Saturday, November 3, 2007

Spurgeon's Conversion

Mr. Spurgeon's Account of his Conversion and Early Preaching

I will tell you how I myself was brought to the knowledge of the truth. It may happen the telling of that will bring someone else to Christ. It pleased God in my childhood to convince me of my sin. I lived a miserable creature, finding no hope, no comfort, thinking that surely God would never save me. At last the worst came to the worst - I was miserable; I could do scarcely anything. My heart was broken in pieces. Six months did I pray - prayed agonizingly with all my heart, and never had an answer. I resolved that, in the town where I lived, I would visit every place of worship in order to find out the way of salvation. I felt I was willing to do anything and be anything if God would only forgive me.

I set off, determined to go round to all the chapels, and I went to all the places of worship; and though I dearly venerate the men that occupy those pulpits now, and did so then, I am bound to say that I never heard them once fully preach the gospel. I mean by that, they preached truth, great truths, many good truths that were fitting to many of their congregation - spiritually-minded people; but what I wanted to know was, How can I get my sins forgiven? And they never once told me that. I wanted to hear how a poor sinner, under a sense of sin, might find peace with God; and when I went I heard a sermon on "Be not deceived: God is not mocked," which cut me up worse, but did not say how I might escape.

I went again another day, and the text was something about the glories of the righteous: nothing for poor me. I was something like a dog under the table, not allowed to eat of the children's food. I went time after time, and I can honestly say, I don't know that I ever went without prayer to God, and I am sure there was not a more attentive hearer in all the place than myself, for I panted and longed to understand how I might be saved.

At last, one snowy day - it snowed so much, I could not go to the place I had determined to go to, and I was obliged to stop on the road, and it was a blessed stop to me - I found rather an obscure street, and turned down a court, and there was a little chapel. I wanted to go somewhere, but I did not know this place. It was the Primitive Methodists' chapel. I had heard of these people from many, and how they sang so loudly that they made people's heads ache; but that did not matter. I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they made my head ache ever so much I did not care. So, sitting down, the service went on, but no minister came. At last a very thin-looking man came into the pulpit and opened his Bible, and read these words: "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." Just setting his eyes upon me, as if he knew me all by heart, he said: "Young man, you are in trouble." Well, I was, sure enough. Says he, "You will never get out of it unless you look to Christ."

And then, lifting up his hands, he cried out, as only, I think, a Primitive Methodist could do, "Look, look, look! It is only look!" said he. I saw at once the way of salvation. Oh, how did I leap for joy at that moment! I know not what else he said: I did not take much notice of it - I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, they only looked and were healed. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard this word, "Look!" what a charming sound it seemed to me. Oh, I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away! and in heaven I will look on still in my joy unutterable.

I now think I am bound never to preach a sermon without preaching to sinners. I do think that a minister who can preach a sermon without addressing sinners does not know how to preach.

On Oct. 11, 1864, the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle preached a sermon to five hundred hearers in the chapel at Colchester (in which, he was converted), on the occasion of the anniversary in that place of worship. He took for his text the memorable words, Isaiah 45:22, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved," etc., and the preacher said , "That I heard preached from in this chapel when the Lord converted me." And pointing to a seat on the left hand, under the gallery, he said: "I was sitting in that pew when I was converted." This honest confession produced a thrilling effect upon the congregation, and very much endeared the successful pastor to many hearts....

Early in the month of January, 1856, Mr. Spurgeon preached a sermon to his own congregation on Sunday morning, which is entitled "Sovereignty and Salvation." In that sermon he says: "Six years ago today, as near as possible at this very hour of the day, I was in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity, but had yet, by divine grace, been led to feel the bitterness of that bondage, and to cry out by reason of the soreness of its slavery. Seeking rest and finding none, I stepped within the house of God, and sat there, afraid to look upward, lest I should be utterly cut off , and lest his fierce wrath should consume me. The minister rose in his pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text: 'Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.'

"I looked that moment; the grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in that instant; and

"'Ere since by faith I saw the stream
His flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.'

"I shall never forget that day while memory holds its place; nor can I help repeating this text whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord. How strangely gracious! How wonderfully and marvelously kind that he who heard these words so little time ago, for his own soul's profit, should now address you this morning as hearers from the same text, in the full and confident hope that some poor sinner within these walls may hear the glad tidings of salvation for himself also, and may today be turned 'from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,' (Acts 26:18)!"

(Henry Davenport Northrop, Life And Works Of Spurgeon, pages 21-24, bolded emphasis mine)

From this account, we can see that Spurgeon's extended search caused him to greatly desire that others would hear the truth of salvation every time he preached. The Lord used that trying time in Spurgeon's life for his good and for the good of others. I (Jerry) well recall my own time of desperate searching for the truth before I came to know the Lord as my Saviour in November 1992. I truly did not know there was such a thing as a way to Heaven or a gift of eternal life. Spurgeon's example in this area has been an inspiration to me, and every time I preach - even if I think that all present are believers - I desire that the Gospel be clearly presented, so that no one else need wander hopelessly through life, lost and uncertain about their eternal future. We can know for certain that if we place personal faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary that we have His gift of eternal life and a home forever in Heaven!

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1 comment:

  1. I read an account of a conversation that Spurgeon had with his mother some time after his conversion. His mother remarked how she had prayed for him to be converted, but never desired for him to become a Baptist. Charles replied that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. :-)