Written by C.H.Spurgeon at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark
The preaching of the Word by the chosen servants of the living God is the ordained means for the gathering in of the elect. It is not the Word read, so much as that which is heard, which has the promise attached to it, hence the importance of a devout attendance on the ministry of the Gospel. Nevertheless, without doubt, the Holy Ghost who has helped us in the delivery of these sermons will also afford His divine assistance now that we send them forth in this volume.
Little can be said in praise of these sermons and nothing can be said against them more bitter than has been already spoken. Happily the author has heard abuse exhaust itself. He has seen its vocabulary used up and its utmost venom entirely spent. And yet, the printed discourses have for that very reason found a readier sale and more have been led to peruse them with deep attention.
One thing alone places this book above contempt—and that accomplishes the deed so triumphantly that the preacher defies the opinion of man—it is the fact that to his certain knowledge, there is scarce a sermon here which has not been stamped by the hand of the Almighty, by the conversion of a soul. Some single sermons here, brought into the society of their brethren, have been, under God, the means of the salvation of not less than twenty souls. At least, that number have come under the preacher’s notice from one sermon only and doubtless more shall be discovered at the last day.
This together with the fact that hundreds of the children of God have been made to leap for joy by their message, makes their author invulnerable either to criticism or abuse.
We have most certainly departed from the usual mode of preaching, but we do not feel bound to offer even half a word of apology for so doing, since we believe ourselves free to use any manner of speech which is calculated to impress the truth upon our hearers.
The matter also will afford no small amount of food for controversialists, but concerning it we simply say that as we have learned theology in another school than that of men, so shall we hope ever to declare the whole of what the Lord shall teach us, without tarrying for human opinions.
The word Calvinism, is frequently used here as the short word which embraces that part of divine truth which teaches that salvation is by grace alone, but it is not hence to be imagined that we attach any authority to the opinion of John Calvin, other than that which is due to every holy man who is ordained of God to proclaim His truth. We use the word simply for shortness of expression and because the enemies of free grace will then be quite sure of what we mean. It is our firm belief that what is commonly called Calvinism, is neither more nor less than the good old Gospel of the Puritans, the martyrs, the apostles, and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here, the proud legalist, the conceited believer in the unaided strength of man, and the self-exalting moralist, will discover very little suitable to their corrupt palate and much to excite their enmity, but the humbled sinner may possibly find words of comfort and the self-loathing believer will perhaps obtain a glimpse of his Lord.
Our hope is that inferior matters in dispute will not so much be regarded as “The things which we have spoken touching the king.” Jesus is the Truth. We believe in Him—not merely in His words. He Himself is Doctor and Doctrine, Revealer and Revelation, the Illuminator and the Light of Men. He is exalted in every word of truth, because He is its sum and substance. He sits above the Gospel, like a prince on His own throne. Doctrine is most precious when we see it distilling from His lips and embodied in His person. Sermons are valuable in proportion as they speak of Him and point to Him.
A Christless gospel is no gospel and a Christless discourse is the cause of merriment to devils. The Holy Ghost, who has ever been our sole instructor, will we trust, teach us more of Jesus until we comprehend with all saints, what are the heights, and depths, and know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, only have we laboured to extol—may the Lord Himself succeed our endeavours.
The reader will, perhaps, remark considerable progress in some of the sentiments here made public, particularly in the case of the doctrine of the Second Coming of our Lord, but he will remember that he who is learning truth will learn it by degrees, and if he teaches as he learns, it is to be expected that his lessons will become fuller every day.
There are also many expressions which may provoke a smile, but let it be remembered that every man has his moments when his lighter feelings indulge themselves and the preacher must be allowed to have the same passions as his fellow-men, and since he lives in the pulpit more than anywhere else, it is but natural that his whole man should be there developed. Besides, he is not quite sure about a smile being a sin, and at any rate, he thinks it less a crime to cause a momentary laughter than a half-hour’s profound slumber.
With all its faults, the purchaser has bought this book, and as it was not warranted to be perfect, if he thinks ill of it, he must make the best of his bargain—which can be done either by asking a blessing on its reading to himself or entreating greater light for his friend the preacher.
For the printer we must beg much allowance. The author sufficiently scolds him for errata and the public may therefore forgive—the more especially since the sermons are hastily printed week by week for thousands of eager applicants.
Let it be understood, until further notice, that no sermons are genuine reports unless they bear the title, “THE NEW PARK STREET PULPIT,” or the names of “ALABASTER AND PASSMORE,” or else the words, “AUTHORISED BY MR. SPURGEON.” Necessity compels us thus to act, since otherwise, prints without our revision or sanction are advertised, and no one can tell what is ours and what another’s.
Grace, mercy, and peace be with all the saints,
From their servant in Jesus,
C. H. SPURGEON
Taken from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit C. H. Spurgeon Collection.