Once again greetings to you all! I had certainly hoped that over this Christmas period I would be able to record the next chapter from ‚ÄúSpurgeon‚Äôs Lectures to My Students‚ÄĚ, this will be the address on ‚ÄúThe Call to the Ministry‚ÄĚ. Unfortunately illness has prevented me thus far, as coughing every other sentence is not ideal in any speaking or narration. The Lord is indeed gracious, and I look forward to a full recovery shortly.
In part, there are some who would say that Mr. Spurgeon was somewhat controversial in a number of the criteria that he applied in judging whether or not a man was indeed ‚Äėcalled to the ministry‚Äô, and I append for your interest and anticipation a little of what this chapter holds; after speaking about the ‚Äúdesire for the work‚ÄĚ, and then ‚Äúaptness to teach‚ÄĚ Mr. Spurgeon goes on to exercise his considerable gift in insisting upon the fact that:
‚ÄúIn order to prove a man‚Äôs call, after a little exercise of his gifts, such as I have already spoken of, he must see a measure of conversion-work going on under his efforts, or he may conclude that he has made a mistake, and, therefore, may go back by the best way he can. It is not to be expected that upon the first or even twentieth effort in public we shall be apprized of success; and a man may even give himself to a life trial of preaching if he feels called to do so, but it seems to me, that as a man to be set apart to the ministry, his commission is without seals until souls are won by his instrumentality to the knowledge of Jesus. As a worker, he is to work on whether he succeeds or no, but as a minister he cannot be sure of his vocation till results are apparent. How my heart leaped for joy when I heard tidings of my first convert! I could never be satisfied with a full congregation, and the kind expressions of friends; I longed to hear that hearts had been broken, that tears had been streaming from the eyes of penitents. How did I rejoice, as one that findeth great spoil, over one poor labourer‚Äôs wife who confessed that she felt the guilt of sin, and had found the Saviour under my discourse on Sunday afternoon: I have the cottage in which she lived in my eye now; believe me, it always appears picturesque. I remember well her being received into the church, and her dying, and her going home to heaven. She was the first seal on my ministry, and, I can assure you, a very precious one indeed. No mother was ever more full of happiness at the sight of her first-born son. Then could I have sung the song of the Virgin Mary, for my soul did magnify the Lord for remembering my low estate, and giving me the great honour to do a work for which all generations should call me blessed, for so I counted the conversion of one soul‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.‚ÄĚ
C. H. Spurgeon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England's best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his...