I have been blessed in many ways by the life, writings, and sermons of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. God truly gifted Mr. Spurgeon with a masterful command of the English language. Spurgeon attributed part of that to the fact he memorized a great deal of the hymns of Isaac Watts.
I was struck, again, by Spurgeon’s genius in his introduction to a sermon on Jeremiah 33:3. Here are his opening words:
SOME of the most learned works in the world smell of midnight oil; but the most spiritual, and most comforting books and sayings of men, usually have a savor about them of prison dampness. I might quote many instances—John Bunyan’s Pilgrim may suffice instead of a hundred others; and this good text of ours, all moldy and cold with the prison in which Jeremiah lay, has nevertheless a brightness, and a beauty about it which it might never have had if it had not come as a cheering word to the prisoner of the Lord shut up in the court of the prison. God’s people have always, in their worst condition, found out the best of their God. He is good at all times; but He seems to be at His best when they are at their worst.
Doesn’t he make you want to read on to grasp the promised riches of the text before him?
A lack of depth in the inner life accounts for most of the doctrinal error in the church. Sound conviction of sin, deep humiliation on account of it, and a sense of utter weakness and unworthiness naturally conduct the mind to the belief of the doctrines of grace, while shallowness in these matters leaves a man content with a superficial creed. Those teachings which are commonly called Calvinistic doctrines are usually most beloved and best received by those who have had much conflict of soul, and so have learned the strength of corruption and the necessity of grace.
Note, also, that Paul in this chapter has been treating of the sufferings of this present time; and though by faith he speaks of them as very inconsiderable compared with the glory to be revealed, yet we know that they were not inconsiderable in his case. He was a man of many trials; he went from one tribulation to another for Christ’s sake; he swam through many seas of affliction to serve the church. I do not wonder, therefore, that in his epistles he often discourses upon the doctrines of foreknowledge, and predestination, and eternal love, because these are a rich cordial for a fainting spirit. To be cheered under many things, which otherwise would depress him, the believer may betake himself to the matchless mysteries of the grace of God, which are wines on the lees well refined. Sustained by distinguishing grace, a man learns to glory in tribulations also; and strengthened by electing love, he defies the hatred of the world and the trials of life. Suffering is the college of orthodoxy. Many a Jonah, who now rejects the doctrines of the grace of God, only needs to be put into the whale’s belly and he will cry out with the soundest free-grace man, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Prosperous professors, who do no business amid David’s billows and waterspouts, may set small store by the blessed anchorage of eternal purpose and everlasting love but those who are “tossed with tempest, and not comforted, are of another mind.” Let these few sentences suffice for a preface. I utter them not in the spirit of controversy, but the reverse.
GLORIOUS PREDESTINATION. NO. 1043 A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD’S DAY MORNING, MARCH 24TH, 1872, BY C. H. SPURGEON,
Here is an excellent video on Muslim persecution of Christians and why the media ignores it.
In this week’s lesson on our Catechism questions, I gave an illustration that speaks to the heart. The faith of a little girl challenges all of us:
A young girl at Portsea, Hampshire, who died at nine years of age, one day in her illness, said to her aunt, with whom she lived, ‘when I am dead I should like Mr Griffin to preach a sermon to children, to persuade them to love Jesus Christ, to obey their parents, not to tell lies, but to think about dying and going to heaven.
I have been thinking,’ said she, ‘what text I should like him to preach from—2 Kings 4.26. You are the Shunammite, Mr Griffin is the prophet, and I am the Shunammite’s child.
When I am dead, I daresay you will be grieved, though you need not. The prophet will come to see you, and when he says, “How is it with the child?” you may say, “It is well.” I am sure it will then be well with me, for I shall be in heaven, singing the praises of God. You ought to think it well too.’ Mr Griffin accordingly fulfilled the wish of this pious child.
The illustration comes from “The Assembly’s Shorter Catechism Illustrated by Appropriate Anecdotes” by John Whitecross.
In our Sunday school class, we have begun watching a video teaching series by Derek Thomas (from Ligonier.org) on Pilgrim’s Progress. I thought it would be helpful to pass along some resources (all free) to aid in the reading and study of Bunyan’s rich teaching narrative.
From The Chapel Library:
Pilgrim’s Progress–PDF EPUB MOBI (Kindle)
Pilgrim’s Progress in Pictures–PDF
Pilgrim’s Progress in Pictures, SPANISH —PDF
The Pilgrim’s Progress (New Edition, from Desiring God)—Download the PDF, Download the MOBI (for Kindle)
Pilgrim’s Progress, The Accurate Revised Text, by Barry Horner
Commentary on Pilgrim’s Progress, by Barry Horner
Pictures from Pilgrim’s Progress by Spurgeon (a commentary of sorts)
Bunyan Characters in Pilgrim’s Progress, Series 1, Alexander Whyte
Bunyan Characters in Pilgrim’s Progress, Series 2, Alexander Whyte
Four times I have read the opening chapter of the book with the terribly misleading title, A Guide to the Understanding of the Bible, written by Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick. That chapter discusses the evolution of God in the Bible. If I may reduce the four score pages of argument to a paragraph of boiled down essential ideas, the reasoning, if we may call it that, is as follows: Primitive man had a devilish concept of God. Noah’s God destroyed the earth with a flood. Abraham’s God was a bloodthirsty God who wanted a human sacrifice. The God of Moses was the horrible God of volcanic fire, speaking to him from Sinai. Little by little man has advanced as the centuries rolled on. David began to have high ethical thoughts of God, but they were mixed with the terrible imprecatory Psalms that call down wrath upon the enemy. By the time of the prophets, God was really improving. He now hated unrighteousness and spoke out against the crimes committed by men. When Jesus came along, the idea of God took on the marvelous concepts of fatherhood and brotherhood, and was the greatest idea up to that time. But Jesus had the repugnant idea of Hell, of which he spoke so much. This must be abandoned in order to continue the upward curve of development. The modern idea of God is all sugar and spice and everything that is nice. He has no Hell for the wicked, and little by little He has become so respectable that He can be worship in good taste by the people of Park Avenue and Morningside Heights. Yet it is a scientific fact that if such a writer had been acquainted with even the rudimentary findings of the greatest of ethnologists and anthropologists he could never have fallen into such an error. Perhaps this writer had not read anything more up to date than Frazer’s Golden Bough. Great as that work is as a collection of the follies of the human race in the field of religious thought, its conclusions have been completely nullified by the work of Schmidt of Vienna. In a great four volume work Ursprung der Gottesidee, that is the last word in its field, Schmidt has demonstrated that the idea of one God is much older in the human race than the idea of many gods. Polytheism is the degradation of monotheism. To hold the opposite view is nothing more than an escape mechanism to avoid the implications of the existence of the Creator to whom the creature must be absolutely responsible. Donald Grey Barnhouse, Man’s Ruin, Romans 1:1-32, 249-250.
For only a few days, until April 11, Hillsdale College is offering the eight volume authoritative biography of Winston Churchill–for FREE. Don’t miss this. The volumes are kindle books which can be read on any device. I’ve downloaded by copies! Find the links here.