Flower Service at Conisborough Church (videos)

July 1887

Mexborough and Swinton Times July 1, 1887

Flower Service at Conisborough Church

The annual floral service which is held at Conisborough Parish Church on St Peter’s Day, took place on Wednesday evening. All the children attending the national school attended the service, and deposited the flowers which they had gathered in and about the altar. Some of the bouquets were composed of choice flowers, and were beautifully arranged, and the elder members of the congregation added their floral offerings to those of the children.

The service, which was fully choral, commenced at 7 o’clock, and was conducted by the Rev.J. G. Wood, M. A. (Vicar). He read for the first lesson the third chapter of Zachariah, and the second lesson taken from the fourth chapter of Actss was read by the rev canon Tebbutt, vicar of Doncaster.

Special hymns were sung. The sermon was preached by Canon Tebbutt, and he delivered to the children an address, which, though full of simplicity, was most powerful and eloquent.

He took for his text the 28 verse of the sixth chapter of St Matthew: – “Consider the lilies of the field how they grow.”

The first word that he wanted them to attend to was “field.” They did not find lilies in the field. These beautiful flowers which they had brought to the church that night were most of them grown in the garden. Lilies were grown in the garden – the best kinds of lilies – or they might find them here and there in the woods. Well, why did Jesus say “consider the lilies of the fields?” Now he (the preacher) must tell them two things. When Jesus was speaking about the lilies, he did not mean a lilly they knew anything about. He did not mean those tall white lilies that grew in the garden, nor did he mean what they call lilies of the valley, but he meant a beautiful scarlet flower with a crown upon its head, looking just like a king in a long beautiful scarlet robe with a golden crown upon his head, and that is why he compared them with King Solomon “Consider the lilies of the field how they grow. Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.”

Another thing he wanted to tell them was that these beautiful lilleys in the holy land – these beautiful lilies of which Jesus spoke, grew in the country like weeds in ours. They might see miles and miles of them at a certain time of the year but our Lord said, “consider the lilies of the field – how they grow.” He (the speaker) thought it was a wonderful thing that the flowers grew at all. What a wonderful thing it was that out of the black earth, full of worms – the nasty, dirty black earth, where they could see nothing at all in the early spring – all of a sudden God made a little tender shoot come out, so tender that they thought it could not possibly get through the ground. Well, it came up, and then it went down going with a high stem, and out of the top of the stem came a beautiful glorious flower.

“Consider the lilies of the field how they grow.” How wonderful the growth. Of the lilies of the garden they could perhaps understand, but Jesus was speaking of the flowers that grew without any care or culture; no one to tend them, yet growing with their beautiful stalks up towards heaven, and growing with beautiful flowers on their tops. Ah! But what made the wild lilies of the field grow? Now, he must tell them again – when they read the Bible they had to understand so much about the land where it was written – because things were so very different there. In the holy land there were often six months without a drop of rain. There were countries – for instance, Australia, where sometimes they might be three years without a drop of rain. This was a lesson that they should remember now in England where they were crying out for rain, and people grumbling – there were countries in the world where they might go three years without a drop of rain, and in the holy land they might be six months without rain.

Now, how did the lilies grow? By the secret dew, the dew that came down in the early morning and late at night, the rich dew; and it came down on to the flower and onto its lease, and all round its roots, and all secretly and silently. No one saw it commence, but if they looked on the flower they could see there; and that it refreshed the flower every night and morning, and that was why the lilies of the field grew in their beauty up to the heaven. What had all this to do with them and with him?

He began by saying that he thought the flowers of the holy land were like parables.how did souls, the souls of boys and girls, the souls of grown-up people, grow to heaven, grow in beauty, grow in sweetness grow in glory? Did they remember when Isaac was blessing his son Jacob, when he asked God to give him the dew of heaven, did they think he merely meant the dew that fell upon the ground? What did he mean?

Go on in the Bible and they would come to the 110th palm, written by David many hundreds of years afterwards, and David was speaking about the Lord Jesus, “Thou has the dew of thy youth” – What was there about the youth of Jesus? How holy, how heavenly, how He loved his father’s house, how He delighted to do his father’s will – because He had the dew in His youth. What was this dew?

Now, in the last chapter of Hosea they would fine these words: – “I will be as the dew unto Israel. Who? God. The dew was the Holy Spirit; just as a dew came down upon the plant secretly, and nourished it, and refreshed it, so the Holy Spirit came secretly into the heart and made them grow towards heaven and like Christ.

