Christ Is Precious

By / Sep 12

Public speaking is hard. Extemporaneous speaking is even harder. But then again, on any given day, we find ourselves speaking spontaneously about the things that we love: a favorite sports team, a fun memory, a movie we recently enjoyed, and more. Perhaps the secret to extemporaneous speaking is simply to speak on a subject that you love. This is how Spurgeon ended up preaching his very first sermon.

On a Saturday afternoon in the winter of 1850-51, sixteen-year-old Charles Spurgeon learned that he was going to be preaching for the first time in his life that day. He had been invited to accompany a friend to encourage him as he was going to preach in a service in the village of Teversham. But on the way there, they both learned they had been told the same thing! The friend was expecting Charles to preach. And if Charles wasn’t going to preach, then there wasn’t going to be a service, because he certainly wasn’t going to preach. Well, at that point, Charles decided to go for it. And he would preach on a subject he knew well. He wrote in his Autobiography,

It seemed to me that I could surely tell a few poor cottagers of the sweetness and love of Jesus, for I felt them in my own soul. Praying for Divine help, I resolved to make the attempt. My text should be, “Unto you therefore which believe He is precious,” and I would trust the Lord to open my mouth in honor of His dear Son.

And so, young Charles preached his very first sermon, from 1 Peter 2:7a, meditating on the preciousness of Christ. We can get a flavor of what that sermon might have sounded like as he preached on this text again just a couple of years later. This is what he wrote down in his sermon notes:

Now what need is there to enlarge this point, we know that Christ is precious! I will merely give some meditations on it.

Subpoint 1. My Christ is more precious than anything my fellow creatures love.

I see some who live in palaces, wear crowns, live on dainties, sit on thrones. I have heard of Alexanders, Napoleons and Caesars, but I envy them not. Christ is more precious than dominion.

I see others rich, they frown on me. They are groaning after more. They are afraid to use what they have, they have many cares. They must leave it all. They may lose it all, but Christ is better. Shall I give up Christ for gold[?] No.

Christ is more precious than wealth.

Some men have nobler minds. They long for knowledge, they toil that they may measure the earth, survey the heavens, read the ancients, dissolve minerals etc., but Christ to me is better than learning.

Others pant for fame. I shall be forgotten, save by the few whose steps I guided in the path to heaven. But I weep not at that for he is more precious than fame.

Subpoint 2. He is more precious than anything I have myself.

If I have a home, and a fireside, and feel a comfort in them, yet if am called to suffer banishment I have a better home. Christ is better than home.

If I have relatives, mother, father, wife, children, these I value and rightly too. ‘Tis a bitter pang to lose them, but Christ is better than relatives or friends.

He is my Husband, my Brother, my Lover.

I have health, and a precious jewel that is. Take it away and pleasures lose their gloss, but my Jesus is mine still, and he is better than health.

Yea, life itself is valueless in comparison.

When I consider the glory of his nature, the excellence of his character, the greatness of his offices, the richness of his gifts, surely he is precious indeed.

If someone asked you, “Why do you follow Jesus? Why is Jesus precious to you?”, what would you say? In his notes, Charles begins by comparing Jesus with all those things this world admires (dominion, wealth, learning, fame). How often are we tempted to covet and fear these things! And yet we know they do not satisfy and will all pass away. What difference would it make in your life to see Christ as more precious than the world’s treasures?

But in Charles’ second point, we see that our knowledge of the preciousness of Christ is more personal than that. Though we might never acquire the world’s treasures, we do have our own personal treasures (home, relatives, friends, health). And yet, we are learning that Christ is better than these also.

It’s interesting to see Charles speaking of Christ being better than health. He was still young at this point, but throughout his adult life, he would face debilitating sickness and depression. But amid those sufferings, Christ remained his anchor. Charles also talks about Christ being better than friends. Towards the end of his ministry, Charles would take a stand for gospel orthodoxy, and many of his closest friends would turn on him. But even then, Christ is better than friends and even family.

What about you? Have you known Jesus to be precious to you personally, amid pain, loss, and disappointments? So often it is in these times that we learn that Christ is the only One on whom we can build our lives, and those who trust in him will never be put to shame.

You may never be asked to preach a sermon unexpectedly. But whatever your situation, may we always be ready to speak “of the sweetness and love of Jesus,” because we have come to know it for ourselves.


Learn more about Spurgeon’s earliest sermons in The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon.



