What Do We have, not Received

by Frank Jones


"These prayer meetings were long to be remembered. Some thirty years later, about 1910, when Brown was no longer serving in East London, he came back to preach one Sunday, and recorded the following:

I was preaching in East London last Sunday morning, and I walked from London Bridge, and as I got a little way past the Mile End Gate, I saw a workman leaning against the wall. He touched his cap and said, 'Good morning, Mr Brown, glad to see you in this neighborhood again. Going to the old Tabernacle?' I said, 'Yes', and he then went on, 'May I walk with you?' Going along he said, 'Are not things changed Sir? I have been thinking of thirty years ago. Do you remember how there was a prayer meeting every Sunday morning, and we used to walk there sometimes up to our knees in snow; yet there used to be two or three hundred there; now you cannot get people out of bed at 10:30 on Sunday morning.'

As he spoke of those old days how well I remembered them! At 7 o'clock on Sunday morning there were hundreds met for prayer. Rain, hail or snow made no difference. They were all in dead earnest.

In preaching on December 6, 1868, he said:

I cannot but look back through the two years so nearly gone with wonder and thankfulness that defy language. God has been pleased to give us as a church such prosperity as is given to few, he has permitted us to reap with one hand while we have sown with the other. The converts are not numbered by tens only but by hundreds. In no spirit of pride do we say this; for what have we that we have not received? It is his work and his only, and at his feet we delight to cast all the glory. But while rejoicing in manifest success, we cannot but remember that there are hosts of God's servants, far holier and far more able, who have been called to toil and labor on with but little encouragement. They are preparing the soil for others, and perhaps long after they have gone to their reward, someone else will 'enter into their labors'. (Murray, Iain. Archibald Brown, Banner of Truth, 61-62)