16 June 2006

“something better to do”

A supplemental dose of Spurgeon
posted by Frank "li'l Phil" Turk
The PyroManiacs devote space each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive.

Well, Coyote has beaten me to the punch, as they say, and has prepared a dose of Spurgeon for Sunday which frankly is in continuity with the rest of the stuff going on here at the teamPyro blog, so I'll let him have his fun. I have a mere snippet which I will post here today, and if you like it, think about it on Sunday. Unlike Phil, I am not completely immersed in the great preacher’s works, and that is a terrible short-coming on my part. However, I have a few favorites from CHS which I turn to from time to time, and one of my favorites is The Eccentric Preacher.

In his own words, Spurgeon says he published this volume in “self-defense”. However, what he was defending himself against was not something he did, but something he in fact didn’t do, due to sloppy reporting by an American publisher. Spurgeon had preached on the topic of eccentric preachers, and a reporter took some notes on that sermon, and butchered it badly. Spurgeon thought at first merely to publish the corrected version, but in reviewing the notes for his own words thought the topic worthy of expanding into a booklet, for which he said, “I hope the reader will not be a loser by my resolution.”

As if. The booklet is, of course, a gem with so many high points that it’s hard to pick which is the best. It is a keen resource for those who want to improve their blogging, among other things. However, since you will go to church on SUnday (right?), and you at least read blogs about the Christian life (well, you read this blog), it would probably do you good to read this brief excerpt from Spurgeon’s intro to this volume, which has to do with the fact that God’s word is drawn out in earthen vessels.

Read for yourself:
I desire by this little volume to plead against the carping spirit which makes a man an offender for a word, and the lying spirit which scatters falsehood right and left, to the injury and grief of the most zealous of my Master's servants. Many hearers lose much blessing through criticizing too much, and meditating too little; and many more incur great sin by calumniating those who live for the good of others. True pastors have enough of care and travail without being burdened by undeserved and useless fault-finding. We have something better to do than to be for ever answering every malignant or frivolous slander which is set afloat to injure us. We expected to prove our ministry "by evil report and by good report," and we are not therefore overwhelmed by abuse as though some new thing had happened unto us; and yet there are tender, loving spirits who feel the trial very keenly, and are sadly hindered in brave service by cruel assaults. The rougher and stronger among us laugh at those who ridicule us, but upon others the effect is very sorrowful. For their sakes are these pages written; may they be a warning to wanton witlings who defame the servants of the Most High God.

As ministers we are very far from being perfect, but many of us are doing our best, and we are grieved that the minds of our people should be more directed to our personal imperfections than to our divine message. God has purposely put his treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power should be ascribed to himself alone: we beseech our hearers not to be so occupied with the faults of the casket as to forget the jewel. Wisdom is justified of her children, and grace works by such instruments as it pleases. Reader, be it yours to profit by all my Master's servants, and even by Yours truly,
Have a care today as you think about your Pastor, your church, and God’s word.


candy said...

Timely. Good post.

Taliesin said...

One thing I dislike about reading blogs is my "I need to read this" list keeps growing.

This actually reminds me of "On Religious Grumblers" from John Ploughman's Talks by Spurgeon which I read occassionally, well, because I need to.

Thanks for another good exhortation in this vein.

Catez said...

I deleted a few comments. I think I was too enthused with the book as a whole on first impression. Some good points in it but on reflection some I disagree with too. Won't go into that here as it's not the point of your post. Thanks.