Legacy of Faithfulness:  Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Legacy of Faithfulness: Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Recently, my wife and I spent nine days in London and traveled out each day to various cities such as Bristol, Bedford, Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh, Scotland.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be writing a series of articles on specific people from church history that left us with testimonies of genuine faith in the gospel, perseverance under persecution, and remained steadfast to the end.  The goal in this series of articles is to lightly explore their lives and focus on their perseverance in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A life that finished well in the gospel is a life worth remembering.  We have already looked at the life of John Bunyan, but today’s focus is Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon the Lost Sinner

A young fifteen year old Spurgeon was walking to church in the town of Colchester when a snowstorm redirected him into a small Primitive Methodist church.  The regular minister was not present for the services due to the storm, and an unlearned man took his place that particular Sunday morning and preached a simple sermon from Isaiah 45:22.  There was a small crowd of a dozen people gathered in the sanctuary.  That day would alter Spurgeon’s life not only for his earthly life, but also for all of eternity.  The young sinner was converted that day as the man preached and urged him saying, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ.  Look!  Look!  Look!  You have nothing to do but to look and live.” [1]

Charles Haddon Spurgeon the Prince of Preachers

Within one year as Spurgeon was growing in grace, he was eager to preach the gospel.  He preached his first sermon and everyone knew that God had gifted this young man with the unique ability to proclaim God’s gospel.  As he continued to preach the Word, his gift was recognized by many people.  He soon received an invitation to preach at the New Park Street Chapel in 1853, which was the largest Particular Baptist Church in all of London.

This historic church had been pastored by men such as Benjamin Keach, John Gill, and John Rippon, but by 1853, the church was in serious decline.  After preaching for a few months, at the age of 19, Spurgeon was called to be the pastor of this historic church.   By the end of his first year of ministry, the church went from dealing with problems of decline to navigating the problems of tremendous growth.  The chapel had to be enlarged to accommodate the growing crowds.  Soon, the people in attendance would be standing in the aisles, sitting in the windowsills, and there would be many others in the streets waiting and hoping to enter.

This growth soon caused the church to move into Exeter Hall which was a large public building with seating capacity of four thousand with a standing room capacity of five thousand.  It did not take long for every seat to fill to capacity.  People were being turned away, so they had to build a large building for the church to accommodate the unusual growth.  They built the Metropolitan Tabernacle which became the largest Protestant worship center in all of the world at this time.  The young pastor was simply phenom.  London and beyond had never seen anything like him.  Soon this young pastor was preaching to thousands every week and his sermons were being printed and distributed on the streets of London and all around the world.

The sermons of Spurgeon would be recorded on the front row and later put into print after an editing process that Spurgeon managed.  The collected sermons fill 63 volumes which is equal to the 27 volume ninth edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, and is the largest set of books produced by any author in the history of Christianity.  His sermons sold approximately 25,000 copies per week and were translated into 20 languages.  One man ordered one million copies of one sermon of Spurgeon and then had it distributed to the entire continent.

Charles Spurgeon’s ministry was not fluff.  His preaching was gospel centered and his heart was hot for God.  He was ambitious, but not selfish.  He desired to live a life that counted for God.  Some of the accomplishments of Spurgeon’s ministry include:

  • He preached 600+ times before he was 20 years old.
  • His sermons sold approximately 25,000 copies per week and were translated into 20 languages.
  • He read 6 books each week in order to prepare for his sermons and to sharpen his mind.
  • He read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress over 100 times.
  • He saw over 14,400 people added to his church during his ministry.
  • He founded a pastors’ college.
  • He trained approximately 900 men for the ministry.
  • He founded an orphanage.
  • He produced more than 140 books.
  • He edited a magazine.
  • He responded to 500+ letters each week.
  • He often preached 10+ times each week (combined through guest appearances and through his own church).
  • He labored to spare the Baptist name from the liberals of his day.  (See the Down-Grade Controversy for more information.)
  • He had two sons who became pastors.  When asked by his son to ordain him to the ministry, Spurgeon instructed him to read Matthew Henry’s commentaries in full two times before he would honor his request.