The Waterbeach Pulpit – The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Vol. 7

By / Sep 1

It is easy to recount the story of C. H. Spurgeon’s arrival in London as a kind of Elijah story. In 1 Kings 17, Elijah comes on the scene suddenly with virtually no background information, and he goes on to play a pivotal role in Israel’s history. Likewise, many in Spurgeon’s day wondered at this young preacher’s origins. One paper described him as “a comet that has suddenly shot across the religious atmosphere.” But there was one group that was not at all surprised at Spurgeon’s success, namely his own congregation at Waterbeach.

When Spurgeon received the invitation to supply the pulpit in London, one of his deacons “shook his head, and remarked that… he always knew that his minister would be run away with by some large church or other.” Upon his return, his congregation “wept bitterly at the sight of [him],” knowing it was only a matter of time before his departure.

Prior to The Lost Sermons, the revival that took place in London under Spurgeon’s ministry was something of a mystery. How was this teenage preacher without a college education able to preach such powerful and eloquent sermons? But now, with the publication of the seven volumes of The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, the veil has been pulled aside, revealing these formative years of Spurgeon’s ministry prior to London. Spurgeon was not a comet that came out of nowhere. His star was already burning brightly in Waterbeach.

During his pastorate there from 1851 to 1854, “it pleased God to turn the whole place upside down. In a short time, the little thatched chapel was crammed, the biggest vagabonds of the village were weeping floods of tears, and those who had been the curse of the parish became its blessing.” And as this volume reveals, the first sermons that Spurgeon preached in London were first preached in Waterbeach. In other words, revival came to Waterbeach, before it ever came to London.  

But even Spurgeon’s ministry in the Waterbeach years should not be imagined as an overnight success. Before he was known as the Prince of Preachers, Spurgeon first had to learn how to preach. Up to this point, The Lost Sermons have revealed an earnest young preacher, steeped in Puritan theology and maturing in his ability to handle Scripture and communicate it effectively. Undoubtedly, his congregation at times sat through sermons where they did not always track with the young preacher. Spurgeon’s own sense of his weakness and dependence on God are revealed in the prayers scribbled at the conclusion of every sermon. Nonetheless, every sermon was preparing Spurgeon for his future ministry. By the time, Spurgeon arrived in London, he had preached nearly 700 sermons, over a decade’s worth of preaching experience for a typical pastor.

Volume 7 of The Lost Sermons contains sermons that Spurgeon preached from the summer of 1853 to the fall of 1854. They encompass the last year of his pastorate in Waterbeach and the first year of his pastorate in London. These sermons also form a link to The New Park Street Pulpit, which began in January 1855. Together with The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, these three collections form an unbroken chain of 40 years’ worth of sermons from the greatest preacher of the 19th century. 

  • The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon – 399 sermons – Feb. 1851 to Fall 1854 
  • The New Park Street Pulpit – 347 sermons – Jan. 1855 to Nov. 1860 
  • The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit – 3,216 sermons – Dec. 1860 to Jan. 1892 

Excerpted with permission from The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume VII. Click here to learn more.



Spurgeon on Expositional Preaching

By / Aug 29

Spurgeon believed that the power of the pulpit lay not in the preacher, but in the Word of God. Therefore, he believed that preachers should preach expositional sermons. These were sermons that took a text of Scripture as their main theme and sought to explain and apply those texts to the people. Spurgeon did not forbid other kinds of sermons, but he charged pastors to make expositional preaching their main practice.           

When crafting a sermon, Spurgeon taught his students to stick closely to the text. Whatever doctrine or application they taught, their matter “must be congruous to the text.” They should avoid thrusting the text to the side to make room for their own ideas. Instead, “the discourse should spring out of the text as a rule.” This should be evident not only to the preacher but to all that listen. The more people can see that the preacher is speaking “plainly the very word of God,” the more the sermon comes “with far greater power to the consciences of hearers.”

Some have critiqued Spurgeon’s preaching and have wondered if he was really an expositional preacher. Perhaps in reading his devotions from Morning and Evening or working through one of his more typological sermons, some have found Spurgeon to be looser in his handling of the text than they’re used to. At least two things can be said in response.

First, Spurgeon’s expositional preaching was not about a style, but a commitment to rooting his sermons in the Word of God. Some associate expositional preaching with a certain style, particularly with verse-by-verse preaching. Spurgeon, however, cared less about style. He cared more about his preaching being rooted in God’s Word. Preaching was “not a lecture about the Scripture, but Scripture itself opened up and enforced.” Most of Spurgeon’s sermons covered a single verse. But on occasion, he also preached longer passages.

