BY C. H. SPURGEON.
WE remember well the first place in which we addressed a congregation of adults, and the wood-block which illustrates this number of the magazine sets it clearly before our mind’s eye. It was not our first public address by a great many, for both at Newmarket, and Cambridge, and elsewhere, the Sabbath-school had afforded us ample scope for speaking the gospel. At Newmarket especially we had a considerable admixture of grown-up folks in the audience, for many came to hear “the boy” give addresses to the school. But no regular set discourse to a congregation met for regular worship had we delivered till one eventful Sabbath evening, which found us in a cottage at Teversham, holding forth before a little assembly of humble villagers.
The tale is not a new one, but as the engraving has not before been seen by the public eye we must shed a little light upon it. There is a Preachers’ Association in Cambridge connected with St. Andrew’s street Chapel, once the scene of the ministry of Robert Robinson and Robert Hall, and now of our beloved friend Mr. Tarn. A number of worthy brethren preach the gospel in the various villages surrounding Cambridge, taking each one his turn according to plan. In our day the presiding genius was the venerable Mr. James Vinter, whom we were wont to address as Bishop Vinter. His genial soul, warm heart, and kindly manner were enough to keep a whole fraternity stocked with love, and accordingly a goodly company of true workers belonged to the Association, and labored as true yoke-fellows.
Our suspicion is that he not only preached himself, and helped his brethren, but that he was a sort of recruiting sergeant, and drew in young men to keep up the number of the host; at least, we speak kern personal experience as to one case.
We had one Saturday finished morning school, and the boys were all going home for the half-holiday, when in came the aforesaid “Bishop” to ask us to go over to Teversham next Sunday evening, for a young man was to preach there who was not much used to services, and very likely would be glad of company. That was a cunningly devised sentence, if we remember it rightly, and we think we do; for at the time, in the light of that Sunday evening’s revelation, we turned it over, and vastly admired its ingenuity. A request to go and preach would have met with a decided negative, but merely to act as company to a good brother who did not like to be lonely, and perhaps might ask us to give out a hymn or to pray, was not at all a difficult matter, and the request, understood in that fashion, was cheerfully complied with. Little did the lad know what Jonathan and David were doing when he was made to run for the arrow, and as little knew we when we were cajoled into accompanying a young man to Teversham.
Our Sunday school work was over, and tea had been taken, and we set off through Barnwell, and away along the Newmarket-road, with a gentleman some few years our senior. We talked of good things, and at last we expressed our hope that he would feel the presence of God while preaching. He seemed to start, and assured us that he had never preached in his life, and could not attempt such a thing: he was looking to his young friend, Mr. Spurgeon, for that. This was a new view of the situation, and I could only reply that I was no minister, and that even if I had been I was quite unprepared. My companion only repeated that he, even in a more emphatic sense, was not a preacher, that he would help me in any other part of the service, but that there would be no sermon unless I gave them one. He told me that if I repeated one of my Sunday school addresses it would just suit the poor people, and would probably give them more satisfaction than the studied sermon of a learned divine. I felt that I was fairly committed to do my best. I walked along quietly, lifting up my soul to God, and it seemed to me that I could surely tell a few poor cottagers of the sweetness and love of Jesus, for I felt them in my own soul. Praying for divine help, I resolved to make an attempt. My text should be, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious,” and I would trust the Lord to open my mouth in honor of his dear Son. It seemed a great risk and a serious trial, but, depending upon the power of the Holy Ghost, I would at least tell out the story of the cross, and not allow the people to go home without a word. We entered the low-pitched room of the thatched cottage, where a few simple-minded farm-laborers and their wives were gathered together; we sang and prayed and read the Scriptures, and then came our first sermon. How long or how short it was we cannot now remember. It was not half such a task as we had feared it would be, but we were glad to see our way to a fair conclusion, and to the giving out of the last hymn. To our own delight we had not broken down, nor stopped short in the middle, nor been destitute of ideas, and the desired haven was in view. We made a finish, and took up the book, but to our astonishment an aged voice cried out, “Bless your dear heart, how old are you ?” Our very solemn reply was,” You must wait till the service is over before making any such inquiries. Let us now sing.” We did sing, and the young preacher pronounced the benediction, and then began a dialogue which enlarged into a warm, friendly talk, in which everybody appeared to take part. “How old are you?” was the leading question. “I am under sixty,” was the reply. “Yes, and under sixteen,” was the old lady’s rejoinder. “Never mind my age, think of the Lord Jesus and his preciousness,” was all that I could say, after promising to come again, if the gentlemen at Cambridge thought me fit to do so. Very great and profound was our awe of those “gentlemen at Cambridge” in those days.
Are there not other young men who might begin to speak for Jesus in some such lowly fashion — young men who hitherto have been mute as fishes ?
Our villages and hamlets offer fine opportunities for youthful speakers. Let them not wait till they are invited to a chapel, or have prepared a fine essay, or have secured an intelligent audience. If they will go and tell out from their hearts what the Lord Jesus has done for them, they will find ready listeners.
