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Full text of "Sketch of the life and ministry of the Rev. C.H. Spurgeon : from original documents : including anecdotes and incidents of travel, biographical notices of former pastors, historical sketch of Park Street Chapel, and an outline of Mr. Spurgeon's articles of faith"

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18 5 7. 


By special agreement Sheldoit, Blakbman & Co. will 
publish in America the Sermons of the Ret. C. H. Sptxegeon" 
and it is the author''s wish that no parties shall infringe 
this contract. 



82 4 81 Beekmnn St. 79 John St. N. T. 


I. These pages contain a narrative of facts likely to 
interest many persons. 

II. Young persons wiU find an instructive example in 
ttese pages they may imitate with great personal advan- 

m. To young Ministers of the Gospel, the example 
of the earnest life of this faithful Preacher, as set forth 
as a model, they may imitate with advantage to them- 
selves and to their churches. 

ly. The narrative wdl suggest many practical lessons 
which the intelligent reader will adopt for self-improve- 

V. Seeking only to do good by disseminating truth, 
the narrative is commended to the Christian church 
universal, and to the best judgment of the public gene- 




OPULAR favor has seldom been shown 
to any man so extensively, and so 
spontaneously, as it has been to the 
Eev. Charles Haddon Spnrgeon. Al- 
though some of the worst feelings of 
human nature have long been in active 
exercise to check the benevolent labors 
of this philanthropic youthful divine, 
yet an overseeing and an overruling 
Providence has directed the issue. The 
favors of friends and the frowns of foes have together 
resulted in promoting the great work for which this 
modern "Whitefield seems especially raised up, namely, 
to preach the gospel in a manner which shall secure its 
welcome to the hearts of multitudes who have hitherto 
disregarded it. 

Many have been the inquiries which have been made 
respecting Mr. Spurgeon's antecedents. One asks to 


■wMcli of the uniyersities lie belongs ; another -rt-onders 
how so young a man obtained holy orders ; a third puts 
the question plainly, Who ordained the young man ? A 
page would not snffice to enumerate the interrogatives 
we have ourselves heard from all classes of people ; 
from the plain-spoken Englishman, from the penetrating 
Scotchman, from the mirthful son of Erin, and from not 
a few of our transatlantic brethren. Indeed we have had 
this kind of verbal investigation continued, with the great- 
est possible relish by the inquirer, for an hour together, 
without any apparent abatement in interest. In some in- 
stances, the desire for information has led to a succession 
of queries so varied and so strange, that a prudent man 
would rather remain silent than try to satisfy such pruri- 
ent curiosity. In this great London, thousands of voices 
have repeated the question in one day — " Who is this 
Spurgeon?" and, to many, a negative was not an an- 
swer ; so that where positive information of a reliable 
kind could not be obtained, imagination has too often 
supplied its place, to the injury of both the subject of 
this sketch, and the work in which he is engaged. So 
intense was the desire for information respecting Mr. 
Spurgeon during several months, that whoever would 
risk a few pages of biographical anecdotes, historical in- 
cidents, or doctrinal peculiarities, at the price of a penny, 
was sure to sell the work by thousands. These transient 
phantoms have now all passed away, having satisfied 
the mere inquisitor ; while the seekers after knowledge 
are still eagerly desiring to know more. The number 
of these is still a multitude. Were it otherwise we 


stouH not see, eacli successive Sunday morning, from 
ten to twelve tliousand. persons, some from every part 
of London and its expansive suburbs, including many 
from the provinces, gathered to worship in the great 
Surrey Music Hall. Nor is this spirit of inquiry unnat- 
ural or wonderful. The wonder would be far greater 
were it otherwise. In the Church of England, such in- 
stances of youthful divines and youthful oratory are 
unknown. In the established Church, the best read 
student, the most fluent orator, the soundest divine, or 
the most earnest Christian in our universities, must pass 
his twenty-third year before he is allowed to exercise 
his gifts in publicly calling sinners to repentance. Our 
Southwark divine, on the contrary, before twenty-three 
summers have swept over his head, has not only been 
allowed to preach publicly, and with authority, but with 
a power and a success which, considering the shortness 
of the period, really has no parallel. Long before an 
English churchman is considered of sufficient age and 
discretion to be presented to the bishop for ordination, 
our modern Whitefi eld has been a successful preacher for 
several years ; so successful, indeed, that there are nu- 
merous towns and villages in the land in which his well- 
known voice has pealed out its " come and welcome" to 
congregations numbering not hundreds only, but re- 
peatedly ten thousand persons, and from among whom 
some hundreds have been gathered out of the world 
and infolded in the church of Christ. 

We have met and conversed with English clergymen 
who are well aware of the secret of the success of this 



eminent preacher, and wlio righteously covet, to some 
extent, his gifts and his honors. There is a charm about 
the young man which wins the good- will at the least of 
by far the greater majority of those who hear him. The 
existence of this charm is patent to the world, and its 
influence is already felt in every country where the 
Saxon character and the English language exist. There 
is one country where the good done by this laborious 
minister would not be recognized — ^but it is because 
Italian, not Saxon, blood flows in the veins of the in- 

Mr. Spurgeon's popularity is both wonderful and 
natural. There exists but few instances, in either an- 
cient or modern times, of men, so young, producing an 
influence for good to his fellow-men on so large a scale, 
as in the instance before us. One of the youngest per- 
sons ever sent out into the work of the ministry among 
the Methodists was the late learned Dr. Adam Clarke. 
While yet a " youth in his teens," we find him appointed 
to a circuit so wide, that he had to preach in a differ- 
ent place, once at the least, during every day in each 
successive month. Although tall in person, yet so slen- 
der, he was generally denominated "the little boy" 
preacher. There are many points of resemblance in the 
early preaching career of this eminent scholar, divine, 
and Christian, to those connected with Mr. Spurgeon. 
The almost tender years of both preachers prompted 
many to go and hear for themselves. In both cases, 
large multitudes of young persons of both sexes gath- 
ered together and formed a large proportion of the 


preacher's audience. In both cases many persons of 
age and experience stood aloof for a time, throwing 
out innuendoes, cautions, and warnings, and in both 
cases such men lived long enough to acknowledge their 

Another preacher among the "Wesleyans presents to 
us, in some respects, a parallel case to Mr. Spurgeon's. 
Of the Rev. Richard Watson, we read, that " impelled 
by a conviction of duty, and an intense zeal for the 
spiritual good of mankind, the day after he was fifteen 
years of age, Richard Watson preached his first sermon 
in a cottage a few miles from Lincoln." He continued 
to preach, prompted by the same excellent motives, 
with great success, for nearly forty years. There is, 
however, one point in the cases of these preachers which 
deserves notice more particularly. la many points, the 
career of the two young Methodist preachers, and the 
young Baptist minister, very nearly agree; in age, 
learning, zeal, piety, and success, they are all three re- 
markable, and are very near parallels. In the oppo- 
sition to which they were all subject, and the persecu- 
tion which was carried on against them with a very 
high hand, they are not dissimilar, excepting in this 
particular. The persecutors of the last century were 
the ordained clergy ; Mr. Spurgeon's persecutors are — ■ 
not the clergy, though report represents some of them 
as jealous, others as envious — but persecution has come 
only from the press, or from that portion of it which 
would like to make religion a lifeless formality, and 
which shrinks alike from both conscience and eternity. 


The clergy of our day not only do not persecute tlie 
Southwark evangelist, they rather seek and embrace 
every occasion which offers to go and hear for them- 
selves, and where they can not go and hear, we know 
that very many of them read Mr. Spurgeon's published 
discourses with great satisfaction and pleasure. Here 
then we think we have an instance of true greatness, a 
young divine, whose powerful voice, whose untiring 
zeal, whose ardent love of his work, prompt him to 
"labors more abundant" in trying to do good alike to 
the bodies and the souls of the greatest number of his 

In the late Eev. "William Jay, we have another in- 
stance of a very young man giving himself to the ser- 
vice of the ministry. In an old, almost forgotten book, 
called "The Triumph of Faith," we find a reference to 
the employment of young Jay, at about the age of six- 
teen, in pubhcly proclaiming the truths of the gospel to 
perishing sinners. His career of usefulness, on a large 
scale, continued for more than half a century. Nor is 
our good friend of New Park-street alone in our own 
times, as a very young man, raised up by Almighty 
God to rouse the slumbering churches of England. 
Pastors of churches ! ye who have had flocks without 
increase for many years past, God calls you, by the ex- 
ample of these young men, to try the power of faith — 
living, acting faith. Try it ! God has owned and pros- 
pered the zealous labors of these young nien, and he 
will continue to own them. Imitate their example. 
Let your motto be — onwards ! Faith is a very power- 


ful agency ; use it, test it, exhaust it if you can ; faith 
removes mountains, and " laughs at impossibilities." 

Great revivals of religion have generally emanated 
from the zeal, pains-taking, and self-denial of young 
persons. The two Wesleys were young when, one 
hundred and sixty years ago, they commenced their 
great work. Whitefield was young when his extraordi- 
nary labors and eloquence were the means of gathering 
multitudes out of the world and enfolding them in the 
church of Christ. Jay, Clarke, Finney, and many 
others might be named in proof of this point, and such 
results should be looked for more than they have been, 
as evidence of dutiful obedience to that Grod who, hav- 
ing forgiven much, deserves diligent and earnest service 
in return. 


This edifice, now so well known by multitudes in 
every part of England, is quite of modern construction, 
not having existed a quarter of a century, while the 
church formed within its walls, is venerable alike for 
both age and influence. From the early annals of non- 
conformity, we learn, that as early as the year 1652, a 
division took place in one of the oldest Baptist churches 
in London, owing to some practices in which the mem- 
bers could not agree. In those troublous times, large 
bodies of Dissenters could not meet together without 
peril ; nor could small bodies make much ado about 
their disagreements, fearing the strong arm of an unjust 


power, exercised very unscrupulously at ttat penod, 
against all who did not belong to the church of the 
state. We shall not here trace the outline of the dis- 
putes referred to ; it may suffice to say, that, according 
to Crosby, certain practices, considered to be disorderly, 
caused the division referred to, and several members 
united themselves together, holding their meetings from 
time to time at each other's houses, by private arrange- 
ment, in the parish of Horsleydown, Southwark. 

The chief brother, or elder, connected with the seced- 
ers, was a Mr. William Eider. Under his pastoral care 
and advice, they were formed into a small church, and 
for a period of five years maintained " the unity of the 
Spirit in the bonds of peace." Though few in numbers, 
they were of considerable influence, some of the mem- 
bers being among the merchants of that age, and what 
was of greater importance, the congregation had a char- 
acter for sound judgment, united with solid and earnest 
piety. Such influences, in those times, in their judicious 
exercise, never failed to accomplish much lasting good. 
In the selection of their pastor depended mainly their 
success, though their existence, as a church, never seems 
to have been in peril. 

In the year 1668, a change took place in the pastor- 
ate of this small church. A self-taught man, a native 
of Buckinghamshire, then not thirty years old, although 
experienced as a pastor, was called to preside over the 
little Zion. Benjamin Keach, who was baptized by im- 
mersion in in his fifteenth year, and who, at the age of 
eighteen was called to the ministry, after enduring 


losses, bereavements, punisliment in the pillory, and 
who, in the midst and through all his severe trials, was 
faithful alike to his great Master and to his principles, 
was called from the country to preside over this flourish- 
ing church, in 1668. For a period of thirty-six years, 
this exemplary divine ministered to their spiritual wants, 
and during several years, he was much occupied in writ- 
in, ; and publishing works in defense of the principles he 
be ieved and preached, which works remain to this day 
an honor both to the head and to the heart of that good 
man. His whole life seems to have been one of earn- 
estness, and his aim, to set forth the vital power of per- 
sonal religion. As a Christian, as a divine, as an author, 
and as a controversialist, Benjamin Keach must rank 
among the giants of those days. He died July 18, 1704, 
aged sixty-three, and his body was laid in the burial 
ground belonging to the Baptists, in the Park, South- 
wark. In the early part of his ministry, the church had 
met for worship in a private house in Tooley-street, 
and in that dwelling-house was this man of God sol- 
emnly ordained by prayer and the laying on of hands. 
A few years later we find the king, Charles XL, grant- 
ing privileges to Protestant Dissenters, one of which ena- 
bled the congregation to erect a meetinghouse upon the 
Horsleydown, on the east side of old London Bridge. The 
blessing of God was so abundantly shown, in answer to 
simple faith and earnest prayer, that the new preaching 
place soon became too small, and a larger edifice was 
set up, in which accommodation was provided for nearly 
a thousand persons. Here, however, division entered, 


and some of the members left Mr. Keacli and joined 
themselves into a body, forming a churcli wbicb estab- 
lished itself, and still exists, at Maze Pond, close to the 
terminus of the Brighton railway. 

Mr. Benjamin Stinton was then chosen pastor of the 
church. In sorrow had this church originated, and 
through sorrowful times had it struggled and survived. 
The name of Benjamin belonging to its two early pas- 
tors, is indicative of the character of the times, and the 
origin of its existence. Benoni, the son of sorrow, was 
altered by the patriarch Jacob to Benjamin, the son of 
my right hand; and truly did these two Benjamins 
show themselves to be workers or helpers together 
with God as dutiful and diligent sons, in the great 
work of preaching the gospel. Mr. B. Stinton died in 
the year 1719. 

His successor was the eminent and learned John Gill, 
D.D., F.A.S. This excellent scholar and divine was 
born November 19, 1697, at Kettering, and had been 
the pastor of a Baptist church in that place. He re- 
moved to Higham Ferrers in the year 1717, and thence 
to the church assembling at Goat-street, Horsleydown, 
where he was ordained its pastor, March 22, 1719. A 
difference at once arose on the selection of Dr. Gill, the 
majority of the members being against the doctor, and 
another separation was the consequence. "When the 
lease of the old chapel had expired, the majority formed 
themselves into another church, and erected for them- 
selves another meeting-house in Unicorn Yard ; while 
those forming Dr. Gill's section assembled in the old 


ctapel until the year 1757. It then became necessary 
to enlarge their borders. Another new chapel, or meet- 
ing-house, as they were then designated, was erected for 
the doctor's congregation, in Carter Lane, Tooley-street, 
near to London Bridge. The learning and piety of this 
eminent divine soon attracted a large congregation, and 
the reward of a sanctiiied intellect was — a numerous and 
influential church, standing prominently out as one of 
the chief Baptist congregations in the land. Dr. Gill 
was the author of several important works. His great 
work was an exposition of the Bible, in nine foho vol- 
umes ; his other works are still considered worthy of a 
prominent place in the library of the theologian and 
the scholar. The blessing of divine Providence rested 
eminently on this flourishing cause, and the pastor lived 
to celebrate his jubilee as minister of that church and 
people. For the long period of fifty-two years was the 
gospel-trumpet sounded among that favored people by 
this venerable man ; and never were the doctrines of 
free grace more successfully and plainly preached than 
during the protracted ministry of this eminent servant 
of God. Dr. Gill died after a lengthened illness, Octo- 
ber 14, 1771. 

Another separation took place at this period, many 
of the members withdrawing, and forming a church in 
Dean-street, which afterward established itself in Trin- 
ity-street, where it still flourishes. 

A young man, of only twenty years, from the Bap- 
tist Academy at Bristol, was invited to preach in the 
now destitute church of Carter Lane, for seven Sundays. 


Jolm Rippon, the youtli we have named, was bom near 
Tiverton, in Devonshire, April 29, 1751. After preach- 
ing for one year on trial, he was ordained pastor of the 
church, in November, 1773. Here he continued to 
labor with unabated zeal and fidelity during the long 
period of sixty-three years. Dr. Gill was their pastor 
for nearly fifty-four years, which, added to the pastorate 
of Dr. Rippon, gives a period of one hundred and sev- 
enteen years, during which this church had only two 
pastors. Dr. Rippon published, in the year 1787, a se- 
lection of 1174 hymns, which has had an extensive cir- 
culation. This selection is still used by the descendants 
of the doctor's congregation in ISTew Park-street chapel. 
In the year 1790, the doctor commenced publishing a 
Baptist Register, giving accounts of all the Baptist 
churches and ministers in the land. This useful work 
was continued for twelve years, and then was suffered 
to die. Coteniporary with such men as Toplady, Ro- 
maine, Berridge, the Wesleys, John Fletcher, Rowland 
Hill, and others of great energy, strong faith, and sin- 
cere piety, yet Dr. Rippon maintained a distinguished 
position among these talented divines, and he was con- 
sidered one of the most popular preachers among the 
modern Calvinists of his day ; and his church was the 
largest belonging to the Baptists in London. It num- 
bered four hundred members at the commencement of 
this century. His memory is cherished with much 
affection by many still living in Southwark ; and even 
men of the world we have heard speak of him as the 
good man of the neighborhood. So great was his love 


and zeal for tbe bodies as well as the souls of his con- 
gregation, that he commenced a subscription for the 
erection of alms-houses, and he succeeded in his work. 
First a house was taken near the chapel, after which 
three alms-houses were erected, and called after the 
founder. A benevolent lady, who was a member of Dr. 
Eippon's church, left money to endow and keep the 
alms-houses in repair. The property is vested in trus- 
tees. They were removed from Carter Lane when new 
London bridge was built, and others erected in New 
Park-street, adjoining the new chapel, in 1832. Other 
interesting particulars respecting these alms-houses we 
have been favored with, through the kindness of Miss 
Fanny Gay, one of the inmates, and deaconess of the 
chapel, which we are obliged to omit. On a tablet 
placed on the first of these dwellings, is the following 
inscription : — 


Fm-merly in Carter Lane, Tooley-sireet, fiaving ieen taken 

down for the approaches to new London Bridge, 

these were erected in their stead. 

Anno Domini mdcccxxxii. 

He died a few days before Christmas, in the year 1836, 
aged 85 years, and was buried in Bunhill Fields, which 
event was solemnly improved by the late Dr. Cox, of 
Hackney, delivering a funeral oration in New Park- 
street chapel. 

This now celebrated chapel was erected out of the 
purchase-money given by the city of London for the 



Carter Lane chapel, and was opened May Gfh, 1833, only 
three years hefore the venerable divine was summoned 
to mansions above. Mrs. Morgan, his much respected 
housekeeper, still survives as one of the occupants of 
Dr. Eippon's alms-houses, which are represented in the 
engraving. The chapel has been enlarged during the 
ministry of its present pastor, to which further reference 
will be hereafter made. 

The Eev. C. Eoom, who had long assisted Dr. Eippon, 
occupied the pulpit for some time. He was followed by 
Dr. Angus, who was ordained pastor, but who left Park- 
street after two years, to enter on a wider sphere of la- 
bor, and who is now filling an important duty in the 
Baptist College for training young ministers. The Eev. 
James Smith next became the pastor of the New Park- 
street church. During his nine years' ministry, the 
church prospered much and increased greatly. On his 
removal to Cheltenham, where, as an author and an ia- 


structive popular preacher, he has earned for himself a 
good reputation, the Eev. W. Walters, now of Halifax, 
accepted a call to the church. These frequent changes 
had not a good effect. The number of church-members, 
although increased by Mr. Smith's ministry, was com- 
paratively small. From the extreme of prosperity, and 
from the highest point of eminence and influence, the 
church at New Park-street had greatly diminished in 
numbers, until the congregation did not occupy more 
than half the seats in the new chapel, and the income 
had become insufficient to sustain the pastor, and pay 
the ordinary expenses of the place. No part of England 
was less able to endure such a reverse as had come upon 
this once flourishing cause, than the locality around this 
place of worship. Celebrated as the immediate neigh- 
borhood had been for centuries for the Globe theater of 
Shakspeare, the bear-garden of Ehzabeth, and though 
last, not least, the place where John Bunyan had often 
preached, the decline of the cause of God was not only 
to be regretted, but deplored. It was the source of 
many anxious and earnest prayers ; and divine Provi- 
dence was preparing and training just the man every 
way adapted to meet the wants of that extremely poor 
neighborhood. Mr. Walters was pastor about two 

A Sunday-school anniversary meeting was held in 
Zion chapel, Cambridge. A very young man was called 
upon to speak at that meeting. Another young man 
was present, himself a stranger, heard that speech, and 
was deeply impressed by it. Shortly afterward the 


young man in the audience, and one of the deacons of 
New Park-street chapel, meet each other. One recites 
a tale of lamentation ; the other delivers a message of 
hope. Time passes ; it is summer, 1853 ; hut 

" God'g providences ripen fast, 
TJnfoldtag every hour." 

The young speaker at Cambridge is recommended to 
the E"-ew Park-street deacon ; hope succeeds ; faith is 
strengthened ; the young speaker is applied to, and soon 
after, while yet in his "teens," becomes the appointed 
pastor of the once largest Baptist church in London. 
This young man is the Eev. Charles Haddon Spue- 



To this inquiry many have in vain sought for an an- 
swer. The following pages wUl furnish what we think 
will be received as demonstrative evidence that Mr. 
Spurgeon has been raised up, and specially trained, by 
divine Providence, to accomplish a great moral and 
spiritual work, by promoting the well-being of both the 
bodies and the souls of the multitudes who almost 
daily throng to hear him. 

The villages of England, more than the cities, have 
the honor of producing our great men. The city may 
be favorable to early development, and sometimes to 
precocity in talent ; but it too often wanes ere it has 
reached maturity. In the village, the faculties develop 


themselves as nature forms tliem ; in tlie city, a thou- 
sand delusive influences are constantly working on 
the minds of the young; and for one who adopts a 
course which is at once upright and successful, a thou- 
sand go wrong. The whole population of Kelvedon, in 
Essex, in which Mr. Spurgeon was born, does not num- 
ber 2,000 souls, while his Sabbath-morning congrega- 
tions often number 10,000 persons ; so that almost 
weekly he preaches to five times more persons than 
were contained in the place which gave him birth. 
Kelvedon has had advantages in religion which have 
influenced the population. For more than fifty years 
has the same clergyman preached in the parish church, 
and his life has been in accordance with his preaching. 
The Eev. Charles Dalton lately celebrated his jubilee as 
the incumbent of that village, and his long life of con- 
sistent piety has not been without its all-pervading in- 
fluence on the villagers. Mr. Spurgeon is of noncon- 
formist descent, and entered this world on the 19th 
June, 1834. His venerable graudfather, the Eev. James 
Spurgeon, stiU. lives, and continues his ministerial duties 
as pastor of an Independent church at Stambourne, near 
Halstead, in Essex. The father of our Southwark di- 
vine is Mr. John Spurgeon, second son of the afore- 
named Eev. James Spurgeon, now of Colchester, who, 
although occupied as a layman during the week, is the 
pastor of a small Independent church at ToUesbury, in 
Essex. The mother of Mr. Spurgeon was the youngest 
sister of Charles Parker Jarvis, Esq., of Colchester, a 
woman remarkable for piety, usefulness, and humility. 



Here, tlien, we have presumptive, and we can safely add 
positive, evidence of the example of both personal and 
family religion, for at least two generations, operating in 
the formation of the mind of our youthful divine. 
Praying parents ! Oh ! the charm, the power of such 
influences I Parents, ye who fear God, " let your hght 
so shine" before your children, that they may follow 
after godliness in imitating you. The father of George 
Whitefield was the son of a clergyman, but George was 
born at a well-known inn, kept by Thomas Whitefield, 
in Gloucester. It is somewhat remarkable, that while 
George Whitefield is known as the pot-boy of his father's 

MK. spttegeon's birth-place: noeth view. 

inn, the birth-place of Mr. Spurgeon (called the modern 
Whitefield), in Kelvedon, has, since the removal of Mr. 
John Spurgeon to Colchester, been used as a wayside 


inn also. Here are bott extremes and parallels. In 
botli cases religion is a family possession, and tlie power 
of prayer is expansive. Careful borne training, pervad- 
ed by tbe influence of personal and family religion, is 
capable of, and bas resulted in, an immeasurable amount 
of good. 

