"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| Old Articles on Open Air Preaching.|
[b]The Qualifications for Soul Winning[/b]
[i]by D.L. Moody[/i]
1. Shake off the vipers that are in the Church, formalism, pride, and self-importance, etc.
2. It is the only happy life to live for the salvation of souls.
3. We must be willing to do little things for Christ.
4. Must be of good courage.
5. Must be cheerful.
God had no children too weak, but a great many too strong to make use of. God stands in no need of our strength or wisdom, but of our ignorance, of our weakness; let us but give these to Him, and He can make use of us in winning souls.
"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3.
Now we all want to shine; the mother wishes it for her boy, when she sends him to school, the father for his lad, when he goes off to college; and here God tells us who are to shine - not statesmen, or warriors, or such like, that shine but for a season - but such as will shine for ever and ever; those, namely, who win souls to Christ; the little boy even who persuades one to come to Christ.
Speaking of this, Paul counts up five things (1 Cor. 1:27-9) that God makes use of - the weak things, the foolish things, the base things, the despised things, and the things which are not, and for this purpose, that no flesh might glory in his sight - all five being just such as we should despise. He can and will use us, just when we are willing to be humble for Christ's sake, and so for six thousand years God has been teaching men; so with an ass's jawbone Samson slew his thousands (Judges 15:15), so at the blowing of rams' horns the walls of Jericho fell (Joshua 6:20). Let God work in His own way, and with His own instruments; let us all rejoice that He should, and let us too get into the position in which God can use us.
There is much mourning to-day over false "isms," infidelity, and the like, but sum them all up, and I do not fear them one half so much as that dead and cold formalism that has crept into the Church of God. The unbelieving world, and these skeptics holding out their false lights, are watching you and me: when Jacob put away his idols, he could go up to Bethel and get strength and the blessing - so will it be with the Church of God. A viper fixes upon the hand of the shipwrecked Paul; immediately he is judged by the barbarians some criminal unfit to live; but he shakes it off into the fire, and suffers no harm, and now they are ready to worship him, and ready too to hear and receive his message: the Church of God must shake off the vipers that have fastened on hand and heart too, ere men will hear. Where one ungodly man reads this Bible, a hundred read you and me: and if they find nothing in us, they set the whole thing aside as a myth.
Again, a man who has found out what his true work is, winning souls to Christ, and does it, such is the happiest man. Not the richest are this - least of all those who have just got converted for themselves, and into the Church - lost what pleasure the world could give, and found none other. Job's captivity turned away when he began praying for his friends; and so will all who thus work for others shine not in heaven alone and hereafter, but here as well, and now.
But you say "I haven't got the ability." Well, God doesn't call you to do Dr. Bonar's work, or Dr. Duff's work, else He had given you their ability, their talent. The word is, "To every man his work." I have a work to do, laid out for me in the secret counsels of eternity; no other can do it. If I neglect it, it is not true that some other will do it; it will remain undone. And if, for the work laid upon us, we feel we have not the ability or talent necessary, then we have a throne of grace; and God never sends, unless that He is willing to give the strength and wisdom. The instruments He often uses may seem all unlikely, yet when did they fail? - when once? and why not? Because He had fitted them out as well.
He sent Moses to Egypt to deliver His people - not an eloquent, but a stuttering man. He refuses a while, at last he went; and no man once sent by God ever did break down.
So was Elisha a most unlikely man to be a successor to the great prophet Elijah. Men would have chosen some famous man, some professor in the school of the prophets. God took one from the plough; but He gave him what was needed. Elisha had but to keep by his master to the end; and he received even a double portion of the Spirit. And if we want to get it, we too must keep by the Lord, nor ever lose sight of Him, should He, as Elijah Elisha, in one way or another try our faith.
And further, we must be ready to do little things for God; many are willing to do the great things. I dare say hundreds would have been ready to occupy this pulpit to-day. How many of them would be as willing to teach a dirty class in the ragged school?
I remember, one afternoon I was preaching, observing a young lady from the house I was staying at, in the audience. I had heard she taught in the Sabbath-school, which I knew was at the same hour; and so I asked her, after service, how she came to be there? "Oh," said she, "my class is but five little boys, and I thought it did not matter for them." And yet among these there might have been, who knows, a Luther or a Knox, the beginning of a stream of blessing, that would have gone on widening and ever widening; and besides, one soul is worth all the kingdoms of the earth.
Away in America, a young lady was sent to a boarding-school, and was there led to Christ; not only so, but taught that she ought to work for Him, By-and-by she goes home, and now she seeks, in one way and another, to work for Him, but without finding how. She asks for a class in her church Sunday-school, but the superintendent is obliged to tell her that he has already more than enough of teachers. One day, going along the street, she sees a little boy struck by his companion, and crying bitterly. She goes up and speaks to him; asks him what the trouble is? The boy thinks she is mocking him, and replies sullenly. She speaks kindly, tries to persuade him to school. He does not want to learn. She coaxes him to come and hear her and the rest singing there; and so next Sunday he comes with her. She gets a corner in the school of well-dressed scholars for herself and her charge. He sits and listens, full of wonder. On going home, he tells his mother he has been among the angels. At first at a loss, she becomes angry, when a question or two brings out that he has been to a Protestant Sunday-school; and the father, on coming home, forbids his going back, on pain of flogging. Next Sunday, however, he goes, and is flogged, and so again, and yet again, till one Sunday, he begs to be flogged before going, that he may not be kept thinking of it all the time. The father relents a little, and promises him a holiday every Saturday afternoon, if he will not go to Sunday-school. The lad agrees, sees his teacher, who offers to teach him then. How many wealthy young folks would give up their Saturdays to train one poor ragged urchin in the way of salvation? Some time after, at his work, the lad is on one of the railway cars. The train starts suddenly; he slips through, and the wheels pass over his legs; he asks the doctor if he will live to get home; it is impossible. "Then," says he, "tell father and mother that I am going to heaven, and want to meet them there." Will the work she did seem little now to the young lady? Or is it nothing that even one thus grateful waits her yonder?
Another thing we want is, to be of good courage. Three or four times this comes out in the first chapter of Joshua; and I have observed that God never uses a man that is always looking on the dark side of things: what we do for Him let us do cheerfully, not because it is our duty - not that we should sweep away the word but because it is our privilege. What would my wife or children say if I spoke of loving them because it was my duty to do so? And my mother - if I go to see her once a year, and were to say - "Mother, I am come all this way to discharge what feel to be my duty in visiting you;" might she not rightly reply - "My son, if this is all that has brought you, you might have spared coming at all!" and go own in broken-hearted sorrow to the grave?
A London minister, a friend of mine, lately pointed out a family of seven, all of whom he was just receiving into the Church. Their story was this: going to church, he had to pass by a window, looking up at which one day, he saw a baby looking out; he smiled - the baby smiled again. Next time he passes he looks up again, smiles, and the baby smiles back. A third time going by, he looks up, and seeing the baby, throws it a kiss - which the baby returns to him. Time after time he has to pass the window, and now cannot refrain from looking up each time: and each time there are more faces to receive his smiling greeting; till by-and-by he sees the whole family grouped at the window - father, mother, and all. The father conjectures the happy, smiling stranger must be a minister, and so, next Sunday morning, after they have received at the window the usual greeting, two of the children, ready dressed, are sent out to follow him: they enter his church, hear him preach, and carry back to their parents the report that they never heard such preaching; and what preaching could equal that of one who had so smiled on them? Soon the rest come to the church too, and are brought in - all by a smile. Let us not go about, hanging our heads like a bulrush; if Christ gives joy, let us live it! The whole world is in all matters for the very best thing - you always want to get the best possible thing for your money; let us show, then, that our religion is the very best thing: men with long, gloomy faces are never wise in the winning of souls.
I was preaching in Jacksonville, and, at the house in which I stayed, my attention was attracted by a little boy, who bore a different name from the household, and yet was in all things and in all respects treated as one of themselves; to the other children he was "brother," and they were "brothers" and "sisters" to him, and with them he came up to the mother for the same good-night kiss.
By-and-by I asked the lady of the house who it was. She told me the father of the boy was a missionary out in India; some years before, father and mother had come home with their five children to have them educated. After being home a short time, the father resolved to return to India; wishing to leave the mother with the children till their education should be finished. She wanted to go back with him; he opposed to it, saying it was hard enough for him to leave them, for her it must be impossible. Still she wished to go, - she had received and been some blessing in India, and she would give up even all for Christ.
Ultimately it was arranged that the children should be received into various families, - treated as part of them, - and that father and mother together should return. So with the boy the mother came to this friend's and stayed a few days along with him. The night before she had leave, sitting with the lady of the house, she told her how anxious she was that her boy should receive the impression that his mother had for Christ's sake cheerfully left him behind, and that for this end she wished to leave him without a tear at parting. The struggle this would cost the lady well knew, especially as the boy was of a peculiarly amiable disposition.
Next morning, passing the door of the mother's room, the lady overheard a sobbing, struggling prayer for strength to do what was on her heart to do. In a short time the mother came down with smiling, cheerful face; and looking so, she took leave of her boy, to go by rail some miles further on to bid a like farewell to another of her family. She went with her husband to India.
A short year after, a still, quiet voice came to her, to come up to meet her Saviour. And would not a welcome await her there, who had so loved Him here, and so cheerfully served Him?
"They that be wise shall shine, as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." (Daniel 12:3). The Lord help us as humbly, devoutly, and cheerfully to abound in His work!
--Sermon delivered by Dwight L. Moody in Dr. Bonar's church, Edinburgh, Scotland, 7th December, 1873.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/9 23:47||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| Re: Old Articles on Open Air Preaching.|
[b]"He That Winneth Souls is Wise"[/b]
[i]by Billy Sunday[/i]
(As preached in Richmond, Indiana, 1922)
"He that winneth souls is wise." -- Proverbs 11:30
There are vast multitudes in this enlightened land of ours who are in open rebellion against God. "We will not have this man, Jesus Christ, to reign over us," is the heartless cry that winds its flight from office, shop, store, factory, home, college, and the busy mart of trade. Lots of people are willing, my friends, to accept whatever they want from the Bible. They would like to codify it; they would like to sit down and eliminate that which isn't pleasant to them to receive and which they don't like to adjust their lives to, and insert something they would like. You take it as it is given, and if you don't, you will go to Hell. God almighty won't adjust His principles to suit the opinions of anybody. The Lord has made His revelation known to the world, and it is up to you and not to the Lord. He has done all He ever will or can do to save this world. He has given sunshine and rain and ground; it is up to you to plant the seed, to plow it or starve to death. God has done His part; He will do no more.
Church and Business Fail Because They Have No Definite Aim
They say they will give us the Sermon on the Mount, or the Decalogue, minus the things that they don't like. They say, "We have no king but self"; and the only law that multitudes of people recognize is the law of their own desires and ambitions. They do the thing because they personally want to do it, and they do not give a rap what influence it has upon their character of what influence their conduct has upon others who are looking to them for an example. All the law they know is the law of their own desire. That's all!
"And so our Lord is now rejected; And by the world disowned. By the many still neglected, But by the few enthroned."
That is true of the denominations that are represented in these meetings, too. Out in a western state four years ago a report was made that during that year (there were 300 churches of that denomination in that state and they spent $300,000 for current expenses) they held 46,000 meetings and during the year there were just 87 men and women converted and joined those churches on confession of faith. I suppose that is this safe and sane evangelism that I hear so much about. It wouldn't take the world long to get into Hell if that is all there is to it! In Chicago just a few years ago the church made a report. There was an average of five who joined each church on confession of faith -- some more, some less -- but it averaged five for a year.And the last year 7,5000 churches of all denominations made reports and not one accession that year on confession of faith. All right, look at it! Just face the conditions and you will see why probably I talk in a way that grates on your nerves, but you will realize that I am only telling you the truth.
Now, what is lacking? Why these meager results? Why the expenditure of so much energy and time and money? It is because there is not a definite effort put forth to persuade a definite person to accept a definite Saviour at a definite time -- and that time is NOW. That is the whole thing in a nutshell, boiled down to one sentence. That is why we are not making headway.
But wait! This element of failure is not simply confined to the church. Ninety-nine per cent of the businessmen fail. A banker told me in Chicago that forty years ago there were one hundred business houses, any one of whose paper would have passed without protest, and today only four of those houses were named. The rest of them have been ruined, gone into bankruptcy, gone out of business. There were four of them after forty years and they all passed without protest at any bank.
Only about three men out of a thousand succeed. Seventy five percent of the lawyers who graduate from law school fail to make good. Sixty five percent of the physicians fail to make good. The failure of these three classes is due largely to the lack of definite, systematic work. No political battle is won on the stump. It is not the spellbinders from the rear end of a special train who turn the vote. Sometimes a bleary-eyed, bloated-faced, bull-necked, whiskey-soaked, tinhorn politician will win more votes than the most silver-tongued spellbinder who ever spouted the principles from the rear end of a special train.
Now to give you an illustration. New York State used to be the pivot state in the presidential election. It isn't anymore. They don't care how New York goes anymore. But it used to be "As goes New York." Everybody knows that the State of New York is Republican. Everybody knows that the city of New York is Democratic. In the State the Republican party figures that it must have about 125,000 or 150,000 majority to overcome the Democratic majority in New York. So when Ben Harrison and Grover Cleveland ran for President in 1888, they went to work. They took the city, divided it, and subdivided it until they got it down into blocks. They had a man over every section and every subdivision, and they had the leading businessmen of the city in those places.
Those men used to meet every day. They used to pound this into them: "You are not responsible for who is elected; you are not responsible for who goes to Washington, Harrison or Cleveland. You are not responsible who carries this state, this city; but you are responsible to know every man in your block and to know how he votes, and if he votes." They kept pounding that one thing into the men -- "Know the block! Know the block!"
They watched the town, and when the votes were counted, Ben Harrison went to Washington instead of Grover Cleveland. That was the way they put it over.
Now that is what Jesus Christ said. In other words, men will work harder to win in business and politics than the church will in religion. I am disgusted with them all! You think you can just open your church door and ring a church bell and people will come. That has been going on long enough. The church has got to wake up and do something.
You simply think that because the calendar announces that it is the Lord's day that that is all you have to do, and that if you put on a little better dress and look a little more pious that that is serving the Lord, and you go to the Devil six days in the week.
I know of a varnish company in this country that pays a man ten thousand dollars a year to look nice. He is a good dresser; he is a good mixer. He has a smile that doesn't come off. He never tries to sell varnish, but he paves the way for the fellow who comes from the firm to sell the varnish to the big railroads and the big institutions that buy it. All he does is just sort of win their friendship and make it easy for the guy who does sell the varnish. They pay him ten thousand a year just for that.
That is the way people do in order to succeed in business. What is the church doing to win people for Christ? I bet alot of you don't know whether or not people right around in your neighborhood are Christians. We never do anything; no wonder the world is going to the Devil.
Soul Winning, the Most Effective Work in the World
Another thing; it is the simplest and most effective work in the world. Andrew wins Peter; Peter turns around and wins three thousand at Pentecost.
Years ago a man went into a shoe store in Boston and found a young fellow selling shoes and boots. He talked to him about Jesus Christ and won him for Christ. The name of that little boy was Dwight L. Moody. Do you know the name of the man who won Moody for Christ? I don't suppose there are five people in this audience who do. His name was Kimball. God used Kimball to win Moody, but He used Moody to win the multitude.
Andrew didn't have sense enough to win the multitude, but Peter did. That is the way God works! Oh, I get so sick of people being dead! You have sat around so long you have mildewed.
The Earl of Shaftsbury, who gave sixty-five years of his life working among the costermongers, the fallen, the submerged and mudsills of London, was won to Jesus Christ by a servant girl in his home. He was wavering, going down the line with the gang of young bloods when his father died. This servant girl, a godly girl, said "You inherit all the honor and all the wealth that goes along with the name of Shaftsbury, but are you going to a premature grave because of the way you are going, the life you are living, and bring disgrace upon your father's memory and your mother's?" The Earl of Shaftsbury, when he was eighteen years old, fell on his knees and gave his heart to Jesus Christ. When he died, his funeral was the greatest ever held in England except when a king or queen had died.
See what she did? She won him to the Lord and then the Lord took him and used him to win the multitudes. Charles G. Finney, after learning the name of a man or a woman, invariably asked, "Are you a Christian?"