Many of our young folks want to do great things, and therefore do nothing at all; let none of our readers become the victims of such an unreasonable ambition. He who is willing to teach infants, or to give away tracts, and so to begin at the beginning, is far more likely to be useful than the youth who is full of affectations and sleeps in a white necktie, who is studying for the ministry, and is touching up certain superior manuscripts which he hopes ere long to read from the Pastor’s pulpit. He who talks upon plain gospel themes in a farmer’s kitchen, and is able to interest the carter’s boy and the dairymaid, has more of the minister in him than the prim little man who talks for ever about being cultured, and means by that — being taught to use words which nobody can understand. To make the very poorest listen with pleasure and profit is in itself an achievement, and beyond this it is the best possible promise and preparation for an influential ministry. Let our younger brethren go in for cottage preaching, and plenty of it. If there is no Lay Preachers’ Association, let them work by themselves. The expense is not very great for rent, candles, and a few forms: many a young man’s own pocket-money would cover it all. No isolated group of houses should be left without its preaching-room, no hamlet without its evening service. This is the lesson of the thatched cottage at Teversham.
THE REPRINTING OF C. H. SPURGEON’S METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE PULPIT BY DR. WILBUR M. SMITH “WORLD’S FOREMOST AUTHORITY ON CHRISTIAN BOOKS”
NOTE: This article was prepared by Dr. Smith in July, 1969 for publication in his MOODY MONTHLY column, “In the Study.” Note particularly Dr. Smith’s estimation of Spurgeon’s sermons as expressed in the second paragraph of the article.
One of the most remarkable undertakings of reprinting rich Christian literature, long out of print, has just been announced by Pilgrim Publications of Pasadena, Texas. They have just issued the first volume (1861) of the 56 volume set of the New Park Street and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit.
I would say, without any hesitation at all, that these 56 volumes form the greatest collection of sermons by one minister of the Word of God that we have in the English Language.
It is really quite amazing when one thinks of it that no one today is reprinting the truly great sermons of H. P. Liddon, Bishop Westcott, Hugh Macmillan, R. W. Church, etc. But Spurgeon’s sermons have been reprinted over and over again. Dr. John Brown was exactly right when in his Lyman Beecher’s lecture at Yale in 1899, he referred to Mr.
Spurgeon’s ministry as “a success certainly unparalleled in England since the days of Whitefield and Wesley.”
When Charles H. Spurgeon came to London, in 1855, to begin his amazing metropolitan ministry, he could have had no premonition whatsoever that in the years that were before him, he would be having as fellow-laborers the greatest galaxy of preachers Britain has ever known for a given period of forty years. H. P. Liddon (1829-1890) would be delivering his profound sermons to great audiences at St. Paul’s Cathedral; Joseph Parker (1830- 1902) would be expounding the Scriptures at City Temple; F. W. Farrar (1831-1903), with not such a biblical emphasis, would often be heard at Westminster Abbey; and Hugh Price Hughes (1847-1902), of whose ministry at West London Mission it is said “took London by storm.” F. B.
Meyer began his influential work at Regents Park Chapel in 1888. By leaving London one could go to Manchester and hear Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910); to Birmingham and hear R. W. Dale (1829-1895), or on to Edinburgh and hear Alexander Whyte (1836-1921). (It is interesting to note that seven of these remarkably gifted preachers were born within a period of eight years, 1829-1836). All of those men drew great crowds (though not all of them held large audiences to the end), but none as great as Mr. Spurgeon.
This first volume consists of 632 pages of text, 79 sermons. The type is small in the first volume, but that’s what it was in the original printing. In subsequent volumes the type is much more pleasing. The price of this first volume is $6.75. This is a lot of money, I know, but one never finds a book today priced less than two cents a page, generally three cents a page, and sometimes four cents a page. I have seen many new books of 125 pages at $4. Here you have a collection of sermons of the very highest quality, in a volume the price of which is after all hardly more than one cent a page. There is something authentic and timeless about Spurgeon’s sermons.
Through them he speaks to our generation, as he did to his own, of the unchanging truth of Christ. I commend them to modern man as an example of the perennial power of the Word of God as it speaks to man in his need.
BILLY GRAHAM FROM THE JACKET OF THE FIRST VOLUME OF
METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE PULPIT
DR. W. A. CRISWELL, DALLAS TEXAS:
“There could be no greater spiritual or homiletical blessing to this present generation than the republication of the METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE PULPIT. Spurgeon was one of the greatest preachers of all times, and his message is relevant and pertinent to all generations. I have read Spurgeon through the years for the enrichment of my own soul and for my preaching ministry. I shall continue to read him. Thank God for your vision in republishing his original sermons.”
CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON A VOICE OF GOD-GIVEN WISDOM BY J.SIDLOW BAXTER SANTA BARBARA,CALIFORNIA What Beethoven is in the world of music; what Shakespeare is in the kingdom of literature; what Milton is in the realm of poetry; what Isaiah is among the writing prophets; that is Spurgeon among the preachers. He is one of those “exceptionals” who appear perhaps about once in every century. He was a unique blend of the gifts and the graces, both natural and spiritual. His voice alone made him super-normal. The listening crowds all agreed that it was “the most wonderful voice” they had “ever heard.”
But behind that voice of musical thunder was the message of a prophet, the mind of a poet, the sagacity of a powerful thinker, an all around grasp of Biblical truths, and the persuasiveness of a born preacher-teacher-leader.
Back of all that was a vivid conversion to Christ, and an unshakable conviction that the Bible is the Word of God, and the glow of a rich fellowship with Christ, and a “passion for souls” which quivers through every discourse.