At a very early period, tbe infant Spurgeon, "wbo was 
tbe first grandcbild in tbe family, was removed from 
bis fatber's residence at Kelvedon, to bis grandfatber's 
at Stambourne, and placed under tbe care of Ann 
Spurgeon, bis fatber's sister. It is needless to add witb 
wbat deligbt tbe venerable pair welcomed tbe stranger 
in tbe family. Miss Ann Spurgeon was at tbat time 
not in a good state of bealtb, and botb tbe grandparents 
of tbe infant believed tbat tbe care of tbe cbild would 
bave a beneficial effect on tbe bealtb of tbeir daugbter. 
Tbe result proved tbe wisdom of tbeir decision. Under 
tbe fostering care of tbe aunt, and tbe solicitude of tbe 
grandparents, tbe bealtb of tbe former gradually im- 
proving, tbe cbild grew in streng-tb, and soon became 
tbe admired and beloved of all wbo knew bim. Affec- 
tion, blended witb personal piety, was tbe watcbword of 
tbe bousebold ; Aunt Ann loved and cberisbed most ten- 
derly ber infant cbarge, and sbe received, as ber reward, 
tbe sincere affection of ber adopted cbild. Tbe affec- 
tion between tbe two became as strong as between a 
cbild and its parent, and " Motber Ann," and " Step son 
Cbarles," are terms as familiar and endearing in tbis 
case as are tbe terms motber and cbild in ordinary cases. 
Tbe first dawnings of reason were observed, and care 



was taken to inform and instruct by such degrees as tLe 
opening faculties could receive. From infancy, the 
mind of the child seems to have been formed after 
nature's model. When but an infant, he would divert 
himself for hours together with a book of pictures, 
although unable either to speak plain or read. His love 
of books dates from the first openings of his mind. One 
of the books which served to amuse the many hours of 
early childhood, contained, among other illustrations, a 
portrait of Bonner, Bishop of London. He was informed 
that BishojD Bonner was a persecutor of some of the 
servants of God; and although so young, an effect was 
produced on his mind which will never be erased, and 
the child manifested such a dislike to the name, that he 
always called that picture, as a term of derision and in 
righteous indignation, "Old Bonner." This is power- 
ful censure from a boy so young. To this period of 
his life may be traced the origin of that intense ab- 
horrence of tyranny in every form and under every 
name, to which Mr. Spurgeon sometimes gives utter- 

Another feature characteristic of Mr. Spurgeon is 
traceable to this early period. Even in infancy, he 
manifested a marked attachment to those who were said, 
or even supposed, to be the children of Grod. He had 
a special preference to the house of God. To him it 
was not merely a pleasure to go, and a source of joy to 
remain, but it was a positive delight. When he had 
acquired the art of reading, his joy in being able to 
unite in the worship of God in the sanctuary scarcely 


knew any bounds. This feeling does not abate, for we 
find, by the public papers, that he is preaching in some 
part of England almost every day, and in some cases 
in two different towns in one day. Unlike most chil- 
dren, play had not the charm fox the youthful Spurgeon 
which a book had; and when he had learned to gather 
the sense of a book, his desire for the acquirement of 
knowledge amounted to a passion, so that considerable 
restraint had 'to be exercised to prevent injury to the 
mind of the young scholar. In this respect there is a 
remarkable parallel between Mr. Spurgeon and the late 
Duke of Wellington. Of the latter we are informed, 
that while his school-fellows enjoyed their games, he 
often stood aloof, his mind apparently occupied with 
something less volatile than play. As the child, so, 
generally, will the man be. Before the child was six 
years old he could read well, with a tone and emphasis 
beyond his age. Give him his book, and his liberty, 
and when he was wanted, he was always found in seclu- 
sion with his book, enjoying that which was, to most 
children, only a drudgery. Here it was that he laid the 
foundation of that varied and extended acquaintance 
with the writings of good old John Bunyan, E. Baxter, 
and others of that period. There is a charm about the 
works of the tinker of Bedford which has captivated 
millions of people, young and old. Dr. Johnson has 
written, that there are three books which every man can 
take up with the same relish for the second as for the 
first reading : these are, the Bible, the Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress, and Robinson Crusoe. No wonder then that our 


young friend was captivated with these works, and read 
them with eager dehght. 

Christian fellowship is one of the great privileges of 
all the children of God. During the early years of Mr. 
Spurgeon's life, spent in the family of his grandfather, 
there were many occasions on which various members 
of the church met at the residence of their pastor, and 
there taking sweet counsel together, enjoyed the " com- 
munion of saints." On many of these Sabbath meet- 
ings, which are remembered with delight by the friends 
at Stambourne, the grandchild of the pastor astonished 
many by his questions and conversation. Often he 
would propose a subject, and offer remarks upon it, 
which astonished much older and experienced persons. 

From infancy he was remarkable for decision of char- 
acter. And his decision was taken for God. There 
was no halting between two opinions. He boldly and 
steadfastly maintained his choice. When under six 
years of age, he saw in the village, a man who pro- 
fessed religion mixed up with a number of others 
known to be ungodly men. He felt a desire to reprove 
the professor, and in the name and in the strength of 
the God he served, he boldly went up to the man and 
addressed him in these words : " BUjah, what doest thou 
here?" The man was dumb under the reproof; and 
the boy came away with a conviction that he had done 
his duty. God always rewards those who serve him 
faithfully. Self-possession is a feature strongly marked 
in Mr. Spurgeon. His cool and collected behavior 
during the unfortunate Surrey Gardens catastrophe was 


the astonistiment of many. Shortly iDefore that event, 
while preaching to 'a large audience in Islington, he 
made a sudden pause in the service, and remarked, with 
great firmness of manner, " There are two persons near 
the door, if they do not behave better, I must desire the 
police to remove them," and went on with the service 
as though there had been no interruption. And, again, 
with an audience of some 10,000 persons before him, 
only a few weeks ago, in the Surrey Hall, after ex- 
pounding the first of two lessons, he announced the 
chapter of the second lesson, and then said, " If I make 
a short pause between the lessons, it will give an oppor- 
tunity for those persons who have their hats on, to take 
them off in the house of Grod." He preached that morn- 
ing from the text, " Wist ye not that I must be about 
my Father's business?" And one more suitable to de- 
scribe the persevering and untiring labors of this de- 
voted servant of God could not well have been chosen. 
Young men ! Young ministers ! let the same mind be 
in you! Decision for God and boldness in his service, 
will bring to you a present reward, great or small in 
proportion to your zeal. 

During the seven years passed so happily at Stam- 
bourne, the education of their grandson was not a sub- 
ject of great concern to the grandparents of our youth- 
ful divine. His mental development was already 
considerably in advance of his years, and his moral 
faculties were of a character to cause but little concern 
for the future. For most of this information respecting 
the eai-ly years of Mr. Spurgeon we are indebted to his 

30 EEV. 0. H. SPURGEOlSr. 

grandfather. But there are two sentences in the ac- 
count furnished by the Eev. James Spurgeon, relating 
to his grandson, which deserve to be written in letters 
of gold. Of the great and good George Washington we 
read, that when charged by his father with doing a mis- 
chievous, though only a boyish, action in his garden, 
the noble boy said, " It was me, father, I dare not tell a 
lie." Of Charles H. Spurgeon, his grandfather writes, 
" I do not remember ever hearing of his speaking any 
thing but the truth." And again : " I can not remem- 
ber that we had ever an occasion to correct him for any 
false tale." Here, then, is a model for children to imi- 
tate. Always speak the truth : fear a lie. Nothing 
makes a man a greater coward than falsehood ; and 
tale-bearers are always nervous and in fear. Mr. Spur- 
geon is fearless of man in his denunciations of sin. 
This righteous boldness is traceable to a source which is 
a tower of strength to any minister — ^he is a man of 


When about seven years old, Mr. Spurgeon returned 
to his father's home. During his residence at Stam- 
bourne, his parents had removed from Kelvedon to 
Colchester, in which town Mr. John Spurgeon was 
occupied. He was at once placed in a respectable 
school, conducted by Mr. Henry Lewis. The head 
usher in the school was Mr. Leeding, who afterward 
removed from Colchester to Cambridge, and there 
opened a school for young gentlemen. Four years 
were spent in the school at Colchester, and here the 
ready mind of the pupil soon attracted the special atten- 


tion of Mr. Leeding. To this geatleman our young 
friend is indebted for nearly all the knowledge he ac- 
quired which could be there communicated. In every 
branch of knowledge to which he devoted his attention, 
C. H. Spurgeon was sure to become master of it ; and 
invariably at the examinations, our young friend was 
the successful prize-man. 

When about ten years of age, he was spending a va- 
cation with his grandsire at Stambourne. The anniver- 
sary sermons for the Missionary Society were preached 
in his grandfather's chapel while he was there. The 
preacher was the late Eev. Eichard Knill. This earnest 
and devoted servant of God has left behind him a mem- 
ory for good which will be cherished with much affec- 
tion for many years. Inscribed on the portrait of this 
self-denying missionary is the motto which indicated 
the intensity of his love for his work. It is, " Brethren! 
the heathen are perishing ; shall we let them perish ? 
Grod forbid. Eichard Knill." Knowing this of the 
preacher, it is not wonderful that he discerned in the 
grandson of the venerable Spurgeon the germs of his 
future distinction. Mr. Knill remained with the village 
pastor on the night of the anniversary. 

The following particulars we give from a communi- 
cation kindly supplied by the Eev. James Spurgeon, of 
Stambourne. " Before family prayer," observes the de- 
lighted grandfather, " my grandson read a chapter out 
of the Scriptures, and our friend Knill was very mtich 
pleased, and said, ' I have heard old ministers and young 
ones read well, but never did I hear a little boy read so 

32 EEV. 0. H. SPUEGEON. 

correctly before.' He called him to his side, laid his 
venerable band on bis bead, and said, ' I bebeve God 
will raise bim up for some remarkable work. I bope be 
will one day fill Eowland Hill's pulpit.' It appears to 
me," continues tbe grandfather, "as if be spake under 
a spirit of prophecy. When Mr. Knill first beard of 
my grandson being in town, be wrote to me for bis ad- 
dress. Tbe reason be gave was, being then from home, 
with a large party of friends, after dinner, tbe conversa- 
tion turned upon a wonderful preacher who was pastor 
of tbe JSTew Park-street chapel. Mr. Knill inquired bis 
name, and tbe answer given was — ' Mr. Spurgeon,' ' I 
know bim,' said Mr. Knill. ' No, no,' replied his friend, 
'I think not.' 'Yes, I do, sir,' returned Mr. KnilL 'I 
saw bim at bis grandfather's bouse some years ago, 
when I preached in tbe village for tbe missionary cause, 
and have always been convinced that he would one day 
be a most extraordinary character in the Christian world. 
I remember,' continued Mr. Knill, ' taking the lad into 
tbe garden ; I conversed with bim, and prayed with him, 
and found that he possessed a mind far beyond his 
years.' " Mr. Knill died at Chester three months ago, 
and was buried in the cemetery there ; the greater part 
of tbe citizens showed their respect to bis memory by 
attending bis funeral ; while among tbe mourners near 
the grave was the present Bishop of Chester, Dr. Graham. 
Here, then, we have very striking testimony to prove, 
that, very early in life, Mr. Spurgeon manifested those 
evidences of future usefulness and distinction which 
have been so amply and so remarkably reabzed. 


There is a power and influence in home training 
which is capable of immense good or evil, according to 
the manner and direction given to the mind of a youth. 
As a rule, prapng parents, if they make prayer a cheer- 
ful duty with their offspring, may have praying chil- 
dren. Mr. Spurgeon had the advantage of praying 
parents and grand-parents. Chiefly to his beloved 
mother is he indebted for the bias of his mind toward 
the Word of God and the people of God. On every 
suitable occasion, his mother retired with him (and others 
of her children) into the quietude of the closet, where, 
by reading the Scriptures, and applying them to the 
spiritual wants of her child in the way many pious 
mothers have before done, and then praying with and 
for him, the love of these Christian duties grew with 
his growth, and prayer, and the study of the Bible, soon 
became his delight. Such exercises always strengthen 
affection between the members of a famfly, and similar 
results were experienced in this case. Between the 
child and his parents, on the one hand, and between 
the parents and the child on the other hand, as well as 
among the children themselves, there always existed the 
warmest possible attachment and affection. Happy chil- 
dren in praying families often sing — 

" "When brethren all in one agree, 
Who knows the joya of unity ?" 

There stfll exists among all the members of the family 
the strongest feelings of personal concern and affection- 
ate regard. Such maternal solicitude resulted in giving 



a decided choice to religion to tte mind of her son 
Charles. So ttere is scarcely a period in his existence 
in which his mind has not been under the hallowing 
influences of personal practical religion. " Seek ye first 
the kingdom of heaven," and God has declared himself 
engaged on the side of such seekers, to promote their 
welfare every way. 

When but a youth, scarcely in his teens, we learn from 
communications kindly furnished by Mr. Spurgeon's 
father, that the youth was often found in the hayrack, 
or the manger, reading aloud, talking, or sometimes 
preaching to his brothers and sisters, so anxious was he 
to be doing good. Such exercises encouraged the feel- 
ings which were early manifested in favor of the minis- 
try as the occupation of his life. And when he was 
residing at Cambridge in 1850, the entrance of one of 
his early companions on a collegiate course led his own 
mind in that direction for a time. In a letter written 
home to his mother at that time, he declines the distinc- 
tion of joining his friend at college, and adds, "If the 
Lord will teach me to know his statutes, " and prepare 
me to preach his gospel to his poor people, I have my 
desire. How happy is that man who spends his whole 
life in serving God, and can go to the heathea bearing 
the word of hfe. He is the noblest of all men." These 
are the sentiments of a youth, deliberately written, at 
the age of sixteen. 

In matters of religion he was always before his age, 
and the teacher of his companions. While his brothers 
and other associates were engaged with amusements, and 


trifles, and mimic imitations of workmen, Charles H. 
Spurgeoa eschewed all such pursuits, and taking his 
Bible, or other good book, would seclude himself, and 
with intense delight would study and read away the 
hours other children gave to play. He has never exer- 
cised himself in any kind of handicraft ; the bent of 
his mind being entirely in another direction. He was a 
boy of strong passions, and always possessed a deter- 
mined will. This gave great concern at one time to his 
parents, and most earnestly did they both pray that the 
great Head of the Church would give the lad grace to 
keep that will " under," and subject to the will of God. 
Both his parents had a firm conviction, which was con- 
firmed by others who knew him, that he would one day 
occupy a distinguished place in the world, and hence 
arose their natural anxiety that their son should excel 
in the service of God. 

Besides his strong passions and determined will, there 
were other points which had their influence in the for- 
mation of his character. From the earliest dawn of 
reason, owing to the care taken in his religious instruc- 
tion, he appears to have had very clear views of the 
great leading doctrines of the New Testament. Of the 
condition of man as a sinner, and of the nature of the 
sacrifice and death of Christ, he was able to give a sim- 
ple explanation as a child. Supported by a memory of 
great vigor and power, any thing once learned was his 
own, and was never lost. Hence his preaching at the 
present time derives much of its efficacy and attractive- 
ness from his great power of memory, furnishing always, 


at the right time, the right kind of illustration to make 
an argument clear to his audience, or to adapt things of 
the past to his present emergencies. Such a power of 
memory, and such an uninterrupted flow of language, 
suitable to every subject on which he may preach, sel- 
dom falls to the inheritance of ordinary men. Another 
important help in forming character aright Mr. Spur- 
geon has found in bis simple habits of living, which 
have resulted in securing and fostering a healthy condi- 
tion of both mind and body. He may, on this account, 
be considered capable of enduring an amount of labor 
and fatigue which would destroy a frame more habitu- 
ated to indulgencies. He knew not what illness was 
till the Surrey Gardens calamity, joined with the wicked 
calumnies of a portion of the press, laid prostrate even 
the strong man. 

He had the advantage of an education in the best 
school that could be found ; and if that education was 
not completed in a college, the fault was entirely his 
own. Often, and earnestly, was this point urged upon 
him by his parents ; and on one of his father's visits to 
him while at Cambridge, he spent some hours in the 
attempt to convince his son of the advantages which 
such a course of study would secure to him ; but in 
vain, as we have said on a previous page. He had a 
conviction on his own mind that his duty lay, not in a 
college, but in the church, and in the pulpit ; and very 
many young divines have wasted years of precious time 
and energy in the cloisters of learning, which might 
have been better employed in the more active exercises 


of ministerial life. He did not, however, come to the 
conclusion against a course of instruction in a college 
without much prayerful deliberation, and the advice of 
those in whose welfare his heart's affections were bound 
up. He was already the pastor over a flourishing 
church when this subject came before him for consider- 
ation ; and in a letter to his father, from Cambridge, in 
■the spring of 1852, he writes: "lam not asking that 
I may not go at all [to college], but only that I may not 
go just now. The tears of the people I hope will pre- 
vail." And aa he hoped, so God's providence decided ; 
himself submissive to do that which his best friends in 
the church might, in answer to much earnest prayer, 
recommend. It is not the wisdom of man, nor the pow- 
erful influence of learning, but the "foolishness of 
preaching" which the Almighty owns in reaching and 
impressing the hearts of sinners. 

Having received the instruction in Colchester which 
the best school could supply, when about fifteen years 
old, it was deemed expedient that he should have some 
knowledge of a few branches of learning which were 
specially taught in an agricultural college at Maidstone, 
then conducted by one of his relatives. There, however, 
he was left much to his own inclination, and he very 
eagerly devoted his leisure time to the diligent pursuit 
of such studies as were most congenial to his own mind. 
At Maidstone, as well as at the school at Colchester, he 
was the successful prize-man at the examination. Indeed 
he never failed in gaining a prize at school on any oc- 
casion when they were given for success in study. 


After remaining one year at Maidstone, he removed, in 
his sixteenth year, 1849, to New Market, where he was 
engaged in the school of Mr. Swindell, as usher. Mr. 
Swindell was a Baptist. At New Market, he pursued 
the study of the Greek and French languages, with 
great care and diligence. While he was eminently 
" diligent in business," he was equally " fervent in spirit, 
serving the Lord." His duties and trials in the school 
were such as would have broken down any but the 
most patient person. During the year spent at that 
place, many important changes had their origin, or their 
full development, which have greatly contributed to the 
remarkable success of our Southwark divine. There 
he learned to practice much self-denial. There, also, he 
began to see himself to be a lost and unworthy sinner, 
deserving the full punishment of God's anger upon his 
sins. There it was that he started on that " mad voy- 
age," to which he has thus pathetically referred in one 
of his sermons : 

Speaking of a free-thinker, he remarks, " I, too, have 
been like him. There was an evil hour in which I slipped 
the anchor of my faith ; I cut the cable of my belief; I 
no longer moored myself hard by the coasts of Eevela- 
tion ; I allowed my vessel to drift before the wind. I said 
to reason, ' Be thou my captain ;' I said to my own 
brain, ' Be thou my rudder ;' and I started on my mad 
voyage. Thank God, it is all over now. But I will tell 
you its brief history. It was one hurried sailing over 
the tempestuous ocean of free thought." The result 
was, that, from doubting some things, he came to ques- 


tion every thing, even his own existence. Thus, "the 
devil foileth himself." Faith came to the rescue of be- 
wildered reason, and, from that perilous voyage, brought 
back the wanderer " safe to land." She who had nursed 
him in infancy, like the grandmother of Timothy, is 
pictured as exclaiming before the throne of God in 
heaven, " I thank Thee, thou ever-gracious One, that 
he who was my child on earth, has now become Thy 
child in light ! " There, too, having conquered those 
violent extremes to which Satan often drives the sinner 
who is repenting of his sins, and having fled for refuge, 
and found a welcome and safety in the bosom of a cruci- 
fied Jesus, his sins forgiven, and his spirit enjoying the 
liberty of the adopted children of God, his joy knew no 
bounds. Although his life had been from infancy more 
or less devoted to the service of God, still he had not 
realized that change of heart which is implied by the 
new birth. Under a powerful and impressive sermon 
preached from Isaiah xlv. 22, " Look unto me, and be 
ye saved, all the ends of the earth," the Spirit of God 
so wrought upon his heart, that after suffering much 
agony of mind, he found in believing that peace which 
passeth understanding. His spirit was now overflowing 
with happiness. All the letters he sent home at that 
period were full of the overflowings of a grateful heart, 
and although not sixteen years old, he describes the 
operations of grace on the heart and life, and the differ- 
ences between the doctrines of the gospel, and the forma 
of the church, in terms so precise and" clear, that no 
merely human power could have enabled him to do. 


Being justified by faith, lie had peace with God through 
our Lord Jesus Christ. He was taught experimentally, 
by the Holy Spirit—" and he spake as the Spirit gave 
him utterance." He had hitherto been brought up 
among the Independents. There, and at that period it 
was that his views changed respecting a point in church 
discipline. He had experienced a change of heart. He 
felt it to be laid upon him as an imperative duty to make 
a full and public confession of the change, by public 
baptism. He wrote many letters of inquiry soliciting 
advice and information from his father. On both sides 
there was much frank and open candor. No arguments 
Mr. John S^ourgeon, the Independent minister, could 
use, were considered by his sou as suflEicient to alter his 
purpose of making a public confession of his faith in the 
manner named. At length the father consents ; the son 
satisfies his father clearly that he has no faith in baptis- 
mal regeneration ; and the necessary steps are taken for 
his admission as a member into the Baptist church. In 
his last letter to his father on the subject, dated Kew 
Market, May the 1st, Mr. Spurgeon thus writes : "If I 
know my own heart, I believe that the sentiment upper- 
most there is, that salvation is not of man ; that no 
works, however holy, can contribute in the least to save 
my soul ; that the work is all of God's sovereign elect- 
ing love; and if ever I am saved, it will be by his 
power alone." The necessary arrangements having been 
made, he walked from New Market to Isleham, 7 miles, 
on May 2d, and staying with the family of the Baptist 
minister there, Mr. Cantlow, he was pubhcly baptized in 


that village, by tlie minister just named, on Friday, May 
8d, 1850, being in his sixteenth year. He thus proceeds 
in the letter to his father before quoted from : " It is 
very pleasing to me, that the day on which I shall openly 
profess the name of Jesus, is my mother's birth-day. 
May it be to both of us a foretaste of many glorious 
and happy days yet to come." "Who that has a heart to 
feel, -would not heartily respond to such a prayer by 
such a son — Amen ! 

Having thus publicly devoted himself to the service 
of God, he was more earnest than ever in his efforts to 
do good. Besides having himself revived an old soci- 
ety for distributing tracts, he undertook to carry out this 
good work in the town thoroughly. Whenever he walked 
out, he carried these messengers of mercy with him, 
and was instant in season, and indeed was seldom out of 
season, in his efforts to do good. His duties in school 
occupied him three hours daily, the remainder of his 
time being spent in his closet or in some work of mercy. 
The Sunday-school very soon gained his attention, and 
his addresses to the children were so full of love and 
instruction, that the children carried the good tidings 
home to their parents, and soon they came to hear the 
addresses in the vestry of the Independent chapel in 
that town. The place was soon filled. On Saturday he 
had more leisure, and on that day he commenced a new 
tract district in what is called the new town. During 
all that year he was subject to personal trials, hardships, 
and inconveniences, which greatly exercised his faith, 
and would have overwhelmed many, but he yielded n 't. 


At one of tlie examinations of the school, it was his 
duty to deliver an oration on missions. It was a public 
occasion, and in the company was a clergyman. During 
the examination, the clergyman heard of the death of 
his gardener, and suddenly left for home ; but on his 
way, thus reasoned with himself: The gardener is dead. 
I can not restore his life — I will return, and hear what 
the young usher has to say on missions. He returned, 
heard the oration, and was pleased to show his approval 
by presenting Mr. Spurgeon with a sovereign. 

