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  • LETTERS OF C. H. SPURGEON


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    TO VARIOUS FRIENDS

    To [Rev. R. Knill]. CAMBRIDGE, Feb. 7, ‘53-MY DEAR SIR, —

    I feel confident that you will pardon the liberty I take when you read the occasion of it. I have for some time wished to write to you, but could not find you out, until in The Banner I observed a notice of your preaching in the theater of Chester.

    Eight or nine years ago, you were travelling, as a Deputation from the London Missionary Society, in the county of Essex. Among other places, you preached at the village of Stambourne. I was then a little boy staying at my grandfather’s (Rev. Jas. Spurgeon). You kindly noticed me; I read at family prayer; you took me by your side, and talked to me in a very affectionate manner. You told me a tale of a little boy in Colchester; we went into an arbor in the garden, there you asked me to sing, and I joined in as well as I could. I shall never forget the way in which you tried to lead me to the Savior. Your conversation and spirit were all a father’s could have been, and that one interview has made my heart yours. My eyes rejoice to see your name, and the mention of it brings up emotions of gratitude. In fact, unknown to you, a few words you then spoke have been a sort of star to my existence, and my friends look on them with half the reverence of prophecy. You meant them not perhaps to last so long, but now they are imperishable; they were to this effect, and were heard by more than one: “I think this little man will one day be a preacher of the gospel, and I hope a successful one. I think you will preach in Rowland Hills Chapel; and when you do, tell the people this verse, ‘ God moves in a mysterious way,’ etc.” You told me to learn the hymn, and said it seemed perhaps unlikely, but Providence had wrought wonders, and you thought it would be so. This is often mentioned by my grandfather; and somehow, though I am far enough from being superstitious, it holds me fast, and I do confidently, and yet, somehow (and paradoxically), distrustfully, look forward to the time when the whole shall come to pass.

    When sixteen and a half years old, I was persuaded to preach in the villages, having for some time been often called to address children in Sabbath Schools, and always gaining attention, perhaps from my youth as much as anything. Once started in lay-preaching around Cambridge —

    where I was and am still assistant in a school, —

    I put my soul into the work. Having been invited to supply, for one Sabbath, the Baptist Church at Waterbeach, I did so; I was invited to continue, and have now been the minister of the congregation for one year and four months. The chapel is always full, many profess to have felt the power of Divine grace, and residents in the neighborhood say that there is a visible reform manifest; God has used things that are not, to bring to nought things that are. I preach thrice on the Sabbath; and often, indeed, almost constantly, five times in the week-nights. My salary being insufficient, I still remain in the school. Though the congregation is large, they being poor, or men of small property, are unable to do much, —

    though their kindness may be judged of from the fact that I have been to sixty-two different houses to dine on the Lord’s Day. Thus are your words in part realized.

    Though I do not say that your conversation did then lead to my conversion, yet the thought of what I conceived might be my position one day ever worked in me a desire to gain true religion, which even then I knew was the great essential in a minister. I long for nothing more earnestly than to serve God with all my might. My education is amply sufficient for my present station, and I have means and desires for further improvement.

    The particulars I have given are perhaps too lengthy, but you will excuse it.

    I could not refrain from letting you know what is no doubt more interesting to me than to you. I pray that, while standing on the polluted ground, (in Chester theater), you may consecrate it in many a heart by being the means of their conversion. Your words spoken in season have been good to me; and if I am of any use in the army of the living God, I owe it in great part to you that I ever enlisted in it. I am not nineteen yet; and need, and trust I shall have, a mention in your prayers.

    With the greatest respect, I am, Yours truly, CHARLES SPURGEON.


    P.S.

    Since you are much engaged, I shall scarcely expect a line from you; but if I should be happy enough to receive one, I shall be rejoiced.

    To [The Misses Blunson]. BOROUGH, March, 1854.

    MY DEAR FRIENDS, —

    I have not forgotten you, although I have been silent so long. I have thought of your trials, and have requested of my Master that He would comfort and sustain you. If you have a portion in Him, your troubles will be blessings, and every grief will be turned into a mercy.

