Blog Entries

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

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Geoff Chang July 18, 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 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