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LETTERS OF C. H. SPURGEON
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TO HIS SON CHARLES HELIGOLAND,
MY DEAR CHARLIE, —
I am very glad that you wrote a nice little note to your dear mother, and I hope it is a sign that you are always going to be diligent and thoughtful, and this will be a glad thing indeed .... I am delighted to hear that you are doing so well at College. Give my love to all the students, and tell Mr. Rogers that it always cheers me to know that the brethren bear me up in their prayers.
On this little island there is a lighthouse; you see it at the top, on the left of the picture. It is much needed, for many vessels are wrecked here. We live down below, on the beach, near the square tower with a flag on it; that is a bath-house. Steamers come every two days, and then we can send letters; at other times, we are far off from everybody, alone in the wide, wide sea.
Nov. 3, MY VERY DEAR BOY —
I have had a very happy journey and am very much better. You can trace my journey thus: I have been in stately Brussels, sniffed in odoriferous Cologne, slept in Rhine-washed Mayence, inspected regal Munich, rested in rustic Botzen, floated in palatial Venice, eaten sausage in Bologna, roamed in flowery Florence, and tarried in imperial Rome. Everywhere protected and blessed of God, I am most grateful, and desire to come back strong for the service of God.
One of my sweetest joys is to hear that a spirit of prayer is in your school, and that you participate in it. To know that you love the Lord and are mighty in prayer would be my crowning joy, and the hope that you do so already is a happy one to me. Dear boy, I should like you to preach, but it is best that you pray. Many a preacher has proved a castaway, but never one person who had truly learned to pray.
Be careful that your life is consistent with your prayers. You and your brother are differently constituted, and have different temptations, but God is able to bless you both alike, and I pray that He may do so richly.
Give my regards to Mr. Olding. Receive my love for yourself.
June 26, 1874.
MY DEAR CHARLIE, —
Your kind letter was very pleasant to me, and made my birthday much happier. I am right glad to see that you intend putting on the armor in earnest for the battle of life, into which you must now enter. We have to carry babies; but it is always a glad occasion when they run alone. After that, comes another period of carrying on a larger scale; and then comes (as now) the time for another running alone is to manly, serious, earnest, industrious life-work. We do not expect you to run, in this sense, all at once; and we shall not be surprised if there are some stumbles and failures; but we shall hope to see you an upright man, capable of any honest achievement, and bending all your strength to accomplish an honorable lifework.
I am full of hope about you; and if I feel any anxiety, it is because I love you so well that I want you to be a greater success than other young men. I believe you love the Lord, and’ that is the main thing; the next is, stick to it. Leave childish things once for all, and buckle to the work. It will not be pleasant, and it may even become irksome; but the harder you work, at first, the less you will have to do in later life. The times are so pushing that you must put out all your energies; and, above all, you must be careful, and very persevering; and then, with God’s blessing, you will soon take a position to which your father and mother can point with pleasure. If you do not preach the gospel, you must help me to do it, and make money for Jesus. With my two sons at my side, I shall be able to do marvels, if the Lord be with us.
Letters from your dear mother are encouraging. Do not write to me here, as I am flitting.
March 7, [1875 ].
MINE OWN DEAR SON,
I think it very kind and thoughtful of you to write to your father and the more so because the time you have to yourself is not very long. It is a great mercy to feel so much better, and I am sure you will help me to bless God for it. Your dear mother has also been far better in health while down here with me than I have known her to be for a long time; this is another great cause for thankfulness. She is so very dear to us that we are all affected by her condition.
I am glad you desire to do something for the Lord and shall be still more so when you actually set about it. Time flies, and the opportunity for doing good flies with it. However diligent you may be in the future you can only do the work of 1875 in 1875, and if you leave it undone now it will be undone to all eternity.
are all a real service of the Lord. The hours in which your earthly calling is followed industriously for’ Christ’s sake, are really hours of work for Jesus; but still this cannot satisfy you, or at least I hope it cannot. As redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus you feel that you belong to Him and you long to shew your love to Him by actions directly meant to extend His kingdom and gather in souls which He loves to bless.
