The Christian index and southern Baptist. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1881-1892, January 27, 1881, Page 2, Image 2
2 Our Pulpit. THE OFFICE OF DEACON. (A sermon preached by D. Shsver, D D., in the Central Baptist church. Atlanta, January Sth, 1881, at the ordination of F. Kleklighterand Wm. ■Crenshaw and published by request.) 4, They that have used the office of a deacon well.”—l Tim. 3: 13. Our subject to day is the office of deacon in the churches of Christ. We invite you to consider three questions: What is the nature of the office? Why should it be used ■•well? How may it be? I To ascertain the nature of the office, we must examine what is generally (and, we think, correctly) regarded as the inspired account of its origin. You will And it in Acts vi:l-7. For two centuries before the time of Christ, there was estrangement and strife between Jews of Hebrew speech in Palestine and countries east of it, and Jews of Greek speech from the west —from the provinces of the Roman empire. When the gospel was preached in Jerusalem on the day of Pente cost, it gathered its converts from both these classes. Their new faith and fellowship, while it had srbdued, had not extinguished their old prejudice; it. lurked, an unsuspect ed spark, in their bosom, awaiting occasion to flame out again under fresh forms. And occasion was not wanting. It had been found necessary that the church, as a body, should provide for the temporal wants of its poorer members, and there was a “daily ministration” for that purpose. In course of time, "when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring :” ’the Jews of Greek speech complained, truly or-untruly, that their widows were neglected 'in this ministration by the Jews of Hebrew speech. Here was schism, in the sense of the New Testament; for in the New Testa ment, schism means, not separation from the church or body of believers, but division •and dissension in it. What course did the apostles pursue in ' this exigency ? Did they adopt a narrow and temporary expedient to settle that one case only? Or, with larger views, did they strike out a general principle and establish a general rule, which should settle all kindred questions as well ? Let the record decide. They said, literally, “it is not pleasing,”— in <the sense that what is right pleases, and their words, therefore, are well-enough ren dered, “it is not reason,” or “it is not prop er,” —“that we should leave the word of ■God and serve tables.” They wished, then, to set themselves free from the service of tables, in the double form of that service— collection for them, and distribution from them. But of what tables? The word, of course, includes the food-tables for the wid ows; but it is not necessarily restricted to them. The language in which this narrative is written did not lack for the parts of speech called “demonstratives,” which would have shut up the meaning within this limit; but they are not employed, and it would be a strange necessity that compelled us to foist them into the narrative, or into our inter pretation of it. To say the least, a wider scope in the construction of the word is al lowable for this reason. For another also. The money-changers in ancient cities of the East were known by the tables on which they sat in public places; and the word used here is used elsewhere in the New Tes tament 'or the tabh s of money-changers. The authors of our version, in one passage trans late it “bank.” We feel authorized to say more : a wider scope of construction is nec - essary. The word must be understood in a sense broad enough to cover the ground of the reason assigned by the apostles for their release from the service of tables. But the service of money tables,no less than of food tables, would require them to “leave the word of God.” They must renounce the service not of food-tables only, but of mon ey-tables also, if they would “give them selves continually to the prayer” by which we receive from God, “and the ministry of the word” by which what is received from 1 Godl is imparted to men. We conclude, therefore, that the apostles designed to put away out of their own hands all money tables—all collection for them, and all dis tribution from them. Even the widows’ tables may have been, in whole or in part, money-tables; tables from which money was dispensed, if for food, for fuel likewise, and clothing, rent, medicine, etc. Now, what the apostles gave up for them selves they gave over to the deacons. Origen, who wrote within two hundred years from the date of this transaction, says : “The deacon presides over the money-tables of the church.” The office of the deacon, then, is “the charge of the temporalities of the church.” It is “the management of the church’s secular interests.” It includes all official agency in pecuniary affairs. Such an office, allow us to say in passing, requires no mean men to fill it worthily. Worldly associations for monetary interests put their best men into the offices which control collection, investment, expenditure and distribution. And so, into this office Christ puts his best men ! At the first they were required to be “of honest report;” men of accredited character, whose upright lives showed them to be worthy of esteem, and who had rightfully won to themselves the confidence of their brethren and of “them that are without.” They were to be “full of the Holy Ghost,” in whose light they might see the spiritual side of things; and “full of wisdom” too—the wisdom which sees the secular side: that seeing the one, they might guard the temporal interests of the church from failure, and seeing the other