But it is about Spurgeon’s printed sermons that we are concerned here — and how glad I am that the whole magnificent treasury, of them is now handsomely reissued by Pilgrim Publications! What is it about Spurgeon’s sermons which makes them “different”? And why should we read them?
Let me mention just a few features. (1) Atmosphere. Many a sermon which is powerful when spoken becomes fiat and cold when put into print. Not so with Spurgeon’s! He loses less and kindles more on the printed page than any other preacher I know. It is quite remarkable. There is a warmth, a verve, an aliveness, almost as though the vibrant voice of Spurgeon himself was ringing in one’s ears. (2) Doctrine. There are many able preachers who nevertheless are not teachers; but all Spurgeon’s preaching is teaching. He is no mere talker on topics of the times. All the way through he is expository, and is a superb master in the art of opening up the rich, deep truths of Holy Writ with accuracy and lucidity. Often the presentation is so captivating that one does not realize how much solid doctrine is being ‘caught. (3) Edification. After my own conversion, Spurgeon’s printed sermons were “marrow and fat” to my spiritual life. There is in each of them the soul food which builds one up in the evangelical faith. There is theological system and spiritual grasp expressing itself through them all; and they are all clear, honest, brave, careful, comforting, challenging, edifying expositions which contribute to the believer’s “growth in grace.” (4) Quality. Even if we take them simply as specimens of sermonic art, they can “hold their own” in any company. Most of them are excellent models for preachers to follow. Many of them are homiletical and literary classics. Spurgeon was a genius in textual analysis and orderly presentation. His flowing, simple, musical “Anglo-Saxon English” is a mental delight. Plainly, there is never any straining after oratorical effect, but over and over again it breaks out with irresistible spontaneity, in passage after passage. Yes, what quality! (5) Relevance. Another remarkable trait of Spurgeon’s printed sermons is their continuing relevance. They speak today. In their style, maybe, some of them have a yesterdayish flavor, yet far more of them seem almost like prophetic anticipations of issues today. Presumably that is because, being so powerfully expository and answering the unevangelical aberrations of Spurgeon’s days, they were in reality answering questions which recur in every new age, including our own.
Again and again ! have preached in Spurgeon’s pulpit; and one of the greatest honors which ever came my way was when ! was unanimously invited to become the minister of Spurgeon’s Tabernacle. I knew myself to be much too small a man for such a pulpit, so I gratefully declined. Soon after that, during the Second World War, the Tabernacle was wrecked during an air raid. So, the dear old “Tab”, with its two galleries and seats is no more; but Spurgeon now has a new enduring pulpit in this magnificent publication of all his printed sermons.
Get them, and read them; for Spurgeon’s is a voice of God-given wisdom which (I verily believe) will go on saving and blessing souls till our Lord returns.
J.SIDLOW BAXTER,NOTED SPEAKER,WRITER EXCERPTS FROM SIGNIFICANT REVIEWS
Bibliotheca Sacra: “These sermons reveal even in cold type the charm, eloquence, and spiritual power of this giant of the pulpit. Although delivered long ago, the sermons have the same relevance, pungency, and convicting power as when first delivered to the large audiences which heard him in the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. Undoubtedly this will be, as claimed by the publishers, one of the greatest sets of sermons in the history of the church.” Baptist Quarterly (England): “Pilgrim Publications has recently undertaken the mammoth task of republishing the 56 volumes of Spurgeon’s sermons, as well as other titles of his. Of Spurgeon, the preacher, we say ‘Take and read’. The best way to discover the real Spurgeon is to read his sermons.
The range of his preaching is remarkable. Spurgeon lived his own words.” Review and Expositor: “Pilgrim Publications is making Spurgeon’s works available to those who are being caught up in a renewed interest in this master preacher. Though in many ways Charles Spurgeon was a child of his own times, his sermons possess a surprising timelessness. His warm devotion to Jesus Christ, his common sense, his homely wit, and his informal style combine to make his sermons a delight to read today.” Bookstore Journal: “Just to know the stature and reputation of the author is sufficient without any man’s recommendation! Thousands give testimony to the value of Spurgeon’s sermons in their ministry and upon individual lives. His dual ministry, that of the spoken and written word, is timeless, speaking of the perennial power of the Word of God as it speaks to man at all times.” Steadfast (Australia):”Pilgrim Publications has aroused considerable interest by embarking on the mammoth task of republishing the complete set (56 volumes) of Spurgeon’s sermons. Now they are also presenting us with some of Spurgeon’s other titles. Strong preaching! Yes, and preaching that should be spread throughout our churches.” New Life (Australia): “The republication of these volumes could prove to be a powerful preservative for evangelical Christianity. These 56 volumes complete and unabridged contain some of the finest preaching this world has ever heard. How much one would like to say! The best thing is that you procure a copy and delve into its heart-warming and inspiring contents.” South Australian Baptist News: “One problem in recent years has been that the 56 volumes which comprised the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit have long been out of print. Odd volumes were eagerly snatched up as collector’s items. Now these reprints make Spurgeon readily available to all. For an astonishingly low price you can now read the sermons which drew some 6,000 folk twice each Sunday to the Tabernacle. No word of commendation could in my opinion be too high.” Protestant Action (Canada): “Judging by the reception that the public has never failed to give to Spurgeon’s sermons, this venture should prosper.
