The Prince Of Preachers
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born in 1834 in Kelvedon, Essex, to a family of clerics. His formal education was limited, even by nineteenth-century standards: he attended local schools but never earned a university degree. Though he eschewed formal education, all his life he valued learning and books—especially those by Puritan divines—and his personal library eventually exceeded 12,000 volumes. At age 15, Spurgeon broke with family tradition by becoming a Baptist. He attributed this conversion to a sermon heard by "chance"—when a snowstorm blew him away from his destination into a Primitive Methodist chapel. Rather than being defined by his denomination, however, he chose to define his creed as, “It is Jesus Christ”.
Still a teen, Spurgeon began preaching in rural Cambridgeshire. He quickly filled the pews in his first pastorate in the village of Waterbeach. He had a boyish appearance that contrasted sharply with the maturity of his sermons. He had a good memory and always spoke extemporaneously from an outline. His energy and oratorical skills and harmonious voice earned him such a reputation that within a year and a half, he was invited to preach in London, at the historic New Park Street Chapel. As word spread of his abilities, he was invited to preach throughout London and the nation. No chapel seemed large enough to hold those who wanted to hear the "the preaching sensation of London." In 1861 his congregation, which kept extending his call, moved to the new Metropolitan Tabernacle, which seated 5,600. His sermons were published in the Monday edition of the London Times, and even the New York Times.
He never flinched from strong preaching: in a sermon on Acts 26:28, he said, "Almost persuaded to be a Christian is like the man who was almost pardoned, but he was hanged; like the man who was almost rescued, but he was burned in the house. A man that is almost saved is damned." On certain subjects, he was incapable of moderation: Rome, ritualism, hypocrisy, and modernism. He proclaimed in his monthly, The Sword and the Trowel, "Our warfare is with men who are giving up the atoning sacrifice, denying the inspiration of Holy Scripture, and casting slurs upon justification by faith."
Spurgeon's contributions were larger than his pulpit, however. He established alms houses and an orphanage, and his Pastor's College, opened in 1855, continues to this day. He preached his last sermon in June 1891 and died six months later. When Charles Spurgeon died in January 1892, London went into mourning. Nearly 60,000 people came to pay homage during the three days his body lay in state at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Some 100,000 lined the streets as a funeral parade two miles long followed his hearse from the Tabernacle to the cemetery. Flags flew at half-staff and shops and pubs were closed.
During his lifetime, he published over thirty-five hundred sermons that filled 63 volumes. His series stands as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity. LivePrayer highlights his Morning and Evening Devotionals, his Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, and his book of prayers. He also wrote Ploughman's Talk and The Treasury of David.