While he was resident at New Market, Mr. Morley, 
of Nottingham, offered a prize for the best essay on 
Popery. Only three essays were sent in, one of which 
was written by Mr. Spurgeon. The Eev. George Smith, 
of Poplar, was the adjudicator, who, after a delay of two 
years, wrote a kind and encouraging letter to Mr. Spur- 
geon, stating, tliat though his paper was not deemed en- 
titled to the premium, yet the gentleman who offered it, 
and who was a relative, in approval of his zeal, and in 
the hope that he might em23loy his talents for the public 
good, sent him a handsome sum of money as a gratuity. 
This essay is entitled, "Antichrist and her Brood; or. 
Popery Unmasked;" and is thus endorsed — "Written 
by a boy under 16 years of age." This early produc- 
tion of Mr. Spurgeon's pen has not yet been jDublished. 

After a residence of one year, he removed to Cam- 
bridge, and became usher under Mr. Henry Leeding, 
who had shortly before opened a school for young gen- 
tlemen in that university borough. Gratitude to Mr. 
Leeding for the instruction received from him at Col- 


Chester, led Mr. Spurgeon to that establishment. There 
his duties were less arduous, and his comforts greatly 
increased. He maintained his faith in God unmoved, 
though often it was tested. 

The experience of most Christian churches goes far 
to prove, that, with many young persons who become 
members, they find it expedient thus to identify them- 
selves with a community of the people of God. With 
Mr. Spurgeon, religion was a matter of the heart — ^it 
was a principle. Go where he might, because his heart 
had been touched with a " live coal," from off the altar 
of heaven, he carried his religion with him ; it was to 
be seen in his conduct, because it was a matter of expe- 
rience within him. It was not merely a business which 
could be put on or laid aside like a garment, but was 
the result of a deliberate and prayerful choice, proceed- 
ing from a course of careful training in " wisdom's 
ways ;" it was an emanation from the divine mind, with 
the will of the human nature yielding and consenting. 
God called ; man obeyed. Truly happy are all they 
who thus yield to the strivings of the Holy Spirit. A 
decided love of " whatsoever things are of good report" 
had been manifested in his life even from infancy. 
When a child of very tender years, he strongly evinced 
his love of and preference to good people, and there are 
many aged Christians in the county of Esses who re- 
member him as a child, with a countenance beaming 
with joy and delight, at having an opportunity of con- 
versing with them on matters of personal religion. Of 
this number, there are not a few, faithful men of God, 

44 EEV. C. H. SPUEaEON. 

whose daily privilege it is to pray for tteir young 
friend, that his life may be spared, and that his labors 
may be abundantly owned by a large ingathering of 
stray sheep into the fold of Christ. Oat of many in- 
stances which might be recorded in confirmation of this 
point of character, the following is given, just as it is 
furnished by Mr. Spurgeon's grandfather : " When my 
grandson was very young, he went one day into a field 
where a very pious man was plowing. He was a mem- 
ber of my church. The child began to ask some ques- 
tions on religious subjects which the good man thought 
far beyond his age. The conversation continued some 
time on spiritual subjects, until the man was quite 
amazed at what he had heard, although he was a man 
deeply experienced in the things of Grod. At last the 
man said to my grandson, ' My dear boy, God has 
given you great gifts, great gxace, and great experience. 
My prayer to God for you is, that he may keep you 
truly humble, for if jfou rise one inch above the ground, 
you must be cut down.' I can not," adds the Eev. 
James Spurgeon, " but hope that this prayer has been 
answered. I am amazed, and thankful to God, that my 
grandson is kept humble." 

From such testiaiony, we learn this truly gratifying 
lesson, that God can perfect praise out of the mouth of 
" babes," and that our young Timothy has " known the 
Scriptures" from a child. Unlike too many young pro- 
fessors, Mr. Spurgeon carried his religion about with 
him; and on removing to a large town, where many 
dangers were likely to beset his path, he at once iden- 


tified himself -witli the people of God. How many 
there are who have to trace their declension in religion 
to a want of courage to avow themselves members of a 
Christian church, when they remove to a place where 
they are uninown. In London there is a great multi- 
tude who thus suffer themselves to he robbed of the 
greatest blessings which we can know on earth — even 
the communion of saints. In London, every denomina- 
tion of Christians is so well represented, that no excuse 
can exist for young ChristiaDS, fresh from the country, 
not joining that form of religion in which they may 
have been brought up. Like a true servant of the Most 
High, our young friend could not be unfaithful to the 
vows he had taken upon himself. He had been useful 
in the Sunday-school in giving practical and animating 
addresses to both children and their parents ; he had 
been useful in visiting the poor at their dwellings, and 
cajrying with him a little tract to instruct the ignorant, 
and being called of God to this work, he did it " with 
his might." He removed irom New Market to Cam- 
bridge m the year 1850, after staying one year only at 
the former place. 

Having at once identified himself as a member of the 
Baptist church in Cambridge, he soon found occupation 
suitable to his mind. His addresses to children and af- 
terward to parents and children, had produced a love 
of the work, and he soon was called to exhort a village 
congregation. He was then about sixteen years old. 
His duties in Mr. Leeding's school being lighter than 
in his former place, he had leisure to occupy himself in 


trying to do good. Connected witli the Baptist church, 
meeting in St. Andrew's-street Cambridge, formerly un- 
der the pastoral care of the late learned Eobert Hall, 
there existed a society entitled " The Lay Preacher's As- 
sociation." Although so young in years, Mr. Spurgeon 
was accepted as' a member of this association. Here he 
at once found the occupation which his mind most de- 
sired ; and he was soon appointed to address a congre- 
gation. Although we have not been able to learn what 
was the text selected by the youthful divine on this in- 
teresting occasion, nor have we heard any report of the 
service, yet we know one result which has proceeded 
therefrom. Good was done, and the preacher was en- 
couraged. Mr. Spurgeon's first sermon was preached in 
a cottage, in the village of Teversham, about four miles 
from Cambridge. The Lay Preacher's Association was 
instituted to enable the poor inhabitants of the villages 
surrounding Cambridge to hear the gospel in their own 
homes, where dress would be no barrier to their assem- 
bling together, and at the same time to provide them 
with preachers who should address them in terms which 
they might readily understand. There were thirteen 
village stations mapped out, some of which were many 
miles from the town, and in one or more of these sta- 
tions, service was held every evening in the week. Hav- 
ing once entered on this most solemn duty, and finding 
acceptance with the people, he laid himself out for one 
service every evening, after attending to his duties in 
school during the day. It would be unfair to criticise 
those early efforts at public teaching by the ordinary 


rules wliicli we apply to public preaching. The tender 
years of the speaker, and being besides self-taught in 
divinity, and in most of the branches of human learning, 
these should induce a spirit of forbearance. The desire 
and the ability to preach, God had implanted within him. 
Experience could only be learned by the exercise of the 
gifts which had been bestowed. The New Testament 
teaches, that both the operations of nature and of grace 
are progressive, that we have first the "blade, then the 
ear, then the full corn in the ear." These early preach- 
ing efforts were acceptable to the people, and they were 
owned and blessed by God. From an aged and experi- 
enced Christian who heard Mr. Spurgeon preach before 
his call to London, we learn that his addresses were 
very instructive, and often included illustrations derived 
from history, geography, astronomy, and from other 
branches of school occupation, evidently adapted from 
his daily duties, and thus made to serve as instruments 
in religion as well as in training and informing the mind. 
Since Mr. Spurgeon has been the popular preacher of 
the day, we have often heard mammon-getting men of 
the world ascribe his popularity to motives so mercenary 
that we will not betray the ignorance of our fellow-citi- 
zens by repeating them. They have gone beyond the 
point of impugning the preacher's motives, and have 
censured his deacons as participators in the results we 
have referred to, and prompters to a course of action as 
base as can well be attributed to fallen human nature. 
All such notions are as groundless as they are un-char- 
itable, and as unreasonable as they are untrue. For 


several years, Mr. Spurgeon had no gain' whatever from 
his benevolent labors, but hopes of many kinds. Even 
at the present time, though he is the almoner of the 
bounty of many, and the generous bestower of his own 
goods to feed the poor, yet he has neither the riches 
nor the influence which are often ascribed to him. Few 
public men are paid worse than public preachers for 
benevolent objects. The early ministry of Mr. Spurgeon 
was not only gratuitous, but often attended with de- 
mands on his small salary which he willingly gave to 
God not to be seen of men — but to help the needy. 
The poor man's preacher, in all ages of the church, has 
always been poor, and though the bounty of others 
may make him the dispenser of their wealth, yet he 
can not himself preach the everlasting gospel, and amass 
riches for his reward. From the commencement of Mr. 
Spurgeon's ministry, it may be truly said, that "the 
common people heard him gladly." From the first, 
the result has been the same in two respects, his hearers 
have been uniformly numerous, and his preaching as 
uniformly acceptable. The motives which impelled his 
choice justify the result. He has often said in effect, 

' The love of Christ doth me constrain, 
To seek the wandering souls of men." 

This had been the earnest desire and prayer of his 
parents for many years. Anxiously did they pray that 
their son Charles might be a servant of Christ and a 
preacher of righteousness. On one of his visits home, 
he was told by his mother that she had thus prayed for 


him, but she added that she had never prayed for him 
to be a Baptist. The ready mind of her son at once re- 
plied, " Then, mother, God has answered your prayer, 
and, hke his bounty, has given you more than you 
asked." It will be remembered that both his grand- 
father and his father are ministers in the Independent 
body. There is a command addressed thus to all chil- 
dren — " Obey your parents in all things." Mr. Spurgeon 
was long in correspondence with his father in reference 
to this change in his religious profession, and, like a 
dutiful son as he had always been, did not give up his con- 
nection with the Independents until he had obtained the 
free and full consent of his father to do so. A son who 
is obedient to his parents will also obey God. Would 
that the example of this young man had been followed 
by many who have professedly given up the religion of 
their fathers, and have become perverts to the heresies 
of Eome. Had they first assigned their reasons to their 
parents, and asked their counsel and consent, there 
might have been no Cardinal Archbishop now in En- 
gland, allured here by the false idea of the heart of the 
people leaning- toward Eome. God loves obedience, and 
he will as assuredly punish those who are guilty of the 
opposite sin as he punished the disobedient prophet, or 
Saul, the first king of Israel. Children, young men, 
Sunday-school teachers, learn a lesson from this young 
man : although his reason was 'convinced, and his judg- 
ment persuaded, still he yielded not to either till he had 
complied with the command of God — " Children, obey 
your parents." 


50 EEV. 0. H. SPUEGEON. 

In some of -the tliirteen village-stations around Cam- 
bridge and "Waterbeacb, to wbicb Mr. Spurgeon devoted 
all bis eveniugs, tbe preacbing was beld in a cottage, in 
otbers in a cbapel, and occasionally tbe open air alone 
could farnisb tbe accommodation required. Some of 
tbese cbapels belonged to tbe Independents, otbers to 
tbe Wesleyans or tbe Baptists, and members of eacb de- 
nomination flocked in large numbers to bear tbe " boy 

At tbe village of "Waterbeacb, Mr. Spurgeon was re- 
ceived in a marked manner of approval. In most of 
tbe places in wbicb be bad preacbed, tbe effect was very 
mucb alike in tbe large numbers attracted to bear tbe 
Word of God, and in tbe success wbicb God was pleased 
to bestow on bis labors. Even at tbat early period of 
bis ministerial career, invitations to preacb special ser- 
mons in towns and villages at a distance soon rapidly 
increased. At Waterbeacb, bowever, tbe little cburcb 
saAv in tbe young man a suitability to tbeu' wants, and 
tbey gave bim an invitation to become tbeir pastor. 
Tbe building used as a cbapel tbere was formerly a barn, 
witb a bigb pitcbed roof, wbicb is covered witb tbatcb. 
Tbe walls are a conglomerate, altbougb made to look 
neat and clean by a plentiful coating of wbitewasb. It 
is an edifice wbicb is sure to attract tbe attention of tbe 
passer-by. Tbe following engraving is from a sketcb 
recently made by Mr. E. Bowman, of Castle End, Cam- 
bridge, for tbis work. 

We quote tbe following notice of tbe young pastor of 
tbe Baptist cburcb at Waterbeacb, from a communica- 




tion kindly furnisTied by Mr. C. King, one of the deacons 
of the churcli : 

" From Mr. Spurgeon's first coming toWaterbeach, lie 
■was generally well received, and soon became quite pop- 
ular as a preacher. It was no unusual thing to see the 
laborers on the farms at a distance from the village 
literally running home when the duties of the day were 
over, that they might be in time to attend his ministry 
in the evening. At the early age of eighteen, he was 
unanimously chosen pastor of our little church. We 
have often sat under his ministry with a mixture of 
pleasure, profit, and surprise, and have been ready to ex- 
claim with the inquiring Jews named in the gospel, 
Whence hath this young man this wisdom and these 
mighty words? Our congregation soon rapidly iu- 


creased, so that botTi the seats and the aisles -were gen.' 
erally filled, and some could not obtain admission intc 
the place. A reformation in the habits of the people 
soon appeared in the village ; and about twenty persons 
were, in a short time, added to the church. Mr. Spur 
geon's character and conduct were as amiable as hii 
talents were attractive; and when, after preaching fo: 
some months on the Sabbath morning and afternoon, h( 
was met by the request to preach on Sabbath evenings 
also, he modestly replied, ' I can not always preacl 
three times, for I am not so strong as a man !' Aftei 
having labored among us upward of two years, in sea- 
son and out of season, he was called to a wider sphere 
and left us, to the general regret of the church and cou' 
gregation ; and he is followed by the prayers and besi 
wishes of the little flock he had partly gathered out of 
the world, and left behind." 

Waterbeach is a village of about 1,300 inhabitants 
scattered over a considerable surface, the occupatior 
being agricultural. The Baptist church there numberec 
nearly forty members when Mr. Spurgeon was callec 
to the pastorate. During the short period of his minis 
trations there, the number of church members was 
doubled. It must be remembered that the income oi 
the pastor over so small a church was only a nomina 
sum. For his maintenance, he had still to pursue hi 
daily duties as usher in the school at Cambridge, fo: 
three hours in the morning, and in the evening th( 
young preacher was addressing a congregation of vil- 
lagers. Not only at Waterbeach, but at all the village; 


'he visited, there was a spirit of inquiry among the 
people, of "What must we do to be saved?" God's 
Holy Spirit awakened and answered that inquiry. All 
religious meetings were well attended. The Lord was 
exalting himself by calling some of the vilest of the 
people to forsake their evil ways, and become regular 
attendants on the worship of God. The whole village 
was reformed. 

During his pastorate at Waterbeach, in the year 1852, 
his father again opened the correspondence respecting 
his going to college, generously oifering to make any 
sacrifice to secure such a training for his son as would 
be afforded by that course of study. In his reply, to his 
father, dated March 9th, 1852, he writes: "I have all 
along had an aversion to college ; and nothing but a 
feeling that I must not consult myself but Jesus, could 
have made me think of it." After confirming his views 
expressed in a former letter on the same subject, he pro- 
ceeds : " It appears to my friends here that it is my duty 
to remain with my dear people at Waterbeach ; so say 
the church there unanimously, and so say three of our 
deacons at Cambridge." In another letter to his excel- 
lent mother, dated November, he confirms his former 
decision thus : " I am more and more glad that I never 
went to college. God sends such sunshine on my path, 
such smiles of grace, that I can not regret if I have for- 
feited all my prospects for it. I am conscious I held 
back from love to God and his cause ; and I had rather 
be poor in his service than rich in my own. I have all 
that heart can wish for ; yea, God giveth more than my 


desire. My congregation is as great and loving as ever. 
During all the time I have been at Waterbeach, I have 
had a different house for my home every day. [His 
residence was at Cambridge.] Fifty-two families have 
thus taken me in, and I have still six other invitations 
not yet accepted. Talk about the people not caring for 
me, because they give me so little, I dare tell any body 
under heaven, 'tis false ! they do all they can. Our an- 
niversary passed off grandly ; six were baptized ; crowds 
on crowds stood by the river ; the chapel afterward was 
crammed both to the tea and the sermon." 

By these and like exercises, God was preparing this 
young divine for greater plans of usefulness, and a 
wider sphere of action. The Holy Spirit had called 
him to his work, and he believed in the same divine 
power for the qualifications necessary for the duty he 
was to fulfill. Mr. Spurgeon had strong faith, and he 
exercised it: the result has, by God's blessing, justified 
his choice. Strong in the conviction that the pulpit, 
not the college, was his place, he maintained his point, 
and the issue has proved the soundness of his judgment. 
He continued to reside at Cambridge during the week, 
merely spending the Sabbath and an occasional evening 
at Waterbeach. During these visits the homes of the 
villagers were his welcome ; and with one after another 
did -this evangelist abide for a Sabbath-day, until he had 
been invited into nearly every homestead in the place. 
His usefulness so greatly increased his duties, that he 
found it requisite to leave Cambridge, and go to reside 


altogether at Waterbeach, during tlie summer of the 
year 1853. 

Having by his earnestness, usefulness, and diligence, 
obtained great favor and acceptance among the people 
of God in Cambridgeshire and Essex, his fame spread 
rapidly in all directions. Besides visiting many poor 
and sick persons, and administering comfort and conso- 
lation to them, he had to travel many miles to the va- 
rious villages ; and during the year previous to his 
residing entirely at Waterbeach, he preached more than 
three hundred and sixty sermons, and on nearly every 
occasion to overflowing audiences. Such unceasing and 
heavy duties in the cause of the Great Master of assem- 
blies, in no way lessened his zeal or his love to the work. 
Living in constant personal communion with heaven, he 
had a motive for being earnest, which mere hirehngs in 
the Lord's vineyard do not possess. He saw much 
good being done continually, and knew it wa-s of God, 
and not of man. Because he was a faithful servant, he 
found a faithful Master, and thought no duty too heavy 
to do for so good a Master. 


The Cambridge Union of Sunday-schools is a very efii- 
cient institution. Its anniversary meeting in 1853 was 
held at Cambridge, on which occasion Mr. Spurgeon 
was called upon to speak. Whether as a preacher in 
the pulpit, or a speaker on the platform, he can always 


command tlie attention of vast multitudes. It is not, 
However, on tte platform that Mr. Spurgeon is most 
at home. He can m.ove a resolution with marvelous 
effect; but he prefers preaching for any good ohject 
rather than advocating it in a set speech. As a speaker 
he succeeds ; as a preacher he excels. The part he took 
at the anniversary meeting referred to, was of remark- 
able significance. There was nothing in his manner 
or his remarks which was specially attractive to the 
audience ; but there was an unseen agency at work with 
the speaker as well as in the audience. Great and im- 
portant issues often proceed from small beginnings. 
There was present at that meeting, a young man from 
Loughton, in Essex. Mr. Spurgeon's address made an 
impression of lasting importance upon his mind. Short- 
ly afterward, the Essex young man met with one of the 
deacons of a Baptist church in London, which had once 
flourished like the cedars of Lebanon, but which was 
now, although improving somewhat in condition, so far 
shorn of its former glory as to furnish cause of serious 
consideration. Anxiously did the thoughtful deacon 
relate his tale of a scattered church and a diminished 
congregation to his Christian brother from the provinces. 
Nor was this unreasonable, considering the untaught 
multitude around their chapel, the unlet sittings, and 
impoverished funds. Fresh upon the mind of the young 
man was the effect of the speech of the youthful Tim- 
othy at Cambridge, and he ventured to speak of the 
evangelist of Waterbeach as a minister likely to be the 
means of reviving interest in the church at New Park- 


street. The friends separated: tlie deacon left, unim- 
pressed by what lie had heard, and things grew worse. 
God's ways are not as our ways. 

"A wonderful fashion of teaching he hath ;'' 

and while he deviseth, he will execute. It was not 
likely the church which had been raised by a Keach, and 
supported and extended so widely by a Gill and a 
Eippon, should thus decline without hope of recovery. 
When a man's extremity is greatest, then the Almighty 
graciously assists. Shortly afterward the deacon and 
the Essex friend met again, and again was the young 
preacher of Waterbeach recommended as the means of 
reviving the once prosperous church of " Hors-lie- 
down." Seeing that some change must be made, the 
good deacon thought there might be some hope in at 
least considering, and naming to other friends, what he 
heard. ISTo sooner had the intelligence reached a second, 
and a third member of the church, than they resolved 
upon action, and soon forwarded an invitation to the 
young man to come to London and preach before them 
in their large London chapel. The work was of God ; 
man only made the arrangements. What Julius Cassar 
said of himself may be appropriately said of Mr. Spur- 
geon : He came — he preached — he conquered. The 
provincial brother suggests, and the citizens accept. In 
the autumn of the year 1853, Mr. Spurgeon was first 
invited to occupy a London pulpit. He was then but 
just turned nineteen years of age, but having been 
trained by the best Teacher, in the best kind of knowl- 



edge, and feeling assurance in the efficacy of liis mes- 
sage, he delivered his first sermon in New Park-street 
chapel, on a Sunday morning, to a small audience, with 
the freedom and boldness which evinced that he be- 
lieved what he preached, and believed that his message 
was from God. Some were disappointed; others re- 
solved to oppose, and did oppose ; but by far the greater 
proportion were disposed to hear him again. The result 
of the first sermon was proved, in a few hours, to have 
been a success. The evening congregation was gi-eatly 
increased, partly from curiosity, partly from the age of 
the preacher, and his unusual style of address. We have 
before remarked how much the early sermons of Mr. 
Spurgeon were illustrated by scholastic knowledge ; as- 
tronomy, history, geography, and other like subjects 
being made to serve his purpose. This was the case on 
the present occasion. Having served the church on 
one Sunday as a temporary supply, he was again invited 
to take the pulpit on another Sunday as early as possi- 
ble, for a feeling of excitement was created, and it re- 
quired to be satisfied. After consulting with his church 
at Waterbeach, he arranged to supply the Park-street 
pulpit during three alternate weeks, coming to London on 
Saturday, doing full duty on Sunday, and after another 
service on Monday evening, he again returned to his 
charge in the country on Tuesday. The six weeks hav- 
ing expired, and the excitement in the neighborhood to 
hear the young preacher having become considerable, it 
was determined to invite Mr. Spurgeon from his rustic 
retreat, to undertake the heavy responsibility of pastor 


of one of the most ancient, and formerly the most in- 
fluential Baptist church in London. 

The stone cast in the water produces a succession of 
circles which expand beyond control. The ripple on 
the ocean's brink may be small in itself, but it is the in- 
dicator of a power which is omnipotent : it shows the 
direction of the current. It will be seen, by reference 
to preceding pages, that for nearly one hundred and 
twenty years the church of New Park-street had been 
presided over by only two pastors, both of whom were 
called to the pastorate while very young. Here then 
was the prestige of example to justify the choice of the 
church in appointing Mr. Spnrgeon their pastor. Such 
was the depressed condition of all the funds of the 
church, that there was no pecuniary inducement what- 
soever to entice the popular preacher. Nor has this 
motive ever been chargeable on Mr. Spurgeon since he 
has been in the ministry. He has always been content 
with, and thankful for, whatever the circumstances of 
the church afforded. As a teacher, his financial pros- 
pects would have been much brighter ; as a preacher, he 
had not hitherto received a fair compensation for his nn- 
tiring and earnest labors. But the call to London opened 
up to him a much wider prospect of doing good : he 
thanked God, and entered on the duty in the month of 
January, 1854. 

He had not long ofBoiated in Southwark before the 
chapel began to fill, and applications for sittings rapidly 
increased. The tidings of his preaching spread from 
friend to friend, and almost from house to house, in the 

60 .REV. 0. H. SPURGEON. 

neigtborliood, until tlie place was filled to overflowing. 
Many who had been members, but who had strayed, 
now returned to their old church, and great fear was 
freely expressed in some neighboring congregations, lest 
the members should leave to go and hear and sit under 
the young divine. Every fresh accession, either to the 
church or congregation, served to increase the excite- 
ment, and large numbers were often unable to get within 
either the chapel or the school-room. The following 
description of the preacher's style at this period is one 
of the earliest we have met with : " His voice is clear 
and musical ; his language plain ; his style flowing, yet 
terse ; his method lucid and orderly ; his matter sound 
and suitable ; his tone and spirit cordial ; his remarks 
always pithy and pungent, sometimes familiar and col- 
loquial, yet never light or coarse, less profane. 
Judging from a single sermon, we supposed that he 
would become a plain, faithful, forcible, and affectionate 
preacher of the gospel in the form called Calvinistic ; 
and our judgment was the raore favorable, because, 
while there was a solidity beyond his years, we detected 
little of the wild luxuriance naturally characteristic of 
very young preachers." Want of order and arrange- 
ment was a fault the preacher soon found out himself, 
and refers to it when he says : " Once I put all my 
knowledge together in glorious confusion ; but now I 
have a shelf in my head for every thing, and whatever 
I read or hear, I know where to stow it away for use at 
the proper time." 

