APPRECIATIVE CORRESPONDENTS IN accordance with the intimation in the introduction to the previous chapter, the second sub-division of communications from Mr. Spurgeon’s correspondents is to consist of — LETTERS;FROM AMERICAN AND CANADIAN FRIENDS.
Of these, the first in order of time are those written by Mr. D. L. Moody, and they may fitly begin the series because of the mutual esteem and love which he and Mr. Spurgeon cherished for each other. In reply to a letter from the Pastor, inviting him to preach at the Tabernacle, Mr. Moody wrote — “12, Lynedoch Place, “Glasgow, “March 17, ‘74. “Dear Spurgeon, “Many thanks for your kind note. I am in hopes that you will be led by the Spirit to preach to young men on Sunday next. Enclosed I send you a circular that a minister here is sending out in the hope that it will stir up some interest in Britain. “In regard to my corning to your Tabernacle, I consider it a great honor to be invited; and, in fact, I should consider it an honor to black your boots; but to preach to your people would be out of the question. If they will not turn to God under your preaching, ‘neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.’ ‘Yours, with much love, “D. L.MOODY.”
The following year, Mr. Spurgeon helped Mr. Moody in his London mission; this grateful epistle shows how highly his services were appreciated — “17, Highbury Crescent, “Islington, “May 8, ‘75. “Dear Spurgeon, “Ten thousand thanks for your help last night. You gave us a great lift. I wish you would give us every night you can for the next sixty days. There are so few men who can draw on a weeknight, and I want to keep up the meetings in the East End and West at the same time; it is hard on me to have to speak twice the same evening, and yet I shall have to do it next week, for I cannot get anyone for the West End. Do all you can for the work, and we shall see blessed results. “Yours in haste, “D. L.MOODY.”
Another letter, written some years later, shows that, while Mr. Moody still held Mr. Spurgeon in just as high esteem as before, he consented to preach at the Tabernacle one Sabbath during the Pastor’s absence at Mentone — “Newcastle, “October 11, ‘81. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “Yours of the 9th is to hand, and in reply let me say that I am thankful for your very kind note. It quite touched my heart. I have for years thought more of you than of any other man preaching the gospel on this earth; and, to tell you the truth, I shrink from standing in your place. I do not know of a church in all the land that I shrink from as I do from yours; — not but what your people are in sympathy with the gospel that I try to preach, but you can do it so much better than I can. “I thank you for inviting me, and (D.V.) I will be with your good people November 20. Will you want Mr. Sankey, or will your own precentor have charge? Either will suit me. “Remember me to your good wife, and accept of my thanks for your letter of cheer. “Yours truly, “D. L.MOODY.”
One of the many letters which Mr. Spurgeon received from Mr. Moody’s singing companion will show in what loving esteem he held the Pastor — “Gwydyr House, “Brixton Rise, S.W., “November 8, ‘86. “Dearly Beloved,’ “Many thanks for the precious Word you gave us yesterday. F8 It was indeed most refreshing to my soul. “Is it not a beautiful thought that our Lord’s disciples always called Him, or spoke of Him, as the Son of God, while He was down here on earth, and that He always spoke of Himself as the Son of man; but that, when He went up to Heaven, John saw Him there, and then spoke of Him, or called Him, the Son of Man; John, no doubt, wanted to hold on to Him, even as a brother. “I will try to see you again at the Tabernacle before I sail on the 18th; I love you very much. God bless you and yours! “IRA D.SANKEY.”
Another very dear friend from the United States was Mr. John B. Gough, who lectured at the Tabernacle several times during his stay in England in 1879. By his own request, his last lecture on that tour was given in aid of the Pastors’ College. In writing to Mr. Spurgeon concerning the subject of his discourse, and the arrangements in connection with it, Mr. Gough also made this special reference to the visit he had recently paid to the Pastor at Nightingale Lane — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “My hands are very tender, through rheumatism, so that I write with difficulty, but I very much wish to send a line or two to you. I am very glad that my last lecture in London is to be under your direction… “I have purposed writing to your to express our delight at meeting you and Mrs. Spurgeon at your own home, but have been prevented hitherto. We shall not forget that visit; it did us both good like a medicine. It is very refreshing to meet a man who knows what he believes, and speaks it, and lives it. And we have often spoken of you, and dear Mrs. Spurgeon, from whom we learned lessons of patience, trust, and faith, that we hope we shall never unlearn; but if I should tell you how fully you captured our hearts, and how sincerely we love you both, it might appear unseemly. Yet it would be the expression of thousands of hearts that beat with gratitude and affection for you and yours. I would like to speak to you of your sermon on ‘Forgiveness,’ but your time is precious. May God bless; you more and more abundantly! Give our kindest regards to Mrs. Spurgeon and your sons. “Trusting to meet you, and to hear you, on my next Sabbath in London, September 28th, “I am, “Most truly yours, “JOHN B.GOUGH.”
Dr. H. L. Wayland, of Philadelphia, was; another of the Pastor’s very intimate friends. During his visit to England, in 1881, they spent much time together; and, on his return home, he wrote a long letter, a portion of which is printed on the next page. “1420, Chestnut Street, “Philadelphia, “July 19, 1881. “My Dear Mr. and Mrs. Spurgeon, “(or will you not allow me to say,) “My Very Dear Friends, “You hardly need to be reminded of the vivid manner in which you, and the Tabernacle, and your charming home, live in my memory. I have taken the liberty to send to you some numbers of our paper in ‘which I have endeavored, for the pleasure of our readers as well as for my own relief, to express some of the impressions made on me while on the other side; but it is slow work, it takes two or three weeks to record what I saw in a few days;. “My visit to England has made everything in English history, both past and recent, unspeakably more real to me. When now I read of the Parliament and Mr. Gladstone, or of the Tabernacle and its Pastor, or when I read one of the Tabernacle sermons, all is living’ before me. I wonder what is that peculiar quality of some voices that makes them apparently audible to us long after we have heard them with the outer ear. “I do not forget how busy you both are; but I venture on the remark that a line, however brief, would confer sincere pleasure on your American cousin and brother. I trust that it will please the clear Lord to spare you both until we meet again; and. that you may continue to live in your two noble sons; and not less that the Pastor and President may live long in successive generations of pupils; and that the angel of the Book Fund may be permitted for many years to diffuse light and happiness, not only in her own home, but in many homes where there is little light save that which she sheds. I can only hope that you, my dear friends, remember your visitor with a tithe of the interest and pleasure with which he recalls both of you. “Most truly and affectionately your friend and brother, “H. L.WAYLAND.”
