BIBLIOGRAPHIC ENTRY Spurgeon, Charles H. Lectures To My Students. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2011, Kindle Electronic Edition. SUMMARY Charles Spurgeon is known as one of the most significant pastors, orators, authors and humanitarians of the nineteenth century. In addition to authoring numerous books, founding Stockwell Orphanage, serving as pastor of the Church in Waterbeach, Baptist Church of New Park Street in Southwark, London and the famed Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon also founded the Pastors’ College.
Perhaps one of Spurgeon’s greatest ministries was to the hundreds of pastors who were trained in the Pastors’ College which he founded and served as President until his death. In 1865 Spurgeon began an annual conference to address students, alum and other interested parties. Lectures To My Students contains many of the lectures and topics that Spurgeon presented at his annual conference. Lectures To My Students covers a variety of topics discussed in twenty-eight lectures.
Spurgeon’s lectures include: “The Ministers Self-Watch”: “The Call to the Ministry”; “The Preacher’s Private Prayer”; “Our Public Prayer”; “Sermons – Their Matter”; “On the Choice of a Text”; “On Spiritualizing”; “On the Voice”; “Attention! ”; “The Faculty of Impromptu Speech”; “The Minister’s Fainting Fits”; “The Minister’s Ordinary Conversation”; “To Workers with Slender Apparatus”; “The Holy Spirit in Connection with our Ministry”; “The Necessity of Ministerial Progress”; “The Need of Decision for the Truth”; Open-Air Preaching – A Sketch of Its History”; Open – Air Preaching – Remarks Thereon’; “Posture, Action, Gesture, Etc. ; “Earnestness: Its Marring and Maintenance”; “The Blind Eye and Deaf Ear”; “On Conversation as our Aim”; “Illustrations in Preaching”; “Anecdotes from the Pulpit”; “The Uses of Anecdotes and Illustrations”; “Where Can We Find Anecdotes and Illustrations? ”; and “The Sciences as Sources of Illustration. ” The length of this paper does not allow for comment on all twenty-eight lectures this review will be limited in scope to a broad overview of some of the more important lectures.
Spurgeon defines his purpose for writing and publishing his lectures in “Introduction and Apology” where he states: Many men of earnest spirit and established Christian character are hindered in their own efforts to do good by the slenderness of their knowledge. Conscious of their own defects, they endeavor to improve themselves, but the absence of a guide, their need of books, and their scanty time, all prevent their making progress.
These are the men whom the Pastor’s College welcomes… The College aims at training preachers rather than scholars. To develop all the faculty of ready speech, to help them understand the word of God, and to foster the spirit of consecration, courage, and confidence in God, are objects so important that we put all other matters in secondary position. If a student should learn a thousand things, and yet fail to preach the gospel acceptably, his College course will have missed its true design (Spurgeon 2011, Location 63 of 11118).
In pursuit of such lofty and noble goal of instructing and teaching young men to become pastors Spurgeon poured his heart and soul into these lectures in an attempt to convey practical advice, knowledge and wisdom to a group of apprentice pastors who Spurgeon described thusly: My College lectures are colloquial, familiar, full of anecdote, and often humorous: they are purposely made so, to suit the occasion. At the end of the week I meet the students, and find those weary as I well can be.
They have had their fill of classics, mathematics, and divinity, and are only in a condition to receive something which will attract and secure their attention, and fire their hearts…To succeed in this the lecturer must not be dull himself, not demand any great effort from his audience…I have purposely given an almost autobiographical tinge to the whole, because my own experience, such as it is, is the most original contribution which I can offer, and, with my own students, quite as weighty as any other within my reach (___).
As evident by his concern and understanding Spurgeon had a special place in his heart for his students. critique Evaluation Spurgeon’s Lectures To My Students contains practical wisdom, sound advice and a common sense approach for pastors worldwide regardless of the era in which they find themselves ministering to others.
In other words Lectures To My Students is a timeless piece of literature written by a renown pastor that many refer to as the “Prince of Preachers” and “A Master Pulpiteer” with over 1,900 to his credit. Spurgeon’s love for the Lord and the vocation of preaching and teaching come through on every page of this brilliant piece of work. It is hard to establish a purely academic value for this book because it was not written to produce scholars but rather by and for preachers who Spurgeon cared for so much.