It’s quite an impressive list of accomplishments for any preacher, but to consider that he died at the age of 57, it becomes even more impressive.  Spurgeon’s son, Charles Jr., was not exaggerating when he once said of his father:

There was no one who could preach like my father. In inexhaustible variety, witty wisdom, vigorous proclamation, loving entreaty, and lucid teaching, with a multitude of other qualities, he must, at least in my opinion, ever be regarded as the prince of preachers. [2]

Charles Haddon Spurgeon the Calvinist

Charles Spurgeon was an unashamed Calvinist.  Spurgeon once stated, “John Knox’s gospel is my gospel.”  He embraced the doctrines of grace and upheld a robust view of God’s sovereignty in salvation.  Spurgeon once said:

Puritanism, Protestantism, Calvinism [he said, are simply] . . . poor names which the world has given to our great and glorious faith,—the doctrine of Paul the apostle, the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [3]

He was a faithful pastor, one who labored in the Word, and one who was not disconnected from evangelism.  In one sermon titled, “Now” preached December 4th, 1864, he repeated the word, “now” 173 times in the sermon as he urged people to cling to Christ as their eternal hope.  In that sermon, he said:

As a sinner, I also address thee concerning this “now.” “Now is the day of salvation: thou needest it now. God is angry with thee now. Thou art condemned already. It is not the torment of hell thou hast to dread only, but if thou hast thy senses, thou wouldst tremble at thy present state. Now without God, now without hope, now an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, now dead in trespasses and sins, now in danger of the wrath to come, thou wantest a Savior this morning, young man. [4]

In his day, he labored to make a clear distinction between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism.  If you look at Spurgeon’s ministry, examine his theology, and look at his evangelistic zeal, you will see the clear distinction put on outward display.  On the first week in the newly built Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861, Spurgeon desired for the ministry of the church to be set upon the doctrines of grace.  He said:

I would propose that the subject of the ministry in this house, as long as this platform shall stand and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist; I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, “It is Jesus Christ.” [5]

Charles Haddon Spurgeon Persevering Under Pressure

With all of the accomplishments and successes came also the pressure, criticism, attacks, and a massive amount of pressure.  Spurgeon entered into a theological fight in 1887.  The fight became known as The Downgrade.  Many people believe that this fight cost him his life.  That’s why he died at 57.  However, as Spurgeon would tell you to this very day if you could ask him, the fight was worth it.  He refused to allow his congregation to float down the stream of liberalism in the Baptist associations of his day.  He labored to correct it, and when he was unable to do so, he withdrew from the Baptist Union.

The pulpits of England were in steady decline.  Spurgeon strongly warned against the undermining of Scriptural authority which opened the door to a lengthy list of compromises.  For Spurgeon, it was too much.  He couldn’t bear it any longer and he refused to compromise.  He resigned from the Baptist Union in October of 1887.  Spurgeon said,

It is my highest ambition to be clear of the blood of all men.  I have preached God’s truth, so far as I know it, and I have not been ashamed of its peculiarities.  That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them. [6]

You can read his letters and exchanges between he and other ministers during this time of theological conflict.  Spurgeon was unwilling to compromise the truth for the sake of association.  He consistently called these men to repent.  Spurgeon was not afraid of their pursuit of him and was unwilling to back down.  Spurgeon was not willing to avoid conflict in order to assure the end of his life and ministry was well spoken of and provided ministerial ease.  Instead, he put on the full armor of God and remained faithful when it seemed that many around him were willing to compromise.

One of the clear doctrines of Scripture and one that Spurgeon himself loved is the perseverance of the saints.  No matter how difficult the obstacles became, Spurgeon was unwilling to throw in the white towel on God.  Too many people quit on God and prove to be false Christians.  True children always persevere to the end.  Spurgeon’s life was poured out for God.  He loved his church.  He loved his God.  He loved the gospel.  He loved his Savior.  He never forgot that he needed saving.  He finished his life well.  It should be our desire to life life well, and die without regrets.  That seemed to be the method of life and ministry for Charles Spurgeon.  What about you?

When Spurgeon died, there were five funerals.  Thousands crowded the streets and followed the funeral procession to the burial site.  Spurgeon’s work on this earth was now finished.  His life had a unique aroma of consistency and faithfulness to God.  Spurgeon’s preaching was robust and expressed a full-bodied gospel.  Even those who didn’t agree with Spurgeon could recognize this, and they paid respect to him as they flooded the streets of London and southward to the burial site at West Norwood.  Spurgeon’s preaching is over, but his singing has just begun.

