[We are enabled, through the kindness of Mr. Pearse, to give a specimen of powerful preaching by a Cornish Working-Man. Mr. Pearse's character, Daniel Quorm, is a fitting representative of that great company of Lay Preachers whose earnest piety lends at all times strength to their rugged public speech. Brother Dan'el, Mr. Pearse records was "good at a sermon, as appeared from his appointments on the Circuit plan," and as his style is here recalled it is with the object of pointing out to Gospel Preachers that which is so often forgotten, viz.: the present-day demand for high scholastic attainments in the preacher must not cause us to lose sight of the fact that true success in our work can only be found where Dan'el found it, not in the halls of the school-men, but "in that quiet joy in his Redeemer, that hearty cleaving of the whole nature to Sim, that assurance which comes of resting as if within buttressed walls," and in "that garden of the Lord, well kept and dressed, wherein is the Tree of Life, and where often 'the voice of the Lord' is heard walking in 'the cool of the day.'" There is urgent need that working people from all trades, who feel the weight of the Gospel in their own lives, as did Brother Dan'el, should fit themselves, by any means of education that may come nearest them, to preach the Gospel to their own class; and the following homely discourse, prepared along with boots and shoes for the village folk, may serve as a sample of the hind of sermon and spirit which can be produced from material not at all tinged with that modern artificial colouring known as "literary culture."
BROTHER DAN'EL, as he was always called, was the village shoemaker, the Methodist "Class-leader," and the "Society steward." As hard-headed as the rounded lapstone on which he hammered all day long, as sharp and quick as his shining awl, as obstinate in holding his own as his seasoned shoe-leather; yet, withal, Brother Dan'el had a heart so kind, so wise, so true, that like the hammer it only beat to do good, and like his awl and thread it was always trying to strengthen some poor soul that had got worn in the rough ways of life.
There, bending over his work, hammering, stitching, always busy, sat Brother Dan'el; ever, too, with a book before him. We could almost guess its title, for the stock is limited, and the reading is a slow process, carefully digesting each sentence as it comes. The out-and-out favourite of all, Sunday and. week-day, is Wesley. There the volumes stand upon a shelf above the door,—the "Notes," the "Sermons," the "Journals," and beside them two or three odd volumes of the "Christian Library." Jeremy Taylor's "Holy Living and Dying," is the most enriched with traces of soiled thumb and forefinger. There, too, is "Josephus," and Treffry's "Eternal Sonship," relieved by smaller volumes of Methodist biography.
It is from such a source that the following discourse is obtained, and Brother Dan'el, in his own Cornish dialect, shall now give his advice to Lay Preachers:—
"Now seemin' to me the only kind o' light that'll do the world any good is a burnin' light—'a burnin' an' a shinin' light.' Some folks be like glow-worms, that shine without burnin'; but they won't do much good. We must burn, friends, burn, an' then we shall shine. Let's long to win souls, an' feel the longin' burnin' in us, an; then we shall do it. Only let our hearts catch fire, then the world'll see the light an' feel the warmth, an' some poor perishin' mortal or other'll be sure to come up to get a bit o' life. But if we don't burn, we shan't shine much. That be the only kind o' light that's worth anything, a 'burnin' and a shinin' light.'"
"An' the beauty of it is that every one of us can do it, whether we got one talent or whether we got two. Furze bushes and brambles ben't no good for buildin' o' the Lord's House,—you must have great cedars o' Lebanon for that,—nor yet for a makin' the furniture out of; but set 'em a fire an'
they'll light up the country for miles an' miles. Never mind though you be reckoned nothin' in God's world but weeds an' rubbish, you can burn so as to give light in the dark. Somebody'll be guided a bit, and get a bit o' warmth an' cheerfulness out there in the dark. An' I often think about it when I rake out my fire just afore goin' to bed. This here fire do burn away like that, and come to nothing but ashes; but they that begin to burn an' shine, tryin' to 'turn many to righteousness,' shall never go out,—they shall shine like 'the stars for ever and ever.' 'Tisn't enough to be called the light o' the world an' the salt o' the earth, my friends. We must set about it the right way to do it. Folks may be the salt o' the earth; but they won't do much good if they come to you with a great mouthful of it that'll be a sickener for many a day, an' perhaps spoil your relish for it altogether. There's lots o' people who want to save souls, but 'tis 'they that be wise' that 'shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.'"