might make success a contribution to the glory of God. Has this original requirement been /divinely lowered since? n. The answer to the question, Why should this office be used well? demands that I should broach views respecting the mission and function of the church which may cut across your lines of thinking, and possibly give grave offence. But let that be as it may: none the less must I bear witness to truths which impress me as vitally im portant for our times, yet strangely overlook ed by most of us. The mission and function of the church is of the same length and breadth with the promise to godliness; for the church is the organization which God has created to bring mankind to the fruition of that promise. “Godliness is profitable unto all things,” the apostle tells us ; “having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” This two-fold promise the church ministers to men. Hence, it is designed not for eter nity alone, but for time too. It has respect not to the soul only, but to the body also. It deals not with spiritual interests merely, but with secular interests as well. The church, then, has to do with these two lives; and, if you will not press the words too far, it has an office for each —the pastorate charged with what pertains to the life to • come, and the deaconship charged with what pertains to the life that now is. The reasons for investing the church with ■this double mission and function are not far to seek. We glance at one or two lying on the surface of the subject. The spiritual and the secular may be dis tinguished in theory and are different in kind, but they are inseparable in fact. They are bound up together in the bundle of our nature. They run as intertwining threads through the warp and woof of our lives. They not only abut upon each other, but dovetail into each other. There is a con stant and potent action and re-action be tween them. The effort to divorce them in the interest of religion leads, logically, to the solitary and barren lives of the ancient hermits;—an example which, if followed THE CHRISTIAN INDEX AND SOUTH-WESTERN BAPTIST: THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 1881. universally, would have prevented the per petuation of the race, and which, when large numbers followed it, wrought corruption of morals: in the one case, there woul«. have been an end of the life that now is ; in the other, there was a forfeiture of the life that is to come. So truly may we affirm that “united they stand and divided they fall.” If the church, therefore, would work most effectively for either,, it must work for both. But granting that the spiritual and the secular may be “things apart,” what then ? The spirit that never “feels another’s woe,” but shows itself in the secular sphere careless and bard and unhelpful, repels: and men put their lingers in their ears when that spirit speaks in the spiritual sphere. The spirit that shows itself gentle and sympa thizing and helpful in the secular sphere at tracts ; and when that spirit speaks in the spiritual sphere men hang on its lips. There can be no question which would soonest win and wield an audience in popular proselyt ism—the good Samaritan of our Saviour’s parable, or the heartless priest and Levite I do not doubt that many a hospital built in ancient times for the sick and dying did more good even in the spiritual sphere than many a cathedral reared for the pomp of worship, and many a college erected for the abstrusenesses of theological speculation. Beyond the college and the cathedral, the hospital was the most persuasive and con vincive preacher even for the soul and for eternity. If we concede, then, that the spir itual is the supreme end of the church, we must recognize the secular as the most migh ty means to that end. Look now at the church in Jerusalem, and see how there the secular mission and funcs tion went forward side by side with the spiritual. It has been said that an absolute communityo goods prevailed in this church; but that is not true. The opinion first ap pears in Christian literature in the writings of Chrysostom; not earlier, for there was need that three centuries should gather their obscuring mists around the inspired record, before it could gain currency. One fact is conclusive against it. When Ananias sold a possession of houses or landsand professed to bring the full price of it to the apostles for distribution to the poor saints, Peter said to him : “While it remained was it not thine own? and atterit was sold was it not in thine own power ?” This language shows beyond controversy that the right of personal prop erty was regarded as inviolate and para mount. But while that right was recognized “of the multitude of believers, the heart and soul was one, and no man said that so much as one thing he had was his own”—his own to be kept back when the greater needs of the brotherhood called for it. And if “as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them down at the apostles’ feet, and distribution was made to every man according as he bad need,” let us remember : they were free not to do it, but they did it. In their circumstances, as dwellers in a doomed city, they held that sale to be the wisest form in which the spirit of mutual helpfulness in secular things could embody itself; and, doubtless, it smoothed the way for Chris tians, when called, less than thirty years later, to leave Jerusalem before the Romans laid siege to it and thus escape her destruc tion. In the changes of the times that form may not be the wisest for us, and we may not be bound by it: but the spirit embodied in it binds us I How high an estimate