Spurgeon, Heir of the Puritans by Ernest W. Bacon

Spurgeon, Heir of the Puritans by Ernest W. Bacon

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"Spurgeon, Heir of the Puritans" by Ernest W. Bacon is the biography of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, one of our greatest leaders in the church. Although he never attended theology school, he became one of the most popular preachers in London at the age of 21. Hailing crowds of thousands, for over forty years, he was one of the most influential preachers of all time. Not only was he an amazing preacher, but he also founded churches, the Pastor's College, Sunday schools, and even an orphanage. Spurgeon lived his life from beginning to end in the name of the Lord.
Born on June 1934, he came from a lower middle class family who were strong Nonconforists. When he was 18 months old, due to "unfavorable circumstances" he had to stay with his grandparents and his Aunt Ann Spurgeon. He lived with them for six impressionable years. His grandfather was Reverend James Spurgeon and was a strong preacher of the Gospel. His Grandmother was very sweet and loving. She died with the bible spread across her lap with finger resting upon Job 19:21 "The hand of God has touched me". His Aunt Ann took chief charge of Charles. She was 17 when he came to stay. She taught him his letters, and also encouraged him with his sense of humor that he was so remembered for in his later years.
Charles went back to his loving home at the age of seven. He was very sad to leave his grandparents, but he had two sisters and a brother back at home. He remembers his mothers influence up him and his siblings. She was very prayerful with him and his brother and sisters. He said he could never forget how she would bow upon her knees with her arms around his neck and pray for him.
At a young age he had a passion for the word of God. He loved reading and he read his father's collection of books which included the works of the Puritans. He searched for the real knowledge of God. He was under the conviction of sin and before he was saved he said that day and night God's hand lay heavy on him. When he slept, he dreamed of his search. He prayed, wept, without the greatness of God's mercy. He went from church to church searching for God, but he felt that the men whom were in the pulpits did not actually preach the Gospel.