"Now, seemin' to me that the first thing is to set ourselves to do it. 'Tis just like everything else,—it wants doin'. It won't do it to be always talkin' about it, an' desirin' it, an' prayin' that we may be useful. We must get up an' do it. Simon said, 'I go a-fishin.' And he might have talked about
it, and prayed about it all his life,—he never would have caught anything till he went. We keep sayin', 'Dear brethren, let us go a-fishin';' or, 'You know we really must go a-fishin'.' We talk of how very right an' proper it is, an' how we desire to do it, an' we go prayin' that we may be stirred up to go a-fishin'. But Simon gets out his bait-box, an' his cross-lines, an' he shoulders the oars, an' he shoves off the boat, an' settlin' down, he calls out to the rest of 'em, 'I go a-fishin'.' Then the rest, who perhaps had been talkin' about it, shoved off their boats too, an' said, 'We also go with thee.' An' that's the way in fishin' for souls—you must set about it. Why, we stand in on the shore loungin' about the quay with our hands in our pockets, thinkin' that if the fish are to be caught the Lord will send 'em to us. If we want them, we must go a-fishin'."
"And then there's another thing I like about Simon—he didn't mind goin' alone. I'm afraid a good; many of us would have seen Simon goin' out in his boat, and never have said what the rest did. We should have kept our hands in our pockets, and have said, 'Quite right and proper; he's called to the work'—or we should have said, 'O he's a leader; he ought to go!'—or we should have said, 'There goes Simon again; what a gift he has got for it!' Pack o' stuff an' nonsense. A gift for it! Why he had a hook an' a line an' a bit o' bait; and so he went out to do what he could. That was his gift for it, and that was his callin', too. I want for every one of us to say, 'I go.'"
"I was down to St. Ives once when the pilchards was about, and the man that was on the look-out up on top o' the cliffs saw the shoal of pilchards a-rufflin' the water; so he puts up a great speakin' trumpet to his mouth, and holloas out so loud as ever he could, 'Heva, heva, heva.' All the people knew what he meant, and the place was all in a stir in a minute. The big boats put up sail, and went out to shoot their nets; and then when they'd got 'em all shut in, everybody got in a boat and pulled out to lend a hand, an' the water was all covered with boats."
"Everybody went a-fishin' then. Now that's just like 'tis when the Lord sends a great revival, and everybody wakes up an' goes a-fishin'. But, la! my friends, there be fish in the sea all the year round. There's souls to be caught all the year round:—summer an' winter; hot or cold; rain or fine. 'Tis never too rough to put your boat off to catch souls, an' 'tis never too calm."
"I've very often thought o' what a poor master the devil's servants have got. Why, when he come up to tempt our mother Eve in Paradise, he hadn't got any bit o' little thing for "to bribe her with, an' all he could do was to tempt her to steal her Master's apples. He haven't got anything at all of his own, an' I'm sure he ha'n't got any souls belonging to him. So I think 'tis quite fair to go catchin' souls any way you've got a mind to, an' whichever way you can. He isn't so very partic'lar about it, his own self; he's always a-comin' up poachin' 'pon our preserves, so bold as a lion; an' I don't see why we should mind how we can get back the souls that he has stolen, so long as we can get 'em back somehow."
"I can mind when I was a boy seein' the big folks come up to Carwinnin' with their fine rods an' lines an' wonderful turn out, an' they'd go all day an' never catch a fish. But we boys would see a fish go dartin' in under a stone; then we should get in an' go gropin' round the stone an' catch 'em like that. Well, I b'lieve in gropin for souls. And seemin' to me that Andrew did too. He didn't say, 'I'll try to do all the good I can,' and then do nothing because he couldn't find any to do. But he says, 'There's Simon, I'll go an' catch him.' That's the way. Pick out one soul, an set your heart 'pon it,—begin to pray for that one an' try to catch that one, an' go on tryin' till you've got it; an' then try for another."