Among the weekly multitudes who assembled to hear 


the now popular preaclier, after lie was establislied at 
New Park-street, was a member of the Society of Friends, 
who, being deeply impressed by what he saw and heard, 
wrote a lengthened article on the subject, which was 
published in " The Friend." A few extracts from this 
account, by an unprejudiced observer, will very appro- 
priately supply reliable information respecting Mr. Spur- 
geon at that early period of his ministry in London. 
" The Friend" says : 

" An extraordinary sensation has recently been pro- 
duced in London by the preaching of a young Baptist 
minister named 0. H. Spurgeon. The crowds which 
have been drawn to hear him, the interest excited by 
his ministry, and the conflicting opinions expressed in 
reference to his qualifications and usefulness, have been 
altogether without parallel in modern times. What 
renders the present case remarkable is, the juvenility of 
the preacher — bis hold on the public being established 
before he had attained his twentieth year ; and his first 
appearance in London being that of a country youth, 
without any of the supposed advantages of a college 
education or ordinary ministerial training. 

"Early in 1854, he undertook the charge of the con- 
gregation assembling in New Park-street chapel, South- 
wark. It was a remarkable sight to see this round-faced 
country youth thus placed in a position of such solemn 
and arduous responsibility, yet addressing himself to the 
fulfillment of its onerous duties with a gravity, self- 
possession, and vigor that proved him well fitted to the 
task he had assumed. Li a few weeks, the pews which 



had been so long tenantless were crowded, every sitting 
in the chapel was let, and ere many months had elapsed, 
the eagerness to hear him had become so great, that 
every standing-place within the chapel walls was occu- 
pied on each succeeding Sabbath, and it became evident 
that increased accommodation must be provided for the 
wants of the congregation. It was about this period, in 
the autumn of 1854, that we first heard C. H. Spurgeon, 
on the occasion of his preaching te the Young Men's 
Christian Association. The preliminary portions of the 
service were conducted in a manner at once to impress 
the hearer with a sense of the earnest reverence which 
the young pastor felt in his work. He read a portion 
of Scripture, accompanying it with a few forcible and 
pointed expository remarks ; these expository efforts 
being of peculiar value to the class of hearers of which 
his congregations are mostly composed. His sermon 
was a deeply impressive one. He spoke as a young man 
to young men, sympathizing in their tastes, their trials, 
their temptations, and their wants. He unfolded the 
plan of salvation, and urged the importance of a manly 
and decided profession of Christianity." 

These extracts are sufhcient to show that there is 
something in Mr. Spurgeon more than ordinary, to se- 
cure for him in his pablic ministrations such crowds of 
attentive hearers. Nor was it alone in his own chapel 
that these multitudes of people gathered to hear him. 
He was employed almost every day in preaching for 
some benevolent object, either in London or its suburbs, 
or in some provincial town or village ; and on every 



occasion, he not only had a large audience, but the 
largest, in most cases, AY'hich had ever assembled at such 

During the autumn of the first year, 1854, many who 
were unable to go and hear Mr. Spurgeon for them- 
selves, formed an estimate of the young divine by his 
sermons, several of which were published at short inter- 
vals. These met with such a ready sale, that by the 
end of the year, Mr. Joseph Passmore, a relative of the 
late Dr. Rippon's, and an intimate personal friend of Mr. 
Spurgeon 's, commenced a publication entitled, " The 
New Park-street Pulpit," containing sermons preached 
and revised by the Eev. C. H. Spurgeon. It may be 
desirable to add, that "no sermons are genuine reports 
unless they bear the title, The New Park-street Pulpit, or 
the names of Alabaster & Passmore, and of those issued 
in America the imprint of Sheldon, Blakeman & Co." 
These sermons have from the first been sold at one 
penny weekly ; and being the only authorized sermons 
of Mr. Spurgeon, the demand for them has so far ex- 
ceeded the supply as at first published, that all the early 
sermons have reached a second edition, and some of the 
later ones also. At the present time, the demand for 
these sermons is increasing weekly ; and taking into ac- 
count the regular weekly issue during the past two 
years, there can not be less than half a million of Mr. 
Spurgeon's sermons in circulation at the present time in 
Great Britain. Nor is it in England alone that these 
sermons are so much desired. 

It was at this period — the autumn of 1854 — that the 


faith, patience, courage, and zeal of Mr. Spurgeon were 
tested in- a remarkable manner. Already he was popu- 
lar, among the poor particularly. There was then rag- 
ing over Europe one of the scourges of the world — 
the cholera. Almost without intermission, by night 
and by day, the presence of the New Park-street pastor 
was entreated by the suffering and the dying. So great 
was his faith in God, that young though he was, he 
went wheresoever he was summoned ; and during its 
continuance, so many were the cases he visited, read to, 
prayed and conversed with, that the recital of those 
scenes would be something appalling. He toiled until 
his physical energies were well-nigh exhausted ; and 
when, on one occasion, having that day witnessed some 
half dozen of these terrible deaths, he was again hurried 
from home to witness the same distressing agonies re- 
peated, his heart almost yielded to rest. He went out 
mournfully contemplating, when, seeing a scrap of paper 
wafered on a shop window, curiosity led him to read 
the words written upon it. They were, " Thou shalt 
not be afraid for the terror by night ; nor for the arrow 
that flieth by day ; nor for the pestilence that walketh 
in darkness ; nor for the destruction that wasteth at 
noonday."' — Psalm xci. 5, 6. God's servant was re- 
assured ; his faith was coniirmed ; and thus Providence 
helped when help was most required. 

The popularity of Mr. Spurgeon had so far increased 
his audience on the Sabbath day at New Park-street, 
and inconvenienced the members of the church, that the 
chapel became far too small for the weekly require- 


ments, and before the year 1854 had passed, the 
deacons resolved to enlarge the chapel. While this 
change was in progress, Mr. Spurgeon's members and 
friends met every Sunday for worship in Exeter Hall, 
in the Strand. Here arose one of the many problems 
which have been proposed by the press and the public 
concerning this young man, "Will Mr. Spurgeon fill 
Exeter Hall ?" Some doubted, but the solution in this 
case was speedily arrived at. The first time Mr. Spur- 
geon preached in the large room, Exeter Hall, was on 
Sunday morning, February 11th, 1855. Truly it was 
an imposing sight to see such a large audience gathered, 
from every part of London, to hear a sermon by a 
young man but lately fresh from the country. The 
large hall was filled in every part, and so great was the 
desire to join in these services, that often during the 
four months required for enlarging the chapel, the 
crowds were far greater than the hall could accommo- 
date. The hall was occupied during the months of 
February, March, April, and May ; the last service was 
on the 27th of May. The chapel in New Park-street 
having had the northern end wall removed, several 
yards were added to the length of the building, which 
afforded sittings for nearly three hundred additional 
persons. After the re-opening of the chapel, with all 
the new sitings taken, and numerous applications fox 
sittings being still unsatisfied, the deacons were obliged 
to content themselves with having provided as much 
room as the space would afford, and all who could not 
gain admission were obliged to leave the place. The 


number thus disappointed every Sunday amounted to 
hundreds, often to thousands. 

His ministrations continued with unahated interest, 
and with astonishing success, during the year 1855, 
which was his second as a London pastor : on Sunday, 
twice in his own tabernacle in Southwark, and again 
on Monday and Thursday evenings, with a chapel filled 
on each occasion ; while during the intervening days, 
we see his name in the public papers constantly, advo- 
cating as a preacher the cause of some religious society. 
Thus the beDevo]ence of his heart is taxed, as much as 
the energies of his body and mind, in trying to benefit 
mankind on a large scale. One very remarkable fea- 
ture of Mr. Spurgeon's popularity is, that it knows no 
variation or diminution. Does he occupy his own pul- 
pit, either on Sunday, or on a week day, the place is 
always full. Is he in the suburbs, or in the provinces, 
on any day in the week, whether in the morning, after- 
noon, or evening, the place is full, and often the assem- 
bly outside is greater in numbers than those within the 
building, and not unfrequently an address has been de- 
livered to the congregation outside by some other min- 

Seasons of special blessings should be recognized by 
Christians as occasions for special acknowledgment and 
thanksgiving. The Jews are remarkable for their strict 
observance of their annual festivals and their jubilees. 
In the summer of this year, 1855, Mr. Spurgeon com- 
pleted his twenty-first year. This festive occasion was 
commemorated by a sermon which Mr. Spurgeon 


preaclied in Ms own ctapel, to a very large audience, 
■wbicli was published, and has since passed through 
several editions, under the title of " Pictures of Life, and 
Birth-day Eeflections." 

The greater part of the month of July Mr. Spurgeon 
spent in the north of England. During his travels and 
preaching engagements among the Scotch, an impres- 
sion was made upon the mind of the inhabitants for 
good which wUl live after many days. In the city of 
Glasgow, which was his head-quarters, he visited all the 
buildings and places of note. Like the great Apostle 
Paul when at Athens, his spirit was moved within him, 
and he gave free vent to his feelings. Of one of his 
rambles, he writes : " One feels all his hatred of popery 
revived when he finds himself on the eminence of the 
Necropolis, by the base of Knox's monument. There 
he stands, stern as Elijah, rough as the Baptist, and earn- 
est as Luther. The statue is well placed on a hill over- 
looking the cathedral, so that the fine structure seems 
to lie at his feet, and he appears to view with compla- 
cency the house he had so thoroughly purged." On 
Sunday, the 15th, Mr. Spurgeon preached to perhaps 
the largest audiences ever gathered to hear the gospel in 
that city; in the morniag, in Dr. Patterson's Baptist 
chapel, Hope-street, the largest in Glasgow ; and in the 
evening, to a multitude ta Dr. Wardlaw's IndependAit 
chapel. West George-street. Mr. Spurgeon was re- 
ceived with great suspicion in Scotland. " At the close 
of each of these services," observes Mr. Spurgeon, " I 
learned the meaning of the test, ' So then, we are no 


longer strangers and foreigners ;' for I found tliat the 
children of God recognized tlie herald of truth, and 
cheerfully gave me their hearts and hands." He pro- 
ceeded northward to Perth, Dunkeld and Aberfeldy. 
Of this journey, Mr. Spurgeon writes : " If any thing in 
our island could raise the feelings of a man toward 
heaven, surely the sight of the scenery of Scotland 
might suf&ce to do it ; for my own part, when viewing 
the rocks of Aberfeldy, I could not refrain from clap- 
ping my hands for very joy at such a noble display of 
my Father's power, and my heart leaped at the thought 
that the Captain had provided such a magnificent resting 
place for his warriors." While at this romantic village, 
the bellman was thrice sent round to announce a sermon 
by a minister from the south, in these words — "Your 
auld playmate, and auld acquaintance, Shony Carstair, 
wants to see you all at the Independent chapel at 7 
o'clock to hear my dear friend, the Rev. C. H. Spur- 
geon, preach." Here followed an account of the crowds 
who had flocked to hear the preacher at Exeter Hall, 
and concluded thus: "Mind, he has come 500 miles to 
tell you something for your good, and the Rev. 0. H. 
Spurgeon and myself expect you all to come and give 
us a hearty shake hands." Such an unusual mode of 
announcing a sermon was sure of success — the whole 
village was moved, and though the preacher, during the 
service, "tried all means to move them," the cold blood 
of the men far north was undisturbed by Mr. Spurgeon's 
appeals, and the only movement seen in the congrega- 
tion was a free use of the snuff box, the men " using a 


small spoon to shovel the snuff from the box to the 
nose!" The sermon over, before the benediction -was 
pronounced, a rush was made simultaneously, and ere 
the preacher could descend from the pulpit, the chapel 
was deserted ! Such is a glance at Mr. Spurgeon's day- 
spent at Aberfeldy, and of a Highland congregation. 

Returning home from the north, Mr. Spurgeon 
preached at Bradford, in St. George's Hall. On Sun- 
day the 13th July, he had addressed multitudes in Glas- 
gow ; on the 22d the locality is changed, and so is the 
scene. The Scotch character is but little susceptible of 
those emotions which, in a more southerly temperature, 
spread from mind to mind, enkiadling warmth as they 
spread. The largest edifice in that populous town was 
engaged for the use of Mr. Spurgeon. Admission was 
by ticket, and days before the services the tickets were 
selling at a premium. On the Sunday morning, hours 
before the service, all the roads leading to the town 
were thronged with eager pilgrims, journeying to hear 
this evangelist from the south. One of the thousands 
who were unable to gain admission into that vast haU 
has described to us his astonishment at seeing such mul- 
titudes, old and young, rich and poor, the merchant and 
the weaver, all gathering to one spot to hear the gospel. 
The whole town was in commotion. The morning ser- 
mon was preached from the address of Pilate to the 
Jews, " Behold the Man 1" In the evening the scene 
was one which defies description. Although 5000 per- 
sons were crowded into the hall both morning and even- 
ing, there were assembled in the evening outside the 


Lall, unable to gain admission, fully 5000 persons more. 
The sum of £150 was collected at tliese services on be- 
half of three of the Sunday-schools in Bradford. 

Immediately on his return from the north, we find 
the active mind of the New Park-street pastor anxiously 
and earnestly engaged in the work of ameliorating the 
condition of the poor around the chapel. In the district 
of St. Peter's, Southwark, in which Park-street is situ- 
ated, there are more than 3,000 children under 14 years 
of age. For these, there is Sabbath-school accommoda- 
tion for only 800, and day-schools for only 360. In 
order' partially to remedy this sad state of things, a 
number of gentlemen connected with New Park-street 
chapel were formed into a committee to establish a mis- 
sion hall, reading and school-rooms, under the direction 
of the Bev. C. H. Spurgeon. A trip to Eosherville, 
August the 7th, first brought this proposal prominently 
before the church and the public. Half the sum required 
for the work was realized by that trip. At a public 
meeting held on November 9th, following, the remainder 
of the sum of £250 was obtained to enable the commit- 
tee to establish the mission hall and schools. Premises 
were at once taken in Gruildford-street, on a lease for 
twenty-one years ; an active missionary was appointed 
to visit every family in the district ; and on the 29th of 
October, 1855, the new premises were opened by a 
prayer-meeting, after which 150 children were admitted 
into the day-school, 100 of whom had never before been 
in any school. The readiag-room, and the lectures given 
therein, have been a great blessing to many poor fam- 

"heaven and hell." 71 

ilies in tBe district. The first anniversary meeting was 
held in January, 1857, at which a very encouraging and 
satisfactory account was given of the working of the 
school during the year. 

About the end of the summer, 1855, a younger 
brother of Mr. Spurgeon's, the Eev. James A. Spurgeon, 
then about seventeen years of age, who is still a student 
in the Baptist College, Eegent's Park, commenced his 
pulpit ministrations in London with much acceptance. 
Owing to the unparalleled popularity of the elder brother 
at New Park-street, Mr. James Spurgeon has often had 
to supply the appointments made by his brother. He 
has met with a welcome in the churches where he has 
preached, which bespeaks for him a respectable place 
among the uprising divines of our own times. Two of 
the sermons preached by the Eev. James A. Spurgeon 
have been published, one of which has met with public 
favor, the second having been just published, entitled 
" Peter's Danger and Peter's Safety." 

Early in September, Mr. Spurgeon gathered around 
him in a field at Hackney, a concourse of about twelve 
thousand persons, to whom he delivered a sermon of 
extraordinary power and pathos, which was soon pub- 
lished, and entitled "Heaven and Hell."* So greatly 
was that vast multitude influenced for good by the ser- 
mon, that its publication was required, and it has had a 
sale of nearly ten thousand copies. 

In the autumn of 1855, we find the public papers of 
the west of England for several weeks fall of accounts 
* To be found in the Eirst Series, published by Sheldon, Blakeman & Co. 


of the immense gatherings of people, and the extraordi- 
nary sermons of Mr. Spurgeon, in the two great cities 
of the west, namely, Bath and Bristol. Early in the 
month of October, he had undergone the toils of a 
preaching tour in the east of England, starting from his 
old rendezvous, Waterheach, and passing through Cam- 
bridgeshire and Suffolk, preaching daily, and sometimes 
twice or thrice. On the 30th of October he preached 
at Ebenezer chapel, Bath, and in Castle Green chapel, 
Bristol. On the nest evening, the large Broadmead 
Eooms were taken by storm by an eager audience, and 
a thousand citizens stood outside in that wide thorough- 
fare, unable to enter, but determined to listen. On this 
occasion Mr. Spurgeon introduced the story of Jack the 
Huckster in his sermon, with an effect for good which 
will last for many days. On the morning of November 
1st, Arly chapel was crowded by citizens of the upper 
class. By this time tlae city was in a commotion with the 
preaching of the young Baptist minister from London. 
The last of the Bristol services was held in the chapel 
of good old sainted Winter, at Counterslip, on the 
next morning. Here high and low, rich and poor, were 
gathered together, and in that audience were two, at the 
least, professed unbelievers — infidels — upon whose minds 
the Holy Spirit of God wrought with such power, by 
means of that sermon, that they abandoned their false 
principles, and became converts to the truth of Chris- 

With the opening of the new year, we find Mr. Spur- 
geon entering on a new and changed condition. For 


several months previously, many strange statements had 
been in circulation respecting presents made by ladies 
to Mr. Spurgeon, which had no foundation in truth. 
The marriage of this popular minister had been a sub- 
ject of very frequent remark, and public opinion had 
selected many partners for the young pastor. But Mr. 
Spurgeon made his own choice, and was married on 
Tuesday, January 8th, 1856, to Miss Susannah, daughter 
of Mr. Kobert Thompson, of Falcon Square, London. 
This event was to the happy pair a religious service, 
and not, as is too often the case, looked upon merely as 
a civil contract. On that auspicious morning, New 
Park-street chapel was filled to excess, and some two 
thousand persons remained outside unable to gain ad- 
mission. Dr. Fletcher, of Finsbury chapel, commenced 
the service at eleven o'clock, by giving out the well- 
known hymn, "Salvation! the joyful sound!" The 
, doctor then read the one hundredth Psalm, and then 
offered up a solemn and affecting prayer. A short and 
appropriate address followed. The form of marriage 
used by Protestant Dissenters was then gone through, 
and after Dr. Fletcher had pronounced them man and 
wife, part of Ephesians v. was read, and the wedding 
hymn sung, commencing, "Since Jesus freely did ap- 
pear." Dr. Fletcher again implored a blessing on the 
happy pair, who, having left the chapel, the assembly 
separated. The bride and bridegroom were both at- 
tended by their parents. We have thus detailed an 
outline of a Christian marriage ; it may serve as a model 



■wortliy the imitation of many Cliristians, and particu- 
larly of Christian ministers. 

After a brief sojonrn on the continent, we find Mr. 
Spurgeon in a synagogue of the Jews ; remembering 
the example of the great Teacher who, before his ascen- 
sion, coHlmissioned his disciples to preach the gospel to 
every creature. He manifested his love to the Jews by 
adding to that commission " beginnings at Jerusalem." 
Christ loved the Jews, although they crucified him ; and 
Mr. Spurgeon, in his written account of the Jewish syn- 
agogue of Duke-street, after describing the service and 
his introduction to and conversation with Dr. AdlerJ- the 
chief rabbi, observes: "We must express oar intense 
love for the Jews, and earnestly hope that the church 
of Jesus will arouse itself to a more determined efiert 
for the conversion of this' ancient race." 

On. the 14th of March, Mr. Spurgeon preached to a 
. large audience in the Hanover Square Eooms, on behalf 
of the Exeter Buildings' Eagged School. This sermon 
has since been jsublished, under the title of " A Visit to 
Calvary," in the second series of sermons issued by 
Sheldon, Blakeman & Co. 

Early in April, Mr. Spurgeon delivered a lecture on 
the Study of Theology, before the Young Men's Chris- 
tian Association at Newington. The lecture abounded 
with various practical illustrations, and in it the lecturer 
stated, that his own method of breaking up hard texts 
of Scripture was, to consult first the best conmientaries 
at his command, and if they failed, 'Jie took his Bible- 
and oifered this prayer : " Lorcl I teach me what this 


means ;" and " it is marvelous," observes Mr, Spurgeon, 
" ho-w a Bard flinty_,text struck out sparks witli the steel 
of prayer." 

On Good Friday, in 1856 and iu 1857, Mr. Spiirgeon 
preached to very large audiences in Cambridge. Dur- 
ing the same month, April, again he made a preaching 
tour to the west of England, extending to Brighton, and 
over part of the eastern counties. At Trowbridge, the 
multitude was so great at the evening congregation, that 
in consideration of the large 'number who were unable 
either to see or hear -the preacher, Mr. Spurgeon, after a 
little refreshment, preached a'gain to the disappointed 
• people at ten o'clock at night. 

About the same, period, a momentous controversy 
was pervading every religious community in England, 
arising out of a few pages of rhyming nonsense, pub- 
lished by the Rev. T. T. Lynch. The point in dispute 
was "Neology," or Rationalism from Germany. In 
May, Mr. Spurgeon published " Mine Opinion" on this 
volume, and a more withering exposure of dangerous 
theology and bad poetry we do not remember to have 
met with. 

During the month of June, we find Mr. Spurgeon 
preaching one day in Exeter Hall ; on another, to a 
multitude who had to adjourn from a chapel into an 
orchard ; the day following, to a mixed multitude in a 
large barn. Next, he is surrounded by an immense as- 
sembly in the Bunyan Meeting at Bedford ; then at 
the Beaumont Institution, Mile End, and he closes the 
month's journey ings by a week's sojourn and preaching 

76 REV. 0. H. SPURGEON. 

at Bristol and Clifton, preacWng usually twelve sermons 

We find him in July, 1856, attracting immense mul- 
titudes to his ministry in various parts of Scotland ; he 
next takes the sedate city of Oxford by surprise, of 
which visit the Oxford Chronicle says : " Few of the im- 
mense audience who were privileged to listen to his pul- 
pit ministrations here but were astonished and dehghted 
at the wonderful power and ability with which Mr. 
Spurgeon is so highly gifted." 

Mr. Spurgeon commenced the month of September 
by preaching in Dr. Fletcher's chapel, Finsbury ; on the 
following day, in St. Martin's Hall, Long Acre, he 
preached a very remarkable sermon, entitled " Seest 
thou this woman?" on behalf of the London Female 
Dormitory. On the 16th he preached two sermons in 
Luton, and a local journal, in recording this visit, in- 
forms its readers that these special services of Mr. Spur- 
geon are purely gratuitous, as he never charges more, 
and sometimes less, than his traveling expenses. This 
statement we not only can confirm, but can add, that 
during the past year, Mr. Spurgeon has himself stated 
that he sustained a loss of £25 by these preaching tours, 
for when he preached for his poorer brother pastors, he 
usually declined to receive any contribution whatsoever 
toward his personal outlay. 

