Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Monday, December 30, 2013

A day in the life - a true street preacher - updated post

Robert Flockhart (1778-1857)

I read about this street preacher from the 1800's, Robert Flockhart. As I read about Robert, I was so moved and blessed by his love for sinners and his servant's heart. Please, take time to read a bit of his biography that I've posted further down.

 I also thought about a certain street preacher in our day who stands in front of abortion clinics and argues with the unregenerate, who makes false accusations against them, and never gives them the Gospel; who toots his own horn, makes much of his itinerary, yet obviously forgets how we must decrease. This modern day street preacher spends much of his time on self-promotion, and the rest on seeking financial support. His latest 'gig' is taking other men's sermons, like Spurgeon and Edwards, recording them and charging for downloads. I find this so appalling; to take another man's work, simply sit in front of a microphone and read that man's laboring words, and seek financial gain from it is beyond belief. Men who act out of their flesh will never be effective for Christ nor will they be used by Him.

With that said, take note of Robert's devotion to the lost, from Twisted Crown of thorns...

A remarkable sinner who became a remarkable convert, was an extraordinarily gifted man and fearless street preacher in the Edinburgh of the mid-1800′s. It is saidRobert Flockhart (1778-1857) had sinned much, but he had been forgiven much, and so he loved much. Where Robert in Satan’s service had often exposed himself to disgrace, danger, and death itself, but after his conversion, “… If there had been need for it, I believe there was no man in Edinburgh who would have gone to the stake or scaffold for Jesus Christ with a firmer step or nobler bearing than this brave old soldier of the cross.”
Flockhart was converted in India, while a soldier, he became a fearless as a street preacher – often in the face of unruly crowds. In a tribute to Robert Flockhart, Charles Spurgeon said:
I must linger a moment over Robert Flockhart, of Edinburgh, who, though a lesser light, was a constant one, and a fit example to the bulk of Christ’s street witnesses. Every evening, in all weathers and amid many persecutions, did this brave man continue to speak in the street for forty-three years. Think of that, and never be discouraged. When he was tottering to the grave the old soldier was still at his post. “Compassion to the souls of men drove me,” said he, “to the streets and lanes of my native city, to plead with sinners and persuade them to come to Jesus. The love of Christ constrained me.”
Neither the hostility of the police, nor the insults of Papists, Unitarians, and the like could move him; he rebuked error in the plainest terms, and preached salvation by grace with all his might. So lately has he passed away that Edinburgh remembers him still. There is room for such in all our cities and towns, and need for hundreds of his noble order in this huge nation of London—can I call it less?

 Robert was arrested numerous times, each time his wife would come and get him out. He never saw it necessary to make known his arrests, nor did he complain about being 'persecuted'. Recently a street preacher was arrested in London for a few hours, and received all kinds of media coverage. Why should anyone be shocked if you are arrested for proclaiming the truth? Why is that newsworthy?
One time while preaching, a woman came up and threw a bucket of water on him. He didn't retaliate, nor did he say, 'why are you judging me?', as I have so often heard a certain street preacher here in America say when confronted by the unregenerate. He did not follow some script, he simply proclaimed the word of God! How did Robert respond to the water-throwing incident? "This did not cool my ardour, nor drown my love for perishing souls! On the contrary, it made the fire of my zeal burn brighter and clearer, and caused the people to pay more attention to what I said". {'The Street Preacher', page 161}  The motive for proclaiming God's truth is birthed out of love and concern for the lost, it should never be to exalt 'self'.

Here is a sample of his biography...

