An apple in a bottle


I remember well, in my early days, seeing upon my grandmother’s mantel-shelf an apple contained in a phial. This was a great wonder to mea, and I tried to investigate it. . . . The apple was quite as big round as the phial; by what means was it placed within it? Though it was treason to touch the treasures on the mantel-piece, I took down the bottle, and convinced my youthful mind that the apple never passed through its neck, and by means of an attempt to unscrew the bottom, I became equally certain that the apple did not enter from below. I held to the notion that by some occult means the bottle had been made in two pieces, and afterwards united in so careful a manner  that no trace of the join remained. I was hardly satisfied with the theory, but… I let the matter rest. One day, the next summer, I chanced to see upon a bough another phial, the first cousin of my old friend, within which was growing a little apple which had been passed through the neck of the bottle while it was extremely small. Nature well known, no prodigies remain.” The grand secret was out.

This discovery of my juvenile days shall serve for an illustration at the present moment. Let us get the apples into the bottle while they are little: which [means] bring the young ones into the house of God by means of the Sabbath school, in the hope that, in after days, they will love the place where His honour dwelleth, and there seek and find eternal life. By our making the Sabbath dreary, many young minds may be prejudiced against religion: we would do the reverse. Sermons should not be so long and dull as to weary the young folk, or mischief will come of them, but with intersting preaching, to secure attention, and loving teachers to press home the truth upon the youthful heart, we shall not have to complain of the next generation that they have “forgotten their resting places.”

C.H. Spurgeon, Autobiography Volume 1: The Early Years (Banner of Truth), p. 5
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