When I visited his grave in the West Norwood Cemetery recently, etched into the side of his rather large monument are these words:

This monument was erected in loving memory of
C.H. Spurgeon,
who was born in Kelvedon Essex, June 19th 1834
and fell asleep in Jesus at Mentone, France January 31st 1892.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing thy power to save.
When this poor lisping stammering tongue,
Lies silent in the grave.

Spurgeon-Grave-Monument


  1.  Charles H. Spurgeon, Susannah Spurgeon, and W.J. Harrald, C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Vol. I:1834-1854 (London:  Passmore and Alabaster, 1899), 233.
  2. C. H. Spurgeon: Autobiography, vol. 2, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1973), 278.
  3. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, An All Round Ministry, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1960), 160.
  4. “Now” – A Sermon (No. 603), Delivered on Sunday Morning, December 4th, 1864 by C. H. SPURGEON, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
  5. Bob L. Ross, A Pictorial Biography of C. H. Spurgeon, (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 1974), 66.
  6. Tom Nettles, Living By Revealed Truth, (Scotland, Christian Focus Publications, 2013), 541.

Why Spurgeon Matters Today

Why Spurgeon Matters Today

Charles Spurgeon, often referred to as the “Prince of Preachers” died in January of 1892.  Although he has been gone from this earth for a long time, he remains very much present in sermons as pastors quote from his work, in articles as bloggers talk about him, and in religious publications as modern historians and preachers look back at this towering giant known by his last name – Spurgeon.  Spurgeon is quoted by men wearing skinny jeans and suits, referenced by both Calvinists and Arminians, and is loved by a wide range of evangelical Christians.  Spurgeon’s sermons and quotes appear on blogs, although he never owned a computer or read a single article from the blogosphere.  Why does Spurgeon matter today?  What is it about this English preacher that sticks with us?  I want to suggest several reasons why Spurgeon is relevant in our modern culture.

Charles Spurgeon’s Message Transcends Time

As an English Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon did not invent the gospel, but he did preach it.  In fact, he was known as a preacher of the gospel far and wide.  Spurgeon’s message was gospel centered and gospel saturated.  Spurgeon declared:

Preach Christ, that is the magnet; He will draw his own to Himself….If we want to see conversions there must be…more constant preaching of Christ; Christ must be in every sermon and He must be top and bottom of all the theology that is preached.1

Spurgeon was known as a powerful preacher.  Although he possessed rare oratory skills and was gifted with mental abilities that were superior to many of his contemporaries, he didn’t showcase his eloquence and raise the enticing words of man’s wisdom above the gospel.  He once described his own style by saying, “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.”  For Spurgeon, Christ was not an optional additive to the sermon.  Spurgeon didn’t focus on cleverly constructed clichés in his preaching – he focused on Christ.

While we can argue that we must be careful to guard against allegorical interpretations and faulty misguided hermeneutics, we must get to Christ in our Christian pulpits.  One reason that Spurgeon is so remembered is because of his faithful, persistent, and often courageous gospel preaching.  Spurgeon openly criticized preaching and wondered “what some sermons were preached for, what design the preacher had in concocting them” as he claimed they practiced very long to “avoid troubling you in the least with the truth.”2  While much preaching today seems locked in a time vault, Spurgeon’s preaching transcended time and remains relevant because it was saturated with gospel truth.

Charles Spurgeon’s Accomplishments

It’s really hard to imagine that Spurgeon died at age 57.  Consider the vast amount of time investment from Spurgeon’s list of ministry accomplishments:

  • He preached 600+ times before he was 20 years old.
  • His sermons sold approximately 25,000 copies per week and were translated into 20 languages. (The collected sermons fill 63 volumes which is equal to the 27 volume ninth edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, and is the largest set of books produced by any author in the history of Christianity.)
  • He read 6 books each week in order to prepare for his sermons and to sharpen his mind.
  • He read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress over 100 times.
  • He saw over 14,400 people added to his church during his ministry.
  • He founded a pastors’ college.
  • He trained approximately 900 men for the ministry.
  • He founded an orphanage.
  • He produced more than 140 books.
  • He edited a magazine.
  • He responded to 500+ letters each week.
  • He often preached 10+ times each week (combined through guest appearances and through his own church).
  • He labored to spare the Baptist name from the liberals of his day.  (See the Down-Grade Controversy for more information.)
  • He had two sons who became pastors.  When asked by his son to ordain him to the ministry, Spurgeon instructed him to read Matthew Henry’s commentaries in full two times before he would honor his request.

