22 July 2006

On the virtue of simplicity

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote space at the beginning of each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. This excerpt is from The Soul Winner, chapter 2: "Qualifications for Soul-Winning—Godward"

ou know some men who are too wise to be just simple believers; they know such a lot that they do not believe anything that is plain and simple. Their souls have been fed so daintily that they cannot live on anything but Chinese birds'-nest, and such luxuries. There is no milk that ever came fresh from a cow that is good enough for them, they are far too superfine to drink such a beverage as that. Everything they have must be incomparable.

Now God does not bless these exquisite celestial dandies, these spiritual aristocrats. No, no; as soon as you see them, you feel ready to say, "They may do well enough as Lord So-and-so's servants, but they are not the men to do God's work. He is not likely to employ such grand gentlemen as they are." When they select a text, they never explain its true meaning; but they go round about to find out something that the Holy Ghost never intended to convey by it, and when they get hold of one of their precious "new thoughts "—oh, dear! what a fuss they make over it! Here is a man who has found a stale herring! What a treat! It is so odoriferous! Now we shall hear of this stale herring for the next six months, when somebody else will find another one.

What a shout they set up! "Glory! Glory! Glory! Here is a new thought!" A new book comes out about it, and all these great men go sniffing round it to prove what deep thinkers and what wonderful men they are. God does not bless that kind of wisdom.

By simplicity of heart, I mean, that a man evidently goes into the ministry for the glory of God and the winning of souls, and nothing else.

There are some men who would like to win souls and glorify God if it could be done with due regard to their own interests. They would be delighted, oh, yes! certainly, very pleased indeed, to extend the kingdom of Christ, if the kingdom of Christ would give full play to their amazing powers. They would go in for soul-winning if it would induce people to take the horses out of their carriage, and drag them in triumph through the street; they must be somebody, they must be known, they must be talked about, they must hear people say, "What a splendid man that is!"

Of course, they give God the glory after they have sucked the juice out of it, but they must have the orange themselves first. Well, you know, there is that sort of spirit even among ministers; and God cannot endure it. He is not going to have a man's leavings; He will have all the glory, or none at all. If a man seeks to serve himself, to get honour to himself, instead of seeking to serve God and honour Him alone, the Lord Jehovah will not use that man. A man who is to be used by God must just believe that what he is going to do is for the glory of God, and he must work from no other motive.

When outsiders go to hear some preachers, all that they remember is that they were capital actors; but here is a very different kind of man. After they have heard him preach, they do not think about how he looked, or how he spoke, but about the solemn truths he uttered. Another man keeps rolling out what he has to tell in such a fashion that those who listen to him say to one another, "Do you not see that he lives by his preaching? He preaches for his living." I would rather hear it said, "That man said something in his sermon that made many of the people think less of him, he uttered most distasteful sentiments, he did nothing but drive at us with the Word of the Lord all the while that he was preaching, his one aim was to bring us to repentance and faith in Christ."

That is the kind of man whom the Lord delights to bless.

C. H. Spurgeon

PS from Phil: Yesterday in Santa Clarita the high temp was 112º Farenheit (44º Celsius). Today, they say, it's supposed to be hotter. I'm posting this early so I can mow the lawn before the mercury rises above 100.

Phil's signature


Adrian Warnock said...

I have decided tho that if stealing is ever justified it is now! (see my blog for my reply!)

Annette Harrison said...

There is NO HOPE for him . . . none! He can't even come on the site of the famous editing genius and spell a simple word like THIEF correctly!

See what I'm up against?????

Couldn't resist, Adrian!!!!!

kletois said...

You have green (growing) grass while experiencing 40 degree C weather?

Phil Johnson said...

Kletois: Yes. It's well-known that southern California steals lots of water from northern California, just so that we can maintain green lawns here in the high desert. It is occasionally the cause of disputes that seem to pose the threat of civil war within the state. I expect that will happen someday.

BTW, I've been seeing snippets of the British Open, and it seems they have a heat wave over there, but not enough water to keep even the golf courses green. What's up with that, Adrian?

Adrian Warnock said...

Well we are still using the water mains and sewers that were built in Spurgeons day! They leak. We seem to be getting less rain with global warming! We have a hose pipe ban at the moment and it is HOT

By the way, Annette is my editor for those who are wondering! She has her work cut out!

candy said...

Takes some of the oomph! away from your post Adrian when the word is spelled wrong AND in caps!:)

Oh well Adrian. You are in good company with Frank Turk on spelling gaffes.

Yeah..Phil. You guys steal water from up near where I live! What's up with that!
THIFE! umm...FEITH! err...THIEF!

On to Spurgeon. He always reads so contemporary doesn't he. Like...right up to the moment.

LeeC said...

The Lord certainly gifted Spurgeon with a way with words.

Sadly, its amazing the list of names I clearly had in my head before the first paragraph was read.

As for the heat, we are getting ready to attend an outdoor wedding in Moorpark in an hour, and my summer fedora had to be retired this year...

Carla Rolfe said...

It really is telling how Spurgeon in his day, dealt with exactly the same thing that we deal with in our day. Truly there is nothing new under the sun.

However, Spurgeon said it so well!

Thanks for this, Phil.


Steve said...

Just yesterday I was reading James Montgomery Boice's commentary on the Psalms, in which he wrote, "Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the prince of expositors. He could get more out of a passage than anyone I have ever heard or read" (Psalms, vol. 2, p. 424).

Yet even Spurgeon himself had times when he felt inadequate for the passage at hand. Boice goes on to say, "In the preface to the second part of his first large volume on the Psalms, Spurgeon tells how he postponed working on Psalm 51 week after week and often sat down to it and got up again without having written a line."

Spurgeon himself said of Psalm 51, "It is a bush burning with fire yet not consumed, and out of it a voice seemed to cry to me, 'Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet.' The psalm is very human, its cries and sobs are of one born of woman; but it is freighted with an inspiration all divine, as if the Great Father were putting words into his child's mouth. Such a psalm may be wept over, absorbed into the soul, and exhaled again in devotion; but, commented on--ah! where is he who having attempted it can do other than blush at his defeat?"

Oh, that more pastors today had such reverence for expositing God's Word!

Janet said...

118 in Phoenix yesterday. UGH :(

Frank Martens said...

Well there's no comparing to Phoenix

Austin said...

And the word of the day is... "odoriferous"!

It just rolls right off the tongue.

Unknown said...

who has a lawn?
Mine is the color of burnt toast and just as long