"Hold on somehow!"

by Frank Jones


"On November 30 [1878], a group gathered in the old market house to hear [Archibald Brown] for the first time. They were not yet formed as a church and it was scarcely a lively group that the newcomer found. As well as taking the service, he had to open the doors, dust the chairs, and find himself a glass of water. His remuneration was the not over-genuous sum of 2 shillings and 6 pence. The Sword and the Trowel would later report this story of Brown's first Sundays in Bromley:

On the Monday following his second visit, in reply to an enquiry as to 'how he got on', he answered that his sermon had some effect, for the congregation of 18 persons on the first occasion had come down to 12: he had evidently 'moved' half a dozen. The next Monday he reported further progress in the same direction, for he had but 6 hearers on the third occasion, and he remarked that it only required another Sunday to finish the work.'

... Part of Spurgeon's Friday duties, after the class was over, was to hear men's accounts of where they had preached, and this gave Archie the opportunity to state the poor prospects he was facing. The response was memorable, 'Hold on with your teeth, and if you cannot hold on with your teeth, hold on with your eye-lashes -- but hold on somehow!' Brown did 'hold on'." (Murray, Iain. Archibald Brown, Banner of Truth, 34-35)