Church Bell

The Dumb Bell

MR. GATTY, in his book on “Bells,” gives the following anecdote, on the credit of Cardinal Baronius: “When Charles II., King of France, A.D. 615, was at Sens, in Burgundy, he heard a bell in the church of St. Stephen, the sound of which pleased him so much that he ordered it to be transported to Paris. The Bishop of Sens, however, was greatly displeased at this; and the bell so sympathized with him, that it turned dumb on the road, and lost all its sound. When the king heard of this, he commanded that the bell should be carried back to its old quarters; when, strange to relate, as it approached the town, it recovered its original tone, and began to ring so as to be heard at Sens, whilst yet about four leagues distant from it.”

The true preacher grows silent if forced to any other service than his Lord’s. If he attempts to speak on any other topic than that which concerns his Lord and the gospel, he misses his former force; he is not at home, he is glad to end his speech, and sit down. If the moderns command us to preach their gospel, which was born but yesterday, we cannot do it, for we should find no pleasure in it: it has nothing in it to move our heart, or stir our enthusiasm. Our bell is dumb if it does not ring out for Jesus and the doctrines of grace. The world would soon dismiss us if it had hired us to be its orator, for our heart is elsewhere, and only upon the one dear, familiar theme can we be eloquent. No doubt the merely nominal minister could change his theme, and be all the more fluent; but not so the ordained of the Lord: he has a tongue for the truth, and for that alone; with him it is aut Cæsar aut nullus, either Christ or nothing, gospel preaching or silence.

C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1883 (1883), 14.

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