We earnestly hope so for this is really a missionary work that will meet as large a need today as the original editions did in the last century. These sermons are a must for preachers, at least for those who take their calling seriously and are anxious to learn their art at the hands of a master workman who does not dispense fine spun theories but who demonstrates how to preach by preaching. As an artist studies the old masters, not merely the books on painting, so one who would preach must acquaint himself with great sermons of the past and with those who preached them.
No preacher will yield richer rewards of this sort than Charles Haddon Spurgeon.” Evangelical Baptist (Canada): “Charles H. Spurgeon, by general agreement, was one of the great preachers of the ages. His weekly sermons were avidly read as they came from the publisher. Then, each year, the annual volume appeared under the title, ‘Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit.’
Those volumes are to be printed now just as they appeared from the presses in former time. A well illustrated brochure, The Pictorial Life of C.
H. Spurgeon, is worth more than fifty cents which it will cost you.”
THE GRANDEST PREACHER SINCE PAUL!
BY DAVID OTIS FULLER A stripling teenager waited two hours in the home of Mr. McMillan the publisher. He had an appointment with Dr. Angus of Stepney College who was also waiting in another room in the same home! A negligent servant girl had given no information to the family that anyone had called and had been shown into the drawing room. Finally the good Doctor could wait no longer. He left for London by train and Charles Spurgeon was disappointed. He wanted to enter college and now his hopes were blasted.
As he walked slowly across Midsummer Common that afternoon, wondering about it all, Spurgeon writes in his autobiography, “In the midst of the Common I was startled by what seemed a loud voice, but which may have been a singular illusion. Whichever it was, the impression was vivid to an intense degree. I seemed very distinctly to hear the words, ‘Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!’ Had it not been for those words, in all probability I would never be where and what I now am. I was conscientious in my obedience to the monition and I have never seen cause to regret it.”
Thus — the world’s greatest preacher since the apostle to the Gentiles, began his ministry with little or no education but with a burning desire that “He must increase but I must decrease.” Humility coupled with God-given confidence, courage and rare genius utterly dedicated to the Lord Whom he loved, caused Charles Spurgeon to leave an impact upon his generation and all succeeding ones that a dozen preachers could never accomplish.
Pilgrim Publications of Pasadena, Texas, is launching a most significant project in the Christian publishing field. When the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit is published in full, Christians will possess one great weapon to fight the onrushing tide of apostasy of our day. Many in our day are thirsting for the destruction of the simple, pure, unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This they cannot and will not accomplish as long as the words and works of Spurgeon are available to the Christian public. Everything this Goddirected genius ever wrote is pure gold. We make bold to say that no one has ever used the English language so effectively in the pulpit and through the printed page as this man whom God completely mastered.
MacLaren, Parker, Morgan, Haldeman, Moody, all were giants of their day and did a great work for God, but none could equal in clarity, sheer beauty of language, the style and diction of Charles Haddon Spurgeon — the grandest preacher of them all — since Paul.
NOTED GRAND RAPIDS BAPTIST PASTOR THE LEGACY OF SPURGEON BY RALPH G.TURNBULL SEATTLE,WASHINGTON In commending this project of publishing the entire sermon library of C. H.
Spurgeon, I can think of many reasons why this is not only timely, but one filled with divine potentialities for good. One is that in retrospect as a boy in Scotland, our home was blessed by a weekly paper which carried a sermon by Spurgeon. That staple diet of a young convert and was read eagerly and became part of the disciple. Then, when the call came to leave business for the business of life in the ministry of the Gospel, Spurgeon’s sermons were gathered and read. Living with this treasure of truth for many years a taste for Biblical truth and Puritan interpretation was cultivated. Now there is a well from which one draws water for the spiritual life and for the proclamation of the Gospel.
Many eminent men have written and spoken about Spurgeon. They either had heard him or had known of him. That was not my privilege. However, by reading Spurgeon and then visiting the place of his conversion and preaching in the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, something of his spirit has been divined and appreciated. The accent of Puritanism and the cadences of that gracious speech as well as the messages in print are not out of date or irrelevant to this day and generation. Spurgeon still lives and his message abides as a swiftly flowing stream of Gospel truth undefiled.
What is his legacy? Several things come to mind and these are not unrelated although mentioned without any special order of importance: 1. His belief in the converting power of the Gospel. 2. His belief in the sovereignty of Almighty God. 3. His belief in the authority of the Scriptures. 4. His belief in the Puritan plan style for preaching. 5. His belief in the mystical experience “in Christ.” 6. His belief in the efficacy of preaching.
If this age should witness a revival of these convictions in pulpit and pew, God would do great and mighty things among us. This project could well be one of the agents of that desired end.
PASTORS FIRST PRESBYTERIAN IN SEATTLE ONE WHO FELL UNDER SPURGEON’S PULPIT POWER BY NOEL SMITH I once had a friend who was a Presbyterian and a lawyer. He has been dead many years. In one of the many interesting conversations I had with him, he told me about a conversation he once had with a friend of his who lived in Louisville, Ky.
The friend told him of his visit to Spurgeon’s Tabernacle on one of his trips to London. He said that he was sitting in the balcony. Spurgeon announced his text and then began talking. He didn’t seem to be making much progress. The visitor said that he began experiencing a feeling of disappointment. “Is this the man that everybody talks about being such a wonderful preacher? I have heard many preachers superior to him.”