Half of this list would easily fill several ministry careers, but by God’s grace, Spurgeon was able to do much for Christ in a short period of time.  For that very reason, he is remembered as a prolific author, insatiable reader, and powerful preacher with a big heart for people.

Charles Spurgeon’s Evangelistic Zeal and Theological Richness

It has been said that Baptists produce the preachers and Presbyterians produce the theologians.  That was not the case with Charles Spurgeon.  He was the full package.  In the introduction to his book, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon, Steven Lawson describes Spurgeon by writing:

In one hand, he firmly held the sovereignty of God in man’s salvation.  With the other hand, he extended the free offer of the gospel to all.  He preached straightforward Calvinistic doctrine, then, in the same sermon, fervently urged lost sinners to call on the name of the Lord.  Having expounded the truths of predestination, he then warned his listeners that if they refused Christ, their blood would be on their own hands.

Spurgeon had biblical depth, but his depth didn’t cause his heart to grow cold nor his passion to fade away.  The more Spurgeon visited the deep wells of divine truth, the more his heart pulsated for the lost world.

Charles Spurgeon’s Boldness in Conflict

Spurgeon was bold in Christ, but not arrogant and prideful.  He would often approach the pulpit and as he was ascending the pulpit stairs, he would repeat over and over again, “I need the Holy Spirit, I need the Holy Spirit, I need the Holy Spirit.”  When it came to controversy, “he despised wrangling over minutiae, splitting over whims, and arguing over issues that could be reduced to merely personal differences.”3  When it came to issues that mattered, such as the nonnegotiable truths, Spurgeon faced them with the boldness of a lion.

The Downgrade Controversy was an issue worth fighting.  As he entered the controversy in 1887, he spoke out boldly in defense of the gospel. The pulpits of England were in steady decline.  Spurgeon strongly warned against the undermining of Scriptural authority which opened the door to a lengthy list of compromises.  For Spurgeon, it was too much.  He couldn’t bear it any longer.  He resigned from the Baptist Union in October of 1887.  Spurgeon said,

It is my highest ambition to be clear of the blood of all men.  I have preached God’s truth, so far as I know it, and I have not been ashamed of its peculiarities.  That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them.4

For Spurgeon, truth mattered.  That’s why Spurgeon matters today.  With keen precision, Spurgeon was able to navigate the complicated web of controversy and determine what was worthy of a fight and what was merely a difference of opinion.  We need more Spurgeons in the blogosphere, in books, in denominational affairs, and in the pulpits of our churches.


1.  Charles H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitian Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. XX (Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1981), 94

2.  Sword & Trowel, May 1877, 205-207.

3.  Tom Nettles, Living By Revealed Truth, (Scotland, Christian Focus Publications, 2013), 541.

4.  Ibid, 541.

Spurgeon: Not a Lazy Preacher

Spurgeon: Not a Lazy Preacher

The Bible is God’s Bible; and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, “I am the book of God; man, read me. I am God’s writing; open my leaf, for I was penned by God; read it, for he is my author, and you will see him visible and manifest everywhere.”  – Charles Spurgeon

The preaching ministry is not a career choice, it’s a calling by God.  To proclaim God’s Word is a high calling, and it should be approached with a sense of respect and dedication.  Unfortunately, many preachers of my generation (born 1977) are “lazy preachers.”  It seems that many do not have any real urgency for souls, dedication to Christ, or humility at their responsibility to stand and speak the very Word of God each week.  With that being true, the landscape of our culture is not being shaped by Seminaries, Bible colleges, Christian literature and commentaries.  The present culture is not witnessing the giants of Church history that once appeared!  Where is the faithful pastor-theologian who loves the Word and loves people at the same time?  Where is the man who sinks deep into the Word with rigorous study in order to love the people on Sunday by feeding them the truth of God?  We are living in a “lazy preacher” generation!

