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The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon Volume 1
His Earliest Outlines and Sermons Between 1851 and 1854
By Christian T. George
B&H Publishing GroupCopyright © 2016 Christian George and Spurgeon's College
All rights reserved.
A MAN of HIS TIME
Three men named Charles ascended to prominence in the nineteenth century — Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Charles Spurgeon. Each popularized his profession, and although they likely never met, they became paragons of Victorian literature, science, and preaching. A motley "unicorn carman" had been harnessed, and together they would tug the century into an age of optimism and skepticism.
Spurgeon was twenty-one years old when his first biography was written. By the end of 1857, both sides of the Atlantic knew his name. By the end of the decade, he had become the most popular preacher in the world. Spurgeon's baritone voice was described as "clear and ringing as a bell" and could reach audiences of 3,000 or 23,000. He was compared to George Whitefield, Henry Ward Beecher, and John Albert Broadus. An American schoolboy once assumed Spurgeon was the prime minister of England.
Spurgeon's popularity in the pulpit was matched by his productivity in the press. His Sunday morning sermons were published in The New Park Street Pulpit and The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit and eventually totaled sixty-three volumes. In 1917, a shortage of paper caused by World War I prevented the further publication of his weekday sermons. Spurgeon also published a monthly magazine, approximately 140 books, and his magnum opus, a commentary on the Psalms entitled The Treasury of David that took twenty years to complete. The sum of Spurgeon's published words exceeded that of the famed 1875–89 ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
By 1857, Spurgeon's sermons had doubled in sales. American tradeshows were selling a thousand copies of his books per minute. Copycats soon discovered that by using Spurgeon's name they could generate revenue. An Irish gentleman who "passed himself off as Spurgeon" received royal treatment at a hotel. A lecturing con artist in Ohio claimed to be "E. H. Spurgeon," the brother of Charles. When the audience confronted him, the gentleman "abruptly scooted" into anonymity.
Even the Anglicans envied his success. By the mid-nineteenth century, it had become illegal (though rarely enforced) for established churches to conduct services in nonreligious spaces to crowds totaling more than twenty persons. In 1855, the Earl of Shaftesbury muscled the Religious Worship Bill through Parliament, enabling clergymen to "imitate Spurgeon." Some tried but discovered that no one could generate the crowds the newfangled Baptist on New Park Street could marshal. Even the most spacious venues in the world's largest city — the Surrey Garden Music Hall, Exeter Hall, and the Crystal Palace — could not adequately accommodate his ever-expanding audiences. In a letter to his brother, Spurgeon wrote, "I believe I could secure a crowded audience at dead of night in a deep snow."
By 1858, Americans returning from London faced two questions: "Did you see the queen?" and "Did you hear Spurgeon?" Victoria herself likely attended a sermon disguised in pedestrian garb, a behavior not uncommon to the queen. Spurgeon constantly switched hats among pastor, president, editor, author, and traveling evangelist. The onced-windling congregation on New Park Street soon became the largest in Protestant Christendom and had to move to a larger building, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which eventually baptized nearly 15,000 members, maintained weekly attendances of 6,000 people, and, by June 1884, had spawned sixty-six parachurch ministries, including a theological college, two orphanages, a book fund, a clothing drive, a Sunday school for the blind, nursing homes, and ministries to policemen, among dozens more. Much of the revenue generated by his sermon sales was funneled back into these ministries. Unlike his much wealthier Roman Catholic contemporary Henry Edward Manning, Spurgeon died with only £2,000 to his name.
In many ways Spurgeon represented the ideals of his day. He was "manly," ambitious, entrepreneurial, well connected, well written, influential, and heavily involved in politics. In 1880, he single-handedly swung an election in favor of his favorite candidate. One biographer described him as "not a reed to be shaken by the wind, but a wind to shake the reeds." And indeed, his religious and social influence is difficult to overestimate. To borrow from one of David Bebbington's widely accepted distinctives of evangelicals, Spurgeon was deeply invested in social reform, an activist filled with "eagerness to be up and doing." This impulse resulted in his combat against opium trading in the East, anti-Semitism in the North, economic poverty in the South, and human trafficking in the West.
