God’s Humorous Sovereignty in Spurgeon’s Conversion

Charles Spurgeon quote: Conversion is a turning onto the right road. The  next...

On this day in 1850, Charles Spurgeon became a follower of Jesus. I choose to think about this alongside the day of Epiphany–this helps overshadow that dark day known as Insurrection Day that happened in my beloved United States one year ago.

God’s ways are mysterious but they are always wonderful (that is, full of wonder). Look at the means of how God saved Spurgeon.

God used a blizzard. That blizzard took Spurgeon into a primitive Methodist church on Artillery Street in Colchester.

I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair now, had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm one Sunday morning, when I was going to a place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a court and came to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel. In that chapel there might be a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they could tell me that, I did not care how much they made my head ache. The minister did not come that morning: snowed up, I suppose.

Autobiography, Vol. 1 (Banner of Truth), 87.

God used a substitute Methodist lay preacher

At last, a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, or tailer, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now, it is well that preachers should be instructed, but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was–

“Look to me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth” [Isaiah 45:22 KJV].

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text.

The preacher began thus: “My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pain. It ain’t liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just, ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look. But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Ay!” and he, in broad Essex, “many on ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by, Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Some on ye say, “We must wait for the Spirit’s workin’.’ You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, ‘Look unto Me.'”

Then the good man followed up his text in this way: “Lool unto Me; I’m sweatin’ great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I’m hangin on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to heaven. Look unto me; I am sittin at their father’s right hand. Old poor sinner, look under me ! Look into Me!”

Autobiography, pp. 87-88.

The work of the Holy Spirit. The lay preacher caught Spurgeon’s eye and, from the pulpit, addressed Spurgeon personally. “Young man, you look very miserable, and you always will be miserable–miserable in life, miserable in death–if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey this moment, you will be saved. Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin’ to do but to look and live.”

Spurgeon responded, “I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said–I did not take much notice of it–I was so possessed with that one thought.”

Never underestimate the means by which God saves and sanctifies us and our neighbor. Have you looked? Look to Jesus Christ! It is then you will exclaim:

“What a Savior!”

The Old, Old Gospel is the Newest Thing in the World

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

We ought not, as men in Christ Jesus, to be carried away by a childish love of novelty, for we worship a God who is ever the same, and of whose years there is no end. In some matters “the old is better.” There are certain things which are already so truly new, that to change them for anything else would be to lose old gold for new dross. The old, old gospel is the newest thing in the world; in its very essence it is for ever good news. In the things of God the old is ever new, and if any man brings forward that which seems to be new doctrine and new truth, it is soon perceived that the new dogma is only worn-out heresy dexterously repaired, and the discovery in theology is the digging up of a carcase of error which had better have been left to rot in oblivion. In the great matter of truth and godliness, we may safely say, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

–Spurgeon, “Sermon for New Year’s-Day,” MTP 31:1816 (1885)

What the Snow on the Village Roofs Teaches Us

Spurgeon Short for March 10, 2022: What the Snow on the Village Roofs Teaches Us

“On a cold winter’s day when the snow has fallen and lies deep upon the ground you go through a village. There is a row of cottages, and you will notice that from one of the roofs the snow has nearly disappeared, while another cottage still bears a coating of snow. You do not stay to make enquiries as to the reason of the difference, for you know very well what is the cause. There is a fire burning inside the one cottage and the warmth glows through its roof, and so the snow speedily melts: in the other there is no tenant; it is a house to let, no fire bums on its hearth and no warm smoke ascends the chimney, and therefore there lies the snow. Just as the warmth is within so the melting will be without. I look at a number of churches, and where I see worldliness and formalism lying thick upon them, I am absolutely certain that there is not the warmth of Christian life within; but where the hearts of believers are warm with divine love through the Spirit of God, we are sure to see evils vanish, and beneficial consequences following therefrom. We need not look within; in such a case the exterior is index sufficient.”

From C.H. Spurgeon, “Our Urgent Need of the Holy Spirit,” MTP 23:1332 (1877).

New Article at the Spurgeon Library: “Spurgeon’s Guidance on Christmas Celebrations”

I’m thankful to the Spurgeon Library (on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO) for posting a recent article: “Spurgeon’s Guidance on Christmas Celebrations.” Here’s the first portion:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) loved Christmas. Hear the glee from the 21-year-old Spurgeon:

I wish there were ten or a dozen Christmas-days in the year; for there is work enough in the world, and a little more rest would not hurt labouring people. Christmas-day is really a boon to us; particularly as it enables us to assemble round the family hearth and meet our friends once more. Still, although we do not fall exactly in the track of other people, I see no harm in thinking of the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus.[1] 

While he loved Christmas, he also guided his congregation to discern certain aspects of Christmas from the cultural perspective and the biblical perspective. While other valuable articles are certainly found elsewhere on this site, this article focuses on how Spurgeon guided his congregation in celebrating Christmas, rejecting the “superstitions” of the Roman celebrations, embracing much of the customs of the day without forgetting about the Christ-child, the reason for the day.

Click here to read the rest.

Let the Lion Out

Let the Lion Out! Spurgeon Short for March 18, 2022

“Suppose a number of persons were to take it into their heads that they had to defend a lion, full-grown king of beasts! There he is in the cage, and here come all the soldiers of the army to fight for him. Well, I should suggest to them, if they would not object, and feel that it was humbling to them, that they should kindly stand back, and open the door, and let the lion out! I believe that would be the best way of defending him, for he would take care of himself; and the best ‘apology’ for the gospel is to let the gospel out.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Christ and His Co-Workers” (1886)


“The wind blew down the river with a cutting blast, as my turn came to wade into the flood, but after I had walked a few steps, and noted the people on the ferryboats, and in the boats, and on either shore, I felt as if Heaven and Earth and Hell might all gaze upon me, for I was not ashamed, then and there, to own myself a follower of the Lamb. My timidity was washed away; as if floated down the river into the sea, and must have been devoured by the fishes, for I have never felt anything of the kind since. Baptism also loosed my tongue, and from that day it has never been quiet. I lost a thousand fears in that River Lark, and found that ‘in keeping his commandments there is great reward.'”

Spurgeon, Autobiography 1:149, 150; quoted in Tom Nettles, “The Child is the Father of the Man,” p. 58.

God Has Made Great Use of Women

God has made great use of women, and greatly honoured them in the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Holy women ministered to our Lord when he was upon the earth, and since that time much sacred work has been done by their patient hands. Man and woman fell together; together they must rise. After the resurrection, it was a woman who was first commissioned to carry the glad tidings of the risen Christ; and in Europe, where woman was in future days to be set free from many of the trammels of the East, it seems fitting that a woman should be the first believer.

Spurgeon, “Lydia, the First European Convert,” MTP 37:2222 (1891).

Household Baptisms Were Also Believing Households

In almost every case in Scripture where you read of a household baptism, you are distinctly informed that they were also a believing household. In the case of Lydia it may not be so; but then there are remarkable circumstances about her case which render that information needless. In this instance they were all believers, and, therefore, they were all of them baptized. First, “HE” was baptised,—the jailor; he was ready first to submit himself to the ordinance in which he declared himself to be dead to the world, and risen anew in Christ Jesus. Then “all his” followed. What a glorious baptism, amidst the glare of the torches that night! perhaps in the prison hath, or in the impluvium which was usually in the center of most oriental houses, or perhaps the stream that watered Philippi ran by the prison wall, and was used for the occasion. It matters not, but into the water they descended, one after another, mother, children, servants; and Paul and Silas stood there delighted to aid them in declaring themselves to be on the Lord’s side, “buried with him in baptism.”

“Household Salvation,” MTP 17:1019 (1871)

Spurgeon’s Heart for Rural Ministries: New Blog Entry at The Spurgeon Library

I’m grateful to The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City for posting my article on their blog today: “Spurgeon’s Heart for Rural Ministries.” Here’s the first paragraph:

While many young pastors long for an influential ministry in the population centers to increase their platform and reach more people, Spurgeon believes they should embrace rural ministries. From his upbringing to his first ministry post, Spurgeon would look back with much affection to the time he spent in these rural areas—areas that those in the cities would ignore or outright forget. Spurgeon’s ministry was laced was references to his rural upbringing.

To read more, click here.