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spurgeon

February 22, 2011

Today you’ve got a rare opportunity to own (win) a little piece of history and what must be the most unique thing I’ve given away through this site. Rare Document Traders has offered me a sermon manuscript page from a Charles Spurgeon sermon preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on Sunday, September 22, 1889. This is an exclusive offer to the readers of Challies.com and it won’t last long. The page is heavily amended by the Prince of preachers himself before the sermon went to the printers.

It comes with the sermon manuscript page, as well as a printed page giving the sermon text itself and title, a picture suitable for framing and a certificate of validation and authenticity from Spurgeon’s College in London (see an example). I recently purchased one of these myself as a gift, so can attest that it’s genuine.

Let me explain just a little bit. When Spurgeon preached, someone would immediately transcribe the sermon. That transcription was passed to Spurgeon who would often make a few changes to it before sending it off to be printed and distributed. Here is how it happened:

At the Tabernacle a shorthand writer was always in attendance to take down the sermon as delivered…

The sermon, written out in longhand by the reporter, was taken to C. H. Spurgeon’s house, and early on Monday morning he commenced to revise it, first of all glancing at the number of folios to see whether the discourse were longer or shorter than usual, whether he would have to cut it down or write some additional matter to bring it to the required length. On one occasion, at least, the preacher was found by the servants at work upon the manuscript as early as four o’clock in the morning, and sometimes, when he had preaching engagements in the country on Monday (necessitating an early departure), he has been compelled, on Sunday night, after returning weary from the day’s labors at the Tabernacle, to begin revising the shorthand writer’s manuscript then. The work could not be left till Tuesday, and C. H. Spurgeon used playfully to remark that the earth itself would cease to revolve if the sermon did not come out every Thursday morning.

After the preacher had made the alterations and corrections which he considered necessary upon the manuscript, he used to hand it over to his private secretary for the verification of quotations, the proper punctuation of the matter, etc., and when about a third was ready, a messenger would take that installment post-haste to the printers, returning later for the remainder. By this time it was usually late in the afternoon, for the work was done thoroughly, and after tea the preacher had to hurry off to the Tabernacle for the weekly prayer meeting, which was sometimes followed by another engagement.

(source)

What you can win today is one of those pages—a page written out by the shorthand writer and then amended by Spurgeon. It looks a little something like this:

Spurgeon Page

Giveaway Rules: You may only enter the draw once. Simply fill out your name and email address to enter the draw. As soon as the winners have been chosen, all names and addresses will be immediately and permanently erased. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes Thursday at noon.

Note: If you are reading via RSS, you’ll need to click through to see the form.

August 26, 2010

Today we come to our second-to-last reading in Arnold Dallimore’s life of Charles Spurgeon. I’m grateful that some of you continue to read along with me even at this plodding pace of a couple of chapters per week.

This week’s chapters focused on just two aspects of Spurgeon’s life—his writing and the so-called Down-Grade Controversy.

Spurgeon was a prolific author. I’ve long been under the impression that the majority of the books published under his name were simply sermons that had been repurposed, but according to Dallimore he did write a very large number of original works. Of course his books of sermons were his most popular writings, being distributed in the hundreds of millions and being translated into all kinds of different languages from around the world. Among the most popular of his books were The Treasury of David, Commenting and Commentaries and John Plowman’s Talk. And, of course, we can’t forget the devotional works Morning by Morning and Evening by Evening, classics that are read and treasured today.

Besides the 140 books and thousands of sermons he preached, Spurgeon also wrote monthly for The Sword and the Trowel and maintained voluminous correspondence, typically writing some 500 letters each week (and, as Dallimore points out, he had to do this with a pen that had to be dipped in ink every few seconds…and he often had to do this while suffering from terrible arthritis). Biographers who wish to reconstruct the life of the man have a vast and almost insurmountable amount of writing to turn to.

July 22, 2010

Today we continue reading Arnold Dallimore’s Spurgeon: A New Biography. Two weeks ago we read the first couple of chapters and, after a one-week vacation, we’re back today to look at chapters 3-6.

The four chapters we read for today covered a lot of ground (which is both a benefit and a drawback of a relatively short biography). We began in the days immediately following Spurgeon’s conversion, progressed to the days where he began his very first efforts to share the gospel with others and ended with marriage. Along the way he felt God’s call to preach, he became the Boy Preacher who accepted his first pastorate at just seventeen years of age, he was called to New Park Street Baptist Church and he fell in love with and soon married Susannah Thompson.

Let me mention just a few of the things that stood out to me.

July 18, 2010

Though I’ve read it often, I never tire of reading Charles Spurgeon’s account of his conversion. Spurgeon had been raised in a Christian home, had heard so much of God’s truth and had even begun to live in a moral and upright way. And yet he knew that he was not saved and, though he sought and sought, he could not find. Here is how God eventually found him.

*****

I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now, had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Church. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved….

June 26, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I announced that we’d be taking a slight diversion in reading classic books together and would instead be reading a biography. That project will begin in less than 2 weeks, so I wanted to offer a final reminder about it.

In order to make this program work, I set about looking for just the right biography. I wanted it to cover a person whose life is exemplary and a person who had a remarkable impact on the church. I also wanted to find a biography that was reasonably inexpensive and one that was not too long. And, of course, it had to be written by a superior biographer. All those factors combined to lead me to Arnold Dallimore’s life of Charles Spurgeon. It is 240 pages over 21 chapters, meaning we can quite easily read it in somewhere between 7 and 10 weeks. It is available for around $12 at many online retailers, ensuring that it will not break the bank.

June 17, 2010

The Reading Classics Together program has proven quite a success over the past couple of years. The impetus for this project was the simple realization that, though many Christians want to read through the classics of the faith, few of us have the motivation to actually make it happen. I know this was long the case for me. This program allows us to read such classic works together, providing both a level of accountability and the added interest of comparing notes as we read in community.

Those who have participated since the beginning (has anyone actually done that?) will now have read Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen, The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross by A.W. Pink, The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Real Christianity by William Wilberforce, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray and The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. That’s quite a list of profoundly important books!

Just recently we finished up The Bruised Reed and already some of you are wondering what the next book will be. I thought it might be fun to do something just a little bit different. Instead of reading a classic book together this time around, why don’t we read a really good biography? This will make for a nice change of pace and it will introduce us to the life of an important person in the history of the church. We can look at one of the men behind the classics. I think biographies can be like classics in that there are many of them we would love to read, but we just don’t find the time to do so.

March 13, 2010

Rooting around through some old files today I found a great quote by Charles Spurgeon just doing what Spurgeon did so well—exposing the heart. Here is what he had to say about weeping for Jesus as we picture him hanging upon the cross, suffering for our sake.

You need not weep because Christ died one-tenth so much as because your sins rendered it necessary that He should die. You need not weep over the crucifixion, but weep over your transgression, for your sins nailed the Redeemer to the accursed tree. To weep over a dying Saviour is to lament the remedy; it were wiser to bewail the disease. To weep over the dying Saviour is to wet the surgeon’s knife with tears; it were better to bewail the spreading polyps which that knife must cut away. To weep over the Lord Jesus as He goes to the cross is to weep over that which is the subject of the highest joy that ever heaven and earth have known; your tears are scarcely needed there; they are unnatural, but a deeper wisdom will make you brush them all away and chant with joy His victory over death and the grave. If we must continue our sad emotions, let us lament that we should have broken the law which He thus painfully vindicated; let us mourn that we should have incurred the penalty which He even to the death was made to endure … O brethren and sisters, this is the reason why we souls weep: because we have broken the divine law and rendered it impossible that we should be saved except Jesus Christ should die.