posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive.
This week's excerpt is a special treat, taken from a new book from The Wakeman Trust, titled The Suffering Letters of C. H. Spurgeon, edited and annotated by Hannah Wyncoll. It's a remarkable collection of letters from Spurgeon to his congregation featuring thoughts about his own suffering. Some of these letters were written at the height of his struggle with the infirmities that finally claimed his life.
I was privileged last December to see and handle several of the original handwritten letters featured in this book. Duncan and Hannah Wyncoll hosted Darlene and me for an evening while we were in London. Hannah's father, Dr. Peter Masters, graciously made this file of letters available for me to study for the evening.
I took some photographs and scans of the letters, but of course there wasn't time in one evening to read them all carefully. I came away wishing I had photographed more and read less, so that I could take time to study them later. Now I can do thatand I'm especially delighted to see that the book contains a large collection of high-quality scans of several of the key letters.
This book is a real treasure. If you're a subscriber to The Sword and the Trowel, you'll receive a copy with the new issue of the magazine. If not, you can obtain a copy of the book through the Tabernacle BookShop. Highly recommended. Some of these letters have never been published before.
The following letter was written from Mentone in 1884. Spurgeon would die in that town exactly eight years after writing this:
Menton, 10th January 1884
am altogether stranded. I am not at all able to leave my bed, or to find much rest upon it. The pains of rheumatism, lumbago, and sciatica, mingled together, are exceedingly sharp. If I happened to turn a little to the right hand or to the left I am soon aware that I am dwelling in a body capable of the most acute suffering. However, I am as happy and cheerful as a man can be. I feel it such a great relief that I am not yet robbing the Lord of my work, for my holiday is not quite run out. A man has a right to have the rheumatism if he likes when his time is his own. The worst of it is that I am afraid that I shall have to intrude into my Master's domains, and draw again upon your patience. Unless I get better very soon I cannot get home in due time, and I am very much afraid that if I did get home at the right time I should be of no use to you, for I should be sure to be laid aside. The deacons have written me a letter in which they unanimously recommend me to take two more Sundays, so that I may get well, and not return to you an invalid. I wrote to them saying that I thought I must take a week, but as I do not get a bit better, but am rather worse, I am afraid I shall have to make it a fortnight, as they proposed. Most men find that they go right when they obey their wives, and as my wife and my deacons are agreed on this matter, I am afraid I should go doubly wrong if I ran contrary to them. I hope you will all believe that if the soldier could stand he would march, and if your servant were able he would work; but when a man is broken in two by the hammer of pain he must wait till he gets spliced again.
May the best of blessings continue to rest upon you. May those who supply my place be very graciously helped by the Spirit of God.
Yours with all my heart
C. H. Spurgeon