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LECTURE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 798, 21 November 1882
The body of the Town Hall was well filled last evening, on the occasion of the Rev. C. Dallaston giving his promised lecture on the “ Sayings and Doings of the Rev. Charles H, Spurgeon.” Hia Worship the Mayor presided, and, after the hymn “ To the work,” etc., had been sung, and prayer offered by the Rev. J. Sharp, the rev. lecturer was introduced. Mr Dallaston, in his preliminary remarks, spoke of the interest attaching to a study of the human character; and in becoming acquainted with the joys and sorrows, habits and work of individual men, the investigation was frequently both pleasurable and profitable. It was. also, .fitting, that honor should he given to those 5 who deserved it; and while it was a joy to recollect a Whitfield and a Wesley, a Chalmers and a Guthrie, it was equally pleasing to remember and speak of the work of a Spurgeon. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who had been characterised by Thomas Carlyle as “ the last of the Puritans,” was, born at. Kelvedon, Essex, onthe/Kfih June, 1834/ His ancestry could be traced back for seven! centuries. His grandfather was a man of piety, but, from the lecturer’s remarks concerning the worthy patriarch, he was evidently eccentric in his dress and manner. As a boy Spurgeon was looked upon as a lad of much promise, and was remarkable fer his r inquisitiveness, and ere he hadteachdd thtfage of ten years he became quite a young theologian. 'An anecdote told about Spurgeon at this time is worth re-producing. . A minister, who was on aj visit to the- elder Spurgeon, was one morning pacing the garden attached to the housed wheii he was startled by hearing the question—
•• wnat aoeac tnou nere, jEiiijan i ana on turning round was confronted by the lad, Charles Spurgeon. At family devotions the minister was struck with the clear natural manner in which the boy read the Bible, and foretold that Charles would become a remarkable man, adding that some day the boy would preach in Surrey Chapel (Rowland Hill’s), and obtained a promise from young Spurgeon that when his (the minister’s) words came true he would give out the hymn commencing “God moves hi a mysterious way.” Strangely enough the words were prophetic. Spurgeon some years after preached in Rowland Hill's Chapel, and did i not. forget his promise concerning thb well-known hymn'6t Cowpar. Brief reference, was piade to the education of Mr'Spurgedh, and the rev. lecturer then went on to speak of the eminent preacher’s conversion, brought about principally by a pious mother’s prayers and the simple but faithful exhortations of a young Primitive Methodist local preacher. He was baptised at the age of sixteen, on his mother’s birthday, which elicited a remark from her that she had often prayed that he might become a Christian, but nftvftr that ho miaht. Wnms ' a-."Ranhiat.
Cpurgeon immediately responded that that was the way in which God always answered prayer, besides giving what was asked for, He often added some other blessing to it. Soon after this, the young man joined a lay preachers association, and it was not long before he became a general favorite. ; He had not long; been -ngaged in this way befo e he was asked to become the pastor of the Waterbeaoh Church, and was “ passing rich ” at L 45 per annum. During his short ministry at the church mentioned, forty members were added. While here he had an intense desire to enter college, but circumstances happening which did not facilitate matter’s in this direction, his wishes were not gratified.. Mr Spurgeon had not, it is presumed, a favorable impression of college lifej for he subsequently, at a meeting in the Tabernacle, said that possibly he would never have been' where he was nor what he was had he entered college. In 1853 Mr Spurgeon preached his first sermon in London at the Park street Chapel. After occunying the pulpit there for two or three Sundays, he received an invitation to remain six months. Before half that term had expired he received an invitation to be permanent pastor of the church, and so popular did ho become, and so crowded were the congregations, that the building soon became
top small for the numbers who, flocked, to hear him. In 1856 it was resolved to build a Tabernacle, estimated to ? cost L 12,000, and the most sanguine hardly ever hoped the amount would be. raised. However, Mr Spurgeon set to work, and ere long -contributions from all quarters were sent inland on the 16th August, 1859, the foundation stones wore laid. . The Tabernacle was opened in 1861, will ac : commodate 6,000 people, and cost L 13.000 to erect. It has now a membership of 5,000 persons. Speaking of Mr Spurgeon’s preaching abilities, the lecturer remarked that he was a preacher for the people, and while the educated and highly intellectual classes derived profit from his discourses, yet it was the suffrages of the multitude which he sought. Mr Spurgeon’s style was essentially illustrative, abounding in parable’ and, anecdote, and some entertaining incidents bearing on this feature of his preaching were given by the lecturer. The largest congregation to which Mr Spurgeon had ever preached was at the Crystal Palace,
when there were 20,000 people present; and 100,000 copies of his sermon on that occasion were sold, although published at double the price of his usual discourses. In referring to his theology, Mr Daildston remarked that Spurgeon whs a clergyman of the orthodox type, believing in the reality of sin and the reality of the Atonement. Like moat men who have risen to prominent positions in the world, the great preacher was the subject of a considerable number of caricatures. In one of these—“Catch’em alivo,” Mr Spurgeon was represented as being in the midst of a swarm of flies, and, with a hat covered with treacle, endeavoring to secure them, illustrative, it is presumed, of his immense popu'arity and the mental pabulum provided. These caricatures had all been collected, published in pamphlet form, and are now sold, the proceeds being devoted to carrying on the work of the Gospel. Mr Spurgeon is an author of no mean ability. Twenty-five volumes containing 1,550 of his sermons had been published, besides which he is the author of “John Ploughman’s Talk,” “The Treasury of David,” “ Lectures to my |
Students,” and a number of other works; at the same time being editor of “ The Sword and the TroweL” Training young men for the ministry is part of Mr Spurgeon’s work. At first the few students used to meet in rooms, dark and dreary, beneath the Tabernacle. Now the work is done in a fine building, admirably adapted for the purpose, but of peculiar architecture, described by Mr Spurgeon as an “ acute angle triangle.” The building alone had cost L 14.500, and this with, two orphanages—one for beys, the other for girls—were maintained by voluntary contributions. A deal of other interesting and instructive information was given by the rev. lecturer, but space forbids us doing more than giving the above brief resume. Before concluding it was stated that both Mr Spurgeon’s sons are in, the hiinistry—Charles being the pastor of a large church at Greenwich, and Thomas, pastor of the Baptist Church at Auckland, in the North Island. The Rev. J. Nixon proposed and Mr Gavin seconded a vote of thanks to Mr Dallaaton for hist entertaining and able lecture, responding to which the rev. gentleman said it was hilt a pleasure for him. to speak of Mr Spurgeon in the way he had done, and it was only natural he should esteem him very highly, as he (the lecturer) was one of Mr Spurgeon’s boys. The usual compliment to his Worship the Mayor for presiding was given, and after ’singing the 100th Psalm, Mr Dallaston pronounced the benediction, and the proceedings were brought to a close.
LECTURE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 798, 21 November 1882
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