Why the American South Would Have Killed Charles Spurgeon
by Christian George
In 1859, an American minister named “Rev. H.” traveled to London to meet the famous pastor of the New Park Street Chapel.
When Spurgeon discovered his guest was from Alabama, his “cordiality sensibly diminished.” A six-month American preaching tour would expedite the construction of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, but could Southerners tolerate Spurgeon’s stance against slavery? When Spurgeon asked his guest this question, the Alabamian said he “had better not undertake it.”
This advice might have saved Spurgeon’s life.
The same year, S. A. Corey, pastor of Eighteenth Street Baptist Church in New York City, invited the 24-year-old to preach at the Academy of Music opera house for $10,000. News of Spurgeon’s visit was met with anticipation in the North and hostility in the South. According to an Alabama newspaper, Spurgeon would receive a beating “so bad as to make him ashamed.” On February 17, 1860, citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, publicly protested the “notorious English abolitionist” by gathering in the jail yard to burn his “dangerous books”:
“Last Saturday, we devoted to the ames a large number of copies of Spurgeon’s sermons. . . . We trust that the works of the greasy cockney vociferator may receive the same treatment throughout the South. And if the pharisaical author should ever show himself in these parts, we trust that a stout cord may speedily find its way around his eloquent throat.”
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