Dr. T. L. Cuyler, of Brooklyn, always tried to spend an afternoon at ‘Westwood’ whenever he was; in London. One of his many loving letters will prove how he prized the privilege — “337, Strand, “London, “July 25, 1881. “My Dear Brother, “I cannot refrain from telling you that, among all the enjoyments of my five months’ tour, nothing has given me such solid satisfaction as my visit to your beautiful home on Saturday last. The sweet savor of that visit will abide with me for many days. “It was a renewed joy to me to grasp again the hand of the minister of Christ who has, been permitted, by tongue and pen, to proclaim the Word of life to more souls than any man since the days of the apostles. “Please to present my cordial regards to, your beloved ‘Help’ (who ‘answereth to you again,’ — but only in lows). “I write this at the National Temperance League office, whither all my letters are sent. “With grateful affection, “Yours to the core, “THEODORE L.CUYLER.”
The writer of the following grateful letter was a very special Canadian friend, who was baptized at the Tabernacle — “Montreal, “14th October 1881. “Beloved Mr. Spurgeon, “A feeling of incredulity took possession of me when I opened and read your note. I thought it simply impossible that it could be from your very own pen. What a man you are! I thought George. Muller wonderful When I came in contact with him; but, really, the riches of God’s grace, and the boundless capacity of these poor human souls and hearts when filled with His grace, are, if possible, still more magnified in you than in him. It was a little thing to do, — writing me that note, — but it has indeed interested and made glad a number of people who daily bear you up before the Lord, and whose hearts go out to you in love exceedingly. “On Saturday, at gentleman from Edinburgh, who had been travelling in our ‘great lone land,’ as it is called, Manitoba, and who had to spend the Sabbath with us in Montreal, came to see the Y.M.C.A. ‘Where can I get some reading matter for tomorrow?’ he asked of me; and I enquired of him, ‘What kind would you like?’ ‘If there is any place where Spurgeon’s sermons are sold, I prefer them to anything else,’ was his reply; so he was informed where he could get them, and then I added, ‘ I have had a letter from Mr. Spurgeon himself this week.’ ‘You mean from his secretary.’ ‘No, I mean from himself.’ ‘Do let me see it ;’ so he read it, and then he said, as he returned the letter, ‘That man is a marvel. I have got a wrinkle from that little note; do you notice that he says, “I pray for you at this moment”? That is something worth remembering, — “at this moment of writing, while you are before my mind, I pause and pray for you.” That is capital; I won’t forget it.’ I could give you other incidents to prove that your tiny note was like a beam of sunlight shot athwart tried and weary hearts, because of the love they bear you for the Master’s sake. “Oh, Mr. Spurgeon, that little word of yours, ‘I am feeling rather low,’ struck a chord which still vibrates in my spirit. It was to me like reading the 42nd Psalm. I imagine that there is nothing connected with your ministry to the saint that comes home more tenderly to tried and stricken souls than just what you there express, ‘I am feeling low.’ The great preacher, the author of The Treasury of David, the — but I need not go on, — this man sometimes, ay, often, ‘feels low,’ just as they do. ‘In all their affliction He was afflicted;’ this is what draws hearts to Jesus; and the principle, I take it, is just the same when the friends and intimates of Jesus ‘feel low.’ The fellow-feeling, thus begotten, makes many wondrous kind. “I recently published some ‘incidents’ connected with visitation at the hospital. A gentleman came in, and asked me how much it cost me to do so. “$10,’ I said. ‘Well, here is a $10 bill; print some more, I like “facts,” theories don’t go down with me.’ So I have printed another leaflet, which I enclose herewith. “Now unto Him who can do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, be glory; and may we share in the glory even though it brings us low! I salute you and Mrs. Spurgeon in the Lord (Romans 16:12), and remain, through the blood which cleanseth, “Your friend in Jesus, “JOHN LOUSON.’
The leaflet enclosed by Mr. Louson contained, among other interesting matter, “A Touching Story,” in which there was the following reference to Mr. Spurgeon and his sermons — “Some months ago, a young Scotchman was admitted to the hospital. He was suffering from an internal disease which baffled the skill of the doctors; it was akin to consumption, but without its distressing symptoms, yet under it the physical frame wasted away. It was difficult for the patient to realize that he was slowly but surely dying; indeed, he utterly refused to believe it, even when doctors and nurses had given up all hope. It was a delight and privilege to visit and converse with him, for he was Christ’s, and Christ was his; and, though reticent and reserved to an almost painful degree, yet salvation through faith in the Crucified was the theme he most of all loved to talk about; and, next to that, the scenery, mountains, rocks, sunset, and storms of the beloved Isle of Skye, where he was born and brought up. The one and only matter of reading, next to the Bible, was Charles H. Spurgeon’s sermons; of these he never tired. Biographies of eminent Scotchmen, like Norman Macleod, or William Arnot, were taken to him but, as he put them aside, he would say, ‘Spurgeon is always the same, but always satisfying, for he makes you forget himself as he holds up Him who is “fairer than the children of men”’ (Psalm 45:2).”