But regardless of style or length of passage, Spurgeon’s aim (and the aim of all expositional preaching) was to open and apply the Scriptures to his people.

Second, Spurgeon was not afraid to preach the overarching narrative and theology of Scripture. When preaching on a single verse, Spurgeon often used that verse as a lens through which he meditated on all of Scripture, both systematically and redemptive-historically. But even in doing so, he did not abandon the text but constrained his reflections by it. A careful reading of his sermons will show that his points are not random; they flow from the structure and content of the passage. Additionally, Spurgeon was mindful of the context of the passage, which he often incorporated in the Scripture reading. In planning the service, Spurgeon always looked for readings drawn from the context or related to the text. He also provided brief commentary as he read so that by the sermon, his people had some understanding of the context. This preparatory work in the text allowed him to go further and deeper in his preaching without losing the historical-grammatical context.

At the end of the day, whether he succeeded in preaching any given sermon expositionally can be debated. What is clear is that Spurgeon advocated such preaching and sought to do it himself. These are the kinds of sermons that should make up the bulk of a pastor’s preaching. “Although in many cases topical sermons are not only allowable, but very proper, those sermons which expound the exact words of the Holy Spirit are the most useful and the most agreeable to the major part of our congregations.”


Excerpted with permission from Spurgeon the Pastor by Geoff Chang. Copyright 2022, B&H Publishing.



“The Thermopylae of Christendom”: Spurgeon the Pastor and Preaching

By / Aug 22

Spurgeon’s pastoral ministry was more than just preaching. With so much to do, he envied Daniel Rowland who “would have nothing to do with the management of the church… He kept himself to his preaching, came in through a door in the back wall of the meeting-house and disappeared suddenly when he had done.” A pastor in that situation “ought to preach like an angel.” This was not Spurgeon’s situation. He did not occupy a preaching station but pastored a church.

And yet, we should note that Spurgeon’s pastoral ministry was not less than preaching. Even with everything on his plate, he never failed in this most fundamental of pastoral responsibilities: to preach the Word. Spurgeon believed this to be true not only for himself but for all pastors. Spurgeon believed that the pulpit was “the Thermopylae of Christendom.” But in referring to “Christendom,” Spurgeon did not have any grand ideas about a Christian nation. Rather, he was referring to the local church. Just as the future of Greece depended on King Leonidas I in the Battle of Thermopylae, so Spurgeon believed that the health and unity of the church depended on the preaching of the Word. No matter how industrious of an administrator or counselor a pastor was, if he failed in his preaching, the church would also fail. At the pulpit, “the fight will be lost or won.” Therefore, Spurgeon charged his pastoral students that “the maintenance of our power in the pulpit should be our great concern, we must occupy that spiritual watch-tower with our hearts and minds awake and in full vigor.”

Throughout Spurgeon’s ministry, for a congregation of more than 5,000 members, the Metropolitan Tabernacle demonstrated remarkable unity. The church meeting minutes do not give any evidence of congregational infighting or disagreement with the elders. The church repeatedly affirmed their love and support for their pastor. The reason for this cannot be that Spurgeon always made the right decisions and pastored his church perfectly. Rather, if you were to ask him, Spurgeon would point to his preaching. Week after week, his congregation was “really fed” from God’s Word, and thus, they were satisfied and forgave “a great many sins.” Therefore, for the pastor, “pulpits must be our main care,” or everything else will fail.

As we will see, Spurgeon’s responsibilities as a pastor grew throughout his ministry. To help him with new members and pastoral care, Spurgeon led the church in calling men to serve as elders. To help him with the day-to-day pastoral and administrative responsibilities, he brought on his brother, James, to serve as his associate pastor. For all the various institutions and societies connected with the church, he relied on his deacons to assist him in his leadership. But when it came to the pulpit ministry of the church, Spurgeon alone took charge of the responsibility. He did most of the preaching, and when he was unable to preach, he arranged for pulpit supply from faithful preachers. This is not because he was territorial about the pulpit. Rather, Spurgeon understood that the heart of his pastoral calling was to responsibly give oversight to the preaching of the Word. The health and ministry of the church depended on this one thing, and he would not delegate that responsibility to anyone else.

