12 April 2010

Charles Spurgeon Collection in Logos: a review

by Dan Phillips

Logos provided me with a copy of the 86-volume Charles Spurgeon Collection to review. It is a treasure-trove for any Spurgeon-lover, including books and works I hadn't even heard of.

Here you'll have Spurgeon's Treasury of David, on the Psalms, for instance. While Spurgeon is seldom a help with the Hebrew text, he is virtually always rich, rewarding, and eminently quotable in seeing the Christward, gracious, edifying content of the psalms. He will help turn any Bible lecture into a sermon. For instance, I recall preparing to preach on Psalm 13, which begins "How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?" (KJV). Spurgeon provides this word as to its setting:
The Psalm cannot be referred to any especial event or period in David’s history. All attempts to find it a birthplace are but guesses. It was, doubtless, more than once the language of that much tried man of God, and is intended to express the feelings of the people of God in those ever-returning trials which beset them. If the reader has never yet found occasion to use the language of this brief ode, he will do so ere long, if he be a man after the Lord’s own heart. We have been wont to call this the “How Long Psalm.” We had almost said the Howling Psalm, from the incessant repetition of the cry “how long?”
These words were both personally encouraging, and homiletically helpful.

You'll also find the wonderful series of addresses for pastors titled An All-round Ministry.  While not inerrant (Spurgeon sometimes sounds very much as if he equates outward numeric success with signs of God's blessings), it is a treasure-trove of wisdom and quotables, and characteristic Spurgeon humor. Like this:
There are brethren in the ministry whose speech is intolerable; either they dun you to death, or else they send you to sleep. No chloral can ever equal their discourse in sleep-giving properties. No human being, unless gifted with infinite patience, could long endure to listen to them, and nature does well to give the victim deliverance through sleep. I heard one say, the other day, that a certain preacher had no more gifts for the ministry than an oyster, and in my own judgment this was a slander on the oyster, for that worthy bivalve shows great discretion in his openings, and he also knows when to close. If some men were sentenced to hear their own sermons, it would be a righteous judgment upon them; but they would soon cry out with Cain, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.”
That is just one of many, many golden passages. Spurgeon will have you laughing, cringing, and taking heart all within a paragraph or two. Take this call to action, instead of endless organization and deliberation:
God save us from living in comfort while sinners are sinking into hell! In travelling along the mountain roads in Switzerland, you will continually see marks of the boring-rod; and in every minister’s life there should be traces of stern labour. Brethren, do something; do something; DO SOMETHING. While Committees waste their time over resolutions, do something. While Societies and Unions are making constitutions, let us win souls. Too often we discuss, and discuss, and discuss, while Satan only laughs in his sleeve. It is time we had done planning, and sought something to plan. I pray you, be men of action all of you. Get to work, and quit yourselves like men. Old Suwarrow’s idea of war is mine: “Forward and strike! No theory! Attack! Form column! Fix bayonets, and charge right into the very centre of the enemy.” Our one aim is to save sinners, and this we are not merely to talk about, but to effect in the power of God.
Spurgeon's own lengthy autobiography (finished by his wife and his secretary) are here, as well as the volumes of The Sword and Trowel, Lectures to My Students, notes from his sermons, a devotional Bible, and a host of other books, booklets, biographies, collections of proverbs and aphorisms, "Our Own Hymnbook," devotionals, sermons, and studies.

I doubt there is much need to convince any regulars of the value of Spurgeon per se, however. Or if I do, I'm not the best-equipped of the three of us to do so. I anticipate some would reply, "Spurgeon's the best, no doubt; but I have some of those in hard-copy, and most of it is in public domain, available online or at Phil's site. Why get the Logos version, as expensive as it is?"

I can't argue with the bottom-line: I wish Logos products were not so expensive, too. I do think the prices reflect the work and care that go into reproducing the text well and thoroughly (as opposed to the typo-ridden, scanned, and/or PDF versions one can find online and in cheaper software). But still, it's a pretty penny in this economy, which I blame on... oh wait, wrong blog. Ahem.

Anyway, watch the Logos blog and the web-site; they do have occasional terrific sales, such as they are having right now. (See here and here.) Sign up for the newsletter to be alerted to deals and sales and pre-prod and community pricing. If Spurgeon specifically is now out of your reach, watch for the set to come up, or find it piecemeal — as you'll see part is on sale now, at the previous link.

But to the main question: why get this collection, if you already have some of it in hardcover (as I do), or can find a lot of it online? The answer is the integration provided by Logos software. Ask any Spurgeon-lover, and he'll tell you the same tale I'd tell, of wonderful Spurgeon sayings that you love, and know, and just can't find. With this suite, no longer. Even with just one word, you can search a book, a group of books, or the whole collection, and be able to quote (not paraphrase!) and cite the source (not guess, and perpetuate sloppiness).

Also, of course, you can incorporate these titles in your other searching collections, such as preaching or counseling or commentaries. Then Spurgeon's remarks will appear along with your other Psalms commentaries.

I'm very glad to have it. Obviously, you are your money's steward, not I. For any preacher, I think it's a worthy purchase. For any church, I think it'd be a terrific gift for a Logos-using pastor — and you'd benefit, in his preaching.

Win/win!

Dan Phillips's signature

12 comments:

Doug McMasters said...

Hear hear!

Frank Turk said...

Does this mean that you are now the keeper of the Spurgeon Archive?

DJP said...

(Checks label on back of shirt)

No.

steve said...

It's important to note that the "Collection" featured here does not include Spurgeon's 63 volumes of sermons (New Park Street and Metropolitan Tabernacle). Those are sold in a completely separate package.

Also, not all the Sword & Trowels are included--the last several years prior to Spurgeon's death aren't included, if I read the ad copy correctly.

Just worth noting.

Pew Potato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry Rayburn said...

Oh...I thought you said Legos.

DJP said...

Easy mistake.

DJP said...

That's right, Steve; that's another collection. As to the S&T, I don't know for certain. (That's why I said "the volumes of," rather than "all the volumes of.

Pastor Jim said...

Have it, love it, highly recommend it! The key to Logos resourses is buying them before they come into production. They have an excellent Pre-pub and Community Pricing program that allows the purchase of fantastic resources at even a fraction of their sale prices. Bottom line when considering Logos--buy the best package you can possibly afford and continually upgrade through Pre-pub and Community Pricing. BTW--Spurgeon Collection was $250 on Pre-pub when I bought it. Current "Sale Price" is $700.

DJP said...

Thanks, Jim; good pointer.

Pew Potato said...

To note - you can get both WORDsearch's high quality searchable
91 volume Spurgeon library and
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit and the New Street Pulpit for half of the Logos sale price.

JK said...

Suggested title for this review: 86 reasons to get into blogging and petitioning the Pyro guys to welcome you aboard.

Alternate source to (at times) deeply discounted Logos title: rejoicechristiansoftware.com