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  • C.H. SPURGEON - LECTURES TO MY STUDENTS -
    INTRODUCTION.


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    THE former series of my lectures met with a welcome which was by no means anticipated by their author. Everyone has received the book kindly, and some have grown enthusiastic over it. To the gentlemen of the press I am deeply indebted for their cordial reviews, to the general public for largely purchasing, but specially to the many individuals who in private letters have spoken of the work in approving words, which I am not ungrateful enough to forget, nor vain enough to repeat. A man may be allowed to feel glad when he is thanked for having been of service to his fellow ‘men, and those men the ministers of the Lord. It is comforting to know that you have aimed at usefulness, pleasant to believe that you have succeeded, and most of all encouraging to have been assured of it by the persons benefited. With no little fear and trembling the former lectures were submitted to the public eye, but the result is now looked back upon with unusual content. As in duty bound and by gratitude prompted, thanksgivings to God are hereby very earnestly recorded, and indebtedness is also expressed to kindly hearts who have given my addresses so hearty a reception.

    One result of the unanimous generosity of my critics has been this second series of lectures: whether this will prove to be a fresh trial for patience, or a further source of satisfaction to my readers, time alone will show. I hope the lectures are not worse than their predecessors. In some respects they ought to be better, for I have had three years’ more experience; but there is one valid reason why the latter should hardly be expected to be equal to the former, and it is this — the subjects are not numerous, and the first choice naturally takes off the cream, so that the next gathering must consist of minor topics. I hope, however, that the quality has not very seriously fallen off, and that the charity of my readers will not fail. At any rate, I do not offer that which has cost me nothing, for I have done my best and taken abundant pains. Therefore with clear conscience I place my work at the service of my brethren, especially hoping to have a careful reading from young preachers, whose profiting has been my principal aim. I have made my addresses entirely for students and beginners in preaching, and I beg that they may always be regarded, from that point of view, for many remarks which are proper enough to be made to raw recruits it would be gross impertinence to place before masters in Israel. The intent and object will be borne in mind by every candid reader.

    I seize the present opportunity to call attention to ‘the second of my three books for students, for this is properly the third; I allude to the volume entitled, “Commenting and Commentaries. ” It embodies the experience and information of a lifetime, but being very much occupied with a Catalogue of Commentaries it cannot commend itself to popular tastes, and must be confined in its circulation to those who wish for information upon expository works. To my own surprise it is in the tenth thousand, but numbers of readers to whom it might be valuable have not yet seen it. As almost all the reviewers speak of it with much praise, I think it will be worth any young meanwhile to buy it before he gets far on in the formation of a library. It is on my heart, if life is spared, to issue six half-crown books for preachers: the fourth, which is much of it prepared, will be occupied with” The Art of Illustration, ” and I am anxious in no one instance to waste time and labor upon books which will not be read. Hence my reason for mentioning the Commenting book in this place. Life is short, and time is precious to a busy man. Whatever we do we wish to make the most of.

    One more apology and note. The lectures upon “Posture, Gesture, Action, etc., ” will probably be judged to make too much of a secondary matter. I wish I could think so myself. My own observation led me to think them needful, for it has scores of times occurred to me to lament that speakers should neglect those minor points until they spoil themselves thereby. It matters little how a man moves his body and hands so long as he does not call attention to himself by becoming ungainly and grotesque. That many do this is a fact which few will deny, and my motive is not to make mirth at good men’s expense, but to prevent its being done by their hearers. It is sad to see the Lord’s message marred by being ill told, or to have attention taken off from it by the oddities of the messenger manner. Could those who consider me to be trifling only see the results of bad action, as they are seen by those who wish that they did not see them, they would discover that a very serious propose lies beneath the somewhat sarcastic humor which I have employed; and if they also believed, as I do, that such evils cannot be cured except by exposing them to ridicule, they would acquit me of trifling, even if they did not approve of my mode of dealing with the evil.

    Hoping that some benefit may accrue to the rising race of preachers, and through them to the church of God, this book is offered to the Lord’s service, in the hope that he will use it for his own glory.

    THE PASTORS’ COLLEGE

    THE lectures of which this volume is composed were delivered the Pastors’ College, in the rear of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, and, therefore, we take the liberty to notice that Institution in these pages. To make the College known, and to win for it willing friends, is confessedly one object of our publications upon the ministry, which may, indeed, be viewed as merely the giving forth to a wider area the instruction carried on within the College walls.

