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LETTERS OF C. H. SPURGEON
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TO MR. JAMES WATTS BOROUGH,
August 25, 1854.
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,—
I have been, this week, to Tring, in Hertfordshire, on the border of Bucks.
In the morning, I startled the hare from her form, and at eve talked with the countless stars. I love the glades, and dells, the hills and vales, and I have had my fill of them. The week before, I was preaching at Ramsgate, and then tarried awhile at Margate, and came home by boat. Kent is indeed made to rejoice in her God, for in the parts I traversed, the harvest was luxuriant, and all seemed thankful.
quite unanimous, —
meet again on Wednesday, and then a committee will be chosen immediately to provide larger accommodation.
On Thursday evenings, people can scarcely find a vacant seat, —
I should think not a dozen in the whole chapel. On Sabbath days the crowd is immense, and seat-holders cannot get into their seats; half-an-hour before time, the aisles are a solid block, and many stand through the whole service, wedged in by their fellows, and prevented from escaping by the crowd outside, who seal up the doors, and fill the yard in front, and stand in throngs as far as the sound can reach. I refer mainly to the evening, although the morning is nearly the same.
Souls are being saved.! have more enquirers than I can attend to. From six to seven o’clock on Monday and Thursday evenings, I spend in my vestry; I give but brief interviews then, and have to send many away without being able to see them. The Lord is wondrous in praises. A friend has, in a letter, expressed his hope that my initials may be’ prophetic, —
C. H. S.
I can truly say they are, for I have comfort in my soul, happiness in my work, and satisfaction with my glorious Lord. I am deeply in debt for your offer of hospitality; many thanks to you. My kindest regards to all my friends, and yours, especially your sons and daughters. I am sure it gives me delight to be remembered by them, and I hope it will not be long before I run down to see them. Hoping you will be blessed in going out, and coming in, I am, Yours truly, C. H. SPURGEON.
Saturday (Oct. or Nov., 1854).
MY DEAR FRIEND, —
I do not think I can by any means manage to see you. There is just a bare possibility that I may be down by the half-past-one train on Monday morning; but do not prepare for me, or expect me. I can only write very briefly to-day, as it is Saturday. Congregations are as crowded as ever.
Twenty-five added to the church last month; twelve proposed this month.
Enlargement of chapel to be commenced speedily, £1,000 required. Only one meeting held, last Friday evening, f700 or £800 already raised; we shall have more than enough. I gave £100 myself to start the people off. Friends firm. Enemies alarmed. Devil angry. Sinners saved. Christ exalted. Self not well. Enlargement to comprise 300 seats to let, and 300 free sittings, to be decided on. I have received anonymously in one month for distribution, £18 5s., and have given it to poor Christians and sick persons.
Prayer-meeting, 500 in regular attendance. Glory to the Master!
Yours in Jesus, C. H. SPURGEON.
March 23, 1855.
MY DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER, —
Often have I looked for a note from you, but I have not reproached you, for I, too, have been negligent. Really, I never seem to have an hour to call my own.
I am always at it, and the people are teasing me almost to death to get me to let them hear my voice. It is strange that such a power should be in one small body to crowd Exeter Hall to suffocation, and block up the Strand, so that pedestrians have to turn down by-ways, and all other traffic is at a standstill.
The Globe, of last evening, says that, never since the days of Whitefield was there such a religious furor, and that the glories of Wesley and Whitefield seem in danger of being thrown into the shade. Well, the Press has kicked me quite long enough, now they are beginning to lick me; but one is as good as the other so long as it helps to fill our place of worship. I believe I could secure a crowded audience at dead of night in a deep snow.
On Fast-day, all Falcon Square was full, —
police active, women shrieking, —
and at the sight of me the rush was fearful.... Strange to say, nine-tenths of my hearers are men; but one reason is, that women cannot endure the awful pressure, the rending of clothes, etc., etc. I have heard of parties coming to the hall, from ten to twelve miles distance, being there half-anhour before time, and then never getting so much as near the door, Dear me, how little satisfies the crowd! What on earth are other preachers up to, when, with ten times the talent, they are snoring along with prosy sermons, and sending the world away? The reason is, they do not know what the gospel is; they are afraid of real gospel Calvinism and therefore the Lord does not own them.
And now for spiritual matters. I have had knocking about enough to kill a dozen, but the Lord has kept me. Somewhere in nubibus there lies a vast mass of nebular made of advice given to me by friends, —
most of it about humility.