inspiration places on this mutual secu ar helpfulness, is seen in a passage which our version darkens. Luke says that the first Jerusalem disciples “continued steadfastly in—were constantly attending on—the apostles’ doctrine, and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and pray ers.” What is this “fellowship?” The word in itsnoun-form is elsewhere rendered “con tribution;” as when Paul says, “It hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” The word ir> its verb-form is elsewhere rendered “to communicate ;”/as when the author of the letter to the Hebrews, among the weighty counsels with which he closes, says, “To do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” And the revised version of the American Baptist Union, in the passage before us, ren ders the word “the distribution.” That is right, I think. Luke meant mutual help fulness in secular things. Notice, then, that he puts it in the very first place after the doctrine the teaching—of the apostles; puts it before worship itself, even in the act which brings us nearest in thought to our Redeemer the commemoration of his death, and the act which brings us nearest in feeling to our brethren—supplication with and for each other. The apostle James con veys this idea still more directly and em phatically. When he speaks of “pure reli gion and undefiled before God and the Fath er,” he means by “religion”(to use the words of Dr. Leathes) “the outward service in which the inward religious principle ex presses itself;” and when he says that this religion is, “to visit the fatherless and wid ows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world,” he means that the religious principle has its normal exer cise, “its best expression, in a walk of active benevolence and in purity of personal con duct.” That is, the spiritual takes its high est incarnation in the secular helpfulness of upright men 1 With such lofty conceptions of its nature, we may be sure, that regard for the secular mission and function of the church went out from Jerusalem with the gospel into all lands. Castel does not overstate the fact, when he tells his readers that “every Chris tian church established by the apostles con stituted itself a veritable benevolent associa tion.” Search through the epistles and you find that much more is said with regard to the gift of money and of money’s worth for secular benefaction than for spiritual. How much more, you will probably never believe, unless you gather all the passages of both classes together for yourselves and compare them. We give rapid review to one or two. You know what is called the apostolic rule of giving: “Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” We urge these words when we seek funds for spiritual ben efaction, and we do well; but when the apostle used them he was speaking of no such thing,—he was speaking of a collection for the poor among the Judean saints. Let us ply the heart and conscience with these we d” when we plead for causes in which labor for the soul and for eternity forms the dominant idea. But let us not sever them from their connection with that secular ben efaction which first called them forth: cut there, they bleed to death. Paul informs us that when he received the right hand of fellowship from James and Cephas and John at Jerusalem, they chose different spheres of work for themselves and for him : they would go to the Jewish na tion, and he with Barnabas to tbe heathen. “Only they would,” he says, “that we should remember the poor"—the poor believing Jews. They absolved him from spiritual benefaction to the people who were theirs and his alike; but from secular benefaction? no, no! “Which very thing,” adds Paul with reference to their request, “I also was forward to do.” His heart outran their wishes and their words, and of itself leaped to this temporal, bodily service, as if it need ed, and could need, for that no teacher and no prompter. Think of Paul's unmatched and unmatch able ministry; of the countries he visited, of the cities in which he unfurled the standard of the cross, of the sermons he preached bringing “life from the dead” to his hearers, of the miracles he wrought to putgainsayers to silence, of the churches he founded whose members were dear to him as his own chil dren in the gospel. What a sublime career! Could anything tear him away from it ? And yet, twice over he left it. Twice over he turned from its toils and triumphs, and went up to Jerusalem —to Jerusalem, even when forewarned that persecutions and bonds awaited him there—to Jerusalem, where already relentless enemies had lain in wait to kill him. What mighty force bore him thither? Ah : he went to carry collec tions for the poor saints ! It was helpfulness in secular things which greatly ruled his great spirit. That helpfulness he deemed sufficiently holy that he should interrupt his grand ministry for it I He felt that helpful ness to be sufficiently dear, that he should risk his very’ life for it! And in him we see how we ought to regard the secular mission and function of the church. The inspiration of this regard for that mission and function lived among Chris tians beyond Scripture times. Other gen erations kindled with it. As our most holy faith went abroad among the nations, the sphere of secular helpfulness widened. Un der its influence rose lodgings for strangers, asylums tor the aged and the pcor, retreats for widows and orphans, hospitals for the sick and the dying, homes for the deaf, the dumb and the blind. These we e new things on the earth; for heathenism had never borne such fruitage. Men saw that a new power was at work