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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Spurgeon On Preaching To Elevate Self

Charles H. Spurgeon

If you would have God speak to you, you must possess a deep seriousness of heart. It is said that when George Fox was called a Quaker, because he trembled at the name of God, the title was a great honor to him. C. H. Spurgeon admonishes preachers to do some trembling before they preach:

There are certain defects which cut a man off from the divine employ, and anything like a sinister motive is one of them. If you aim at making money, winning ease, securing approbation, or obtaining position, or even if you aim at the exhibition of rhetorical talent, you will not be fit for the Master’s use. God would not have us entangled with subordinate designs. . . . How contemptible it is when a minister so acts as to give the idea of childish display! He stands up to deliver his Lord’s message, but his hope is that people will say, “What a nice young man! How properly he speaks, and how prettily he quotes Browning!” Self-display is death to power. God cannot largely bless men with such small ideas. It were beneath the dignity of the Godhead for the Lord largely to use an instrument so altogether unadapted for his sublime purposes.

Beloved, I notice that God imparts his messages to those who have a complete subordination to him. I will tell you what has often crossed my mind when I have talked with certain brethren. . . . I have wondered which was the Master and which was the servant. . . . I have been sorry for the errors of these brethren; but I have been far more distressed by the spirit shown in those errors. It is evident that they have renounced that holy reverence for Scripture which is indicated by such an expression as this, “That trembleth at my word.” They rather trifle than tremble. The Word is not their teacher, but they are its critics. The Word of the Lord is no longer enthroned in the place of honor with many; but it is treated as a football, to be kicked about as they please; and the apostles, especially, are treated as if Paul, and James, and John were Jack, Tom, and Harry, with whom modern wise men are on terms of something more than equality. They pass the books of Scripture under their rod, and judge the Spirit of God himself. The Lord cannot work by a creature that is in revolt against him. We must manifest the spirit of reverence, or we shall not be as little children, nor enter the kingdom of heaven. . . . That which was created in the brain cannot yield comfort to the heart. The man will sorrowfully say, “Yes, that is my own idea; but what does God say?” Brethren; I believe in that which I could not have invented. I believe that which I cannot understand. I believe that which compels me to adore, and I thank God for a rock that is higher than I am. If it were not higher than I, it were not a shelter for me.

“But still,” says one, “we must be earnest students of the literature of the period, and of the science of the age.” Yes: I did not say you were not to be so; but keep them in subordination to the Word of God. (A Sermon to Pastors: ““The Preacher’s Power and the Conditions of Obtaining it”)

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