As a result, Spurgeon felt the weight of responsibility in his preaching. The pulpit was his Thermopylae, and every sermon was a spiritual battle against the schemes of Satan. Because he preached so often and was so gifted, it would be easy to imagine Spurgeon growing comfortable with the task of preaching. This, however, was far from the case. Susannah, his wife, tells of the “soul-travail and spiritual anguish” that Spurgeon experienced during his sermon writing, not “in their preparation or arrangement, but in his own sense of accountability to God for the souls to whom he had to preach the gospel of salvation.” As his congregation multiplied and his sermons were being published around the world, Spurgeon felt the growing responsibility of each sermon. One friend tells how, in his earlier years, Spurgeon could not keep anything down before each sermon, in anticipation of the throngs who would gather to hear him. Only later in life would that physical struggle be overcome.

He did not, however, find this to be a deficiency. He once confessed to his grandfather about his physical and emotional struggles before entering the pulpit. His grandfather responded, “Be content to have it so; for when your emotion goes away your strength will be gone.” Though he preached thousands of sermons, Spurgeon never got over the weighty and awesome responsibility of preaching. “When we preach and think nothing of it, the people think nothing of it, and God does nothing by it.” As his ministry grew, Spurgeon did not coast in the pulpit but approached each sermon with trembling and prayerful dependence. This was his work as a pastor.


Excerpted with permission from Spurgeon the Pastor by Geoff Chang. Copyright 2022, B&H Publishing.



Saying Goodbye to a Pastor – Feb. 7, 1892

By / Aug 9

Charles Haddon Spurgeon entered everlasting rest on January 31, 1892. While it may be true that Christendom lost one of her best preachers, it must not be forgotten that a local church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, lost her faithful lead undershepherd. Though in mourning, the church sought to press on in obedience to the Lord in its worship and work. The following statement from the Elders and Deacons to the members of the Tabernacle demonstrates that Spurgeon was not a mere preacher; he was the pastor of his people. Though he had made some practical provisions for his passing, there was still much about the future that was uncertain. More importantly, however, Spurgeon had prepared the church spiritually, leading them to love and trust God and to live obediently to His glory, even amid loss.

Statement of Deacons and Elders read to the Church of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Lord’s Day Evening, Feb. 7, 1892.

To the members of the church assembled at the first communion service after the decease of our beloved and revered pastor, C.H. Spurgeon, held Lord’s Day evening February 7, 1892.

​Under the great calamity which has fallen upon the church, the Deacons and Elders have endeavoured to effect to the wise counsels, and to carry out the wishes of our late beloved pastor in every particular, and they take the earliest opportunity of thanking their fellow members for their confidence and support, and for their hearty co-operation by which, under the blessing of God, the unity and usefulness of the church have been maintained.

​By the removal of the Senior Pastor upon whom the Great Head of the Church bestowed such abundant honour, we have been called to suffer a loss and a grief so impossible to express. In order that the trial may be sanctified to us, as a church, and that we may glorify our covenant God in his visitation, we must bow in humble submission to the rulings of the Divine Will, and prayerfully wait for the further leading of the Holy Spirit.

​As a church we are of one heart, and of one mind in the grateful acknowledgement of the good hand of God, by which our beloved pastor was led to make the present arrangement for the supply of the pulpit, and for the administration of all the departments of our church life and work.

​One in heart and in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, the beloved Junior Pastor, James A. Spurgeon, has for many years, borne a large share of the burden incidental to the maintenance and direction of the work of this church; and his beloved brother was ever grateful for his practical wisdom and prudence, in which he had the most entire confidence. Never at any period of the history of the church were we in greater need of his judicious counsels than now, and, “esteeming him very highly in love for his work’s sake,” the church officers announce with devout thankfulness, that he has consented to serve the church as “acting pastor” during this most solemn crisis.

​The Rev. A. T. Pierson, D.D. who came to this country at the invitation of our late beloved pastor, to serve the church in the preaching of the Word, and whose richly edifying ministry in our midst has so fully justified the wisdom of the choice, has also consented to continue his labours amongst us during our present trial and need.

​The pastoral and ministerial work of the church will, therefore, be maintained for the present in every respect under the arrangements so wisely made by our late beloved pastor.

​Ample time will thus be secured for waiting upon the Lord in prayer that we may know the good pleasure of His will as to the future guidance of the church whose welfare is so dear to us all, and for whose prosperity we must labour together to the praise of the glory of his grace, “whose we are and whom we serve.”