among them; and long before they rose to a comprehension of the church's spiritual mission, the working out of her secular mission under their eyes persuaded them that the power was heaven ly. This was the share which broke up the most rocky evil of human prejudice; this the scythe that mowed down the rankest growths of human hostility. No wonder, when fifteen hundred widows, in the sec ond century, received shelter and support from the church in the city of Rome; and when, in the fifth century, the church in the city of Antioch charged itself with the maintenance of three thousand widows and orphan-maids. We are not surprised that Lucian, a heathen poet of the second centu ry, a scoffer at Christians and at Christianity, ascribed the success of the new faith to the incredible care and diligence exerted by its adherents for purpose- ofsecular helpfulness —to the fact that for these purposes they “spared nothing.” We are not surprised that, two centuries later, Julian, the aposs tate emperor, who sought to restore heath enism as the State religion, professed to find the secret of the conquests made by “the Galilean superstition,” in the numerous es tablishments reared in every .city by those who held it for the humane ends of hospi tality and charity—to the truth that Chris tians supported, not their own poor alone, but the heathen poor as well. The error of these men lay, not in ascribing a potent agency to the secular function of the cnurch, but in denying such an agency to its spirit ual function. While recognizing what they overlooked, let us not fall into an error as gross as theirs, by overlooking what they rec ognized. Let us see the power residing in both functions.* We may learn a lesson in this respect from Romanism. What system evdr fath ered into itself so huge a mass of unsound doctrines and unwarranted practices? These false beliefs and hollow forms, one would think, were enough to sink it. What floats them, and. it? Largely, the brother hoods and sisterhoods which Romanism or ganizes for helpfulness in secular things. These are the right arm of its power. In no small degree it lives because in the promi nence given to ecclesiastical organization for secular helpfulness.it is more scriptural, more like the apostolic churches, more true to the mission and function respecting the life that now is, than Pn testants are—or Baptists eiiher, though these may be styled Protes tants rot against Romanism only, but even against Protestantism itself. Alas, how greatly we have lost sight of the church’s mission and function for Ute body and for time! When men recount tjfi thirW*. done by lodges of Masons. Odd Fellows, eLS. Udiiu they tell how the sick are nuqsed, the dFau buried, widows supported, and or phans educated; when they think Jit a suffi cient explanation of these works to say that the orders in question were created for that purpose: how many would be startled if told —the church, too, is for that! the lodges are doing what. Christ founded his church to do! Who, no • -a-days, when joining a Christian church, thinks of himself as join ing “a veritable benevolent association?” The degree in which we have lost sight of this mission and function looks, to my mind, fearfully like AN APOSTACY. Per haps, in heaven, it bears that name. A number of years ago, there lived, in one 2, the Virginian counties, a Baptist deacon, who was county overseer for the poor. He was a man in good circumstances, but his parents had been reduced' to abject want; and during his term of service he signed an order transferring his own father and bis own mother to the poor house. Oh, the pity of it! Oh, the shame cf it! But there was something more and something worse in the esse than that. The church did not strip from him the robe of office with which she had clothed him. The church did not cast him ont from her fel lowship. Was that a truechurch? It had the true orthodox doctrine, the true Scriptu ral form of government, the true apostolic baptism, and (if such a thing exists) the true historical succession. But Ido not believe that Christ regarded it as a church of his. No; it was "a synagogue of Satan.” You seem to concur with this view: permit me to ask you a question: Is there a Baptist in the poor house of Fulton county—one neglected by the churches and placed there by the State? If there is, then look to your own churchship here in Atlanta! Again. Are there among you men, well-to-do in worldly things, who never contribute to any fund for secular benefaction, on the ground that they pay the poor rates levied by the civil powers, and their conscience requires and their heart prompts nothing more? Do you receive such men into your member ship and even make them office bearers? If you do, look to your own churchship, and look well to it! Test it thoroughly, not as regards one mission and function of the church merely, but by both; for by these it will, one day, be tested of the Lord. Now, the importance and dignity of the secular mission and function of the church, as we have carefully sketched it, constitute the grand reason why the office of deacon should be used well; for on those who pre side over the church’s money tables has been imposed a special responsibility as to the faithful and efficient execution of that mis sion and function. Buteven apart from this lofty conception, if affairs are still to run in the grooves of our long, defective customs, the office holds a vital relation to the pros perity of the church. To that prosperity, money is as necessary in its own place as even piety. There must be money for build ing, repairing and improving houses of worship; money for lights and fuel and oth er matters of incidental expense; money for the support of the pastor; money for the re lief of the destitute; money to provide books, papers and lesson-helps for the Sunday school; money for the circulation of relig ious literature; money for multiplying cop ies of Holy Scripture, until it has been translated into every tongue and placed in every household; money for the diffusion of the Gospel and the means of grace through out our city, our State, our country and the whole world. In proportion as money for these uses is withheld, the church stands still, decreases, languishes, sinks iuto torpor, and if it does not die, ought to! And where shall we look for the collection and distri bution of this money except to the deacon ship. Oh, if all Baptist deacons used their office well, for each and every one of these purposes, how mighty, beneficial and glori ous a change would be wrought in the histo- ry of our denomination. The churches would not know themselves for the same. 111. Our third question. How may this office be used well? remains, and webaveallowed ourselves time for only an outline of the discussion due to It. The work of helpfulness in secular things is wrought through the money tables of the church, and the service of these tables includes collection for them and distribution from them. Neither of these departments of official activity must be shunned or slurred over, but both must be pervaded with the fidelity of thoroughness, and with all the graces of the Christian character. Collection must be performed systematically, diligently, perseveringly, patiently, with manly bearing and firmness, yet withcour' tesy and tact. Distribution must be perform ed regularly, impartially, sympathizingly, with singleness ot eye and gentle' ness of manner, yet not with out sound discretion To give special direc tions which mig t meet each case and each contingency is impracticable; but you will know how vou ought to act in every contin gency and every case, if in both these depart men ts you carry with you the light and power of two lines of thought, which I now proceed to state. All officers in the church are Christ's. He bears in Scripture all official titles pertaining to the old and new dispensations. As re gards the old, he is styled priest, and proph et, and king. As regards the new, he is styled apostle, and bishop or pastor, and teacher, and deacon. To speak of our own dispensation only, he himself fills all these offices and discharges all their functions, not in his Jown person indeed, but by his Spirit in the person of office bearers who are deputies utfder him. The pastorate is Christ attending to the spiritual interests of the church, not personally, but through men to whom he gives the spirit of that office and whom he calls (into it. The deaconship is Christ attending to the secular interests of the church, not personally, but through men to whom he gives the spirit of that office and whom he calls into it. You. therefore, as deacons, are in Christ's stead. In the days of his flesh he used the office well; he “went about, doing good”—for, as you areaware, “doing good” is the Scriptu' ral phrase for secular benefaction. And now, you are to be what he would be in your place! What he would do in your place, you are to do! Apply this line of thought to the work of collection for the money ta bles of the church—the work in which, perhaps, the chief difficulty and burden of your office lies. Ask yourselves: If Christ were here, filling this office in his own per son, would he be an unfaithful, indifferent, negligent collector? If collection required him, at seasons, to take time on which there were claims of business, would he not take it? If it required him, occasionally, to sur render accustomed relaxations and com forts, would he not surrender them? If it required him to exercise long patience with the froward or the tardy, would he not ex ercise it? If it required him to bear with cold rebuffs and heartless refusals, would he not bear with them? Then, let your heart and soul cry, I, too, will do these things. Let it be your holy ambition so to discharge the function of collection, that all men may see Christ in you discharging it. Once more. Christ identifies himself with his people. When they suffer persecution, he accounts himself as’ suffering it. When they receive benefaction, he accounts him self as receiving it. If a believer is hungry and we give him meat, we give meat to Christ . Isa believer is thirsty and we give him drink, we give drink to Christ. If a be liever is naked, and we clothe him, it is Christ we clothe. If a believer is a stranger and we take him in, it is Christ we take in. If a believer is sick and we visit him, we visit Christ. If a believer is in prison and we go to him, we go to Christ. Apply this lineof thought to the work of distribution from the money-tables of the church. Ask yourselves: If Christ were, in very, in our city to-day, and hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, would we, could we steel our hearts against him and keep back benefaction from him? When the opportunity of ministering to his needs came, could we say, the weather is too bitterly cold or too oppressively hot; there is too much wind or rain—business presses us too closely—v e feel too weary or too sluggish—here is a little gain we can ac quire, or a little pleasure we can enjoy, [or a little ease we can indulge—let Christ wait and want? Such questions shock you. Then, remember if you are faithful in distri bution, the day comes when he will say to you, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me;” and