Nowhere was Spurgeon's opposition to slavery more pronounced than in Thomas L. Johnson's memoir, Twenty-Eight Years a Slave. Johnson overheard his masters in Virginia talking about Spurgeon, though the preacher "did not stand very high" in their estimations. After his emancipation in 1865, Johnson traveled to Denver, Colorado, where he encountered Spurgeon's pamphlet "Preachers' Prayers." Johnson wrote, "No book that I possessed at the time, apart from the Bible, gave me such assistance." He then traveled to London to meet Spurgeon and enrolled as a student in the Pastors' College before becoming a missionary to Africa.
Spurgeon was not the only notable preacher in the nineteenth century. It was, after all, the era of "sermon tasting." Saint Paul's Cathedral had Henry Liddon. Westminster Chapel claimed G. Campbell Morgan. City Temple boasted of Joseph Parker. Baptists like Alexander Maclaren and John Clifford also achieved notoriety but not to the international extent of Spurgeon. Had he desired it, Spurgeon could have launched a denomination and almost inadvertently did.
His sermons were translated into nearly forty languages including German, Spanish, French, Japanese, and Portuguese. A diaspora of documents circumnavigated the world — books, commentaries, pamphlets, and magazines. The affordable "penny pulpits" were found in the hands of fishermen in the Mediterranean, coffee farmers in Sri Lanka, sailors in San Francisco, and even Catholics on pilgrimage. In May 1884, a Chinese Christian preferred to "go without a meal than miss this spiritual food." After fifty to sixty troops of the 73rd Regiment handled one of his sermons in India, they returned the manuscript "all black and fringed." D. L. Moody once commented, "It is a sight in Colorado on Sunday to see the miners come out of the bowels of the hills and gather in the schoolhouses or under the trees while some old English miner stands up and reads one of Charles Spurgeon's sermons." In Australia an escaped convict was converted to Christianity after reading a "blood-stained" sermon looted from the pocket of his murdered victim.
Spurgeon's popularity was meteoric and expansive, and when coupled with the geographical trajectory of his teenage years, the silhouette of an ideal Victorian takes shape. With the invention of steam locomotion, industrial opportunities pulled England's population out of the farms and into the factories. By 1859, half of London's citizens under the age of twenty had been born outside the city. Spurgeon's transition to London mimicked the population distribution of the day. As a nineteen-year-old, he too transitioned from the pastoral landscapes of Cambridgeshire to the factory-fogged neighborhoods of the metropolis.
The city offered Spurgeon more resources and opportunities than could the country. The global reach of his sermons would not have been possible had he remained in Waterbeach. Nor would he have met his publishers, Joseph Passmore and James Alabaster. Spurgeon never sought a transition to London, but four years after being baptized in the meandering stream of Isleham, he moored his ministry to the southern bank of the well-trafficked Thames, the waters of which opened directly into the sea.CHAPTER 2
A MAN Behind HIS TIME
Meanwhile the Mississippi River was producing its own author, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Before becoming the celebrated American novelist, Clemens — who was not even two years Spurgeon's younger — worked as a riverboat captain navigating the often-treacherous waters of "Big Muddy." On Sunday morning, August 17, 1879, the paths of these two men intersected at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
It was a pivotal year for the Missouri native. His book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer had just been published, and his mind was occupied with an upcoming novel, A Tramp Abroad. The European tour that had occupied eighteen months of his life had come to a close. Soon he would depart for home on Cunard's newest addition, the RMS Gallia. That morning, Clemens documented his experience in his diary:
Sunday Aug 17/79. Raw & cold, & a drenching rain. Went over to the Tabernacle & heard Mr. Spurgeon. House 3/4 full — say 3,000 people. 1st hour, lacking 1 minute, taken up with two prayers, two ugly hymns, & Scripture-reading. Sermon 3/4 of an hour long. A fluent talk. Good sonorous voice. Topic treated in the unpleasant old fashion — man a mighty bad child, God working at him in forty ways & having a world of trouble about him. A wooden faced congregation. ... English sacred music seems to be always the perfection of the ugly — the music to-day could not be worsted. It neither touched nor pleased. It is a slander to suppose that God could enjoy any congregational singing. ... Spurgeon was not at his best, to-day, I judge — he was probably even at his worst. It was so cold I was freezing — the pouring rain made everything gloomy — the wooden congregation was not an inspiration — the music was depressing ... so the man couldn't preach well.