The following letter is interesting from the information it conveys concerning the first publication of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon volumes and other works in the United States — “8, Murray Street, “New York, “December 19, 1882. “My Dear Bro. Spurgeon, “The present seems a fitting time for me to drop you a line, after a long and successful career as the publisher of your books in America, and I may add, as the introducer of your sermons in book form to American readers. “At first, it required very special attention on our part to bring them successfully before American readers but, after a while, the tide turned in favor of your books. We made them well known in every State in our Union. We had several valuable friends; the late President Wayland, of Brown University, gave us important aid by letters that we published; so did the late Dr. Alexander, who had been to London, and seen you, and heard you preach often with great satisfaction. He called at our office, and made himself known in person. I had long known him, by reputation, as a very able and distinguished divine of the Presbyterian Church. He had noticed that some of our large daily newspapers were attacking you very fiercely, so he came in to urge us to persevere with the sermons. He said, ‘Do not be discouraged by the unfavorable criticisms of the press. I have seen and heard Mr. Spurgeon; he is a real diamond that will shine brighter and brighter as the years go by. You can use my name in any way that will help you in the battle.’ We thought it was very kind of him to say and do what he did, for he was a good man, with very great influence, and he proved a real help to us. “On the other hand, we had some discouraging words. Revelation Dr. Kendrick, the Greek Professor in the Rochester University, with which I was connected as one of the Board of Trustees, wrote me — ‘Well, Sheldon, I am surprised that you should lower the standard of your publishing house by issuing the sermons of that green London preacher.’ I can well afford to quote his early remarks, for he lived to write and frequently to tell me, in a very flattering way, how much wiser I was in discerning the signs of promise than he had been; and he has often spoken of you in the most complimentary manner. “I only allude to these incidents of the past as pleasant events attending a great and prosperous enterprise.” (The writer of the letter explained that “the Spurgeon books” had been passed over’ to Messrs. Carter Brothers, that he had sent to the Pastor a complete set of the American. edition of his publications, and he concluded his letter as follows — ) “And now, my respected brother, in taking leave of you as your publisher, permit me to congratulate you upon the really great success that has attended the enterprise. Very few English authors have had such prosperity; I do not think that any preacher and author of religious books has even begun to come up to you. I hear, with great pleasure, of the blessing resting upon your home work, so large and so grande in all its proportions. We feel all of a publisher’s pride in our popular and good author, and shall follow you with our loving thought to the end of your good work. “Yours most truly, “SMITH SHELDON.”
The writer of the following, note was the well-known and-slavery lecturer, Frederick Douglass — “The Cross, “St. Neots, “Hunts, “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “July 6, 1887. “While crossing the Atlantic, last September, and looking out upon its proud dashing billows and their varied forms, and thinking of the diversity in the human family, I remarked that ‘we are many as the waves, but we are one as the sea.’ I had never heard this; simile before, and thought it wats original with me; but, while reading your sermon, published on the 30th June, I noticed that you said, speaking of the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm,’ Its expressions are many as the waves, but its testimony is one as the sea.’ I am led to ask, — Is this a coincidence; or have I, unconsciously, borrowed from you, or have you borrowed this formula from me? “Through the kindness of a friend, I had the privilege of listening to you a few Sundays ago. It was the realization of an ardent desire born of reading some of your sermons in America, and of what was said to me of you by my friend, Dr. H. L. Wayland, a gentleman to whom I have been much indebted for friendly sympathy and advice while battling with slavery and prejudice in America. “Very truly yours, “FREDERICK DOUGLASS.”
In May, 1888, at the funeral of his mother, Mr. Spurgeon took a chill, which resulted in his being, laid aside for three weeks. On Lord’s-day morning, June 17, when many of the delegates to the Exeter Hall Conference on Foreign Missions were present at the Tabernacle, the Pastor was; again able to preach, although he was obliged, through great weakness, to sit during a considerable portion of the sermon. Dr. A. J.
Gordon, of Boston, took part in the service; and he had also consented to preach if Mr. Spurgeon continued too ill to do so. This arrangement explains the allusion, in the following letter, to the “great deliverance” experienced by Dr. Gordon himself — “Charing Cross Hotel, “London, “June 19, 1888. “My Dear Brother, “I sincerely trust that you were in no wise injured by your effort on Lord’s-day morning. It seems to me that the Lord’s help given to you then was the most powerful commentary on your text, ‘Let Him deliver him now.’ Be assured that I also experienced a great deliverance, for there were hundreds of visitors, — our whole Missionary Conference, indeed, — who had come to hear you, and I can conceive of no embarrassment greater than that of having to preach to such a disappointed congregation as it must have been in your absence. “I pray that God will graciously restore you to full health, and cause your bow to abide in strength even when you are ‘sorely grieved and shot at by the archers.’ I greatly desire with Mrs. Gordon, to call on you for a few moments at our home. I should be thankful to know when we can see you. If you are too ill to desire callers, please do not for at moment think of my request, and I shall entirely understand the reason. “Sincerely yours, “A. J.GORDON.”
The following letter appears to be the earliest from Dr. A. T. Pierson which Mr. Spurgeon preserved — “2320, Spruce Street, “Philadelphia, “November 25, 1888. “My Best-beloved, “If there is any man on the earth I love better than you, I wish you could point him out. And, as a little thank-offering to God for a personal acquaintance, I send you by my publishers — all bills paid, inclusive of expressage, — fifty copies of Evangelistic Work for your Pastors’ College, with my loving greetings. I am very sorry that your gout is more troublesome. How I wish and pray that the Lord may keep you yet a score of years busy with Sword and Trowel , piercing to the backbone the foes of our Lord and His Crown and Covenant, and building up the walls of Jerusalem! Be thou very strong and courageous, my brother; there shall no man be able to stand before thee. There is a fearful apostasy from the truth, — second probation, — partial inspiration, — Ritualism, — the ‘Nehushtan and Ephodism’ of old times are back among us. How little Evangelical preaching! Conversion a lost art; — worldliness so pervading the church that the membership is now divisible into worldly holy and wholly worldly, — and ministers; into attitudinarians, latitudinarians, and platitudinarians. “Give my love to dear Mrs. S. With many prayers for you all. I hope to see you again, in the flesh; but, whether or not, I expect to spend eternity with you in His presence. “As always yours, “ARTHUR T.PIERSON.”
