Charles Spurgeon’s Christ-likeness in The Sword and the Trowel

This leads us to how Charles Spurgeon lived what he preached. From the day of the winter storm which led him into a Methodist church in 1834 until his death in 1892, Spurgeon lived out the gospel that saved him. His life was full of difficulties, but he never changed what had and would never change in him. His articles in the Sword and the Trowel show his passions and desire to preach Christ always. Spurgeon’s passion was to see men come to know God and serve him. Spurgeon’s heart can be seen as Christ-like when he writes the following,

“To those who are thus earnest for the Lord’s glory I send my heart’s gratitude, and for those who are not as yet aroused to like ardor, I put up my fervent prayers that they may no longer lag behind their brethren. Our children are growing up around us, our great city is daily adding to its enormous bulk, and our cemeteries are being gorged with the dead; so long as one soul remained unsaved and in danger of the unquenchable fire, it behooves every Christian to be diligent to spread abroad the healing savor of the Redeemer’s name. Woe unto that man who conceals the light, while men are stumbling in the darkness. Woe unto him who keeps back the bread of life in the season of famine. Beloved, I am persuaded better things of you, though I thus speak.”[1]

Spurgeon not only preached and wrote of his love for Christ but lived out his theology, turning it in to doxology and showing others the gospel centered life he lead. This spirituality was easily seen in and throughout his life due to his many friends and popularity. Becoming a preacher at the age of nineteen and having a great sense of humor allowed Spurgeon to become both nationally as well as internationally known. With the spread of his messages and his publications his name was quickly well known. With this bought much popularity in all sides of Christianity, including liberalism, dispensationalism, hyper-Calvinist, and the well liked Reformed side.

During his pastorate and teaching, Spurgeon loved to teach others about how to preach Christ. Although he is often criticized in regard to his preaching style, he is praised for unpacking the text in an accurate manner; his heart was right. Spurgeon’s heart wanted to see all God’s people retain the same zeal and same passion in which they received Christ. Spurgeon life taught his students that preaching Christ was their number one calling and should be done boldly. He says,

As for Christ’s being our subject, I have spoken upon that theme so many times that there is the less need on this occasion to dwell upon it at any length. What other topic can engross a Christian minister’s attention? He is certainly untrue to him who called him if he puts his Master into any but the chief seat, or overshadows him with other themes. Whatever else you leave out let Christ Jesus never be forgotten. Preach all that you know about Christ—all that you have learned from the Scriptures, all that you have experienced at his hands, all that his Spirit; has enabled you to perceive and enjoy. “Not a bone of him shall be broken” set him forth in his entirety. Give each of his doctrines a fair share of your attention, for blessed are they who keep his sayings. Preach all that Christ set forth in his life; all that he commanded, all that he (lid, all that he suffered, and all that he was.”[2]

Although Spurgeon is criticized for being too young, too loose in his sense of humor, and not being serious enough, many great things are said about him. He is honored for his love for Christ, for Christ being the center of his preaching, for his pastoral shepherding, his care for kids, his teaching of students, and his magazine, The Sword and the Trowel. The reason that individuals enjoy Spurgeon is because of his profound sentences about Christ. He had a way with words that cut the heart and helped mold the convictions from Scripture. His clear presentation of the gospel touched the hearts of both sinners and saints both in his generation and ours. Charles Spurgeon painted beautiful pictures of Christ in words. He says,

“Our great concern is concerning Christ. “For him shall constant prayer be made.” It does not much matter what becomes of us, the common soldiers, so long, as our great Guard could defy death for themselves, but were over anxious about the emperor, so every loyal soldier of Christ feels that the one question in the present conflict is, “How goes it with the King?” Is he crowned? Is he exalted? Is he winning his way among the sons of men? Brothers, it may be that our star is waning.”[3]

Spurgeon’s words will forever live on in the believers of today and tomorrow. He paints pictures for the bride of Christ to follow. But he also encourages the believer to take up his duty and fight for her groom. He paints pictures in the mind of his readers to shine as a light for Christ and to never let that glow fade. The believer must never give up but keep on fighting for Christ. Spurgeon says later in the article, “We might, I say, have had seine trembling before of the ark of the Lord if this had been a mere inference or opinion; but we have none now; for as surely as this book is the infallible Word of God, so surely must Christ win the day. As surely as God cannot lie, so surely must he upon whom the Lord laid the iniquity of men, rise from all his sorrows to a glorious victory.”[4]

You may wonder how this shows Christ-likeness. Spurgeon, after being converted, changed and molded his life to that of Christ. He wanted his readers to know what gave him life to live and by revealing the Savior and Redeemer to those who listened and read his words, he showed what Christ did for him. Spurgeon in all meekness and kindness presented Christ to all those he could. It should always be stated that Spurgeon cared for others. He wanted others to see and know Christ like he did. He wanted all of mankind to come to Christ. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was man who truly stood for Christ and was a warrior of his own time, standing for the core beliefs and doctrine of Christ until the day he would meet Him face to face.

[1] Spurgeon, Letter from Mr. Spurgeon, p.57.

[2] Spurgeon, Vol. 6, 1881, Preach Christ in a Christly Manner, p.348.

[3] Spurgeon, 1882, Ever this Our War Cry! Victory! Victory!, p. 594.

[4] Spurgeon, p. 596.


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