    I am very well, and everything goes on even better than I could have hoped. My chapel, though large, is crowded; the aisles are blocked up, and every niche is packed as full as possible. I expect to come and see you in about a month. I hope to be at Waterbeach the fourth Sabbath in April. I get on very well in my present lodgings ; —

    but not better than with you, for that would be impossible. I had nothing to wish for better than I had, for your attention to me was beyond all praise. I cannot but feel very much for you, and only wish that I knew how I could serve you.

    I hope you will not give way to doubts and despondency; but do what you can, and leave the rest to God. Blessed is the man who has the God of Jacob for his Helper; he need not fear either want, or pain, or death. The more you can realize this, the happier you become; and the only means for so doing is to hold frequent communion with God in prayer. Get alone with Jesus, and He will comfort your hearts, and restore your weary souls.

    I hope you have let your rooms. I think I shall stop at Mrs. Warticker’s; but I will be sure to come and see you, and leave something to remember me by. Trust in God, and be glad, and —

    Believe me to be, Yours truly, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Rev. John Anderson]. NEW KENT ROAD, Monday, 24th Nov., 1856.

    VERY DEAR FRIEND,—

    I have received your munificent donation, and return you very hearty thanks, and beg you to express my gratitude to all those who have contributed.

    Yesterday, the Lord was with me mightily; not a dog moved his tongue.

    But, oh, the griefs I have endured! God has borne me up, or I had been overwhelmed.

    How hell has howled, but how Heaven will triumph! How is the work in Helensburgh? I hope the shout of a King is with you.

    Dear wife and I very often talk of our dear Anderson. You are very near to our hearts.

    Our boys are well, so is “beloved Apphia.” Give our kind regards to all friends, and accept our true love yourself.

    I am, Yours ever, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Mr. Sawday, Sen.]. CLAPHAM, April 12, ‘62.

    MY DEAR SIR, —

    I scarcely wonder at your preference of Regent’s Park College for your son, but I think you labor under some mistake, for it so happens that the ground of your choice is just one of the evils which my Institute seeks to remedy.

    The residence of a number of young men in one house encourages and necessarily generates levity; their separation from common social life is a serious injury, and tends to unfit them for the wear and tear of future work among ordinary mortals. When a young man resides in a Christian family, not only is he under the most vigilant oversight, but he never ceases to be one of the people. We are far from putting our men into the way of temptation; on the other hand, we think our arrangement is the most effectual method of preservation. I merely write this because your brief acquaintance with our systems may allow me to suppose that this view of the case has not suggested itself to you.

    Our tutors are sound scholars; but, as we do not aim at any very profound scholarship, we allot but two years to the course. The young men who have left us have been very useful, and the class now in hand will bear comparison with any body of men living.

    I could not, while possessing any self-respect, prepare your son for Dr.

    Angus; but I shall be delighted to be of any other service to him.

    Yours most truly, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Mr. John Ruskin]. CLAPHAM, Nov. 26, 1862.

    MY DEAR MR.RUSKIN, —

    I thought you had cast me off; but I perceive that you let me alone when all is right, and only look me up when you are getting disgusted with me. May that disgust increase if it shall bring me oftener into your company!

    I shall be delighted to see you to-morrow, lucre, at any time from 10 to if this will suit you.

    I wish I had a den in the Alps to go to; but it is of no use for me to grow surly, for I am compelled to live amongst you sinners, and however disgusted I may get with you all, I must put up with you, for neither Nature nor Providence will afford a den for me.

    Yours ever most truly and affectionately, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Rev. William Landels, D.D.]. MY STUDY, Saturday, September 3, 1864.

    MY DEAR AND RIGHT FAITHFUL BROTHER,—

    It is strange that you, who differ so widely from me, should be the first man to stand side by side with me in my time of need. Not strange when I know your character and have learned by experience to appreciate you, but still sweetly strange that you, the last of my friends, should be the best in the day of trouble; let me add to that sentence this word —

    last probably through my own fault.

    I should have written at once, but heard you were away; in writing now let me thank you from my soul. I have learned to stand alone, but I have not learned to undervalue true friendship. Like myself, you have nothing to gain in this world by your testimony, but you and I know something of what it is to be sustained by conscience and the Master’s smile.