if you are un faithful, he will say to you in that day, “In asmuch as you dia it not unto one of the least of these you did it not unto me.” 0, joy high as heaven to hear Christ say that! 0, woe deep as hell to hear Christ say tbis! Choose between them, You must. But, with a word further, I must relieve you. Assuming that those who fill the pas torate are true to their position, what would the harvest be if the office of deacon were used well? The answer is found in the scenes following the institution of the office. The church was then fully equipped for its two-fold mission—the eleven prosecuting the spiritual, and the seven the secular. Both were faithful. “The word tof God in creased;” it was more widely noised abroad; there were more lips to utter it and more ears to hear it. “The number of the disci pies multiplied in Jerusalem greatly;” even in that city, the stronghold of Pharisaism, where the name of Christ was most hated and most maligned, where the bands of the chief men were red with the blood of our murdered Saviour—even there, when the church performed her full function and thus brought into action the full power of the Gospel, constant accessions were made to the ranks of “the called, and chosen, and faithful.” “And a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” The very leaders of the host that warred against the Lamb flocked to his standard. The word "company” carries in it the idea of a tumultuous throng, an excited crowd; not that there was wild disorder and unreason ing sensationalism; but that when the church gave herself wholly to both her spir itual and her secular mission, men were shaken and stirred, and caught away out of their old, fake selves, and borne forward, as by the irresistible impulses of the Spirit, into the Kingdom of our Lord. The word “obe dient” involves the figure of a porter heark ening at .the door or the gate to admit the caller; and so, these men heard the voice of Christ at the gate of their lives, at the door of their hearts —heard, “and let the Master in.” Oh, for the coming back of these times! They are to come back. Brethren, ye who are in the office of deaco : and ye who are this day to enter it, may your fidel ity, zeal, wisdom and love, in the perform ance of duty, be such as to hasten their coming. May you thus “purchase—acquire, obtain—to y -uraelves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” And may “He who is able to keep you from falling, present you faultless before the presence of his glory, in that day, with exceeding joy.” ’Heathenism lingered in villages and country places, long after the church had expelled it from cities; and, in course of tune, the names for villagers and dwellers on heaths became syno nyms for believers in heathenism. The usual explanation of this fact is, that the latter classes were less cultured than the inhabitants of cities, and therefore less competent to weigh the evi dences enforcing the spiritual mis ion of the church. The explanation is true as far as it goes, but it omits an essential element of the question. The asylums and retreats, the hospit als end homes, of which we have spoken, were erected in the cities chiefly if not solely; and therefore villagers and dwellers on heaths were not brought face to face with the most conspicu- oua and llluntrloua evidence enfirrlng the aec ular mia-lon ot the church. The presence of thia proof in the one ease, and Its absence in the oth er, must have had no little to do with the dltur euce of belief. MY WORK IN COLUMBUS. Editor Index: Believing that some of your readers are interested in my work in this city, I think it proper to make an occa sional report. The crowds that attended my “open air meetings” last summer over taxed my strength, and there was danger that I should have to give up the work. Three weeks rest in the fall, however, so far improved my health that I entered upon the winters’ campaign with renewed energy. Christmas Eve I called, through the city papers, for “Christmas for the Poor,” which was very handsomely responded to. One gentleman gave me $25, several others $lO each, and still others smaller amounts—so that I was enabled to furnish some poor families with a turkey for their dinner, and to give out other supplies, which were great ly enjoyed. Just before the snow and the dreadful cold spell that followed, I succeeded in ob taining from Mr. Gabbett, President of the Western Railroad, ten car loads (60 cords) of wood for the poor. It was distributed as rapidly as possible, and one hundred and twenty families were saved from the horrors of the coldest weather ever experienced in this climate. The masses, however, were still unsupplied, and Ihe Mayor of the city, at the earnest solicitation of brother J. Ma rion Estes, one of our prominent members, appropriated $350 for tbis object. Through the zeal and energy of brother Estes, sixteen car loads of wood (96 cords) were soon at the depot ready for delivery. At his request, and that of the Mayor, I undertook to su pervise this work also, and in a few days hundreds of families, white and colored, were rejoicing in a temporary supply of wood. Os course that was soon exhausted, and I am now daily importuned for further aid in this line. As there are some croakers, I published a card a few days since offering to resign in favor of anybody who would serve (as I have done for four years) without pay. My duties as a preacher do not involve the obli gation to obtain and distribute wood and other necessaries to the poor. In the same card I gave the Baptists the credit of the work I am doing here, so far as there is any credit