Among the communications from non-ministerial friends, specially treasured by Mr. Spurgeon, was the following letter from Miss Florence Nightingale — “35, South Street, “Park Lane, W., “June 30, 1876. “Dear Sir, “Nurse Masters, of our training school at St. Thomas’s Hospital, and who is one of a reinforcement of nurses whom we are sending out to join our nursing staff at the Montreal Hospital, was recently admitted by you to baptism and communion. She spoke of it to me with deep earnestness. “It occurred to me that you might, among the young women of your flock, know some, sound in body and mind, who would like to be trained for a hospital nursing life, which has now sufficient reward, both in the good to be done and in the maintenance to be earned, to be attractive to suitable candidates. The harvest is ready, but the laborers still are few. “I write under the severe pressure of business, and ever-increasing illness, which has kept me a prisoner to my room for years, so you will excuse a brief letter. I have heard that you are yourself frequently afflicted. May I express my deep regret at your suffering, and my earnest hope that your life may long be spared? “May God be with us all! “FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE.”
Earl Shaftesbury’s correspondence with Mr. Spurgeon was so constant, and so voluminous, that a whole chapter might have been filled with it if space could have been spared. This brief note will indicate the usual character of the Earl’s letters, and it will also show the esteem in which he held the Pastor, not only at the time it was written, but right to the end of his life — “St. Gile’s House, “Cranborne, “Salisbury, “October 20, 1876. “My Dear Friend, “The books have arrived in safety; and to the inscription which you, yourself, have written, — I value it highly, — I shall add my own, — a prayer that my descendants will cherish the volumes as the gift of a man whom their ancestor honored and loved as a private friend, but far more as a powerful, bold, true, single-hearted servant of our most blessed Lord and Savior. “God be with you and yours for ever and ever! “SHAFTESBURY.”
From the same address, on November 30, 1883, the Earl sent to Mr. Spurgeon a copy of The Psalms, with Scripture Illustrations, accompanied by’ the following letter — “My Dear Friend, “God be with you to Mentone, at Mentone, and back again, and may He give you all the health you seek for His service! “Well may you be ‘weary, and worn, and sad.’ The open, avowed, boasted, modern infidelity is terrible, but the almost universality of the Laodicean spirit is still worse. You will come back and find that socialism, contemptuous unbelief, and an utter disregard of anything but that which tends to make this world the ‘be-all’ and the ‘end-all’ of our existence, have attained vastly increased proportions during your absence. “There is nothing for it but to preach ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified,’ with perpetual exhortation to His people to pray for His speedy return. Such a preaching of Christ has been your main strength. May God keep, you in that frame of mind! “Put, I request you, the little book I now send you, in your pocket. “Yours very truly, “SHAFTESBURY.” “P.S. — I shall distribute largely your volume, Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden.”
Admiral Sir W. King Hall was one of Mr. Spurgeons most ardent admirers.
Many of his letters were preserved, and all of them bore testimony to the blessing he had received through reading the Pastor’s writings. One of the earliest in the series was the following, written on Mr. Spurgeon’s fortyfourth birthday — “Admiralty House, “Sheerness, “June 19, ‘78. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “May God spare you to work in His vineyard with health and energy many more years! Each day I find, from your Morning and Evening Readings, encouragement, comfort, hope, and proofs of our Savior’s love. I ask your acceptance of my photograph and beg yours in return. Be assured that, though my profession is one of arms, for the defense of our glorious land of liberty, my principles are as peaceful as those held by any member of the Society of Friends. “With kindest regards, and best wishes for your family, “I remain, “Your sincere friend, “W.KING HALL.” “If you want a breath of sea air at any time, come and stay with me. A day or two’s notice will suffice.”
Another sailor friend, John Macgregor, Esq., who was captain and crew of the canoe Rob Roy, and also honorary secretary of the Open Air Mission, wrote as follows in one of his many letters to the Pastor — “7, Vanbrugh Park East, “Blackheath, “August 24, ‘78. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “I promised to tell you that a word of yours would be golden on Oct. 28, when our open-air preachers assemble. You will see that some of us propose to meet-on Monday. That, however, is for garden and green fields; the other meeting must be under a roof. “As find myself, I am in the furnace of domestic affliction; but the Refiner is looking on. “The stucco pilasters on the edifice of one’s life are cracked and shaken off but the rock dray rested on is found sure, even in an earthquake. “Who would like to choose his trial? Even David, when forced to do so, chose to fall into the hands of the Lord, and are we not there already? “I needed much affliction, as I had none at all of it; and that is not healthy. But God makes me wonder why the blow is sent to my dear wife, unless it is that I feel it the more, and she suffers the less, than if it had been personally mine. “Yours ever, “J. MACG REGOR.”
At the Stockwell Orphanage Festival, in June, 1879, Sir Charles Reed presided. In reply to Mr. Spurgeon’s letter inviting him to occupy that position, he wrote — I am very full of work; but, in common with all London, I feel so grateful for your personal piety, and your personal efforts, that I cannot say ‘Nay.’ How honored I fee1 to be stitched up in a brown cover with such a ‘man of mark’ as C. H. S.!” The allusion was to the current issue of Men of Mark, in which Mr. Spurgeon and Sir Charles were included.
