Chapter 13: A Chapter Of Incidents
A LIFE LIKE SPURGEON’S, that touched so many people in so many ways, could not fail to produce numerous interesting incidents. Many stories about him which gained currency were untrue. Some of them had been told of preachers of previous generations, and some were the inventions of nimble wits, but there are enough remarkable experiences, coincidences, and excitements in his history to warrant at least a chapter to themselves. The difficulty is to know what to choose.
Let us begin with his power of recognising folks. He could tell at a glance whether the regular members of his congregation were present, and his recollection of those whom he had only casually met was phenomenal. Dr. William Wright tells how as a young man he spoke to Mr. Spurgeon on his visit to Belfast, and how later, on his first furlough from Damascus, he visited the tabernacle one Sunday morning and was astonished to have Mr. Spurgeon immediately recognise him.
Of course sometimes he failed. “How are you, Mr. Partridge?” he said to one gentleman who came into his vestry to greet him.
“I am well, sir,” he answered, “but my name is Patridge, not Partridge.”
To which Mr. Spurgeon instantly retorted, “Ah, well, I promise you that I will make game of you no more.”
But he was not always even so fortunate as that. After a crowded meeting a man pressed through the throng and made frantic efforts to grasp the preacher’s hand. At length he succeeded and asked whether Mr. Spurgeon remembered him. Spurgeon was nonplussed for once, but he answered, “My dear fellow, I have forgotten your name, but your face is quite familiar to me.” Whereupon the excited individual cried out, “Well, that is singular, seeing that you rendered me the greatest service one man could render another—you buried my wife.”
“Hello, Dr. Wayland! I am glad to see you. Are you the author of Wayland’s Moral Science?” was his greeting to an American visitor.
“No,” replied the newcomer, “but the author of Wayland’s Moral Science was the author of me.”
Once in New Park Street, at an evening service, Mr. Spurgeon had announced the hymn preceding the sermon, and then he opened the Bible to find his text, which he had carefully studied. But a text on the opposite page caught his eye and he felt impressed to preach upon it. It came upon him like a lion from a thicket. As the people were singing, he was sighing, and wondering what to do. He could not get away from it, so he announced the new text and got through his firstly and secondly, but could not think of anything beyond. He was inwardly chiding himself for his rashness when the light went out. There was, of course, some excitement, but he quieted the people, told them the gas would soon be lighted again, and went on talking about saints in the darkness and sinners in the light. If he had announced his first text he could scarcely have continued an ordered discourse under the circumstances, but it was quite easy to make the transition when his mind was free. When the lamps were again lighted, the congregation was “as rapt and subdued as ever a man had in his life.” And at an early church meeting two persons came to seek church membership who had been converted that night, one during the first part of the sermon, the other during the second part.
Many times the preacher has been guided to say things that seemed almost uncanny in their applicability. He once said that there was a man in the gallery listening to him with a gin bottle in his pocket. It so happened that there was such a man, and he was startled into conversion. A woman of the city who had determined on suicide came in with the crowd to hear a last message that might prepare her to die. The text “Seest thou this woman?” arrested her. The discourse changed her heart, and she confessed Christ as her Saviour.
There was a man who regularly attended the tabernacle whose wife consistently refused to accompany him. But one evening, when her husband had gone to the service, her curiosity overcame her obstinacy. That she might not be recognised she put on some very plain things and, quite sure that she would be unknown, pushed her way in with the crowd. The text that evening was “Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another?” The result was that her prejudices were overcome and she began to attend with her husband. He told Mr. Spurgeon about it, his only complaint being that the preacher should compare him to Jeroboam.
A man was won for Christ because the preacher pointed to him and said, “There is a man sitting there who is a shoemaker; he keeps his shop open on Sundays; it was open last Sabbath morning. He took ninepence and there was fourpence profit on it; his soul is sold to Satan for fourpence.” The man was afraid to go and hear Spurgeon again for fear he might tell the people more about him, for what he said at first was all true. But at last he came, and the Lord met with him.
One Sunday evening Mr. Spurgeon, pointing to the gallery, said, “Young man, the gloves you have in your pocket are not paid for.” After the service a young fellow came beseeching him not to say anything more about it, and the circumstances led to his conversion.
In the Surrey Gardens Music Hall one morning several young men continued to wear their hats even after the service began. In the middle of the opening hymn Spurgeon told the congregation that he had lately visited a Jewish synagogue and, in accordance with the custom of the place, had worn his hat during the service. “But,” he added, “it is the Christian practice to uncover in a place of worship. I will therefore ask these young Jewish gentlemen kindly to remove their hats.” Of course they did.
