Facts you may not know about C. H. Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon is history’s most widely read preacher (apart from the biblical ones). Today, there is available more material written by Spurgeon than by any other Christian author, living or dead. He is known as ‘The Prince Of Preacher’s’.

* One woman was converted through reading a single page of one of Spurgeon’s sermons wrapped around some butter she had bought.

* Spurgeon read The Pilgrim’s Progress at age 6 and went on to read it over 100 times.

* The New Park Street Pulpit and The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit—the collected sermons of Spurgeon during his ministry with that congregation—fill 63 volumes. The sermons’ 20-25 million words are equivalent to the 27 volumes of the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The series stands as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity.

* Spurgeon’s mother had 17 children, nine of whom died in infancy.

* When Charles Spurgeon was only 10 years old, a visiting missionary, Richard Knill, said that the young Spurgeon would one day preach the gospel to thousands and would preach in Rowland Hill’s chapel, the largest Dissenting church in London. His words were fulfilled.

* Spurgeon missed being admitted to college because a servant girl inadvertently showed him into a different room than that of the principal who was waiting to interview him. (Later, he determined not to reapply for admission when he believed God spoke to him, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!”)

* Spurgeon’s personal library contained 12,000 volumes—1,000 printed before 1700. (The library, 5,103 volumes at the time of its auction, was housed at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, until being moved to Midwestern Baptist Theological College & Seminary in 2006.)

* Before he was 20, Spurgeon had preached over 600 times.

* Spurgeon drew to his services Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone, members of the royal family, Members of Parliament, as well as author John Ruskin, Florence Nightingale, and General James Garfield, later president of the United States.

* The New Park Street Church invited Spurgeon to come for a 6-month trial period, but Spurgeon asked to come for only 3 months because “the congregation might not want me, and I do not wish to be a hindrance.”

* When Spurgeon arrived at The New Park Street Church, in 1854, the congregation had 232 members. By the end of his pastorate, 38 years later, that number had increased to 5,311. (Altogether, 14,460 people were added to the church during Spurgeon’s tenure.) The church was the largest independent congregation in the world.

* Spurgeon typically read 6 books per week and could remember what he had read—and where—even years later.

* Spurgeon once addressed an audience of 23,654—without a microphone or any mechanical amplification.

* Spurgeon began a pastors’ college that trained nearly 900 students during his lifetime—and it continues today.

* In 1865, Spurgeon’s sermons sold 25,000 copies every week. They were translated into more than 20 languages.

* At least 3 of Spurgeon’s works (including the multi-volume Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit series) have sold more than 1,000,000 copies. One of these, All of Grace, was the first book ever published by Moody Press (formerly the Bible Institute Colportage Association) and is still its all-time bestseller.

* During his lifetime, Spurgeon is estimated to have preached to 10,000,000 people.

* Spurgeon once said he counted 8 sets of thoughts that passed through his mind at the same time while he was preaching.

* Testing the acoustics in the vast Agricultural Hall, Spurgeon shouted, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” A worker high in the rafters of the building heard this and became converted to Christ as a result.

* Susannah Thompson, Spurgeon’s wife, became an invalid at age 33 and could seldom attend her husband’s services after that.

* Spurgeon spent 20 years studying the Book of Psalms and writing his commentary on them, The Treasury of David.

* Spurgeon insisted that his congregation’s new building, The Metropolitan Tabernacle, employ Greek architecture because the New Testament was written in Greek. This one decision has greatly influenced subsequent church architecture throughout the world.

* The theme for Spurgeon’s Sunday morning sermon was usually not chosen until Saturday night.

* For an average sermon, Spurgeon took no more than one page of notes into the pulpit, yet he spoke at a rate of 140 words per minute for 40 minutes.

* The only time that Spurgeon wore clerical garb was when he visited Geneva and preached in Calvin’s pulpit.

* By accepting some of his many invitations to speak, Spurgeon often preached 10 times in a week.

* Spurgeon met often with Hudson Taylor, the well-known missionary to China, and with George Muller, the orphanage founder.

* Spurgeon had two children—twin sons—and both became preachers. Thomas succeeded his father as pastor of the Tabernacle, and Charles, Jr., took charge of the orphanage his father had founded.