There was nearly 300 years ago, three boys at school, and they were all very clever boys, very. One was very fond of reading he was not a nice boy, no one cared very much for him. But he was a very studious boy, always reading, and he made up his mind that when he grew up he would be a great man. Now, there was nothing wrong in that, and, dear lads, make up your mind that when you grow up you will be a great some way or another. Then there was another lad, also a clever boy he was not at all fond of reading. He was very fond of sport, and there was third boy; he was a little delicate, sickly lad, very clever, very sweet – he had the dew. Everybody could see from a child that he had a very sweet disposition, everybody loved him. Now what was the history of the three boys, and he (the preacher) wondered if they had ever heard of them. The first boy who determined he would be a great man became Lord Chancellor of England; he was adviser of the Prince of Wales, who afterwards became George III and his name was  Lord Thurlow. He was the most distinguished men in England in his day, but he has passed away and there is not a boy or girl in that church knew anything about him. The second one went out to India and became very rich, but after he came back to England, his riches went away; people accused him of stealing and he was tried for it; his name was Warren Hastings. It all vanished away like a cloud and he had to go through a disgraceful trial.

Who was the third boy? He was weak and sickly, and he grew up to be a sickly man all of his life, and became mad, and he died mad, and yet did they know that as long as English language lasts, as long as the English people love the Lord Jesus Christ, they will never forget, never. The first boy who had the dew in his youth. Had they ever heard, did they not know these words: –

“There is a fountain filled with blood,
this drawn from Emanuel’s veins
and sinners plunged beneath that flood,
lose all the guilty stains”

They knew who wrote that; it was the Poet Cowper, the first boy.

“God moves in a mysterious way,
his wonders to perform
he plants his footsteps on the sea
and rides upon the storm.”

As long as the English language lasted people would love William Cowper and they would never care anything about Lord Thurlow or Warren Hastings. After all was it not better to get the dew from heaven. The lesson that Jesus taught them here was to argue. What did argue mean? He would try to explain; it meant putting two things together, and then learning true from those two things. There were very great many people who, though they argued did not care for truth; and some boys and girls for instance called each other names when they argued as they called it. But he did not allude to that kind of arguing which ought to be called quarrelling.

Then Jesus went on to say that the lilies grew, but they only endured a day or two. The flowers which they had presented to God that they had begun to wither already; their little fingers had been warm, and they had made them wither. If God makes flower so beautiful, and took such pains with them, and they were only going to last a little time, did not they think that he would take as much pain and care about their lives. They were much more important than flowers; and so Jesus taught them to argue to reason, to reason the difference between the lesser and the greater.

Some years ago, a long time before the children before him were born, there was a terrible famine in England. It was called the cotton famine; it was a very terrible famine and in Lancashire there was hundreds and hundreds of people starved to death, and there was a great deal done at that time to feed people. A committee was formed to distribute, to give out money which had been subscribed to the poor people who were starving, and two gentlemen were going the round are a certain Street, when they came to a house in which there was absolutely nothing, not even a stick, not even a chair, not even a table, not even a bit of bread; and there was a husband and wife and children nearly at death’s door. They were just fit to lie down and die. Yet there was one thing in their house; and the gentleman entered the room they looked at the window, and there they saw a beautiful geranium in a pot, covered with blossom. “My friend, you might have thought that flower and got something; you need not have starved.” The man looked up and replied, “We could not sell that flower sir; we couldn’t get on at all if we had not that flower; it had been our helper all this time.” “What do you mean my good man?”

“I have watched it every day, and watched it grow, and I thought to myself God makes his flowers grow, and I cannot believe that he cares more for this flower me, and if he can take care of this flower, then I am quite sure he can take care of me.”

The Rev. Gentlemen then dealt on the beauty of this man’s trust in God and asked his hearers if they were sure that God would take care of them, and love them, and bring them through. The lesson that he wanted them to learn was to have pure faith in God; to see that they obtain the dew of which he had spoken from heaven. Take that lesson and never forget it. Ask for the Holy Spirit that they might grow in fitness for heaven.

In conclusion, the preacher said he thought it was so kind of them to send those flowers to the sick; they were going to send them to the infirmary that the sick felt might look upon them, and as they looked upon those beautiful flowers sent by the children of Conisborough many alone would say that they had been taught a beautiful lesson “the Lord have I trusted, let me never be confounded.”

A collection which was taken at the close will be devoted towards the expenses for the summer outing of the church choir and the Sunday School scholars and teachers.

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