The words of C. H. Spurgeon at the opening of the Metropolitan tabernacle in 1861 are well-known. Below are some of the words spoken by his distinguished predecessor John Gill (1697-1771) when the Carter Lane meeting-house opened in Southwark, London, on October 9, 1757. Gill was preaching from Exodus 20:24, in the course of which he stated: “As we have now opened a new place of worship, we enter upon it recording the Name of the Lord by preaching the doctrines of the grace of God, and free and full salvation alone by Jesus Christ; and by the administration of gospel ordinances, as they have been delivered to us. What doctrines may be taught in the place after I am gone is not for me to know; but as for my own part, I am at a point; I am determined, and have been long ago, what to make the subject of my ministry. It is upwards of forty years since I entered into the arduous work; and [the] first sermon I ever preached was from these words of the apostle, “For I am determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified”: and through the grace of God I have been enabled, in some good measure, to abide by the same resolution hitherto, as many of you here are my witness; and, I hope, through divine assistance, I ever shall, as long as I am in this tabernacle, and engaged in such a work.”
Over the course of the past 250 years there have been especially four distinguished ministries in this congregation—those of John Rippon, C.H. Spurgeon, Tydeman Chilvers, and currently that of Peter Masters. Like that of Gill, they have faithfully upheld “the doctrines of the grace of God, and free and full salvation alone by Jesus Christ” and we trust that Gill, if he could have seen the future, would have rejoiced in this remarkable succession of biblical preaching.