When once such efforts are commenced they become easier and a kind of hunger to do more seizes upon the heart. It is not toil, but pleasure; and if God blesses what we do it rises from being a common pleasure to become a sacred delight.
Dear son, may all blessings abound towards you. You know I love you very dearly.
Dec. 14, ‘78.
MY DEAR SON, —
I pray earnestly for you under the solemn responsibility of to-morrow. May your father’s God lift you out of yourself, give you lowly dependence on His Spirit, and pleading earnestness that men may come to Christ. I am very ill, or I would be in my pulpit. I am ready to weep at being still away.
Only lean thou wholly on Him who has been my stay these many years and be nothing before Him.
Only they will be all sure that it will be my highest joy to be back among them, to see their loving faces, and to speak to them the good word. I am an exiled prisoner, and the iron enters into my soul, but the Lord is God, and in His name do I hope.
MY DEAR SON, —
I shall be right glad if you can help the Colportage in any way, for just now it is in great straits. Therefore, go to Birmingham, if you can.
In general follow this rule —
Do not engage yourself far ahead; for some fitting place for you to settle in may suddenly appear and it would be a great pity to lose it for the sake of some travelling engagements. Work hard now at theology, and never leave off doing so. The more you put in the more will come out. Get nearer and nearer to the Lord in prayer, and in your general walk, and so you will gain a depth which cannot come in any other way.
Your time will soon be up, and I should like you to begin in some sphere, not too large, nor too small, from which you may step into a life-long position. I think you will maintain a good congregation, and by God’s blessing will be useful. We must not push or strive to get you a position, but wait on the Lord and He will do better for you than I can. When Bishops look out for livings for their nephews or sons we condemn their nepotism, and we must not fall into it ourselves. You will be patient and believing, and the right door will open. Cheer them all at home.
Jan. 15, 1881.
MY DEAR SON, —
bad as it is.
It is a great delight to me to receive such loving letters from the Bishop of Greenwich who is also my son and heir, and it is even more joy to see that God is prospering you and making your work successful. I think you have made specially good progress in the time.
Remember me to Mr. Huntley and all the good people.
I have not had this week’s letter from Tabernacle, and so have not had the eulogiums on your sermons. I am better and better. It is 42 days since we have had rain, and all along the fine weather has been unbroken.
I am so grieved about your dear mother, and my impulse is to come home at once, but then I reflect that I can do her no good, and should do her harm by becoming the second invalid to be waited on. Dear Char, don’t get the rheums or the gouts, but spin away on your skates and your cycles.
Don’t go too much over the bridge, —
but you may give my love to Sis.
Th sermon was capital. Thank you much.
Mr. Harrald and George are deeply shocked at your wishing them “plenty of beer.” From a teetotaler this is very suspicious, you should have wished them “an ale.”
WESTWOOD, June 21, 1881.
DEAR SON, —
God bless you evermore. I have great joy in you. I ought to have written to your wife rather than to you for she has collected this £5. However, as I have written you, please give her a dozen extra kisses for me, and thank her much.
See you tomorrow, if the Lord will.
Oct. 4, MY DEAR SON, —
I married your uncle, James, yesterday, to Miss Withers, and then came on here. I am to occupy Hengler’s Circus to-day, and I am a little nervous.
Your mother has not been quite so well of late, but still pretty fair. All things continue much the same. I saw your good Mr. Batchelor last week at the Association Conference.
Mr. Menzies has just come in, and called me off from writing: he wishes to be remembered to you. I suppose you will now be in the middle of your work, and I pray that you may be divinely aided therein. Give them the whole gospel in all its simplicity, there is nothing like it. Thousands will receive it with delight and God will be glorified.
I think the Baptist meetings here will be a great success; they have hitherto been first class. For my sermon this afternoon there were a fortnight ago 15,000 applications, though only 5,000 can be admitted. Oh, for a blessing!
I look up and expect it.
We hear good news from Tom, and we are doing all we can for his new chapel.
April 6, 1883.
MY DEAR SON, —
I feel already most dosely united to the brethren in South Street, but these generous deeds make the unity to be more powerfully felt. May you with them enjoy the richest prosperity. Peace and progress attend you.
Your affectionate father, C. H. SPURGEON.
