Will you listen, kind friends, for a moment,
While a story I unfold;
A marvellous tale of a wonderful sale
Of a noble lady of old:
How hand and heart at an auction mart,
And soul and body, she was sold.
'Twas in the broad king's highway,
Near a century ago,
That a preacher stood, though of noble blood,
Telling the fallen and low
Of a Saviour's love and a home above,
And a peace that they all might know.
All crowded round to listen;
And they wept at the wondrous love,
That could wash their sin, and receive them in
His spotless mansions above:
While slow through the crowd, a lady proud,
Her gilded chariot drove.
"Make room," cried the haughty outrider,
"You are closing the king's highway;
My lady is late, and their Majesties wait;
Give way there, good people, I pray."
The preacher heard, and his soul was stirred,
And he cried to the rider, "Nay."
His eyes like the lightning flashes;
His voice like a trumpet rings -
"Your grand fete-days, and your fashions and ways
Are all but perishing things
'Tis the king's highway, but I hold it to-day
In the name of the King of Kings."
Then - bending his gaze on the lady,
And marking her soft eye fall -
"And now in His name, a sale I proclaim,
And bids for this fair lady call.
Who will purchase the whole - her body and soul,
Coronet, jewels, and all?
"I see already three bidders,
The world steps up as the first:
'I will give her my treasures and all the pleasures
For which my votaries thirst;
She shall dance through each day, more joyous and gay
With a quiet grave at the worst.'
"But out speaks the Devil boldly -
'The kingdoms of earth are mine,
Fair lady, they name, with an envied fame,
On their brightest tablets shall shine;
Only give me thy soul, and I'll give thee the whole,
Their glory and wealth, to be thine.' 
"And pray, what hast thou to offer,
Thou Man of Sorrows, unknown?
And He entry says, 'My blood I have shed,
To purchase her for mine own.
To conquer the grave, and her soul to save,
I trod the wine-press alone.
'I will give her my cross of suffering,
My cup of sorrow to share;
But with endless love, in my home above
All shall be righted there;
She shall walk in white, in a robe of light,
And a radiant crown shall wear,'
"Thou hast heard the terms, fair lady
That each hath offered for thee,
Which wilt thou choose, and which wilt thou lose,
This life, or the life to be?
The fable was mine, but the choice is Yet thine,
Sweet lady! which of the three?"
Nearer the stand of the Preacher,
The gilded chariot stole,
And each head was bowed as over the crowd,
The thundering accents roll,
And every word, as the lady heard,
Burned in her very soul.
"Pardon, good people," she whispered,
As she rose from her cushioned seat,
Full well, they say, as the crowd made way,
You could hear her pulses beat;
And each head was bare, as the lady fair
Knelt at the preacher's feet.
She took from her hands the jewels,
The coronet from her brow;
'Lord Jesus she said, as she bowed her head,
The highest bidder art Thou;'
Thou gav'st for my sake Thy life, and I take
Thy offer - and take it now.
"I know the world and her pleasures,
At best they but weary and cloy;
And the tempter is bold, but his honours and gold
Prove ever a fatal decoy;
I long for Thy rest - Thy bid is the best;
Lord, I accept it with joy.
"Give me Thy cup of suffering,
Welcome, earth's sorrow and loss,
Let my portion be to win souls to Thee.
Perish her glittering dross!
I gladly lay down her coveted crown.
Saviour, to take Thy cross."
"Amen!" said the holy preacher,
And the people wept aloud.
Years have rolled on - and they all have gone
Who formed that awe-struck crowd.
Lady and throng have been swept along
On the wind like a morning cloud.
But the Saviour has claimed His Purchase,
And around His radiant seat,
A mightier throng in an endless song,
The wondrous story repeat;
And a form more fair is bending there,
Laying her crown at His feet.
So now in eternal glory!
She rests from her cross and care:
But her spirit above, with a longing love,
Seems calling on you to share
Her endless reward, in the joy of her Lord:
Oh! will you not answer her - there?
Mr. Hill's first preachings were of an itinerant character. He was glad of a church, and equally delighted with a meeting-house; but the village green, a barn, an assembly room, or a hovel were all used as they were offered. He was not reared in the lap of luxury as a preacher, nor was he surrounded by the society of unmingled aristocracy, so as to be guarded from every whiff of the air of common life. He mingled so thoroughly with the people that he became the people's man, and for ever remained so.
His fixed places of ministry were Surrey Chapel, and Wotton-under-Edge. He facetiously styled himself "Rector of Surrey Chapel, Vicar of Wotton, and Curate of all the fields and lanes throughout England and Wales." Surrey Chapel was called by many "The Round-house," and it was reported that its form was chosen by Mr. Hill that the devil might not have a corner to hide in.
At Wotton, Mr. Hill lived in what he called "a paradisiacal spot," having his house near the chapel, and lovely scenery all around. He says of the village, "This place, when I first knew Gloucestershire, was filled with brutal persecutors; since they have been favoured with the gospel they have been wonderfully softened." We visited the place with great interest, and were taken to the spot where dear old Rowland would sit with his telescope and watch the people coming down the neighbouring hills to the meeting, and would afterwards astonish them by mentioning what he had seen.
Our friend Mr. Charlesworth, of the Stockwell Orphanage, has written a life of Rowland Hill, which in our judgment surpasses its predecessors in giving a full length portrait of the good man, and as this is readily to be had, we refer our readers to it. We remember reading an article in one of the reviews of the day in which Mr. Hill is abused after the manner of "the Saturday." It did us great good to see how those who were before us endured the tongue of malice and survived its venom.
Mr. Hill's name is very sweet in South London, and if you chance to meet with one of his old hearers, it will do your heart goo(t to see how his eyes will sparkle at the bare mention of his name. He made religion a delight and the worship of God a pleasure; yea, he made the very memory of it to be a joy for ever to the hearts of the aged as they recall the days of their youth when Rowland Hill—dear old Rowland Hill as they like to call him— was in his glory.