Charles H. Spurgeon has become known as the Prince of Preachers for good reason. The 19th century minister had an amazing ability to make biblical truth come alive. He knew how to turn a phrase.
Many years ago we purchased his classic Morning and Evening devotional. While I recall reading it enough to wear page edges and tear the dust cover, we didn’t use it extensively for family devotions, preferring instead to read through the Bible with our children at mealtimes. But I recently signed up at BibleGateway to receive daily devotional emails containing excerpts from Spurgeon’s classic. These daily meditations are giving me a renewed appreciation for Spurgeon’s turns of phrases and the way they vividly convey scriptural truth.
Take today’s reading (which you may be able to view here). Expounding the term “joint heirs with Christ” from Romans 8:17, Spurgeon speaks of Christ as “sole proprietor” of God’s “vast creation” and stresses our “joint-heirship” with him of heaven’s glories and his royal crown. Spurgeon writes:
He uncrowned himself that we might have a coronation of glory; he would not sit upon his own throne until he had procured a place upon it for all who overcome by his blood. Crown the head and the whole body shares the honour. Behold here the reward of every Christian conqueror! Christ’s throne, crown, sceptre, palace, treasure, robes, heritage, are yours.
What a thought! And he goes on to expand on Christ’s words about believers sharing in his fullness of joy—a concept with which I’ve always struggled. He writes, “Christ deems his happiness completed by his people sharing it.” And this:
The smiles of his Father are all the sweeter to him, because his people share them. The honours of his kingdom are more pleasing, because his people appear with him in glory. More valuable to him are his conquests, since they have taught his people to overcome. He delights in his throne, because on it there is a place for them…. He delights the more in his joy, because he calls them to enter into it.
Spurgeon excels at bringing biblical truth from my head into my heart. Inanimate theory becomes living reality.
My recently revived interest in his devotionals was piqued when I discovered the following gem from one of his reflections on Matthew 11:28-30, when Christ offers rest to those who take his yoke upon themselves:
Christ bids us wear His yoke; not make one for ourselves. He wants us to share the yoke with Him, to be His true yoke-fellow. It is wonderful that He should be willing to be yoked with us; the only greater wonder is that we should be so unwilling to be yoked with Him.
I used this gem in a PowerPoint I recently presented to four different women’s groups in Illinois and Indiana churches (you can read more about that here). The quote comes from a communion address Spurgeon delivered in his sitting room at Mentone. You can read the entire text here at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (which is an extremely helpful and comprehensive website). That meditation appears in a collection of Spurgeon’s communion addresses called “Till He Come,” which can additionally be found here as part of the extensive Spurgeon Archive. You can probably find everything you want to know (plus a whole lot more) about Spurgeon on the latter site.
Was Charles Spurgeon a perfect preacher? Of course not. Anyone can find points of disagreement among his voluminous writings. But each morning and evening lately, his devotionals have an uncanny knack for strumming my heart strings.
I can’t find our worn and torn-dust jacket copy of Morning and Evening, but I’m thinking this recent release with updated language by Alistair Begg (Truth for Life) and ESV references might be a great replacement.
In the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying the devotionals as they appear in my inbox and touch my heart with Spurgeon’s turns.