The Soul Winning Work of John Vassar
John Vassar was one of the greatest personal workers of the nineteenth century. He never preached a sermon but that he did personal work. He was a wonder. One time he was going to help a preacher in a town. This preacher met Vassar at the Depot. Walking down to the hotel they went past a blacksmith shop. He said to Vassar, "There's a blacksmith in there. He's got a great drag with his crowd but he never comes to church. If we could only win him, then he would win scores in his class." Vassar asked, "Have you talked to him?" "Oh, we are afraid. He will cuss any preacher who comes near him." He said, "Wait a minute until I take my turn." Vassar went in. The man was shoeing a mule -- that isn't a good time to talk religion to a man, take it from me! But Vassar had good sense and waited until the fellow was through and had disarmed his prejudice. In fifteen minutes he had him on his knees weeping like a child. He went up to the hotel where he was to be entertained . He registered, then strolled around, looking for somebody to speak to. He went into a little reception room and there sat a finely dressed lady. He walked up to her and said, "Lady, are you a Christian?" She said, "Yes, I am." "I beg your pardon," he said, "I didn't mean that kind. I mean, have you been born again?"
"Oh," she said, "we've gotten over that here in Boston." "Well," he said, "lady, you've gotten over Jesus Christ in Boston, too. You've gotten over God." He talked with her until her prejudice was disarmed and tears trickled down her cheeks; then he said, "May I pray for you?" She said, "I wish you would. God knows I need it, although I'm a member of the church."
He prayed. She wept and he slipped out. Her husband came in and noticed that her eyes were red. He said, "Has anybody insulted you?" She said, "The queerest little man was here a little while ago and he talked so nice to me about Jesus." He said, "If I had been here I would have told him to go along and mind his business." She said, "I wish you had been here. You would have thought he was minding his business. His business was a mission for his King, to bring people to Jesus Christ."
Vassar distributed tracts in the army. He worked with the American Bible Society. When the chaplain died, they wanted Vassar to take the place of the chaplain. He wasn't ordained and the government law does not allow anybody to be a chaplain who hasn't been ordained. He came up to Poughkeepsie and they were examining him. One fellow with cinders all over his back, said, "Mr. Vassar, your duty now is to distribute tracts. Your salary is three hundred dollars a year, and you wish to be ordained?"
"Does that mean an increase of salary?"
"Yes, sir, fifteen hundred dollars a year."
Then he said, "The increase of salary has allured you and brought you here for us to ordain."
Vassar said, "Stop where you are! I don't want it; I won't take it if you give it to me", and he wouldn't. He went back to distributing tracts for three hundred dollars a year, to do something for Jesus Christ. He was a wonder. God did marvelous things through him.
"Are you lonesome?" a man asked a lighthouse keeper. "Are you lonesome out on this lonesome spot?" He said, "I was before I saved four men from drowning...Is that a boat out there?" He was always on the lookout for other boats that he might save men from a watery grave.
Get somebody else for Jesus Christ and you will get a new vision of life, a new vision of what it means. It is something besides going to church and keeping warm a little spot seventeen inches square for a half hour and listening to a sermonette. You had better squirm around in your seat and stoop down! You had better duck!
"He that winneth souls is wise." Some people think it is beneath their dignity. Then you live on a higher plane than your Master, for He went about doing good wherever he was in the world.
A lady said to a friend of mine, "Do you think that my blindness will hinder me?" My friend answered, "It is a misfortune, but I don't know. I have the opinion it will be a help to you, because people will come up to you to express their sympathy for your lack of sight and that will give you the opportunity to speak of Jesus."
"Oh," she said, "I don't mean in an effort like that, but to stand on the platform." She thought the only way to serve God was to get in the spotlight, not to be doing something with the people whom she might shake hands with day by day in her home.
A man was thinking of entering evangelistic work. He came to my friend, Dr. Chapman, and said, "I am thinking of entering evangelistic work."
"That's good." Dr. Chapman said.
"I think I will begin out in Colorado -- Denver and Colorado Springs, and out in Pasadena, California. My relatives are there."
My friend said, "Have you any brothers or sisters?"
"Yes, I have."
"Are they Christians?"
"Well," he said, "I don't know. When we set up the estate four years ago my brother and I had a quarrel over it and we haven't spoken since."
"And your sister?"
"My sister took my brother's views of the proposition and she hasn't spoken to me since. I haven't been in her home."
Dr. Chapman said, "What do you intend to do?"
He said, "Evangelistic work."
Dr. Chapman said, "The Bible says, 'First be reconciled to thy brother.' If you start out the way you are, failure is written all over you. 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me,' the Bible tells me, so there is no use trying to bother your head about God for He won't listen to you. That's as sure as you live."
Soul Winning is Difficult Work
Now, it is a difficult form of work. It is more difficult than preaching; it is more difficult than attending conventions; more difficult than giving goods to the poor. (When you do give goods to the poor, don't wait until the moths have eaten holes in them. And when you give them away, don't cut off all the buttons and braid. Poor folks like them as well as you do. It is no act of charity when you have taken off all you want, then turned the rest over to somebody else. No, no! Then angles never record an act like that.) You will never see it when you get to Heaven if you have an easy time. Oh, you can pin on a badge, usher people to their seats, pass the collection plate, be an elder or a deacon or a steward; you can go to church, sing in the choir, be a member of a Home or Foreign Missionary Society -- the Devil will even let you attend Bible conferences -- but the minute you begin to do personal work, to try to get somebody to take a stand for Christ, all the devils in Hell will be on your back, for they know that is a challenge to the Devil and to his forces. And I hope that the work of leading people to Christ by personal effort will always be hard. I have no sympathy for folks who are looking for something easy!
I preached out in Salida, Colorado, a few years ago. The city lies 8,5000 feet on one of the spurs of the Rocky Mountains. There was a woman there who sang in the choir. I used to drive them out when they went to speak to somebody about Jesus Christ. One day she came to me and said, "Mr. Sunday, will you speak to my husband about being a Christian?"
I said, "Have you spoken to him?"
She said, "No."
I said, "No madam, I will not."
She said, "Why?"
I said, "God wants you to go and you are trying to sidestep and get me to do it."
I said, "You go speak to him and if you can't win him for Christ, come and tell me, then I will go."
"Well," she said, "you would have a greater influence with him than I have."
"How long have you been married?" I asked."Five years." I said, "I have been in this town three weeks and it is a compliment for you to say that to me. You have cooked for him and sewed on buttons for him for five years."
Finally one night, she said, "Isn't it hot?" I said to her, "You like to sing in the choir, don't you?" She said, "I love to do that." "You don't like to do personal work?" I asked. "Then your idea of serving God is to pick out the things you would like to do, and the things that you don't like to do you let somebody else do; then you let it go at that." I said, "Then you will forget every blessing that ever came to you."
One night I drove her off the platform; later I saw her coming down the aisle. Her husband sat on the front seat. She slipped her arm around his neck and whispered something in his ear. He nodded his head and down the aisle he came. He turned to her and said, "Bess, I've been waiting for weeks for you to ask me that."
I was out in Colorado Springs not very long ago and she came up to Denver. I said, "How do you do, Mrs. C." "How do you do?" I said, "Where's Charlie?" "He went to heaven two years ago, but he prayed and lived consistently until the hour that God called him."
Get out and do something! "He isn't my boy." That same spirit of letting people go to the Devil because they don't eat at your table and because you are not married to them -- there is too much of that today in the world."He that winneth souls is wise."
God Blesses Personal Effort
A mother in a home had a magnificent character. To my knowledge there had never been a stranger enter that home for years that she hadn't talked to him about Jesus Christ. She was bemoaning the fact that she couldn't do anything or wasn't doing anything for the Lord, yet she was doing more practical Christian work, consistently every day, than the entire membership of that church of five hundred people. She was doing more!
So it the personal effort that God will honor and that God will bless. And listen! There are fifteen million young men in this country between the ages of sixteen and thirty five. Fourteen million of them are not members of any church, Catholic or Protestant. Seven million of them attend church regularly. Nine million of them never darken a church door from one year's end to another.
After the Iroquois Theater fire in Chicago where six hundred people burned to death, a girl about seventeen years of age fought her way through the great torrents of blood and crushed and charred and baked flesh. Her hair was singed, her eyebrows were burned off, her face and hands were blistered, her clothing was hanging in charred rags. As she got on the street car to go home she was moaning and sighing. She would wring her hands and say "O, God! O, God!" A lady next to her said, "Well, you ought to be thankful that you got out alive." She said, "I am, but I didn't help anybody else out! It was all I could do to get out." What she was moaning about was the fact that others had to die because she didn't help them. Yet she was sitting by people who had not thought of others -- letting them go to Hell.
Oh, he that winneth souls is wise! Is wise! You would feel different, perhaps, if it were some of your own, but remember, if it is not your flesh and blood it is somebody else's.
Out in Pennsylvania they had a mine cave-in. The alarm was sounded and men came and volunteered. With pick and shovel they worked, trying to dig quickly to the men lest they die. Up tottered an old man seventy-five years old. He threw off his cap, coat and vest, spit on his hands, and picking up the pick, he picked and picked. Then he got the shovel and he shoveled until the sweat rolled down his cheeks. He stood tottering, about ready to fall. Some of the younger men said to him, "Grandpa, get away and let us young fellows do this."
He said, "Great God, boys! I've got three sons down in there! I must do something!" And if it isn't your boy, it is somebody else's. If it isn't your girl, it is somebody else's.
That is the trouble with the world today. We don't care a rap what becomes of others so long as we go through the world. Now you may soon go; you may die and they may die; and you may live and they may die, but no matter whether you go first or last, you have to meet at the judgment. That is settled! You have to do that.
A casket containing the body of a beautiful seventeen year old girl with the dew of youth on her brow, was being borne from the church to the graveyard. The girl's friends stood around the grave. As they lowered the coffin, a Sunday school teacher who stood there shrieked and screamed and wrung her hands in grief. After the carriage was driven away and after things had been cleared up, the minister went to see this girl. He said, "I noticed your hysteric grief at the grave. Was she a Christian?" The Sunday school teacher said, "I noticed her growing careless with her companions and going into questionable places." Then the girl said to the minister, "I was sure you'd speak to her, for you know more about those things." He said, "No, I didn't speak to her. I intended to but," he said, "I didn't. I was sure you would. She was a girl and you were a girl and you better understood one another. Let's go and see her mother."
The minister and the Sunday school teacher went and talked with the girl's mother. She said, "Yes, I noticed it. I used to plead with her, but she would get mad at me, thinking I was interfering with her company. I hope you spoke to her." Neither of them had, and she had gone to wait at the judgment bar, to witness against the three -- her mother, the preacher, and the Sunday school teacher, for they said nothing. "He that winneth souls is wise!" He is wise!
So there must be a confession of sin. The sin of neglect --confess that; and the sin of unforgiveness, the sin of indifference. David said, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Oh, you get the light of Jesus in your heart! Jesus Christ is able, my friend, to reveal Himself to the agnostic, materialist, like He did to Balaam until he knew Jesus Christ. Oh, He can flash the deity of Jesus Christ into the brain of the son of an orthodox Unitarian of New England, as He did the son of Edward Everett Hale. He is able to knock the scales from the credulous worshipers of Mary Baker Glover Eddy until you will find that matter is existent and not an illusion of the mortal mind.
What God Did Through the Testimony of an Fourteen Year Old Boy
He that winneth souls is wise! My friend, Dr. Broughton, used to be pastor of a big Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia. When he was a young minister he went out to help a pastor in revival meetings. He said he would ask God to forgive him a good many times. He said he went and preached and he never in all his days saw such a dead, lifeless, indifferent, apathetic crowd. He didn't believe there was such a crowd this side of the cemetery. He said he preached. Nobody smiled. They all looked like epitaphs on a tombstone. He said he asked for a show of hands; nobody would lift them. He would ask for a request for prayer; nobody would appeal. To every appeal they were as deaf as Hades. He was discouraged about it. One time he made an appeal and said, "If there is a man here who wants us to pray, a father who wants us to pray for his children, lift your hand."
A boy, fourteen years of age, who sat on the end of the seat, raised his hand. He said, "If there is a mother here who wants us to pray for her child, or children, lift your hand." The boy lifted his hand. He said, "If there is a businessman here who has interests that concern his partner, lift your hand." Up went the boy's hand. He made the appeal governing both sexes. He said to himself, "This child's a monstrosity." He said, "I have made an appeal covering both sexes and all ages. To every appeal he has lifted his hand." He went back to the hotel. Sitting in his chair he heard a rap at the door. "Come in!" In walked one of the deacons, stroking his long bird-tail whiskers.
"How do you do, Deacon?"
He said, "We ain't having much of a meeting."
"Never saw anything worse."
"I thought I'd come up and tell you about that little boy who's down to the church," the deacon said. "What do you mean?" Dr. Broughton asked. "Well, everytime you make an appeal, he lifts his hand. He's just making a fool of you."
"Forget it. He's making a fool of you and all the rest of the fools who profess to be Christians." The deacon said, "Well, I thought I'd come and tell you so you could tell him to stay away." Dr. Broughton said, "I'll give that boy ten dollars a day to come. He's the only evidence of life I've seen in the city. If you think I'm going to turn the hose on him, you've got another guess coming."
"Well," the deacon said, "I thought I'd tell you." Stroking his whiskers, he went out. Dr. Broughton went on to preach and make similar appeals. The only one who would respond was that boy. Up would go his hand. Another day he heard a knock. "Come in!" In came this old deacon. He said,"Do you know that boy?"
"Certainly I know him; he's the only one I do know." He said, "You ain't having much of a revival." He said, "No, you need an undertaker in this town instead of an evangelist. You are the deadest crowd that I have ever seen. And if God or anybody else had told me that there was such a dead, indifferent membership on earth, I wouldn't have believed it."
"Well," the deacon said, "do you know that boy ain't overly bright?" "He's got you backed off the boards. He's got sense enough to make a response," replied Dr. Broughton. "Well," he said, "I thought I'd tell you." The preacher said, "You don't need to tell me." The pastor came to Dr. Broughton and said, "Doctor, before I was sure that you were coming to preach on Sunday morning for a brother minister in another city who is away and I'd like to have you preach for me on Sunday morning." He said, "Very well." On Saturday night he heard a rap at the door. "Come in!" In came this old deacon, stroking his whiskers. "Howdy, Doc." "How do you do, Deacon?" He said, "The domine asked (they always call the preacher the domine) -- the domine asked you to preach on Sunday morning, didn't he?" "Yes." He said, "Now, don't you ask for converts because there ain't any."
"Deacon, look me in the face, if you can, and answer me this: You knew that if I did, there would be one or some and you don't want that one, or some, to join the church." He squirmed uncomfortably. "Well", he said, "you can do as you please." He said, "I'd do that without your consent. I'll preach if I feel God and the Spirit; if I don't, I won't. I won't do it because you told me to do it, or not to do it. Neither would I do it if you asked me to or if you asked me not to." Sunday morning he walked out and preached. When he got through he said, "If there is anybody here who wants to be a Christian, wants to join the church, come down and take me by the hand." Pretty soon there was a shuffling and down the aisle came that boy. Dr. Broughton took him by the hand and said, "Sit down, sonny." He asked the usual questions. The child gave answers and Dr. Broughton repeated the answers. He said to the audience, "You have all heard the questions I have asked and the answers given, for I have repeated both. All who are in favor of giving this boy the right hand of fellowship and receiving him in full membership, say 'aye'". Two farmers voted aye and the rest of them kept quiet. Dr. Broughton said, "The ayes have it." He got the kid up on the platform and baptized him.
The boy went bounding home. He lived with his grandfather since his mother was dead. His grandfather was an invalid, and the richest man in that section of Georgia. For nearly sixty years he had never been known to darken a church door. He was a leader of the infidels; he denounced religion because of unbelief, and blatantly spewed out the theories and doctrines of infidelity. The boy bounded in, put his arms around the old man's neck and said, "Grandpa, they took me into the church, and Dr. Broughton baptized me, and if you will come up there, they will take you in, too." He said, "Go away, son, don't bother me. Grandpa don't care about it." He pushed the boy off, but back in again he came. He kept begging his grandpa to go, but he said, "Don't bother your grandpa; go on away." He said, "Grandpa, I'll tell you what they will ask you, and I'll tell you what to say. Come on and go." My friend preached to men only on Sunday afternoon. They saw this boy come into the church leading his old grandfather, who was hobbling on the crutches of decrepitude as he came down the aisle. He sat down and listened.
When my friend got through the grandfather arose and said, "Dr. Broughton, may I speak a few words?" He stood trembling on his cane. "I have cussed and damned God all my life. This is the first time I have crossed a church threshold for over sixty years. My little grandson -- and you know he ain't overly bright; his ma's gone and he lives with me and his grandma -- he came home and said you took him into the church and told me if I'd come you'd take me in. Dr. Broughton, if you think God will reach down and take an old reprobate like me, who has cussed Him all my days, and I've never, never prayed -- if you think the Lord will take me in the sunset of life and kiss away the stains of guilt, I'd like to come."
