Friday, February 03, 2012

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 - 1892) - The Powerful Pulpit Preacher of England

"Now, I venture to say that all history proves that the truth has very seldom been accepted by the rulers of this world, and that for the most part the poorest of the poor have been more able to perceive the truth than the greatest of the great have ever been. There would have been no Christianity in the world at the present moment if it had not found a shelter in workshops and in cottages."

"Christianity is a life which grows out of truth."

"Charity and purity are the two garments of Christianity."

"Secularism teaches us that we ought to look to this world.Christianity teaches us that the best way to prepare for this world is to be fully prepared for the next."

"The church of God owes very little to kings and princes and nobles. She owes far more to fishermen and peasants."

"God will not cause his children to be born where there are none to nurse them; he will be sure not to send converts to churches which do not want them."

These were the words of the highly gifted orator Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who was instrumental in the hand of God for a great revival in United Kingdom.

Charles H. Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834 in Keveldon, England. His father Rev. John Spurgeon and his grandfather were congregation Independents. The early years of Charles Spurgeon were spent in Stambourne with his granndfather who brought him up in evangelical faith. He was a child genius and a boy of profound intellect. Even at the age of 6, when some children have advanced no farther in spelling than words in one syllable he could read out with a point and emphasis, which was really marvelous in one so young. Here is an example of his inquisitive nature and his earnest desire to understand the Biblical facts, which he has recorded in his own words. “When I was a small boy I was allowed to read the scriptures at family prayer. Once upon a time when a reading in Revelation, which mentions the bottomless pits, I paused and said, “Grandpa, what can this mean?” The answer was kind but unsatisfactory, “Pooh, Pooh, child go on.” The Child, however, intended to have an explanation, and therefore selected the same chapter morning after morning, and always halted at the same verse to repeat the enquiry, hoping that by repetition he would importune the good old gentleman into reply. I can remember the horror of my mind when my dear grandfather told me what his idea of the “bottomless pit” was. There is a deep pit and the souls are falling down. Oh, how fast it is falling! the last ray of light at the top has disappeared, it falls on-on-on and so it goes on falling on-on-on- for a thousand years! Is it not getting near the bottom yet? Won’t it stop? No, no, the cry is on-on-on. I have been falling a million years; am I not near the bottom yet? No you are not near the bottom yet. It is a bottomless pit and so the soul is falling perpetually into a deeper depth. Woe! Without termination, without hope of its coming to a conclusion. Doesn’t this really enlighten us about the real but definite destiny of those who turn their backs to Christ, the Savior?

In 1850, On January 6, when he was in a Primitive Methodist Chapel listening to a preacher, God’s word came straight to him. The preacher looked into the eyes of Spurgeon and said, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look. Look. Look. You have nothing to do, but to look.” Charles Spurgeon beautifully described this incident-“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, like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed and so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard the word “Look” what a charming word it seemed to me! The cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun. I do from my soul confess that I never was satisfied till I came to Christ."

Charles Spurgeon’s ministry began in Cambridge at his residence. He was just 16 when he started preaching the gospel in the churches, and the listeners marveled at his intellect and artistic speech. His fame spread far and wide and the church leaders invited him to preach in their churches on special occasions. One such invitation came from a little church in Waterbeach. Charles Spurgeon accepted the invitation and began to minister among the people of Waterbeach. God blessed his ministry there and so he remained there and continued his pulpit ministry. Although he had encouraged and helped many to go to college, when his father urged him to apply to Stepney College he refused to join a college. Rising up early in the morning, waiting upon God, getting divine revelations with the help of the Holy Spirit, and sharing it to the congregation was the secret behind the success of his pulpit ministry.
Charles Spurgeon was invited to preach in a church at New Park Street, London. He ministered the word of God for a few Sundays in London, eventually as per divine leading he left Waterbeach and settled his ministry at New Park Street. Crowds of people flocked to this chapel with the earnest desire to know the depths of the word of God through Charles Spurgeon. His sermons became very popular and often attracted great number of audience. On one occasion about 12,000 people gathered to hear him preach under one roof.
As the Lord greatly blessed his ministry there was much inadequacy in terms of space and so there was a need for a larger building to accommodate the growing crowd. Therefore, in 1861 the foundation for “The Metropolitan Tabernacle” was laid. The congregation contributed generously and cheerfully for the construction purpose. They were able to build a beautiful church, which could accommodate more than 6,000 people at a time. Charles Spurgeon’s experience was as that of the Old Testament Saint David, the king of Israel, which could be put in a nutshell as – “You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.”- Psalms 66:12.