The "two ugly hymns" Clemens referenced were written by Isaac Watts and Robert Grant (a third hymn by John Newton was also sung). Before the sermon Spurgeon read from Isaiah 57:15–21 and also chapter 58. The reading was likely punctuated with his usual extemporaneous expositions. The topic that Spurgeon "treated in the unpleasant old fashion" is summarized by the title of his sermon: "Contention Ended and Grace Reigning."
Spurgeon's first point was, "Divine contention is well deserved." To the "seeking sinner" he said, "I do not care who you are, you are guilty. ... You have committed treason against God and you are condemned already by his unquestionable justice." He implored God to "bring you down to this prostrate condition if he has not done so." Aiming his words at God's people, he continued: "Surrender unconditionally, be thou saint or sinner: throw down the weapons of rebellion, doff the plumes of pride, and sue out a pardon on thy bended knee. ... Majesty is ever pitiful to misery." Then he added, "Be humble because you are a nobody."
Encouragements were sure to come, for "God himself finds reasons for ending the contention" and "it is never his intention to destroy his own children." Spurgeon's fourth point assured the congregation that God "invents and proposes another method for ending his contentions," namely the applying of mercy and grace to the plight of the sinner. Spurgeon concluded his forty-five-minute message with the exhortation:
Oh, come, ye wanderers, and rest in Jesus. Come, ye most lost, most ruined, most hopeless, and find heaven begun in Christ. Oh, you that sit on the Verge of perdition, who have made a covenant with death and a league with hell, whose death warrant seems to be signed, and put into your hands, so that you read it by the flames of hell whose fury you anticipate, come to Jesus and that handwriting of death shall be blotted out. The impending judgment seems even now to scorch your souls; come and find deliverance from it, for God himself invites you. Tarry no longer. May Jesus sweetly lead you to himself. Amen.
Two days later a steamboat transported Clemens to Windermere Lake to meet "the great Darwin." The English naturalist would have certainly sympathized with Clemens's assessment of Spurgeon. In the eyes of many modern scientists, Spurgeon's theology was unpleasant and old-fashioned. Had not science moved beyond miracles, myths, and superstitions? Could concepts like sin, judgment, hell, and eternal damnation still be held? The earth was no longer believed to be 6,000 years old. Natural selection, not super natural selection, determined the destiny of mankind. To many, Spurgeon's theology looked like a fossil from a bygone age, a thing best studied or pitied.
William Gladstone was not altogether wrong in calling Spurgeon the last of the Puritans, though his descriptor is historically problematic. Spurgeon's theological convictions were forged not in the halls of Germany but in the fens of England. Puritanism had been baked into his boyhood ever since he first encountered the tomes in his grandfather's attic in Stambourne. While other boys occupied themselves with playful adventures, Spurgeon enjoyed the writings of John Bunyan, Richard Baxter, Thomas Manton, and John Owen.
Raised as an Independent, educated in an Anglican school, and converted in a Methodist chapel, Spurgeon was a unique amalgamation of nonconformist sentiment. After his conversion Spurgeon's mother said, "Ah, Charles! I often prayed the Lord to make you a Christian, but I never asked that you might become a Baptist." Spurgeon replied, "Ah, mother! the Lord has answered your prayer with His usual bounty, and given you exceeding abundantly above what you asked or thought." When later asked by a student if there were a book that detailed the doctrine of believer's baptism, Spurgeon replied, "Yes, there is a little book you may buy ... the New Testament." Through the prism of the Baptist tradition, Spurgeon illuminated the doctrines that had been rediscovered by the Protestant Reformers, appropriated by the English Puritans, and realized in the evangelical awakenings. The works of Matthew Henry, Charles Simeon, and John Gill were never far from reach. Spurgeon also reached deeper into history to consult the writings of Augustine of Hippo, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Madame Guyon.