Charles Haddon Spurgeon is a name that is widely known in preaching circles.  He was born in 1834 and lived during a theologically liberal era.  Spurgeon became the pastor of the famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification. In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle.1 Some of Spurgeon’s achievements are:

  • He preached 600+ times before he was 20 years old.
  • His sermons sold approximately 25,000 copies per week and were translated into 20 languages. NOTE: The collected sermons fill 63 volumes which is equal to the 27 volume ninth edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, and is the largest set of books produced by any author in the history of Christianity!
  • He read 6 books each week in order to prepare for his sermons and to sharpen his mind.
  • He read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress over 100 times.
  • He saw over 14,400 people added to his church during his ministry.
  • He founded a pastors’ college.
  • He trained approximately 900 men for the ministry.
  • He founded an orphanage.
  • He produced more than 140 books.
  • He edited a magazine.
  • He responded to 500+ letters each week.
  • He often preached 10+ times each week (combined through guest appearances and through his own church).
  • He labored to spare the Baptist name from the liberals of his day.  See the Down-Grade Controversy for more information.
  • He had two sons who became pastors.  When asked by his son to ordain him to the ministry, Spurgeon instructed him to read Matthew Henry’s commentaries in full two times before he would honor his request.

Spurgeon stood on hard issues in his ministry.  He fought the battle of the “Downgrade Controversy” and was not popular for taking the stands that he took.  He was unashamedly Baptist.  He was unashamedly Calvinistic in his theology.  Spurgeon once said, “If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, ‘He is one who says, Salvation is of the Lord.‘ I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this.”2 However, Spurgeon was a faithful evangelist for Christ who fulfilled his ministry as Paul instructed Timothy in 2 Timothy 4.  Spurgeon stood firmly against the hyper-Calvinist movement of his day – a lesson we could learn in our present day!  Spurgeon was not afraid of taking unpopular stands for Christ.

Spurgeon understood life and he understood his God!  As Spurgeon stood to preach each week, he was aware that people were standing on the precipice of life and eternity.  He preached with passion and urgency.  He pleaded with the lost to be saved through Christ.  He was aware that many marriages were falling apart.  He understood that many parents were dealing with wayward children.  He knew that some of his members were facing the complications of diseased parents.  Spurgeon understood that God’s Word was sufficient and that the Gospel was the answer to mankind’s problems!  That is why thousands packed out his church each week to hear a man who pointed them to the truth of God’s Word.The name of Charles Spurgeon rings in our ears like a legend.  He burned hot for God’s glory and blazed a trail to the cross of Jesus Christ.  Spurgeon accomplished everything in his life and ministry before dying at age 57!  It seems almost impossible that half of what he did could be done by 57, but it was.  Many men could live to be 99 and not accomplish the totality of what Spurgeon did.  That is why his son said the following about his Dad:

There was no one who could preach like my father. In inexhaustible variety, witty wisdom, vigorous proclamation, loving entreaty, and lucid teaching, with a multitude of other qualities, he must, at least in my opinion, ever be regarded as the prince of preachers.3

It seems strange that Spurgeon accomplished so much in so little time, but when the truth of his own health difficulties are known – it makes those accomplishments seem even more staggering.  Spurgeon lived a life of severe stress at times.  He suffered of gout, rheumatism, and Bright’s disease.  It is said that during his last twenty years of ministry he was forced to miss approximately 1/3 of the Sunday sermons.

May God be pleased to burn in our hearts in order that we would change the landscape of our culture for God’s glory.  May we see Christ as our treasure in such a way that all of our material possessions would seem as utter boredom in comparison.  May we reject the “lazy ministry” mindset that creeps into many hearts in our present day.  May God be pleased to raise up other faithful preachers who will stand uncompromisingly upon God’s Word and preach the truth for God’s glory!

