An Address To Sunday-School Teachers – Only A Prayer Meeting

An Address To Sunday-School Teachers – Only A Prayer Meeting

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Dear Friends, the Sunday-school teachers, I hardly think that I need to tell you tonight how greatly we value your work, and how thankful we are to God for your holy zeal and Christian love. There are some of you who are our most continual helpers in the work of the Lord; the very sight of your faces always gives me pleasure, because I remember how many of the dear children and young people you have brought to the Saviour’s feet. Go on, brothers and sisters, with your sacred service, and the Lord be with you! I should like you to think, however, not only of the benefit that you bestow on others by this holy work, but also of the great good you yourselves receive by teaching. Will you try, just for a moment, in order that you may be humbled by gratitude, to think how much you have gained by teaching others? Speaking for myself, I can testify that I owe very much to the Sunday-school.

I never was in a Sunday-school as a child; but that was because my mother thought she could be a better teacher than anybody else, and so she taught me at home, and I think she did right. But after I knew the Lord, I soon became a great debtor to the Sunday-school, because it gave me an immediate and important field of labour, and it also helped very materially to prepare me for service. I could not do much for my Lord at first; but I thought that I could go and teach a class in the Sunday-school, and I did so. Then, through teaching a class, I was asked to give addresses to the scholars. I do not think I had any idea that I could speak in public until I began to address the children; but God gave them such attention that I was asked to speak to them every Sunday. Some of the teachers, some of the young men, thought it was a pity that any one of their number should always be the speaker, and therefore it was agreed that they should take the address alternately with me.

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Then the superintendent divided the girls from the boys, and I had to speak to the girls once a fortnight, and to the boys on the intervening Sabbath, and thus I was kept at the happy employment every Lord’s-day. To my surprise, before long I found the end of the schoolroom filled with grown-up people; and soon I had more to hear me in the afternoon than my pastor had to preach to on a Sunday morning. I could not make it out; but I did know that the opportunity of speaking was blessed. One of my friends was telling me, the other day, that he recollected an address of mine to the boys in the schoolroom at Cambridge. He said that I told them a story about a fly on the window. I told them that I was standing in a farmhouse, and there saw a fly on the window, and I tried to catch him; but as soon as I put out my finger, he went a little lower down the pane; and as I moved, he moved. I soon saw that the fly was on the other side of the glass, so that I was not likely to catch him; and my friend reminded me that I said to the boys, “Now, there are many people who are trying to be happy, and they are aiming at happiness in this way and that way, and they think they will get it here or get it there; but all their efforts are in vain, for it is on the other side of the glass.

It is only when they have been renewed in the spirit of their minds that they will catch that fly, and secure that happiness which they so much desire.” It was a striking simile for boys, and I was glad my friend had not forgotten it. I recollect a boy who was struck with that simile; he was the worst lad in the school until the day when God blessed that message to him. Now, I feel so glad that I had an opportunity of opening my mouth for God in a Sunday-school, because it helped me to begin preaching; and I have no doubt that many of our pulpits have been filled by those whose first training in speaking for Christ was received in a Sunday-school, where they were asked to address the children. I do not say this that all of you may become preachers; you are not all wanted in that particular service; our good sisters, for instance, are not required as preachers. Yet, what a blessing it is for you to have an opportunity of doing good to others, and, at the same time, of getting good yourself!

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Nothing, I think, tends to keep piety so much alive as trying to bring others to Christ. If a man does not feel his own weakness, and his entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit as he once did, when he begins to teach others, he soon finds that old Adam, even in young children, is far too strong for him. Thus, trying to teach others, teaches us humility. It also teaches us earnestness, for children, as a rule, will not listen to us if we are not in solemn earnest. I remember seeing the boys spinning round over a form, and twisting over and under the seats in a school while the teacher was addressing them, and I really wished I could do the same, for there was nothing to interest anyone in what he was saying. If all our people could amuse themselves in that fashion whenever we preached dull sermons, it would tend to wake us up. They have done away with the good old custom of clapping or hissing the preacher, because, while the people applauded the minister, all was right, but when they hissed him, it was another matter; so they said that it was improper to have any manifestation of approval or disapproval, and they put it down.