* Spurgeon’s wife, Susannah, called him Tirshatha (a title used of the Judean governor under the Persian empire), meaning “Your Excellency.”

* Spurgeon often worked 18 hours a day. Famous explorer and missionary David Livingstone once asked him, “How do you manage to do two men’s work in a single day?” Spurgeon replied, “You have forgotten that there are two of us.”

* Spurgeon spoke out so strongly against slavery that American publishers of his sermons began deleting his remarks on the subject.

Occasionally Spurgeon asked members of his congregation not to attend the next Sunday’s service, so that newcomers might find a seat. During one 1879 service, the regular congregation left so that newcomers waiting outside might get in; the building immediately filled again.

More Spurgeon Quotes on Calvinism

Spurgeon08I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God.

The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism, though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this – it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before you enter heaven. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, he will wash your brains before you enter heaven.

I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart.

But, say others, God elected them on the foresight of their faith. Now, God gives faith, therefore he could not have elected them on account of faith, which he foresaw. There shall be twenty beggars in the street, and I determine to give one of them a shilling; but will any one say that I determined to give that one a shilling, that I elected him to have the shilling, because I foresaw that he would have it? That would be talking nonsense. In like manner to say that God elected men because he foresaw they would have faith, which is salvation in the germ, would be too absurd for us to listen to for a moment.

Our Arminian antagonists always leave the fallen angels out of the question: for it is not convenient to them to recollect this ancient instance of Election. They call it unjust, that God should choose one man and not another. By what reasoning can this be unjust when they will admit that it was righteous enough in God to choose one race, the race of men, and leave another race, the race of angels, to be sunk into misery on account of sin.

Some, who know no better, harp upon the foreknowledge of our repentance and faith, and say that, Election is according to the foreknowledge of God; a very scriptural statement, but they make a very unscriptural interpretation of it. Advancing by slow degrees, they next assert that God foreknew the faith and the good works of his people. Undoubtedly true, since he foreknew everything; but then comes their groundless inference, namely, that therefore the Lord chose his people because he foreknew them to be believers. It is undoubtedly true that foreknown excellencies are not the causes of election, since I have shown you that the Lord foreknew all our sin: and surely if there were enough virtue in our faith and goodness to constrain him to choose us, there would have been enough demerit in our bad works to have constrained him to reject us; so that if you make foreknowledge to operate in one way, you must also take it in the other, and you will soon perceive that it could not have been from anything good or bad in us that we were chosen, but according to the purpose of his own will, as it is written, I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Recollect also that God himself did not foresee that there would be any love to him in us arising out of ourselves, for there never has been any, and there never will be; he only foresaw that we should believe because he gave us faith, he foresaw that we should repent because his Spirit would work repentance in us, he foresaw that we should love, because he wrought that love within us; and is there anything in the foresight that he means to give us such things that can account for his giving us such things? The case is self-evident – his foresight of what he means to do cannot be his reason for doing it.

There was nothing more in Abraham than in any one of us why God should have selected him, for whatever good was in Abraham God put it there. Now, if God put it there, the motive for his putting it there could not be the fact of his putting it there.

A controversialist once said, If I thought God had a chosen people, I should not preach. That is the very reason why I do preach. What would make him inactive is the mainspring of my earnestness. If the Lord had not a people to be saved, I should have little to cheer me in the ministry.

I believe that God will save his own elect, and I also believe that, if I do not preach the gospel, the blood of men will be laid at my door.

Our Saviour has bidden us to preach the gospel to every creature; he has not said, Preach it only to the elect; and though that might seem to be the most logical thing for us to do, yet, since he has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads, or to put any distinctive mark upon them, it would be an impossible task for us to perform; whereas, when we preach the gospel to every creature, the gospel makes its own division, and Christ’s sheep hear his voice, and follow him.

God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but He called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by His workmanship in them.

Grace does not choose a man and leave him as he is.

The Old Puritanic Faith

spurgeon_chair-e1379528080265“A certain vainglorious party of Pretenders to intellect and culture tell us now that the old Puritanic faith is nearly extinct; there are only a few of us ignorant people who now hold the same truths as John Owen, John Bunyan, Goodwin, and Charnock; but all the elite of the world, those who have all the “sweetness and light” to themselves, the thinkers, the mental gentility have all been sensible enough to give their votes for something more suitable to the times.

