Home > Comment > Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 83

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 83

TO MR. JAMES LOW

BOROUGH, May 2, 1854.

MY DEAR SIR,

I sit down to communicate to you my thoughts and feelings with regard to a public recognition. I am sure I need not request your notice of my sentiments, for your usual good judgment is to me a rock of reliance. I can trust any matter with you, knowing that your kindness and wisdom will decide rightly.

I have a decided objection to any public ordination or recognition. I have, scores of times, most warmly expressed from the pulpit my abhorrence of such things, and have been not a little notorious as the opponent of a custom which has become a kind of iron law in the country. I am willing to retrace my steps if in error; but if I have been right, it will be no very honorable thing to belie my former loud outcries by submitting to it myself.

I object to ordinations and recognitions, as such Because I am a minister, and will never receive authority and commission from man; nor do I like that which has the shadow of such a thing about it. I detest the dogmas of apostolic succession, and dislike the revival of the doctrine by delegating power from minister to minister.

(2) I believe in the glorious principle of Independency. Every church has a right to choose its own minister; and if so, certainly it needs no assistance from others in appointing him to the office. You, yourselves, have chosen me; and what matters it if the whole world dislikes the choice? They cannot invalidate it; nor can they give it more force. It seems to me that other ministers have no more to do with me, as your minister, than the crown of France has with the crown of Britain. We axe allies, but we have no authority in each other’s territories. They axe my superiors in piety, and other personal matters; but, ex officio, no man is my superior. We have no apostles to send Titus to ordain. Prelatic power is gone. All we are brethren.

(3) If there be no authority inferred, what is the meaning of the ceremony? “It is customary.” Granted; rebut we are not all Ecclesiastical Conservatives; and, moreover, I know several instances where there has been none. Rev. W. Robinson, of Cambridge, agrees with me, I believe; and has not endured it himself. Rev. J. Smith had nothing of it, nor had Rev. Burton, of Cambridge, nor Rev. Wooster, of Landbeach, etc., etc.

Furthermore, I have seldom heard of an ordination service in which there was not something objectionable. There are dinners, and toasts, and things in that line. There is foolish and needless advice, or, if wise advice, unfit for public mention. I am ready to be advised by anyone, on any subject, in private; but I do not know how I could sit in public to be told:, as Mr. C. was told by Mr. S., that I must not spend more than my income; and (if married), that I must be a good husband, and not let the wife say that being a minister had lessened my affection, with all the absurd remarks on family and household matters. I do not know what sort of a homily I should get; but if I am to have it, let it be in my study; or if it be not a very, good one, I cannot promise to sit and hear it.

I trust, my dear Sir, that you will not imagine that I write warmly, for I am willing to submit; but it will be submission. I shall endure it as a selfmortification, in order that you may all be pleased. I would rather please you than myself; but still, I would have it understood by all the church that I endure it as a penance for their sake. I find the friends do not care much about it, and others have, like myself, a decided aversion. I am your servant; and whatever is for the good of the church, let it be done. My knowledge is little; I simply express my feelings, and leave it entirely with you.

A tea-meeting of members, with handbills, and notices in the papers, will be a real recognition; and if my God will make me useful, I am not afraid of being recognized by all good men. I write now to you as a kind and wise friend. You can use my communication as you think best; and believe me to be —

Yours, with the proroundest respect,

C. H. SPURGEON.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: