THE SIXTH MILESTONE
In the spring of 1879 I made a Gospel tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland. On a previous visit I had given a series of private lectures, under the management of Major Pond, and I had been more or less criticised for the amount of money charged the people to hear me. As I had nothing whatever to do with the prices of tickets to my lectures, which went to the managers who arranged the tour, this was something beyond my control. My personal arrangement with Major Pond was for a certain fixed sum. They said in Europe that I charged too much to be heard, that as a preacher of the Gospel I should have been more moderate. If the management had been my own I should not have been so greedy.
Because of this recollection and the regret it gave me, I decided to make another tour at my own expense, and preach without price in all the places I had previously visited as a lecturer. It was the most exhausting, exciting, remarkable demonstration of religious enthusiasm I have ever witnessed. It was an evangelistic yearning that could not be repeated in another life-time.
The entire summer was a round of Gospel meetings, overflow meetings, open-air meetings, a succession of scenes of blessing. From the time I arrived in Liverpool, where that same night I addressed two large assemblages, till I got through after a monster gathering at Edinburgh, I missed but three Gospel appointments, and those because I was too tired to stand up. I preached ninety-eight times in ninety-three days.
With nothing but Gospel themes I confronted multitudes. A collection was always taken up at these gatherings for the benefit of local charities, feeble churches, orphan asylums and other institutions. My services were gratuitous.