I am inclined to think that something or other of the kind would be good for some of us when we are dull, just to let us know that it will not do to waste our people’s time, and our own, too, in that fashion. It is only natural that, when you are talking as if your hearts were miles away, that your hearers’ hearts go gadding away, too. If you are not yourself interested in your theme, you cannot expect them to be much concerned about it. But when you do labour for your Lord with real earnestness, and especially when you do bring souls to Christ, what a blessing it is to yourself as well as to them! “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” To be feasting in the house of God, is good; but oh, to go out and speak for Jesus, and to bring others to Him, is one of the highest felicities on earth! Go on, brothers and sisters, work away for your Lord, and God send you abundant success! I do not think it is necessary to say to you, but I will say it in case it should be necessary, that the same Gospel that saves grown-up people saves children. You must not give to the children a different gospel from that which we have to preach to their parents.

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Do not give your scholars a diluted gospel, the Gospel and water. I have noticed that children are often told, “You must love Jesus, and then you will be saved.” Yes, but that is not the Bible plan of salvation; it is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;” and though, undoubtedly, where love exists in the heart, it is an abundant proof of the exercise of faith, yet you were never sent into the world to tell people, either old or young, that they would be saved by loving Christ; you have altered your Master’s commission, which you have no right to do. Those children need to know what they have to believe in order that they may be saved; and you must tell them that it is in Christ and Him crucified that they have to trust, and that it is by faith that even little children are brought to Jesus, and saved. I know you, my dear brethren and sisters, will do that, I have no fear that you will do otherwise; but I do know some Sunday-schools where it is not so, and where the children are taught anything but the truth as it is in Jesus. There are other schools where there is nothing for the scholars but the reading and explaining of those regular orderly lessons that are issued by the Sunday-school Union.

I suppose they are very capital things for those who can use them; but I know that my experience was that they were of no use to me. They were so often about David and Goliath, or about Ezra and Sanballat, or about Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar; but I wanted to get away to Jesus Christ at once. Now, whether you use the regular lessons or not, do seek to bring your scholars to Christ, and do the best you can to win every one of them for the Saviour, and remember that persuasion is a mighty force with the children. All of you teachers, I am sure, will get a blessing if you pray for your children one by one, and speak with them one by one. Much more is usually done by a special, particular, personal word than by a general message delivered to a large number.

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If you were all bottles, and I wanted to fill you, I should not try to do it by squirting over you all at once; but I should come to you one by one, and pour the liquor into you one by one, slowly and gently. I think that, in your Sunday-school teaching, you can try to do too much, and accomplish nothing. You cannot get a quartern loaf into a child all at once; but it goes to be done by breaking it up, and putting some nice warm milk with it. So, when you have a great mass of truth, and you say to yourself, “How am I to get this loaf into that child’s mind and heart?” break it up small, and give it to them with some nice warm milk of affection; and thus, by God’s grace, you will get it into the children, and they will be built up thereby. That is the way, I have no doubt, you are doing it. Go on doing it in that way; and may God bless you, dear friends, more and more! Amen. 

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Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Excerpt From Only A Prayer Meeting By C.H Spurgeon


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Tempted Of The Devil – Only A Prayer Meeting

Tempted Of The Devil – Only A Prayer Meeting

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The letter, which I am about to read, comes from a certain county in Scotland. Each line begins in the original with a capital letter, so that it wears the appearance of poetry. I believe the idea is current in remote country places that this is the correct way of writing, and the writer is too earnest to do anything carelessly or contrary to rule. Here is the letter: – “To the Very Rev. C. H. Spurgeon,- Believing that you are one of the faithful servants of God, and also that you have a large congregation, and that there is many a true believer among them; therefore I proposed to write to you in the hope that you and your congregation will remember me in your daily prayers, and also that it will be made public that I am requesting the prayers of the Lord’s people for my soul and everlasting salvation, knowing that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

