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Spurgeon , Charles Haddon (1834 - 1892)

English Baptist preacher and founder of Spurgeon 's Bible college, now based in South Norwood, near Croydon, England. He also built and supported an almshouse and an orphanage and founded a number of churches.

Spurgeon was born in the village of Kelvedon, Essex, and brought up in Colchester, where his father was a coal merchant and the pastor of a nearby independent church. He became pastor of a church when he was only 17, and in 1861 built the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, at a cost of £ 31,000. This was the largest nonconformist church in the world, with a capacity of 5,600, and he preached there for over 30 years.

In 1856 he founded the Pastors' College (known today as Spurgeon 's College). The college began in central London and moved to its current location in 1923. In the same year, he began to publish a monthly magazine, The Sword and the Trowel .

(Excerpted from Hutchinson Multimedia Encyclopaedia 2000)


[Excerpts from profile on Spurgeon Website

The New Park Street Pulpit and The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit - the collected sermons of Spurgeon during his ministry with that congregation - fill 63 volumes. The sermons' 20-25 million words are equivalent to the 27 volumes of the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The series stands as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity

When Spurgeon arrived at The New Park Street Church, in 1854, the congregation had 232 members. By the end of his pastorate, 38 years later, that number had increased to 5,311. (Altogether, 14,460 people were added to the church during Spurgeon's tenure.) The church was the largest independent congregation in the world.

Spurgeon typically read 6 books per week and could remember what he had read-and where-even years later.

Spurgeon once addressed an audience of 23,654-without a microphone or any mechanical amplification.

The theme for Spurgeon's Sunday morning sermon was usually not chosen until Saturday night.

For an average sermon, Spurgeon took no more than one page of notes into the pulpit, yet he spoke at a rate of 140 words per minute for 40 minutes.

The only time that Spurgeon wore clerical garb was when he visited Geneva and preached in Calvin's pulpit.

By accepting some of his many invitations to speak, Spurgeon often preached 10 times in a week.

Spurgeon had two children-twin sons-and both became preachers. Thomas succeeded his father as pastor of the Tabernacle, and Charles, Jr., took charge of the orphanage his father had founded

Spurgeon often worked 18 hours a day. Famous explorer and missionary David Livingstone once asked him, "How do you manage to do two men's work in a single day?" Spurgeon replied, "You have forgotten that there are two of us."

Spurgeon spoke out so strongly against slavery that American publishers of his sermons began deleting his remarks on the subject.

Occasionally Spurgeon asked members of his congregation not to attend the next Sunday's service, so that newcomers might find a seat. During one 1879 service, the regular congregation left so that newcomers waiting outside might get in; the building immediately filled again.

Did Spurgeon preach from a manuscript?

Incredibly, most of his preaching was extemporaneous. He used little more than an outline for notes. (One of Spurgeon's handwritten outlines is reproduced in his autobiography.) He usually prepared his sermons late Saturday night (sometimes jotting only the barest of outlines on a little scrap of paper). This is not a recommended method of sermon preparation, unless you are a highly gifted preacher with a photographic memory, very sharp wits, and a deep personal spiritual life.

Your on-line Spurgeon biography lists his lifespan as 1834-1892. But the sermon indexes show sermons all the way to 1917. Is there some mistake, or am I missing something?

No mistake. Spurgeon preached at least twice a week, but only one sermon per week was published during his lifetime as a part of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit collection. The last sermon he preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle was "The Statute of David for the Sharing of the Spoil," (#2208), on June 17, 1891. When Spurgeon died in January 1892, there were nearly 25 years worth of sermons yet unpublished. The publishers continued releasing a sermon each week until the supply was exhausted, at about the time World War I began.

How were these sermons recorded for publication?

Spurgeon had several loyal transcriptionists, who took down in shorthand everything he said. Those stenographic records were then transcribed and typeset. Spurgeon personally edited the typeset copy for publication. (In later years his secretary, Mr. Harrald, did this.) One of these typeset transcripts is also reproduced in the autobiography, with Spurgeon's editorial revisions inked in his own hand. It is interesting to see what a gifted editor Spurgeon was. And it may also be some comfort to the preacher of lesser gifts, to see that some of Spurgeon's profound eloquence was actually edited into the sermons that were published.