    Your hints upon my severity I understand and do not dislike, but you may not feel quite so thoroughly as I do the depth of the evil and the need of the plainest rebuke; and, moreover, I have my own peculiarities and cannot speak like any other. Far enough am I from claiming freedom from error in my modes of witness-bearing, but when I hear our erring brethren cry, “If he had said so and so we should not have minded it,” since I meant them to mind, the more content I am to glory even in infirmity because the power of Christ rests on the work.

    I beg an interest in your prayers, even as I pray for you. We are not run in the same mould, why should we be? but we cannot cease to love each other at any time, much less when common struggles thus cement us. Mr. Noel talks of love and unity, and then forsakes me when I only echo his own former utterances. Alas, how many leap with the many in apparent charity, and limp when real love is needed.

    Please read my letter to the Alliance, which will be sent to you.

    I thank you again and again. Twenty-seven pamphlets I have, and only four on the side of truth.

    Yours lovingly, C. H. SPURGEON.


    CLAPHAM,

    February 18, 1865.

    MY DEAR FRIEND, —

    I owe you very many thanks for the splendid addition your kindness has made to my library. I shall very greatly value the books as coming from yourself in so kind a manner, and for their own sakes too.

    Mrs. Spurgeon desires her kindest thanks for your kind remembrance of her. May you have every blessing, abounding in your path, work, home, and person.

    Yours very thankfully, C. H. SPURGEON.


    NIGHTINGALE LANE,

    Saturday Evening MY DEAR FRIEND, —

    Can your course of lectures commence with the second week of the New Year and last through six Fridays from three to four? This would carry my men over my absence, and be, you scarcely can tell how great, a relief to me. I am in some trouble, which I carry to my Lord, but I want human help and sympathy. Mr.____ grows old, and we begin to feel it; I want more help; if God moves you to render it, it will be a boon indeed. I am in my very soul heart to heart with you, and I think we grow towards one another. I could trust you as I could not everyone, or scarcely one.

    Lectures and sermons already in your hand might be made invaluable to me, with less toil to you than benefit to a rising race of ministers. I know you are overworked, and if you feel you cannot do it I will not press, but just now my need is urgent, and your aid will come in as a great boon. You will do it if you can.

    I ought to be getting my sermon, but cannot readily settle to it because of cares which toss my brain. Having tried the human side, I shall now cast all my care on the Divine Helper; but I feel as if I had you here sympathizing with me now that I have written you.

    Breathe a prayer for me, and believe me ever to be —

    Your loving brother, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Rev. Newman Hall, LL.B.]. MENTONE, Jan. 20.

    BELOVED BROTHER, —

    Your love allows brevity. Thank you. I am arising from stupor to pain, from pain to intervals of ease, from coughing hard to a weak voice, from writhing to wriggling about in an initial style of walking with a chair for a go-cart. I have had an escape which makes me shudder with gratitude.

    Here is a man who knocked out his teeth and yet did not cut his flesh, and turned over twice so completely as to put his money into his boots.

    Something of the comic attends solemnity when I am in the midst of it. I have not lost a grain of peace or even of joy, yet I pity a dog that has felt so much in all his four legs as I have had in one. All is well. I shall be home soon.

    Yours most lovingly, C. H. SPURGEON.


    WESTWOOD,

    July 4, 1888.

    MY DEAR FRIEND, —

    I have only just heard that to-day is your anniversary. I congratulate you, and I pray that you may have a right good day. If I had been well enough, I would have accepted your invitation, you may be quite sure. I thank you and your friends for many kindnesses received by way of help in my hour of sickness. The Lord bless you who preached, and the people who spared you! In these days, we are two of the old school. Our experience has taught us that, both for conversion and edification, the doctrine of Christ crucified is all sufficient. A childlike faith in the atoning sacrifice is the foundation for the purest and noblest of characters. As the hammer comes down on the anvil ever with the same ring, so will we preach Christ, Christ, CHRIST, and nothing else but Christ.

    Our friends leave us for the suburbs, but I trust the Lord will raise up around us another generation of faithful men. God bless those attached brethren who stick to us, and bear the brunt of the battle with us! I feel a deep gratitude to all such, both at the Tabernacle and at Christ Church. To you I desire continued health and joyous communion with God.