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Dear sir, I may tell you that I am suffering much from the adversary. It is true that I cannot compare myself to that holy man, John Bunyan; but in the book that he wrote under this title, ‘Grace Abounding,’ he tells us how he was tempted; and I feel that the old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, who deceived Eve in the Garden, and who was tempting that saint, John Bunyan, with many of the same temptations, tempteth me on this day; and if you would know all that I am suffering from his fiery darts, you would have commiseration with me. I believe it will be twenty-five years now, if not more, since I began to pray to God, and yet my temptations are terrible. Yet I cannot say that I am in despair, for I know that my Redeemer liveth, and I will see Him. My trials from the adversary are awful. It may be when I am on my knees praying to God that he will come to me as sudden as a gunshot, and I believe doing all he can to steal my heart and affections away from God and Heaven, and trying to make me say some wrong word; and many a time he will make my heart and flesh tremble while I am at my meat or talking, or in the house of worship, or travelling.

In whatever condition I am, I feel that he is doing all he can to ruin my poor soul; therefore, I request the earnest prayer of all Christians for my poor soul, and I know for one, and for the first one, that you will not refuse this supplication to me. I believe that we never saw one another in the flesh, and God only knows if we will see each other on the face of the earth; but I hope we will see one another in Heaven where the adversaries can never come near us. I hope this will be told before your congregation on Sabbath first.- I am, dear sir, your obedient servant, who resides in the county of –. ‘The Lord knoweth all them that are His.’ “P.S.- I will be happy to see your kind advice either in a tract or in a newspaper. I am a reader of the Herald.” I very much demur to the commencement, “To the Very Reverend C. H. Spurgeon,” for no reverence is due to me. Romaine used to say that it was very astonishing to observe how many reverend, right reverend, and very reverend sinners there were upon the face of the earth. Assuredly, reverend and sinner make a curious combination – and as I know that I am the second, I repudiate the first.

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To me, it is surprising that such a flattering title should have been invented, and more amazing still that good men should be found who are angry if this title be not duly given to them. However, the superscription is a small matter. I would make a few remarks upon the letter itself, in order that we may the more intelligently and fervently present our supplications on the writer’s behalf. And, first, we notice with pleasure that the writer is not altogether in despair, for he expressly says, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” If he would dwell more on his living Redeemer, and look less at the changeful current of his own thoughts, the snare would be broken, and he would escape. It is very charming to see how poor souls, when tossed to and fro by the devil, will yet hold on to their hope; half afraid to think that Jesus is theirs, they nevertheless feel that they could not give up what little hope they have. By a blessed inconsistency, they doubt and yet cling, dread and yet trust, condemn themselves and yet hope.

Such souls are a riddle, puzzling their friends, and most of all confusing themselves. Could we but persuade them to give their thoughts to that blessed “I know,” they would soon chase away the enemy, for Satan abhors a believing “I know.” He is more content with “I hope,” and best pleased with “I am afraid”; but “I know” stings him dreadfully; and if he, who can truly say it, will arm himself with that mind, he will ere long overcome the enemy. Satan dreads the Redeemer’s Name, and he falls like lightning from Heaven before those who know how to plead it with confidence. Having noticed the pleasing point in the letter, we are now forced to remark that it is a very dreadful thing to be tempted twenty-five years in this way, and yet this is not the only case we have heard of, in which temptation has been both long and strong. I have, in my library, a book by Timothy Rogers upon “Trouble of Mind,” in which he tells us of Mr. Rosewell and Mr. Porter, both ministers, the latter of whom was six years oppressed by Satan, and yet afterwards rejoiced in the light of God’s countenance.