He said Spurgeon was preaching on Blind Bartimaeus. Spurgeon quoted Bartimaeus’ cry: “Jesus, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.” Spurgeon quoted it clearly and distinctively, but not loudly. But the way he quoted it impressed him.
And Spurgeon quoted it a second time: “Jesus, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.” This time it was louder, and his attention was fixed on Spurgeon.
And Spurgeon quoted it a third time: “Jesus,… Thou son of David, have M-E-R-C-Y on me!”
He said that when Spurgeon quoted old Bartimaeus the third time he thought he could hear the gates of heaven shaking. He said he never missed another word uttered by Spurgeon. He said he had never heard anything in his life like that sermon on Blind Bartimaeus.
Such was the pulpit power of C. H. Spurgeon.
POPULAR BAPTIST BIBLE TRIBUNE EDITOR AT 22, THE MOST POPULAR PREACHER IN ENGLAND BY DR.CHARLES LEE FEINBERG TALBOT THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY LA MIRADA,CALIFORNIA For any preacher to attempt to give due credit to the work and ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (born on June 19, 1834; died on January 31, 1892) is like gilding the lily. His mighty utterances in the pulpit and his forceful written style remind one of the great impact of the ministry of John Chrysostom in ancient times.
Spurgeon, who greatly influenced our D. L. Moody in more than one area, was born into a family of Dutch origin who took refuge in England at the time of the persecution of the Duke of Alva. His father and grandfather were independent ministers. Charles H. Spurgeon was converted in a primitive Methodist chapel, though reared an independent. He became a Baptist in 1850.
He began preaching as sixteen. His success was instantaneous and his oratorical gifts were immediately recognized. At twenty he was already famous. He preached to congregations often numbering ten thousand. At 22 he was the most popular preacher in England. In 1861 the Metropolitan Tabernacle was opened for service. It accommodated 6,000. There he ministered until his death.
Under him a number of organizations grew up and flourished: a pastor’s college, an orphanage, and a colportage association. A convinced Calvinist all his life, he fought strenuously against the inroads of liberalism into the major denominations of his day.
He was married and had twin sons, Charles and Thomas.
Spurgeon’s messages were characterized by spontaneous humor, fervor, appeals to the consciences of his hearers, easy gestures, great oratorical power, and expositions of Scripture in a way that related it to contemporary life. A prolific writer, thousands of his sermons were sold.
Devotional works for daily use and his commentary on the Psalms are well known throughout the English-speaking world. “HIS SERMONS HAVE A TIMELESS QUALITY” BY DR. W. C.HULTGREN TULSA,OKLAHOMA Charles Haddon Spurgeon is considered by evangelicals around the world as one of the truly great preachers of our time. His sermons have a timeless quality, which can be read with as much profit today as when they were heard over a hundred years ago. Christ is the focus point of each sermon.
It seems to me that a present-day pastor could well read one of Spurgeon’s sermons each day and thus be pastored by the Prince of Preachers. No one can go wrong in purchasing and using any. thing that came from the anointed heart of one of God’s most gifted servants, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
GIFTS AND QUALITIES THAT MADE SPURGEON USABLE BY DR.WILLIAM CULBERTSON CHICAGO,ILLINOIS FORMER MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE PRESIDENT The greatest preacher of his day was undoubtedly Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892). Indeed, he stands astride many generations of preachers as especially gifted of God.
God gave him many natural gifts. Much has been made in some quarters of his lack of formal training. Perhaps it is forgotten that he attended schools in Colchester and Maidstone. Further, his days of association with dayschools at Newmarket and Cambridge provided opportunity of study on his own — which he evidently pursued with vigor. So it was that God once again broke the pattern and raised up a servant without the usual schools of training. But that is not to say he was untrained. His gifts and perservance compensated for what other men needed.
Testimony has been borne to his intellectual capacity, his assiduous study of books, his widespread interests and knowledge. In short, he was an avid and ardent scholar who did not need the stimulation or pressure of the external habiliments of the formal setting. It is also observed that he had what we call a photographic and an analytic mind. But he was more than a pedant occupied with minutiae: he appreciated beauty of expression, depth of meaning and the articuation of truth by others and God helped him make these gifts his own. His powers of description were phenomenal because he saw things other men failed to see, and he had the language at his command to describe them — whether he was talking about nature, about science, about literature or about the Lord. And his language was largely good, hard Anglo-Saxon in background — clear, powerful unmistakable. A reading of his sermons bears out the truth of this appraisal.
Another quality of this great preacher was his willingness to enter into service for God. He willingly took the lower place and ministered with grace, so God entrusted him with greater opportunities. As a very young man he spoke to the Sunday school children of Newmarket and of Cambridge — and adults came to listen. It was from such humble beginnings that his call to minister in churches arose. God help us to despise not the day or the opportunity of small things!
Perhaps another natural quality of this preacher ought not to be passed by.
God gave him a voice. Another has written: “Soon as he commences to speak, tones of richest melody are heard. A voice, full, sweet, and musical, falls on every ear...”
But all these things, important as they are, are secondary. Charles Haddon Spurgeon knew the Lord and loved His Word. He was a man of conviction. He stood for what he believed — even when it cost him greatly. He knew his weakness and sensed his need. As he had been quoted, he said: “Without the Spirit of God I am utterly unable to speak to you. I have not those gifts and talents which qualify men to speak; I need an afflatus from on high… “So it is, as Dwight L. Moody said: “It is not Mr. Spurgeon after all, it is God.” Amen. All glory to God.