For God’s Glory,

Pastor Josh Buice

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

1. http://www.spurgeon.org/aboutsp.htm

2. http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm

3.  C. H. Spurgeon: Autobiography, vol.2, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1973)Additional Resources:- http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Biographies/1469_Charles_Spurgeon_Preaching_Through_Adversity/- Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1972)- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, An All Round Ministry, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1960)- http://www.pilgrimpublications.com/spurgeon.htm

Spurgeon -“The King of Balance”

C.H. Spurgeon was quite possibly one of the greatest preachers who has ever lived. I have several volumes of his sermons and writings in my library. In a day of compromise (Downgrade Controversy) – Spurgeon stood up and faithfully preached the Word of God – and God blessed.Spurgeon was a great preacher and evangelist. He loved to expound the text, but he also loved missions. What made him such a great preacher? Was it his pulpit ability? Was it the thundering that came from his voice? Was it his theological knowledge and handle of God’s Word? I think what made Charles Haddon Spurgeon such a great preacher was that he was the “King of Balance.” What I mean is that although he was a professing 5 point Calvinist, Spurgeon was willing to allow the Scriptures to speak – without being muzzled by a system of theology. One of the greatest problems in today’s Church is that people often read the text of Holy Writ through the lens of systems of theology rather than allowing the Book of God to speak for itself. We must be more committed to inspiration than systems of theology. We must be more committed to Jesus Christ than John Calvin. Below is an excerpt from one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons on 1 Timothy 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Note what Spurgeon says about being fully committed to the inspired Word.

Salvation by Knowing the TruthJanuary 16th, 1880

“God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”-1 Timothy 2:3, 4.

May God the Holy Spirit guide our meditations to the best practical result this evening, that sinners may be saved and saints stirred up to diligence. I do not intend to treat my text controversially. It is like the stone which makes the corner of a building, and it looks towards a different side of the gospel from that which is mostly before us. Two sides of the building of truth meet here. In many a village there is a corner where the idle and the quarrelsome gather together; and theology has such corners. It would be very easy indeed to set ourselves in battle array, and during the next half-hour to carry on a very fierce attack against those who differ from us in opinion upon points which could be raised from this text. I do not see that any good would come of it, and, as we have very little time to spare, and life is short, we had better spend it upon something that may better tend to our edification. May the good Spirit preserve us from a contentious spirit, and help us really to profit by his word.

It is quite certain that when we read that God will have all men to be saved it does not mean that he wills it with the force of a decree or a divine purpose, for, if he did, then all men would be saved. He willed to make the world, and the world was made: he does not so will the salvation of all men, for we know that all men will not be saved. Terrible as the truth is, yet is it certain from holy writ that there are men who, in consequence of their sin and their rejection of the Savior, will go away into everlasting punishment, where shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. There will at the last be goats upon the left hand as well as sheep on the.61 right, tares to be burned as well as wheat to be garnered, chaff to be blown away as well as corn to be preserved. There will be a dreadful hell as well as a glorious heaven, and there is no decree to the contrary.

What then? Shall we try to put another meaning into the text than that which it fairly bears? You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. “All men,” say they,- “that is, some men”: as if the Holy Spirit could not have said “some men” if he had meant some men. “All men,” say they; “that is, some of all sorts of men”: as if the Lord could not have said “all sorts of men” if he had meant that. The Holy Spirit by the apostle has written “all men,” and unquestionably he means all men. I know how to get rid of the force of the “alls” according to that critical method which some time ago was very current, but I do not see how it can be applied here with due regard to truth. I was reading just now the exposition of a very able doctor who explains the text so as to explain it away; he applies grammatical gunpowder to it, and explodes it by way of expounding it. I thought when I read his exposition that it would have been a very capital comment upon the text if it had read, “Who will not have all men to be saved, nor come to a knowledge of the truth.” Had such been the inspired language every remark of the learned doctor would have been exactly in keeping, but as it happens to say, “Who will have all men to be saved,” his observations are more than a little out of place. My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself; for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent? But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the word of God that I should want to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture. God forbid that I should cut or shape, even in the least degree, any divine expression. So runs the text, and so we must read it, “God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Read the full sermon here.

May God convince us that we need to be wholly committed to His Book above all other books of man. When we read God through the intended lens of inspiration as opposed to the muzzle of theological systems, the true heart of our Great God will arise from the text of the Holy Writ!For the glory of God!Rev. Josh Buice