Later in the year, when the Pastor was ill at Mentone, he received this sorrowful letter from his friend — “Hotel Fleuri, “Cannes, “December 18, 1879. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “I have been trying to make my way over to see you; but my doctor has laid such restrictions upon me, that my only available, time (10 to 4) does not permit of so great a journey. I want, however, to have an assurance, that you are better; for in a French paper, I saw a poor account of your health. “A winter away from home is a new experience to me, and an idle winter is by no means easy to endure. However, I am trying to obey the voice which says, ‘Be still;’ and if the Lord wills, I hope for another decade of work in the field in which He has permitted me, thus far, to labor. “I suppose you do not preach at all at Mentone; that is, from the pulpit. You do, I know, by your pen; and if, at this Christmas time, you feel prompted to comfort a stricken heart, let me be the object of your philanthropy. On the 19th of June, I was with you; on the 8th of July, we lost our dear son, and we have never yet recovered his body. This stroke broke down our health, and drove us from home. “Yours truly, “CHARLES REED.”
Sir Charles Reed’s hope that he might be spared to labor for another ten years was not realized, for he was called to higher service in less than sixteen months from that time. The brief note from him, printed on the next page, bears in one corner this inscription — “Delivered to me after the decease of the writer, April 8, 1881, — C. H. Spurgeon.” “House of Commons “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, Could you receive a father and son, on Bible Society business, if they called on you on Tuesday next at about noon? My son, who is the secretary of the Society, thinks that, as a vice-president, I could aid him in an application he is commissioned to make. “Yours truly, “CHARLES REED.”
The following letters came from the widow of General Havelock; the son referred to in them was himself a personal friend of Mr. Spurgeon’s, and was the chairman, at the first public meeting held in the Tabernacle — “14, Kensington Park Gardens, W., “October 7, 1881. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “You may not have heard how very ill my beloved son, Sir Henry, has been. He is suffering from congestion of the brain, brought on by over-work, exposure, and fatigue. We are most thankful to say that the doctors report that the worst seems past, though it will probably be a long time before he can be well again. “His sister and I will feel very thankful if you will remember him in your public and private prayers. His life has ever been devoted to doing acts of kindness for others; and you know how precious he is to us all we should like him to be prayed for, every Sunday, for sometime to come. We know that his father’s God is very near him now in this deep trouble. “With kind regards to Mrs. Spurgeon, I am, “Very sincerely yours, “H. S.HAVELOCK.”
Sir Henry’s recovery was much more rapid than his mother had anticipated; and on October 22, Lady Havelock was able to write — “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “I shall feel glad if you will tell your dear people that God has been pleased to hear our prayers, and has once more restored my dear son, Sir Henry, I will not say quite to his usual strength, but so far towards it as to give us great hopes that, with care and rest for some weeks he may be better than ever before. Will you give thanks for us, as a family, at your public service tomorrow, and pray that a larger blessing than ever may rest upon us, and bring us all nearer to Him to whom we owe so much? “With our kind regards to Mrs. Spurgeon, I am, “Sincerely yours, “HANNAH S.HAVELOCK.”
Many letters passed between Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Spurgeon, — “the two prime ministers,” as they were often called. Again and again, the Premier invited his Nonconformist friend to meet a congenial company at breakfast or dinner in Downing Street; but there was always some obstacle in the way, and pressure of work or illness prevented Mr. Spurgeon from accepting a very cordial invitation to stay at Hawarden Castle. Whenever the newspapers contained an intimation that the Pastor was laid aside, a special messenger from the First Lord of the Treasury was sent with a letter of sympathy or kind enquiries for the sufferer.
Mr. Gladstone had long wished to attend a service at the Tabernacle, and the following letters show how the wish at last assumed a definite shape, and was carried into effect — “10, Downing Street, “Whitehall, “24 August, 1881. “My Dear Sir, “I thank you very much for your kind note and your good words.
My years make it a great object of desire to be relieved from my present work; but I must be patient yet a little while, and must hope that I may not be utterly spoiled by the undeserved kindness heaped on me from so many quarters, and by commendations entirely beyond my deserts. “I hope the autumn will afford me an opportunity of profiting by your kind offer to meet my wishes respecting the service at the Tabernacle. “I remain, “My dear sir, “Faithfully yours, “Rev. C. H. Spurgeon.” “W. E. GLADSTONE.” “Hawarden Castle, “Chester, “January 3, ‘82. “My Dear Sir, “Some time ago, you were good enough to promise me a safe seat at one of your services and if it consist with your convenience to do me this favor on Sunday evening next, when I expect to be in London, I shall hope to present myself at the exact time and place which you may kindly name. Should you desire to postpone your compliance with my request, I shall hope for another opportunity of preferring it three or four Sundays hence. I remain, “My dear sir, “Faithfully yours, “Rev. C. H. Spurgeon.” “W. E.GLADSTONE.”
On the evening of January 8, the Premier and his eldest sort attended the Tabernacle, and Mr. Spurgeon preached from Mark 5:30,31. The Editors and correspondents of various newspapers; referred at length to the incident, and some of the comments were anything but kind or even courteous. A few days later, Mr. Spurgeon, in sending the volume of views of “Westwood” to Mr. Gladstone, expressed his regret at the tone of some of the articles; and, in reply, he received photographs of Hawarden Castle and the Premier in his study, with this letter — “Hawarden Castle, “Chester, “January 16, ‘82. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “I was not at all surprised at what happened, and had not the smallest disposition or cause to suspect you. My life is passed in a glass bee-hive with this particularity, that I fear many see in it what is not there, by which I am unjustly a gainer. “I thank you very much for the interesting book of photographs which you have been so good as to send, with an inscription I am very far from deserving. I wish I had a better return to make than the enclosed; but these are the best I can lay my hands on. “When you were so good as to see me before and after your service, I felt ashamed of speaking to you lest I should increase your fatigue, but before very long I hope to find a better opportunity. In the meantime, I remain, “With sincere respect, “Faithfully yours, “W. E.GLADSTONE.”