Dr. Broughton said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
The old man came hobbling down and said, "I have wandered far away from God, but now I'm coming home."
He was baptized and received into the church. Listen! They went home. The next day, the little boy went bounding downtown into a saloon kept by his father. He said, "O papa, grandpa and me have joined the church and if you'll come up, they will take you in. I will tell you what they will ask you and I'll tell you what to say." He said, "Go out of here, my son; this is no place for you." Say, if a dirty, stinking saloon is no place for my boy, it's no place for me. If it's good for me, it's good for him, and if it's bad for him, it's bad for me. To Hell with the saloon!
He said to him, "Go on out of here, son. Go on out of here. This is no place for a boy." "Pa, come on. They will take you in."
Listen! The next Sunday that man walked down the aisle, told the story of what his little boy had done, and he said "If you think that God can save a saloon-keeper, I'd like to be a Christian."
He joined the church, then he said, "Come down tomorrow morning and we will break the bottles of whiskey and champagne and beer." They brought them into the street and they did. They turned it into the sewer as the people stood singing. He said, "I feel that my mission is to the saloon-keepers of that part of the country."
He started out and by personal effort, with drunkards and saloon-keepers, started a tidal wave of religion. And the first county that went dry in Georgia was that county. The state was put dry by the legislative enactment, and they never had a saloon in that county from that day till this. It all started with that little boy.
You've got as much sense as the boy, haven't you? Go do likewise; that is my message.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/9 23:49||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
[b]The Use of Tracts[/b]
[i]by R.A. Torrey[/i]
The following is from Torrey's larger work, "Methods of Christian Work " (Chapter 5, pages 213-221):
Comparatively few Christians realize the importance of tract work. I had been a Christian a good many years, and a minister of the Gospel several years, before it ever entered my head that tracts were of much value in Christian work. I had somehow grown up with the notion that tracts were all rubbish, and therefore I did not take the trouble to read them, and far less did I take the trouble to circulate them, but I found out that I was entirely wrong. Tract work has some great advantages over other forms of Christian work.
I. Importance and advantages.
1. Any person can do it. We cannot all preach; we cannot all conduct meetings; but we can all select useful tracts and then hand them out to others. Of course some of us can do it better than others. Even a blind man or a dumb man can do tract work. It is a line of work in which every man, woman and child can engage.
2. A tract always sticks to the point. I wish every worker did that, but how often we get to talking to some one and he is smart enough to get us off on to a side track.
3. A tract never loses its temper. Perhaps you sometimes do. I have known Christian workers, even workers of experience, who would sometimes get all stirred up, but you cannot stir up a tract It always remains as calm as a June morning.
4. Oftentimes people who are too proud to be talked with, will read a tract when no one is looking. There is many a man who would repulse you if you tried to speak to him about his soul, who will read a tract if you leave it on his table, or in some other place where he comes upon it accidentally, and that tract may be used for his salvation.
5. A tract stays by one. You talk to a man and then he goes away, but the tract stays with him. Some years ago a man came into a mission in New York. One of the workers tried to talk with him, but he would not listen. As he was leaving, a card tract was placed in his hands which read, "If I should die to-night I would go to ______ Please fill out and sign." He put it in his pocket, went to his steamer, for he was a sailor, and slipped it into the edge of his bunk. The steamer started for Liverpool. On his voyage he met with an accident, and was laid aside in his bunk. That card stared him in the face, day and night. Finally he said, "If I should die tonight I would go to hell, but I will not go there, I will go to heaven, I will take Christ right here and now." He went to Liverpool, returned to New York, went to the mission, told his story, and had the card, which was still in his pocket, filled out and signed with his name. The conversation he had had in the mission left him, but the card stayed by him.
6. Tracts lead many to accept Christ. The author of one tract ("What is it to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?") received before his death upwards of sixteen hundred letters from people who had been led to Christ by reading it.
II. Purposes for which to use a tract.
1. For the conversion of the unsaved. A tract will often succeed in winning a man to Christ where a sermon or a personal conversation has failed. There are a great many people who, if you try to talk with them, will put you off; but if you put a tract in their hands and ask God to bless it, after they go away and are alone they will read the tract and God will carry it home to their hearts by the power of the Holy Ghost. One of our students wrote me in great joy of how he had at last succeeded in winning a whole family for Christ. He had been working for that family for a long time but could not touch them. One day he left a tract with them, and God used that tract for the conversion of four or five members of the family. Another student held a cottage meeting at a home, and by mistake left his Bible there. There was a tract in the Bible. When he had gone, the woman of the house saw the Bible, picked it up, opened it, saw the tract and read it. The Spirit of God carried it home to her heart, and when he went back after the Bible she told him she wanted to find the Lord Jesus Christ. The tract had done what he could not do in personal work. I once received a letter from a man saying, "There is a man in this place whom I tried for a long time to reach but could not. One day I handed him a tract, and I think it was to the salvation of his whole family.
2. To lead Christians into a deeper and more earnest Christian life. It is a great mistake to limit the use of tracts to winning the unsaved to Christ. A little tract on the Second Coming of Christ, once sent me in a letter, made a change in my whole life. I do not think the tract was altogether correct doctrinally, but it had in it an important truth, and it did for me just the work that needed to be done.
There is a special class of people with whom this form of ministry is particularly helpful, those who live where they do not enjoy spiritual advantages. You may know some one who is leading a very unsatisfactory life, and you long to have that person know what the Christian life really means. His pastor may not be a spiritual man, he may not know the deep things of God. It is the simplest thing in the world to slip into a letter a tract that will lead him into an entirely new Christian life.
3. To correct error. This is a very necessary form of work in the day in which we live. The air is full of error. In our personal work we have not always time to lead a man out of his error, but oftentimes we can give him a tract that can do the work better than we can. If you tried to lead him out of his error by personal work, you might get into a discussion, but the tract cannot. The one in error cannot talk back to the tract. For example, take people that are in error on the question of seventh day observance. It might take some time to lead such a one out of the darkness into the light, but a tract on that subject can be secured that has been used of God to lead many out of the bondage of legalism into the glorious liberty of the Gospel of Christ.
4. To set Christians to work. Our churches are full of members who are doing nothing. A well-chosen tract may set such to work. I know of a young man who was working in a factory in Massachusetts. He was a plain, uneducated sort of fellow, but a little tract on personal work was placed in his hands. He read it and re-read it, and said, "I am not doing what I should for Christ." He went to work among his companions in the factory, inviting them to the church, and to hear his pastor preach. Not satisfied with this, he went to doing personal work. This was not sufficient, so he went to work holding meetings himself. Finally he brought a convention to his city. Just that one plain factory man was the means of getting a great convention and blessing to that place, and all from reading that little tract. He was also instrumental in organizing a society which was greatly blessed of God. It would be possible to fill this country with literature on Christian work that would stir up the dead and sleeping professors of religion throughout the land, and send them out to work for the Lord Jesus Christ
III. Who should use tracts.
1. Ministers of the Gospel should use them. Many ministers do make constant use of them in their pastoral work, leaving well chosen tracts where they make their pastoral calls, handing out tracts along the line of the sermons that they preach. It is said of Rev. Edward Judson of New York, that he seldom makes a call without having in his pocket a selection of tracts adapted to almost every member of the family, and especially to the children. "At the close of the Sunday evening preaching service, he has often put some good brother in the chair, and while the meeting proceeds he goes down into the audience and gives to each person a choice leaflet, at the same time taking the opportunity to say a timely word. In this way he comes into personal touch with the whole audience, gives each stranger a cordial welcome, and leaves in his hand some message from God. At least once a year he selects some one tract that has in it the very core of the Gospel. On this he prints the notices of the services, and selecting his church as a center, he has this tract put in the hands of every person living within half a mile in each direction, regardless of creed or condition. He sometimes uses 10,000 tracts at one distribution, and finds it very fruitful in results."
2. Sunday School teachers. Every Sunday School teacher should be on the lookout for tracts to give to his scholars. In this way he can do much to supplement his hour's work on the Lord's Day.
3. Traveling men. Traveling men have a rare opportunity for doing tract work. They are constantly coming in contact with different men, and finding out their needs. A Christian "drummer" with a well-assorted selection of tracts can accomplish immeasurable good.
4. Business men. Business men can use tracts to good advantage with the very men with whom they have business engagements. They can also do excellent work with their own employees. Many a business man slips well chosen tracts into many of the letters which he writes, and thus accomplishes an effective ministry for his Master.
5. School teachers. It is very difficult for school teachers in some cities and towns to talk very much with their pupils in school. Oftentimes the rules of the school board prevent it entirely, but a wise teacher can learn all about her scholars and their home surroundings, and can give them tracts just adapted to their needs.
6. Housekeepers. Every Christian housekeeper should have a collection of well assorted tracts. She can hand these out to the servant girls, the grocery men, the market men, the butcher, to the tramps that come to the door. They can be left upon the table in the parlor and in bedrooms. Only eternity will disclose the good that is accomplished in these ways.
IV. How to use tracts.
1. To begin a conversation. One of the difficulties in Christian work is to begin. You see a person with whom you wish to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. The great difficulty is in starting. It is easy enough to talk after you have started, but how are you going to start a conversation naturally and easily? One of the simplest and easiest ways is by slipping a tract into the person's hand. After the tract has been read, a conversation naturally follows. I was once riding in a crowded car. I asked God for an opportunity to lead some one to Christ. I was watching for the opportunity for which I had asked, when two young ladies entered. I thought I knew one of them as the daughter of a minister. She went through the car looking for a seat, and then came back. As she came back and sat down in the seat in front of me, she bowed, and of course I knew I was right as to who she was. I took out a little bundle of tracts, and selecting one that seemed best adapted to her case, I handed it to her, having first asked God to bless it. She at once began to read and I began to pray. When she had read the tract, I asked her what she thought about it. She almost burst into tears right there in the car, and in a very few moments that minister's daughter was rejoicing in the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. As she afterwards passed out of the car, she said, "I want to thank you for what you have done for me in leading me to Christ."
2. Use a tract to close a conversation. As a rule when you have finished talking with some one, you should not leave him without something definite to take home to read. If the person has accepted Christ, put some tract in his hands that will show him how to succeed in the Christian life. If the person has not accepted Christ, some other tract that is especially adapted to his need should be left with him.
3. Use tracts where a conversation is impossible. For example, one night at the close of a tent meeting in Chicago, as I went down one of the aisles a man beckoned to me, and intimated that his wife was interested. She was in tears, and I tried to talk with her, but she stammered out in a broken way, "We don't talk English." She had not understood a word of the sermon, I suppose, but God had carried something home to her heart. They were Norwegians, and I could not find a Norwegian in the whole tent to act as interpreter, but I could put a Norwegian tract in her hand, and that could do the work. Time and time again I have met with men deeply interested about their soul's salvation, but with whom I could not deal because I did not talk the language that they understood.
One day as I came from dinner, I found a Swede waiting for me, and he said he had a man outside with whom he wished me to talk. I went outside and found an uncouth looking specimen, a Norwegian. The Swede had found him drunk in an alley and dragged him down to the Institute to talk with me. He was still full of whisky, and spit tobacco juice over me as I tried to talk with him. I found he could not talk English, and I talked English to the Swede, and the Swede talked Swedish to the Norwegian, and the Norwegian got a little bit of it. I made it as clear as I could to our Swede interpreter, and he in his turn made it as clear as he could to the Norwegian. Then I put a Norwegian tract in his hands, and that could talk to him so that he understood perfectly.
Oftentimes a conversation is impossible because of the place where you meet people. For example, you may be on the street cars and wish to speak to a man, but in many instances it would not be wise if it were possible, but you can take the man's measure and then give him a tract that will fit him. You may be able to say just a few words to him and then put the tract in his hands and ask God to bless it.
4. Use tracts to send to people at a distance. It does not cost a tract much to travel. You can send them to the ends of the earth for a few cents. Especially use them to send to people who live in out of the way places where there is no preaching. There are thousands of people living in different sections of this country where they do not hear preaching from one year's end to another. It would be impossible to send an evangelical preacher to them, but you can send a tract and it will do the preaching for you.
V. Suggestions as to the use of tracts.
1. Always read the tracts yourself before giving them to others. This is very necessary. Bad tracts abound to-day, tracts that contain absolutely pernicious doctrine. They are being circulated free by the million, and one needs to be on his guard, lest he be doing harm rather than good in distributing tracts. Of course we cannot read all the tracts in foreign languages, but we can have them interpreted to us, and it is wise to do so. Besides positively bad tracts, there are many tracts that are worthless.
2. Suit your tract to the person to whom you give it. What is good for one person may not be good for another.
3. Carry a selection of tracts with you. I do not say a collection, but a selection. Tracts are countless in number, and a large share of them are worthless. Select the best, and arrange them for the different classes of people with whom you come in contact.
4. Seek the guidance of God. This is of the very highest importance. If there is any place where we need wisdom from above, it is in the selection of tracts, and in their distribution after their selection.
5. Seek God's blessing upon the tract after you have given it out. Do not merely give out the tract and there let the matter rest, but whenever you give out a tract ask God to bless it.
6. Oftentimes give a man a tract with words and sentences underscored. Men are curious, and they will take particular notice of the underscoring. It is oftentimes a good thing to have a tract put up in your office. Men who come in will read it. I know a man who had a few words put upon his paper weight. A great many who came into his office saw it, and it made a deep impression upon them.
7. Never be ashamed of distributing tracts. Many people hand out tracts to others as if they were ashamed of what they were doing. People are not likely to read tracts if you hand them to them as if you were ashamed to do it; but if you act as though you were conferring a favor upon them, and giving them something worth reading, they will read your tract. It is often well to say to a person, "Here is a little leaflet out of which I have gotten a good deal of good. I would like to have you read it."
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/10 13:00||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
[i]by R.A. Torrey[/i]
The following is from Torrey's larger work, "Methods of Christian Work " (Chapter 6, pages 222-233):
1. Their importance and advantages.
1. They are Scriptural. Jesus said, "Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind." Every great preacher of the Bible was an open-air preacher. Peter was an open-air preacher, Paul was an open-air preacher, and so were Elijah, Moses and Ezra. More important than all, Jesus Christ Himself was an open-air preacher, and preached for the most part out of doors. Every great sermon recorded in the Bible was preached in the open air; the sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the Sermon on the Mount, the sermon on Mars Hill, etc. In this country we have an idea that open-air preaching is for those who cannot get any other place to speak, but across the water they look at it quite differently. Some of the most eminent preachers of Great Britain preach in the open air.
2. Open-air meetings are portable, you can carry them around. It would be very difficult to carry a church or mission building with you, but there is no difficulty about carrying an openair meeting with you. You can get an open-air meeting where you could by no possibility get a church, mission hall or even a room. You can have open-air meetings in all parts of the city and all parts of the country.
3. Open-air meetings are more attractive in the summer than hot, sweltering halls or churches. When on my vacations, I used to attend a country church. It was one of the hottest, most stifling and sleepy places I ever entered. It was all but impossible to keep awake while the minister attempted to preach. The church was located in a beautiful grove where it was always cool and shady, but it seemed never to enter the minds of the people to go out of the church into the grove. Of course only a few people attended the church services. One day a visiting minister suggested that they have an open-air meeting on the front lawn of a Christian man having a summer residence near at hand. The farmers came to that meeting from miles around, in wagons, on foot and every other way. There was a splendid crowd in attendance. The country churches would do well in the summer to get out of their church building into some attractive grove near at hand.
4. Open-air meetings will accommodate vast crowds. There are few church buildings, especially in the country, that will accommodate more than one thousand people; but people by the thousands can be accommodated by an open-air meeting. It has been my privilege to speak for several summers in a small country town with less than a thousand inhabitants. Of course the largest church building in the town would not accommodate more than five hundred people. The meetings, however, were held in the open air, and people drove to them from forty miles around, and at a single meeting we had an attendance of 15,000 people. Whitefield was driven to the fields by the action of church authorities. It was well that he was. Some of his audiences at Moorfields were said to number 60,000 people.
5. Open-air meetings are economical. You neither have to pay rent nor hire a janitor. They do not cost anything at all. God Himself furnishes the building and takes care of it. I remember that at a Christian Workers' Convention a man was continually complaining that no one would hire for him a mission hall in which to hold meetings. At last I suggested to him that he had all outdoors, and could go there and preach until some one hired him a hall. He took the suggestion and was greatly used of God. You do not need to have a cent in your pocket to hold an open-air meeting. The whole outdoors is free.
