C. H. Spurgeon’s forgotten prayer meeting addresses
Bryan Charles, Appledore, Devon, England
Hardback, 291pp., Day One Publications, Ryelands Road, Leominster, HR6 8NZ, UK.
Here are nearly forty addresses and in keeping with Spurgeon’s many sermons they are invariably well-structured and straightforward. They are sub-divided under headings: for example, on ‘We have seen the Lord’, John 20. 25. We have an introduction, followed by what they saw, how we may see Him, and what will be the result of that. In an address especially for young converts, he speaks of a coin on which you cannot see the date clearly, ‘If you cannot exactly tell when and where you were converted do not be troubled about the matter if you can discern the image of Jesus stamped upon you’. This is followed by the ring, the taste, biting, weight, and metal of the coin. We have doctrinal and practical teaching in happy balance.
Many of the messages here (twenty-two of them) are brief addresses prior to a prayer meeting, but they are also well thought out and are a real stimulus to prayer, refreshing to the soul, and full of exhortation.How easy it is to read these messages – they are a model of excellent communication. Spurgeon is heart-warming and down to earth, pungent at times. He uses analogies and illustrations from everyday life: the print of feet in the sand; a lady crossing the street in London; a miller at work in Spring time. He uses telling imagery: e.g., ‘If the Master really gets the rust off us, it will not be surprising if the file has to be very often used’. Succinct, pithy sentences are another characteristic: e.g., ‘To God there’s music in a groan and beauty in a tear’. Sometimes there is an imaginative approach – a traveller, called ‘A Sinner’, visits a house, the house of Justice, where inquiry is made of his name and from which he is rudely rejected; he then visits a second house, the house of Mercy, where again his name is inquired about but this time he is warmly welcomed and invited in.
He addresses the old, young, rich, poor, husbands, wives, etc., directly, developing points specifically for their benefit. He is not afraid to denounce error, though this is occasional: infant sprinkling is a superstition; the union of church and state is spiritual adultery. He speaks from the heart. There is much joy here, typified by the title of one address, ‘Spiritual Springtime’. Again and again whilst reading these messages I simply wrote in the margin the word ‘delightful’.
[Our thanks to Bryan Charles, Appledore, Devon, for this review]