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Mr. Robert Bruce, many years ago minister in Edinburgh, was twenty years under terrors of conscience, and yet found deliverance. Rogers says: – “You have, in ‘the Book of Martyrs,’ written by Mr. Fox, an instance of Mr. Glover, who was so worn and consumed with inward trouble for the space of five years, that he neither had any comfort in his meat nor any quietness of sleep, nor any pleasure of life; he was as perplexed as if he had been in the deepest pit of hell, yet at last this good servant of God, after such sharp temptations, and strong buffetings of Satan, was freed from all his trouble, and was thereby led to great mortification, and was like one already placed in Heaven, leading a ife altogether celestial, abhorring in his mind all profane things.” None of these cases extend to quite the length of time mentioned in the letter; but I remember to have heard of one who lay in the prison-house some twenty-seven years, and yet came forth to perfect liberty: but even this is less remarkable than the case mentioned by Turner in his “Remarkable Providences,” of Mr. Charles Langford, the author of a book called “God’s Wonderful Mercy in the Mount of Woeful Extremity.”

He therein says that, for nearly forty years, he had been severely buffeted by Satan, who left no stone unturned to do him all the mischief he could. For forty years was he led through the uncomfortable wilderness of temptation; and his clearest day, all that time, was but dark; Satan filling his soul with cursed injections, blasphemous thoughts, and dreadful temptations. The Lord was pleased to make use of his godly wife for his deliverance. He overheard her pleading at the throne of grace, as was her wont, after this fashion, “My Father! My Father! What wilt Thou do with my husband? He hath been speaking and acting still in Thy cause. Oh, destroy him not, for Thine own glory! What dishonour will come to Thy great Name if Thou do it! Oh, rather do with me as Thou wilt; but spare my husband,” &c. “God, who delights to advance His own power by using small and unlikely means, came,” said he, “and owned His own ordinance, and crowned the cries, and faith, and patience of a poor woman with such success that my praise shall be continually of Him.

Mine adversary, the devil, was sent to his own place by my dear Lord Christ, who brake the door of brass, and rescued me from his fury.” So, you see, that long temptation by Satan is not so rare a trial as some would suppose. But these temptations of the devil, do they come to really gracious rnen? Certainly. The instances I have given prove it; and, besides, our reason would lead us to expect it. If a thief were on the road, and knew something about the travellers, he would not stop beggars, for he would know that they have nothing to lose. Would he try to rob the rich or the poor? Those that have money, of course, would be his game; and, just so, Satan assaults those who have grace, and leaves those who have none. When a sportsman is engaged in duck-shooting, he does not hurry himself to pick up the dead ducks that fall around him; he pays all his attention to those which are full of life, and are only wounded, and may perhaps get away. He can pick up the dead ones at any time.

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Even so, when Satan sees that a man’s soul is wounded, and yet that it has a measure of spiritual life, he bends his strength in that direction, in the hope of securing that poor bleeding spirit. It is grace that attracts his malicious eye and his diabolical arrows. He would not sift if there were no wheat, nor break into the house if there were no treasure within. It is no ill proof, therefore, when you find yourself tempted of Satan; his assaults are no sign of a want of grace, but rather a token of the presence of it. But can a good man be tempted to use bad language? Ah, that he can! The purest mind is sometimes most of all assaulted by insinuations of the filthiest thoughts and most horrible words. I was brought up, as a child, with such care that I knew but very little of foul or profane language, having scarcely ever heard a man swear. Yet do I remember times, in my earliest Christian days, when there came into my mind thoughts so evil that I clapped my hand to my mouth for fear I should be led to give utterance to them. This is one way in which Satan tortures those whom God has delivered out of his hand.

Many of the choicest saints have been thus molested. Beloved, think it not strange concerning this fiery trial when it comes upon you, for no new thing is happening unto you but such as is common to godly men. What is to be done, then, in the case of one who is beaten down and harassed by fierce temptation? If I were the writer of this letter, I suppose I should do as he does; but if I acted rightly, I would go and tell the Lord Jesus Christ all about the devil’s suggestions, and beg Him to interfere, and restrain the evil one. It is His office to bruise the serpent’s head, and He can and will do it. We need not fear that our poor cries and tears will be in vain. Jesus is very faithful, and will come to our rescue. “That great Shepherd of the sheep” will not allow the wolf to worry His lambs to death. In addition to spreading his case before the Lord, it may be helpful to the tempted one to write down his trouble. Very much of perturbation of mind arises out of absolute confusion of thought, and a written statement may help to clear away the cobwebs.