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What he wanted to know was, "How could he get his sins forgiven?'. Finally on Sunday, January 6, 1850 he rose to pray and read his bible, but found no rest for his soul. In his search he set out for a church In Colchester. Caught in a snow storm, he turned down a side street and came upon Primitive Methodist Church . It was not a place of his choice, but it was God's choice. The Gospel was preached by an uneducated preacher who could hardly read. He spoke a few words from Isaiah 45:22. What that uneducated preacher preached was so simple that Charles believed and was saved! The cloud was gone and the darkness rolled away. Almost sixteen, he walked 8 miles to the Baptismal Service. That evening it was recorded that during prayer "people wept with joy" as they listened to his prayer.
With new fervor on his conversion he immersed himself in the Bible and good deeds. Seeing a Christian he knew about to enter a dancing booth at a fair, he questioned him, "Why are you here?" At sixteen years of age he was called to preach the Gospel. He went to Cambridge as a student teacher in 1850. He was there for three years without pay. His puritan sympathies were fostered by his stay there. He started taking preaching appointments even though he was very immature. He tells us he made many blunders. His first church was a Baptist church, Chapel of Waterbeach. His first convert was a laborer's wife. It was his intense devotion to his Savior, his wonderful knowledge of the Word of God and his grasp of vital doctrines and his deep passion for the salvation of souls the combined to make him a mighty instrument in the hands of the Lord!
He was a young and powerful preacher that was heard about from cities around. In 1853 he was a speaker at an Annual Meeting of the Cambridge Sunday School Union. His extreme youth caused two minister speakers to publicly make insulting references to him. He responded with scripture in a very well spoken retort which made a very good impression on a man named Mr. George Gould. That led to an invitation to preach at a very important church, New Park Street Baptist Church. It's membership was 313, but had fallen away to about 200. Due to Spurgeon's sermons they had to enlarge the church to hold 1,500 people in May of 1855. Soon that became too small, holding three thousand people in a 1500 capacity building with hundreds outside waiting to get in! Soon after, they held the sermons in Exter hall which held 4,500 but even that was too small. They then took Surrey Music Hall which held 12,000 people. The first night the building seated 12,000 people with 10,000 outside unable to get in. Just as he began preaching, a person in the chruch yelled "FIRE!" Mass hysteria ensued, ending in disaster. Seven people were killed and twenty-eight were seriouly injured.
Crowds upon crowds came to hear Charles. Rich, poor, young, old, professional, and peasants all came to hear his surmons. It was his earnestness, simplicity, and the power of the Holy Spirit that Spurgeon possessed
that drew in these large crowds. Along with increasing popularity came opposition. Jealous ministers lost members and fanned the flame of hatred, ridicule and contempt. The Saturday Review, and Punch made satirical cartoons and columns downing Spurgeon and his church regularly. Spurgeon made no reply to these derogatory attacks; He knew the Master would vindicate him.
He met his wife, Susannah at New Park Street Church. They married on January 8, 1856. They had twin sons Charles and Thomas on September 20, 1856. When he preached, he asked her to sit in a place that he could not see her because she made him nervous! She was always of poor health, but supported Charles in his ministries. She died October 22, 1903, eleven years after Spurgeon. They were close in life, just as they were close in death. Spurgeon was buried in the same grave as his wife.
Membership grew from New Park Street Church form 232 in 1854 to 5,307 in 1892. He sometimes preached 10 to 12 times a week. As his popularity grew, he went from city to city, country to country. Some of the places he visited were Ireland, Dublin, Paris, Passy, and Holland. America offered him $10,000 to come preach, but he did not preach for the offer of money. In 1861 Charles wanted a suitable place to settle and preach, so they raised the money and built The Metropolitan Tabernacle.
Passmore and Albaster, deacons of the church, published his sermons and became very wealthy. They published 5,000 sermons, and it is estimated that one hundred million were sold. The sermons were translated, and published in French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, and many other languages. His sermons were even cabled across the Atlantic for publication in America.
Although Spurgeon was not a well educated man, he was well read. He owned, and read many books of the puritans. His main book, of course was the Bible. The books of Puritans and the Bible completely molded Spurgeon which formed his theology and eventually made Spurgeon the "Heir of Puritans". Puritanism was the creed of men in deadly earnest about the worth of the soul, judgment of God, and pleasing the Lord. Being Christ centered men, they opposed theater, bear baiting, cockfighting, rope walking, dancing, and May Day revels because they were associated with drunkenness, gambling, violence, and lust. He held dear doctrines that he believed
from first to last. He believed the entire Bible to be the Word of God, the sovereignty of God, predestination and election, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, justification by faith alone, the work of the holy spirit, holiness, the loveliness of Christ, the final perseverance of saints, the return of the Lord.
In his later years he met with some controversy, one was concerning baptismal regeneration. He felt that one must be saved by faith and then baptized, not just sprinkled with holy water. The other controversy was the down grade controversy. From different areas he heard that preachers were not preaching the Gospel from the scriptures. He started a series of articles disputing this and he also resigned from the Baptist Union. The Baptist union met to bring a Declaratory Statement of Facts and principles for acceptance or rejection. There were seven votes against the censure. Spurgeon was never righted, and the assembly was delighted at the condemnation of the greatest, noblest leader of their faith.
Spurgeon, a "prince of preachers" did many noble deeds in his lifetime in the name of Jesus. He started a college for ministers, now called, "Spurgeons College" that was very successful and is to this day. He founded, along with Mrs. Hillyard, an orphanage for children. It was built close to his church that they could attend and be saved. It was built with the ideal that it would be like home. Each home had a "mother" that cared for several children. Spurgeon loved children and the orphanage was dear to his heart. He helped found the Colportage Association, which distributed thousands of Bibles.
Spurgeon was the author of 135 books. He was a man of faith, hope, love, and prayer. He believed in "Pray without ceasing". Spurgeon was one of the greatest puritan preachers who ever lived and at the age of 57, on January 31, 1892, he died. His last words were "Oh wifie, I have had such a blessed time with my Lord!" On his tombstone is inscribed, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7
"Spurgeon, Heir of the Puritans" is an exceptional book that taught me many things about Charles Haddon Spurgeon and the Puritan church. Ernest W. Bacon has given me a wonderful look into Spurgeon's life and a new respect for him as a whole. I would recommend
this title to any Christian looking for hope in their church.
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