Home > Comment > Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 197

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 197

TO VARIOUS FRIENDS

To [Rev. R. Knill].

CAMBRIDGE, Feb. 7, ‘53-

MY DEAR SIR, —

I feel confident that you will pardon the liberty I take when you read the occasion of it. I have for some time wished to write to you, but could not find you out, until in The Banner I observed a notice of your preaching in the theater of Chester.

Eight or nine years ago, you were travelling, as a Deputation from the London Missionary Society, in the county of Essex. Among other places, you preached at the village of Stambourne. I was then a little boy staying at my grandfather’s (Rev. Jas. Spurgeon). You kindly noticed me; I read at family prayer; you took me by your side, and talked to me in a very affectionate manner. You told me a tale of a little boy in Colchester; we went into an arbor in the garden, there you asked me to sing, and I joined in as well as I could. I shall never forget the way in which you tried to lead me to the Savior. Your conversation and spirit were all a father’s could have been, and that one interview has made my heart yours. My eyes rejoice to see your name, and the mention of it brings up emotions of gratitude. In fact, unknown to you, a few words you then spoke have been a sort of star to my existence, and my friends look on them with half the reverence of prophecy. You meant them not perhaps to last so long, but now they are imperishable; they were to this effect, and were heard by more than one: “I think this little man will one day be a preacher of the gospel, and I hope a successful one. I think you will preach in Rowland Hills Chapel; and when you do, tell the people this verse, ‘ God moves in a mysterious way,’ etc.” You told me to learn the hymn, and said it seemed perhaps unlikely, but Providence had wrought wonders, and you thought it would be so. This is often mentioned by my grandfather; and somehow, though I am far enough from being superstitious, it holds me fast, and I do confidently, and yet, somehow (and paradoxically), distrustfully, look forward to the time when the whole shall come to pass.

When sixteen and a half years old, I was persuaded to preach in the villages, having for some time been often called to address children in Sabbath Schools, and always gaining attention, perhaps from my youth as much as anything. Once started in lay-preaching around Cambridge — where I was and am still assistant in a school, — I put my soul into the work. Having been invited to supply, for one Sabbath, the Baptist Church at Waterbeach, I did so; I was invited to continue, and have now been the minister of the congregation for one year and four months. The chapel is always full, many profess to have felt the power of Divine grace, and residents in the neighborhood say that there is a visible reform manifest; God has used things that are not, to bring to nought things that are. I preach thrice on the Sabbath; and often, indeed, almost constantly, five times in the week-nights. My salary being insufficient, I still remain in the school. Though the congregation is large, they being poor, or men of small property, are unable to do much, — though their kindness may be judged of from the fact that I have been to sixty-two different houses to dine on the Lord’s Day. Thus are your words in part realized.

Though I do not say that your conversation did then lead to my conversion, yet the thought of what I conceived might be my position one day ever worked in me a desire to gain true religion, which even then I knew was the great essential in a minister. I long for nothing more earnestly than to serve God with all my might. My education is amply sufficient for my present station, and I have means and desires for further improvement.

The particulars I have given are perhaps too lengthy, but you will excuse it. I could not refrain from letting you know what is no doubt more interesting to me than to you. I pray that, while standing on the polluted ground, (in Chester theater), you may consecrate it in many a heart by being the means of their conversion. Your words spoken in season have been good to me; and if I am of any use in the army of the living God, I owe it in great part to you that I ever enlisted in it. I am not nineteen yet; and need, and trust I shall have, a mention in your prayers.

With the greatest respect,

I am,

Yours truly,

CHARLES SPURGEON.

P.S. Since you are much engaged, I shall scarcely expect a line from you; but if I should be happy enough to receive one, I shall be rejoiced.

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