The Autumn Lectures held on Saturday 5th October, were full to capacity. All available seating in the Schoolroom was taken and several people found themselves sitting in the adjoining vestry. We readily acknowledge the Lord’s goodness in giving us such an encouragement.
Two lectures were given, the first being on ‘John Foxe and his famous Book of Martyrs’, by Roland Burrows. A brief sketch of Foxe’s life showed him to be by nature academic and retiring, yet at the same time a most amiable, generous and attractive individual. He played a very significant part in the Reformation in England. He was in contact with the chief figures of the Reformation both on the Continent and at home and was a trusted counsellor of many national figures, from Sir Francis Drake to Queen Elizabeth I.
The second part of the lecture focused on setting out the aim and purpose of the ‘Acts and Monuments/ Book of Martyrs’.
• To show that the Reformation was no innovation, but rather a return to what had been at the beginning
• To set out the pedigree of the English Church
• To give a true perspective of history to a population largely ignorant of the events that had taken place before the time of their fathers or grandfathers
• To protest against the practice of putting to death those who differ from us in their religious opinions and to make it known that those who carried out such acts would not escape the judgment of God
• To show the faith and courage of the martyrs, and to testify to the fact that God honours and strengthens those who make the supreme sacrifice in his service
• To show that even through the most difficult times, and in the face of the stiffest opposition God’s purpose is worked out; that come what may, truth and righteousness will prevail
We were reminded that many of the copies of Foxe’s ‘Book of Martyrs’ we have today, have a great deal of his original work omitted, therefore making it difficult for us to immediately grasp what he was seeking to achieve.
After a short break and refreshments, Dr. Brian Green gave his lecture on ‘Susannah Spurgeon’. This was a very thoroughly researched and graciously delivered lecture. It showed the immense value of a good Christian marriage, and the happiness and usefulness that is found in such a union.
Many aspects of the life of Susannah Spurgeon, (we were told that she always liked to be known as Susie), were brought out that are not generally known. Aspects of their first meeting, their widely differing backgrounds, their courtship and their life together as pastor and wife, not forgetting the many pressures, toils and troubles they faced together were helpfully described.
It was obvious that Dr. Green held the full attention of the listeners. The lecture ended with an exhortation to devote our lives to the Lord and His service in the way that this godly couple had clearly done.
The afternoon closed with the singing of ‘O Thou who camest from above’, accompanied on the Chapel organ recently repaired and brought back into use by one of the Centre’s helpers Mr. Trevor Ellis.