Last month, we published the first five years of The Sword and the Trowel on Spurgeon.org. Today, we are releasing the second five years, from 1870-1874. During these years, Spurgeon’s ministry continues to expand as his students graduate from the Pastors’ College, churches are planted, missionaries are sent out, the orphanage and book distribution ministries continue to grow, and more. Amid these busy and fruitful years, The Sword and Trowel is one of the primary communication channels for all these Spurgeonic enterprises.
Here are a few articles worth checking out in these second five years. As you read through these magazines, hit us up on Twitter (@SpurgeonMBTS) if you find anything interesting!
(To jump straight to the article, click on the link, then click the “View this Resource” button.)
How Shall We Sing? – Spurgeon on how to encourage congregational singing
COULD we rule the service of song in the house of the Lord, we should, we fear, come into conflict with the prejudices and beliefs of many most excellent men, and bring a hornet’s nest about our ears. Although we have neither the will nor the power to become reformers of sacred music, we should like to whisper a few things into the ear of some of our Jeduthuns or Asaphs, who happen to be “chief musicians” in country towns or rural villages.
The Ministry Needed by the Churches, and Measures for Providing – A summary of Spurgeon’s philosophy of pastoral ministry
No one can doubt that the spiritual condition of the Christian church is very much affected by the character of its ministry. For good or for evil, the leaders do actually lead to a very large extent. Doubtless the hearers influence the preacher, but for the most part the stronger current runs the other way. “Like priest, like people,” is a well-known and truthful proverb, applicable with undiminished force to those who scorn the priestly title.
Use the Pen – Spurgeon’s encouragement to Christians to use writing as a tool for ministry
Every man who addresses his fellow creatures with the voice should try his hand at pen and paper, if only for his own sake; it will correct his style, give it more accuracy, more condensation; probably, therefore, more weight. The possibility of doing good to the souls of men is a grand incentive which needs no other to supplement it, and such a possibility beyond all question exists when warmhearted thought is expressed in telling language, and scattered broadcast in type among the masses. Young men, look to your goosequills, your Gillets;, or your Waverleys, and see if you cannot write for Jesus.
UPON one or two matters we shall this month give our readers our advice gratis, and at least we shall feel sure that it is worth the fee charged for it, if not more. When a man has been more than twenty-one years in the ministry he may be considered to be of age, and upon some points, it may no be foolish to “ask him.” We shall be quite willing in future numbers to give such answers as we can to any queries of sufficient importance for general edification. Though by no means skilled in the law, we have some experience, in matters concerning the gospel; and wilt in this paper and succeeding ones give replies to certain queries which have reached us. Should any tender consciences feel aggrieved by receiving that for which they have not paid, they can forward the usual six shillings and eight pence to the Stockwell Orphanage.
Acta Non Verba – Spurgeon on the role of action in the Christian life
The intensely practical character of Christianity might be inferred from the life of its founder. In Jesus we see no display, no aiming at effect, nothing spoken or done to decorate or ornament the simplicity of his daily life. True, he was a prophet, mighty in words as well as in deeds; but his words were downright and direct, winged with a purpose, and never uttered for speaking’s sake.
John Ploughman on Mothers – Spurgeon’s encouragement to Christian mothers
MOST men are what their mothers made them. The father is away from home all day, and has not half the influence over the children that the mother has. The cow has most to do with the calf. If a ragged colt grows into a good horse, we know who it is that combed him. A mother is therefore a very responsible woman, even though she may be the poorest in the land, for the bad or the good of her boys and girls very much depends upon her. Just as she bends the twigs the trees will grow. As is the gardener such is the garden, as is the wife such is the family. Samuel’s mother made him a little coat every year, but she had done a deal for him before that. Samuel would not have been Samuel if Hannah had not been Hannah. We shall never see a better set of men till the mothers are better. We must have Sarahs and Rebekahs before we shall see Isaacs and Jacobs. Grace does not run in the blood, but we generally find that the Timothies have mothers of a godly sort.
A Few Words Upon Objections to Revivals – Spurgeon distinguishes between revivalism and true revivals.
We deprecate most solemnly the excesses of certain revivalists; we lament the foolish rant and false doctrine which have poisoned former movements in certain quarters, but our solemn conviction is that the present gracious visitation which many parts of England and Scotland are enjoying is of the Lord, and should be hailed with delight by all gracious men. ‘God speed it,’ we say, ‘and make all the world to feel its power to the confusion of the hosts of evil and to the exaltation of the Son of God.’