|Image from Spurgeon.org|
Charles Haddon Spurgeon died today.
Actually he died on January 31, 1892 at 11:05 P.M. He was 57.
However, it seems as if he died today.
I have just completed 1500 plus pages of the Autobiography of Spurgeon, which was put together by his wife Susannah and his secretary Joseph Harrald. The original work was in four volumes. Every word of the original is retained in the massive two volume set by Pilgrim Publications.
Charles Spurgeon was characterized in many ways. It was his son Thomas who first referred to him as the Prince of Preachers. He was that. Some have concluded that Spurgeon was the greatest preacher since the Apostle Paul. He was a roaring lion to be sure.
It is not at all uncommon for me to find one of my daughters weeping while they are holding a book. When I enquire about the reason for their tears, it is often that an important character, in whatever book that they are reading, has died. Too often I have made an insensitive comment. Today, I feel their pain.
I remember hearing a lecture on C-Span in 1997 by James I. Robertson, Jr. He had just completed his book, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend. That excellent biography of Jackson is almost 1,000 pages. When he turned in his final edits to the publisher, Robertson said that it was hard to give Jackson up.
I had to give Spurgeon up today, but just for a little while.
I have read numerous biographies of Spurgeon but never the original 4-vol Autobiography. I must say, that I was not ready for him to die. However he will live again. I will pick up another biography and read of his birth, childhood, teenage years, ministry, and marriage. I will again visit the Crystal Palace on that evening when Charles slyly made his intentions known to Susannah by asking her: "Do you pray for him who is to be your husband?"
I will travel with him as he journeys from town-to-town and church-to-church, preaching the gospel that he so loved. I will be with him on his trips to Mentone where he sought rest and healing. I will join Charles and his family as they gather for family worship. I will listen intently, along with thousands of others, as he opens the Bible to preach.
And once again, in the books, Charles Haddon Spurgeon will die. And my lips will quiver.
His last written words were a letter that was sent to his church in London, the Metropolitan Tabernacle. He closed the letter with these words: "Love to all friends."
A few days earlier he told his secretary, "My work is done."
Spurgeon was a Christ-saturated man. At his funeral service, Dr. Archibald Brown said:
Champion of God, thy battle long and nobly fought is over! The sword, which clave to thine hand, has dropped at last; the palm branch takes its place. No longer does the helmet press thy brow, oft weary with its surging thoughts of battle; the victor's wreath from the Great Commander's hand has already proved thy full reward.
Spurgeon died today. I find myself fighting back the tears.