I. Charles Spurgeon’s Reasoning of The Sword and the Trowel

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, well known for being called the “prince of preachers” with his massive 63 volume set of sermons, was one of the most famous Baptist preachers of all time. Many others might know him for his well known commentary on the book of Psalms, The Treasury of David, or his devotional talks like Morning by Morning or Evening by Evening. Charles Spurgeon was well known for his famous books like, Commentating on Commentaries, All of Grace, Lectures to My Students, or even his massive four volume autobiography. Some only know him because of his fine love for cigars but it seems that many have not heard or known about his magazine which was published throughout his ministry as a pastor. Charles Spurgeon started a magazine in the year of 1865 called The Sword and the Trowel, and would continue it until his death in 1892. This was a publication which published articles including his sermon texts from the previous month, articles about Christianity, articles for being a pastor, articles about Spurgeon himself and his church as well as writings and reviews of the Reformed and Puritans’ works which he loved dearly, to even updates of the orphanages in which he had a part to play in throughout his ministry. From the introduction of his first magazine Spurgeon made it clear for the purpose behind his magazine saying,

Our magazine is intended to report the efforts of those churches and associations, which are more or less intimately connected with the Lord’s work at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, and to advocate those views of doctrine and church order which are most certainly received among us. It will address itself to those faithful friends scattered everywhere, who are our well-wishers and supporters in our work of faith and labor of love. We feel the want of some organ of communication in which our many plans for God’s glory may be brought before believers, and commended to their aid. Our friends are so numerous as to be able to maintain a magazine, and so earnest as to require one. Our monthly message will be a supplement to our weekly sermon and will enable us to say many things which would be out of place in a discourse. It will inform the general Christian public of our movements, and show our sympathy with all that is good throughout the entire Church of God. It will give us an opportunity of urging the claims of

Christ’s cause, of advocating the revival of godliness, of denouncing error, of bearing witness for truth, and of encouraging the laborers in the Lord’s vineyard.”[1]

Charles saw an importance that both the elect and the lost needed. He wanted to inform others of the need for Christ. In a time that many had lost hope and a time when many churches had begun to lose their truths of the gospel, he did not want to see the church lose their hope. Spurgeon wanted to publish a magazine to not cover 1865 alone, but to examine the Lord’s work, which had always existed and would continue forever more.. This must have been a goal in publishing his magazine, The Sword and the Trowel because he mentions it from the beginning,

“Our matter, for the most part, belongs not to 1865 alone, but to all time, and is of the kind which never grows stale; and wherein we chronicle work peculiar to a certain year, the record may stimulate you to do the like in the time now current.”[2]

No matter whom the reader may have been, Spurgeon wanted all to know that the purpose behind publicizing The Sword and the Trowel was to reveal the work in which God had allowed him to partake in.

[1] Charles Spurgeon, The Sword and the Trowel, Vol. 1, 1865, Introduction, p.5.

[2] Spurgeon, Preface, p.4.

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