6. You can reach men in an open-air meeting that you can reach in no other way. I can tell of instance after instance where men who have not been at church or a mission hall for years have been reached by open-air meetings. The persons I have known to be reached and converted through open- air meetings have included thieves, drunkards, gamblers, saloon-keepers, abandoned women, murderers, lawyers, doctors, theatrical people, society people, in fact pretty much every class.
7. You can reach backsliders and people who have drifted away from the church. One day when we were holding a meeting on a street comer in a city, a man in the crowd became interested, and one of our workers dealt with him. He said, "I am a backslider, and so is my wife, but I have made up my mind to come back to Christ." He was saved and so was his brother-in-law.
8. Open-air meetings impress People by their earnestness. How often I have heard people say, "There is something in it. See those people talking out there on the street. They do not have any collection, and they come here just because they believe what they are preaching." Remarks like this are made over and over again. Men who are utterly careless about the Gospel and Christianity have been impressed by the earnestness of men and women who go out on to the street and win souls for Christ.
9. Open-air meetings bring recruits to churches and missions. One of the best ways to fill up an empty church is to send your workers out on the street to hold meetings before the church service is held, or better still, go yourself. When the meeting is over, you can invite people to the church (or mission). This is the divinely appointed means for reaching men that cannot be reached in any other way (Luke 14:21). All Christians should hear the words of Christ constantly ringing in their ears, "Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor," etc.
10. Open-air meetings enable you to reach men. One of the great problems of most ministers of the Gospel to-day is how to get hold of the men. The average church audience is composed very largely of women and children. One of the easiest ways to get hold of the men is to go out on the streets, where the men are. Open-air meetings are as a rule composed of an overwhelming majority of men.
11. Open-air meetings are good for the health. An English preacher was told that he must die, that he had consumption. He thought he should make the most of the few months he had allotted to live, so he went out on the streets and began preaching. The open-air preaching cured his consumption, and he lived for many years, and was the founder of a great open-air society.
II. Where to hold open-air meetings.
To put it in a single word, that you wish to reach. But a few suggestions may prove helpful.
1. Where the crowds pass. Find the principal thoroughfare where the crowds throng. You cannot hold your meeting just at that point, as the police will not permit it, but you can hold it just a little to one side of that point, and the crowds as they pass will go to one side and listen to you.
2. Hold them near crowded tenements. In that way you can preach to the people in the tenements as well as on the street. They will throw open their windows and listen. Sometimes the audience that you do not see will be as large as the one you do see. You may be preaching to hundreds of people inside the building that you do not see at all. I knew of a poor sick woman being brought to Christ through the preaching she heard on the street. It was a hot summer night, and her window was open, and the preaching came in through the window and touched her heart and won her to Christ. It is good to have a good strong voice in openair preaching, for then you can preach to all the tenements within three or four blocks. Mr. Sankey once sang a hymn that was carried over a mile away and converted a man that far off. I have a friend who occasionally uses in his open-air meetings a megaphone that carries his voice to an immense distance.
3. Hold meetings near circuses, baseball games, and other places where the people crowd. One of the most interesting meetings I ever held was just outside of a baseball ground on Sunday. The police were trying to break up the game inside by arresting the leaders. We held the meeting outside just back of the grand stand. As there was no game to see inside, the people listened to
the singing and preaching of the Gospel outside. On another Sunday we drove down to Sell's circus and had the most motley audience I ever addressed. There were people present from almost every nation under heaven. The circus had advertised a "Congress of Nations," so I had provided a congress of nations for my openair meeting. On that day I had a Dutchman, a Frenchman, a Scotchman, an Englishman, an Irishman and an American preach. We took care at the open-air meeting to invite the people to evening meeting at the mission. That night a man came who told us that he was one of the employes of the circus, and was touched that afternoon by the preaching of the Gospel, and had come to learn how to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He accepted the Saviour that night.
4. Hold meetings in or near parks or other public resorts. Almost every city has its resorts where people go on Sunday. As the people will not go to church, the church ought to go out to the people. Sometimes permission can be secured from the authorities to bold the meetings right in the parks. Wherever this is impossible they can be held near at hand. One who is now a deacon of our church spent his Sundays at Lincoln Park before he was converted; an open-air meeting was held close at band, and here he heard the Gospel and was converted.
5. Hold meetings in groves. It would be well if every country church could be persuaded to try this. Get out of the church into a grove somewhere, and you will be surprised at the number of people who will come who would not go near the church at all.
6. Hold open-air meetings near your missions. If you have a mission, be sure to bold an open-air meeting near it. It is the easiest thing in the world to keep a mission full, even during the summer months, if you hold an open-air meeting in connection with it, but it is almost impossible to do so if you do not.
7. Hold open-air meetings in front of churches. A good many of our empty churches could be filled if we would only hold openair meetings in front of them. Years ago, when in London, I went to hear Newman Hall preach. It looked to me like a very orderly and aristocratic church, but when I left the church after the second service, I was surprised to find an open-air meeting in full blast right in front of the church, and people gathered there in crowds from the thoroughfare.
8. Be careful about the little details in connection with the location. On a hot day, hold the meeting on the shady side of the street On a cool day, on the sunny side. Make it as comfortable for the audience as possible. Never compel the audience to stand with the sun shining in their eyes. Preach with the wind, and not against it. Take your own position a little above the part of the audience nearest you, upon a curbstone, chair, platform, rise in the ground, or anything that will raise your head above others so that your voice will carry.
III. Things to get.
1. Get it thoroughly understood between yourself and God that He wants you to do this work, and that by His grace you are going to do it whatever it costs. This is one of the most important things in starting out to do open-air work. You are bound to make a failure unless you settle this at the start. Open-air work has its discouragements, its difficulties and its almost insurmountable obstacles, and unless you start out knowing that God has called you to the work, and come what will, you will go through with it, you are sure to give it up.
2. Get permission from the powers that be to hold open-air meetings. Do not get into conflict with the police if you can possibly avoid it. As a rule it is quite easy to get this permission if you go about it in a courteous and intelligent way. Find out what the laws of the city are in this regard, and then observe them. Go to the captain of the precinct and tell him that you wish to hold an open-air meeting, and let him see that you are not a disturber of the peace or a crank. Many would-be open-air preachers get into trouble from a simple lack of good sense and common decency.
3. Get a good place to hold the meeting. Do not start out at random. Study your ground. You should operate like a general. We are told that the Germans studied France as a battle ground for years before the Franco-Prussian war broke out, and when the war
broke out there were officers in the German army that knew more about France than the officers in the French army did. Lay your plan of campaign, study your battle field, pick out the best places to hold the meetings, look over the territory carefully and study it in all its bearings. There are a good many things to be considered. Do not select what would be a good place for some one to throw a big panful of dishwater upon you. These little details may appear trivial, but they need to be taken into consideration. It is unpleasant, and somewhat disconcerting, when a man is right in the midst of an interesting exhortation, to have a panful of dishwater thrown down the back of his neck.
4. Get as large a number of reliable Christian men and women to go with you as you possibly can. Crowds draw crowds. There is great power in numbers. One man can go out on the street alone and hold a meeting; I have done it myself; but if I can get fifteen or twenty reliable men to go with me, I will get them every time. Please note that I have said reliable Christian men and women. Do not take anybody along with you to an open-air meeting that you do not know. A man that is in the habit of making a fool of himself be sure to leave at home. He may upset your whole meeting. Do not take a man or woman with you who has an unsavory reputation. Probably some one in the crowd will. know it and shout out the fact. Take only people who are of established reputation, and well balanced. Never pick up a stranger out of the crowd and ask him to speak. Some one will come along who appears to be just your sort, but if you ask him to speak you will wish you had not done so.
5. Get the best music you can. Get a baby organ and a comet if you can. Be sure to have good singing if it is possible. If you cannot have good singing, have poor singing, for even poor singing goes a good way in the open air. One of the best open-air meetings I ever attended was where two of us were forced to go out alone. Neither of us was a singer. We started with only one hearer, but a drunken man came along and began to dance to our singing, and a crowd gathered to watch him dance. When the crowd had gathered, I simply put my hand on the drunken man, and said, "Stand still for a few moments." My companion took the drunken man as a text for a temperance sermon, and when he got through I took him for a text. People began to whisper in the crowd, "I would not be in that man's shoes for anything." The man did us good service that night. He first drew the crowd, and then famished us with a text. The Lord turned the devil's instrument right against him that night. If you can, get a good solo singer, or even a poor solo singer will do splendid work in the open air, if he sings in the power of the Spirit. I remember a man who attempted to sing in the open air, who was really no singer at all, but God in His wonderful mercy gave him that night to sing in the power of the Spirit. People began to break down on the street, tears rolled down their cheeks, one woman was converted right there during the singing of that hymn. Although the hymn was sung in such a miserable way from a musical standpoint, the Spirit of God used it for that woman's conversion.
6. Get the attention of your hearers as soon as possible. When you are preaching in a church, people will oftentimes stay even if they are not interested, but unless you get the attention of your audience at once in the open air, one of two things will happen, either your crowd will leave you or else they will begin to guy you. In the first half dozen sentences you must get the attention of your bearers. I was once holding a meeting in one of the hardest places of a city. There were saloons on three of the four comers, three breweries, and four or five Roman Catholic churches were close at hand. There was scarcely a Protestant in that part of the city. The first words I spoke were these, "You will notice the cross on the spire of yonder church." By this means I secured their attention at once, and then I talked to them about the meaning of that cross. On holding a meeting one labor day, I started out on the subject of labor. I spoke only a few moments on that subject, to lead them around to the subject of the Lord Jesus Christ. Holding a meeting one night in the midst of a hot election, near where an election parade was forming, I started out with the question, "Whom shall we elect?" The people expected a political address, but before long I got them interested in the question whether or not we should elect the Lord Jesus Christ to be the ruler over our lives.
7. Get some good tracts. Always have tracts when you hold an open-air meeting. They assist in making permanent the impressions and fixing the truth. Have the workers pass around through the crowd handing out the tracts at the proper time.
8. Get workers around in the crowd to do personal work. Returning from an open-air meeting years ago in the city of Detroit, I said to a minister who was stopping at the same hotel that we had had several conversions in the meeting. He replied by asking me if a certain man from Cleveland was not in the crowd. I replied that he was. He told me that he thought if I looked into it I would find that the conversions were largely due to that man, that while the services were going on, he had been around in the crowd doing personal work. I found that it was so.
9. Get a gospel wagon if you can. Of this we shall have more to say when we speak of Gospel Wagon Work.
1. Don't unnecessarily antagonize your audience. I heard of a man addressing a Roman Catholic audience in the open air and pitching into the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. That man did not have good sense. Another man attempted a prohibition discourse immediately in front of a saloon. He got a brick instead of votes.
2. Don't get scared. Let Psalm 27: 1 be your motto: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" There is not a particle need of being scared. You may be surrounded by a crowd of bowling hoodlums, but you may be absolutely certain that you will not be hurt unless the Lord wants you to be hurt; and if the Lord wants you to be hurt, that is the best thing for you. You may be killed if the Lord sees fit to allow you to be killed, but it is a wonderful privilege to be killed for the Lord Jesus Christ. One night I was holding a meeting in one of the worst parts of Chicago. Something happened to enrage a part of the crowd that gathered around me. Friends near at hand were in fear lest I be killed, but I kept on speaking and was not even struck.
3. Don't lose your temper. Whatever happens, never lose your temper. You ought never to get angry under any circumstances, but it is especially foolish to do so when you are holding an openair meeting. You will doubtless have many temptations to lose your temper, but never do it. It is very hard to hit a man when he is serene, and if you preserve your serenity, the chances are that you will escape unscathed. Even if a tough strikes you, he cannot do so a second time if you remain calm. Serenity is one of the best safeguards.
4. Don't let your meeting be broken up. No matter what happens, hold your ground if you can, and you generally can. One night I was holding a meeting in a square in one of the most desperate parts of a large city. The steps of an adjacent saloon were crowded with men, many of whom were half drunk. A man came along on a load of hay, went into the saloon and fired himself up with strong drink. Then he attempted to drive right down upon the crowd in the middle of the square, in which there were many women and children. Some man stopped his horses, and the infuriated man came down from the load of hay and the howling mob swept down from the steps of the saloon. Somehow or other the drunken driver got a rough handling in the mob, but not one of our number was struck. Two policemen in citizens' clothes happened to be passing by and stopped the riot. I said a few words more, and then formed our little party into a procession, behind which the crowd fell in, and marched down to the mission singing.
5. Don't fight. Never fight under any circumstances. Even if they almost pound the life out of you, refuse to fight back.
6. Don't be dull. Dullness will kill an open-air meeting at once. Prosiness will drive the whole audience away. In order to avoid being dull, do not preach long sermons. Use a great many striking illustrations. Keep wide awake yourself, and you will keep the audience awake. Be energetic in your manner. Talk so people can bear you. Don't preach, but simply talk to people.
7. Don't be soft. One of these nice, namby-pamby, sentimental sort of fellows in an open-air meeting the crowd cannot and will
not stand. The temptation to throw a brick or a rotten apple at him is perfectly irresistible, and one can hardly blame the crowd.
8. Dont read a sermon. Whatever may be said in defence of reading essays in the pulpit, it will never do in the open air. It is possible to have no notes whatever. If you cannot talk long without notes, so much the better; you can talk as long as you ought to. If you read, you will talk longer than you ought to.
9. Don't use "cant." Use language that people are acquainted with, but do not use vulgar language. Some people think it is necessary to use slang, but slang is never admissible. There is language that is popular and easily understood by the people that is purest Anglo-Saxon.
10. Don't talk too long. You may have a number of talks in an open-air meeting, but do not have any of them over ten or fifteen minutes long. As a rule do not have them as long as that. Of course there are exceptions to this, when a great crowd is gathered to bear some person in the open air. Under such circumstances I have beard a sermon an hour long that held the interest of the people, but this is not true in the ordinary open-air meeting.
V. Things absolutely necessary to success.
1. Consecrated men and women. None but consecrated men and women will ever succeed in open-air meetings. If you cannot get such, you might as well give up holding open-air meetings.
2. Depend upon God. There is nothing that will teach one his dependence upon God more quickly and more thoroughly than holding open-air meetings. You never know what is going to happen. You cannot lay plans that you can always follow in an openair meeting. You never know what moment some one will come along and ask some troublesome question. You do not know what unforeseen event is going to occur. All you can do is to depend upon God, but that is perfectly sufficient.
3. Loyalty to the Word of God. It is the man who is absolutely loyal to God's Word, and who is familiar with it and constantly uses it, who succeeds in the open air. God often takes a text that is quoted, and uses it for the salvation of some hearer. Arguments and illustrations are forgotten, but the text sticks and converts.
4. Be frequently filled anew with the Holy Spirit. If any man needs to take advantage of the privilege of fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit, it is the open-air worker. Spiritual power is the great secret of success in this, as in all other Christian work.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/10 13:01||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
[b]HOW TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO HAVE LITTLE OR NO CONCERN ABOUT THEIR SOULS[/b]
[i]by R.A. Torrey[/i]
The following is from Torrey's larger work, "How To Work For Christ" (Chapter 6, pages 44-54):
The largest class of men and women are those who have little or no concern about their salvation. There are some who contend that there is no use dealing with such, but there is. It is our business when a man has no concern about his salvation to go to work to produce that concern. How shall we do it?
l. Show him that he is a great sinner before God.
There is no better verse for this purpose than Matt. 22:37, 38:
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."
Before the one with whom you are dealing reads these verses, you can say to him, "Do you know that you are a great sinner before God?" Very likely he will reply, "I suppose I am a sinner, but I do not know that I am such a great sinner." "Do you know that you have committed the greatest sin that a man can possibly commit?" "No, I certainly have not." "What do you think is the greatest sin that a man can commit?" Probably he will answer, "Murder." "You are greatly mistaken. Let us see what God says about it" Then have him read the passage. When he has read it, ask him, "What is the first and great commandment?" "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." "Which commandment is this?" "The first and great commandment." "If this is the first and great commandment, what is the first and great sin?" "Not to keep this commandment." "Have you kept it? Have you put God first in everything, first in your affections, first in your thoughts, first in your pleasures, first in your business, first in everything?" "No, I have not." "What commandment, then, have you broken?" "The first and great commandment."
Some time ago a young man came into our inquiry meeting. I asked him if he was a Christian, and he replied that he was not. I asked him if he would like to be, and he said that he would. I said, "Why, then, do you not become a Christian tonight?" He replied, "I have no special interest in the matter." I said, "Do you mean that you have no conviction of sin?" "Yes," he said, "I have no conviction of sin, and am not much concerned about the whole matter." I said, "I hold in my hand a book which God has given us for the purpose of producing conviction of sin; would you like to have me use it upon you?" Half laughing, he replied, "Yes." When he had taken a seat, I had him read Matt. 22:37, 38. When he had read the passage I said to him, "What is the first and great commandment?" He read it from the Bible. I said, "If this is the first and great commandment, what is the first and great sin?" He replied, "Not to keep this commandment." I asked, "Have you kept it?" "I have not." "What have you done then?" Said he, "I have broken the first and greatest of God's commandments," and broken down with a sense of sin, then and there he went down before God and asked Him for mercy, and accepted Christ as his Saviour.
Another excellent passage to use to produce conviction of sin is Rom. 14:12:
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
The great object in using this passage is to bring the careless man face to face with God, and make him realize that he must give account to God. When he has read it, ask him, "Who has to give account?" "Every one of us." "Whom does that take in?" "Me." "Who then is to give account?" "I am." "To whom are you to give account?" "To God." "Of what are you to give account?" "Of myself." "Read it that way." "I shall give account of myself to God." "Now just let that thought sink into your heart. Say it over to yourself again and again, 'I am to give account of myself to God. I am to give account of myself to God.' Are you ready to do it?"
Amos 4:12 can be used in much the same way:
"Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel."
Another very effective passage with many a careless man is Rom. 2:16:
"In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
When the one with whom you are dealing has read the verse, say, "What is God going to do in some coming day?" "Judge the secrets of men." "Judge what?" "The secrets of men." "Who is it that is going to judge the secrets of men?" "It is God." "Are you ready to have the secret hidden things of your life judged by a holy God?"
II. Show him the awful consequences of sin.
A very effective passage for this purpose is Rom. 6:23:
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
When he has read the passage, ask him, "What is the wages of sin?" "Death." Explain to him the meaning of death, literal death, spiritual death, eternal death. Now say, "This is the wages of sin; have you earned these wages?" "Are you willing to take them?" "No." "Well, there is one alternative; read the remainder of the verse." "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." "Now you have your choice between the two, the wages that you have earned by sin, and the gift of God; which will you choose?"
Another very useful passage along this line is Is. 57:21:
"There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."
Another verse declaring the fearful consequences of sin, is John 8:34:
"Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."
Have the one with whom you are dealing read the passage, then ask him what every one who commits sin is. "The servant of sin." "What kind of a service is that?" Bring it out that it is very degrading. Ask the inquirer if he appreciates that this is true of him, that he is the servant of sin, and then ask him if he does not want to be set free from this awful bondage.
There is another passage that one can use in much the same way, Rom. 6:16:
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?''
III. Show him the awfulness of unbelief in Jesus Christ.
Very few out of Christ realize that unbelief in Jesus Christ is anything very bad. Of course they know it is not just right, but that it is something awful and appalling they do not dream for a moment. They should be shown that there is nothing more appalling than unbelief in Jesus Christ. A good passage for this purpose is John 3:18, 19:
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
When the passage has been read, say, "Now this verse tells us of some one who is condemned already; who is it?' "He that believeth not." "Believeth not on whom?" "On Jesus." "How many that believe not on Jesus are condemned already?" "Every one." "Why is every one that believeth not on Jesus condemned already?" "Because he has not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God." "Why is this such an awful thing in the sight of God?' "Because light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil." "In whom did the light come into the world?" "In Jesus." "Jesus, then, is the incarnation of light, God's fullest revelation to man: to reject Jesus, then, is the deliberate rejection of what?" "Light." "The choice of what?" "Darkness." "In rejecting Jesus, what are you rejecting? "Light." "And what are you choosing?" "Darkness rather than light." Ask all the questions that are necessary to impress this truth upon the mind of the unbeliever, that he is deliberately rejecting the light of God, and choosing darkness rather than light. Another very useful passage for the same purpose is Acts 2:36, 37:
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
When the passage is read, say, "Now here were certain men under deep conviction of sin, crying out, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' What was the sin that they committed that produced such deep conviction?" "They had crucified Jesus." "What had God done with Jesus?" "He had made Him both Lord and Christ." "These men had rejected One whom God hash, made both Lord and Christ. Is that a serious sin?" "Yes." "And are you not guilty of that very sin today? You are rejecting Jesus, and this Jesus whom you are rejecting is the very one whom God hath made both Lord and Christ. Is it not an awful sin to deliberately reject one whom God hath thus exalted?"
Another good passage to use is John 16:8, 9:
"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me."
When the passage has been read, ask the one with whom you are dealing, "Of what sin is it that the Holy Ghost, who knows the mind of God, especially convicts men?" "Of the sin of unbelief." "What, then, is the crowning sin in God's sight?" "Unbelief in Jesus Christ" "Why is unbelief in Jesus Christ the crowning sin in God's sight?" Then bring out that it is because it reveals most clearly the heart's deliberate choice of sin rather than righteousness, of darkness rather than light, of hatred to God rather than love to God.
In some cases it is well to use Heb. 10:28, 29:
"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"
When the passage has been read, ask the inquirer, "How serious an offense was it in God's sight to despise Moses' law?" "The one who did it died without mercy." "Is there any offense more serious in God's sight than despising the law of Moses?" "Yes, treading under foot the Son of God." "Does not every one who rejects Jesus Christ practically tread under foot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant wherewith He was sanctified an unholy thing?" "Yes, I suppose he does." "Are you not committing this very sin?"
IV. Show him the awful consequences of unbelief.
For this purpose begin by using Heb. 11:6, the first of the verse:
"But without faith it is impossible to please him."
"Now this verse tells you that there is one thing that God absolutely requires if we are to please Him: what is it?" "Faith." "And no matter what else we do, if we have not faith, what is impossible for us?" "To please Him."
Follow this up by John 8:24:
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."
"What does this verse tell us will happen to you if you do not believe in Jesus?" "I shall die in my sins." Then have the inquirer read verse 21,
"Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come."
That will show the result of once dying in his sins.
Further follow this up by II Thess. 1:7-9:
"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."
Say to the inquirer, "This verse tells us of a coming day in which Jesus is to take vengeance upon a certain class of people, and they are to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power. Who is it that are to be thus punished?" "They that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." "Are you obeying the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." "No." "If, then, Christ should come now what would be your destiny?" "I should be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power."
Then turn to Rev. 21:8. This verse needs no comment, it tells its own story:
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Rev. 20:15 may also be used:
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
V. Show him that all one has to do to be lost is simply to neglect the salvation that is offered in Christ.
A verse which will serve for this purpose is Heb. 2:3:
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him."
When the verse has been read, ask, "What does this verse tell us is all that is necessary to be done in order to be lost?" "Simply neglect the great salvation." "That is the very thing that you are doing today; you are already lost God has provided salvation for you at great cost: all you need to do to be saved, is to accept the salvation, but you cannot be saved any other way; and all you need to do to be lost, is simply to neglect it. You do not need to plunge into desperate vices, you do not need to be an open and avowed infidel, you do not need to refuse even to accept salvation, if you simply neglect it, you will be lost forever. Will you not let the question of the text sink deep into your heart: 'How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation.'"
Another passage to use for this purpose is Acts 3:22, 23:
"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people."
"This passage tells us about a Prophet that Moses said the Lord would raise up. Who was that Prophet?" "Jesus." "What does God tell us to do with that Prophet?" "Hear him 'in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.'" "What shall happen unto him who does not hearken unto the words of that Prophet?" "He shall be destroyed from among the people." "Are you hearkening unto the words of that Prophet?"
Still another passage to use is Acts 13:38-41:
"Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
"Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."
"These verses tell us about Jesus. They tell us of something that is preached to us through Him. What is it?" "Forgiveness of sins." "They tell us what it is that a man has to do to obtain this forgiveness of sins; what is it?" "Believe on Him." "What blessing comes to all that believe?" "They are justified from all things." "On the other hand, what comes to us if we neglect to believe?" "We shall perish."
Still another passage to use for this purpose is John 3:36:
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that beIieveth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
When the passage has been read, ask, "What does every one who believes on the Son get?" "Everlasting life." "But on the other hand, if one simply neglects to believe what will be the result?" "He shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon him."
VI. Show him the wonderful love of God to him.
Oftentimes when every other method of dealing with the careless fails, a realization of the love of God breaks the heart, and leads to an acceptance of Christ. There is no better passage to show the love of God than John 3:16:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Generally it will need no comment. I was once dealing with one of the most careless and vile women I ever met. She moved in good society, but in her secret life was as vile as a woman of the street. She told me the story of her life in a most shameless and unblushing way, half-laughing as she did it. I made no further reply than to ask her to read John 3:16 to which I had opened my Bible. Before she had read the passage through, she burst into tears, her heart broken by the love of God to her.
Another excellent passage to use in the same way is Is. 53:5:
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed."
God used this passage one night to bring to tears and penitence one of the most stubborn and wayward young women with whom I ever dealt. I made almost no comment, simply read the passage to her. The Spirit of God seemed to hold up before her, her Saviour, wounded for her transgressions, and bruised for her iniquities. Her stubborn will gave way, and before many days she was rejoicing in Christ.
Two other passages which can be used in the same way are Gal. 3:13 and I Pet. 2:24:
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
After showing the love of God through the use of such passages as these mentioned, it is oftentimes well to clinch this truth by using Rom. 2:4, 5:
"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."
Before having the passage read, say, "We have been looking at the love of God to you; now let us see what God tells us is the purpose of that love, and what will be the result of our despising it." Then have the passage, Rom. 2:4, 5 read by the one with whom you are dealing. When he has read it, ask him what is the purpose of God's goodness. "To lead to repentance." "If it does not lead us to repentance, what does it show us about our hearts?" "That they are very hard and impenitent." "And if we refuse to let the goodness of God lead us to repentance, what will be the result?" "We treasure up wrath unto ourselves against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."
Of course it will not always be possible to get a person who has little or no concern about his salvation to talk with you long enough to go over all these passages, but not infrequently he will become so interested after the use of the first or second passage that he will be glad to go through. Oftentimes it is not at all necessary to use all these passages. Not infrequently I find that the first passage, Matt. 22:37, 38, does the desired work, but it is well to be thorough, and to use all the passages necessary.
Sometimes one will not talk with you for any length of time at all. In such a case, the best thing to do is to select a very pointed and searching passage and give it to him, repeating it again and again, and then as he goes, say to him something like this, "I am going to ask God to burn that passage into your heart"; and then do not forget to do what you said you were going to do. Good passages for this purpose are Rom. 6:23; Mark 16:16; John 3:36; Is. 57:21.
When the inquirer has been led by the use of any or all of these passages to realize his need of a Saviour, and really desires to be saved, of course he comes under the class treated in the preceding chapter (Ch. 5, "Those Who Realize Their Need"), and should be dealt with accordingly. It is not intended that the worker shall follow the precise method laid down here, which is given rather by way of suggestion, but the general plan here outlined has been honored of God to the salvation of very many. But let us be sure, whether we use this method or some other, to do thoroughgoing and lasting work.
Of course it is not supposed that the inquirer will always answer you exactly as stated above. If he does not, make use of the answers that he does give, or if necessary ask the same question another way until he does answer you correctly. The answers given to the questions are found in the text, but people have a great habit of not seeing what is plainly stated in a Scripture text. Oftentimes when they do not answer right, it is well to ask them to look at the verse again, and repeat the question, and keep asking questions until they do give the right answer. Perhaps the inquirer will try to switch you off on to some sidetrack. Do not permit him to do this, but hold right to the matter in hand.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/10 13:01||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
[i]by William Taylor[/i]
William Taylor was a Methodist in the California Conference in the mid-1800's. Although published in 1867, this article speaks to our generation. Mr. Taylor spoke about cultural refinement, secular education, the negative effects of immigration, the apathy of the churches, and other topics that apply today. The book from which this chapter is taken is called, "Seven Years' Street Preaching in San Francisco, California."
See William Taylor's other article, "Objections to Street Preaching Considered."
"Why do you preach in the streets and highways?"
I. BECAUSE IT IS A DUTY ENJOINED BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
The "great commission," under which every true ambassador goes forth in the "ministry of reconciliation," by direct implication, enjoins the duty of out-door preaching: " Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." Did the apostles understand the Great Teacher to mean that they were to preach in the temple, in the synagogues, in " hired houses," and " upper rooms?" Certainly. Did they understand him to mean nothing more than that? Certainly not. They well knew that the temple, and the synagogues, and all the house room they could by possibility command, were they all open for their use, would contain but a very small proportion of the creatures embraced in their commission. Every word of this great command, framed by infinite wisdom, is simple and unequivocal. It evidently contemplates a proclamation of the Gospel as wide as "all out of doors," and so specific and personal as to embrace every single rebel of the fallen race.
Again. The Saviour, illustrating, by the parable of the "Great Supper," the bounteous provision of mercy in the Gospel, enjoins, by direct command, the duty of out-door preaching: "Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind." " Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."
II. IT IS SUPPORTED BY DIVINE AND APOSTOLIC PRECEDENT AND EXAMPLE
The only sermon of our Divine teacher on record, was preached on a mountain. Many others of which we have full "reports," were preached by the sea-shore, on the decks of ships, and in the streets of Capernaum. He preached, to be sure, in the temple and in the synagogues, but of his sermons on those occasions, there is less recorded than of his "out-door sermons." We believe that he established by his own example, the precedents he designed to be practically operative through all time, namely: To get all we can into the synagogues and churches, and there preach to them, and then to "go out into the streets and lanes of the cities, and into the highways and hedges," and hunt up all the rest, and preach to them also. The apostles acted accordingly. The great apostle to the Gentiles was celebrated as an out-door preacher.
III. IT HAS BEEN COMFIRMED BY DIVINE ATTESTATION
God has always signally owned and blessed the faithful preaching of the word in the streets, lanes, highways, and hedges, through all the history of the Church to the present time. Without going back to instance the singular courage displayed and success attained by the out-door preaching of some of the Vaudois missionaries, in the Dark Ages, we would invite attention to the "field and street preaching" of more modern days. Witness the labors and successes of Whitefield, and Wesley and Fletcher, and their coadjutors in the same work. God made the out-door preaching of those men a leading, instrumentality in awaking the masses of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain," and in bringing about the great reformation of the eighteenth century. See the labors and good fruits of the street preaching of "the apostle to the Irish," Gideon Ouseley. Should there be a resurrection of the brute creation, the experience of "Ouseley's white horse," from whose back he so often preached, will furnish an interesting chapter in the annals of "the new heavens and new earth." Again, witness, in quite modern times, the street preaching and Gospel triumphs of the champions of the " Free Church of Scotland."
Thus Jesse Lee drove the entering wedge of Methodistic Christianity into New England. American campmeetings of the different Churches come under the apostolic precedent of out-door preaching. See how they have been honored of God. Recount, if you can, the multiplied thousands of souls who have been converted at camp-meetings, multitudes ot whom have washed their robes in the blood of Jesus, and are today seated above the circle of the heavens, praising God for camp-meetings. Strike out of the Church in America all her ministers and members who have been brought to God through the instrumentality of camp-meetings, and you will have a practical demonstration of the truth of our position which will astonish you. I instance camp-meetings not as a proof that the Gospel ministers of America have fulfilled all their duty in regard to out-door preaching, but as evidence that they have gifts eminently qualifying them for that work, and especially to demonstrate the truth of the position with which I set out, namely, that God has always signally owned and blessed the out-door preaching of his ambassadors. But says one, " The most of your instances relate to periods when houses of worship were not available, or were entirely inadequate to meet the demand. We have plenty of good churches now, and if the people want to hear the Gospel, let them come to church." Thank you, sir; that will help me to another argument, which I will, according to " Thomsonian practice," call Number
IV. DEMONSTRATING THE MORAL NECESSITY OF STREET PREACHING
This section is based on the principle suggested, namely: The facts as they are exhibited in the present history of the world.
Passing by heathendom and foreign Christian countries, I will confine my investigations to our own country. And now allow me to inquire of the objector, what proportion of the population of your town or city will your churches accommodate? And what proportion of the people attend church? Now What can you do for those "creatures" embraced in the provisions of your Divine commission, but not embraced in your church accommodations? To say that the vast proportion of your non-church-going population must either come to Church or go to hell unwarned, is to institute a new condition of salvation unknown to the Gospel. Now, in California, all the churches, Catholic and Protestant, will accommodate, say sixty thousand persons, which will leave two hundred and forty thousand "outsiders," and no church room to receive them; "no,not so much as about the door." What would Jesus do in such a case? There is room enough for every one of them in the compassion of God, and in the kingdom of grace; for they "are not common or unclean," not excluded from the covenant of promise. Very many of them are the sons of our fathers and mothers in Israel, who have died in the faith. They went down to their graves praying for their children. The last words they uttered, as one by one they left the shore, were, "Tell my dear children to meet me in heaven?" Their sons have become prodigal and reckless in California, and yet the mention of their sainted mother checks the giddy laugh, and brings tears to their eyes. What would those fathers and mothers have us do for their wandering, lost children in the wilderness? Would they not say, would not the angels say, as Jesus hath said, once for all, "Go out quickly, and compel them to come in?" And do you not respond, " Amen! Go, my brother; go out quickly?" Though I have been singing and preaching the "royal proclamation," in the "highways," to these wanderers, for seven years, my tears would now, as I write, saturate the manuscript, at the remembrance that I have done so little to save them, and that I have seen so many hundreds of them dying in this land, without any hope of heaven.
But let me ascend to a higller stand-point, and take a wider view of the subject. According, to statistics furnished by the United States Census of 185O, the Methodists of this great republic have 12,467 churches, which would accommodate 4,209,333 persons. Now, we profess to "believe that God's design, in raising up the people called Methodists, was to reform the continent, and spread Scriptural holiness over these lands." I am no croaker. I think I have a just appreciation of the great work God hath wrought through the Methodists, and other denominations of Christians as well, and I think I am imfeignedly thankful. But let us look again at the facts before mentioned. We have been engaged in this work of reforming the continent for upward of eighty years. We have in our favor the constitution and laws of the land, one common language, ready access to all classes of society, and every desirable facility for communicating truth. We also have at command the mighty appliances of our mighty Gospel, and the spiritual resources of omnipotent grace. And yet, in all this lapse of four-score years, we have only reached with the sound of the Gospel jubilee about one fifth of the population of the United States. As ambassadors of Christ, we have, at last, "challenged for a healing'' say 5,OOO,OOO at one time, a little over 1,5OO,OOO of whom, now living, have closed with the terms of the Gospel, and are now reconciled to God. The remaining 3,5OO,OOO have possibly taken the matter under advisement, leaving say 2O,OOO,OOO of precious souls for whom we have no room in our churches. What shall we do to reach them, especially the masses not embraced under the ministry of any other Church a But I would go up still higher, to a point whence I can have one grand view of the whole " field." According to the census retnrns of 185O, all the churches of the United States, Catholic, Protestant, and all together, will accommodate 14,OOO,OOO, leaving about 1O,OOO,OOO of souls in this Christian republic, for whom there is no room in any of the churches. Four tenths of the population of these United States never go to church!
"But," it is asked, " does not a much larger number than that indicated by the aggregate capacity of the churches occasionally attend church, alternately with other occasional church-goers?" If you will make a calculation of the actual aggregate attendance in the churches throughout the land, you will find the number resulting from such a calculation so far below the number indicated by the aggregate capacity of the churches, that you will have plenty of room left to accommodate all your occasional church-goers, without calling on one of our outside ten millions.
Now, it is a question; which rises infinitely above any mere sectarian view of the subject, How shall the enlightening, purifying, elevating influences of the Gospel be brought to bear upon this mighty mass of neglected humanity? "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Our nation is reproached and enfeebled far beyond safe precedent by the church-going sinners, but look down to the lower strata, and see the ten millions who have no fear of God before their eyes, no care for the honor of the nation, no sympathy with the grand institutions which every American citizen should cherish as he does his life. They are, by their accumulating vices, locking the very wheels of government. They are corrupting the life-blood of the body politic. And they are deteriorating rapidly, and multiplying continually; first, by foreign immigration, and, second, by their own children, brought up under the special tutorship of Satan. Among the foreign immigration to our shores, are very many whose citizenship would be an honor to any nation; but a large proportion may be set down, at best, as fifth-rate humanity, morally considered.
These millions of neglectful and neglected souls are all subjects of redeeming mercy in Christ, and the infinite heart of Jesus, with every pulsation, throbs in sympathy with their woes. They can be redeemed and elevated to good citizeaship in a Christian republic, and to heirship in the kingdom of glory. But the question remains, How shall they be reached and saved? The statesman replies, "Educate the masses, multiply public schools, academies, and colleges; teach every prattler in the nation how to read." That is a suggestion worthy of a statesman, a most desirable end to be attained. What will mere intellectual training, however important, secure the end proposed? Hear what General Washington says on this subject: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert the great pillars of human happiness, those firmest props of men and citizens! The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it be simply asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are instruments of investigation in the courts of justice? And let us indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the infiuence of refined education on minds of a peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." Educate a rogue, (I use the term " educate " in the popular sense of intellectual training,) and the increase of his intellectual power will but make him the more act complished as a rogue, and proportionably more dangerous to society. The American Bible Society, the grand Christian institution on whose catholic platform all denominations of Christians meet, and pray, and labor together, and realize and exhibit how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity," has pledged itself to place a Bible in the hands of every American family, a conception and purpose worthy so noble an institution. The Tract Societies of different grades are doing a great work for the moral improvement of the masses. An increasing diffusion of religious literature in general is looked upon, and justly too, as a great means of good to society. But, after all, the question arises, Will a man, who never goes to church, nor desires to go, read the Bibles, and tracts, and religious books you put into his hands? A few may, but the mass of such people certainly will not. They have no desire for religion, and no taste for religious literature, and they are not so self-denying as to spend time in reading what is not agreeable to their views and feelings. These means of diffusing religious knowledge, however important as auxilliaries, do not constitute the peculiar instrumentality ordained of God for the enlightenment and salvation of the world. If this were so, then the great commission would have been framed accordingly, and would read: "Go, publish Bibles, tracts, papers, and religious books, and scatter them abroad as "leaves from the tree of life for the healing of the nations." Jesus says no such thing; but "Go YE into all the world, and PREACH the Gospel To EVERY CREATURE." Let the ambassadors of Jesus use all the collateral appliances at their command, as valuable aids, but not to be substituted for God's appointment of PREACHING the Gospel.
The whole matter resolves itself into this, that these ten millions of our neighbors, whom we are commanded to love as we love ourselves, must have "the Gospel preached unto them," or the mass of them will go to perdition. They are blinded by the god of this world, and will not come to us. Should we not, in the name and spirit of Him who came to seek and to save the lost, " go" to them?
In concluding this argument, I would most respectfully submit a suggestion for the consideration of wise and good men. Let a good representation of the American pulpit, for the love of souls, as the visible representatives of Jesus, "go out into the highways, and preach the Gospel." Let each act upon his own responsibility, as he that must give an account; but, as far as practicable, let the ministers of all denominations act in concert. Let them, like the ancient heralds of the great jubilee of the Jews, simultaneously "proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof." Let the rising, swelling blasts of ten thousand trumpets, unite their echoes from Dan to Beersheba, from Maine to Mexico, and from South Carolina to California; and let all the laity, who "know the joyful sound," "run to and fro," bearing the "tidings," personally, to their neighbors, and knowledge shall be increased.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/10 13:03||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
[b]OBJECTIONS TO STREET PREACHING CONSIDERED[/b]
[i]by William Taylor[/i]
William Taylor was a Methodist in the California Conference in the mid-1800's. Although published in 1867, this article speaks to our generation. Mr. Taylor spoke about common objections to street preaching and uses many personal experiences to persuade his readers. The book from which this chapter is taken is called, "Seven Years' Street Preaching in San Francisco, California."
See William Taylor's other article, "Street Preaching"
I. DO I HEAR YOU SAY IT IS A DEGRADATION OF MINISTERIAL DIGNITY?
I reply: Any minister of the Gospel, whose "ministerial dignity" depends, for its elevation and support, upon the sacredness of a consecrated pulpit, is not, I confess, a suitable person for a street preacher. A preacher, to succeed in the streets, must be dignified by a special unction of the Holy Spirit. He must feel such an undying thirst for the salvation of sinners as will prompt him, like Aaron to run out into the camp, and "stand between the living and the dead;" not only to offer the incense of earnest prayer to God on their behalf, but also to warn them from the example of their neighbors, who have perished in their sins. Then the accopanying presence of Him who hath said, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world," will consecrate any place in which he may open his commission, as much as the spot where "Jacob slept, and dreamed, and saw the ladder that reached from earth up into heaven;" and cause every one to feel, "Surely the Lord is in this place. How dreadful is place! This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven."
II. IT MAKES THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL TOO COMMON
I think there is much more danger of making the preaching of the Gospel too uncommon than "too common," too abstract in the matter of it, and too high in its mode of delivery. Not common enough to flow readily into the common channels of human thought and sympathy, nor materially to affect the common relations and conduct of men. A man, to succeed as a street preacher, must be eminently practical in his preaching. Nothing but the simple preaching of our common Gospel, in a manner to arrest the attention and engage the feelings of the. common people, will enable him to get, or to hold an audience in the "highways." It was this that made the "common people" hear Jesus gladly will here add, that the street is not the place for sectarian an discussions; but the Gospel, in all its essential characteristics, should he clearly announced.
III. IT WILL DETRACT FROM THE INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE REGULAR MINISTRATIONS OF THE PULPIT
Such a proposition is philosophically unsound, and is contradicted by the facts in all history relating to this subject. Street preaching, where churches were not, has aLvays led to their erection, and when efficiently administered, even in old cities, has always contributed to increase the congregations in church. Such is, so palpably, the testimony of history, that I need not instance the proofs; and such is the result of my own observations. I had the honor of preaching two years (excepting the cold weather) in the streets of Georgetown, D.C. The effect was manifestly good in the increase of the regular church audiences. And in a revival there, under the superintendence of Rev. Henry Tarring, of precious memory, now in glory, quite a number of the converts testified that they received their religious awakening under the "market-house preaching." Among those converts were several Roman Catholics, who had never heard Protestant preaching until attracted by the street exercises.
I also had the pleasure of preaching a year in the Belair Market, Baltimore City. Two persons, I remember, kneeled on the pavement, and cried for mercy, and were there happily converted. One of them, by the name of "Shilling," I learn is still a useful member of the Church in North Baltimore Station. During the summer of my preaching in that market, "Father Darling," the sexton of the Monument-street Church, who knew the faces of all the regular auditors, said, "I cannot tell where so many strangers come from. They keep coming in every Sunday night, more and more." During the revival in the fall, under the direction of my much-esteemed colleagues Revs. C. B. Tippett and J. S. Martin, a number those strangers made a profession of religion, and testified that, though they had Iived for years in the city, they had not been to church, till attracted by the market-house preaching. My worthy colleagues there, took a part in the street preaching.
In the city of San Francisco my street preaching has been a regular advertisement for the churches in general, for I always take occasion to announce the church appointments. It has always contributed to our church congregations; and a majority of those whom I had the happiness of seeing converted in this wicked city, say two hundred, testified to the fact that they were awakened under the street preaching. This city, however, does not furnish a fair test of the legitimate effect of the preached word, in doors or out, as I will take occasion to show in the progress of this work.
IV. IT CREATES RIOTS AND CONFUSION IN THE STREETS
I apprehend that much of the trouble which has been heard of in connection with street preaching, resulted from injudicious attacks upon Romanism, or upon personal character, or for want of tact in controlling large audiences. I do not know, definitely, the merits of any given case, but can readily see how, in various ways, a man could bring upon himself a great deal of trouble, and defeat the object of his mission.
Still, "men love darkness rather than light," and it would not be surprising if an earnest, faithful, modern street preacher should share the same lot that St. Paul did at Athens, Philippi, and other places, but we never learned that the apostle considered that a sufficient objection to lead him to desist from preaching in the streets. I have been preaching regularly in the streets for more than ten years, and seven of them among California gamblers and rum-sellers, and through the good providence of the Lord, I have never had a serious disturbance, nor lost a congregation in the streets.
V. IT WILL BRING THE PREACHER INTO COLLISION WITH THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES
We should be careful, while we do our duty fearlessly, not to provoke a collision with "the powers that be." If we succeed in controlling the masses, and preserve order at our meetings, we will not be likely to have any trouble "at court." But if, after all, we should be interfered with in the conscientious discharge of our duty, under the functions of our high commission, then return the apostolic answer, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
VI. THE PREACHER IS NOT ABLE TO PREACH IN CHURCH AND OUT DOORS TOO, AND MUST GIVE THE PREFERENCE TO THE REGULAR SERVICES OF THE SANCTUARY
Very well, if such is the fact in your case, I think you choose the right alternative. I would not advise you to neglect your regular appointments by any means; but yet, are there not very many who can, in addition to their regular appointments in church, take an extra one in the streets? I never have, nor do I now, sit in judgment on the consciences of my brethren in regard to this matter. Nearly the whole itinerant family are out-door preachers at camp-meetings and other extra occasions, and many of them preach themselves into a premature grave. I, nevertheless, believe that there are ten thousand ministers in the United States, among the different denominations, who are naturally well adapted to this work, and who, by proper application, would excel as street preachers, and fill their pulpits all the better for it. They have good voices for singing, a ready utterance: and a fair development of tact in the management of promiscuous audiences; and all that is necessary, is for them to feel that "Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel" in the streets, and go at it, and stick to it, till the Master says, "It is enough."
VII. IT WILL GIVE THE PREACHER BRONCHITIS
I give it, as my candid opinion, that your throat and lungs will suffer much less in the pure open air than they do in the carbonized, sickly atmosphere of crowded churches. I am accustomed to listen to the same clear voice in the streets, three hundred and sixty-five days in each year: "Fish! fish! fresh salmon!" "Eggs! eggs! fresh California eggs!" "Candy! Here's your celebrated cough candy! Everybody buys it; now's your chance!" "Here's your fresh California pears, apples, oranges, and peaches! Only two bits a pound! Buy 'em up!" "Latest news from the East! Arrival of the 'John L. Stephens!' Here's your New York Herald, New York Tribune, and New Orleans True Delta!" Who ever heard of the fish, egg, candy, or fruit "crier," or the newsboys getting bronchitis? An auctioneer will stand in the street, and "cry" at the top of his voice for two hours every day, and yet we never heard of an auctioneer taking the bronchitis "He gets used to it." It is his business, and his physical functions adapt themselves to it. Rev. I. Owen and myself were, a few years ago, highly entertained for a few minutes, as we passed along the streets of San Francisco, with the extraordinary earnestness of an auctioneer. I said to my friend, "If we could get ministers to 'cry aloud' as earnestly over living immortal souls as this man does over spoiled cheese at two cents per pound, what a waking up they would produce among the sleeping thousands of this land!"
VIII. IT WILL CRACK AND INJURE THE VOICE
If you will not bind your neck with a tight cravat, and if you will stand erect, head up, speak naturally, and not strain your voice, you will experience an improvement in the quality and an increasing compass and power of voice, and a greater facility in natural utterance by regular street preaching. Ten years ago, preaching two sermons in church and one in the streets, caused me hoarseness of voice and great weariness of body; but now, with three sermons in church and two in the streets, each Sabbath, I have no hoarseness, and but little weariness. Before I commenced street preaching, I was subject to violent colds and soreness of throat and lungs; but I have known, by experience, nothing of "sore throat" or "sore lungs" for years. I would not intimate that I am invulnerable to such affections; but I do believe that the danger is lessened, at least fifty per cent., by the out-door preaching.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/10 13:04||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
[b]OPEN-AIR PREACHING: A SKETCH OF ITS HISTORY AND REMARKS THEREON[/b]
[i]by Charles H. Spurgeon[/i]
THERE ARE some customs for which nothing can be pleaded, except that they are very old. In such cases antiquity is of no more value than the rust upon a counterfeit coin. It is, however, a happy circumstance when the usage of ages can be pleaded for a really good and Scriptural practice, for it invests it with a halo of reverence. Now, it can be argued, with small fear of refutation, that openair preaching is as old as preaching itself. We are at full liberty to believe that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, when he prophesied, asked for no better pulpit than the hillside, and that Noah, as a preacher of righteousness, was willing to reason with his contemporaries in the shipyard wherein his marvelous ark was builded.
Certainly, Moses and Joshua found their most convenient place for addressing vast assemblies beneath the unpillared arch of heaven. Samuel closed a sermon in the field of Gilgal amid thunder and rain, by which the Lord rebuked the people and drove them to their knees. Elijah stood on Carmel, and challenged the vacillating nation with "How long halt ye between two opinions?"