Mr. Spurgeon founded a college for young men who desired to serve the Lord Most high to give them the opportunity to educate themselves for the work. Spurgeon wrote about the purpose of this The pastor’s college – “I had not even a remote idea of whereunto it would grow. They were springing up around me, as my own spiritual children, many earnest young men who felt an irresistible impulse to preach the Gospel, and yet with half an eye it could be seen that their lack of education would be a sad hindrance to them."

Mr. Charles and Ms. Susannah Thompson were united in Holy Matrimony on January 12, 1856. They were gifted with twin sons Thomas and Charles. Their personal life was remarkable for faith, sacrifice, and dedication. Mrs. Spurgeon not only aided in her husband’s ministry being her husband’s personal secretary, but also dispensed gifts of books and boxes of clothing to the village ministers. She also saved money from her housekeeping and started “The Book Fund’ to provide financial aid for the education of the pastors throughout United Kingdom.
God laid a heavy burden in the heart of Mr. Spurgeon regarding the pathetic spiritual status of the educational institutions of England. He wrote “We have too much given up our children to the enemy. A great effort should be made to multiply our day-schools, and to render them distinctly religious by teaching the gospel in them, and by laboring to bring the children, as children to our Lord Jesus. The silly cry of nonsectarian is duping many into the establishment of schools in which the most important part of wisdom, namely the fear of the Lord is altogether ignored. We trust this folly will soon be given up, and that we shall see schools in which all that we believe and hold dear, shall be taught to the children.” Mr. Spurgeon opened an orphanage, the Stockwell Orphanage, which was run with the supreme objective to bring up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is an undeniable fact that the present-day schools have been given up to the adversary. There is a great need for a total reformation with respect to moral upbringing in our schools. Bible says in Isaiah 54:13 “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of thy children.” It is a must that we need to dedicate ourselves afresh and cry unto God for this promise to come true in our lives.

Charles Spurgeon suffered from physical pain and rheumatism most of his life. His health declined greatly and he was forced to be away from the pulpit. From the “furnace of affliction”God enabled Spurgeon to write an enduring work called, “The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith.” Charles Spurgeon, the great orator, Mr. Valiant-for-truth entered the kingdom of God on January 26, 1892 in Menton, France. As per his wish, he was buried in the center of the Stockwell Orphanage grounds.
“Look unto me and be ye saved” is the blessed verse of conversion in the life of Charles Spurgeon. This is a simple word, but very powerful Rhema or Spoken word from the very mouth of God, which transformed the life of this young man.
Jesus' simple, however, discerning and intent look caused conviction and repentance of Peter, after he betrayed Jesus. "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times," and he went outside and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61,62. As long as we focus on Him, we will walk over the raging seas underneath our feet. Once we look away from Jesus, then we begin to lose balance and the ground beneath us gives way. Therefore, looking unto Jesus, the author and the perfecter of our faith, let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling.- Hebrews 12:2, Philippians 2:12. This great man of God has richly blessed us with his nonobliterating sermons and exemplary life.

Written By: Shanta S. Daniel
[Copyright@ Permission is granted to duplicate this article in its entirety, but only without additions, alterations or omissions of any kind, including the author and ministry name at the end]

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