Quotes from Spurgeon’s Autobiography – Vol. 1, Chapter 7

Here is the account from Vol 1. Chapter 7 of Spurgeon’s autobiography that ‘spoke’ to me the loudest.  The Chapter is titled, Memories of Maidstone and Newmarket.


The first lessons I ever had in theology were from an old cook in the school at Newmarket where I was an usher. She was a good old soul, and used to read The Gospel Standard. She liked something very sweet indeed, good strong Calvinistic doctrine; but she lived strongly as well as fed strongly. Many a time we have gone over the covenant of grace together, and talked of the personal election of the saints, their union to Christ, their final perseverance, and what vital godliness meant; and I do believe that I learnt more from her than I should have learned from any six doctors of divinity of the sort we have nowadays. There are some Christian people who taste, and see, and enjoy religion in their own souls, and who get at a deeper knowledge of it than books can ever give them, though they should search all their days. The cook at Newmarket was a godly experienced woman, from whom I learned far more than I did from the minister of the chapel we attended. I asked her once, “Why do you go to such a place?” She replied, “Well, there is no other place of worship to which I can go.” I said, “But it must be better to stay at home than to hear such stuff.” “Perhaps so,” she answered; “but I like to go out to worship even if I get nothing by going. You see a hen sometimes scratching all over a heap of rubbish to try to find some corn; she does not get any, but it shows that she is looking for it, and using the means to get it, and then, too, the exercise warms her.” So the old lady said that scratching over the poor sermons she heard was a blessing to her because it exercised her spiritual faculties and warmed her spirit. On another occasion I told her that I had not found a crumb in the whole sermon, and asked how she had fared. “Oh!” she answered, “I got on better to-night, for to all the preacher said, I just put in a not, and that turned his talk into real gospel.”

13 responses to “Quotes from Spurgeon’s Autobiography – Vol. 1, Chapter 7

  1. The reason this account resonated with me is about attending a chapel where the message of the gospel has given way to ‘spiritual formation’ thanks to a new lead Army Chaplain who is into S.F. in a big way. If not for the fact that I’ve been teaching an adult Sunday School/Bible Study for a about five or so years, I would have moved along down the road. Previous Chaplains really supported the Sunday morning classes and one was a regular attender. It was frequently announced from the pulpit and had a regular spot in the bulletins. I was allowed to advertise in advance with bulletin flyers when we were starting a new topic/subject, all of which have been book of the Bible except for the initial class I taught on personal evangelism.

    Well, with the new chaplain in charge we are no longer even in the bulletin, while other small groups get significant attention. I have a feeling that just studying the Bible isn’t his cup of tea. We were in Romans when he started and are now studying Galatians. At the same time, it’s probably a good thing that we are no longer mentioned in the bulletin. If we were, it might mean we condone the main teaching of the head Chaplain as part of the Chapel ‘system’.

    My current intention is to keep teaching the Adult Sunday School class as long as there are interested students and hearers. I attend the services also on occasion, however sit in the back pews instead of near the front, as was customary. I also have stepped down from being a lay scripture reader, since the choice of passages is made in order to use a few passages out of context to support the current teaching ‘agenda’.

    Please do not consider this a ‘tale of woe’, but rather an occasion for prayer and guidance on my behalf. And by the way, one of the attendees is a man I actually met at work who attends another church entirely. Another member is a lady who now worships elsewhere due to lack of Biblical exposition but enjoys the class and is a wonderful contributor.

    Thanks in advance for all of your prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yours is not a unique story, Dan, it is sad to say. But, like the woman in Mr. Spurgeon’s story, you may have to use the word “not” a lot. I have already prayed that God will give you the wisdom about what to do in this situation. It is difficult to leave a place where God is using you to feed others. I have done it before.

    I don’t think you can be reading a better biography except for the gospels of course. Something may equal it for so many reasons but I have yet to find it.

    I remember this story. As I have a bit of Spurgeon material, it may be in my best version or another. My most complete version of the Spurgeon’s biography is different. Mine is published by The Banner of Truth Trust. The first edition was in 1962 and I have the 5th reprinting in 1985.

    Mine was taken directly from the first biography published in four volumes between 1897 and 1900. Now that I have found that your version of this story is more detailed, I don’t know if things have been cut from mine or added to yours. As mine is a revised edition, I’m guessing you have the original.

    This story speaks to me about the workings of God. It is on page 41 of the edition I have. The cook reminds me of this verse from James 4:

    6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

    I am also reminded of the scripture in Matthew 18:3…”and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.'”

    How can a cook be wiser than a the most trained theologian? It is a God thing.

    I have generally found that young children, unless they are under some other very important influence to them, are very open to the Gospel message.

    How many theologians spend so much time in their ivory towers and still they never run across simple yet deep truths? When I read one of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons, it strikes me how literate one would have to be to understand it. Yet, his audiences were comprised of everything from coal miners to high ranking politicians. Anyone of any importance from anywhere in the world who happened to have a chance to hear Mr. Spurgeon would sieze the opportunity. It is quite amazing that people of so many different types could understand his sermons.

    I think most would have a hard time getting through one of his sermons in our day.

    Liked by 1 person

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