But never forget, God uses men who are usable. He so used Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
SPURGEON — STILL FRESH FOR THE 20TH CENTURY BY JOE T.ODLE,EDITOR THE BAPTIST RECORD JACKSON,MISSISSIPPI When I was in my early teens, and was just beginning the preparation for the ministry, I was privileged to have a pastor who had a most unusual library for a man of his age. The family of an elderly preacher who was deceased had given to him “the splendid library which this preacher had collected through a long ministry. Included among the many valuable volumes were bound copies of some English Baptist journals of the last half of the 19th century, including copies of some of the original issues of\par THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE PULPIT.
As a boy I spent many hours browsing in this library, and turning through these volumes. Some of the ideas for my earliest sermon efforts came from reading C. H. Spurgeon’s messages. Later I purchased some of the Spurgeon sets which were available, but always felt that there was a limitation, since in editorial selection some of Spurgeon’s best messages had been omitted. One can imagine my delight then, when I learned that the original set was to be reprinted. I was glad that this modern generation of preachers, and other Christians, would have access to the great preaching of a man whose ministry of the Word was so outstanding that its application is just as fresh for the 20th century as it was to the 19th century congregations who first heard the messages a hundred years ago. Perhaps, too, the set will inspire young preachers of this day to dig deep in the wells of Scriptural truth to bring forth some of the springs of living waters which are there, even as Spurgeon did in his day.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AT SPURGEON’S TABERNACLE BY DR.OSWALD J.SMITH DR.SMITH,FAMOUS MISSIONARY STATESMAN I am so glad that the works of Charles H. Spurgeon are being resurrected and preserved. There has never been a pastor like him. He is known as The Prince of Preachers. Today his sermons are needed as never before. I feel highly honored in having been asked to write a Foreword for the works of this man whom I have greatly admired down through the years and who has been such an inspiration to me personally in my ministry.
One of the greatest experiences of my entire life was my ministry in the world famous Spurgeon’s Tabernacle, London, England, during the month of June 1936.
I can never be grateful enough for the great honor of preaching from Spurgeon’s Pulpit. Little did I think that the day would ever come when an unknown country boy from Embro would receive a cable to cross the Atlantic Ocean and occupy the world’s most famous pulpit. Wonderful indeed are the ways of the Lord.
Before each service, the Elders gathered around me for prayer. Many were still active who sat under the ministry of the great Spurgeon himself. Souls were saved each Sunday night. They walked down the aisles and into the inquiry room in numbers. It was a time of real rejoicing.
For some 30 years, Spurgeon preached to 5,000 people both morning and evening. What a ministry!
I also spent a most enjoyable time at Spurgeon’s College and Orphanage.
The College was beautifully situated and was trill’ training men for the ministry. The Orphanage amazed me. I had no idea it was so large. There were about 400 children. The buildings covered nearly 9 acres. When I signed the Visitor’s Book, I was thrilled to see the names of D. L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey signed by themselves years ago. I sat in Spurgeon’s study chair and saw the table upon which he worked. What a man he was!
In reporting my ministry, The Baptist Times wrote as follows: — “When the minister of the great center of work and worship at The Peoples Church, Toronto, came down the stairs to the platform pulpit at Spurgeon’s Tabernacle on Sunday morning, the impression was unexpected. Dr. Smith looks quite young though he has been a minister for 21 years, frail and pale and thin as if the fire within was burning too rapidly and the nerves too highly strung. He is known throughout the United States and Canada. During the month of June, he ministered in the Tabernacle to large congregations. “On the former Sunday mornings, Dr. Smith had been preaching on the Deeper Life, Keswick teaching so-called, and each Sunday evening on Salvation. At the close of the evenings, there has been a response to his appeal. Dr. Smith, who baptized 175 candidates in his last baptismal service, is an experienced Evangelist. “Last Sunday, he preached on The Second Coming of Christ, the only Hope of the World. He painted a dark picture of present world conditions.
Then a rapid fiery torrent of words shriveled up the many modern schemes for alleviation. The picture grew darker and darker. The people were listening intently. They could not help it. Somehow in the end he found hope for all but how terribly dark the pathway. However there will be a Golden Age. Christ will come again when the problems of the world will all be solved.”
THE SECRET OF SPURGEON’S POWER BY DR.JOHN WALVOORD DALLAS,TEXAS DR.WALVOORD HEADS DALLAS SEMINARY In the sovereign purposes of God, it was not only ordained that the Word of God should be written, and that as such it should be “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the diving asunder of soul and spirit” (Hebrew 4:12), but that the Word should be preached. One of the greatest preachers of the first century, the Apostle Paul, exhorted Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2). In the providence of God men have been gifted to preach the Word with power. Such a man was Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
The secret of Spurgeon’s power was, first, the Holy Spirit, and even in the printed page the vibrant, convicting power of the Holy Spirit can be felt.
Second, the secret of his power was that he was biblical in his preaching.
He cared not for theories and philosophies of men. For him the written Word of God was sufficient authority. Third, his preaching centered in Jesus Christ, and every sermon was intended to exalt Him. Fourth, every sermon was a spiritual conflict, a challenge to Satan, an exposure of sin and a portrait of each human situation as it would be seen in the eyes of God.