    The Institution is intended to aid useful preachers in obtaining a better education. It takes no man to make him a minister, but requires that its pupils should, as a rule, have exercised their gifts for at least two years, and have won souls to Jesus. ‘These we receive, however poor or backward they may be, and our endeavors are all directed to the one aim that they should be instructed in the things of God, furnished for their work, and practiced in the gift of utterance. Much prayer is made by the Church in the Tabernacle that this end may be accomplished, nor has the prayer been in vain, for some 365 men who were trained in this manner are now declaring the gospel of Jesus. Besides the students for the regular ministry, several hundreds of street preachers, city missionaries, teachers, and workers of all kinds have passed through our Evening Classes, and more than 200 men are now with us, pursuing their callings by day and studying in the evening. We ask for much prayer from all our brethren, that the supply of the Spirit may sanctify the teaching, and anoint every worker for the service of the Lord.

    As it would be quite unwarrantable for us to interfere with the arrangements of other bodies of Christians, who have their own methods of training their ministers, and as it is obvious that we could not find spheres for men in denominations with which we have no ecclesiastical connection, we confine our College to Baptists; and, in order not to be harassed with endless controversies, we invite those only who hold those views of divine truth which are popularly known as Calvinistic, — not that we care for names and phrases; but, as we wish to be understood, we use a term which conveys our meaning as nearly as any descriptive word can do. Believing the grand doctrines of grace to be the natural accompaniments of the fundamental evangelical truth of redemption by the blood of Jesus, we hold and teach them, not only in our ministry to the masses, but in the more select instruction of the class room. Latitudinarianism with its infidelity, and unsectarianism with its intolerance, are neither of them friends of ours: we delight in the man who believes, and therefore speaks. Our Lord has given us no permission to be liberal with what is none of ours. We are to give an account of every truth with which we are put in trust.

    Our means for conducting this work are with the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth. We have no list of subscribers or roll of endowments. Our trust is in him whom we desire to serve. He has supported the work for many years, by moving his stewards to send us help, and we are sure that he will continue to do so as long as he desires us to pursue this labor of love. We need at least £120 every week of the year, for we have 113 men to board, lodge, and educate, preaching stations to hire, and new churches to help. Since our service is gratuitous in every sense, we the more freely appeal to those who agree with us in believing that to aid an earnest young minister to equip himself for his life-work is a worthy effort. No money yields so large a return, no work is so important, just now none is so absolutely needful.

    NIGHTINGALE LANE, CLAPHAM,SURREY, C. H.SPURGEON INTRODUCTORY NOTES.

    MR.SPURGEON, in his preface to the Second Series of Lectures to my Students, wrote: — “I seize the present opportunity to call attention to the second of my three books for students, for this is properly the third. I allude to the volume entitled, Commenting and Commentaries. It embodies the experience and information of a lifetime; but, being very much occupied with a Catalogue of Commentaries, it cannot commend itself to popular tastes, and must be confined in its circulation to those who wish for information upon expository works. To my own surprise, it is in the tenth thousand, but numbers of readers to whom it might be valuable have not yet seen it. As almost all the reviewers speak of it with much praise, I think it will be worth any young man’s while to buy it before he gets far on in the formation of a library. It is on my heart, if life is spared, to issue six halfcrown books for preachers; the fourth, which is much of it prepared, will be occupied with The Art of Illustration, and I am anxious in no one instance to waste time’ and labor upon books which will not be read.

    Hence my reason for mentioning the Commenting book in this place. Life is short, and time is precious to a busy man. Whatever we do, we wish to make the most of.”

    Accordingly, Mrs. Spurgeon thought that, after the publication of her dear husband’s Commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew, — The Gospel of the Kingdom , that pathetically-precious volume that memorializes the author’s transition from preaching the Gospel on earth to entering the Kingdom in heaven, — the first of his unfinished books to be completed must be the one to which he had himself given the title, The Art of Illustration , and for which he had so long and so carefully been gathering the materials. Hence the issue of the present work.

    Of the seven lectures included in this volume, the first two were revised and stereotyped during Mr. Spurgeon’s lifetime. Three of the others were partially revised by him, before being re-delivered to a later company of students than those who heard them for the first time. The two re-rosining lectures are printed substantially as they appeared in the reporter’s transcripts; only such verbal corrections have been made as are were absolutely necessary to ensure accuracy of statement so far as it ,could be ascertained. It was a providential arrangement that, just as are the lecture on “The Science of Astronomy as a Source of Illustration” was being prepared for the press, a book entitled, The Voices of the Stars, by J. E. WALKER, M.A. (Elliot Stock), was received for review in Sword and the Trowel. As the author of that very valuable volume has taken great pains “to verify, on the highest authority, the facts which are the basis of the theological and spiritual correspondences” pointed out in his work, we have been glad to avail ourselves of his figures, in certain instances, so as to bring the lecture down to date; and we gratefully acknowledge our indebtedness to Mr. Walker for this assistance.

