Blog Entries

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

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Geoff Chang June 27, 2022

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