At the end of the month of September, a great meet- 
ing was held in New Park-street chapel to adopt meas- 
ures for the erection of a large tabernacle. After 
describing the utter inadequacy of the chapel to accom- 


modate the tliousands who assembled every week to 
hear the minister, Mr. Spurgeon observed, that "he 
came to the determination to become an itinerant evan- 
gelist, if a place were not erected of a size more com- 
mensurate with the extraordinary congregations who 
flocked to hear him. He confessed that it- gave him 
great pain to see people who had come long distances 
having to stand during the whole of the services, while 
large numbers could not enter the building, yet remained 
to hear stray sentences, and crowds went away without 
being able to get even within hearing." Mr. Spurgeon 
farther observed, that " they had an accession of 500 
communicants in little more than two years, who had 
given credible testimony of having been the subjects of 
conversion." Mr. Deacon Moore confirmed the remarks 
of their pastor, and added, that " from thirty to forty 
communicants were added to their church every month, 
tiU they now, as a church, numbered nearly 900 mem- 
bers." It was finally determined that no steps be taken 
toward the erection, or the selection of a site, until the 
expiration of twelve months, during which period the 
friends are to exert their energies in obtaining contribu- 
tions. It is expected that $60,000 will be required, and 
it is proposed that the new tabernacle shall accommo- 
date five thousand persons. 

Owing to the multitude of people who flocked every 
Sunday to hear Mr. Spurgeon in Exeter Hall, which 
was always filled to overflowing, it became necessary 
to find another capacious edifice when Exeter Hall was 
no longer available. The deacons of New Park-street 


. chapel next entered into an arrangement with the pro- 
prietors of the Eoyal Surrey Music Hall for the use of 
that building once at least on the Sunday, for which the 
sum of £60 was to be paid for four Sundays. The first 
service was commenced on Sunday evening, October 19, 
when some 14,000 persons assembled in the hall. From 
some cause, which is not satisfactorily accounted for to 
this day, an alarming excitement was created at one 
corner of the building, which soon spread throughout 
the vast audience, and in consequence several persons 
lost their lives and many were injured. After an in- 
Testigation by the coroner, which extended over several 
days, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death 
with regard to those who had lost their lives. No one 
suffered more from this sad event than the pastor him- 
self So heavy was the blow upon his nervous system, 
that had he not been at once removed into the country, 
it is very doubtful whether he would have been again 
in a condition to preach. Mr. Spurgeon had, during 
the whole of his previous life, enjoyed good health, but 
this event completely prostrated all the energies of a 
strong man. On Sunday morning, November 2d, 
though far from well, he again appeared in the midst 
of his beloved people at the Surrey Gardens, and was 
received with every manifestation of joy. 

November, last year, 1856, was one hundred years 
since George Whitefield opened the Tottenham Court 
Eoad Tabernacle. The centenary services were held in 
that mouth, and Mr. Spurgeon preached the third of the 
sermons, from the prayer of Habakkuk, " Lord, re- 


yiye thy work." It is computed that the building 
■would hold 4000 persons; but a much larger number 
were packed within its walls on that occasion. Such a 
crowd probably has not been seen in the building dur- 
ing the present century. Since the services we have 
just noticed, an unfortunate fire has left this fine and 
memorable edifice a heap of blackened ruins ; nothing 
but the external walls are now remaining. 

Thfi desire to hear Mr. Spurgeon at the Music Hall 
during the present year, 185T, has been on the constant 
increase. Nor is the excitement confined to the lower, 
or middle, classes of society. One of the earliest men 
of mark who attended to hear Mr. Spurgeon, was the 
Lord Chief Justice of England, Lord Campbell, who 
met there on that occasion, Sir Eichard Mayne, chief 
Commissioner of Police, to whom his lordship remarked, 
after the service, "He is doing great good, sir, great 
good." The Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, Lord John and 
Lady Eussell, Lord Alfred Paget, Lord Panmure, the 
Earl of Shaftesbury, Earl Grey, the Bishop of London, 
Sir James Graham, the Duchess of Sutherland, the. Earl 
of Carlisle, the Earl of Elgin, Baron Bramwell, Miss 
Florence Nightingale, Dr. Livingston, Lady Lionel 
Rothschild, and many other distinguished persons have 
since formed part of Mr. Spurgeon 's audience. What is 
it attracts all these persons firom time to time to hear 
the youthful divine ? There is a cause — who will de- 
clare it ? 

Early in the present year, 1857, there appeared the 
second volume of the New Park-street Pulpit, containing 

80 REV. 0. H. SPURGEON. 

fifty-three sermons, preached and revised by the Eev. 0. 
H. Spurgeon. This volume contains the principal ser- 
mons preached by Mr. Spurgeon during the year 1856, 
and the most of these are contained in the second series 
published by Sheldon, Blakeman & Co. Not the least 
■useful and remarkable of the sermons in that volume is 
the last one, entitled, " Turn or Burn 1" and with those 
solemn and impressive words the volume is closed. It 
would be invidious to particularize any of those ser- 
mons, but some of them have been made specially use- 
fal in arresting sinners, and in stopping them in their 
career of wickedness. 

A penny sermon of Mr. Spurgeon's was made instru- 
mental in the hands of God, in stopping an infidel of 
some renown in Norwich, in his career of unbelief and 
sin ; and so deeply was the man's mind impressed with 
the truth of divine revelation, by reading tha,t sermon, 
that he took all his infidel publications and publicly 
burned them in the cattle-market in that city. So fierce 
has been the persecution which the secularists of Nor- 
wich and Norfolk have poured on the head of this va- 
liant champion of truth, that he has been obliged to 
remove to another town, to secure to himself and family 
the peace of a home where Christ reigns. Only a few 
weeks ago, while on our way from the country on Sab- 
bath morning to the Music Hall, Mr. Spurgeon was the 
subject of conversation in the railway, when a gentle- 
man observed, "For seventeen years I have been an 
infidel; but hearing that young man preach a few 
times, my unbelief has fled, and I have now no greater 


deliglit than in attending on the ministry of the young 
man who has been the means, in the hands of God, of 
totally altering my religious views, my habits, and man- 
ner of life." Besides a numerous class of persons who 
have voluntarily supplied information of the benefit they 
have personally derived from reading these sermons, 
there are others who, in secluded places, far removed 
from church or chapel, having become acquainted with 
these sermons, now obtain a regular weekly supply, and 
on the Sabbath, the inmates of two or three cottages 
assemble and read them as they appear. Not a few 
farmers have supplied themselves with a volume, and 
on every Sabbath evening the servants unite with the 
family in domestic worship, and a sermon of Mr. Spur- 
geon's always closes the service. Quite recently, a 
gentleman in Sunderland obtained a few of Mr. Spur- 
geon's sermons, and on Sunday morning a large num- 
ber of working men assembled in a public room to hear 
one of the sermons read. The audience was so de- 
lighted, that a large supply was demanded, and the 
gentleman was requested to continue the service. Not 
only in these private assemblies is good being done by 
Mr. Spurgeon's published sermons, but in other places, 
more publicly, is the good work being carried on. Cler- 
gymen, and ministers of various denominations, send for 
large assortments of these disco\irses, and, not in a few 
cases, by inquiry, we have ascertained that Mr. Spur- 
geon's sermons are delivered to more than one public 
congregation, and often in consecrated edifices, on the 
Sabbath day. Who shall measure the amount of good 



•which is being thus done daily, in every part of the 
country, by these penny weekly sermons? 

One of the most widely circulated religious newspapers 
in England, and one conducted with great ability, says 
of this extraordinary man and his preaching : 

" Mr. Spurgeon is unquestionably a phenomenon ; a 
star, a meteor, or at all events something strange and 
dazzling in the horizon of the ' religious world.' The 
old lights have gone down, and since Irving, and Hall, 
and Chalmers ' fell asleep,' there has been no preacher 
that has created a ' sensation' at all to be compared with 
the young preacher at New Park-street chapel. But do 
not let our readers imagine that they have found here 
a luminary of the same class with those we have just 
named. Whatever Mr. Spurgeon's merits may be — and 
he has some rare ones — they are of a very different order 
from those which distinguished the mighty preachers of 
the last generation. They were all men of gigantic rea- 
soning powers, of refined taste, of profound scholarship, 
and of vast theological learning. Of all these quali- 
ties, Mr. Spurgeon has little enough ; nor, to do him 
justice, does he pretend to any of them, except perhaps 
in some unlucky moments to the last. But it will prob- 
ably be agreed to by all competent judges, that neither 
Irving, nor Hall, nor even Chalmers, was so well fitted 
to carry the gospel to the poor and ignorant, as is this 
modern orator of the pulpit. Their writings will last 
for many generations, and will be as fresh to the latest 
as they are to-day ; Mr. Spurgeon's sermons will, per- 
haps, soon be forgotten for ever, but they go to the 


hearts of the multitude ; and as he has the good sense 
to know the direction in which his talent lies, he prom- 
ises to be incomparably useful in a class of society 
which preachers too often complain is utterly beyond 
their reach. 

"A lively imagination, sometimes rising to the region 
of poetry, but more frequently delighting in homely 
and familiar figures of speech ; a free colloquial man- 
ner of address, that goes directly to the understanding 
of the simplest ; and an enthusiastic ardor, that may 
prove catching to all his hearers, unless they are more 
than usually insensible, are the chief legitimate attrac- 
tions of Mr. Spurgeon's style ; and they are qualities so 
rare in their combination, and are in him so strongly 
developed, as to stamp him, in our judgment, with the 
decided impress of genius. We should suppose that it 
must be impossible to hear him without acquiring for 
him a sentiment of respect ; for if offended by his ex- 
travagances, as the thoughtful certainly will be, the 
oflfense is so immediately atoned for by some genuine 
outburst of feeling, that you remember that his extrav- 
agances are but the errors of a youth, and that the 
material on which these excrescences appear is that out 
of which apostles and martyrs have in every age been 
fashioned. You pardon his follies, for they are nothing 
else, for the sake of his unquestionable sincerity and 
impassioned zeal. You wish that it had been possible 
that a mind so gifted might have received more culture 
Defore it was called into its present dangerous posi- 
tion ; but finding it as it is, you accept it with gratitude, 


and pray God, the All-wise, to be its guide and pro- 

And an American newspaper of a denomination to 
which Mr. Spurgeon does not belong, bears the follow- 
ing noble testimony to the power and goodness joined 
in this remarkable preacher : 

" Effects prove a canse. "Where results are undenia- 
ble, reasons for such results must exist. When, then, 
we find men thronging in thousands, month after month, 
to hear the preaching of the plainest truths of the gos- 
pel by a young man of twenty-three, with nothing ex- 
ternal to himself to clothe him with popularity, we may 
rest assured that there is a cause for the fact. Having 
received from the publishers a volume of the sermons 
of Spurgeon, the London celebrity, we opened it, with 
a desire to search for a clew to his extraordinary popu- 
larity. This we did, not from mere curiosity, but in 
the belief that our ministry might find profit from 
the study of the sources of his power, wherever they 
might lie. 

" We are free to confess that we have been agreeably 
disappointed in these sermons. There is in them more 
to praise and less to condemn than we had been led to 
suppose by current reports and descriptions. They by 
no means so abound in frothy declamations, extravagan- 
cies, and coarse wit, as many may suppose ; nor can the 
popularity of the preacher be attributed to these sources 
of attraction for the populace. On the contrary, these 
sermons contain the evidences of a real power and effect- 
iveness in the highest sense. They are well worthy of 


the study of those who long for an increase of influence 
over the hearts of men. 

" His style is in many respects admirable. It is En- 
glish ; not Latin, not Greek, not French, but English— 
the language, not of Coleridge, nor of Johnson, but of 
the Bible and of Bunyan — not of the metaphysician and 
theologian, but of the farmer, the mechanic, and the la- 
boring man — in short, the langniage of common life, the 
language understood, spoken and appreciated by nine 
tenths of the people. Here is one of his strong points. 
We have in these days too much preaching for the par- 
lor, and too little for the kitchen. Our pastors speak 
rather to the most than to the least learned in their 
flock. Spurgeon speaks to the common people in their 
own tongue, and the common people hear him gladly. 
Yet he is not vulgar as to style — every page shows that 
the Bible and the Hymn-book are the two fountains 
from which he draws his greatest store of literary 
wealth, and we -know of no two sources so valuable ; 
the Scripture-text and the verse of sacred song always 
command attention. These Spurgeon constantly uses. 
He evidently has them at his tongue's end. 

" His mental characteristics stand out boldly. Imag- 
ination lively and uncultivated, at times defective, native 
mother-wit frequently more than verging on coarseness 
or profanity, fine descriptive powers, with intense earn- 
estness. Take the first sermon in the series, ' God our 
glorious Habitation.' Commencing in simple style, he 
leads you to the wilderness, to stand with Moses on the 
rock, or points you with lively imagination to the peo- 


pie passing through the arid wastes of the desert ; his 
wit keeps you awake ; his descriptions and illustrations 
preserve a lively state of attention ; his hymns and 
scriptural quotations touch and improve ; and his earn- 
estness drives home the whole with the power of a great 
reality upon the hearer. 

" The pulpit, in refined communities, is in danger of 
being emasculated by a care for the proprieties, of being 
frozen by dignity, and petrified by conventionalism. 
Rowland Hill-like, Spurgeon dares to meet the people 
on their own level, and they, in return, flock to meet 
him. He does not befog them with ' objective' and 
'subjective' views of subjects, or put them to sleep 
with well-rounded periods, or weave fine-spun webs of 
philosophic net-work, in which to envelop a plain truth 
— but he gives them the truth as plainly as God has 
given it to him ; rough, at times, it is true, but we can 
excuse roughness in cannon-balls, and flaws in the sword 
that cleaves through helmet and mail. 

" Spurgeon is thoroughly in earnest. His theology is 
a positive one, a tough, old-fashioned Calvinism, and he 
seems to believe it and to feel it. He appears to have, 
what of all things is the most essential to a preacher, an 
individual religious experience. He feels strongly, and 
he speaks strongly, nor is he afraid to let the people 
know that he believes for himself what he commends to 
them. If we may judge of a man by his words, this 
young man communes with his Bible, and through it 
with God, and gets his power thence. We see no great 
evidence of the study of theology, but we do see evi- 


dence of the study of God's "Word — we see deep convic- 
tion of the reality of heaven and hell — we see a hearty, 
open, earnest utterance of this belief enforced by all the 
abilities which God has given him, and we do not won- 
der that Spurgeon is popiilar." 

Such is the testimony that pours in upon the publish- 
ers of these sermons from every quarter, in England and 
America. Wherever the English language is spoken 
they are read with instruction and joy, and fruit is 
borne to the glory and praise of God. 

One of the most eminent Presbyterian divines, him- 
self distinguished for the learning and grace with which 
he adorns the pulpit, has expressed the wish that there 
were a hundred Spurgeons in London and fifty in New 
York, at this moment. What a power, what a glory 
would such an army with the banners of salvation pro- 
duce! Who can estimate the effect that would be 
wrought if only a score of such men should stand in 
our halls and churches from Sabbath to Sabbath pro- 
claiming, with burning words, the everlasting gospel of 
Christ ! In saying this we make no reflection upon the 
able and excellent men whose ministry it pleases God 
so largely to bless at the present time. It is not in the 
order of his providence to raise up men like Spurgeon 
often. They come, " like angels' visits, few and far be- 
tween :" but when they do come, they are to be hailed 
as special messengers of mercy, to call sinners to re- 
pentance. Such a man was Whitefield, and God was 
honored in his labors, his life, and his death ; and there 
are hundreds now in heaven praising God for the gift 


of " that seraphic man," who turned many to righteous- 
ness, and now shines as a star in the firmament. Such 
a man was Summerfield, whose sun went down in the 
morning ; but he left behind him a memory, fragrant as 
the most precious ointment, in the church of Grod. 

Spurgeon is not a whit behind either of these men in 
graphic power, while he is vastly superior to them in 
logic and illustration. He grapples with the strongest 
truths, unfolds the profoundest doctrines, plies the 
lever with the stoutest arguments, and aims at con- 
vincing before he attempts to persuade. He has, there- 
fore, all the elements of great usefulness and of perma- 
nent popularity. 

The reception of his sermons in the United States of 
America, has no parallel in the history of this depart- 
ment of religious literature. "Without any of those aids 
to popularity that they have in England, where the 
voice of the young living preacher has been heard all 
over the land, and thousands will try to read the elo- 
quence that has thrilled their hearts. Here no one has 
heard his voice, but these printed pages have come with 
messages of salvation, and have been hailed with joyful 
emotion by thousands in all parts of this vast country. 
Up to this date forty-four thousand volumes have been 
sold, and it is less than a year since the first was pub- 
lished. Twenty-five thousand of these volumes have 
been sold within the last twelve weeks, and orders are 
flowing in for them so rapidly that a thousand copies 
per week will not supply the demand. This is the 
more remarkable as it occurs at a time when there is 


comparative! J little demand for books, and the trade is 
languishing. The publishers receive daily from the 
clergy of all evangelical denominations, the most valua- 
ble and hearty assurances that the sermons of Mr. Sj)ur- 
geon are just what they and their people need and love. 
Ohurcbes that are destitute of pastors have called for 
these sermons that they may be read from the vacant 
pulpit. And it may be safely said that 


in this western world have already been brought under 
the power of the truth as preached by this youthful 
herald of the cross. 

One of the most extraordinary facts remains to be 
mentioned : the secular press in the United States, with 
unexampled unanimity, has commended these sermons. 
Their boldness and directness, their glowing eloquence 
and great ability, command the respect and admiration 
of all cultivated men. 

From the various reviews in the Magazines and 
Quarterlies we take the following from the Christian 
Beview, as a fair analysis of Mr. Spurgeon's manner, 
style, and secret of the power with which his sermons 
are pervaded. 


It is a fact in the history of pulpit oratory, which 
ought no longer to be blinked, that the sermons which 
have most powerfully moved the common mind, have 


always been marked by certain peculiarities of matter, 
language, and illustration. Different from each other 
they are, in many. lesser points, but in the main features 
they all bear a general family resemblance, which dis- 
tinguishes them from the mass of discourses which are 
composed by learned and experienced pastors, and in- 
tended to edify the pious of their flocks, or to lead to 
the cross the unbelievers of their congregations. Before 
hearing Mr. Spurgeon we had come to some conclusions 
as to the general nature of his eloquence, apart from the 
special attraction of his delivery, his youth, and his per- 
sonal appearance — apart from the piety of the preacher, 
and the zeal, spirituality, and co-operation of his flock — 
apart, also, from the gracious co-working of the divine 
Spirit, whose all-powerful agency is, on no account to 
be ignored, in any fair estimate of the cause of ministe- 
rial success. Waiving for the present the statement of 
these conclusions, it is sufficient here to say that we were 
fully confirmed in them when we heard the young 
preacher on various occasions, and under circumstances 
that were likely to call out all his powers,, and display 
them in an advantageous light. 

As you stand among the crowd at his chapel, waiting 
to enter, you see a young man to whom all give way, as 
he lifts his hat, and bows along his path to the vestry. 
Many who stand in the outer edge of the throng, are 
glad to catch even a glimpse of the young preacher, as 
they have but a faint hope of gaining a place where 
they can hear him. They see so much good nature in 
his face, and so much civility and heartiness in his man- 


ners, that they are more eager than before to listen to 
the sound of his voice. They are sure that he does not 
think himself holier than other good people, or lifted by 
his honors above the poorest of London's poor. Upon 
taking your seat in a crowded pew, you observe none 
of that profound silence which usually reigns where a 
congregation of strangers are merely waiting to hear 
some great but unknown preacher. The kind and cor- 
dial deacons. in white cravats are very busy giving a 
place to this comer, and promising one to that, pres- 
ently. From the seat behind, you overhear two young 
converts talking anxiously in an undertone, about a 
young friend, for whose conversion they say they are 
praying, and they hope that Mr. Spurgeon may have a 
message for his poor soul to-night. Soon every voice is 
hushed, and all eyes are turned toward the pulpit. In 
walks a young man, with an air of perfect abstraction. 
His erect attitude, and his slow and careful step, suggest 
to you the idea of a hollow man of, glass, who could not 
be jostled in the least without spilling something, and 
which would be broken into a thousand pieces, were it 
by any accident to come in contact with the side of the 
pulpit. But the stateliness vanishes the moment he 
sommences talking about the hymn which he is going to 
read. He evidently would banish all formality, with- 
out loss of time, and fasten the attention of his audience 
Dn the holy work they have come to do. The hymn 
Deing read, the entire congregation join in the song, 
ivith hearty and honest spirit. It is no mere feeble 

" Quayering and semi-quavering care away." 


It is no plaintive air, sung by a choir, nor yet is it a 
solo, executed by some leader of an operatic troupe. It 
is a plain, old, bomely bymn, such as poor people carry 
about in their hearts and memories, repeat at the fireside, 
at the family altar, and while plying their tasks ; — such 
as the pious mother sings to her infant while rocking 
the cradle, and the plowboy sings to the gods of the 
winds, the birds and the brooks ;■ — such as the godly 
craftsman sings to the timing of his tools, and the patient 
porter hums to his heavy tread, as he trudges along the 
smoky lane. 

Then follow his readings and expositions of the Holy 
Word. His talent for exposition, which he regularly 
exercises, is truly extraordinary, and is no doubt en- 
riched by considerable study. Without being nicely 
critical, his remarks are discriminating, and at the same 
time pithy and practical. He excels in spiritualization, 
and in happy turns of devout thought, and sidewise 
views of familiar passages. His prayers are marked by 
fervor, simplicity, and brevity. He gives a loose rein 
to his imagination in his prayers even more than in his 
sermons ; and his utterances of adoration and praise are 
often truly sublime. His importunities and pleadings, 
especially for the aids of the Holy Spirit, are humble 
and earnest. 

Mr. Spurgeon is a little below the common stature, 
with a person that inclines to the thick and plump. The 
color of his eyes is black, that of his hair dark chestnut, 
and his complexion is bloodless ; his face is a medium 
between the circle and the square, and approaches either 


according to the point from whicli it is viewed. It is 
rather sleek and inexpressive, and as the lymphatic pre- 
vails in his temperament, it is in keeping with a spirit 
naturally cheerful and content. In his general figure, 
he does not promise to become a St. Bernard, tall, thin, 
dehcate and fleshless. His joints are by no means firmly 
set ; and he has a curious litheness of limb. One is at 
a loss to comprehend how the oily and the adipose could 
long keep the company of so firm, active and persever- 
ing a mind. His voice is fall, clear, and musical. It is 
not commonly raised above the conversational tone, and 
is never heard in vociferous bursts and fulminations. It 
is singularly adapted to the expression of the plaintive 
and the pathetic. He is not a rapid or fervent speaker, 
being never caught up and carried away with his sub- 
ject, but rather keeping that firm footing whereby he is 
able to catch up and carry away his audience. His ges- 
tures are few and natural. When animated with high 
thoughts, he looks aloft, and has the rapt and enthusias- 
tic air of Powers's new statue, H Pensoroso ; when his 
ideas are femihar, he stoops over the pulpit, rests on his 
elbow, and sometimes ungracefully places his breast on 
his open Bible. His general manner is serious, frank, 
and calm, yet tender and genial. He has more humor 
than wit, but httle of either has yet ever appeared in 
his sermons, and it may admit of a doubt whether either 
has much share in his mental composition. 

With such advantages of person and manner, he as- 
sociates higher qualities, which he possesses in common 
with most of the great preachers, who have been the 


favorites of the people. One of tlie most conspicuous 
of these qualities is boldness. This young preacher's 
boldness manifests itself in various ways. We can not 
concur with those who say that he is very impudent, 
though he may sometimes seem very impudent to 
those who do not consider that it is not optional with 
this lad whether he will only utter such truths as would 
adorn the modesty of a youth who has no higher call 
than that of talking in a parlor. He may also seem very 
impudent in the eyes of those pulpit orators of the 
metropolis whose audiences are thinned in numbers by 
his superior attractions, anc^ very impudent to those 
senior laymen to whose ears the force of the naked truth 
is too painful. And still it must be allowed that he has 
a moderate amount of impudence, which it is hoped 
that his growing graces will temper. 

His boldness oftener shows itself in manliness and 
even nobleness of thought. Of all preachers, save 
Paul, Chrysostom has ever seemed to us most excellent 
in this regard. But he reserves it mainly for great 
themes and gTeat occasions, whereas Spurgeon has a 
faculty of ennobling common and familiar subjects by 
taking high and extended views of them, or by having 
the courage to set a plain truth on a higher and more 
suitable pedestal that it was wont to occupy. He invests 
the work of saving souls from death with a godlike dig- 
nity ; he restores to their place of moral grandeur, the 
miracles of Christian experience, and, without permit- 
ting the unregenerate man to pride himself on the im- 
pulses of his humanity, he teaches the poorest saint to 


glory in tlie riches of present grace, and the hopes of 
heavenly glory. His boldness also assists him to main- 
tain his independence. Many young preachers are en- 
feebled by. officious advisers, or corrupted by persons 
of some consideration in the church, who imagine them- 
selves to be, and woulihave the young pastor believe 
they really are, the makers and destroyers of clerical 
reputations. Their counsel? are 'to be his law, their 
usages his precedents, and their example his guide. 
Not unfrequently some old man sets himself up as dic- 
tator, and as .the young man has not the hardihood to 
resist the authority of gTay hairs, he dutifully places 
his hand into that of his blind and trembling guide, not 
considering that according to Solomon "the hoary head 
is a crown of glory" only when it is " found in the way 
of righteousness^" and not considering that the young 
prophet who could resist the tempting offer of half a 
■kingdom was turned aside into the way of destruction 
by the advice of " the old prophet." There are those 
wlio think Mr. Spurgeon very audacious in adopting as 
his motto, Cedo nulli, " I yield to none." But it seems 
to us that he would have been really more audacious if 
he had made the multitude of his counselors, or any one 
of them, the keeper of his conscience and of his reason, 
the regulators of his zeal, and the taskmasters who should 
assign him his field and his work. Advice would not 
be given so freely as it is, if it were prepared at any 
great cost of thought, and if the adviser were made 
personally respwnsible-^for the results in time, and at the 
last judgment. 


Our preacher's boldness often takes the shape of 
frankness. Somebody has well defined eloquence to be 
simply speaking out — a definition that is especially ap- 
plicable to the higest eloquence of the pulpit. The gos- 
pel is an inward light whose very nature it is to shine 
whether through the lips or in the life. The man of 
God is, or ought to be, so filled with the Spirit of all 
grace, and so habitually swayed by the principles of the 
gospel, that he has nothing to fear from flinging forth 
all his uppermost thoughts, and giving voice to his 
most transient emotions. And this he may do without 
bolting out what his reason and conscience forewarn him 
not to say ; without uttering what is immodest, laugh- 
able, and coarse ; without that stick-at-nothing kind of 
impudence which regards neither person, time, nor 
place. Mr. Spurgeon often betrays a positiveness and 
even dogmatism, which his boldness assists to sustain. 
He knows that cool and connected reasoning would be 
lost upon most of those who go to hear him, and that it is 
worse than in vain to argue plain questions with cavilers 
and skeptics ; that as we correct the senses by reason, so 
we ought to correct reason by the heart ; that, if he can 
first convince the conscience and move the affections, then 
reason wiU not only do its of6.ce better than before, but 
will not, as it is often to be feared it will, continue turn- 
ing over the question and starting doubts about it, on 
purpose to keep the moral sense fast asleep. 

Another quality that pervades his discourses, is clear- 
ness, in the fullest sense of the word. When we con- 
sider that Mr. Spurgeon's themes conduct him down 


into the deepest mysteries of Christian experience, and 
aloft away into the clouds and darkness of the divine 
purposes and providence— that he stops not on the con- 
fines of this world, but penetrates far into the unlimited 
hght of heaven, and the smoke and glare of hell — when 
we consider these things, along with the fact that his 
mind is naturally of the poetic order, it is surprising 
that his ideas should be couched in language so lumin- 
ous and distinct, that the most ignorant and feeble- 
minded of his flock could find no difi&culty in compre- 
hending them. We must hazard the assertion that no 
preacher of any note, in our language, is so great a mas- 
ter of the quality in question, if we except John Bun- 
yan, who well understood its power as a means of moral 
aggTession. In the "Holy War" he mentions " Plain- 
.Truth Hill" as one of those mounds which were cast up 
outside the walls of Mansoul, and upon which were 
stationed slingers, to throw stones into the beleagured 
town. Most orators become verbose and obscure when 
they are seized with a grand or sublime thought, but 
this young preacher, in common with a few orators, 
such as Demosthenes, Chatham, and Eobert Hall, has 
the rare power of expressing grand and sublime ideas in 
language the most simple and unambitious. He makes 
it his boast, that, like Whitefield, he uses " market lan- 
guage," though in fact it is something quite superior to 
it. However, it is such plain and pure old English as 
brings him into full sympathy with the people, and en- 
ables him to exercise lordship over their hearts. 
This preacher has formed one habit of mind which 



affords him great assistance amid his crowded engage- 
ments This is a habit of assimilation. " I can't make 
out," said a minister to him, " when' you study. Brother 
Spurgeon. When do you make your sermons?" " !" 
he replied, " I am always studying — I am sucking in 
something from every thing ; — if you were to ask me 
home to dine with you, I should suck a sermon out of 
you I" Most active is the process by which his intellect 
converts the fruits of his reading and observation into 
its own nature and substance. Let it be a striking fact 
in science, a curious work of art, or some rural scene, a 
popular saying or a poetic quotation, or an anecdote, or 
an event in history, or some classic myth, or Rabbinic 
legend — ^it is sure to pass to its place in the depths of 
his memory, there to await the fires of his heart to melt 
it into the common mass of discourse, and project it upon 
his audience. When you examine some of his discourses 
critically, you are reminded of those masses of lava, into 
which precious stones and pieces of gold have been 
kneaded by the action of subterraneous fires. Most 
speakers and writers possess this faculty, but few ply it 
with such burning earnestness as to melt finer substances 
into the original matter so completely that it is well- 
nigh impossible to separate them. Let it not be sup- 
posed, however, that this habit of assimilation hangs as 
a clog upon his soaring genius, forbidding it to mount 
superior to all merely human sources of information. 
Those who judge these sermons by the rules laid down 
in our theological schools, may perhaps say that some 
of them are second-rate, but they can not say they are 

second-liand. We live at too late a day in the march of 
centuries for borrowed eloquence to make any great 
commotion, even in England, where it is most tolerated. 
When the real Jupiter thunders, he shakes the heavens 
and the earth, but when your mock Jupiter Salmoneus 
manufactures noise, he simply stuns my ears and shocks 
my nerves. While, therefore, his habit of assimilation 
does not diminish aught of his power to create, it is a 
source of that freshness and fruitfolness of thought for 
which his sermons are remarkable. He has revived that 
mode of treating religious subjects which was pursued 
by most of the old Puritan preachers. Like them he 
has not been ashamed to labor with a view to furnish 
the people with a variety of "things new and old." He 
has, at the same time, offered them something more de- 
licious than they were accustomed to receive, more deli- 
cious because new to them, though in reality it is older 
than that which they have generally regarded as the 
oldest. He has now supplied them with the " old corn 
of the land," after they had been fed forty years with 
the daily manna in the wilderness. The mass of modem 
church-goers are strangers to some of the better qualities 
of the old Puritan preachers and orators. They have 
seldom, if ever, tasted the sweetness, juiciness, and 
wholesomeness of Bunyan, Baxter, Flavel, Bishop Hall, 
Leighton, Gurnell, Thomas Brooks, Matthew Mead, and 
Thomas Watson. Serious, quaint, and pedantic as these 
writers sometimes are, they nevertheless abound in lus- 
cious clusters of heavenly thought, in beautiful lessons 
of experience, and in a generous unction and thorough 


practicalness 'whicli came of long and varied afflictions, 
leisurely study, and devout meditations, duly combined 
with, laborious activity in the care of poor and persecut- 
ed flocks. Mr. Spurgeon has deeply imbued his mind 
with, the spirit of these old writers, and, without copying 
the style, or quoting much of the matter of any of them, 
he has been led by the reading of them up to the sources 
of their inspiration in the oracles of God. He has thus 
pursued a course which will enable him to overtake, if 
not to go before them. 

The pathos, which is another cbaracteristic of Mr. 
Spurgeon's eloquence, is rather the result of his com- 
passion for human woe, his power of personification, 
and his skill in the delineation of scenes in the life of 
the poor, than of any melting sensibility that is natural 
to him. Often bringing tears into many an eye, he 
•hardly ever weeps himself Indeed, lie appears to be 
deficient in what the Romanists ascribe to some of their 
saints — "the gift of tears." His neighbor. Rev. Gordon 
Hall, who occupies the pulpit of Rowland Hill, has far 
more sensibility than he, but much less power to excite 
that of his congregation. So far from grief being neces- 
sary to excite grief in others, sheer dissimulation to woe 
may suffice : 

" False tears true pity move." 

Besfdes, there may be something in the subject itself, 
or in the occasion, or in the circumstances of the au- 
dience, to elicit a degree of feeling to which the speaker 
is a stranger. Our orator finds the true pathos in the 


scenes of common life, for they appeal to tLe sympathies 
of our common nature. The parable of the prodigal 
son touches all hearts, because all cherish affecting 
memories of father, brother, boyhood and home. And 
accordingly our preacher tells, perhaps, of a mother's 
love for a wayward son, or her tenderness to a sick 
daughter; of the poor father's daily toil to keep hia 
family from starving, or of some Magdalen's repentance 
and pardon. Perhaps he describes how some stout- 
hearted father was bowed down by overhearing his 
little daughter praying for him, or how some wandering 
son is brought to his knees by the reading of an old 
letter, discolored with the tears of his now sainted 
mother. He is fully aware that he can not come at the 
feehngs of some except by a circuitous path. In his 
account of a preaching tour in Scotland, he says : " I 
knew that you must often enter the heart by ridicule. 
Tender hearts may be entered by pathos, but hard 
hearts must be touched by something telling and singu- 
lar." These last must, in his opinion, be made to smile, 
before they will weep. We must, however, avow our- 
selves to be of the number of those who doubt the ne- 
cessity of raising a laugh before we can start a tear, and 
who doubt the genuineness of that pathos which is 
obliged to resort to such means of attaining its object ; 
for we know that the buffoon can make people weep 
through sheer excess of mirth. What are such tears 
worth ? The debauchee can weep in the morning fol- 
lowing the night of his revel, but axe his tears those of 
a contrite spirit ? 


But our preacher is sometimes compelled to go back 
still further, in order to find his way to the hearts of the 
dull and untutored multitude. He must first arrest, and 
then hold their attention — a difficulty of which those 
preachers who customarily address refined and educated 
congregations have little knowledge. In one of his ser- 
mons in Park-street chapel, Mr. Spurgeon said : 

" I am not very scrupulous about my manner of doing good. I 
told the people of Scotland, when they said I preached in such an 
extraordinary way that they really did not understand me, ' Why, 
bless your hearts I I would preach standing on my head, if I thought 
I could convert your souls, rather than preach on my feetl' " 

Whitefield, Berridge, Eowland Hill and Cecil, occa- 
sionally resorted to tact and ingenuity to recall the 
vagrant thoughts of their congregations. It is a fact 
not generally known to classical scholars, that Demos- 
thenes himself employed a little pleasant artifice to re- 
buke the inattention of the fickle Athenians. While he 
was one day speaking to them upon a state of political 
affairs, he observed that something had diverted them 
from what he was saying. Whereupon, he immediately 
broke off his argument, and told them that he had some- 
thing special to relate, if they would lend their atten- 
tion. The curiosity of all was awakened. " Two men," 
said he, "having bargained for an ass, were traveling 
from Athens to Megara on a very hot day. Both strove 
to walk in the shadow of the ass. One insisted that the 
other had hired the ass, and not his shadow, and the 
other maintained that he had hired the ass and his 


sbadow too." At this point Demosthenes began to re- 
tire from the assembly, but the Athenians besought 
him, with vehement cries, to return and finish the story, 
when the orator re-appeared and said, " 0, ye Athenians, 
wUl ye attend when I speak to you of a shadow and an 
ass, and will ye not attend when I speak of the great 
interests of the state ?" 

It must not escape our consideration, that these ser- 
mons are thoroughly Biblical in doctrine. No undue 
prominence is given to a favorite dogma, and no argu- 
mentation is employed in its defense or promotion. 
Ever bold in confessing himself a staunch Calvinist, he 
devotes but little time or space to the direct furtherance 
of any one point of his cherished faith. Taking the 
ground that Calvinism long ago fought and won the 
battle, he conceives it to be his duty to sit down among 
the trophies of the victory, and arrange the articles of a 
safe and abiding peace with all poor, weaponless sinners. 
" It is my firm behef," says he, " that what is commonly 
called Calvinism, is neither more nor less than the good 
old gospel of the Puritans, the Martyrs, the Apostles, 
and of our Lord Jesus Christ." The doctrines which 
have been of late most generally preached in England, 
are Arminianism and Eationalism ; and inasmuch as 
they had obtained great popularity, it has been justly 
thought to be the sign of a mighty reaction in religious 
opinion, to find a man obtaining great fame by a bold 
preaching of what are called the Doctrines of Grace. 
And we can not help believing, that Mr. Spurgeon owes 
much of his success in winning souls to the cross, by 


Ms open and uncompromising declaration of the doc- 
trines in question. Sir James Mackintosh has recorded 
an opinion on this subject, which is worth the most 
serious attention, coming, as it does, from a historian 
and a philosopher who stood aloof from every Christian 
persuasion, and, it is to be feared, from Christ himself. 
In his journal he says : " The revival of religious zeal 
is indeed common to all Christian communions ; and I 
found remarkable symptoms of it last year among the 
Jews in Holland. But I do not know how to explain 
what seems to be a pretty certain fact, that in propor- 
tion as it becomes ardent, it appjoaches more or less to 
a Calvinistic form."* To a mere philosopher, it might 
indeed seem strange, that a system which ascribes so 
much to the divine sovereignty and grace, and whose 
practical workings seem to him to be intended to waste 
the energies of the soul in the barren contemplation of 
what was in the Infinite mind before the world was, and. 
to paralyze all its moral powers, by leading it to brood 
over its own helplessness — that such a system should, in 
its actual operation, rouse it to the most strenuous en- 
deavors to obtain the free and unmerited gift of salva- 

Another ingredient of his excellence as a preacher, is 
the directness of his applications. Like Massillon and 
Baxter, he makes frequent use of the pronouns Ae, you, 
thee, and thou, and whenever you hear him, you feel that 
you are brought, not only in contact with the speaker, 
but with his subject as well. You feel that religion is 
* Life of James Mackintosh, vol. ii., p. 421 (Journal, Sept. 12th, 1825) 


not merely the great interest of mankind in general, 
but yonr own personal concern. His warm and fre- 
quent interrogatives, also, produce the same impression 
upon you. He is not careful to regard that cold rule of 
criticism which forbids their use, except for the purpose 
of clinching an argument or urging a conclusion. 

In nothing are modern sermons more deficient than 
in the length and closeness of the application. Mostly 
occupied with exposition, illustration, or discussion, 
they aiford httle space for " uses," and these are often 
vague and pointless. The Pharisees of eighteen centu- 
ries ago, or the Papists of distant Italy, would be warned 
and instructed very effectually were they present to hear, 
but unhappily they are not present, and the Phariseeism 
and Eomanism in the hearts and lives of those who are, 
could not be exposed without molesting much peaceable 
self-complacency and much comfortable good-will. A 
great number of passages might be quoted from the ser- 
mons of Mr. Spurgeon, to prove that he has rebuked 
the worst sins of a corrupt capital, and urged considera- 
tions for abandoning them at the foot of the cross with 
moving earnestness and pointed and straightforward 

The following passage will illustrate, in part, what we 
have just said with respect to his applications : 

" There was a feast once, such as, I think, scarcely ever was seen. 
Ten thousand lamps lit up the gorgeous halls ; the king sat on his 
throne ; and around him were his wives and concubines. They ate, 
they drank ; the bowls were filled to the brim, and merrily the hours 
danced on. Loud was the bacchanaUan shout, and loud the song. 



They Jrank deep, they drank curses to the Q-od of Jacob ; they took 
the sacred ivine-oup, and they poured in their unhallowed liquors ; 
they drank them down, and drank again, and the merry shout rang 
through th ; halls ; the viol and harp were there, and the music 
sounded. List I list! list I it is the last feast that Babel shall ever 
see. Even now the enenaies are at the gates. They come 1 they 
come I Belshazzar I read that writing there — ' Thou art weighed 
in the balance, and art found wanting.' Belshazzar 1 stay thy 
feasting ; see the shaft of God. Lo I the death-shaft ! It is whiz- 
zing in the air 1 it has pierced his heart I He falls I he falls ! and 
with him Babel falls I That feast was a feast of death. ' Better to 
go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting' such as 
that. I have read thy record, mistress of the house I I say, 
woman ! I have read thy record, and it is enough. I need not cross 
thy threshold ; I do not want to see thy magnificent temple ; I never 
wish to sit in thy splendid halls. It is enough I I am satisfied. 
Eather would I sleep nightly in my shroud, and sit on my coffin, 
and ha'^e my grave-stone in the wall of my study, and live in a vault 
forever, than I would enter that house of feasting. Good God ! may 
I be kept from sinful mirth ! may I be kept from the house of sinful 
feasting I may I never be tempted to cross that threshold I 1 then, 
young man, who art enchanted by its gayety, charmed by its music, 
stay ! stay ! for every plank in the floor is rotten, every stone that is 
there is dug from the quarries of hell ; and if thou enterest into that 
house, thou shalt find that her steps lead down to hell, and go down 
to the chambers of everlasting woe." 

It has often been remarked, that the sermons of 
Whitefield are destitute of striking remarks and gems 
of thought, and that they do not betray extensive read- 
ing, or afford much food for the understanding. A 
shrewd critic is of opinion, that though Mr. Spurgeon's 
sermons do not display such broad flashes of eloquence, 
and such gifts and graces of declamation, yet their efEi- 


ciency is of a higher and better grade, because they are 
addressed more to the twofold nature of man — the in- 
telligence not less than the feelings. Accordingly, his 
sermons abound in sayings, allusions, and metaphors 
which suggest thought and nourish meditation. Here 
are a few of them : 

Although my house is not so with God. — " It is necessary that 
you should have an ' although' in your lot, because if you had not, 
you know what you would do : you would build a very downy nest 
on the earth, and there you would he down in sleep. It was said 
by the old writers that the nightingale never sang so sweetly as 
when she sat among thorns, since, say they, the thorns prick her 
breast and remind her of her song. So God puts a thorn in your 
nest in order that you may sing. * * * Tour soul, without 
trouble, would be as a sea without tide or motion ; it would become 
foul and noxious. As Coleridge describes the sea after a wondrous 
cahn, so would the soul breed contagion and death." 

Ambition in the Churches. — " The next enemy to peace is ambi- 
tion. ' Diotrephes loveth to have the pre-eminence,' and that fellow 
hath spoiled many a happy church. A man does not want, perhaps, 
to be pre-eminent, but then he is afraid that another should be, and 
so he would have him put dovm. Thus brethren are finding fault ; 
they are afraid that such a one will go too fast, and that such an- 
other will go too fast. The best way is to try to go as fast as he 
does. It is no use finding fault because some have a httle pre-emi- 
nence. After all, what is the pre-eminence ? ■ It is the pre-eminence 
of one little animalcule over another. Look in a drop of water. 
One of these httle fellows is five times as big as another, but we 
never think of that. I dare say he is very large, and thinks ' I have 
the pre-eminence inside my drop.' So we live in the little drop of 
the world, not much bigger in God's esteem than a drop of the 
bucket ; and one of us seems a little larger than the other ; a worm 
a httle above his fellow- worms. But how big we get I and we 


want to get a little bigger, to get a little more prominent ; but what 
is the use of it? for when we get ever so big, we shall then be so 
small that an angel would not find us out if God did not tell him 
where we were. "Who ever heard up in heaven any thing about 
emperors and kings, small, tiny insects ? God can see the animal- 
cute, therefore he can see us ; but if he had not an eye to see the 
most minute, he would never discover us." 

Memory. — " ! my friends, is it not too sadly true that we can 
recollect any thing but Christ, and forget nothing so easily as him 
whom we ought to remember ? While memory will preserve a 
poisonous weed, it suifereth the Rose of Sharon to wither." 

Troubles are needful clogs to the soul. — " Some people call troubles 
weights. Verily they are so. But if trials be weights, I wiH tell 
you of a happy secret. There is such a thing as mailing a weight 
lift you. Give me pulleys and certain appliances, and I can make a 
weight lift me up. A gentleman once asked a friend concerning a 
beautiful horse of liis, feeding about in the pasture with a clog on 
his foot, ' Why do you clog such a noble animal ?' ' Sir,' said he, 
' I would a great deal sooner clog him than lose him ; he is given to 
leaping hedges.' That is why God clogs his people. They want a 
tether to prevent their straying, and then God binds them with af- 
flictions to keep them near him." 

The journey of life. — "What varied scenes the traveler wUl behold! 
Sometimes he will be on the mountains ; anon he will descend into 
the valleys; here he wiU be where the brooks shine hke silver, 
where the birds warble, where the air is balmy and the trees are 
green, and luscious fruits hang down to gratify his taste ; anon he 
will find himself in the arid desert, where no hfe is found, and no 
sound is heard except the screech of the wild eagle in the air, where 
he finds no rest for the sole of his foot — the burning sky above him 
and the hot sand beneath him — no roof, no tree, and no rock to 
shelter himself; at another time in a sweet oasis, resting himself by 
the springs of water, and plucking fruit from palm-trees. One mo- 
ment he walks between the rocks in some narrow gorge where all 
is darkness ; at another time he ascends the hill Mizar ; now he ds- 


soends into the valley of Baoa ; and he climbs the hill of Bashan, a 
high hill is the hill of Bashan ; and yet again going into a den of 
leopards, he suffers trial and afSictions : such is life — ever changing." 

Like Christmas Evans, our preacher occasioDally 
makes use of allegory, and gives life, complexioD, and 
action to some of the sermons by the employment of 
domestic personifications, but our space will not allow 
us to quote some beautiful passages of this description 
which we had marked. 

It is not possible by so few extracts to give any suf- 
ficient notion of Mr. Spurgeon's power as a preacher. 
And some of those who shall read all his sermons, from 
beginning to end, may be disappointed in not meeting 
with more of those nicer literary excellencies which 
they have been accustomed to admiire. Such should 
consider that as this young Timothy's, mission is to 
move multitudes of the ignorant and thoughtless, it is 
the part of wisdom in him to paint in that bold fi-esco 
which at once strikes all eyes and moves all hearts, 
rather than in that delicate miniature which might please 
the glassed eye of the connoisseur, but which could not 
be so much as seen by a great crowd of the common 
people. It is this very kind of preaching which is but 
foUy to the philosopher, and but blundering to the critic, 
that, after all, somehow converts philosophers, and brings 
even critics to repentance. -Let the reader further con- 
sider that much which renders any popular sermon ef- 
fectual, is not to be printed. The melodies of the voice, 
the language of the eye, the graces of gesture, and the 
enlivening presence of a vast congregation, can not be 


reduced to •writing. Once see and hear the man, and 
then you sit down and find meanings in his printed ser- 
mons which mere words can not exjjress. A nobleman 
that went to see the sword with which Scanderberg had 
performed his great exploits, remarked, with a disap- 
pointed air: "The sword is no great matter, after all." 
"True," said a by-stander, "but your lordship will 
please recollect that you see only the sword, and not the 
arm that wielded it." 