I now come to relate the closing scene in the lives of two men whom I had frequent opportunities of visiting whilst they lay under sentence of death in the Calton jail. They had committed murder. One of them was named Gow — the other Beveridge. The former was a shoemaker — the latter a black smith. On returning home one evening, Gow found his wife (who was given to "strong drink") and some of her drunken associates, tippling in his house. On attempting to turn them out, his wife van to the stair-head, and called for the police, who instantly came, and, at the request of his wife, he was carried off to the police-office, where he lay all night. In the morning he went home, and, in a fit of passion, stabbed his wretched wife with a sharp knife, in consequence of which she died. Beveridge, like Gow, was a hard-working man, and had also a drunken wife. One morning, on coming in to breakfast, he found the fire out, no food prepared for him, the children all running naked about the house, and his wife drunk in bed, and unfit to do anything. He had often before seen his house in this deplorable condition, and at that time was so overcome with rage, that he killed her at once. These two men were apprehended, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death, and were confined in the same cell. I had frequent opportunities of visiting them, and of conversing with them. Having by my sympathy and kindness gained their confidence, they listened to me with interest and attention. Gow opened his mind more . freely than Beveridge, and seemed to have a tender heart and keen feelings. In proof of this I may inform the reader that Gow, when a boy, had on one occasion harried a bird's nest ; but perceiving that the female bird followed him, apparently lamenting her loss, he repented, and put back the nest in the spot from whence he had taken it. It was always a matter of the greatest wonder and astonishment to him how he ever could have had the heart to murder his wife. How it was, that a man who had felt such pity for a poor little bird, could experience none for the woman who was his wife, was to him a mystery he could not understand. To explain it, I unfolded to him the deceitful and desperately wicked character of the heart of man in its natural state. I tried to show how totally ignorant we were of the awful crimes we were capable of committing when unrestrained by the preventing grace of God, and exposed to temptation. I laboured to convince them of the heinousness of the crime of which they had been guilty. I pointed out the awful danger they were in, and the punishment that awaited them if they continued impenitent. The Holy Spirit seemed to give effect to my humble efforts to bring these two unhappy men to the " Friend of sinners." A great and striking change in their whole deportment and character soon became apparent. They seemed deeply humbled on account of their sins — anxiously sought salvation, through a crucified Redeemer — read the Bible — prayed fervently to God, and seemed to be reconciled to and at peace with God, through the death of his Son. The change on them was so striking, that, to my observation, they seemed like lambs. How mysterious are the ways of God in bringing sinners to their right mind !

I may remark that my persecutions and sufferings from the magistrates and policemen of Edinburgh, whilst I preached in the street, would be deemed almost incredible, were I fully to relate them. The latter being mostly Irishmen and Roman Catholics, did not sympathize with me. In all my preachings I considered it an important part of my duty to expose error and heresy, as well as to proclaim the " truth as it is in Jesus." And this procedure on my part raised me up many enemies and opponents. Papists, Unitarians, Morrisonians, and such like, were my bitter gainsayers. The theories of their leading men I attacked and refuted from the Scriptures. I spared none who held opinions that robbed God of his glory, and Christ of the dignity of his person and the efficacy of his work. The adversaries of truth tried every means they could think of to deter me from- performing the work God had given me to do, but in vain. Their opposition only made me bolder in the cause of my blessed Master. I had " counted the cost," and was determined to " follow " him through " evil " as well as through " good report." I was stoned, imprisoned, and otherwise maltreated, but God stood near and protected me. With Paul, who said that he had fought with beasts at Ephesus, I might well say that I had fought with beasts in the streets of Edinburgh. . Compassion to the souls of men drove me to the streets and lanes of my native city, to plead with sinners, and persuade them to come to Jesus. The love of Christ constrained me to face all opposition in the performance of this great and glorious work. I was grieved to see multitudes thronging the " broad road" that leads to destruction, whilst I myself was in the enjoyment of a good hope through grace. In my preaching I dwelt much upon death and its consequences, the everlasting punishment that awaited ungodly and impenitent sinners, and the everlasting weight of glory that was laid up for the righteous. Many a time the magistrates imprisoned me, but my wife always succeeded in getting me out of their hands. At last they determined to keep me in prison unless some respectable person would become bail for me to the amount of £2. In this manner they attempted to close my mouth, and prevent me from preaching the gospel. I determined, however, to allow no man to risk his property for me, whatever might be the consequences, for I was resolved to preach the gospel fully to all who came within the reach of my voice. When prevented from preaching in the streets of Edinburgh, I was like a bottle filled with new wine, ready to " burst," which must get vent in some way or other. So I made up my mind to go to the Links. There I stationed myself on a wall by the wayside. Many of those who resorted thither for amusement, as well as for the purpose of drying and bleaching clothes, assembled to hear me, and the Lord gave me great liberty in declaring His word to perishing sinners. The work was the Lord's, and He strengthened me to perform it. The late Dr. Simpson, of the Tron Church, was the only minister at that time who encouraged me in my labours. He came forward before the multitudes that stood around me, and shook me by the hand, at the same time wishing me "God speed !" He approved of the doctrines which I taught. Shortly afterwards he came to hear me, and brought Mrs. Simpson along with him. At the conclusion of the service, the little girl that accompanied them came up and presented me with some money, which I returned, saying I did not preach for money — I came not to seek theirs, but them. {We certainly do NOT see that in our day do we! Everybody is beggin' for money, for the sake of their 'ministry' of course!}

Under my preaching, at this time, an accomplished lady was awakened to a sense of her danger and sinful condition, both by nature and practice. She called upon me frequently afterwards, that I might pray for her. I requested her to pray likewise, and she complied. Her earnestness, simplicity, and scripturalness of expression, perfectly astonished me. After obtaining peace with God through the blood of the Cross, she collected numbers of other young ladies together, and held prayer-meetings in her own house, and invited me to conduct the devotional exercises. Having become zealous for the promotion of Christ's cause, she obtained admission to the cells of the female prisoners in the jail, and a blessing attended her efforts to do good. Since then she has departed this life, and is now, I trust, through " faith and patience inheriting the promises."

This is what others said about the street preacher, Robert Flockhart, from the closing chapter entitled 'reminiscences'...

Among those qualities which seemed to me to constitute his genuine worth were —
 I. His great delight in the Bible. — While thankful for the sympathy of Christian friends, he uniformly declared that, " Had it not been for the companionship of God's word, its light and consolation," he " would have perished in his affliction." " I have just been sitting," he would say, "under its shadow with great delight, and finding its fruit sweet to my taste. There are grand, sweet apples on that tree. There's the apple of justification — 'justified freely by his grace.' There's the apple of sanctification — we are 'made par takers of his holiness.' There's the apple of adoption — ' Now are we the sons of God.' And, best of all, there's the golden apple of glorification — we '11 get that by and by ; but ' it doth not yet appear what we shall be.' I mind when I've Been in tropical countries, I've seen trees whose fruit just seemed as if it wanted to drop into your mouth, it was so rich and ripe. And doesn't the Lord say to us, when we come to this blessed book, Now, ' open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.'" One day, as he sat looking into the fire, he said to me, " I was thinking about that verse, ' Is not my word as a fire and as a hammer 1 ' saith the Lord. Ay, both a fire and a hammer ; the one would not do without the other. I would not have been here if his word had not been a fire ; my 'will' was such an 'iron sinew' in my unconverted state. But the Lord put my iron will into his fire to make it bend ; it was a fire of fierce convictions. I believe my fire was heated seven times hotter than ordinary. But even that by itself would not answer the purpose of making me into ' a vessel meet for the master's use.' When the iron came out of the fire, He took to the hammer. It was none o' your wee hammers ; it was the Lord's sledge-hammer. You've seen a smith when he was working at the fore-hammer, how he tuckt up his sleeve 1 Well, ' the Lord made bare his holy arm' in order to do his own work on me ; and it was a' needed — a' needed." While noticing his love for the Bible, I may advert to the- sort of instinctive dexterity with which he made the most simple incident subservient to the enforcement of Bible truth.