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Luther threw an inkstand at the devil’s head at the Wartburg, and the example may bewisely followed; for, often, when you see your misty thought condensed in black and white before your own eyes, it will not exercise over you one half the power which it possessed before, and often there will be an end of it altogether. I have told you, before, of the poor woman who complained to her minister that she did not love the Saviour. So the pastor went to the window, and with his pencil wrote on a piece of paper, “I do not love the Lord Jesus Christ.” Taking it to the good woman, he said, “Now, Sarah, will you put your name to the bottom of that?” Her horror was most manifest, and she cried, “Oh, no, sir! I could not do it; I would die first.” “But you said so.” “Yes, I did, but I will not write it. I love the Lord Jesus too much to sign any such a document.” Is there not wisdom in my advice to write down your temptation? Still, the main remedy is to keep on going to the Saviour as each new blasphemy is injected, and as each fresh sin is suggested, for He will send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to deliver you. If Satan sees a soul constantly driven to Christ by his temptations, he is too crafty to continue them. He will say to himself, “These attacks of mine accomplish nothing; for, every time that I tempt him, he runs to his Saviour, and so becomes stronger and holier.

I will let him alone, and perhaps he will then go to sleep, and so I shall do him greater mischief by my quietness than by roaring at him.” The devil is a cowardly spirit, and fears to meet the courageous in heart. Stretch out your hand, and lay hold upon the sword of the Spirit, and give him a believing thrust, and he will spread his dragon wings in dastard flight. A man had better go a hundred miles roundabout, over hedge and ditch, rather than meet the archenemy; yet, if any of you must meet him, be not dismayed, but face it out with him. Resist ihe devil, and he will flee from you. May we, in all our conflicts with him, fight the good fight so bravely that, when a memorial is set up to record the conflict, it may bear those lines of honest John Bunyan,- “The man so bravely played the man He made the fiend to fly; Whereof a monument I stand, The same to testify.” May the brother, whose letter I have read, find the Lord to be his strong helper, and speedily come forth out of darkness into marvellous light! 

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Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Excerpt From Only A Prayer Meeting By C.H Spurgeon


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Steal Away To Jesus – Only A Prayer Meeting

Steal Away To Jesus – Only A Prayer Meeting

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“Return! O wanderer, to thy home, Thy Father calls for thee; No longer now an exile roam, In guilt and misery. “Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus, Steal away, steal away home; for Jesus waits to save you. “Return! O wanderer, to thy home, ’Tis Jesus calls for thee; The Spirit and the Bride say, Come; Oh, now for refuge flee! “Return! O wanderer, to thy home, ’Tis madness to delay; There are no pardons in the tomb, And brief is mercy’s day.” May those sweet words of invitation be very graciously blessed! I was smiling, while you were singing that refrain, “Steal away to Jesus,” at the recollection of something that happened a long time since. A brother minister was, years ago, almost as eccentric as I am said to be, though the peculiarity after all is not in us, but in other people who are not so concentric as we are.

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After an evangelistic service, we were holding a prayer-meeting, or a meeting for enquirers. Among the rest of the anxious ones, there was a young man in whom we were both interested. I was kneeling on one side of him, and my friend knelt down on the other side of him, and prayed a prayer which made me laugh,- I could not help it. He said, “Lord, here is a poor sinner, who has been a servant of the devil, and he has run away from his master, and never given him any notice.” I was amused by the expression at the time; but there is a great truth in it, and I want, just for a few moments, to call your attention to that truth, for it may be of lasting service to any of you who long to escape from the slavery of sin and Satan. First, let me remark that, if you give the devil notice, you will never get away from him. If that prodigal son had gone to the citizen in the far country, and said to him, “I am engaged to you for another week to feed the swine, but I give you notice that, at the end of the week, I shall quit your service,” he would never have gone back to his father.