    Of course, it is needless to say that this volume of lectures is not what Mr. Spurgeon would have made it had he been spared to see it published; but, fully recognizing that fact, every possible effort has been exerted to make the work as helpful as possible to those for whom it is specially intended.

    In the catalogue of books of anecdotes, illustrations, etc., the “etc.” has been rather widely interpreted so as to include the Sword and Trowel reviews of all works of the kind that were likely to be useful to ministers, students, local preachers, Sunday-school teachers, and Christian workers generally. The notices of these illustrative volumes, which appeared in “Mr. Spurgeon’s Magazine” up to the time of his promotion to glory, were almost (if not quite) all written by himself; so that, with Lectures 5 and 6, and Appendix A, readers will be able to see what the late Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle judged to be the best books of this nature that had come before his notice. He was himself such a master of “The Art of Illustration” that his opinions upon the subject have the added weight of long practical experience and this will, doubtless, make them of great value to others.

    It was necessary to adopt some kind of order for the reviews; and as any other arrangement would have seemed invidious, it was decided that the notices should be printed as they appeared, chronologically, in the Magazine. The published prices of the books are given as a guidance to intending purchasers; and in the case of works reviewed, but now out of print, that fact is stated, to prevent disappointment to readers, and useless inquiries of publishers. It may be that books which are out of print can still be obtained of second-hand booksellers. Where the volumes have passed out of the hands of the original publishers, the names of the present publishers have been inserted, with the prices at which the books can now be bought.

    The issue of this volume will awaken, in the minds of the ministers educated in the Pastors’ College, many memories of their “peerless President.” The happy Friday afternoons, when these and similar lectures were delivered to them, will never fade from the recollection of the highlyprivileged band of brethren who had the honor of sitting at the feet of C. H. Spurgeon. Those who read the contents of this book, and the three previous series of lectures, will understand, in part at least, how it is that “Spurgeon’s men” increasingly mourn the loss of their loved leader; but they can never fully know all that, under God, he was to his sons in the faith. Oh, that everyone who came under his blessed influence might be more like him, and so become, as he was, “a good minister of Jesus Christ”!

    For the information of friends who are not fully aware of the character and purpose of Mr. Spurgeon’s Lectures to my Students, it may be well to reproduce here what he, almost apologetically, wrote when submitting former specimens of them to the judgment of the general public: — “My College lectures are colloquial, familiar, full of anecdote, and often humorous: they are purposely made so, to suit the occasion. At the end of the week I meet the students, and find them weary with sterner studies, and I judge it best to be as lively and interesting in my prelections as I well can be. They have had their fill of classics, mathematics, and divinity, and are only in a condition to receive something which will attract and secure their attention, and fire their hearts. Our venerable tutor, Mr. Rogers, compares my Friday work to the sharpening of the pin: the fashioning of the head, the straightening, the laying on of the metal, and the polishing, have been done during the week, and then the process concludes with an effort to give point and sharpness. To succeed in this, the lecturer must not be dull himself, nor demand any great effort from his audience. I am as much at home with my young brethren as in the bosom of my family, and therefore speak without restraint .. At any rate, I do not offer that which has cost me nothing, for I have done my best, and taken abundant pains. Therefore, with clear conscience I place my work at the service of my brethren, especially hoping to have a careful reading from young preachers, whose profiting has been my principal aim.! have made my addresses entirely for students and beginners in preaching, and I beg that they may always be regarded from that point of view, for many remarks which are proper enough to be made to raw recruits it would be gross impertinence to place before masters in Israel. The intent and object will be borne in mind by every candid reader.”

    Some time before he was called home, Mr. Spurgeon had employed a friend to select from his published sermons all the Anecdotes and Illustration he had used in preaching. It was his intention to issue these in a number of small volumes which he hoped would prove helpful to other preachers and speakers. Possibly, the first of this series may speedily follow the present work, as it would be an appropriate sequel to The Art of Illustration. In the meantime, as a second Appendix to this book, a list is given of all the illustrative works by Mr. Spurgeon already published.

    There are many more of his Lectures to my Students that have not yet been printed, including a course on the important subject of Soul-winning; these are in preparation for the press, and will be published when the opportunity occurs.

    Now, having finished our task — by no means an easy one — with the ever-present remembrance of the beloved President and Pastor who would have done the work immeasurably better, yet with devout thankfulness that another volume of his gracious and happy utterances is completed, we close our” Introductory Notes” with Mr. Spurgeon’s own words in launching the previous series of lectures: — “Hoping that some benefit may accrue to the rising race of preachers, and through them to the Church of God, this book is offered to the Lord’s service, in the hope that he will use it for his own glory.”

    J. W. H.

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