Hearers of Spurgeon tended to forget that it was Spurgeon who was preaching, that his words were eloquent, that he was speaking with passion and conviction. It was as if God Himself were addressing Himself to the particular spiritual need of the hearer. It is a testimony to the unchanging character of the Word of God that Spurgeon’s sermons are just as relevant today as when delivered.
SPURGEON’S SERMONS CARL F. H.HENRY:
Multitudes of Christians still draw deeply at the well of Spurgeon’s refreshing and victorious messages. The world will stop, look and listen when it hears such a voice, and it is no surprise that even in the late Twentieth Century the good this has done lives on to bless our generation.
DR.HENRY OF “CHRISTIANITY TODAY”FAME THE VALUE OF SPURGEON’S SERMONS BY DR. D. M.LLOYD-JONES I am delighted to hear of this project of reprinting the sermons of the great Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I am particularly pleased that you are not going to abridge or modify them in any way. In the case of Spurgeon that is particularly important, as, in the past, publishers have been guilty of allowing their own theological prejudices to exclude what Spurgeon himself would have regarded as vital.
Throughout my ministerial life, people have told me of the help and blessing they have obtained from reading Spurgeon’s sermons. I think primarily of lay people who were not fortunate enough to have good, solid, evangelical preaching in their own churches, and who find the sermonettes and talks on the radio and television quite inadequate. Spurgeon always provides a solid meal and sustenance on which one can live.
Many preachers also, I know, have modeled themselves on him. A still larger number have often found comfort, encouragement, stimulus and helpful suggestions for their own preaching as the result of reading his sermons.
Never was the Truth he preached and proclaimed, in such a winsome yet powerful manner, more needed than today. Nothing can substitute preaching — no psychological counseling or group therapy, or any one of the latest passing fads and crazes.
May God greatly bless this venture and through it raise up many men who shall “preach the Word in season, out of season,” and at the same time bring countless Christians throughout the world to know “the comfort and consolation of the Scriptures.”
DR.JONES,OUTSTANDING ENGLISH MINISTER AN EXPOSITOR PAR EXCELLENCE BY ROBERT G.RAYBURN,PRESIDENT Covenant Seminary, St. Louis It is the mark of the true greatness of the preaching of Charles Haddon Spurgeon that today, more than a hundred years after he began his preaching ministry, his sermons are still models of homiletical excellence and of great practical value.
Spurgeon’s sermons, for the most part, are as relevant today as in the days they were first preached. He was an expositor par excellence, and the student of homiletics who gives Spurgeon’s sermons careful study and critical technical examination will learn much about expository preaching.
The sermons are not, however, just of interest and value to the student or to the preacher. They bring fresh inspiration and spiritual growth based upon a clearer understanding of the Word of God to any Christian who will take the time to read them prayerfully.
In this day when so many sermons have little or no direct basis in scripture, it is truly cause for thanksgiving that the riches of Spurgeon’s pulpit ministry are made available to thousands who find it necessary in their own churches to feed on the dry husks of man’s wisdom. The careful reading of one or two of Spurgeon’s sermons each week will provide much inspiration and genuine stimulation to the spiritual life for they are saturated in the Scriptures and they abound in refreshingly practical applications of the Word of God to the life of the believer. Indeed, the common sense with which these sermons abound is timeless.
DR.RAYBURN,PRESBYTERIAN LEADER STILL THE “PRINCE OF PREACHERS”’ BY DR.STEPHEN OLFORD, NEW YORK CITY:
I am delighted to learn that Pilgrim Publications is reprinting the\par METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE PULPIT.
Ever since I can remember, I have read Spurgeon. Even as a boy I was brought up on his sermons. My grandfather considered it his afternoon task to distribute the weekly sermons of Mr. Spurgeon to an area assigned to him in the city of Plymouth, Devon, England. With top hat and swallowtail coat he fulfilled his ministry every Sunday afternoon.
C. H. Spurgeon is still the Prince of Preachers. Even though dead for almost a hundred years, “he still speaketh.” To read his sermons is to be theologically educated, devotionally enriched and spiritually elevated. No preacher can study him without learning the art of sermon construction and the craft of sermon illustration.
The relevance of his sermons even in our twentieth century space age is due to the fact that they are God-conceived, Christ-centered, and Spiritcontrolled.
We may at times need to modernize his words, but we shall always find it difficult, if not well nigh impossible, to approximate the majesty of his language and the purity of his English.
It is my prayer that the republication of his works will be used under the good hand of God to convert the sinner, comfort the saint, and encourage the men behind the pulpit to emulate a prince of preachers.
DR.OLFORD,SPEAKER ON “ENCOUNTER” “PREACHING AT ITS BEST” BY DR.HERSCHEL H.HOBBS OKLAHOMA CITY,OKLAHOMA DR.HOBBS, “BAPTIST HOUR”SPEAKER I applied to Spurgeon’s College, London, for theological and ministerial training. After that I went to my first church in the northeast of England.
There I found that my doctor, a Scotsman, had been brought up on Spurgeon’s sermons in his Highland home. There I found under a rostrum a discarded oil painting of C. H. Spurgeon (which I restored, and which has graced every Manse in which I have lived), and there in my congregation was an elderly lady who prophesied again and again: “In a few years’ time, you will be Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle.” Her prophesy came true, and it was my task to go to the ruins of the second Tabernacle (blitzed during the Second World War) and design an appeal brochure to he circulated on a world-wide basis, appealing for funds for re-building Spurgeon’s famous church. The third Tabernacle was opened free of debt in October, 1959.