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The only way of escape for him was to steal away home; so he not only said, “I will arise and go to my father,” but at once “he arose, and came to his father.” Imitate his example. Do not give the devil any notice. This is the very meaning of the refrain, with which we have been familiar ever since we first heard it so pathetically sung by the Jubilee Singers,- “Steal away to Jesus.” That simple sentence may be a very delightful voice to someone here who has been living a life of sin. Do not go back into the midst of your old companions; but steal away to Jesus; steal away home. Perhaps your life has been a very evil one, altogether contrary to the law of God; yet here you are to-night, in the house of prayer, and among a company of praying people. Now, I beseech you, do not say what you will do tomorrow, or in a month’s time, or when you have set some matters right; but steal away to Jesus at once, just as the poor slave in the Southern States did when he found a chance of gaining his freedom.

I warrant you that he did not go to his master, and say, “I’s goin’ to run away from you tomorrow, massa.” Oh, dear, no! But on some moon-shiny night, when his master least expected it, Sambo was away in the woods, and was being guided by the blessed pole-star to the land of liberty. I say to you again, imitate his example, steal away, steal away to Jesus, if you are held in bondage by sin and Satan; I cannot give you any better advice than that. Procrastination is not only the thief of time, but the murderer of many souls. Remember those verses we sometimes sing,- “To-day, a pardoning God Will hear the suppliant pray; To-day, a Saviour’s cleansing blood Will wash thy guilt away. “But grace, so dearly bought If yet thou wilt despise, Thy fearful doom with vengeance fraught Will fill thee with surprise.” Then again, as to the idea of giving the devil notice, you cannot give it. Some try to give this notice by attempting to escape from the power of some one sin, when all the while they are in captivity to other sins as securely as ever. There is many a man who has meant to break off wrong-doing by degrees, and to loose himself from his fetters one by one; but he has not been able to do it; it can only be done all at once, straight away, there and then.

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Sin is like Joseph’s mistress; you must not parley with it, you must leave your garment, and run away; your only safety is in immediate flight. We say to you, as Mentor did to Telemaque, “Fly, Telemaque, fly! Your only hope of conquering is by flight.” Oh! get away at once, poor sinner. Steal away, steal away to Jesus. Let us sing that second verse and the chorus again very softly,- “Return! O wanderer to thy home, ’Tis Jesus calls for thee; The Spirit and the Bride say, Come; Oh, now for refuge flee! “Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus, Steal away, steal away home; for Jesus waits to save you.” Just this word in closing. You know that, in the old slave days, when one negro wanted to run away from his master, there was often someone who told him the way. There were some good people who worked what they called “The Underground Railway” by which they passed the slaves on from one place to another till they reached the land of liberty; so, to-night, there are many friends all about this Tabernacle who would be only too glad to speak to any of you who want to steal away to Jesus; and especially if you will come to the platform when the meeting is over, you will find some of my brethren who will be delighted to tell you how to get out of the great dismal swamp of sin.

They know the road; some of them have hardly brushed the mud off their own garments yet, and they will be most pleased of all if they can guide you into freedom. The all-important thing is to get to Jesus. He is the great Liberator, and “if the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” If any of you have found your way to Jesus, let me say to you that it is all very well to steal away from the old master, but do not steal up to the new one. Come right up to Him, and say, “Thine I am, Lord Jesus, and I am not ashamed to own Thee as my Lord and Master.” Come out boldly on the Lord’s side, be baptized according to His command, and His example, too, and unite with His people in fellowship and holy service. If you are truly the Lord’s, you will never want to steal away from Him, and He will never give you up to your old master again, for so hath He declared,- “The soul that on Jesus hath lean’d for repose, I will not, I will not desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

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Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Excerpt From Only A Prayer Meeting By C.H Spurgeon


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