Spurgeon’s Parting Pastoral Words – Jan. 14, 1892

By / Jul 18

The final weeks of Spurgeon’s life were spent in sunny Menton, in southern France. Throughout his ministry, he had gone there to recover from his various ailments and overwork. Now, in the fall of 1891, Spurgeon was there once again. Under the care of his wife Susie and skilled doctors, the congregation fully expected him to recover and return to London to continue his famous ministry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Spurgeon himself held on to this hope. But this was not to be. On January 31, 1892, Spurgeon went to be with the Lord.[1]

Throughout his ministry, Spurgeon wrote many letters to his congregation during his travels. Even when traveling abroad, visiting new places, and preaching before thousands, Spurgeon never forgot his own church. In his letters to them, we see the affection of a pastor for his people, his confidence in his elders and deacons, and his dependence on his people for their prayers. During his final trip to Mentone, Spurgeon committed to writing a weekly letter back to his people, updating them on his situation and encouraging them to persevere. These four letters comprise Spurgeon’s final pastoral words to his people.[2]

Over the next four weeks, we will be publishing Spurgeon’s last letters to his congregation, beginning on December 24 and ending on January 14. While nobody expected these to be his last words to his church, they are a fitting conclusion to his pastoral ministry. In them, we see Spurgeon’s confidence in God’s power to build up the church and save the lost, even apart from his own ministry. We see his call for his people to persevere in the truth of the gospel. And we see his evident love for them. In other words, what characterized Spurgeon’s ministry from the very first day continued to his last breath. May the same be true of pastors today.


Menton. Jan. 14. 1892

My Dear Friends,

I have not seen the doctor since writing last time, & I have therefore little to say about my health so far as medical testimony goes. We have had a week of broken, uncertain weather; days of rain, intervals of wind, & hours of cold. This has kept me very much within doors, for I dare not run the risk of a chill; & therefore I fear I have made no progress, & can hardly hope that I am quite so well, as to my internal mischief. In other respects I feel fairly up to the mark, & deeply grateful to be free from pain, & free from fear as to the ultimate result.

I earnestly hope that your weather will improve. When it is bad here what must it be with you. The snow on the mountains reminds us of what others are enduring. I wish I could be in such health as to be always with you, but as this cannot be I am most thankful for the retreat afforded by this sheltered spot, & even more so for the rest of heart which comes to me through knowing that you are all spiritually fed under the ministry of Dr. Pierson. May his health be maintained & that of his wife during your trying winter.

You may feel sure that I am doing pretty well, or the doctor would be looking me up. When he next calls I will have a bulletin from him; & till then you may rest in peace about me. May the saturating showers of blessing, for which I am looking, soon fall in tropical abundance, & may no part of the field be left dry. If there are any very sad, down-cast, & self-condemned ones among you, I desire my special love to them. The Lord himself looks from heaven to spy out such special characters. See Job 33:27, 28. I think this text is a message for somebody. May grace abound towards you.

Yours ever heartily,

C. H. Spurgeon



[1] For an account of Spurgeon’s last days and his funeral, see From Mentone to Norwood: The Final Journey of C. H. Spurgeon

[2] Spurgeon’s last sermon to his people was preached on June 7, 1891 The Statute of David for the Sharing of the Spoil



Spurgeon’s Parting Pastoral Words – Jan. 6, 1892

By / Jul 11

The final weeks of Spurgeon’s life were spent in sunny Menton, in southern France. Throughout his ministry, he had gone there to recover from his various ailments and overwork. Now, in the fall of 1891, Spurgeon was there once again. Under the care of his wife Susie and skilled doctors, the congregation fully expected him to recover and return to London to continue his famous ministry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Spurgeon himself held on to this hope. But this was not to be. On January 31, 1892, Spurgeon went to be with the Lord.[1]

Throughout his ministry, Spurgeon wrote many letters to his congregation during his travels. Even when traveling abroad, visiting new places, and preaching before thousands, Spurgeon never forgot his own church. In his letters to them, we see the affection of a pastor for his people, his confidence in his elders and deacons, and his dependence on his people for their prayers. During his final trip to Mentone, Spurgeon committed to writing a weekly letter back to his people, updating them on his situation and encouraging them to persevere. These four letters comprise Spurgeon’s final pastoral words to his people.[2]

Over the next four weeks, we will be publishing Spurgeon’s last letters to his congregation, beginning on December 24 and ending on January 14. While nobody expected these to be his last words to his church, they are a fitting conclusion to his pastoral ministry. In them, we see Spurgeon’s confidence in God’s power to build up the church and save the lost, even apart from his own ministry. We see his call for his people to persevere in the truth of the gospel. And we see his evident love for them. In other words, what characterized Spurgeon’s ministry from the very first day continued to his last breath. May the same be true of pastors today.


