. Those of the company who were members of any Christian church asked permission to attend the Lord's-day afternoon communion service, and it frequently happened that the large sitting-room was quite full, and the folding doors had to be thrown back, so that some communicants might be in the room adjoining. On the Sabbath morning, the Pastor usually worshipped with the Presbyterian friends at the Villa les Grottes; occasionally giving an address before the observance of the Lord's supper, and sometimes taking the whole service. Although away for rest, an opportunity was generally made for him to preach, at least once during the season, at the French Protestant Church, when a very substantial sum was collected for the poor of Mentone. He also took part in the united prayer-meetings in the first week of the year, and sometimes spoke upon the topic selected for the occasion.
It is scarcely possible to tell how many people were blessed under the semi-private ministry which Spurgeon was able to exercise during his holiday. He used, at times, to feel that the burden became almost too great to be borne, for it seemed as if all who were suffering from depression of spirit, whether living in Mentone, Nice, Cannes, Bordighera, or San Remo, found him out, and sought the relief which his sympathetic heart was ever ready to bestow. In one case, a poor soul, greatly in need of comfort, was marvellously helped by a brief conversation with him. The Pastor himself thus related the story, when preaching in the Tabernacle, in June, 1883:
'Some years ago, I was away in the South of France; I had been very ill there, and was sitting in my room alone, for my friends had all gone down to the mid-day meal. All at once it struck me that I had something to do out of doors; I did not know what it was, but I walked out, and sat down on a seat. There came and sat next to me on the seat a poor, pale, emaciated woman in the last stage of consumption; and looking at me, she said, "O Mr. Spurgeon, I have read your sermons for years, and I have learned to trust the Saviour! I know I cannot live long, but I am very sad as I think of it, for I am so afraid to die." Then I knew why I had gone out there, and I began to try to cheer her. I found that it was very hard work. After a little conversation, I said to her, "Then you would like to go to heaven, but not to die? "Yes, just so," she answered. "Well, how do you wish to go there? Would you like to ascend in a chariot of fire?" That method had not occurred to her, but she answered, "Yes, oh, yes!" "Well," I said, "suppose there should be, just round this corner, horses all on fire, and a blazing chariot waiting there to take you up to heaven; do you feel ready to step into such a chariot? " She looked up at me, and she said, "No, I should be afraid to do that." "Ah!" I said, "and so should I; I should tremble a great deal more at getting into a chariot of fire than I should at dying. I am not fond of being behind fiery horses, I would rather be excused from taking such a ride as, that." Then I said to her, "Let me tell you what will probably happen to you; you will most likely go to bed some night, and you will wake up in heaven." That is just what did occur not long after; her husband wrote to tell me that, after our conversation, she had never had any more trouble about dying; she felt that it was the easiest way into heaven, after all, and far better than going there in a whirlwind with horses of fire and chariots of fire, and she gave herself up for her heavenly Father to take her home in His own way; and so she passed away, as I expected, in her sleep.'
The testimony of one American minister is probably typical of that of many others who came under Spurgeon's influence at Mentone, In one of his letters to The Chicago Standard, Rev. W. H. Geistweit wrote: 'It has been said that, to know a man, you must live with him. For two months, every morning, I found myself in Mr. Spurgeon's sitting-room, facing the sea, with the friends who had gathered there for the reading of the Word and prayer. To me, it is far sweeter to recall those little meetings than to think of him merely as the great preacher of the Tabernacle. Multitudes heard him there while but few had the peculiar privilege accorded to me. His solicitude for others constantly shone out, An incident in illustration of this fact will never be forgotten by me. He had been very ill for a week, during which time, although I went daily to his hotel, he did not leave his bed, and could not be seen. His suffering was excruciating. A little later, 'I was walking in the street, one morning, when he spied me from his carriage. He hailed me, and when I approached him, he held out his left hand, and said cheerily, "Oh, you are worth five shillings a pound more than when I saw you last!" And letting his voice fall to a tone of deep earnestness, he added, "Spend it all for the Lord."
A gentleman, who was staying in the hotel at Mentone, where the Pastor spent the winter of 1883, wrote: 'As an instance of the rapidity of Mr. Spurgeon's preparation, the following incident may be given. There came to him, from London, a large parcel of Christmas and New Year's cards. These were shown to some of the residents at the hotel, and a lady of our party was requested to choose one from them. The card she selected was a Scriptural one; it was headed, "The New Year's Guest," and in harmony with the idea of hospitality, two texts were linked together: "I was a stranger, and ye took me in;" and "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." The card was taken away by, the lady; but, on the following Lord's-day, after lunch, Spurgeon requested that it might be lent to him for a short time. The same afternoon, a service was held in his private room, and he then gave a most beautiful and impressive address upon the texts on the card. The sermonettel was printed in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit shortly after that date, and has always seemed to me a wonderful illustration of Spurgeon's great power. Later in the day, he showed me the notes he had made in the half-hour which elapsed between the time the card came into his possession and the service at which the address was delivered; and these, written on a half-sheet of notepaper, consisted of the two main divisions, each one with several sub-divisions, exactly as they appear in the printed address.'
Occasionally, Spurgeon sent home the outline which he had used at the Sabbath afternoon communion, with some account of the service. The address upon the words, 'Thou hast visited me in the night,' which was published in December, 1886, under the title, 'Mysterious Visits', contained quite a number of autobiographical allusions, such as the following: 'I hope that you and I have had many visits from our Lord. Some of us have had them, especially in the night, when we have been compelled to count the sleepless hours. "Heaven's gate opens when this world's is shut." The night is still; everybody is away; work is done; care is forgotten; and then the Lord Himself draws near. Possibly there may be pain to be endured, the head may be aching, and the heart may be throbbing; but if Jesus comes to visit us, our bed of languishing becomes a throne of glory. Though it is true that "He giveth His beloved sleep," yet, at such times, He gives them something better than sleep, namely, His own presence, and the fulness of joy which comes with it. By night, upon our bed, we have seen the unseen. I tried sometimes not to sleep under an excess of joy, when the company of Christ has been sweetly mine.'
The closing paragraph is a good illustration of the way in which Spurgeon made use of the scenes around him to impress his message upon his hearers:
'Go forth, beloved, and talk with Jesus on the beach, for He oft resorted to the sea-shore. Commune with Him amid the olive groves so dear to Him in many a night of wrestling prayer. If ever there was a country in which men should see traces of Jesus, next to the Holy Land, this Riviera is the favoured spot. It is a land of vines, and figs, and olives, and palms; I have called it "Thy land, O Immanuel." While in this Mentone, I often fancy that I am looking out upon the Lake of Gennesaret, or walking at the foot of the Mount of Olives, or peering into the mysterious gloom of the Garden of Gethsemane. The narrow streets of the old town such as Jesus traversed, these villages are such as He inhabited. Have your hearts right with Him, and He will visit you often, until every day you shall walk with God, as Enoch did, and so turn weekdays into Sabbaths, meals into sacraments, homes into temples, and earth into heaven. So be it with us! Amen.'