In the name of God, we shall show them the difference yet, and by his Spirit He will din their ears with the gospel ram’s horn till they and their Jericho come down in a common ruin. The evangelical doctrine which shook Europe will shake it yet again, and England shall yet know that the self-same truth, for which her martyrs died and for which her Puritans fought on many a well-contested field, shall break the rationalism and ritualism of this land in pieces yet, and all else that standeth in the way of the true gospel of the living God.

We are not afraid nor discouraged, but we cry mightily unto the King that we may once more lift up a shout because of his presence, for then human philosophy shall be ashamed, and old Rome shall know, and all the cubs of the beast of Rome shall know, that the Lord liveth, and his invincible truth shall win the day.”

– Charles Spurgeon

John 6:37

sp057Note: On Tuesday, June 25th, the beloved C. H. Spurgeon visited Swansea. The day was wet, so the services could not be held in the open-air; and, as no building in the town was large enough to hold the vast concourses of people who had come from all parts to hear the renowned preacher, he consented to deliver two discourses in the morning; first at Bethesda, and then at Trinity Chapel. At each place he preached for an hour and a quarter. The weather cleared up during the day; so, in the evening, Mr. Spurgeon addressed an immense gathering of people in the open-air.—T.W.M. FORWARDED BY PASTOR T. W. MEDHURST, CARDIFF.

“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”—John 6:37.

What a difference there is between the words of Christ, and those of all mere men! Most men speak many words, yet say but little; Christ speaks few words, yet says very much. In modern books, you may read scores of pages, and scarcely come across a new thought; but when Christ speaks, every syllable seems to tell. He hits the nail on the head each time He lifts the hammer of His Word. The Words of Christ are like ingots of solid gold; we preachers too often beat out the gold so thin, that whole acres of it would scarcely be worth a farthing. The Words of Christ are always to be distinguished from those of His creatures, not only for their absolute truthfulness, but also for their profound fulness of matter. In all His language He is “full of grace and truth.” Look at the text before us. Here we have, in two small sentences, the sum and substance of all theology. The great questions which have divided the Church in all ages, the apparently contradictory doctrines which have set one minister of Christ against his fellow, are here revealed so simply and plainly, “that he may run that readeth” (Habakkuk ii.2). Even a child may understand the Words of Christ, though perhaps the loftiest human intellect cannot fathom the mystery hidden therein.

Take the first sentence of my text: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” What a weighty sentence! Here we have taught us what is called, in the present day, “High Calvinistic doctrine”—the purpose of God; the certainty that God’s purpose will stand; the invincibility of God’s will; and the absolute assurance that Christ “shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.”

Look at the second sentence of my text: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Here we have the richness, the fulness, the unlimited extent of the power of Christ to save those who put their trust in Him. Here is a text upon which one might preach a thousand sermons. We might take these two sentences as a life-long text, and never exhaust the theme.

Mark, too, how our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the whole truth. We have many ministers who can preach well upon the first sentence: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” Just set them going upon Election, or everlasting covenant engagements, and they will be earnest and eloquent, for they are fond of dwelling upon these points, and a well-instructed child of God can hear them with delight and profit. Such preachers are often the fathers of the Church, and the very pillars thereof; but, unfortunately, many of these excellent brethren cannot preach so well upon the second sentence of my text: “And him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” When they get to that truth, they are half afraid of it; they hesitate to preach what they consider to be a too open salvation. They cannot give the gospel invitation as freely as they find it in the Word of God. They do not deny it, yet they stutter and stammer sadly, when they get upon this theme.

Then, on the other hand, we have a large number of good ministers who can preach on this second clause of the text, but they cannot preach on the first clause. How fluent is their language as they tell out the freeness of salvation! Here they are much at home in their preaching; but, we are sorry to be compelled to say that, very often, they are not much at home when they come to doctrinal matters, and they would find it rather a difficult matter to preach fluently on the first sentence of my text. They would, if they attempted to preach from it, endeavour to cut out of it all that savours of Divine Sovereignty. They do not preach the whole “truth” which “is in Jesus.”