Mr. Spurgeon's style is simple, terse, easy, idiomatic, 
and picturesque. It is remarkably free from manner- 
isms, being natural, and therefore lively, flexible, and 
variable. At most times he talks right on, in a plain, 
prudent, common sense way, and yet he has a peculiar 
command of good, old-fashioned Enghsh. While he is 
by no means deficient in the knowledge of its most 
modern elements, he always wisely prefers to employ 
the Saxon. His sentences are rather laconic than peri- 
odic, and as he does not think in long, connected trains 
of argumentation, the successive sentences are separate 
dictates of the intellect, such as the generality can readily 
comprehend. There is in many of them a self-sufficient, 
head-strong fling, and a firm, stalking tramp, which 
mark the peculiar movements of his mind. Still he has 
nothing of the measured tread and slow evolutions of 
Milton and Jeremy Taylor, nor has he the circumlocu- 
tion of Chalmers, Edward Irving, and Henry Melville — 
those divines who declare the will of heaven while they 
are walking round in a circle. The gyromancies of 
these last would quite confound and bewilder many of 


Mr. Spurgeon's pkin and unlearned auditors. His method 
is simple and lucid, but he never allows it to hamper his 
imagination, or to curb his feelings. He oftener de- 
scends to the familiar and colloquial, than he ascends to 
the sublime and awful, for which he has a high, though 
not the highest capacity. 

With respect to his habits of composition, he assured 
us that not one word of his sermons is written before 
delivery, and that the only use he makes of his pen 
upon them is to correct the errors of the stenographer. 
His happy faculty of mere mental composition, and of 
remembering what he thus composes, saves him much 
time and drudgery. He can exercise it anywhere; but 
probably with more success in the pulpit, whUe he is 
giving utterance to what he has pre-arranged in his 
mind. Learning not to need manuscript out of the 
pulpit, is the best preparation for not needing it in the 
pulpit, and he who in his study can think well inde- 
pendently of it, will, in the pulpit, think better without 
it ; for the excitement occasioned by speaking what he 
has premeditated — if that excitement does not produce 
too deep feehng — will summon new thoughts to fill up 
the old ranks, and lead whole divisions of fresh recruits 
into the field. 

It would be sacrilegious to subject to severe criticism 
sermons which have been the channels of saving grace 
to so many sinners ; have received the imprimatur of 
heavei , and have been so eagerly heard and so exten- 
sively read by great numbers of every class of society, 
and of all Christian denominations. Even the vipers 

112 REV. 0. H. SPTXEGEON. 

of the London press, who have been accustomed to ren- 
der unto God and unto Cfesar nothing but black and 
unmingled venom, have forgotten their malice while 
listening to this young preacher, and witnessing, if not 
feeling, the blessed effects of the grace and truth of 
which he is the instrument. Nevertheless, we may 
speak of some of the faults of his preaching, if we do 
it without irreverence and without censoriousness. His 
sermons display an exuberance of fancy, and an inordi- 
nate love of poetic quotations, in the frequent introduc- 
tion of which, his good memory is by far too prompt and 
complaisant. These lines of poetry are often so woven 
into the prose as to pass for original matter with those 
who are not deeply read in the effusions of the muses, 
and more than one critic — and we are perhaps among the 
number — has admired as his own what he had borrowed, 
and carelessly thrown among his own. Then there are 
many fine little phrases and sentences of his own, which 
display more fancy than is compatible with the force 
and fervor of natural composition. Let him give us 
more imagination and less fancy ; the wild flowers of an 
uncultivated soil are always attractive where they are 
not too numerous. Corinna, the learned Theban lady, 
reproved Pindar, whom she had five times overcome in 
a trial of skill, for having scattered the flowers of Par- 
nassus too prodigally through all his works, remarking 
to him that men sow with the hand, and not with the 
sack. However, we may reasonably hope that the lapse 
of years and the maturity of the faculties will substitute 
ripe fruit for these natural blessings of youth. 


There is another fault still more boyish, but showing 
a far less certain sign of promise. We refer to the dis- 
mal punning in which he has more than once indulged. 
In his sermon, " Storming of the Battlements," he thus 
sorrily amuses himself : — "Says the man, ' I can make 
myself better.' — 0, blessed day when God directs his 
shot against that. I know I hugged that old idea a long 
while, with my ' cans,' ' cans,' ' cans ;' but I found my 
'cans' would hold no water, and suffered all I put in 
to run out." Hear another: "Ah I ye who have never 
been entranced by the precious sound contained in that 
word, Jesu ; ye who know not that Jesu means I-ES-U 
(' I ease you'), ye have lost the joy and comfort of your 
lives, and must live miserable and unhappy." We need 
not say that so heinous a pun is a great blot upon a ser- 
mon. It is hardly deserving of a place among the quib- 
bles of the Eabbins, the interpretations of the Cabalists, 
or the Eosicrucians. 

Mr. Spurgeon is wont to ezercise a censorship over 
his brethren in the ministry, which seems rather to 
offend than to improve them. Like some of our own 
evangelists, he helps to swell the ribald outcry of the 
profane against the ministry in general. Now, instead 
of holding up to public scorn solitary cases of clerical 
folly and dullness, impiety and unfaithfulness, and then 
by sweeping assertions, spreading that scorn over the 
entire ministry of England, and by implication telling 
his audiences that it is the fault of their pastors that 
they did not repent long ago — ought he not rather to 
show them that their condemnation is all the heavier 


because they have not heeded the minister whom they 
have been permitted to hear. " Pride, Covetousness, 
and Envy," says Luther, " are three dogs that should 
never be allowed to come into the pulpit." Mr. Spur- 
geon is not covetous, and he has no occasion to envy 
either the gifts or the graces of any preacher now living. 
It can only be pride that can prompt him to look down 
with contempt upon those whose talents and acquire- 
ments make them able and successful preachers and 
pastors for the few rather than for the many. Who 
was the instrument of Mr. Spurgeon's own conversion ? 
A man of his own talents — a man capable of causing 
such a general excitement and furor? Far from it. 
He was, according to his own account of him, " a tail, 
thin man, with a feeble voice," who preached "in a 
little place of worship." A man whom he had never 
seen from that day, and probably never will see till 
they meet in heaven. May not Mr. Spurgeon, without 
any neglect of his prophetic vocation, be a little more 
charitable to those ministers whom neither nature nor 
grace has qualified to follow in his own steps ? There 
are, no doubt, in London, many pastors under whose 
care not a few of the young converts in the New Park- 
street church might place themselves, with a better 
hope than they now have a right to entertain, of grow- 
ing up to be men and women in faith, in knowledge, 
and in charity. Shall this Paul who plants, tax with 
ineflicienoy ApoUos who waters, because he can not 
plant also ? "Why may not men of different gifts dis- 
cover in each other the same spirit, and their equal rela- 


tion to the work of contributing to the perfection of the 
saints ? Why should not the son of thunder give the 
right hand of fellowship to the son of consolation ? 
Why should not the evangelist cordially co-operate 
with the pastor, and the pastor with the evangelist, and 
aU with the missionary ? 

Qur young preacher has also added to the numher 
of his adversaries by denouncing the whole system of 
collegiate and theological education now in operation 
throughout the world. He recommends that those who 
are called to the ministry, be placed under the tuition 
of some pastor for the acquisition of all the knowledge 
and wisdom requisite for their work. We will not here 
dilate on a question which is already practically, and as 
we think, wisely, settled, at least in our land, and for 
the present generation of American pastors. 

The question has often been asked on both sides of 
the Atlantic — " What is the great secret of Mr. Spur- 
geon's popularity ?" It has seemed to us that all those 
who have publicly ventured an opinion on this point, 
have failed because they have hazarded a generalization 
from one or two darling facts. We rather incline to the 
view that we should take into the account not only all 
Mr. Spurgeon's peculiar talents and attractions, but es- 
pecially also the grace and providence of God. This is, 
if we mistake not, his own way of regarding his success. 
He confesses that he sees a thousand chances, as men 
would call them, all working together like wheels in a 
great machine, to fix him just where he is ; and he looks 
back to a hundred places where if one of those little 


wheels had run awry, he might have been occupying a 
very different position. 

We must confess, that for ourselves, the spectacle 
which is presented by Mr. Spurgeon's preaching to the 
poor of London, is more affecting than the hearing of 
the most pathetic strains of his eloquence. 

No wonder that it cheered the sad heart of John the 
Baptist, when in prison he was told that Christ was 
preaching glad tidings to the poor, and that it prepared 
him joyfully to lay down his neck for his fidelity to the 
souls of the rich. See what crowds of artisans are turning 
away from the halls of the political meetings, of the in- 
fidel lectures, and the minor theaters, to gather about Mr. 
Spurgeon's pulpit. See the weary laborers of Bankside 
going to hear him even on the nights of the week days. 
See twelve thousand of the working people of Bethnal 
Green, flocking around him in the open field at Hack- 
ney. Take a nearer view. Fix your eyes on individ- 
uals here and there. See the poor harlot, who was a 
few minutes ago passing the doors of the New Park- 
street chapel, determined to cast herself off Blackfriars 
Bridge. She thought she would step in and for the last 
time hear something that will prepare her to stand be- 
fore her Maker. She is just in time to hear the text, 
" Seest thou this woman?" The preacher speaks of 
Mary Magdalen, her sins, her washing the Saviour's 
feet with her tears, and wiping them with the hair of 
her head. There stands the woman, melted with the 
thoughts of her own past life, as she hears it described, 
and more melted with the description of the pardoning 


loTe of Jesus. Thus is she saved from death, temporal 
and eternal. Go and hear him, ye Thackerays, who 
satirize the lying, the lust, and the vanity of the English 
aristocracy, without offering any remedy therefor. — 
There is a man who is offering the remedy to the vices 
of some even of these. Go and hear him, ye Dickenses, 
whose stories of the shame, the loneliness, the misery, 
and the patience of London's poor, have dissolved many 
a fine lady in tears, without opening her hand to im- 
ploring woe. There is a man of liberal and loving 
soul, who actually shakes hands with all this dirt and 
rags, searches for the hearts that are buried benefith it, 
and holds them up to the light of the cross, where 
they fledge their wings and soar to the glories of heaven. 
Go and hear him, ye who are secretly glorying in the 
large donations ye have made for the benefit of the poor. 
There you will find a man who in body, soul, spirit, 
"and grace, is God's own donation to the poor, preaching 
to them the good old gospel of his grace, in good old 
English words, and, by the aid of his good Spirit, lead- 
ing them to the Good Shepherd, " God's unspeakable 

)utline of '^x. Sprgeatt's Cm^. 

Many strange rumors having been put into circulation respect- 
ing the doctrines preached by Mr. Spurgeon, before he had been 
in London a year, it was thought desirable to publish a new 
edition of that most estimable summary of doctrine, the Bap- 
tist Confession of Faith, as drawn up and signed by thirty-seven 
Baptist ministers, in the year 1689. This edition, revised by 
Mr. Spurgeon, who added to it a preface, was published in the 
autumn of 1855. The articles are thirty-two in number, of 
which the following is an outline, little more than the names of 
the successive articles being here given, the reader being referred 
to the work itself for further details. 

I. That the Jlohj Scripture is the only sufficient rule of 

II. That God is one, consisting of three subsistences — the 
Father, the Word, and Holy Spirit. 

III. That God hath decreed all things. That some men and 

angels are predestinated to eternal life ; and others 
being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation. 

IV. That God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, did create 

the world in six days. 
V. That God, in his providence, doth uphold, dire.ct, dispose, 
and govern all creatures and things. 


VI. That man was created upright ; that by sin he fell 

from original righteousness, and his sin is imputed 

to all mankind. 
VII. That God made a covenant of grace, offering life and 

salvation by that covenant through Jesus Christ. 
Vin. That the Lord Jesus is ordained the Mediator be 

tween God and man. 
IX. That God hath indued the will of man with natural 

liberty, and power of acting upon choice : that is, 


X. That those whom God hath predestinated unto life, 
he is pleased in his own time effectually to call by 
his Word and Spirit, out of a state of sin and death, 
to grace and salvation. Infants that die in infancy 
are saved by Christ, through the Spirit. 
XI. Those whom God calleth he justifieth, by pardoning 

their sins, and accepting them as righteous. 
XII. That aU those that are justified, God makes them 
partakers of the grace of adoption. 

XTTT. That those who are called, and regenerate, through 
the death of Christ, are also sanctified. 

XIV. That the faith whereby the elect are enabled to be- 
lieve for salvation, is the work of the Spirit of 
XV. That such of the elect as live in sin for many years, 
God in their effectual calling, giveth them repent- 
ance unto life and salvation. 

XVI. That good works are only such as God hath com- 
manded, such as are the fruits of a lively faith ; that 
our best works can not merit the pardon of sin. 

120 REV. C. H. SPtJEGEON. 

XVII. That those whom God hath called, and sanctified, can 
neither totally nor finally fall from grace, but shall 
persevere therein to the end. 
XVIII. That such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, may in 
this life be certainly assured that they are in a state 
of grace and salvation. 

XIX. That God gave to Adam a law of obedience ; that the 
moral law given on Sinai doth for ever bind all, as 
well justified persons as others to obedience thereof. 
XX. That the covenant of works being broken by sin, God 
was pleased to give the promise of Christ and sal- 
vation by him, which is revealed only in the Word 
of God. That Christ is revealed in the gospel, 
which revelation is sufficient to the saving of all 

XXI. That Christian liberty consists in freedom from the 
guilt of sin, and from the yoke and curse of the 
law. That God hath left the conscience free from 
the doctrines and commandments of men. 

XXII. That God is to be worshiped ; that religious worship 
is to be given to God the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Spirit, and to him alone. That religious wor- 
ship) is required of all ; and that the Sabbath be 
kept holy unto the Lord. 

XXIII. That a lawflil oath is a part of religious worship, and 

should be taken with holy fear and reverence ; that 
voius be made to God alone, and performed sacredly. 

XXIV. That the civil magistrate is set over the people to 

promote the glory of God and the public good, by 
maintaining justice and peace. That we should 
pray for kings and all that are in authority. 


XXV. That marriage is to be between one man and one 
woman ; that all people with sound judgment may 
marry, but within the degrees of affinity. 

XXVI. That the Church consists of the whole number of the 
elect throughout the world professing the faith of 
the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ ; the 
Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the Church ; that 
the Pope of Kome is anti-christ ; that church mem- 
bers are saints by calling ; that pastors and other 
gifted persons may preach ; that believers are bound 
to join particular churches. Provision is also made 
for offenses, difficulties, and differences. 

XXVn. That all saints united to Jesus Christ should have 
fellowship with him and with each other. 

XXVin. That baptism and the Lord's Supper are positive or- 
dinances to be continued to the end of time. 

XXTX - That baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, 
a sign of the believer's fellowship with Christ ; that 
those only are proper subjects for baptism who pro- 
fess repentance toward God and faith in our Lord 
Jesus Gtrist ; that immersion or dipping in water 
is necessary to the due administration of this or- 

XXX. That the Supper of the Lord is to be observed to the 
end of the world, as a remembrance of the sacrifice 
and death of Christ, and for the confirmation and 
spiritual nourishment of believers. That ignorant 
and ungodly persons may not partake of those holy 



XXXI. That the bodies of men after death return to dust, 
and their souls have an immortal subsistence ; the 
righteous are admitted into heaven, the wicked are 
cast into hell. .That all the dead shall he raised 
up with the self-same bodies at the last day, and 
shall be united to their souls for ever. 

XXXII. That at the last judgment, all the world shall be 
judged by Jesus Christ. That the day of judgment 
shall be unknown to men till it shall arrive, that 
all may bo constantly prepared for the coming of 
the Lord. 


After so mucTi has been said in tlie body of this 
work of the estimation in which Mr. Spurgeon's ser- 
mons are held by those who give tone to public senti- 
ment in the religious and literary world, it may appear 
superfluous to make further extracts from the number- 
less commentary notices of the press. Yet it is due to a 
man who has been most wantonly and unjustly assailed, 
not only by criticism, but by the grossest and most ex- 
aggerated misrepresentations, to present, in a condensed 
and comprehensive form, the testimonies of intelligent 
and impartial men. 


Sermons by the Rfiy. 0. H. Spdeqeon. New York : Sheldon, Blake- 
man & Co. 

A second series by the young preacher whose fame is so wide 
spread, and whose popularity in London is so great, that no house 
can be obtained adequate to the crowds which hang upon his min- 
istry. We have been reading the discourses to discover if in them 
lies the charm that attracts the multitude. We find them, so far as 
we have read, to be evangeUcal, in doctrine strongly Calvinistio, emi- 
nently scriptural in illustration and proof, and intensely glowing with 


the terrors of the law, which he presents with boldness, severity, and 
power. We scarcely ever meet with a word or phrase that is coarse, 
no attempt to excite a smOe, but we find a solemnity of thought, 
and a weight of feeUng that speak a soul deeply in earnest, and seek- 
ing the salvation of others. We do rejoice that the crowds who 
flock to hear must Usten to such preaching as this. It is adapted to 
make a deep impression on the sinner, and we should consider the 
preacher to be a prayerful man, feeling his dependence on divine 
aid, and looking to God to give the Holy Spirit to make the word 

After having said so much it is not worth while to add criticism. 
The preacher is a mere boy, twenty-two years of age, and if he has 
been puffed up with praise, and made somewhat egotistical, it is no 
wonder. We confess our surprise that he knows so much, and can 
speak with such fervid eloquence, and sustains such efforts as he 
makes ; and however he may be criticised, we can not but regard 
him as the most remarkable young preacher of the age. This vol- 
ume will add to his reputation in this country. 


There is no gift of Christ to his church for which she has more 
reason devoutly to thank her Lord and Head, than that of A man to 
preach the gospel. Not a mere automaton; a repeater of other 
men's thoughts, and a dissembler of their emotions ; a gUb reciter of 
formal creeds, or a mumbler of prescribed formulas of devotion ; pro- 
ducing an impression of extraordinary sanctity by solemn grimace 
and whining tones, but a true, living man — one who has thought for 
himself, and learned by hard experience ; who, out of the struggles 
of his own mind with doubt and despair, has at length come to be- 
heve ; and who, in the bitterness of remorse, has found peace and 
forgiveness by penitence and prayer ; and who thus is able to speak 
to other men from the fresh thoughts of his own mind, and the deep 
experience of his own tried, tempted, and suffering soul. Such a 


man — clear in thought and strong in faith, of bold spirit and eloquent 
voice — alone seems worthy to be the herald of rehgien, and fitted to 
assert its just supremacy in human affairs. 

Such preachers are not very common in our day. And yet we 
have had on both sides of the Atlantic some kingly examples — here 
Mason and GrifEn, and there Chalmers and Robert Hall and Edward 
Irving. The latter of these was long om- special study and admira- 
tion. It is many years since we read his Orations for the Oracles of 
G-od, and his Argument for Judgment to come, as he called his fiery 
discourses, dropping the very name of Sermon, as of itself sufficient 
to inspire drowsiness and slumber. At that time he seemed to ua 
the very type of manhood in the preacher — one of the old prophets 
come again — a John the Baptist preaching repentance to a sinful and 
adulterous generation. Here, says Carlyle, " was a man who strove 
to be a priest in an age ahen to the character.'' This erratic genius 
was caught and honized in London, as a wild Cameronian, fresh from 
the Grampian Hills, and men crowded to hear his impetuous elo- 
quence. The excitement of great popularity and immense labor did 
its work upon his body and brain, but it took the modern Babylon, 
with its roar and strife, its loud applause and bitter censures, ten 
years to kfll him. 

Such was the impression made by his extraordinary career, that 
when we visited London, almost the first spot to which we niade a 
pilgrimage was the chapel in which he preached. As we stood in 
his pulpit, we saw again the mighty audiences to which he once 
thundered, crowded with the rank and wealth and vrit of England ; 
with Brougham and Canning and Sir James Mackintosh hanging 
upon his lips; orators and generals and statesmen, all bowing before 
the eloquence of the preacher — hke English oaks rocking in the 
storm. At that moment we noticed that the pulpit was draped in 
black, and asking the cause, were told. It was for Dr. Chalmees. It 
was the first we had heard of his death. Thus at the same moment 
we were reminded of the loss of the two great preachers of Scot- 
land — ^perhaps the most effective pulpit orators of modern times. 


It is sad to think of such giants passing away, and we fear that 
their place can never be i311ed. Mournfully we repeat, 
" We ne'er shall look upon their like again." 

But when kings die, princes succeed to their thrones, who sometimes 
are found not unworthy to bear their fathers' sceptres. So it may 
be that G-od wiU raise up other men in Loudon and Edinburg, in 
England and America, to preach with the same power and success. 

Within a year or two our readers may have seen frequent notices 
of a ■young preacher who has appeared in London, and attracted 
great attention, causing a sensation hardly equaled since the days 
of Edward L-ving. From the first we have been suspicious of this 
new prodigy. Some passages, quoted from his sermons, seemed so 
full of egotism, and so wanting in taste, that we set him down as a 
mountebank in the pulpit; a compound of small talents with inordi- 
nate vanity ; with just enough of dramatic skill to make a London 
audience gape and stare, while the staple of his discourse was made 
up of low illustrations and tlureadbare anecdotes. We judged him 
therefore to be master of a httle stage effect, but wholly destitute of 
ahy thing which might be considered as remarkable either for intel- 
lect or eloquence. 

But a second volume of his sermons has lately appeared from the 
press of Messrs. Sheldon Blakeman, & Co. to which we have given more 
attention, and in which we are obhged to confess the unmistakable 
signs of power. In these we see few traces of that rhetorical clap- 
trap by which charlatans contrive to attract attention. There is httle 
of that high-flown rhetoric which makes the vulgar gape, and which 
sometimes passes for eloquence. Indeed the style is remarkable for 
simplicity.^ -The sentences are short, and the words are chiefly of 
the old, vigorous Saxon. The plain, homely phrases, often remind 
us of the pat and pithy expressions of John Bunyan, whom Spur- 
geon has evidently studied much, and seems to have taken as a 
model of style. WhUe he often treats of the doctrines of the Bible, 
he introduces no metaphysical distinctions, no theological refine- 
ments, he never reasons abstractly, but by analogy, by illustration, 


and by example. Thus all ia made plain to the humblest compre- 

His sennons abound in illustrations, which are always simple, and 
yet often very felicitous and beautiful. He is also full of anecdotes, 
and tells a story with great effect. The impression of these is height- 
ened by his remarkable dramatic talent, in which he resembles 
Grough, or Father Taylor, the sailor's preacher of Boston. Mingled 
with these vivid pictures are frequent quotations of spirit-stirring 
hymns, which quicken the blood hke the sound of a trumpet. When 
to these elements of power, we add a voice of such compass as to be 
heard distinctly by an assembly of ten thousand persons, we are at 
no loss to understand his great popularity. 

But his object is not merely entertainment. Overriding all is an 
earnest purpose to do good. Under these similes and illustrations is 
the plaiu gospel truth, earnestly appUed to the hearts and consciences 
of men. His sermons abound in direct appeals to the hearers. The 
preacher speaks, not to mankind in general, but to those right before 
him, to the tradesmen and working-people of London. As we read 
these fervid discourses, we can easily imagine their effect upon such 
an audience. None can doubt that the crowds that flock to hear this 
eloquent young preacher go away pricked in conscience, humbled in 
heart, and often reformed in hfe. 

"With this altered impression of the man, we rejoice in the raising 
up of such an earnest and faithful preacher of Christ, in the heart of 
England, and we are inclined to predict great good from his labors. 
It is too soon to say that he will be another Chalmers or Robert 
Hall. " He is yet in the morning of his career. He began to preach 
very young, and is still but twenty-three years old. Some are ready 
to " despise his youth,'' as if such a boy could not know any thing, or 
say any thing worth hstening to. But what if he be young ? So 
was Summerfield. Lamed, of New Orleans, died when he was but 
twenty-four, and yet he was at that moment perhaps the most elo- 
quent preacher in America. Thomas Spencer, of Liverpool, closed 
his career at twenty, but he feid already thrilled tens of thousands 
by his eloquence. Youth indeed is liable to great mistakes from 


ignorance and inexperience. But it has also great advantages in its 
robust vitality and natural fervor and enthusiasm. 