Mr. Spurgeon was, as the writer of this letter anticipated, much gratified at the information it contained — “13, St. George’s Terrace, “Gloucester Road, S.W., “March 23, 1882. “Dear Sir, “I think, it will be gratifying to you to know that, at St. Stephen’s Church, G1oucester Road (which is generally supposed to be what is termed ‘very high’), each Thursday afternoon during Lent there have been devotional readings, consisting of extracts from the works of various living divines. “The reading, this afternoon, was from a sermon preached by you, fourteen or fifteen years; ago, from the text, ‘What if thy father answer thee roughly?’ The greater part of the discourse was read from the pulpit by the junior curate. “It was very pleasing to me to observe such an exercise of liberty, in the Church of England, as to place your views before the congregation for their acceptance and meditation, and I feel that you will be pleased by my making you acquainted with the fact.
Trusting your health is now much improved, “I remains, “Yours obediently, “ALFRED WILLIAMS.”
Out of a very large number of letters to Mr. Spurgeon from Lord Radstock, the following has been selected because of the special object with which it was written — “St. Petersburg, “11/4/’82. “Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “The Baptists in South Russia, who are, I believe, nearly all closecommunionists, are to have a great Conference in May as to whether they should not open their doors to the Lord’s children in general. It is deeply important that they should decide aright. There are marty thousands of Christians in South Russia among the Molokans and Stundists, and it is most desirable, on all accounts, that they should be as united as possible. Will you write a letter to them, addressed to Pastor Liebig, Odessa, encouraging them to take the true ground of union in the Lord’s Name, at any rate as regards receiving Christians at the Lord’s table? “Here, we are going on quietly, in spite of difficulties. You would be rejoiced at the faith and love shown by some in the highest class here. Continue in prayer for this land, with thanksgiving. The fields are white unto the harvest, but the laborers are so few and shackled; — yet ‘He must reign.’ “Ever yours in the Lord, “RADSTOCK.”
Mr. Spurgeon was often asked to address special classes of hearers. The following letter relates to the invitation given to him to speak to the London medical students — “45, Inverness Terrace, “Hyde Park, W., “September 24, ‘83. “My Dear Sir, “Although I am not known to you, you may probably remember my name in connection with Leamington, where my father, Mr. Thorne, at the Bank, once had the pleasure of receiving you as his guest. “My object in now writing is to express the great gratification which I feel, as President of the Medical Prayer Union for 1883-4, that you have expressed your willingness to say a few words to the students at the annual meeting on Friday, 26th of October. I do sincerely pray that your health may enable you to come; and, in the meantime, I may assure you that the occasion will be worthy of your presence, for it is one when many a young man may decide whether he will commence his career as a disciple of Christ or not.
An appeal from you will, under God’s guidance, materially influence some in their decision. “Again hoping that we may see you on the occasion in question, “I am, “Sincerely yours, “R.THORNE THORNE.”
The meeting was held, in due course, at the Lower Exeter Hall, and proved to be a most profitable one. A somewhat similar gathering was the one held at the Egyptian Hall of the Mansion House, under the presidency of the Lord Mayor, on September 28, 1885, when Mr. Spurgeon addressed the members of the London Banks’ Prayer Union, taking for his subject the words, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The address was worthy of the notable audience assembled to listen to it, and it was afterwards published under the title, “First Things First.”
Mr. T. A. Denny did not often write to Mr. Spurgeon, but saw him at the Tabernacle or at “Westwood” as frequently as he could. This characteristic note will show the esteem in which he held the Pastor — “7, Connaught Place, W., “February 14, 1884. “My Dear Friend, “How exceedingly kind of you to send me that beautiful book, The Metropolitan Tabernacle and its Institutions ,’ but greatly more I value the inscription, of which I feel myself all unworthy, but not the less proud. “How I should like, by-and-by, to walk up and down the streets of the New Jerusalem arm-in-arm between you and dear Moody! “With affectionate regards, “I am, “Yours ever sincerely, “T. A. DENNY.”
Mr. Thomas Blake, M.P., was another intimate friend of Mr. Spurgeon’s, who attended the Tabernacle services whenever it was possible. On Lord’s-day morning, June 12, 1887, he was present, and listened to the Pastor’s sermon from Deuteronomy 30:11-14, which was afterwards published under the title, “Plain Gospel for Plain People.” The same night, he wrote the following letter — “Reforn Club, “Pall Mall, S.W., June 12, ’87 9.30 p.m. “My Dear Brother, “Let me thank you for your golden pot of manna this morning, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. I feast upon it weekly, all the year round; but it is, if possible, more delicious when it enters the mind and heart by way of ‘Ear-gate’ than by way of ‘Eye — gate.’ “I asked a number of members of Parliament, present yesterday at Portsmouth, to come to the Tabernacle this morning. One I brought, He was much impressed, and I pray that our God may make your sermon to be the message of life to him and to many others .... “In a few weeks, I intend to resign my seat in Parliament, — one. procured without paid agency of any kind, and which I might hold as long as life and health permitted. It deprives me of higher service, and work I love more. This is my only reason for giving it up. With the night and day work in the House of Commons, all my ‘Lord’s-days’ are required for rest. This must not longer be. “With much love, believe me, “Always truly yours, “THOS.BLAKE.”
The members of Parliament, mentioned in Mr. Blake’s letter, had gone to Portsmouth to witness the naval demonstration in connection with the Queen’s Jubilee. About that period, The Whitehall Review published the “Jubilee Reverie” reproduced on the opposite page. Mr. Spurgeon’s portrait — not a very good one, — is at the top, on the right hand, facing Archbishop Benson’s.