Why is it that some of us do not see both sides of God’s revealed truth? We persist in closing one eye; we will not see all that may be seen if we open both our eyes; and, sometimes, we get angry with a brother because he can see a little more than we do. I think our text is very much like a stereoscopic picture, for it presents two views of the truth. Both views are correct, for they are both photographed by the same light. How can we bring these two truths together? We get the stereoscope of the scripture, and looking with both eyes, the two pictures melt into one. God has given us, in His Word, the two pictures of divine truth; but we have not all got the stereoscope properly adjusted to make them melt into one. When we get to heaven, we shall see how all God’s truth harmonizes. If we cannot make these two parts of truth harmonize now, at any rate we must not dare to blot out one of them, for God has given them both.

Now, as God shall help me this morning, I want to expand both sentences of my text with equal fidelity and plainness. I shall not expect to please some of you while speaking on the first sentence, and I shall not be surprised if I fail to please others of you when I come to the second sentence; but, in ether case, it will be a small matter to me if I have an easy conscience because I have proclaimed what I believe to be the whole truth of God. I am sure you will be willing to give a patient hearing to that which you may not fully receive, if you believe it to be declared in all honesty. Reject what I say, if it be not true, but if it be the Word of God, receive it; and, be it known unto you that it is at your peril if you dare to reject the truthful Word of the glad tidings of God. Continue reading

Charles Spurgeon Speaking Tips

sp057Article: 10 Public Speaking Tips from Charles Spurgeon by Christian George (original source Edison-Bell Record Company recorded a two-minute audio clip of his son, Thomas, reading an excerpt of his father’s sermon. But Thomas’s voice was was “not quite that of Charles Spurgeon, not quite so strong and not quite so musical” (Fullerton, 167). Besides, Thomas took after his mother in countenance; his brother, Charles Jr., favored their father.

Charles Spurgeon spoke more quickly, too – 140 words per minute. His voice was described as “a silver bell” (The Eclectic Review, January-June, 1867) and “sweet and musical; with a rich under-current that always reminds us of the roll of the organ” (Falkirk Herald, February 6, 1868).

James Sheridan Knowles, an Irish actor who would have been Spurgeon’s elocution teacher at Stepney College, told his students:

[Spurgeon] is only a boy, but he is the most wonderful preacher in the world. He is absolutely perfect in his oratory; and, beside that, a master in the art of acting. He has nothing to learn from me, or anyone else. He is simply perfect. He knows everything. He can do anything. . . . Why, boys, he can do anything he pleases with his audience! He can make them laugh, and cry, and laugh again, in five minutes (Autobiography 1:354).

The actor was not exaggerating. In 1855, 21-year-old Spurgeon wrote in a letter to his brother, “I believe I could secure a crowded audience at dead of night in a deep snow” (Autobiography 2:99). The very next year, a biography was published in New York comparing the young preacher to George Whitefield. He was also compared to Sims Reeves – one of the most popular opera singers of the century.

So what was Spurgeon’s secret? How did the “Prince of Preachers” master the art of public speaking? Here are ten tips from Spurgeon’s lecture “On the Voice” (Lectures to My Students 11:117-135).

1. Posture Up!

“Do not speak with your hands in your waistcoat pockets so as to contract your lungs, but throw the shoulders back, as public singers do.”

“Do not lean over a desk while speaking, and never hold the head down on the breast while preaching. Upward rather than downward let the body bend.”

“Off with all tight cravats and button-up waistcoats; leave room for the full play of the bellows and the pipes.”

2. Speak with Your Mouth, Not Your Throat or Nose.

“Open wide the doors from which such godly truth is to march forth.”

“One of the surest ways to kill yourself is to speak from the throat instead of the mouth.”

“Evangelists have written of our Lord, ‘He opened his mouth and taught them.’”

“Avoid the use of the nose as an organ of speech, for the best authorities are agreed that it is intended to smell with.”

3. “R” ticulate.

“Abhor the practice of some men, who will not bring out the letter “r” such a habit is ‘vewy wuinous and wediculous, vewy wetched and wepwehensible.’”

“Take great care of the consonants, enunciate every one of them clearly; they are the features and expression of the words. . . . The vowels have a voice of their own, and therefore they can speak for themselves.”

