How God Used Charles Spurgeon to Save Thousands of Souls

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

God was able to use a small, humble and poor man like Charles Spurgeon to become one of the greatest preachers of all time. How did God do it?

The Prince of Preachers

Portrait of Spurgeon by Alexander Melville (1885)

Charles Haden Spurgeon (1834-1892) was not just a prince among preachers; he was called the “Prince of Preachers” and for several good reasons. Charles Spurgeon was born in Kelvedon, Essex in England in 1834 to non-conformists parents, meaning they lived a simple, pious life and were not part of the Anglican Church. Spurgeon became obsessed by the martyrs of the Christian faith and loved John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” and “Fox’s Book of Martyrs.” When Spurgeon turned 15, he decided to become a Baptist, but he attributed it to divine sovereignty because he was forced to seek shelter from a snowstorm in an old Methodist church. That is where he heard the gospel in its fullest sense, for the very first time. It didn’t take long for Spurgeon to receive a very special calling from God and at a very young age! Some estimate that God used Spurgeon as a means to save thousands or hundreds of thousands; through his preaching, books, and sermons. Spurgeon’s own regular contributions to charities and other causes left him near broke at death. [1]

Strong Abolitionist

Spurgeon strongly opposed the owning of slaves. [2]. He was quoted as saying, “I do from my inmost soul detest slavery… and although I commune at the Lord’s table with men of all creeds, yet with a slave-holder I have no fellowship of any sort or kind. Whenever [a slave-holder] has called upon me, I have considered it my duty to express my detestation of his wickedness, and I would as soon think of receiving a murderer into my church.” [3] By 1860, slave-owning pastors in the Southern States of America were “foaming with rage because they [could not] lay hands on the youthful Spurgeon.” [4] In many parts of the south, people had book-burning parties, burning every Charles Spurgeon book or sermon they could find, but Spurgeon never blinked. He went against the culture and the times and remained a strong abolitionist, seeing slavery as evil and calling it such.

Soul-Winner’s Heart

Charles Spurgeon Quotes

“As soon as a man finds Christ, he begins to find others.”

Charles Spurgeon said there are few joys greater than being a soul winner, and once said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” He might have told us that we ought to be witnessing like our hairs on fire because there is a greater fire coming and one that will not be quenched.

“The Law and Salvation

The reason Charles Spurgeon was able to have thousands and thousands of souls saved was because he evangelized like the Apostle Paul did in the Book of Romans. Spurgeon knew that Satan is very clever in mixing truth with error and knew how important it was to discern the difference between right doctrine and almost right doctrine. Spurgeon said, “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It’s knowing the difference between right and almost right,” adding, “I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the Law.”

Many have called it “The Roman Road,” but I love to call it, “Roman Road Kill” because it shows how the letter of the Law kills, but grace saves.  Spurgeon said, “Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest auxiliary [its most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ . . . They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place.” I find comfort in the fact that it’s by grace and not Law that we are saved; otherwise we’d all be without hope, however realizing we are not saved by law-keeping but by grace, we are still constrained to obey the Law because it is holy, just, and good (Rom 7:12).

His Last Years

Spurgeon preaching at the Surrey Music Hall circa 1858.

The end was swiftly approaching for the ministry of Charles Spurgeon as he began to run into some controversy called the Down Grade Controversy, when he began exposing some of the evils of ritualism, hypocrisy, but mostly Modernism. His church attendance began to sharply decline because most of his congregants had jobs that were part of the Industrial Revolution. That was also about the same time that Charles Spurgeon’s health was failing him. Charles Spurgeon suffered a lot during his mid to latter years. He suffered from bouts of depression but also suffered from gout, rheumatism, and Bright’s disease, where blood is found in the urine. When Charles Spurgeon died on January 31st, 1892, there were over 100,000 mourners who lined the streets of London to form a funeral parade. That reveals just how great of an impact this “Prince of Preachers” had left on the nation. Over 60,000 people came to give their respects as he lie in state at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Flags flew at half-staff in England, pubs closed down, and London went into mourning in that late January day in 1892.

Conclusion

Charles Spurgeon suffered from depression and had serious health issues that kept in constantly in prayer, so like the Apostle Paul, Spurgeon had his own “thorns in the flesh.” If you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you will face far worse than thorns, but flames of eternal damnation, so until God brings you to repentance and you put your trust in Christ, you are all alone in trying to carry every anxiety and every burden, so why not trust in the Savior today and let Him carry what you cannot carry yourself. He is there…waiting for you.

1. Nottingham Evening Post 31/3/1892

2. Spurgeon, Charles (4 March 1883). “The Best War Cry”. Retrieved 1, November 2021.

3. “Christian Watchman and Reflector”. Boston: Ford, Olmstead. OCLC 8383897

4. “Why the South Would Have Killed Charles Spurgeon by Christian George The Gospel Coalition (Accessed, Nov 1, 2021). https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-american-south-would-have-killed-charles-spurgeon/

Here is some related reading for you: A Look at the Life of Charles Haden Spurgeon

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.





Previous post:

Next post: