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!”