“Excessively rapid speaking, tearing and raving into utter rant, is quite as inexcusable; it is not, and never can be powerful, except with idiots, for it turns what should be an army of words into a mob, and most effectually drowns the sense in floods of sound.” Continue reading

How Men Come to Christ

spurg2C. H. Spurgeon: From Park Street Pulpit Volume IV, pp. 142-143.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:44

How then does the Father draw men? Arminian preachers generally say that God draws men by the preaching of the gospel. Very true; the preaching of the gospel is the instrument of drawing men, but there must be something more than this. Let me ask to whom did Christ address these words? Why, to the people of Capernaum, where He had often preached, where He had uttered mournfully and plaintively the woes of the Law and the invitations of the gospel. In that city He had done many mighty works and worked many miracles. In fact, such teaching and such miraculous attestation had He given them, that He declared that Tyre and Sidon would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes if they had been blessed with such privileges.

Now, if the preaching of Christ Himself did not avail to the enabling these men to come to Christ, it cannot be possible that all that was intended by the drawing of the Father was simply preaching. No, brethren, you must note again, He does not say no man can come except the minister draw him, but except the Father draw him. Now there is such a thing as being drawn by the gospel, and drawn by the minister, without being drawn by God. Clearly, it is a divine drawing that is meant, a drawing by the Most High God—the First Person of the most glorious Trinity sending out the Third Person the Holy Spirit, to induce men to come to Christ.

Another person turns around and says with a sneer, “Then do you think that Christ drags men to Himself, seeing that they are unwilling?” I remember meeting once with a man who said to me, “Sir, you preach that Christ takes people by the hair of their heads and drags them to Himself.” I asked him whether he could refer to the date of the sermon wherein I preached that extra-ordinary doctrine, for if he could, I should be very much obliged. However, he could not. But said I, while Christ does not drag people to Himself by the hair of their heads, I believe that He draws them by the heart quite as powerfully as your caricature would suggest.

Mark that in the Father’s drawing there is no compulsion whatever; Christ never compelled any man to come to Him against his will. If a man be unwilling to be saved, Christ does not save him against his will. How, then, does the Holy Spirit draw him? Why, by making him willing. It is true He does not use “moral suasion”; He knows a nearer method of reaching the heart. He goes to the secret fountain of the heart, and He knows how, by some mysterious operation, to turn the will in an opposite direction, so that, as Ralph Erskine (1685-1752) paradoxically puts it, the man is saved “with full consent against his will”; that is, against his old will he is saved. But he is saved with full consent, for he is made willing in the day of God’s power.

Do not imagine that any man will go to heaven kicking and struggling all the way against the Hand that draws him. Do not conceive that any man will be plunged in the bath of a Saviour’s blood while he is striving to run away from the Saviour. Oh, no! It is quite true that first of all man is unwilling to be saved. When the Holy Spirit hath put His influence into the heart, the test is fulfilled: “Draw me and I will run after thee” (Song 1:4). We follow on while He draws us, glad to obey the Voice which once we had despised.

But the gist of the matter lies in the turning of the will. How that is done no flesh knoweth; it is one of those mysteries that is clearly perceived as a fact, but the cause of which no tongue can tell, and no heart can guess. The apparent way, however, in which the Holy Spirit operates, we can tell you.

The first thing the Holy Spirit does when He comes into a man’s heart is this: He finds him with a very good opinion of himself. “Why,” says the man, “I don’t want to come to Christ. I have as good a righteousness as anybody can desire. I feel I can walk into heaven on my own rights.”

The Holy Spirit lays bare his heart, lets him see the loathsome cancer that is there eating away his life, uncovers to him all the blackness and defilement of that sink of hell, the human heart, and then the man stands aghast. “I never thought I was like this. Oh! Those sins I thought were little, have swelled out to an immense stature. What I thought was a molehill has grown into a mountain; it was but the hyssop on the wall before, but now it has become a cedar of Lebanon. Oh,” saith the man within himself, “I will try and reform; I will do good deeds enough to wash these black deeds out.”