The latter part of this letter from Mr. (now, Sir) George Williams refers to Mr.. Spurgeon’s engagement to speak, in Exeter Hall, at the forty-fifth annual meeting of the Central Y.M.C.A., on Friday evening, May 24, 1889: — “71, St. Paul’s Church Yard, “London, “May 23rd, 1889. “My Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “Thank you very much for so kindly sending for my acceptance the Outlines of the Lord’s Work in connection with the Pastors’ College . It is not necessary for me to repeat my assurances of prayerful sympathy and interest, for you know you have these; — but if my hopes for your usefulness, and the spiritual success of your manifold labors, are fulfilled, your joy will indeed be full. “We are anticipating, with supreme pleasure, seeing you tomorrow evening, and are praying that the Master Himself may give you some special word, that may be productive of abundant spiritual fruitfulness. “Believe me, “Yours ever truly, “GEORGE WILLIAMS.”
That prayer was abundantly answered, and the Lord’s help to His servant was so graciously manifested that the address proved to be one of Mr. Spurgeon’s most memorable utterances.
This note, from another of the Pastor’s special friends, gives just an indication of its power and usefulness — “Beckenham, “May 25th, 1889. “My Dear Mr. Spurgeon, “Thanks be unto God on your behalf! You were wondrously helped last night. The Lord stood by you, and strengthened you. Your words were wise and right words; and they will live, and be wafted to the ends of the earth. “The kind and loving sympathy, with which you were received, was very cheering and helpful. God bless you tomorrow, and all days! “Yours very truly, “SAMUEL THOMPSON.”
Probably Mr. Spurgeon never addressed any great public gathering under such painful conditions as when he spoke, in the Albert Hall, on June 11, 1890, at the annual meeting of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes. He was very ill at the time; in fact, he ought to have been in bed rather than on the platform and the sight of the cripples and other waifs and strays so affected his sympathetic heart that he was utterly broken down, and felt more inclined to weep than to speak; yet he did plead powerfully for the poor children, and perhaps his words had all the greater weight because many in the audience could tell at least something of the suffering he was himself enduring. On his return home, he was completely exhausted. Dr. Barnardo’s letter shows how grateful he was for the Pastor’s aid under such trying circumstances, and it also indicates his natural anxiety as to the consequences of the service thus rendered to him — “Stepney Causeway, “London, E., “12th June, 1890. “Dear Mrs. Spurgeon, “I write to you, rather than to your dear husband, for I cannot but fear that his presence and the exertion made at our meeting, last night, may have resulted unfavorably to him; and I would not add another single straw to the burden of pain and weariness; which, it may be, he is suffering from today. “Nevertheless, I dare not leave this letter unwritten, and so consider it wisest and best to write to you, to tell you how deeply, how unutterably grateful I am to dear Mr. Spurgeon for his presence, for his weighty, loving, gracious, wise words, and for the tender sympathy he showed to and for my bairns, never can forget the debt he has placed me under. All I can now say is this, that I do, from the depths of my heart, thank him. While he spoke, I could but afresh thank God and take courage. No words, uttered last night, fell on my own spirit so like water upon the thirsty ground as did those of dear Mr. Spurgeon. I was cheered, helped, encouraged, lifted up, soothed, and comforted. I could but say, from my heart of hearts, a hundred times, ‘God bless him!’ and now I say it to your ears, which I am sure will not be unwilling to hear that prayer, even from one so unworthy as I am, for him you love so well. The sight of the dear servant of the Lord there, last night, in all his obvious, manifest weakness, was in itself a sermon, even if no words had been uttered by him. “But I must not go on; this much only I will say. First, he must never again talk of being in my debt. Dear Mr. Spurgeon has paid that debt, if it ever existed, over and over again. Second, I must be careful never again, under any circumstances, to ask at his hands so great a service as he rendered us last night, — unless in the years bright and happy, which I hope are still in store for him, God, in His goodness, may give him back so large a share of health and strength that he may be rather pleased to come to us than otherwise. If such an hour arrives, then indeed I may break the pledge I now give; but, otherwise, I will not dare again to overtax, as we did last night, the loving, tender heart and weary, weakened body of your dear husband. “And lastly, let me add this, that anything I can do now, or at any time, anything that lies in my poor power, that my children, my assistants, or any of us can do for Mr. Spurgeon, or his work, or for anyone dear to him, I will count it a privilege and an honor to do; and I can but hope that the time, may soon come when Mr. Spurgeon will feel the necessity for putting this sincerely offered pledge to the test. “I do earnestly hope you are yourself sustained in fair health, and in great peace and comfort of mind. As we could not hope to see you at our meeting, last night, I may venture, to enclose you, as a souvenir of the occasion, two of the programmes then in use. They may help, perhaps, to bring before you a little of what those who were there saw; and I know it is possible they may excite in you some prayerful thought for the thousands of young folk under my care. “Believe me to be, “Dear Mrs. Spurgeon, “Gratefully and faithfully yours, “THOS. J.BARNARDO.”
One of the letters written to cheer Mr. Spurgeon in that season of suffering carne from Bishop Richardson, of the Reformed Episcopal Church, and was as follows — “27, Belgrave Road, “St. John’s Wood, “14 June, 1890. “My Dear Mr. Spurgeon, ‘“ I see that, at Dr. Barnardo’s meeting, you said you were ‘as ill as possible.’ God bless you! You have probably done more good than any man of your generation, and it has pleased the Master to keep you humble. You will be well, some day. We love the same dear Master, and will say ‘Welcome’ to one another where no one feels ‘as ill as he can be’ “Your faithful friend, “ALFRED S.RICHARDSON, Bishop.”