due to it. I might do more vyith a better salary. If you inquire how ? let me explain. The city and suburbs covera large area. I have to walk daily from two to four or five miles. At my time ot life (about 74), and with my “many infirmities,” I am not able to do this without detriment to my health. Within a month past, I have been bedridden twice by over work and fatigue. If I could pay hack-hire I could do more, and do it better. The Board at Marion, as sisted by the First church in this city, pays me S6OO. I applied to our State Board for -300 additional, out they felt able to pledge only $220, which, of course, is conditional. If my salary was better, I could buy tracts, Bibles and Testaments for gratuitous dis tribution. It may be well for somebody to act as colporteur, and sell such things. But it is not best for me to do it, and I shall not undertake it. I could make out with less, but for the fact my wife is an invalid, has been paralized for six years, and has not walked a s tep in six months. My friends and children implore me to favor myself, but how can I do it while the cries of God’s poor are ringing in my ears ? J, H. Campbell. I Columbus, Ga., Jan. 14, 1881. Hamilton church, re f. a. A cat? la way. Editob Index : The church at Hamilton, Harris county, at its last conference, the 15th inst., elected the Rev. A. R. Callaway, of LaGrange, to serve as pastor for the present year. The church has been in charge of Rev. S. R, Fuller for the past ten years, but be feel ing the lack of a more thorough education, resigned, for the purpose of attending the Seminary one or two terms. Brother Callaway preached to us his In troductory sermon on last Saturday, and also preached the following Sabbath morn ing and evening. His discourses on these occasions enkindled a new hope in the church, for the close and intense interest with which he was listened to during his sermons, evinced the power and influence which he is capable of wielding over the minds of his audiences here. There is, and has been for some time, a demand with us for just such abilities as we believe our brother possesses, ind we trust now that God having supplied us in this want, we may push forward more vigorously, and more earnestly in the great work that lies before us. The church has about forty active mem bers on her list, and as to intelligence and financial worth, will compare favorably with the same number in any community. There is a lack of warmth and fervor among us, however, which is much to be deplored ;but which we pray may be enkindled among us this year. There is a Sabbath-school in active opera tion, under tbe superintendence of brother McAffee. This has ever been one vivifying and sustaining feature of our church; the school being kept up all through the year. The attendance is somewhat varied—some times large, at others small —but always a nucleus by which we are able to keep it going. I believe The Index disseminated among us would be a great co-worker in build ing us up, and fitting us for usefulness. To this end I would suggest that you forward a few extra copies, to be used as samples, and I hope in this way to make you up a res pectable club from our church. Yours fraternally, January 17, 1881. H. THE~BAPTIBT BANKER. Wecomenotto chant a requiem over a fallen Banner, and to say it is dead—let it rest —peace to its ashes! But we would hopefully appeal to the Baptists of North Georgia, to rally to the standard, raise it again, unfurl it to the mountain breeze, and never let it trailin the dust. Although it lies buried beneath the ashes, may it be resurrected brighter and better, as pure gold, with the dross consumed. To hear of destruction by fire excites our sym pathies at all times; but under the present circumstances particularly so—many thou sands having lost a friend, a weekly visitor, the editor, an old man, known as one of the purest of men, being left sad and dejected . and out of employment. Onthatcold night of the Ist of January, . when the earth was white with snow, we can scarcely imagine his feelings when he was called from his bed, by the exciting cry: “The Banner office is on fire!” As he stood by the burning building, where he had done the hardest year’s work of his life, he saw his anticipations for the future consumed and floating away with the smoke of the ruins. . When our sympathies are true and pure, they lead to action; then let every one unite with generous heart and helping hand, and aid in restoring to its friends their much loved Banner. Send contributions to Rev. J. M. Wood, Cumming, Ga. Banner Fbibnd. The Sunday-School. International Sunday-School Leeeono. [Prepared specially tor The Index by Rev. 8. H. Mlrick, of Washington, D.C.] Lesson Vl.—February 6,1881. THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS. Luke 11. 40-52. 8.C.4. A.D.B. While Simeon, having recognized the Messiah, was praising God in the temple, Anna, a prophetess, eighty four years old, came in, and having at once recognized him, joined in Simeon's thanksgiving and spake of the redemption to come, The announce ment to Mary, the visit of the shepherds to the manger, and these recognitions tn the temple are all the account which Luke gives us of Jesus for the first twelve years of his life. The evangelists do not profess to write a biography of the Messiah, but an account of his ministry. Yet it is pleasant to have this one record of his boyhood, showing him to have been a boy of eager inquiry after truth and of simple obedience to his earthly parents. OUTLINE. I. At Nazareth, v. 40, 51, 52. 11. At Jerusalem, v. 41—50. NOTES. I. At Nazareth. V- 40. “Grew.” As we say, grew up, res ferring to the body. “Waxed.’ An old Saxon word signifying became. “Strong in spirit.” Mentally strong. These very words, so far in the verse, are used of John in ch. 1: 80. “Filled with wisdom.” Liberally, be coming filled, denoting his continual in crease in wisdom or knowledge The hu man mind of Christ was susceptible of growth as well as his body. “Grace.” Fa vor. “Was upon him.’ - Attended him. V. 51. “Went down with them,” as a child with his parents. “Was subject unto them” as he had undoubtedly been before. It is here mentioned, because it followed such a scene in the temple, and such an as sertion on bis part of his higher Sonship. After this no mention is made of Joseph,and so it is probable that he died soon after. This subjection on the part of Christ was voluntary and shows it to be a part of his chosen humiliation.- From Mark 6:3, he seems to have worked at the trade of his father. “Kept all these sayings in her heart.” Au affectionate and thoughtful re membrance of them and an .eager longir gto know their meaning. V. 52. “Increased” after be was twelve, as v. 40 refers to his growth before he was twelve. "Favor wi h God and man.” His human life was more and more pleasing to God, and men thought more and more of him. 11. At Jerusalem. V. 41. "His parents.” Among the Jews, all males over a certain age, were required to go to Jerusalem and attend three feasts every year. Females were not required to go, but were allowed to do so if they wished. “The passover.” The first of the three feasts and occupied seven days. Exodus 12: 18. V. 42. “Twelve years old.” This would seem to have been the first time that his parents took him up. “Went up.” It was up from all parts of the land. V. 43. “Fulfilled the days.” The seven days of the feast. “As they returned.” At tentive to temple services they were also at tentive to home duties. “Tarried behind,” for the purpose of meeting the Jewish teach ers as is evident from verse 46. “Knew not.” Accustomed to the thoughtful obe dience of the child, they did not carefully look for him at the starting. V. 44. “Supposing him to have been in the company.” When traveling to and from Jerusalem at the time of the leasts, families and friends were accustomed to go in festal caravans, thus.affording protection to each other on the journey. “Among their kins folk and acquaintance,” where they had no doubt they should find him. As night ap proached, they would naturally look for him. V. 46, "Turned back" with anxious thoughts. V. 45. “After thre* days.” That is, ac cording to the Jewish mode of speaking, on the third day. Compare Mark 8:31. They had gone one day’s journey from Jerusa lem. They spent asecond day in returning, and on the next day found him. “Found him in the temple.” Not in the sanctuary itself, but in one of the rooms surrounding it. Into the former none but priests enter ed. “Sitting in the midst of the doctors.” The Rabbins or doctors (teachers) taught their schools in some of the rooms. In such a school Jesus was now found. “Hearing them and asking them questions.” The customary teaching in Jewish schools was for teachers to answer questions put by the scholars. In reference to the scene, Abbott well says, “It is indicative of his childhood character that the central object of interest in the Temple was not its architectural magnificence, its music, and its ritual, but its schools, where he might study more deeply than in the synagogical schools of Nazareth the truths concerning the king dom and the word of God.” What an ex ample have we here for Sunday-school scholars! V. 47. “All that heard him were aston ished.” At this early age, his “understand ing” (intelligence, good judgment) astonish ed learned men. In his after ministry the common people were astonished at his teaching. See Matthew 7:28. Mark 1:22. V. 48. “They." His parents. “Amazed.” A very strong word intimating that their surprise was so great at first that they could not speak. They were surprised both to see him where he was and at his ques tions. "Said unto him,” after she had re covered herself. “Why hast thou thus dealt with us?” Tender words, yet convey ing a gentle reproof. She appears to have thought that he had thoughtlessly remained behind. “Have sought thee sorrowing.” Because she had not comprehended his spiritual destination. V. 49. “How is it that ye sought me?” As if he wondered that she did not under stand more about him. “Wist.” Obsolete word for know. “My Father’s.” A refer ence to Mary’s “thy father.” “Business.” The word may mean matters or places or both, So in John 2:16 he calls the temple his “Father’s house.” V. 50. "Understood not.” They did not apprehend his real character, and therefore did not understand his saying. REMARKS. 1. Jesus was once a child setting the ex ample of a faithful and obedient son. 2. Je sus, when a child, loved the house of God. 3. Jesus, when a child, was eager to learn about God. 4. Let the teacher present this model to the children in his class as plainly and earnestly as he may. The general meeting of the second district of the Central Association will be held with the Madison Baptist church on Fridav, Jan uary 28th, at 6 1-2 o'clock p. m. Introductory sermon by Rev. A. M. Mar shall, Saturday. Subjects for discussion: "How to make the church prayer-meetings interesting and profitable.” Brethren R. T. Asbury, A. Iverson Branham. “Duties of pastors to churches.” Breth ren R. H. Harris and Calvin George. “Duties o f churches to pastors.” Brethren E.N. Alliston and Richard Sammons.” The church extends a cordial welcome to all. Jas. E. Chiles, S. A. Bubnky, E. J. Walton, Committee.