Blog Entries

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

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Geoff Chang July 11, 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. 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