During the six years ministry in London I lectured on “Spurgeon on Revival”, which was subsequently published in book form. So far we have not seen the revival in England that we long for and pray for. It might well be that the re-publication of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit by Pilgrim Publications will be God’s instrument for such a spiritual awakening. As the volumes go out into the homes of Christian people; as they get into the hands of Christian pastors, may they be It would require no proving to say that Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the greatest preacher since the Apostle Paul. The achievements wrought by him from the pulpit defy description.
It is fortunate that his sermons have been made available through the years for others to read. But it is doubly fortunate that his complete homiletical production will be made available in fifty-six volumes. There can be no greater homiletical library for our day than this.
While Spurgeon spoke to a different age the truths which he declared are timeless. They are as applicable to the needs of our generation as they were to his.
In a time when the tendency is to turn away from the values of the past it is most fortunate that the preaching of this great man will be made available to a new generation. One of the most helpful publication ventures in our day is the trend to republish volumes by old masters in the field of theological thought and proclamation. Thus another generation and generations yet to come will be blessed by the richness of the ministry of men like Spurgeon.
For whatever it is worth I am happy to commend these volumes to every preacher, teacher, and indeed to everyone who wishes to read and study preaching at its best.
Such a blessing that ordinary Christians will he built up in their most holy faith, and Christian ministers be given the secret of power in the pulpit once again.
Dr. W. Robertson Nicoll once stated that “in Scotland he (Spurgeon) was even more regarded than in England, and in America perhaps his fame stood higher than anywhere else.” It seems only right then that this gigantic publication project should emanate from the United States. May God bless it, volume by volume, as they are offered to the public.
THE INFLUENCE OF SPURGEON ON MY LIFE BY ERIC W.HAYDEN Pastor of Leominster Baptist Church, Herefordshire, England; formerly Pastor of Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle.
As a boy I slept in a bedroom that contained a picture of an old bearded man with spectacles half-way down his nose. His signature was underneath — C. H. Spurgeon! My parents had been married at Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle, and my grandparents were baptized there by Spurgeon himself, and so joined his great church.
My grandfather’s legacy was a great one. As a boy he took me to see the Tabernacle; he regailed me with stories of Spurgeon’s ministry; and he left me his set of The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. It rather amuses me today when some authors put pen to paper and write their ‘lives’ of the great man. They have culled their material from earlier biographies; they know little or nothing first-hand, as it was my privilege to learn from my late father and grandfather. Some of their biographies could well be entitled “The Misunderstood Spurgeon.”
For this reason I am thrilled that the volumes of sermons are being reprinted by Pilgrim Publications, for these sermons contain many autobiographical details which have never been incorporated in printed biographies of Spurgeon. Besides that, they are soul-saving sermons, doctrinal sermons designed to build up believers, and indeed, commentaries on the Bible books themselves.
Converted at the age of 12, I began preaching at 16 years of age. When God had given me a text. for a preaching engagement I always went to Spurgeon’s sermons before any other commentary. If he had not preached upon my text I often felt God had given me the wrong one! To me he was more than the Prince of Preachers, he was the Prince of Commentators. Where other commentators were difficult to understand at the age of 16, Spurgeon was crystal clear to me, as I hope he was when I passed on his sermon material to others in the village chapels in which I was privileged to preach.
It seemed only natural that I should. Eric Hayden — in his honorary Chief’s tribal gown from the Gio Tribe in Liberia.
SPEAKING OF SPURGEON BY DR.ROBERT G,LEE No matter what words one may speak with eloquence of tongue or write with skill of pen, a woeful sense of inadequacy would oppress orator and writer in making an effort to express the worth and wonder of Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s sermons. Veritable beds of Gospel pearls are all the sermons of this remarkable preacher so greatly used of God. Browning sings:
All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee; All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem; In the core o! one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea; Breath and bloom, shade and shine — wonder, wealth, and — how far above thereto Truth that’s brighter than gem, Trust that’s purer than pearl, — Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe — all were for me In the kiss of one girl!
But how much more than that and how far beyond all that is the wealth of the spiritual riches of God’s truth and grace as proclaimed by this remarkable man who played a conspicuous part in the Renaissance by creating a popular atmosphere for evangelism, who preached at an ordinary service to nine thousand people, who thrust the evangelical pulpit into the glare of public attention. With flaming intensity, he made almost miraculous impact upon each individual unit in the surging crowds that flocked every Sunday with wistful hearts to hear him.
Spurgeon lived in days when there were giants. As Boreham says, the leaders of all departments of British life and thought recognized that the spirit of Spurgeon represented the life-force of the ages. He magnetized and sometimes electrified them. They went to hear him. They sought his counsel.
I am glad you are going to publish METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE PULPIT. A sense of inadequacy is upon me as I speak of Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his sermons. No eloquence of tongue nor skill of pen can fully describe the man and his message. His biography and sermons have influenced my life in many ways.
In his preaching this giant of God flowed as a river and never did trickle as a rill. By lip and life he shone as a chandelier never as a flickering candle.
The man and his message made a Scriptural orchestra of many instruments.
He was a great organ whose full breath was thunder beneath God’s fingers pressed.
ROBERT G.LEE,DISTINGUISHED SOUTHERN BAPTIST