There is indeed danger that a young man, Hfted into sudden popu- 
larity, may be puffed up with conceit, and so be given up to suffer a 
humiliating fall. This young pulpit celebrity is certainly exposed to 
great danger. His best friends must pray that he be not spoiled by 
flattery. But if this be avoided, and his Mfe and health be spared — 
if the remorseless London pubhc do not kUl him, as they killed Ed- 
ward Irving — he may prove a great blessing to the church and to 

The following was contributed to tlie columns of the 
New York Observer by a distinguished pastor of a Pres- 
byterian church in New York, whose fame as a preacher 
and teacher of theology is world-wide : 

" The religious pubhc is much divided about Mr. Spurgeon, some 
saying, ' He is a good man,' and others, ' Nay, but he deceiveth the 
people ;' some extolling him as a new wonder of evangelical elo- 
quence, and others stigmatizing him as a ranter, a charlatan, and a 
pulpit merry-andrew. We avow ourselves to be among the number 
of those who bless Grod that our day has witnessed the rise of one 
so well fitted to startle and electrify the indolent and godless masses 
of the great modern Babylon into reUgious interest ; and we wish 
there were to-day a hundred such as he in London, and fifty such 
in New York. While we, more nice and dainty preachers, come 
weekly before our well-dressed and decorous assembUes with ser- 
mons compounded according to all the rules, and read with every 
observance of orthoepy, there are a hundred thousand poor people 
without, who do not come near us, and who would perhaps go to 
sleep if they did. If G-od intends the ' common people' to be roused 
into a great rehgious revolution, and the rapidly degenerating popu- 
lace of London and New York to be awakened, he wiU raise up 


Whiteflelds, Rowland Hills and Spurgeons. Just so preached 
Luther and Latimer ; the Kkenesses extending even to the odd and 
sometimes ludicrous expressions, which are not indeed to our taste, 
but which abound even more in the reported sermons of Whitefield, 
and which belong to the idiosyncrasy of the men. A greater fault 
is the frequent putting forward of his own personality ; but all of 
these are specks upon a fair and brilliant disk. 

Mr. Spurgeon preaches the truth of God ; let this be always borne 
in mind ; and he preaches it to ten thousand at a time. Is not this 
a fact to be rejoiced at ? We do not mean his tenet concerning 
baptism, nor his tenet concerning the second advent, neither of 
which is made prominent ; we will not underwrite any of his crotch- 
ets of opinion, or his particular expositions of Scripture ; but we 
recognize in his constant teachings the great evangeUcal and saving 
doctrines of the New Testament and the Westminster A.ssembly. 
Mr. Spurgeon shows in every sermon that he has been a dihgent 
reader, not only of the Bible, but of theology. To this he owes 
much of his force. The family terms of old Nonconformist divinity 
faU freely from his Ups, and he affectionately names their great au- 
thors. The outcry against him is sufiiciently accounted for, by his 
brandishing the terrors of the law, by his exalting the free grace of 
the gospel, and by his constant and unflinching avowal of Calvinism. 
Nothing which has yet been uttered against him in the way of vitu- 
peration equals the assaults upon Mr. Whitefield, both in England 
and America. No one needs to be informed how much is lost when 
we read the cold-written reports of imaginative and impassioned elo- 
quence. The sermons of Dean Kirwan and of Whitefield are strik- 
ing instances. Yet no one can peruse a single sermon of Mr. Spur- 
geon's without feeling himself to be within the grasp of a great 
undisciplined and daring genius, who, amid some foibles and num- 
berless violations of taste, wields the sword of a champion, and is all 
on fire with zeal for God. We heartily agree with our honored 
friend. Dr. Wayland, that the world and the church need such 
preachers ; and looking down-hill toward the close of our own 
work, with many regrets over wrong methods, we rejoice and hope 


at the sight of young men brought into the field with such energies 
and success. Even where the standard of homiletics is not ours, 
'Christ is preached, and we therein do rejoice, yea, and wUl re- 
joice.' " 


Sermons of the Eev. 0. H. Spurgeon, of London. Second Series. 

New York : Sheldon, Blakeman & Co. 

The portrait which is given in this book of the young preacher 
who draws such immense houses in London, represents him as a 
fuU-faced, fat, boyish-looking man, of twenty-two or twenty-three 
years old, and it is doubtless a correct Ukeness. Young as he is, his 
sermons are tremendous in their eiFect. Their faults are prominent 
and great — the faults of extreme youth and inexperience both in the 
world and in rhetoric — but their virtues are also very great. He is 
in the main what would be called an orthodox Calvinist in senti- 
ment, while his style of preaching is directed to the consciences and 
hearts of his hearers. We can readily imagine the eifect which some 
of these bold, daring appeals must have on the minds of hearers 
when hurled at them from the sacred desk. 

Much there is in Mr. Spurgeon's eloquence that is admirable ; 
much that is thriUing, overpowering ; but, at the same time, there is 
much that is startling. With the abstract doctrine contained in his 
sermon on election, we suppose no Calvinist of the straitest sect 
would find fault ; but the manner of the concluding appeal strikes us 
as the coolest piece of argument that has as yet been addressed by a 
clergyman to a sinner. This is an extract from it : 

"O sinner, come to the throne of electing mercy. Thou may est 
die where thou art. G-o to God; and, even supposing he should 
spurn thee, suppose his uplifted hand should drive thee away — a 
thing impossible — yet thou wilt not lose any thing ; thou wUt not 
be the more damned for that. Besides, supposing thou be damned, 
thou wouldst have the satisfaction at least of being able to lift up 


thine eyes in hell and say, ' God, I asked mercy of thee, and thou 
wouldst not grant it ; I sought it, but thou didst refuse it.' " 

The pecuMarity of Mr. Spurgeon's style is in his brief, strong sen- 
tences. His words are short, sharp, and telling. He never goes 
around a truth ; never wraps it up to administer it ; never attempts 
to touch his cannon off softly. If he hves twenty years he will re- 
pent of his present sins, and be a greater preacher. For the present, 
this book is the most readable collection of sermons, without excep- 
tion, that has ever found its way to our hands, and will repay the 
purchaser a hundred-fold. 


Great orators, whether pulpit, platform, or senatorial, make many 
fnends and many foes. This being inevitable, we are at no loss to 
account for the applause and contumely which have been profusely 
heaped upon the young minister, the Rev. 0. H. Spurgeon, whose 
appearance and labors in the metropolis have excited in all reUgious 
circles, and even beyond them, attention and surprise, and in some 
instances unbounded admiration. Scarcely more than a youth in 
years, comparatively untutored, and without a name, he enters the 
greatest city in the world, and almost simultaneously commands au- 
diences larger than have usually listened to her most favored preach- 
ers. Almost daily has he occupied pulpits in various parts of town 
atd country, and everywhere been greeted by overflowing congre- 

As might be expected, many who have listened to bing have gone 
away to speak iU of his name ; while others, and by far the greater 
number, have been instructed by his arguments, nielted by his "ap- 
peals, and stimulated by his earnestness. There have been seen 
among his hearers ministers of mark, of nearly every section of the 
Christian church ; laymen well known in all circles as the supporters 
of the benevolent and evangelical institutions of the day ; citizens of 


renown, from the chief magistrate down to the parish beadle ; and 
Holyoake, the editor of the infidel serial, The Reasoner, has, by his 
own confession, been among his hearers. That the man who causes 
such a furore must possess some power not commonly found in men 
of his profession, wiU only be doubted by his prejudiced detractors. 
Whether that power be physical, intellectual, or moral, or a happy 
blending of them all, is, perhaps, a question not yet ripe for de- 

It can not be disputed that Mr. Spurgeon is in various respects an 
extraordinary man. Never, since the days of George Whitefield 
and Edward Irvrng, has any minister of reUgion acquired so great a 
reputation as this Baptist preacher in so short a time. Here is a 
mere youth — a perfect striphng, only twenty-one years of age — in- 
comparably the most popular preacher of the day. There is no man 
in Great Britain who could draw such immense audiences ; and 
none who, in his happiest efforts, can so completely enthrall the 
attention and delight the minds of his hearers. While the enlarge- 
ment of his chapel in New Park-street was taking place, Mr. Spur- 
geon preached in Exeter HaU ; but this spacious building soon 
proved far too small to hold the crowds who thronged to hear the 
youthful Boanerges. It was no unusual sight on a Sunday evening 
to see placards put up outside the building announcing that the Hall 
was fioll, and that no more could be admitted. Since the enlarge- 
ment of his chapel, which is now capable of holding 1800 people, it 
has been found necessary for the police to be present at every ser- 
vice, and the pew-holders are admitted by ticket through a side- 
door. This accomphshed, at ten minutes prior to the commencement 
of the service the front doors are opened, and a rush commences ; 
but it is speedily over, for the chapel is fuU — not only the seats but 
every inch of standing-room being occupied, and the gates have to 
be closed, with an immense crowd of disappointed expectant hearers 

Although some of Mr. Spurgeon's vilifiers speak of irreverence 
and witticisms, your correspondent, when he listened to the youthfuh 
evangeUst, was especially impressed with the stillness and solemnity 


pervading the entire service. Some of Hs appeals to the conscience, 
some of his remonstrances vfith the careless, constituted specimens 
of a very high order of oratorical power. When pronouncing the 
doom of those who hve and die in a state of impenitence, he makes 
hundreds of liis congregation quaU and quake in their seats. He 
places their awful destiny in such vivid colors before their eyes, that 
they almost imagine they are already in the regions of darlmess and 
despair. In his preface to a volume of sermons just published, he 
tells us that such has been the impression produced by some of his 
sermons that he has ascertained upward of twenty cases of conver- 
sion as the result of one discourse, to say nothing of those instances 
of a saving change wrought on his hearers, which will be unknown 
until the world to come has made its important and unexpected rev- 

When this able and eloquent preacher iirst made his appearance 
in the horizon of the rehgious world, and dazzled the masses in Lon- 
don by his brUlianoy, many feared that he either might get intoxi- 
cated by the large draughts of popularity which he had daily to 
drink, or that he would not be able, owing to the want of variety, 
to sustain the reputation he had so suddenly acquired. Neither re- 
sult has happened. Whatever may be his defect, either as a man or 
as a preacher of the gospel, it is due to him to state that he has not 
been spoiled by popular applause. Constitutionally he has no small 
amount of self-esteem ; but so far from its growing with his daily 
extending fame, he appears to be more humble and more subdued 
than when he first burst on our astonished gaze. And with regard 
to the fear that his excellence as a preacher would not be sustained, 
the event has proved the groundlessness of such an apprehension. 
There is no falling off whatever. On the contrary, he is in not a few 
respects improving with the lapse of time. His striking originahty 
can be seen to greater advantage than at first. There is no same- 
ness in Ins sermons. The variety of his matter, not of course as re- 
gards his doctrines, but as relates to his expositions, illustrations, and 
applications of divine truth, is as great as ever. 

Mr. Spurgeon has been thought by' many to entertain and advance 


the crude views of the hyper-0a.hfiniat3. He may, at times, lay him- 
self open to such a charge ; but, we verily beUeve, he has in truth 
little sympathy with those of the class referred to : his offer of a free 
gospel, and appeals to the sinner being sufficient evidence in the 
matter with all who know any thing of the preachers of the Dr. 
Crisp school. It can not be doubted that he holds Calvinistic views 
of Christianity, and proclaims this doctrine strongly and boldly, thus 
presenting himself and his preaching as a conspicuous mark for con- 
troversial censure. But there is a courageous and transparent con- 
sistency characterizing the man and his mission that ought most 
assuredly to neutralize aU unfair and bitter criticism. 

It must be evident to all who have read Mr. Spurgeon's sermons 
that he is no superficial thinker. He has long been a diligent and 
earnest seeker after truth, and is theoretically and experimentally 
acquainted with much of the deep spirituality of divine truth. He 
must have studied profoundly Leighton's writings and Wesley's 
hymns ; for he has much of the experience of Wesley, and a high 
degree of the spirituality of Leighton. Some have said that WUliam 
Jay, of Bath, and Robert Hall, of Bristol, are the models on which 
he has sought to mold his style of address ; but he needs the logical 
acumen of the one, and the polished elegance of diction which char- 
acterized the other. He has, however, their better quahties of 
thorough devotion to the service of the gospel, and a power and 
pathos far transcending theirs. But he is too originally constituted 
to be an imitator, and is more hkely to found a style of his own, than 
to imitate that of another. True, he has much of Rowland Hill's 
quaintness of illustration, and not unfrequently provokes a smile by 
some startling expression or figure ; but the general seriousness and 
earnestness of his tone and manner forbid any feehng of levity ; and 
if occasionally his humor excites a passing smile, the depth of his 
pathos more frequently draws tears from the greater part of his 

During the year 1855, Mr. Spurgeon's Sunday morning sermon 
has been regularly pubhshed in the course of the succeeding week 
for one penny, or two cents, and some of them have reached as high 


a sale as 60,000 copies. These fifty-three sermons are now repub- 
lished in a neat volume, with a preface by Mr. Spurgeon, in which 
he states that he has documentary evidence that every sermon has 
received the seal of God's blessing, in having been employed as an 
instrument in the conversion of sinners to Christ. The volume is 
certain to have an immense sale ; and from its circulation in every 
corner of the world where the English language is read, there is 
every reason to hope and believe that it will be productive of great 

The London ministers generally have looked upon Mr. Spurgeon 
with coolness, and in some instances with dislike. Some noble ex- 
ceptions there have been; such as the Eev. James Sherman, of 
Blackheath, and Dr. A. Fletcher, of Knsbury chapel. And even the 
Baptist Missionary Society so far yielded to the popular feeling in 
favor of Mr. Spurgeon, as to solicit him to preach one of the anni- 
versary sermons for their Society this year. The religious press, too, 
has fearlessly stood by Mr. Spurgeon against his calumniators. The 
London Patriot, Banner, and Christian Neivs, have commended this 
second Whitefield. May the Head of the church continue to hold 
this youthful Timothy as a star in his right hand, and through his 
instrumentahty bring many souls to bow to the sceptre of his love 1 


ENSLiiTD, March liih, 18S6. 


There used to be such a thing as " a call " to preach. Men that 
heard it obeyed, and "left their nets.'' Now, sometimes at least, 
they go iviihoui hearing, and to get nets — ^with fish in them. 

A "call" is supposed to imply three things: disposition, abihty, 
and opj'Ortunity; that is, a door must be opened, and somebody 
waiting, who is able and willing to go in at it. "What work those 
people make — and they are not few — who have two thirds of a call 
to preach, needs no description at our hand. 


To know how to tdl what we know, is the rarest knowledge in 
the world, and yet, it is to truth, precisely what the range is to the 
powder — -just the only thing that can render it effective. 

We have heard men preach who were very much in the predica- 
ment of soldiers that blow up their own magazines without so much 
as singeing an enemy's eyebrow ; magnificent fireworks, but no 

Of all intellectual cutlery, a sermon should be the keenest. It 
should not tear and mutilate ; we have no fancy for a real war- 
sword, and are not afraid of a hoe, but if the choice were left us with 
which implement our quietus should be made, we should give a ver- 
dict for the sword without leaving the court. In fact a sermon 
should have the sort of edge and sweep to it that is supposed to be- 
long to that good " Toledo" whose victims did not know they were 
being decapitated until their heads were gone entirely, whereupon 
they were in a worse condition than Briareus — but one pair of hands, 
and no head at all. 

The beast of Balaam waited for the touch of the miraculous hand 
before he attempted to say any thing, but this age of ours is faster 
than they were in Balaam's time, and the day of miracles has passed. 

The world generally, we beheve, are disposed to look leniently 
upon the sermon as a hterary production, provided the author be 
honest and earnest and loving ; if the world were less forgiving, we 
might have fewer sermons, but there would be a great deal more of 
them. To take a theme from the sacred page, as familiar to the 
mass of men in civilized communities as the household word " home," 
and so present it as to arrest the attention and interest the heart, is 
about as difficult as the capture of Gibraltar, and yet a thing attempted 
every week by multitudes of men, who begin to talk themselves into 
thought, and end by talking their theme into nothing, and their 
hearers into a drowse. 

If one theme more than another deserves the choicest of illustra- 
tion, the most sinewy of argument, and the most persuasive of ap- 
peal, that theme is Heaven and the hopes that hang on it, like dews 
upon the morning. 


There seema to us, even at this far remove of the editorial chair, 
no office so grand as that he fills who stands, in the old but unworn 
stereotype of Sabbath phrase, " between two worlds," wherein, in 
the words of Napier, d*reU those we love, and those we have loved ; 
nothing so beautiful as the robing of a truth that contains no element 
of human frailty ; but unsulhed by the breath of passion, unsoiled by 
the fingers of mortality, is held aloft to the gaze of the great congre- 
gation, pure as the Southern Cross that bends in holy sign over the 
humblest sailor upon the sea. 

How beautiiul we have thought — ay, how beautiful we have seen — 
such a hfe may be, flying hke a white dove with music in its wing, 
'twixt earth and heaven. 

The time has gone by when we fancied " the minister " could 
never die; that even the hghtning would respect his person, and 
flicker harmless around his head ; that sweet faith of childhood has 
fled, for we have seen him laid to rest, and remembered, as they left 
him, how " He giveth his beloved sleep.'' 

Nature found out the secret of his grave long ago, and claimed his 
dust for the uses of the budding spring, but the blamelessness of his 
life, the warmth of his heart, and the singleness of his purpose, com- 
posed the subUmest of sermons. No error of the uttered word, no 
faltering of the feeble voice, no lack of arrangement there, and so, 
though dead, he speaketh yet. 

The style of men who were more eloquent in their works than 
they were in their words, is an old style, and fashions are changeful 
as the moon; the men who never forget their mission, nor put off 
their calling with their Sabbath-day attire, are becoming fewer, and 
we are constrained to believe that those who remain rather belong 
to a past age than to the present 

Truth walks a good deal, now-a-days, upon carpets in listed sUp- 
pers ; trenchant blades are wielded, but they are safe housed in the 
scabbards. Nobody is harmed a hair, and over and over, is Sancho 
Panza's beatitude repeated: "Blessed is the man who invented 
sleep ;'' and there are numbers to claim it, and of course numbers to 
be blest ; and so, blessed be poppies I 


But besides these makers of the Sunday siesta, there are those who 
are not content to stand with the great Apostle to the Gentiles, upon 
Mars Hill, but they must needs take up their abode on Sinai, and 
their tables of the law are all stone, and clouds and darkness are 
their chief dehght. 

Abou Ben Adhem is a heathenish name, but we wish every pulpit 
in the land had a Ben Adhem in it. " May his tribe increase I" 
Abou Ben Adhem, who 

"Awoke, one night, from a deep dream of peace. 
And saw, within the moonlight of his room, 
Making it rich, and-like a hly in bloom, 
An angel writing in a hook of gold. 
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem hola, 
And to the presence in the room he said ; 
' What writest thou ?' The vision raised its head, 
And, with a look made all sweet accord, 
Answered — ' The name of those who love the Lord.' 
* And is mine one?' said Abou. 'Nay, not so,' 
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, 
But cheerily still, and said — ■' I pray thee then, 
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.' 
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night 
It came again with a great wakening light. 
And showed the names of those whom love of God had blessed. 
And, lo 1 Ben Adhem's name led all the rest I" 

Precious Uttle as we know about preaching, such were the 
thoughts that we have been betrayed into expressing by the 



Of this young man, who, like an unannounced comet, scintillated 
into the clerical sphere, the majority of our readers know something. 
Fervid in style, vivid in illustration, earnest in appeal, versed in bib- 
heal lore, his youth increased the wonder, he was at once rechris- 
tened a " Whitefield,' and multitudes thronged to hsten and applaud; 
and thus was inaugurated what, for want of a better term, we may 

APPENDIX. ■ 139 

call " a star engagement " in winning souls. We do not like the dis- 
play that attends his ministrations ; we do not see why the language 
should be beggared of its best adjectives to do him homage. If God 
has given him- more talents than his neighbor, and he is employing 
them for God and the truth's sake, he is entitled to be numbered 
with that old man whose whole life was a sermon, and the place of 
whose grave is quite forgotten. 

Mr. Spurgeon is an orator of wonderful power, as he must be 
whose syllables rise articulate above the Babel of London. We have 
here twenty-seven discourses, differing in thought and theme, mani- 
festing varied degrees of power, but all exhibiting the peculiar direct- 
ness and earnestness of the man. 

The Harvest Time is his theme, and he calls flowers " the thoughts 
of God soUdified," and the seasons " the four evangelists '' of the 
earthly temple. He talks of Songs in the Night, and tells us " any 
fool can sing in the day. It is easy enough for an JEolian harp to 
whisper music when the winds blow ; the difficulty is for music to 
come when no- wind bloweth. It is easy to sing when we can read 
the notes by dayhght ; but the skillful singer is he who can sing when 
there is not a ray of light to read by — who sings from his heart, and 
not from a book that he can see." 

But we have no space for the several passages we had marked for 
pubUcation, and must refer the reader to the volume itself, assuring 
him that, while he wiU find somewhat to condemn, he will be re- 
warded with much of original and beautifiil thought, set forth with 
an earnestness that leaves the magnetic power of their author no 
mystery. Marred, as these discourses are, with forms of expression 
that the disciples of Alison and Burke would deem sins against taste 
and beauty, and the believers in Whateley condemn, yet there is 
more than enough to disarm criticism. Some hand may be needed 
" to lop the wanton growth," but Time, no doubt, will turn, for the 
once, his scythe into a pruning-hook. As to the precise character 
of this new Hght in the firmament of the religious world, we can not 
speak ; whether it will disappear as suddenly as it has flashed forth, 
is no question for cur answering. One thing is certain : it did not 

140 • APPENDIX. 

rise as the stars do, but burst out all at once, and was well up before 
any body had descried a dawn. The popular fear of comets every- 
where is based, not so much upon^ their magnitude or the length of 
their trains, as upon the suddenness of their appearance, and the 
doubtful route of their orbits. 



Messes. Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 

Gentlemen : Many thanks for your new volume of Spurgeon. 
I opened it with a good deal of misgiving, but must confess to a 
most agreeable surprise. It is an extremely rare thing that the ser- 
mons of a popular preacher will bear reading ; but these of Spur- 
geon are not only better arranged and more logical than I had ex- 
pected, but with soundness of doctrine; are also written in true 
Bunyan-Uke simplicity, directness, and beauty. I am not surprised 
at his popularity, and am only glad it is so well founded. I shall 
recommend them to the attention of my class, and shah take up one 
or two of them for analysis, as a special exercise. 

EespectMly yours, 



Providence, December 15th, 1856. 

Gentlemen : When I wrote you last I was reading Spurgeon's 
Sermons. I have now finished them ; and I thank God that such a 
preacher has been raised up to teach us how to address men on the 
subject of their salvation. I am surprised at their eloquence, but es- 
pecially at the source of it. They are the result of a most thorough 
reading of the New Testament by a man of very remarkable gifts as 


a public speaker. They are the simple truths of the New Testament 
brought home to the consciences of men with a simplicity, honesty, 
fearlessness, and affection, such as I have rarely, if ever witnessed. 

F. Watland. 


New Toek, February 23d, 185Y. 

Messes. Sheldon, Blaeeiian & Co.: 

I am indebted to you for the pleasure of reading several of the 
sermons you propose to publish of the Eev. Mr. Spurgeon. They 
are far more able, interesting, and instructive, freer from coarseness 
and extravagance, and more evangeUoal and scriptural than I had 
supposed from the notices I had read of his preaching. These ser- 
mons have the root of the matter in them, while their fervid style, 
earnest appeal, and vivid illustration, arrest the attention and impress 
the truth. The Eev. Dr. Campbell, of London, is the editor of the 
British Banner. He is the valiant opponent of the " Negative The- 
ology" now infesting the dissenting churches of England. In his 
paper he says of Mr. Spurgeon: "That young minister has more 
knowledge of the sacred Scriptures, the source of aU genuine theol- 
ogy, than the whole of his traducers multiplied by the highest figure 
of the table. Nay, he is a better theologian than was either Grim- 
shaw, or Berridge, or Whitefield, or Wesley, at the outset of their 
respective careers, and inferior to none of them at the close." I shall 
be pleased to commend the volume to the public when you bring it 


Truly, yours, 

S. I. Phime. 

Boohs Puhlished hy Sheldon, Blakeman <b Go. 



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Ill.llll ' I '