Pastor, Author, & Editor - 1834 to 1892
In fact, during the reign of Charles II, one
of his ancestors, Job Spurgeon, was committed to the Chelmsford jail for
fifteen weeks, rather than be a traitor to his convictions.
| Charles Haddon
Spurgeon began preaching at the age of sixteen. At twenty-five, he
built Londonís famous Metropolitan Tabernacle, seating around 5,000.
It was never large enough. Even when traveling he preached to 10,000
eager listeners a week. To this day, he is still referred to as "The
Prince of Preachers."
Born in the English village
of Kelvedon, in Essex, 1834, young Charles came from a heritage of sturdy
It is interesting that his
family were all Paedo-Baptists, until his grandfather, James Spurgeon,
declared for believers' baptism by immersion. James answered God's
call to the ministry and accepted the pastorate of the Independent
Church at Stambourne in 1810, and ministered for more than half a century
at the same church. Young Charles would spend hours reading in his
grandfather's study. "It was in that dear old study," he says, "that
I first made acquaintance with `Foxe's Martyrs,' `Bunyan's Pilgrim,' and,
further on, with the great masters of Scriptural theology, with whom no
moderns are worthy to be named in the same day."
John Spurgeon, the father
of Charles, was for several years pastor of the Independent Church at Cranbrook
in Kent, England. Both Mr. and Mrs. Spurgeon sacrificed much
to provide their children with a good education along with emphasizing
the importance of all things spiritual.
Mrs. Spurgeon's concern for
the spiritual welfare of her oldest boy was deep and ernest.
One day she said to him, "Ah, Charley! I have often prayed that you might
be saved, but never that you should become a Baptist." Charles
replied, "God has answered your prayers, mother, with His usual bounty,
and given you more than you asked."
He was invited one Sunday
evening to accompany a friend to a village preaching station in the village
of Teversham, some three miles from Cambridge. While on their journey,
the twp friends discussed who do the preaching. After much debate,
it was decided. Thus, it was in a small cottage with a pulpit in
one corner of the room that the "Prince of Preachers" preached his first
In a very short time the
sixteen-year-old youth was continually occupying the pulpits of the surrounding
villages. His reputation spread amazingly fast. In a short
time he was preaching in the prominant pulpits of Cambridge. In fact,
the first sermon he preached in that town was behind his father's pulpit.
At age seventeen the Baptists
of Water-beach gave him a call to be the pastor of their church.
The congregation grew rapidly under Spurgeon's preaching. His reputation
of the time was to preach three hour-long messages each week. The
crowds which gathered to hear him preach overflowed on to the church yard.
The windows had to be opened so that those outside could heare his preaching.
On April 28, 1854, Mr Spurgeon
accepted the pastorate of London's Park Street Chapel. It was a prestigious
church having been pastored by the renowned Dr. Rippon. He was only
nineteen years old.
Within twevle months the
building had to be enlarged. Shortly thereafter, the congregation
outgrew it so they began meeting in Exeter Hall. The crowds who came
to hear him preach continued to grow. In 1856 the church began holding
services in the largest available building in London--the Royal Surrey
Gardens Music Hall.
The first stone of the Metropolitan
Tabernacle was laid in the summer of 1859 with 2,000 persons present.
Some 200 hearers witnessed his first sermon at the New Park Chapel.
Now, the church numbered 1,178 members. During that period he had received
into fellowship by baptism no less than 3,569 members.
attendance at the church averaged 6,000 at
Sunday services over the next thirty years with record attendances over
20,000 on at least five occassions.
| The first service
held in the new tabernacle was on Monday morning, 15th March, 186I, with
more than a thousand in attendance. The first sermon Spurgeon preached
in the new facility was from Acts 5:42, "And daily in the temple and in
every house they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus Christ,"
Spurgeon's sermons were published
in 36 yearly volumes. They were originally published weekly to a
circulation of some 25,000 readers. His 8 volume "Treasury of David"
is still used as a valuable resource tool to this day.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon passed
away in his sleeep on a late Sunday evening on January 31, 1892.
Over 60,000 attended his funeral services. His secretary found this
verse that he had composed on a sheet of paper still sitting on the center
of his desk. It was the last thing he had written.
"No cross, no crown; no loss, no gain;
They, too, must suffer who would reign.
He best can part with life without a sigh,
Whose daily living is to daily die.
Youth pleads for age, age pleads for rest,
Who pleads for heaven will plead the best."