Jonah, whose spirit was somewhat similar, lifted up his cry of warning in the streets of Nineveh, and in all her places of concourse gave forth the warning utterance, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" To hear Ezra and Nehemiah "all the people gathered themselves to "ether as one man into the street that was before the water gate." Indeed, we find examples of open-air preaching everywhere around us in the records of the Old Testament.
It may suffice us, however, to go back as far as the origin of our own holy faith, and there we hear the forerunner of the Saviour crying in the wilderness and lifting up his voice from the river's bank. Our Lord Himself, who is yet more our pattern, delivered the larger portion of His sermons on the mountain's side, or by the seashore, or in the streets. Our Lord was to all intents and purposes an openair preacher. He did not remain silent in the synagogue, but He was equally at home in the field. We have no discourse of His on record delivered in the chapel royal, but we have the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon in the Plain; so that the very earliest and most divine kind of preaching was practiced out-of-doors by Him who spake as never man spake.
There were gatherings of His disciples after His decease, within walls, especially that in the upper room; but the preaching was even then most frequently in the court of the Temple, or in such other open spaces as were available. The notion of holy places and consecrated meetinghouses had not occurred to them as Christians; they preached in the Temple, or in such other open spaces as were available. but with equal earnestness "in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
It would be very easy to prove that revivals of religion have usually been accompanied, if not caused, by a considerable amount of preaching out-of-doors, or in unusual places. The first avowed preaching of Protestant doctrine was almost necessarily in the open air, or in buildings which were not dedicated to worship, for these were in the hands of the papacy. True, Wycliffe for a while preached the Gospel in the church at Lutterworth; Huss and Jerome and Savonarola for a time delivered semi-Gospel addresses in connection with the ecclesiastical arrangements around them; but when they began more fully to know and proclaim the Gospel, they were driven to find other platforms.
The Reformation when yet a babe was like the new-born Christ, and had not where to lay its head, but a company of men comparable to the heavenly host proclaimed it under the open heavens, where shepherds and common people heard them gladly. Throughout England we have several trees remaining called "gospel oaks." There is one spot on the other side of the Thames known by the name of "Gospel Oak," and I have myself preached at Addlestone, in Surrey, under the far-spreading boughs of an ancient oak, beneath which John Knox is said to have proclaimed the Gospel during his sojourn in England. Full many a wild moor and lone hillside and secret spot in the forest have been consecrated in the same fashion, and traditions still linger over caves and dells and hilltops where of old time the bands of the faithful met to hear the Word of the Lord.
It would be an interesting task to prepare a volume of notable facts connected with open-air preaching, or, better still, a consecutive history of it. I have no time for even a complete outline, but would simply ask you, where would the Reformation have been if its great preachers had confined themselves to churches and cathedrals ? How would the common people have become indoctrinated with the Gospel had it not been for those far-wandering evangelists, the colporteurs, and those daring innovators who found a pulpit on every heap of stones, and an audience chamber in every open space near the abodes of men?
All through the Puritan times there were gatherings in all sorts of out-of-the-way places, for fear of persecutors. "We took," says Archbishop Laud, in a letter dated Fulham, June, 1632, "another conventicle of separatists in Newington Woods, in the very brake where the king's stag was to be lodged, for his hunting next morning." A hollow or gravelpit on Hounslow Heath sometimes served as a conventicle, and there is a dell near Hitchin where John Bunyan was wont to preach in perilous times. All over Scotland the straths and dells and vales and hillsides are full of covenanting memories to this day. You will not fail to meet with rock pulpits whence the stern fathers of the Presbyterian church thundered forth their denunciations of Erastianism, and pleaded the claims of the King of kings. Cargill and Cameron and their fellows found congenial scenes for their brave ministries amid the mountains' lone rents and ravines.
What the world would have been if there had not been preaching outside of walls, and beneath a more glorious roof than these rafters of fir, I am sure I cannot guess. It was a brave day for England when Whitefield began field-preaching. When Wesley stood and preached a sermon on his father's grave, at Epworth, because the parish priest would not allow him admission within the (so-called) sacred edifice, Mr. Wesley writes: "I am well assured that I did far more good to my Lincolnshire parishioners by preaching three days on my father's tomb than I did by preaching three years in his pulpit."
Wesley writes in his journal, "Saturday, 31 March, 1731. In the evening I reached Bristol, and met Mr. Whitefield there. I could scarce reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he set me an example on Sunday; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin, if it had not been done in a church." Such were the feelings of a man who in after life became one of the greatest open-air preachers that ever lived!
Once recommenced, the fruitful agency of field-preaching was not allowed to cease. Amid jeering crowds and showers of rotten eggs and filth, the immediate followers of the two great Methodists continued to storm village after village and town after town. Very varied w ere their adventures, but their success was generally great. One smiles often when reading incidents in their labors. A string of pack horses is so driven as to break up a congregation, and a fire engine is brought out and played over the throng to achieve the same purpose. Hand-bells, old kettles, marrowbones and cleavers, trumpets, drums, and entire bands of music were engaged to drown the preachers' voices.
In one case the parish bull was let loose, and in others dogs were set to fight. The preachers needed to have faces set like flints, and so indeed they had. John Furz says: "As soon as I began to preach, a man came straight forward, and presented a gun at my face; swearing that he would blow my brains out, if I spake another word. However, I continued speaking, and he continued swearing, sometimes putting the muzzle of the gun to my mouth, sometimes against my ear. While we were singing the last hymn, he got behind me, fired the gun, and burned off part of my hair.
After this, my brethren, we ought never to speak of petty interruptions or annoyances. The proximity of a blunderbuss in the hands of a son of Belial is not very conducive to collected thought and clear utterance, but the experience of Furz was probably no worse than that of John Nelson, who coolly says, "But when I was in the middle of my discourse, one at the ouside of the congregation threw a stone, which cut me on the head: however that made the people give greater attention, especially when they saw the blood run down my face; so that all was quiet till I had done, and was singing a hymn."
I have no time further to illustrate my subject by descriptions of the work of Christmas Evans and others in Wales, or of the Haldanes in Scotland, or even of Rowland Hill and his brethren in England. If you wish to pursue the subject these names may serve as hints for discovering abundant material; and I may add to the list The Life of Dr. Guthrie, in which he records notable open-air assemblies at the time of the Disruption, when as yet the Free Church had no places of worship built with human hands.
I must linger a moment over Robert Flockhart of Edinburgh, who, though a lesser light, was a constant one, and a fit example to the bulk of Christ's street witnesses. Every evening, in all weathers and amid many persecutions, did this brave man continue to speak in the street for forty-three years. Think of that, and never be discouraged. When he was tottering to the grave the old soldier was still at his post. "Compassion to the souls of men drove me," said he, "to the streets and lanes of my native city, to plead with sinners and persuade them to come to Jesus. The love of Christ constrained me."
Neither the hostility of the police, nor the insults of papists, Unitarians, and the like could move him; he rebuked error in the plainest terms, and preached salvation by grace with all his might. So lately has he passed away that Edinburgh remembers him still. There is room for such in all our cities and towns, and need for hundreds of his noble order in this huge nation of Londoncan I call it less?
No sort of defense is needed for preaching out-of-doors; but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meetinghouse. A defense is required rather for services within buildings than for worship outside of them. Apologies are certainly wanted for architects who pile up brick and stone into the skies when there is so much need for preaching rooms among poor sinners down below. Defense is greatly needed for forests of stone pillars, which prevent the preacher from being seen and his voice from being heard; for high-pitched Gothic roofs in which all sound is lost, and men are killed by being compelled to shout till they burst their blood-vessels; and also for the willful creation of echoes by exposing hard, sound-refracting surfaces to satisfy the demands of art, to the total overlooking of the comfort of both audience and speaker.
Surely also some decent excuse is badly wanted for those childish people who must needs waste money in placing hobgoblins and monsters on the outside of their preaching houses, and must have other ridiculous pieces of popery stuck up both inside and outside, to deface rather than to adorn their churches and chapels: but no defense whatever is wanted for using the Heavenly Father's vast audience chamber, which is in every way so well fitted for the proclamation of a Gospel so free, so full, so expansive, so sublime.
The great benefit of open-air preaching is that we get so many newcomers to hear the Gospel who otherwise would never hear it. The Gospel command is, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," but it is so little obeyed that one would imagine that it ran thus, "Go into your own place of worship and preach the Gospel to the few creatures who will come inside." "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in" albeit it constitutes part of a parable, is worthy to be taken very literally, and in so doing its meaning will be best carried out.
We ought actually to go into the streets and lanes and highways, for there are lurkers in the hedges, tramps on the highways, street-walkers and lane-haunters, whom we shall never reach unless we pursue them into their own domains. Sportsmen must not stop at home and wait for the birds to come and be shot at, neither must fishermen throw their nets inside their boats and hope to take many fish. Traders go to the markets; they follow their customers and go out after business if it will not come to them; and so must we. Some of our brethren are prosing on and on to empty pews and musty hassocks, while they might be conferring lasting benefit upon hundreds by quitting the old walls for a while, and seeking living stones for Jesus.
I am quite sure, too, that if we could persuade our friends in the country to come out a good many times in the year and hold a service in a meadow, or in a shady grove, or on the hillside, or in a garden, or on a common, it would be all the ketter f or the usual hearers. The mere novelty of the place would freshen their interest, and wake them up. The slight change of scene would have a wonderful effect upon the more somnolent. See how mechanically they move into their usual place of worship, and how mechanically they go out again. They fall into their seats as if at last they had found a resting place; they rise to sing with an amazing effort, and they drop down before you have time for the doxology at the close of the hymn because they did not notice it was coming.
What logs some regular hearers are! Many of them are asleep with their eyes open. After sitting a certain number of years in the same old spot, where the pews, pulpit, galleries, and all things else are always the same, except that they get a little dirtier and dingier every week, where everybody occupies the same position forever and forevermore, and the minister's face, voice, tone are much the same from January to December -you get to feel the holy quiet of the scene and listen to what is going on as though it were addressed to "the dull cold ear of Death."
As a miller hears his wheels as though he did not hear them, or a stoker scarcely notices the clatter of his engine after enduring it for a little time, or as a dweller in London never notices the ceaseless grind of the traffic; so do many members of our congregations become insensible to the most earnest addresses, and accept them as a matter of course. The preaching and the rest of it get to be so usual that they might as well not be at all. Hence a change of place might be useful; it might prevent monotony, shake up indifference, suggest thought, and in a thousand ways promote attention and give new hope of doing good. A great fire which should burn some of our chapels to the ground might not be the greatest calamity which has ever occurred, if it only aroused some of those rivals of the seven sleepers of Ephesus who will never be moved so long as the old house and the old pews hold together.
Besides, the fresh air and plenty of it is a grand thing for every mortal man, woman and child. I preached in Scotland twice on a Sabbath day at Blairmore, on a little height by the side of the sea, and after discoursing with all my might to large congregations, to be counted by thousands, I did not feel onehalf so much exhausted as I often am when addressing a few hundreds in some horrible black hole of Calcutta, called a chapel. I trace my freshness and freedom from lassitude at Blairmore to the fact that the windows could not be shut down by persons afraid of drafts, and that the roof was as high as the heavens are above the earth. My conviction is that a man could preach three or four times on a Sabbath out-of-doors with less fatigue than would be occasioned by one discourse delivered in an impure atmosphere, heated and poisoned by human breath, and carefully preserved from every refreshing infusion of natural air.
I once preached a sermon in the open air in haying time during a violent storm of rain. The text was, "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth," and surely we had the blessing as well as the inconvenience. I was sufficiently wet, and my congregation must have been drenched, but they stood it out, and I never heard that anybody was the worse in health, though, I thank God, I have heard of souls brought to Jesus under that discourse. Once in a while, and under strong excitement, such things do no one any harm, but we are not to expect miracles, nor wantonly venture upon a course of procedure which might kill the sickly and lay the foundations of disease in the strong.
Do not try to preach against the wind, for it is an idle attempt. You may hurl your voice a short distance by an amazing effort, but you cannot be well heard even by the few. I do not often advise you to consider which way the wind blows, but on this occasion I urge you to do it, or you will labor in vain. Preach so that the wind carries your voice toward the people, and does not blow it down your throat, or you will have to eat your own words.
There is no telling how far a man may be heard with the wind. In certain atmospheres and climates, as for instance in that of Palestine, persons might be heard for several miles; and single sentences of wellknown speech may in England be recognized a long way off, but I should gravely doubt a man if he asserted that he understood a new sentence beyond the distance of a mile. Whitefield is reported to have been heard a mile, and I have been myself assured that I was heard for that distance, but I am somewhat skeptical. Half a mile is surely enough, even with the wind, but you must make sure of that to be heard at all.
Heroes of the Cross -here is a field for you more glorious than the Cid ever beheld when with his brave right arm he smote the paynim hosts. "Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?" Who will enable us to win these slums and dens for Jesus ? Who can do it but the Lord? Soldiers of Christ who venture into these regions must expect a revival of the practices of the good old times, so far as brickbats are concerned, and I have known a flowerpot to fall accidentally from an upper window in a remarkably slanting direction. Still, if we are born to be drowned we shall not be killed by flowerpots.
Under such treatment it may be refreshing to read what Christopher Hopper wrote under similar conditions more than a hundred years ago. "I did not much regard a little dirt, a few rotten eggs, the sound of a cow's horn, the noise of bells, or a few snowballs in their season; but sometimes I was saluted with blows, stones, brickbats, and bludgeons. These I did not well like: they were not pleasing to flesh and blood. I sometimes lost a little skin, and once a little blood, which was drawn from my forehead with a sharp stone. I wore a patch for a few days, and was not ashamed; I gloried in the cross. And when my small sufferings abounded for the sake of Christ, my comfort abounded much more. I never was more happy in my own soul, or blessed in my labors."
I am somewhat pleased when I occasionally hear of a brother's being locked up by the police, for it does him good, and it does the people good also. It is a fine sight to see the minister of the Gospel marched off by the servant of the law! It excites sympathy for him, and the next step is sympathy for his message. Many who felt no interest in him before are eager to hear him when he is ordered to 1eave off, and still more so when he is taken to the station. The vilest of mankind respect a man who gets into trouble in order to do them good, and if they see unfair opposition excited they grow quite zealous in the man's defense.
As to style in preaching out-of-doors, it should certainly be very different from much of that which prevails within, and perhaps if a speaker were to acquire a style fully adapted to a street audience, he would be wise to bring it indoors with him. A great deal of sermonizing may be defined as saying nothing at extreme length; but out-of-doors verbosity is not admired; you must say something and have done with it and go on to say something more, or your hearers will let you know.
"Now then," cries a street critic, "let us have it, old fellow." Or else the observation is made, "Now then, pitch it out! You'd better go home and learn your lesson." "Cut It short, old boy," is a very common admonition, and I wish the presenters of this advice gratis could let it be heard inside Ebenezer and Zoar and some other places sacred to long-winded orations. Where these outspoken criticisms are not employed, the hearers rebuke prosiness by quietly walking away. Very unpleasant this, to find your congregation dispersing, but a very plain intimation that your ideas are also much dispersed.
In the street, a man must keep himself alive, and use many illustrations and anecdotes, and sprinkle a quaint remark here and there. To dwell long on a point will never do. Reasoning must be brief, clear, and soon done with. The discourse must not be labored or involved, neither must the second head depend upon the first, for the audience is a changing one, and each point must be complete in itself. The chain of thought must be taken to pieces' and each link melted down and turned into bullets: you will need not so much Saladin's saber to cut through a muslin handkerchief as Coeur de Lion's battle-axe to break a bar of iron. Come to the point at once, and come there with all your might.
Short sentences of words and short passages of thought are needed for out-of-doors. Long paragraphs and long arguments had better be reserved for other occasions. In quiet country crowds there is much force in an eloquent silence, now and then interjected; it gives people time to breathe, and also to reflect. Do not, however, attempt this in a London street; you must go ahead, or someone else may run off with your congregation. In a regular field sermon pauses are very effective, and are useful in several ways, both to speaker and listeners, but to a passing company who are not inclined for anything like worship, quick, short, sharp address is most adapted.
In the streets a man must from beginning to end be intense, and for that very reason he must be condensed and concentrated in his thought and utterance. It would never do to begin by saying, "My text, dear friends, is a passage from the inspired Word, containing doctrines of the utmost importance, and bringing before us in the clearest manner the most valuable practical instruction. I invite your careful attention and the exercise of your most candid judgment while we consider it under various aspects and place it in different lights, in order that we may be able to perceive its position in the analogy of the faith. In its exegesis we shall find an arena for the cultured intellect, and the refined sensibilities. As the purling brook meanders among the meads and fertilizes the pastures, so a stream of sacred truth flows through the remarkable words which now lie before us. It will be well for us to divert the crystal current to the reservoir of our meditation, that we may quaff the cup of wisdom with the lips of satisfaction."