Only a few days after that great meeting at the Albert Hall, Mr. Spurgeon was at the Mildmay Conference Hall, and there delivered another of his most memorable addresses. The subject of it was, “Christ our Leader in Darkness;” and it has been exceedingly helpful to the children of God who, for various reasons, have been caused to walk in the dark. He was still so far from well that them was great uncertainty as to whether he would be able to be present; and in reply to a note from him, to that effect, Colonel Morton wrote — “Conference Hall, “Midmay Park, “London N., “17 June, 1890. “Dear and Honored Mr. Spurgeon, “I may safely say that all Mildmay deeply regrets, with me, your present indisposition; and we, in the office here, commenced this day’s work by praying for you, and by asking God to glorify Himself at the coming Conference, either by your presence or your absence; — in either case, giving you a rich blessing’. “Should we not be permitted to have you with us, Dr. Andrew Bonar would be the first speaker, and your place would be taken by Mr. Frank White. He has consented to be your ‘reserve’ in case of need, and I have today forwarded your letter to him for perusal. So please do not feel under the slightest restraint, or be careful or anxious at the possibility of disappointing us at the Conference. If we cannot get plums, we must be thankful and grateful for good sound bread! “Allow me, very late in the day, to thank you for the numberless times you have refreshed, and strengthened, and comforted us soldiers, who, often in India and other Countries, on the line of march, hundreds, of miles from any place of worship, or means of grace (in the ordinary sense of the word), have met under trees, some little distance from camp, and have, after prayer and hymns, introduced you as our preacher. We had a large Bible-class in my regiment, in those days, and many a blessing has been entreated upon you by those dear fellows. “Your sermon, ‘In the Garden with Him,’ was my companion, quite lately, when going up Monte Pelegrino, near Palermo, en route from Malta to England. In what stray corners of the wide world, where soldiers and sailors are, do you not come, and bring messages of God’s love and truth? “I have long wished to thank you, as hundreds of others would wish to do; and here is my opportunity. May God increasingly bless you! “Very sincerely yours, “R.MORTON, Colonel.”
Mr. Spurgeon received many letters in German; they were all passed on to a lady who was a member of the Tabernacle Church, and who translated a great number of the Pastor’s sermons and other works into that language.
One of them contained some information which greatly interested him. The translator wrote — “This letter is from a German Baptist colporteur in Wurtemberg. He says that he has sold many of your books, which have been a blessing to him and to many other readers of them. The Empress of Germany has bought from him your Dew Drops and Gold Beams (Morning by Morning and Evening by Evening in the German translation), and John Ploughman’s Talk. I wonder how she likes John Ploughman. I believe, very well, because of the contrast it affords from the language of her courtiers.”
Not only did Mr. Spurgeon have a large number of communications written in other foreign languages, but, at various time, he received numerous letters which he regarded as literary curiosities. Many, which were supposed to be in English, were veritable hieroglyphs, most difficult to decipher, though the meaning of them was generally made out somehow or other, and answers despatched to those from whom they came.
The three following epistles were carefully preserved by Mr. Spurgeon, in the envelope in which one of them came, which was addressed thus. (intended for Nightingale Lane, Clapham) — Rev C Sh Spurgeon Eglelane claping road London.
They are here reproduced, verbatim et literatim , with the exception of the names and addresses of the writers, or anything which might give at clue to their identification — “Sir “Wiw You Obige me by Forewarding 6 pennyworth of your poterites as I am a yong Man a lite Complection Brown hare neither tall nor peturcular short Will you please to send me some of the Likensse of the yong woman as I have got to Marry and When I have got to see and Marry her Foreward as quick as Posable I have got Dark Blue eyes age. is about 29 to thirty on the first day of december Bornd about one oclock in the Morning,. “Rite as soon as you Can.” “______” “Mas Spurgeon “My age is 20 yers old. “Dea sir as a young Man trusting in a risinang Severe converter by his Quiking power and being Baptized by The Reb , Chapel. and as i have ben working for the Lord and Master Jesus Christ for tow yers and is for yers since i was converted and as i Am a homless child and a orpent as it is; 11 yers since my Father and Mother died and 3 broters and a sister therefor i was left frindless and homeless therefore i had to botle on my selfe but it has put me throu dep exprence but God has blist me abundantly fore it makes me wep when i think of his godness to me therefore i would welsh to be a servent for the Lord if it is the mana of him and if i am wone of his eleked chilain to serve him at horn or abrod “Plese Sir retern a nancer as i would like to get mor lering your plesur i wil aad no more “but ramain your “abudent Servent “______” The words italicized in the following letter were underlined by Mr. Spurgeon in the original — “Mr. Spurgeon, “Dear Sir, “I take the liberty in writeing to you knowing you are one in proclaiming God work in Jesus I have sent you a book I have rote out my silf It is fully my own thoughts. Took from the bible I am happy to say I had a Born again about three years ago. It was very deep in deed. I have allways been one to believe in God But about 3 or 4 years ago I had thoughts that there must be some thing in that being born again. So I prayed very heartly to God for a born again But it did not come by the first prayer or the next and I allmost thought it was no use praying But I prayed on and it came at last and I saw afterwards It was the best time it could of come as my thoughts at that time was more free to receive it at that time I new not any thing in the true light of the work of Jesus “God has blessed me very much in giving me enlightment on his great work as Jesus It has been my very life sinch that Born again in procliming the work of Jesus I could bring forword hundreds to show how I love to show God’s love and mercy to man. And I am happy to say I have seen the true born again Though a few words I have spoken I have a very good character as a hard working man my wage is two and twenty shillings a week. But I should very much like to have, my full time In procliming the work of Jesus as Scripture reader. Or some thing like. My age 33. I am married and have three children. “Dear Sir I thought as you was so will known, you would be the best one to write to. I have sent you the character I had for the situation I am still in Dear Sir I should be very please if you would have the words in the book printed But if you would kindly send the Book back and the character “Yours truly “______”