Then comes the Holy Spirit and shows him that he cannot do this, takes away all his fancied power and strength, so that the man falls down on his knees in agony, and cries, “Oh! Once I thought I could save myself by my good works, but now I find that,

‘Could my tears forever flow, Could my zeal no respite know,
All for sin could not atone, Thou must save and Thou alone.’”

Then the heart sinks, and the man is ready to despair. And, saith he, “I never can be saved. Nothing can save me.”

Then comes the Holy Spirit and shows the sinner the cross of Christ, gives him eyes anointed with heavenly eye-salve, and says, “Look to yonder cross; that Man died to save sinners. You feel that you are a sinner; He died to save you.” And He enables the heart to believe, and to come to Christ. And when it comes to Christ, by this sweet drawing of the Spirit, it finds “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, which keeps his heart and mind through Christ Jesus” (Phi 4:7).

Now you will plainly perceive that all this may be done without any compulsion. Man is as much drawn willingly as if he were not drawn at all. And he comes to Christ with full consent, with as full a consent as if no secret influence had ever been exercised in his heart. But that influence must be exercised, or else there never has been and there never will be, any man who either can or will come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Personal Revenge – Spurgeon

spurg7“Be not overcome of evil, but may God deliver us from the nature which makes it natural! It is just, no doubt, after a fashion, but from that sort of justice may our Redeemer rescue us! Again, it is admitted that the art of returning evil for evil is very, very easy. If, my dear Friend, you make it a rule that nobody shall ever insult you without having to pay for it, nor treat you with disrespect without meeting his match, you need not pray to God, in the morning, to help you to carry out your resolve. There will be no need to wrestle in prayer that you may be graciously enabled to take vengeance on your adversaries and stand up for your rights! You can do that decidedly better by trusting to yourself than by looking to God! Indeed, you dare not look to God about it at all. The devil will help you—and between your own passion and the Evil One, the thing may be very easily managed. There will be no reason for watchfulness. You need not be on your guard or keep your self in check. On the contrary, you may give to the very worst part of your nature the greatest possible license and go ahead according to the rage of your passionate spirit.

Prayer and humility of mind will, of course, be quite out of the question. Nor will there be any need for faith—you will not commit your case unto God and leave it there—you will fight your own battles, wipe off old scores as you go, and place your dependence on fierce speeches, on mighty fists, or on the law and the policeman. Christian Graces will be too much in your way for you to think of them! Gentleness, meekness, forbearance, forgiveness—you will bid good-bye to these and cultivate the virtues of a savage or of a bulldog. All this is wonderfully easy, though it may be that before long it will turn out to be difficult…

By many, to return evil for evil has been judged to be the more manly course. Years ago if a gentleman imagined himself to be insulted, it was necessary, according to the code of honor then in vogue, for him either to shed the blood of the offending person, or at least to expose himself to the like peril of his life. Thank God that murderous custom is now almost entirely gone from the face of the earth! The spirit of Christianity, has, by degrees, overcome this evil. But there still abides in the world the idea that to stand up for yourself, to just let people know what you are, never to knuckle down to anybody, but to defend your own cause and vindicate your honor has something extremely manly about it. And to yield, to submit, to be patient, to be meek, to be gentle is considered to be unworthy of a man of spirit. They call it showing the white feather and being cowardly, though to my mind, he is the bravest man who can bear the most.

Now, Christian, who is your model of a man? You do not hesitate for a second, I am sure. There is but one model of a Christian and that is the Man, Christ Jesus. Will you then remember that whatever is Christly is manly and whatever you think to be manly which is not Christ-like, is really unmanly, as judged by the highest style of man? The Lord Jesus draws near to a Samaritan village and they will not receive Him, though He was always kind to Samaritans. Good John, gentle John, becomes highly indignant, and cries, “Lord, will You that we command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them?” Jesus meekly answers, “You know not what manner of spirit you are of: for the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”…

Beloved Brothers and Sisters, I beseech you by the mercies of God that you refrain from, forever, the method of seeking to overcome evil with evil, and that you follow the example of your Lord, taking His yoke upon you and learning of Him, for He is meek and lowly in mind.