OCT. 6, 1883.
On the first occasion I shall go and have a Luther service for young men at Exeter Hall if you can serve me; and on the second I hope to be at Mentone. I put you on my last Sunday away, so as to leave a good interval that your good people might not be vexed.
Feb. 25, 1888.
DEAREST OF SONS, —
Quite right. Always open telegrams in such a case. We are one. The Lord is with us, I am sure. MayHE be with you to-morrow in a very special way. Truth will pay her own charges though she costs dear for awhile.
Your loving sire, C. H. S.
Sept. 20, 1888.
MY DEAR SON,—
The Lord, Himself, bless you. Long may your useful life be continued and growing blessings be given to you, and be scattered by you. It is always a joy to me even to think of you. In all things you cause me comfort and delight, and specially for the grace manifested in you.
I could not tell what birthday gift to send you and so I thought I would ask you to serve me by taking upon yourself the trouble of laying out the enclosed little check for something which would give you pleasure.
May 23, 1889.
MY DEAR SON, —
It seemed a long time to be without news of you, but what I have now received is eminently satisfactory as to yourself.
We have had a glorious Conference. Never so good before. All else goes well.
Your dear mother grows weaker and weaker, and looks at times very worn and weary. I was washed out by the Conference, but feel somewhat better now. Had a good time at Surrey and Middlesex at Brentford last Tuesday.
I don’t know what to say to Tom. He has never told me the case, and I really know not how to advise when I am quite in the dark. He is so good that it seems a great pity that there should be disagreement. I will, however, write him.
I fear there is not time for this to reach you. MENTONE, Dec. 12.
MY DEAR SON, —
Your note was a real joy to me. What a good fellow you are. I live twice in seeing you so firm in the faith of God’s elect. I do not wonder that the chickens flock around the man who gives them real corn and not mere chaff. The Lord keep you evermore true to the truth, and you will see His hand with you more and more.
Your little notices of books are first-rate. Short and pithy —
better than half-a-page of long-winded nothings. You may do as many as ever you like, for nobody can do them better, nor as well.
You charm me as I ‘think of your interesting your dear mother, with your views and lantern. It is most sad to have her at home, when I am here, enjoying myself. What can we do but try to cheer her up at home and pray the Lord to give her journeying strength. I am right glad to hear of the growth and advancement of the little girl. God bless her mother.
Yes, I am having a true holiday —
not idle, but restful. Our weather here is not so very warm, but just such as to allow of sitting about outdoors. Not many people out here yet. Flowers scarce, since autumn rains did not fall; I hope they are not coming in winter instead.
MY DEAR SON, —
The friends like to hear how I am, so please read them the little note which follows. I have an extreme content in having my pulpit occupied by my dear son. May your father’s God be with you. Love to the dear wife and chicks.
Your own father, C. H. S.
I reached Marseilles early this morning after travelling all night. Through the goodness of God I have borne the journey well. The pains of the head are nearly gone; sleeplessness is leaving; and the general weariness is much less. All that was needed was rest. Fifty-six cannot do, even with effort, what twenty-six performed with ease. God bless you all, dear friends, I thank you with all my heart, for sending me away without any burden; your generous love did marvels, may God’s love reward you. May my dear son be made a blessing to many. MENTONE, Nov. 2, .
To Char. and Sis.
DEAR CHILDREN, —
The Lord bless you in reference to this new babe, in whom the Lord restores to you that which He took away in His good pleasure. May the life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and the boy become a saintly man, a minister of the Lord. May the Lord speak with him as a child, as He did with Samuel, and may he live honored in Israel as Samuel did.
MENTONE, Jan. 12, 1892.
MY DEAR SON CHAR, —
I am truly sorry to hear that you are so ill, but all I can do is to pray our Lord to restore you, and bless you and the dear wife and bairns. It seems so strange that you should be laid by in the middle of so much usefulness; but it is often so. So that you may at least know that you are not put on the shelf because you are useless. Some good reason lies hidden in the Divine bosom. Be of good cheer ....
Trying weather just now, but I am holding my own. Mr. F. T. been here and Gone.
Receive my love, and that of your dear mother.