    Yours very heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Mr. and Mrs. Robert Miller]. NIGHTINGALE LANE, June 30, 1877.

    DEAR FRIENDS,—

    We are both bound to be in Scotland upon the joyful occasion of Aug. I, but we are grateful for your kindness in asking us, and we wish for the bride and bridegroom a mint of blessings, and for the friends on both sides the favor of the Lord.

    We shall hope to remember the happy couple at the time, though we hope to be among the Islands of the Northern Sea.

    Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.


    C.

    SPURGEON.

    To [Prof. W. S. Aldis]. WESTWOOD, Oct. 18, 1882.

    DEAR SIR,—

    My son was weak in the lungs, but the climate of Auckland has quite set him up. I should think it is the place for an invalid; at any rate, it is the place for him.

    My knowledge is slender, but all encouraging.

    Your letter asking for an interview on Saturday did not reach here till Monday, or I would gladly have seen you.

    May you be guided; and I think the oracle will say “Go.” Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Rev. A. S. Patton]. LONDON, March 26, 1884. DEAR SIR, —

    I do not know who “the sainted gentleman” may be, but he did not speak the truth if he reported me as saying that I hated a close-communion Baptist as I hate the devil. I never even thought of such a thing, and assuredly it is not and never was true of me. The “saint” must have dreamed it, or have mistaken the person.

    The most unaccountable statements are made by men of known integrity, and they can only be accounted for by misunderstanding or forgetfulness. I know my own mind and views, and I can say, without reserve, that the expression could not have been used by me. As compared with the bulk of English Baptists, I am a strict-communionist myself, as my churchfellowship is strictly of the baptized.

    Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Dr. Doudney]. MENTONE, January 6, 1892.

    DEAR VENERABLE BROTHER, —

    I know that a bit of real deep and grateful experience like my grandfather’s is sure to suit you even as it does me. We rejoice to hear from our old friend. The Lord bless thee. You are now enjoying ripe fruit. The Gospel is good when it is green and new to us, but it suits us better and better as our autumn of life mellows our knowledge. We have no inclination to change’ I might almost say “no temptation to alter.” None but Jesus; nothing but grace. Our love to you. I am slowly improving.

    Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    Written to a venerable friend in his eighty-ninth year, in answer to a message of gratitude for a sermon.

    MY DEAR BROTHER, —

    I thank you for your word of good cheer. It is a great joy to be the means of comfort to an aged believer. You will very likely get home before I shall, but tell them I am coming as fast as the gout will let me. The Lord will not leave you now that hoary hairs have come, but will now carry you in His bosom. Peace be unto you!

    Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    Letter from Rev. C. H. Spurgeon sent with a Study Table used by him during the first fifteen years of his ministry in London. CLAPHAM, Nov. 16, ‘71.

    DEAR MR.GOLDSTON,—

    Warranty of Table.

    This is to certify that the table this day sent to Mr. Goldston has never been known to turn, twist, dance, fly up into the air or otherwise misbehave. It has not been addicted to convivial habits and has never been known to be on a roar. As a most studious piece of furniture it is sent to a studious man with the kind regards of C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Dr. David Brown]. NIGHTINGALE LANE, May 11 [1877].

    DEAR SIR, —

    I have to apologize for having troubled you twice about so small a matter as your autograph; but the fact is, I did not recognize Dr. David Brown of Duncan’s Memoir as the David Brown of The Commentary. Pray excuse me. I am getting to fear and tremble about the Browns. You must know that the President and Vice-President of our Baptist Union are both Browns, and that the Chairman of our London Association is also a Brown.


    “Browns to right of us, Browns to left of us, etc.” God bless them all!

    Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Rev. J. W. Harrald]. [Undated. ]


    DEAR MR.HARRALD, —

    I think your having a wife would not quite preclude your being sent out to South Australia. Passage would be paid for both, I think. I am not, however, sure of this, and of course a single man would be preferred. As to moving to some English sphere. I must leave that with yourself. I am sure you will be useful wherever you go. When you feel you ought to leave you shall have my best aid in finding another sphere. I fear your leaving Shoreham would destroy what you have built up, and if this be a wellgrounded fear I would urge you to remain. In any case we should try to meet with a fit successor, before we shifted ground. May our Lord direct you evermore. Present my kindest regards to Mrs. Harrald.

    Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.


    BENMORE,

    July, 1880.

    MY DEAR HARRALD,—

    Thank you for your notes which tell me no more than is needful and all that I want to know. I will send the receipt to Mr. C. I suppose there will be pages of accounts extra. If there should be need for more small print for the Magazine one of Mr. Dawe’s “Apostles” can be inserted. I did the notes easily and I thank you for so admirably forming the backbone of them. I am greatly enjoying my holiday and I wish you could have one also, but I fear it will not be till late, for we shall soon be in the throes of moving. I am writing with a patent pen which carries its own ink, but I don’t think much of it, for it seems to me to be very indistinct and more like a pencil than a pen. Have you heard how Miss C. gets on, and whether she is with Mr. H.? Peace be ever with you.

    Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Canon Palmer]. NIGHTINGALE LANE, July 4.

    DEAR SIR, —

    I beg to call your attention to the great disturbance caused by the ringing of a bell, at St. Gabriel’s Church, while the congregation at the Tabernacle is engaged in prayer. I reminded your predecessor that no right of bellringing belongs to any but a parish church, and informed him that I really must appeal to the law to stop the needless nuisance. He very kindly reduced the evil to the minimum, and I no longer objected. I am sure it is far from me to wish to interfere with the peculiar habits of my neighbors; but when many hundreds of persons, met to worship God, are disturbed by the clanging of a loud bell, it compels me to complain. The hours when we are at worship are at 11 and 6.30 on Sunday, and from 7 to 8.30 p.m. on Monday and Thursday.

    Wishing to be upon good terms with all in the parish, I trust that you will not allow the bell-ringer to disturb us further, but will substitute a few strokes for the many which are now given.

    I am, Yours truly, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Canon Palmer]. [Undated. ]


    DEAR SIR, —

    I am exceedingly obliged by your prompt and Christian reply. I felt it needful to make my protest against the bell-ringing somewhat strong, that I might not appear to be asking a favor merely, but claiming a right not to be disturbed. Otherwise, the lapse of years gives right to a custom against which no protest is entered. This, and no unfriendliness to you, prompted what you considered to be a threat. I can only hope that future correspondence may be, on my part, on a more pleasant subject, and, on your part, may be in the same generous tone.

    Yours very heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Mr. F. J. Feltham]. NIGHTINGALE LANE, Dec. 5.

    DEAR SIR, —

    I tender you my Christian love in return for this good thoughtful deed of yours, which may my Lord repay.

    I have been too pressed to write before; but you have cheered me and made me pray, “God bless him!” £20 safely received.

    Yours heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Rev. Arthur Tappan Pierson, D.D.]. [MENTONE] 1891.

    DEAR DR.PIERSON, —

    The Lord’s name be praised that ever I knew you. He planned to set me aside and at the same time He made you ready to fill the vacancy. Every word about you makes me praise God for sending you. I feel that I can rest in you as one sent by my faithful Lord to do faithfully His work. May you never have to regret anything in connection with your remarkable deed of brotherly love....

    Moses may be weak but Aaron and Hur are strong in the Lord. I am mending as to flesh but quite restored in spirit. Before long I hope to be on the watch tower again and gratefully surveying the fort which you have held to the satisfaction of all the garrison....

    I trust that Mrs. Pierson is not unhappy in the city of Gog, Magog and Fog. I cannot wonder, but I do ponder over, the great unselfish love that keeps you grinding in the fog that I may rest in the sun. God bless you and make it up to you.

    Yours ever heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

    To [Mr. John Seivwright]. MENTONE, Dec. 27, 1891. DEAR SIR,-Shut in by rain on Sabbath, I receive your fraternal note. I thank you much. The Lord be with you and all His saints in Aberdeen. I progress slowly, but I think surely. In me let His will be done, and that shall be joy to me, be it what it may.

    Yours very heartily, C. H. SPURGEON.

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