Menton. Jan. 6. 92

My Dear Friends,

There is nothing for me to say in reporting myself to head-quarters beyond this – that I hope & believe that the steady & solid progress which had begun is continued, & will continue. If a doctor were to visit me now for the first time, & were to investigate my disease, he would pronounce it to be a bad case. But those who know what I have been, & how much worse than at present everything was – must wonder at me, & think it a remarkably good case. God be thanked for all that he has done in answer to his people’s prayers. Never let us have a doubts as to the fidelity of ability of the God of the promises & of the mercy-seat.

On looking back upon the Valley of the Shadow of death through which I passed so short a time ago, I feel my mind grasping with firmer grip than ever that everlasting gospel which for so many years I have preached to you. We have not been deceived. Jesus does give rest to those who come to him, he does save those who trust him, he does photograph his image on those who learn of him. I hate the Christianized infidelity of the modern school more than ever, as I see how it rends away from sinful man his last & only hope. Cling to the gospel of forgiveness through the substitutionary sacrifice; & spread it with all your might, each one of you, for it is the only cure for bleeding hearts.

Peace be unto you as a whole; & peace be to each one! I greet with whole-hearted gratitude my brother Dr. Pierson, & with unfeigned love each deacon, elder, & member, & worker. My own dear brother in the flesh is also ever watching over the concern of our great work. May the Lord himself keep watch over all. To Mr. Stott, I wish a long & prosperous ministry where the Lord shall direct him.

Yours ever lovingly,

C. H. Spurgeon



[1] For an account of Spurgeon’s last days and his funeral, see From Mentone to Norwood: The Final Journey of C. H. Spurgeon

[2] Spurgeon’s last sermon to his people was preached on June 7, 1891 The Statute of David for the Sharing of the Spoil



Spurgeon’s Parting Pastoral Words – Dec. 31, 1891

By / Jul 4

The final weeks of Spurgeon’s life were spent in sunny Menton, in southern France. Throughout his ministry, he had gone there to recover from his various ailments and overwork. Now, in the fall of 1891, Spurgeon was there once again. Under the care of his wife Susie and skilled doctors, the congregation fully expected him to recover and return to London to continue his famous ministry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Spurgeon himself held on to this hope. But this was not to be. On January 31, 1892, Spurgeon went to be with the Lord.[1]

Throughout his ministry, Spurgeon wrote many letters to his congregation during his travels. Even when traveling abroad, visiting new places, and preaching before thousands, Spurgeon never forgot his own church. In his letters to them, we see the affection of a pastor for his people, his confidence in his elders and deacons, and his dependence on his people for their prayers. During his final trip to Mentone, Spurgeon committed to writing a weekly letter back to his people, updating them on his situation and encouraging them to persevere. These letters comprise Spurgeon’s final pastoral words to his people.[2]

Over the next four weeks, we will be publishing Spurgeon’s last letters to his congregation, beginning on December 24 and ending on January 14. While nobody expected these to be his last words to his church, they are a fitting conclusion to his pastoral ministry. In them, we see Spurgeon’s confidence in God’s power to build up the church and save the lost, even apart from his own ministry. We see his call for his people to persevere in the truth of the gospel. And we see his evident love for them. In other words, what characterized Spurgeon’s ministry from the very first day continued to his last breath. May the same be true of pastors today.


Menton Dec. 31. 91

My Dear Friends,

I am sorry my letter of last week reached London too late for reading on Sunday, but this was occasioned by delays in the trains, & not by any omission on my part. It is kind on the part of so many newspapers to publish it, for thus I trust most of you have read it.

I believe I am right in reporting a greater change in the disease than could be spoken of before. It is still a great drain upon me; but as it has improved so far, I believe it will make more rapid diminution. What a joy it will be to be within measurable distance of the time to return to my pulpit & to you. I have not reached that point yet.