Let us consider THE DIVINE METHOD OF OVERCOMING EVIL WITH GOOD. And here I freely admit, to commence with, that this is a very elevated mode of procedure. “Overcome evil with good! Ridiculous!” says one. “Utopian,” cries another. “It might do for Plato’s republic,” says a third, “but it will never do for ordinary, everyday life.” Well, I shall not blush to admit that this is a very high course of conduct and one which the mere worldling cannot be expected to follow—but of Christians we expect higher things! You have a high calling of God in Christ Jesus and you are, therefore, called to a high style of character by your glorious Leader, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Brothers and Sisters, if it is difficult, I commend it to you because it is so! What is there which is good which is not, also, difficult? Soldiers of Christ love those virtues most which cost them most. If it is hard to obtain, the jewel is all the more precious. Since there is sufficient Grace to enable us to become like our Lord, we will labor after this virtue, also, and obtain the great Grace which its cultivation requires. Notice that this text inculcates not merely passive nonresistance, though that is going a good way, but it teaches us active benevolence to enemies. “Overcome evil with good,” with direct and overt acts of kindness. That is, if any man has done you a wrong, do not only forgive it, but avenge it by doing him a favor!

Dr. Cotton Mather was never content till he had bestowed a benefit on every man who had, in any way, done him an injury. If anybody has slandered you, or treated you unkindly in any way, go out of your way to serve him. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him.” You might say, “Well, I am sorry for him, but really, he is such a vagabond! I could not think of relieving him.” Yet according to this Scripture, he is the very man you are bound to feed! If he is thirsty, do not say, “I hope somebody will relieve him. I feel no animosity to the man, but I am not going out of my way to give him a drink.” According to your Lord’s command, he is the man to whom you must give drink! Go straightway to the well and fill your pitcher—and hasten to give him a drink at once, and without stint. You have not merely to forgive and forget, but you are bid to inflict upon the malicious mind the blessed sin-killing wound of your hearty and practical goodwill!

Give a blessing for a curse, a kiss for a blow, a favor for a wrong. “Oh,” you say, “this is high. I cannot attain unto it.” God is able to give you strength equal to this, also. “It is hard,” you say. Ah, but if you take Christ to be your Master, you must do what He tells you and, instead of shrinking because His command seems difficult to flesh and blood, you must cry, “Lord, increase my faith and give me more of Your Spirit.” To forgive to 70 times seven would not be hard to Christ, for He did it all His life. And it will not be hard for you if the same mind is in you which was also in Christ Jesus. It is to this that you are called! It is a sublime temper and it is exceedingly difficult and needs Divine Grace, needs watchfulness, needs living near to God—but for these reasons it is all the more worthy of a follower of Jesus and, therefore, we should aim at it with our whole heart.

– C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

taken from: Overcome Evil with Good, Sermon No. 1317, Delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington Lord’s Day Morning, October 8, 1876

HT: Eric T. Young

Spurgeon in his historical context

Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando gathered to hear renowned preacher Dr. John Piper deliver the Inaugural Spurgeon Lecture on Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

The Life and Ministry of Charles Spurgeon with John Piper – April 10, 2013 from RTS Orlando on Vimeo.

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the second annual Spurgeon Lecture at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando (March 10, 2014), setting C. H. Spurgeon within his intellectual and cultural context:

Spurgeon Lecture with Albert Mohler – March 10, 2014 from RTS Orlando on Vimeo.

Lift Him Up

spurg7“The only thing we have to do with Christ Jesus crucified is just to lift him up and preach him. There is many a man who could only speak in a ploughman’s dialect, who will wear a bright and starry crown in heaven, because he lifted Christ up, and sinners saw and lived. And there is many a learned doctor, who spoke with the brogue of the Egyptian and, with the dark and mysterious language, he talked he knew not what, who, after having ended his course, shall enter heaven without a solitary star in his crown, never having lifted up Christ nor won crowns for his Master.

Let each of us who are called to the solemn work of the ministry remember that we are not called to lift up doctrine or church governments or particular denominations. Our business is to lift up Christ Jesus and to preach him fully. There may be times when church government is to be discussed and particular doctrines are to be vindicated. God forbid that we should silence any part of the truth. But the main work of the ministry — its every day work — is just exhibiting Christ and crying out to sinners, ‘Believe, believe, believe on him who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, 1950), II:279.