II. Robert Flockhart was eminently a man of prayer. — On no point, perhaps, did I hear him speak oftener than on the sinfulness of " restraining prayer," — the weight of guilt lying in these days on the churches of Christ, and on individual Christians, for spending in idle visits, frivolous talk, and unprofitable reading, time that might be redeemed for prayer. One evening (and I believe it was one of the last on which he was able to take his accustomed place on the street) I happened to call upon him about an hour before his usual preaching hour. On reaching his door I found the room dark ; but remaining quite still, I could overhear him, in a deep under-tone, " as a man talketh with his friend," telling out to the Lord his griefs and fears, his designs and expectations, in regard to the work he was going to — " Lord, dinna forsake Edinburgh ! dinna forsake Edinburgh ! Why should our preaching here be so powerless ? Consciences are not pricked, hearts are not broken, souls are not saved. The enemy is come in as a flood. Oh, pluck thy right hand out of thy bosom ! Lord, dinna forsake Edinburgh ! " It was real pleading, real wrestling, " crying out of the depths." When he ceased, and I had stepped forward, he rekindled his light, and as soon as he recognised me, exclaimed, "O, I'm glad it's you, for we'll be of one mind on the matter. You know ' we must give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.' Prayer is the one half of our work, the first half, and the best half too. Oh ! what poor weak things we would be if we were not made ' mighty through God.' " Thus did the good old man string his soul for active service by living near the Throne.

As his end drew near, his thoughts appeared to dwell the more delightedly on " the things that are above." For instance, one afternoon when heaven was the theme of our conversation, he remarked, that " Faith, Hope, and Love will be our good company all the way up to the door o' our Father's house. But there Faith will make her bow, and retire, saying, 'You'll not need me more, for you're now to ' see him as he is, without a veil.' And Hope, too, will say ' Farewell! I've been glad to get you guided this length. And now, when I've served your turn, I must, see after other pilgrims coming the same road.' But Love will smile and say, ' You and I arc not to part that way. No, no ! I'm going in to stay wi' you to all eternity.'" It needs but to be added, that he died as he had lived, to the praise of God's grace. It was striking and most instructive to witness how his long life of active service came in no degree into the account of his final hope. His heart, in the end, found rest alone in the merits of him who had been " the beginning of his confidence." And, with this sure anchor before him, he passed " within the veil."

We could all learn a lesson from this man of God. It is those who don't 'toot their own horn', those known only to Christ, that have the most affect for God and His kingdom. 
May you add this book on Robert to your collection, it is well worth it!


Darrel said...

A stark contrast to the "certain street preacher" who is self-anointed and preaches a gospel of hate rather than that of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is nothing more than a money-grubbing charlatan whereas Flockhart exhibits the genuine fruit of the Spirit that results in conversions and not ongoing controversy. We will find out the extent of Flockhart's fruit at the Judgment Seat of Christ. But the revealing of the bad fruit of the self-appointed will have to wait 'til the Great White Throne Judgment.

It may yet be possible for this "certain street preacher" to repent and be born again. Such is in the Hands of our Lord. I know of no precedent in Scripture or history of a cult leader being granted repentance and salvation.

lyn said...

Well said Darrel. I was amazed at a recent request from this self-anointed 'street preacher'; he was seeking 2400.00 in donations for 'payroll', even though those that work with him have already stated they do so on a voluntary basis. When confronted on his facebook page, he had one of his 'cronies' respond by accusing those who dare question him of being divisive, judgmental, etc. This is his usual tactic when confronted, he lashes out with false accusations or has his cronies do his dirty work for him.
There is so much evidence that points to him being just like the WOF name it claim it charlatans, and yet people defend him and give him money...amazing.
As I read Robert Flockhart's autobiography, I was so blessed I just had to post about it. This is what a TRUE, BORN AGAIN man of God looks like and acts like. This man stood in the streets for over 40 years, in all kinds of weather, and preached the word of God. Flockhart's ministry looked NOTHING like the continual, self-promoting charlatan of our day. There is no power in the charlatan's ministry because his is of the flesh. Flockhart's was powerful and mighty, bringing the lowest of sinners to Christ! Praise God for true men and women...that remnant who do not seek to be made known, or to have the praises of men, or to boast and brag about every move they have or will make. It is the humble who seek to bring glory to God that will be used by God and NOT the loud, boasting braggart.
Mr. Miano needs to cry out to God for mercy.