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WHEN the late Henry Venn, for so many years the wise and able Honorary Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, was asked by one who was going out to MidChina as the Principal of the C.M.S. College of Divinity at Ningpo, what books he should use in preparing young Chinese Christian men for the ministry of the Gospel, he replied, "The very best preparation you can give them is to soak them through and through in the Word of God." This was the secret of dear Marcus Rainsford's great usefulness as a minister of the Gospel. He had been, through many years of prayerful believing study of the Bible, thoroughly "soaked" in the Word of God, so that if he were subjected to pressure by a question from a spiritually-minded friend, or a call to give a spiritual address, Scripture truth flowed readily from him. On this account it was a special privilege to be staying in the same house with him, as I know from having been a fellow-guest in Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, enjoying the Christian hospitality of Lord and Lady Tankerville. He truly obeyed the Apostle's precept, "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. iii. 16).
Now that he is "absent from the body and present with the Lord," the nearest approach we can make to the
privilege of converse with him is to read a variety of his spiritual Scriptural addresses and papers. I am thankful that some of this very wholesome and strengthening food is supplied to us in this volume.
The chief of living Evangelists, Mr. Moody, is well known to be remarkably discerning in selecting as his helpers at "after meetings" those who have been prepared by the Holy Spirit for this work. Anyone who reads the dialogues, to be found in this volume, will not wonder that Mr. Moody chose dear Rainsford to answer his own questions with a view to the clear Scriptural teaching of anxious and inquiring souls in search of peace. If this series of questions and answers were the only paper in this volume worth reading, the book would be valuable.
I have reason to thank God that I had for seven years as my beloved curate here at St. Aldate's, Oxford, a dear brother who was greatly helped in spiritual things when he was a very young man, and for years afterwards, by reading Marcus Rainsford's addresses and books. My late fellow-labourer has been for some time the incumbent of Portman Chapel, Baker Street, London, the Rev. W. H. Griffith Thomas, M.A. I have just received a letter from him in which he says: "What I liked in Mr. Rainsford was, First, his thorough knowledge of Scripture, especially of the typical teaching of the Old Testament, which casts so much light upon the New Testament. Secondly, his clear perception and firm grip of essential doctrine, especially as it concerns righteousness, justification, and acceptance. The dialogues with Moody and Major Whittle (pp. 223-262) reveal his clear, full grasp of the Gospel verities. The publication of these will do real service. In the early days of my Christian life, now twenty years ago, I found
Mr. Rainsford's books on Romans V. and VIII., and his addresses from time to time, most helpful, especially for their clear and balanced statement of doctrine. They helped me much to realise my judicial acceptance and standing in Christ—that basis of all peace, satisfaction, and growth in the Christian life. I soon learned to watch for any publications containing an address by him.
"Later on, when a curate in a London parish, I was associated in parochial work with a shrewd, thoughtful, and earnest Scripture reader, who was in the habit of attending Mr. Rainsford's weekly lectures at King's College. He invariably came back each week with feelings of deep, and even enthusiastic appreciation of the lecturer's clear Scr ptural teaching. I am very glad that yet another volume of his valuable teaching is to appear."
The teaching which God blessed to Griffith Thomas, who is now serving the Lord Jesus usefully in the ministry of the Gospel, He is able to bless to readers of this volume.
Marcus Rainsford's whole soul was filled with the blessed influence of the doctrines of the Grace of God, which he so fully believed. These doctrines were used by the Holy Spirit to shed abroad the love of God in his heart; and those who desire to have their love to God increased in order that they may serve Him more devotedly, will do well to lay to heart the Scriptural teaching in this volume.
Love to God, as He is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord, is the mainspring of the Christian's character and life. It is this alone that will make him to be a living evidence of Christianity. How greatly such living
evidences are required at the present time, when so many are under the influence of unbelief and indifference, with no inclination to study books on the evidences of Christianity! But they cannot avoid reading living epistles of Christ if they come before them.
Again, without believing the doctrines of the grace of God, how can the first and great commandment be obeyed? And without a good measure of obedience to the first commandment, will not the second, which is like unto it, be neglected? Then, too, "Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward." The doctrines of the grace of God must be believed if we would rejoice in the Lord alway in the midst of the troubles of life.
Once more, there are many children of God who are obliged to live where the exceeding riches of God's grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus are not preached. What a welcome message of glad tidings to some of these would this volume be if lovingly sent by a Christian friend!
To all, then, who value the glorious Gospel of the grace of God, I commend this useful memorial of a tried and trusted servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
ALFRED M. W. CHRISTOPHER.
ST. ALDATE'S RECTORY, OXFORD,
27th November, 1898.