Now may the Lord cause the cloud of blessing to burst upon you in a great tropical shower. I am expecting this. Grateful beyond expression for all that the Lord has done & is doing, I am eager for more. Indulgence in covetousness is sinful, but not when we “covet earnestly the best gifts.” All that I can do is to pray & expect. I am sometimes fearful lest anything in me should hinder the blessing; do you not each one feel the same fear on your own account? Before some sweet music is about to be heard, there is a hush. Each one is afraid to breathe lest the tone should be spoiled & the music marred. I fell just so at this moment. May no whisper that would grieve the Holy Spirit be heard in house or heart. Let all coldness, worldliness, difference, or selfishness be put forth as the old leaven, that we may keep the feast of New Year without anything that defileth.

The Lord himself deal out to each one of his children a full portion, & to those who linger at the gate, may the Good Spirit give his gracious drawings that they may cross the sacred threshold this day. Peace be within the gates of our dear sanctuary, & prosperity within her doors. For my brethren & companions sake will I now say, “Peace be within thee.”

Yours to serve when I can & to love unceasingly,

C. H. Spurgeon



[1] For an account of Spurgeon’s last days and his funeral, see From Mentone to Norwood: The Final Journey of C. H. Spurgeon

[2] Spurgeon’s last sermon to his people was preached on June 7, 1891 The Statute of David for the Sharing of the Spoil



Spurgeon’s Parting Pastoral Words – Dec. 24, 1891

By / Jun 27

The final weeks of Spurgeon’s life were spent in sunny Menton, in southern France. Throughout his ministry, he had gone there to recover from his various ailments and overwork. Now, in the fall of 1891, Spurgeon was there once again. Under the care of his wife Susie and skilled doctors, the congregation fully expected him to recover and return to London to continue his famous ministry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Spurgeon himself held on to this hope. But this was not to be. On January 31, 1892, Spurgeon went to be with the Lord.[1]

Throughout his ministry, Spurgeon wrote many letters to his congregation during his travels. Even when traveling abroad, visiting new places, and preaching before thousands, Spurgeon never forgot his own church. In his letters to them, we see the affection of a pastor for his people, his confidence in his elders and deacons, and his dependence on his people for their prayers. During his final trip to Mentone, Spurgeon committed to writing a weekly letter back to his people, updating them on his situation and encouraging them to persevere. These letters comprise Spurgeon’s final pastoral words to his people.[2]

Over the next four weeks, we will be publishing Spurgeon’s last letters to his congregation, beginning on December 24 and ending on January 14. While nobody expected these to be his last words to his church, they are a fitting conclusion to his pastoral ministry. In them, we see Spurgeon’s confidence in God’s sovereign grace, even apart from his own ministry. We see Spurgeon’s call for his people to persevere in the truth of the gospel. And we see his evident love for them. In other words, what characterized Spurgeon’s ministry from the very first day continued to his last breath. May the same be true of pastors today.


Menton. Dec. 24. 91.

My Dear Friends,

            For the last time in the year 1891 I write you, & with this brief note, I send hearty gratitude for your loving-kindness to me during the year which is ending & fervent wishes for a special blessing on the year so soon to begin. I have nearly finished thirty-eight years of my ministry among you, & have completed XXXVII volumes of published sermons, preached in your midst. Yet we are not wearied of each other. I shall hail the day when I may again speak with you. Surrounded by ten thousand mercies my time of weakness is rendered restful and happy; but still to be able in health & vigour to pursue the blissful path of useful service, would be my heaven below. To be denied activities which have become part of my nature, seems so strange; but as I cannot alter it, & as I am sure that infinite wisdom rules it, I bow before the divine will, — my Father’s will. Again the Doctor reports favourably, that is to say, yesterday he said that there was decided improvement as to the disease; nothing great, but as much as he could hope for; — nothing speedy could be looked for, but matters were going most encouragingly. I was to be very careful about a chill, etc.

            This is an old & dull story to you. Only your prayerful & persevering interest in me could make me bold enough to repeat it.

            Honestly, I do not think you are losers by my absence, so long as the Lord enables our dear friend Dr. Pierson to preach as he does. There is a cloud of blessing resting on you now. Turn the cloud into a shower by the heavenly electricity of believing prayer. May the Watch-night be a night to be remembered, & on the first hour of the year may the Lord say, “From this day will I bless you.”