There, gentlemen, is not that rather above the average of word-spinning, and is not the art very generally in vogue in these days? If you go out to the obelisk in Blackfriars Road, and talk in that fashion, you will be saluted with "Go on, old buffer," or "Ain't he fine? My eye!" A very vulgar youth will cry, "What a mouth for a tater!" and another will shout in a tone of mock solemnity, "Amen!" If you give them chaff they will cheerfully return it into your own bosom. Good measure, pressed down and running over will they mete out to you. Shams and shows will have no mercy from a street gathering.
But have something to say, look them in the face, say what you mean, put it plainly, boldly, earnestly, courteously, and they will hear you. Never speak against time or for the sake of hearing your own voice, or you will obtain some information about your personal appearance or manner of oratory which will probably be more true than pleasing. "Crikey," says one, "wouldn't he do for an undertaker! He'd make 'em weep." This was a compliment paid to a melancholy brother whose tone is peculiarly funereal. "There, old fellow," said a critic on another occasion, "you go and wet your whistle. You must feel awfully dry after jawing away at that rate about nothing at all." This also was specially appropriate to a very heavy brother of whom we had aforetime remarked that he would make a good martyr, for there was no doubt of his burning well, he was so dry.
It will be very desirable to speak so as to be heard, but there is no use in incessant bawling. The best street preaching is not that which is done at the top of your voice, for it must be impossible to lay the proper emphasis upon telling passages when all along you are shouting with all your might. When there are no hearers near you, and yet people stand upon the other side of the road and listen, would it not be well to cross over and so save a little of the strength which is now wasted?
A quiet, penetrating, conversational style would seem to be the most telling. Men do not bawl and halloa when they are pleading in deepest earnestness; they have generally at such times less wind and a little more rain: less rant and a few more tears. On, on, on with one monotonous shout and you will weary everybody and wear out yourself. Be wise now, therefore, O ye who would succeed in declaring your Master's message among the multitude, and use your voices as common sense would dictate.
In a tract published by that excellent society "The Open-Air Mission," I notice the following:
QUALIFICATIONS FOR OPEN-AIR PREACHERS
A good voice.
Naturalness of manner.
A good knowledge of Scripture and of common things.
Ability to adapt himself to any congregation.
Good illustrative powers.
Zeal, prudence, and common sense.
A large, loving heart.
Sincere belief in all he says.
Entire dependence on the Holy Spirit for success.
A close walk with God by prayer.
A consistent walk before men by a holy life.
If any man has all these qualifications, the Queen had better make a bishop of him at once, yet there is no one of these qualities which could well be dispensed with.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
[b]DEFINITE DIRECTIONS FOR OPEN-AIR PREACHING[/b]
[i]by Gawin Kirkham[/i]
[This article was taken from the book, "The Open-Air Preacher's Handbook" written by Gawin Kirkham. Brother Kirkham was the Secretary of the Open-Air Mission of London, England. The book was published in 1890 but has a timeless message for street preachers of today.]
WE are told that "Open-air Preaching can only be learned by doing it." No doubt that is in the main correct; as the art of swimming can only be learned in the water. But as the swimmer can learn more readily by a few plain directions- so the street preacher acquires his art more easily when aided by the experience of others. It is hoped, therefore, that the following HINTS will be found useful to those who desire to " purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 3. 13).
A Leader is Essential. -Some one should take charge of the meetings, and choose the place, the hymns, and the speakers. It is not necessary that he should be a practiced speaker, or a good singer; but he should be able to arrange and control. It is desirable also to have a leader of the singing, so that the preachers should not strain their voices in attempting high notes.
"Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Cor. 14. 40)
The Choice of a Place. -In villages, a preaching station is more easily chosen than in towns. The village street or the village green may be occupied; or a farmer will lend a field. But "field-preaching" is not now so popular as in the days of Wesley and Whitefield. As a rule, it is desirable to be so near the houses that those who do not care to come out may yet hear inside. But in towns it is not desirable to select the busiest thoroughfares, unless it be on Sunday, when there is less traffic. A side street just off the main street is best. Large open spaces are not suitable, unless the helpers are numerous and the singing attractive. A passage should always be kept clear on the side-walk, so that foot-passengers may not be compelled to go into the middle of the street." Let every one of us please his neighbour, for his good, to edification" (Rom. 15. 2).
The Order of Service. -If the preacher is alone, like Jonah in Nineveh, he may begin by reading a chapter from his Bible, choosing a familiar and striking portion for this purpose. Or he may talk confidentially to two or three children till the curiosity of the grown-up people is awakened, and they gather round. Or he may hand a few tracts to the strollers and idlers, and encourage them to come and hear. But if he has helpers, they had better sing first. Then a brief lesson may be read, and a brief prayer offered. But if the people are not likely to stay for reading and prayer, speaking may begin after the first hymn. The addresses,as a rule, should be brief -say ten minutes or a quarter of an hour- with singing between; and the meeting limited to an hour. But the wise leader will not confine himself to any definite order, as one of the charms of an open-air meeting is its freedom "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3. 17).
Open-air Pulpits. -The kerbstone is a sufficient elevation when speaking to a handful of people: but it is an immense advantage to stand on a stool or chair, or raised platform, when speaking to an ordinary street crowd. The speaker can thus spare his voice, and be better heard than when he is on a level with the people. The common sense of street-preachers is sadly lacking when they will not thus aid their voices by standing head-and-shoulders above the people. Besides, this method is a Scriptural one: for we read in the account of the great open-air meeting in "the street that was before the water gate" in Jerusalem, that "Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose," and thus " opened the book in the sight of all the people; for he was above all the people" (Nehemiah 8. 4, 5). It is worthy of observation that that is the only place in the Bible where a "pulpit" is mentioned; so that the street-preacher is fairly entitled to its use on the best authority. " Jotham . . . stood in the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried" (Judges 9. 7).
The Value of Helpers. -One of the most interesting sights to men and angels is a solitary preacher, crying like John the Baptist in the wilderness, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3. 2). But it is more to the preacher's comfort and the good of the work to have a band of helpers. Some can sing; while others can give tracts. They help to gather a crowd; to maintain order amongst the children; to keep the pavement clear; and to cheer the preacher by their presence and their prayers. In commencing a meeting, instead of standing behind, or at the side of the preacher, these helpers should face him, so as to form part of the audience, and encourage others to gather behind them. But, as a rule, they should not interfere with a disturber, as that is better done by the leader; nor should they be allowed to give tracts at the meeting while the service iasts. This latter course sadly distracts the attention of the hearers, though it is a very common proceeding on the part of kind and active helpers. Christians should be encouraged to stand at open-air meetings, even if they cannot sing -ladies especially. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5. I6).
The Art of Attraction. -The preacher has first to secure and then to retain his hearers. As "music hath charms," good singing should be cultivated; and the singers should understand that harmony and sweetness are far more important than mere noise. Ladies render important service in street choirs. Solos, duets, trios, and quartettes -may occasionally be introduced. But the singing should be in harmony with the preaching, and not merely a pretty performance to please the ear. It should be appropriate, lively, and abundant, and entirely under the control of the leader of the meeting.
The distribution of Hymn-sheets is helpful in keeping a crowd together. The exhibition of a picture or diagram is good by way of variety. Harmoniums are the most common at open-air services; but a cornet is the most effective for leading the singing. Prettily painted banners are pleasing to the eye; and when they have on them the name of the church or mission from which the workers come, are useful in directing the people where to worship inside. A duplex lamp placed on a tripod is a great help in meetings after dark; though a street lamp may be made to do duty where a special one cannot be had. But these arts of attraction must be in harmony with the apostle's rule: "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (I Cor. 9. 22).
The Art of Preaching. -Whatever means may be used to draw the people together, it will depend largely upon the preacher himself whether they are retained. Cold, formal, measured, precise preaching will not do. Nor will what may be called "a good sermon" indoors necessarily do outside. Life, fire, and energy are essential, as the powder is essential to carry the shot. There is an indefinable style needed for open-air preaching which can only be acquired by practice. The preacher's temptation is to rely too much upon impulse and surroundings, and so to neglect his studies. But if he is to be successful he must study; and his studies must include books, and men, and nature. The exhortation of Paul to Timothy is as important for the out-door preacher as for the regular pastor- "Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee. Meditate upon these things, . . . that thy profiting may appear to all (I Tim. 4. 13-15).
The Bible in the Street. -The preacher's chief weapon must ever be the Word of God, wielded by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet the Bible must be sparingly used in the street. The lesson may be read from it; but in preaching, it is better to quote from it than to be perpetually giving chapter and verse, especially if this involves turning over the leaves to look for them. There is a powerful magnetism in the human eye; and rarely should the preacher's eye be taken off his hearers if he wishes to retain his hold of them. But the preacher who has the greatest knowledge of the Bible, and the ability to quote appropriate texts correctly, other things being equal, will be the most successful. It is a good thing to set young preachers to read the lesson, as it encourages them afterwards to speak. Those who would bless and save their fellow-creatures must heed the Lord's commission to Ezekiel: "And thou shalt speak My words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear" (Ezek. 2. 7).
Voice Culture. -But while the Word of God is the preacher's chief weapon, the human voice is the medium by which that weapon reaches the people. How many books have been written on the art of speaking! -and yet how few really effective speakers there are! The voice is soon injured in the openair unless it is used with care. Generally the young preacher starts in too high a key, and in too loud a tone. He forgets the oftrepeated advice
" Begin low, speak slow;
Aim higher, take fire."
Knowing this, John Wesley said to his preachers, "For God's sake, don't scream." There is no doubt that the moderate and steady use of the voice out of doors strengthens it, and also the chest of the speaker. Yet there are times when, owing to some condition of body or of atmosphere, or both, the voice of the most practiced speaker fails. It is then the height of folly to continue using it. It should rest; and only by that process will it be regained. Or if it becomes a little husky by speaking, it may often be recovered by singing, taking care to sing that part which is easiest. Spurgeon has a valuable lecture" On the Voice" in the first volume of his "Lectures to my Students."If preachers would take the trouble to enunciate their words more distinctly, they would speak with far less labour and with more effect. "Lift up thy voice like a trumpet" (Isa. 58. 1).
The Cultivation of Reverence. -It is true that we do not go into the streets to worship, but to proclaim the Gospel; nevertheless, if we are to commend "ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4. 2), there must be reverence in this open-air temple, as much as in a consecrated building. This is best accomplished by realizing the Lord's presence. "Lo, I am with you alway" (Matt. 28. 20). This realized presence prevents the spirit of trifling and levity, which are, alas! far too common at open-air assemblies, both on the part of the preacher and his helpers. It was this realized presence which produced such a marvellous effect at the meeting "in the street that was before the water gate," as described in Nehemiah 8. 6, when the people "bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground."
There is another aid to reverence in the attitude of the preacher. How many preachers fail to mark I Cor. 11. 4: "Every man praying or prophesying (i.e. preaching), having his head covered, dishonoureth his head." This is a plain direction, which should be adhered to except in very severe weather, or by those who are liable to take cold easily. A further aid to reverence is the attitude in prayer. Happily it is the custom almost universally for the preacher and his helpers to uncover their heads during prayer; and this act is a sermon in itself. There are so many disturbing elements out of doors that the promoters should do all in their power to produce a becoming solemnity at street meetings. "Let us exalt His Name together" (Psa. 34. 3).
How to Deal with Interruptions. -But with the best arrangements and the wisest proceedings, interruptions will occur. If the police interfere, it is more seemly to give way than to have a dispute by standing on our rights." If a thoroughfare is blocked, the police may interfere by virtue of the authority vested in them; but even if they are wrong, it is better for the preacher to complain to their superiors than to contend with them in the presence of a crowd, seeing he represents the Gospel of peace. If a householder complains, however frivolous the objection, the police are bound to remove the preacher on such complaint being made. He cannot legally be arrested, but he may be summoned before a magistrate for resisting lawful authority. If a drunkard interferes, it is generally useless to argue with him. The police should protect the preacher by removing him; but sometimes a kind-hearted helper may persuade him to walk away. If the interruption is by a Romanist or an infidel, it means discussion; and if the preacher begins a discussion, there is an end of the preaching. Men who have studied these questions in all their bearings may discuss, for truth has nothing to fear from error; but the ordinary preacher shows his wisdom by continuing his preaching, and declining discussion. "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matt. 10. 16).
"THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER" (Eccles. 12. 13). As the object and end of preaching is the glory of God and the salvation of sinners, those methods should be pursued which are most likely to bring about this end. Prayer, Preaching, and Perseverance will work wonders by the blessing of God. If one plan fails, another should be tried. Young preachers should not be discouraged, for it may be some time before they can determine the question whether the Lord means them to be open-air preachers or not. They should be instant in season and out of season, seeking to pluck brands out of the fire. Success is more likely to be attained by connecting the outdoor meeting with an indoor one.
The direction is, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14. 23). And while some of the seed (to change the figure) may fall by the wayside, or on stony or thorny ground, some will fall into good ground, and bring forth fruit, even a hundredfold (Matt. 13. 8). So-
" Out in the highways, out in the byways,
Out in the dark paths of sin,
Go forth, go forth with a loving heart,
And gather the wanderers in! "
The following was written in the album of a lady who was slighted by some of her friends because she played the harmonium and sang at open-air services:
Go on shine errand, singing for the Lord,
Making rich melody with heart and voice;
Gather thy message from His holy Word,
And, hoping in the Word, do thou rejoice.
Some may despise thee, some may heed thee not,
And others be in doubt of what is right;
But whether thou be heeded or forgot,
Heed thou thy Master- "Go in this thy might!"
When thrones, and principalities, and powers
Are scattered to the winds for evermore,
A record of these consecrated hours
Shall greet thee on the ever-shining shore.
earless then go, with a glad heart and free!
The Gospel message carry far and wide;
The pleasure of the Lord thou yet shalt see,
Ile in thy work shall yet be glorified.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/10 13:09||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
[b]THE FIRST OPEN-AIR SERMON [/b]
[i]by Gawin Kirkham[/i]
THE SEARCHING QUESTION
"Where art thou?" -Gen. 3. 9.
[This sermon outline was taken from the book, "The Open-Air Preacher's Handbook" written by Gawin Kirkham. Brother Kirkham was the Secretary of the Open-Air Mission of London, England. The book was published in 1890, but has a timeless message for street preachers of today.]
Ask the Audience: "What was the first Open-air Text ?"
The reply will generally be an inquiring look at the Preacher.
Then tell them that the first Preacher was the Lord God Almighty: the hearers were Adam and Eve; the place was the Garden of Eden: and the Text was, "WHERE ART THOU?"
I. Hiding.- Adam was hiding from God. This is what man has been trying to do ever since.
II. Reason for Hiding.- FEAR. "I heard Thy voice in the garden; and I was afraid." (ver. 10.)
III. Reasons for Fear.-
GOD's Holiness.Illus., MOSES- Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." (Exod. 3. 6.) ISAIAH- See Isa. 6. JOHN- "I fell at His feet as dead." (Rev. 1. 17.)
MAN'S SINFULNESSIllus., JOB- "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear," etc. (Job 13. 5)
IV. How Men Try to Hide.- Behind their innocency; their ignorance; their respectability; their sincerity; their circumstances; their indifference; their religiousness, etc.
V. Trying to do the Impossible.- "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper." (Prov. 28. 13.)" Though they dig into hell, thence shall Mine hand take them,'' etc. (Amos 9. 2-4.) Illus., DAVID"Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit?" etc. (Psa. 139. 7-12.) JONAH- "Rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." (Jonah 1.3)
VI. Only One Hiding-Place.- The wounded side of Jesus. "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself." (Prov. 21. 3.) Illus., DAVID- "I flee unto Thee to hide me." (Psa. 143. 9.)
" Rock of Ages! cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."
VII. It Will Soon be Too Late!- See Rev. 6. 12-17. Men hide themselves in dens and rocks, but are overtaken by the great day of wrath. Only those who are hid in Christ will then be safe.
NOTE.-It is interesting, in connection with this subject, to notice that the first question in the Old Testament is- "Where art thou?" while the first in the New Testament is- "Where is HE?" (Matt. 2. 2.) This opens the door of hope to the hiding and the fearful ones; because "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19. 10.)
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/7/10 13:10||Profile|