Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography, Two Volumes

Title:  C. H. Spurgeon (Autobiography) – The Early Years Vol 1
          C. H. Spurgeon (Autobiography) –The Full Harvest Vol 2

Author:  Charles Spurgeon

First Copyright:  1962/1973

Type of Book:  Hardback

General Subject Matter:  Autobiography

Special Features:  Black and White illustrations, Appendix

Price:  $32/40/32.40 or 53.10 for two volume set

ISBN:  978-0-85151-076-7/978-085151-182-5

This is a very unusual historical writing. The author did not actually write or complete this autobiography in his life time. From his own words in the publishers preface, Spurgeon would write “something” and then say to the effect, “Here is another part for my autobiography.” It was until sometime after his death that his wife and publishers compiled Spurgeon’s various writings, completed the unfinished parts, and published his story.

Therefore it is very difficult, at least for me to determine the purpose of the writer for this biography. We do know that Spurgeon was passionate about the God whom he served, the gospel that he preached, and the ministry that he rendered. Spurgeon was careful to steer any glory from himself and on to our Lord. If there were a purpose I think we would be safe in concluding that he wrote the story of his life and ministry for the glory of God.

Many would say that the theme of his biography, or the main subject would be Spurgeon himself. As I read these two volumes I discovered that the theme was similar to the theme of what we call The Acts of the Apostles. The theme of that narrative of course is “the Holy Spirit” or “the acts of the Holy Spirit.” This would hold true to these two volumes, the theme is the works of God through the life and ministry of Charles H Spurgeon.

The Thesis of the autobiography can be discerned from the jacket covesr, “He worshipped Him; he adored Him. He was our Lord’s captive. Whatever Spurgeon did he did it for Christ, and this is his controlling aim in his autobiography which, in a natural way, leads our eyes from his service to the Savior he served…” Jesus Christ is to be worshipped and glorified in all that we do!

Spurgeon developed his theme in his own personal words, experiences, and understanding. Spurgeon developed his theme primary with narration sprinkled often with humorous and homespun descriptive commentary. Spurgeon often gave background, details, and information to tell his “tale” complete his purpose, and to benefit the reader.

Spurgeon’s wife and certainly the publishers took great pain and liberty to place most of his autobiography in a semi-chronological order. According to the publisher’s Spurgeon did not write chronologically but as ideas, thoughts, events, and such came to him.

This biography is extremely interesting. They give the reader great insight into this great man of the past. It is easy to see almost all sides of this preacher, soul-winner, pastor, author, and Christ-servant. The reader will find much humor of the author along with moments and events that broke his heart.

This biography is filled with the child-hood and rearing of Spurgeon. It gives much information about his conversion, calling, and confirmation in the ministry. Volume one covers the years 1834-1859 and volume two covers the period of 1869-1892.

Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892) was a British Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the "Prince of Preachers". He was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition, defending the Church in agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith understanding, and opposing the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies in the Church of his day.
It is estimated that in his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people. Spurgeon was the pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London for 38 years. He was part of several controversies with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and later had to leave the denomination. In 1857, he started a charity organization which is now called Spurgeon's and works globally. He also founded Spurgeon's College, which was named after him posthumously.
Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, commentaries, and books on prayer, devotionals, magazines, poetry, hymns and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Each volume contains several black and white illustrations. The layout is easy to read. The font type is of normal size and is modern. The book contains a subject index. There are no footnotes nor endnotes.

I highly recommend these two volumes. They were both a joy to read and I found them to be both stimulating and interesting. I learned a lot of this great man of God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great autobiography Gregg. It must be difficult for someone else to write about another person. Good post.