Spurgeon was seven years old when Marian Evans translated into English Ludwig Feuerbach's Das Wesen des Christentums. Her translation of David Strauss's Das Leben Jesu followed five years later. In Strauss's work the author argued, "It was time to substitute a new mode of considering the life of Jesus, in the place of the antiquated systems of supranaturalism and naturalism." English-bred scholars like Frederick Maurice, John Colenso, Charles Gore, Benjamin Jowett, and Thomas Huxley each contributed to the dislodging and demythologizing of the core axioms of orthodox Christianity.
The outbreak of what Spurgeon deemed the "bloodless neology of modern thought" left many, like Charles Babbage, scrambling to accommodate the ascendency of rationalism, skepticism, and secularization. In the same year Babbage devised the "differential engine," he also published an essay entitled The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise in which he attempted to "devise a novel picture of God" that was compatible with the advances in science.
For Spurgeon, however, there would be no accommodation. To him modern theology was rooted in Gnosticism, a separation of humanity from divinity. Spurgeon's 1888 prediction, "We shall see the monkey-god go down yet, and evolution will be ridiculed as it deserves to be," would not come true in his lifetime, at least not in mainline denominations. When he criticized the theory of evolution in a public lecture in October 1861 (accompanied on the stage by an oversized stuffed gorilla), the newspapers took to the offensive: "We are now to be entertained by Mr. Spurgeon's lecture on the gorilla, but, in after ages, — according to the development theory, — we shall doubtless have a gorilla lecturing on Mr. Spurgeon."
Other than occasional outbursts of resistance, Spurgeon left no lasting legacy on the development of higher critical scholarship. In Commenting and Commentaries he evidences familiarity with some German authors, but their dismissal of doctrines like the atonement made Spurgeon "feel really ill." In 1887, a controversy erupted when he removed his membership from the Baptist Union. His own brother James and many of his students at the Pastors' College rejected Spurgeon's decision. According to Susannah the controversy claimed his life. In an article entitled "Another Word on the Down Grade," Spurgeon lamented: "The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth. ... Germany was made unbelieving by her preachers and England is following in her tracks."
Excerpted from The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon Volume 1 by Christian T. George. Copyright © 2016 Christian George and Spurgeon's College. Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Editor's Preface xvii
Timeline 1800-1910 xxxiii
Part 1 Introduction 1
A Man of His Time 10
A Man Behind His Time 16
The Lost Sermons 22
Sources and Method 29
Sermon Analysis: Notebook 1 (Sermons 1-77) 34
Part 2 The Sermons, Notebook 1 (Sermons 1-77) 48
Front Cover of Notebook 1 49
Opening Pages of Notebook 1 50
Notebook Index I 54
Sermon 1 Adoption-Eph 1:5 66
Sermon 2 Necessity of Purity for an Entrance to Heaven- Rev 21:27 76
Sermon 3 Abraham Justified by Faith-Gen 15:6 80
Sermon 4 A Contrast-Eph 5:8 86
Sermon 5 Condescending Love of Jesus -2 Cor 8:90
Sermon 6 Future Judgment-Col 3:25 94
Sermon 7&77 Regeneration and The Lepers-2 Kgs 7:3-4 98
Sermon 8 Final Perseverance-Ps 94:14 106
Sermon 9 Sinners Must Be Punished-Ps 9:17 112
Sermon 10 Election-Eph 1:4 120
Blank Page 126
Sermon 11 Salvation-Heb 7:25 128
Sermon 12 Death, the Consequence of Sin-Fzek 18:4 134
Sermon 13 Free Grace-Rev 21:6 138
Sermon 14 God's Grace Given to Us-1 Cor 15:10 142
Sermon 15 Christ About His Father's Business-Luke 2:49 148
Sermon 16 Love Manifest in Adoption-1 John 3:1 152
Sermon 17 Christian and His Salvation- Isa 45:17 156
Sermon 18 God's Sovereignty-Ps 10:16 160
Sermon 19 An Answer Required-2 Sam 24:13 164
Sermon 20 The Plant of Renown-Ezek 34:29 170
Sermon 21 Making Light of Christ-Matt 22:5 176
Sermon 22 Christ Is All-Col 3:11 182
Sermon 23 Faith Precious-2 Pet 1:1 186
Sermon 24 Salvation in God Only-Jer 3:23 190
Sermon 25 The Peculiar People - Deut 14:2 196
Sermon 26 Despisers Warned-Prov 29:1 200
Sermon 27 Paul's Renunciation-Phil 3:9 204
Sermon 28 Heaven's Preparations-John 14:2 208
Sermon 29 Beginning at Jerusalem-Luke 24:47 212
Sermon 30 Salvation from Starvation-Prov 10:3 218
Sermon 31 Ignorance, Its Evils-Prov 19:2 222
Sermon 32 The Wrong Roads-Prov 14:12 226
Sermon 33 Salvation from Sin-Mart 1:21 230
Sermon 24 The Lamb and Lion Conjoined-Rev 5:5-6 234
Sermon 25 The Path of the Just-Prov 4:18 238
Sermon 26 Certain Fulfilment of Promises-Josh 21:45 242
Sermon 27 The Fight and the Weapons -2 Cor 10:4 246
Sermon 28 The Fight-2 Cor 10:4 252
Sermon 29 The Son's Love to Us Compared with God's Love to Him-John 15:9 256
Sermon 39 Pharisees and Sadducees Reproved-Matt 37 262
Sermon 40 Christian Joy-Phil 4:4 266
Sermon 41 God's Estimation of Men-Exod 11:7 270
Sermon 42 King of Righteousness and Peace-Heb 7:2 276
Sermon 43 Jesus, the Shower from Heaven - Ps 72:6 280
Sermon 44 Elijah's Faith and Prayer-1 Kgs 18:43 284
Sermon 45 The Authors of Damnation and Salvation -Hos 13:9 288
Sermon 46 Regeneration, Its Causes and Effects -1 Pet 1:3-5 292
Sermon 47 The Father and the Children-2 Sam 7:14 298
Sermon 48 Intercession of the Saints-1 Tim 2:1 302
Sermon 49 The Eloquence of Jesus-John 7:46 306
Sermon 50 Repentance and Salvation-Isa 55:7 312
Sermon 51 Christian Prosperity and Its Causes -Ps 1:1-3 316
Sermon 52 He Took Not Up Angels-Heb 2:16 322
Sermon 53 Pleasure in the Stones of Zion-Ps 102:14 328
Sermon 54 The Little Fire and Great Combustion-Jas 3:5 334
Sermon 55 Rest for the Weary-Matt 11:28 342
Sermon 56 God Glorified in the Saved-Gal 1:24 346
Sermon 57 The Affliction of Ahaz-2 Chr 28:22 352
Sermon 58 The Wise Men's Offering-Matt 2:11 358
Sermon 59 The First Promise-Gen 3:15 368
Sermon 60 The Peace of God-Phil 4:7 372
Sermon 61 The Improvement of Our Talents-Matt 25:19 378
Sermon 62 God, the Guide of His Saints-Ps 73:24 384
Sermon 63 Gethsemane's Sorrow-Matt 26:38 392
Sermon 64 Parable of the Bad and Good Seed-Matt 13:25 398
Sermon 65 Trust Not the Heart- Prov 28:26 404
Sermon 66 Josiah-2 Kgs 22:2 408
Sermon 67 Offending God's Little Ones-Mark 9:42 412
Sermon 68 The Saints' Justification and Glory-Isa 45:25 416
Sermon 69 Imitation of God-Eph 5:1 420
Sermon 70 The Men Possessed of the Devils-Mark 5:15 426
Sermon 71 What Think Ye of Christ-Matt 22:42 434
Sermon 72 An Exhortation to Bravery- Deut 20:1 442
Sermon 73 Slavery Destroyed-Rom 6:17 448
Sermon 74 The Physician and His Patients-Mark 2:17 452
Sermon 75 The Church and Its Boast-Ps 22:31 462
Sermon 76 Can Two Walk Together Unless They Are Agreed?-Amos 3:3 470
Notebook Index 2 478
Back Cover of Notebook 1 489
About the Editor 491
About the Project 493
Scripture Index 495
Subject Index 497