Now, my Master is the only One Who can humble me. My pride is so infernal that there is not a man on earth who can hold it in, and all their silly attempts are futile; but then my Master can do it, and He will. Sometimes, I get such a view of my own insignificance that I call myself all the fools in the world for even letting pride pass my door without frowning at him. I am now, as ever, able to join with Paul in saying, “Having nothing yet possessing all things.”
see Era, last week, a theatrical paper, where you can read about “EXETER HALL THEATRE” linked with Drury Lane, Princess’s, etc. Read the slander in Ipswich Express and the London Empire. The two latter have made an apology.
I long to come and throw one of my bombs into Cambridge; you are a sleepy set, and want an explosion to wake you. (Here omit a gentleman whose initials are J. S.W.) I am coming on Good Friday; is your house still the Bishop’s Hostel? Of course it is. Now, DO write me; I love you as much as ever, and owe you a vast debt. Why not come and see me? I know you pray for me.
Tuesday, [April, 1855].
DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER, —
The people are silly to follow me so much. It now gets worse.
Crowds awful on Sunday last. Collected £90 morning and evening at the hall. At Shoreditch, on Tuesday, there were eight or nine hundred where only six hundred should have been admitted; upon personally appealing to the throng outside, disappointed at not getting in, most of them dispersed, and allowed the rest of us to worship as well as we could with windows open to let those hear who remained outside.
Joseph is still shot at by the archers, and sorely grieved; (see Baptist Reporter, United Presbyterian Magazine, Critic, Christian News, etc., with a lot of small fry ;) but his bow abides in strength, neither does he tremble. Oh, my dear brother, envy has vexed me sorely; —
I have just received a handsome silver inkstand, bearing this inscription: “Presented to Mr. C. H. Spurgeon by J. and S. Alldis, as a token of sincere gratitude to him as the instrument, under Almighty God, of turning them from darkness to light, March 30, 1855.” The devil may look at that as often as he pleases; it will afford him sorry comfort.
April 24, 1855.
MY DEAR SIR, —
I am usually careless of the notices of papers concerning myself, referring all honor to my Master, and believing that dishonorable articles are but advertisements for me, and bring more under the sound of the gospel. But you, my dear Sir (I know not why), have been pleased to speak so favorably of my labors that I think it only right that I should thank you. If I could have done so personally, I would have availed myself of the pleasure, but the. best substitute is by letter. Amid a constant din of abuse, it is pleasant to poor flesh and blood to hear one favorable voice. I am far from deserving much that you have said in my praise, but as I am equally undeserving of the coarse censure poured on me by the Essex Standard, etc., etc., I will set the one against the other. I am neither eloquent nor learned, but the Head of the Church has given me sympathy with the unenlightened. I never sought popularity, and I cannot tell how it is so many come to hear me; but shall I now change? To please the polite critic, shall I leave “the people,” who so much require a simple and stirring style?
I am, perhaps, “vulgar,” and so on, but it is not intentional, save that I must and mill make the people listen. My firm conviction is, that we have quite enough polite preachers, and that “the many” require a change. God has owned me to the most degraded and off-cast; let others serve their class; these are mine, and to them I must keep. My sole reason for thus troubling you is one of gratitude to a disinterested friend. You may another time have good cause to censure me ; —
Believe me, My dear Sir, Yours very sincerely, C. H. SPURGEON.
Feb. 23, 1856.
MY DEAR BROTHER, —
A wearied soldier finds one moment of leisure to write a despatch to his brother in arms. Eleven times this week have I gone forth to battle, and at least thirteen services are announced for next week. Additions to the church, last year, 282; received this year, in three months, more than 80; —
30 more proposed for next months, —
The Lord Mayor, though a Jew, has been to our chapel; he came up to my vestry to thank me. I am to go and see him at the Mansion House. The Chief Commissioner of Police also came, and paid me a visit in the vestry; but, better still, some thieves, thimbleriggers, harlots, etc., have come, and some are now in the church, as also a right honorable hot-potato man, who is prominently known as “a hot Spurgeonite.”
The sale of sermons is going up, —
some have sold £5,000.
I write mere heads, for you can fill up details.
SABBATH Morning and evening: New Park Street.
Afternoon: to address the Schools.
Morning: at Howard Hintoh’s Chapel.
Afternoon: New Park Street.
Evening: New Park Street.
Morning: Zion Chapel, Whitechapel.
Evening: Zion Chapel, Whitechapel.
Evening: New Park Street.
Morning: Dr. Fletcher’s Chapel.
Evening: Mr. Rogers’ Chapel, Brixton.