"Pray that the Lord'll give you a chance o' getting at 'em, an' keep on prayin'; an' when you get the chance make a downright good use of it. There isn't a door in this world but prayer'll batter it down, if you keep hard at it. Bolts an bars haven't got a chance against prayer. It can pick a lock that a London sharper couldn't do nothing with. Great gates an' draw-bridges, like them down to Pendennis Castle, can't help theirselves against it. Only pray in downright earnest, an' the door'll open before long, an' then when 'tis open, go in an' take possession of it in the name o' the King of Kings. Depend 'pon it, that's how the world has got to be converted. Everybody who loves the Lord Jesus Christ must try, for His sake, to win somebody else, and must stick to it till they do."
"Then there's just one thing more about this catchin' souls. 'Tis a'most as good for ourselves as 'tis for those we try to save. There's nothing else, I b'lieve, that'll make a man so watchful an' so careful about all he says an' does, as this will. When I used to go fishin' with a rod and line an' caught sight of a big fish under a bank, why I could keep so still as a mouse for half a day. Other times we might run about on the bank, an' jump about so much as we liked. But now a shadow mustn't fall 'pon the water; there mustn't be a sound; only just lettin' the bait drop in, so gentle and quiet. Ah, you go an' try to catch a soul if you want to be watchful! No hasty words then; that would scare the soul away in a minute. No bit o' quick temper or angry ways; that would spoil it all. Pick out your soul an' begin to pray for it; set to work to catch it, an' we shall do it. Only set to work the right way. It isn't those who try, but those who try the right way—the wise—that shall shine as the stars. An' as for wisdom, for all it is the rarest thing in the world, bless the Lord we can get so much of it as ever we mind to, and all for nothing. 'If any of you'; never mind how dull a scholar he is, or how big a fool; 'if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.' So let us all say as Simon did, an' mean it, too: 'By the Lord's help I go a-fishing.'"
For more about Daniel Quorm see Mr. Pearse's book, as published at the Wesleyan Conference Office, 2, Castle Street, City Road, price 2/6. We have found the work a means of stimulating zeal, consecration and humility in preaching.
The Apostle Paul was master of the art of address. No fisher of men ever knew how to bait his hook more aptly, and no fisher of men ever secured finer catches than he. We have our theories of ministerial equipment, but, in the actual process, that which should come first of all commonly is left to the last.
Professors in our colleges do not understand it, therefore cannot teach it; students have to acquire it when actually at work, through much tribulation; preachers know every way better than the way direct to conscience and heart; Sunday-school teachers fail for want of ability to arrest and fix attention and arouse spiritual sympathy; parents make no study of the art of appeal, so that their religious influence is thin, furtive, shamefaced. Do skilled anglers use any bait that comes handiest? Do they fling the line into the water with an air that says, "There, bite or not as you like," as if the trout were certain to jump at our hook? If it will not bite, we blame the water, the time of day, the temperature, the rod, the fish, everything but the ill-adapted bait and the ignorant fisherman. We are fools and blind! Christ told the apostles they should "catch men alive," but He said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." It takes supernatural wisdom to "catch" the natural man.
from within which, its membership should graduate in the art of persuading men to "be reconciled to God." He that winneth souls is wise, skilled, divinely apt. There is such a college, it stands next to the Mercy-seat, but the grass grows on the way thither. Its curriculum is exacting; its degrees are hardly won; its honours cost tears and blood. We shrink from its toils;
Easier to be "intellectual," "deep," "philosophical," than to feel with Jeremiah "His word was as a fire burning in my bones." But, if we will pay the price we may be filled with the Holy Ghost, and made, on behalf of Christ, masters of the art of appeal.—From a sermon by Llewellyn H. Parsons, Pastor of the Finsbury Park Congregational Church, London, N., 28th June, 1896.
—Lay Preacher's Guide, The