Yours with faithful love,

C. H. Spurgeon



[1] For an account of Spurgeon’s last days and his funeral, see From Mentone to Norwood: The Final Journey of C. H. Spurgeon

[2] Spurgeon’s last sermon to his people was preached on June 7, 1891 The Statute of David for the Sharing of the Spoil



Mark Dever’s Foreword to C.H. Spurgeon’s ‘Only a Prayer Meeting’

By / Apr 29

Almost a decade after Spurgeon’s death, his publishers (and Tabernacle members) Passmore and Alabaster brought out a book of 367 pages. It was filled with 40 addresses by Spurgeon, almost all of which were given extemporaneously at his church’s Monday evening prayer meeting. When I came to our congregation (originally named Metropolitan Baptist Church, presumably after Spurgeon’s congregation), I soon rearranged our prayer meeting. One of my most enjoyable reading experiences was earlier this year when I first read Mr. Spurgeon’s book Only a Prayer Meeting! I had bought my copy of the 1976 Pilgrim Publications reprint in 1984 in Inverness, Scotland. But it had lain unread among scores of other volumes of Spurgeon’s works, which, for some reason, got more of my attention.

Then I took it with me on a trip and began to read it on the plane flight across the country from San Diego to DC. It captured my attention. I couldn’t put it down. I found Spurgeon describing his own prayer meeting in terms at many points like our own! And I also read accounts of remarkable providences and Biblical wisdom as Spurgeon exhorted his own people to prayer. And regularly, more than a thousand of them would join him on a Monday evening for their prayer meeting.

Pastors, you will enjoy the outspokenness of Spurgeon in his opinions, even if you may not always share his view. In his first lecture, he is decrying the spectacle of street work of The Salvation Army, accompanied by too many passing false conversions. Spurgeon says, ‘Gold, silver and precious stones are scarce material, not easily found; but then they endure the fire. What is the use of religion which comes up in a night, and perishes as soon?’

Other times, you’ll find yourself chuckling in recognition or agreement. Practical wisdom is found on every page. ‘Let as many as possible take part in the utterance of the church’s desires; the change of voice will prevent weariness, and the variety of subjects will excite attention. Better to have six pleading earnestly, than two drowsily. . . .’ We’ve all been there!

Another part of the wonder of this volume is the plain way with which Spurgeon writes even more as a Christian than as a pastor. What I mean is that his wisdom in being a pastor is merely a subset of his greater and deeper experience as a Christian. In one lecture Spurgeon warns ‘There is even a danger of loving some things which are associated with Christ as much as we love Christ Himself; and we must be on the watch against such a feeling as that.’ That simple observation is what a living Christian feels who loves the ministry God has called him to, but who loves God more, and who (rightly) senses the danger in his own soul of loving the Lord’s work more than the Lord Himself. May God deliver each one of us from such wrong-headed and wrong-hearted professionalism.

His evangelistic arguments with the reluctant believer are powerful, too. Look at the last couple of paragraphs in his address ‘God’s Willingness to Bless Saints and Sinners.’ In the middle of that passage, Spurgeon urges the wavering on to faith—‘Make a dash for it. Believe that Jesus Christ is able to save you. Trust Him, and He has saved you. . . . Cease to look within, and begin to look up.’ Here Spurgeon’s evangelistic heart pours out through his exhortations to pray. He is a challenge to us, and a model for us.

Along the way, Spurgeon attacks worldliness and annihilationism. He attacks giving up too soon. ‘We are called, not to flirt with error, but to fight with it; therefore, let us be brave, and push on the conflict.’ And he teaches the Bible, too. When was the first public worship service in the world? Spurgeon has a whole address on it here! Can children be converted? Yes, he answers! Fistfuls of simple truths are here given out for the reader who will take a few minutes and peruse a chapter. One or two a day, and the whole volume will be read in less than a month. Once I started reading it on that flight I couldn’t put it down until I had read the whole thing!

There is a sad note in this book. Spurgeon could tell that the pouring out of the Spirit he had so long enjoyed was waning toward the end of the 19th century. He writes ‘Thirty years ago, things were very different from what they are now. It was easy to gather a congregation then, compared with what it is now; the spirit of hearing is departing from our cities.’ As we face our own questions of spiritual decline, let’s listen to this wise older brother who has gone before us, about how we can assault the throne of grace ourselves, and lead our congregations to join us in this holy contest.


This article was originally published on the Christian Focus blog here.

Click here to purchase Only a Prayer Meeting: Studies on Prayer Meetings and Prayer Meeting Addresses by C. H. Spurgeon.