A similar flank attack discomfited a party of undergraduates who came to the Guildhall in Cambridge when Mr. Spurgeon was speaking there. They stood up in front of the people, intercepting their view of the preacher. The preacher quietly remarked, “If the bodies of those young gentlemen were as transparent as their intentions they might continue to stand. As it is, I hope they will resume their seats.” They hastily sat down.
Once, when he was preaching in a country place, he noticed a change come over a woman who sat near the front of the congregation. There was no mistaking what had happened. “I think our sister is dead,” he said. His description of the circumstance was that she was “washed into heaven on a wave of joy.”
When visiting Tring in his early days he said that God had answered his prayers before he was converted. Some ultra-Calvinists found fault with his teaching, and took him to task for it, quoting a text which they thought was in the Bible, but may be searched for there in vain—”The prayer of a sinner is abomination to the Lord.” “How can a dead man pray?” they asked. Quite a little ring of spectators formed round him, and he maintained his position. But, telling about the incident, he said, “After all, the victory was won not by Barak but by Deborah.” A very old woman in a red cloak managed to squeeze herself into the aisle and turning to his accusers, she said, “What are you battling about with this young man? You say that God does not hear the prayers of unconverted people, that He hears no cry but that of His own children. What do you know about the Scriptures? Your precious passage is not in the Bible at all. But the Psalmist did say, ‘He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.’ Is there any grace in them? If God hears the cry of ravens, don’t you think He will hear the prayer of those who are made in His own image? You don’t know anything at all about the matter, so leave the man alone, and let him go on with his Master’s work.”
One evening he advised his people when they went home to get a sheet of paper and write on it either the word Saved or the word Condemned. A man whose wife and children were members of the church, who had only gone to the tabernacle to please them, took a sheet of paper when he went home and began to write the latter word. One of his daughters went up to him, put her arms round his neck and said, “No, father, you shan’t write that.” Her tears fell on the paper; the mother came up and pleaded with him; they all knelt in prayer together; and when he rose he put another curve to the letter C which he had written, turning it into an S, and then finished the word Saved.
At a session of the Congregational Union where Mr. Spurgeon was to speak, he entered when someone else was on his feet. There was a little hubbub, and the speaker soon sat down. The chairman hurriedly chose a hymn, and it happened to be one for an infant baptism. Mr. Spurgeon was sitting beside Mr. Samuel Morley and, leaning over to him, asked how Mrs. Morley was getting on. “Getting on,” said Mr. Morley. “She is quite well.”
“How is the baby? Alive and well, I trust,” continued Mr. Spurgeon, and about this juncture the people began to discover what a blunder had been made. The baptismal hymn was concluded hurriedly, and the people were very much amused when Mr. Spurgeon, on rising to speak, repeated what he had whispered to Mr. Morley, and added that he was very disappointed at not having to witness the very interesting ceremony the hymn had led him to expect.
When he was the guest of Canon Wilberforce at Southampton, in company with a number of High Church clergymen, Lord Radstock and others, the discussion turned on the question of baptismal regeneration. Lord Radstock intervened by saying, “What sort of persons do these become whom you regenerate in baptism?”
“I will tell you. ‘Eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: . . . neither speak they through their throats.’ And,” added Mr. Spurgeon in a whisper that everybody heard, “‘they that make them are like unto them.'”
Canon Wilberforce afterward spoke at the tabernacle on the occasion of Mr. Spurgeon’s jubilee, and applied to Spurgeon some of Augustine’s words, “He whose life is lightning, his words are thunders for God.”
One year at Mentone Mr. Edward Jenkins, the author of Ginx’s Baby, was present, and he persistently and somewhat rudely ridiculed believers’ baptism. There were quite a number of persons present, and they all looked to Mr. Spurgeon to take up the cudgels. But he was silent. Before they separated, however, he suggested that they should all go on an excursion to Ventimiglia, in Italy, the next day, and the matter was so arranged. On reaching the Cathedral there, Spurgeon, as one familiar with the place, led the way into the crypt. When the company had gathered round the baptistry, he turned to Mr. Jenkins, saying, “You understand Italian better than we do. Will you kindly interpret to us what the guide is saying?” Willingly and unsuspectingly, he consented. “This is an ancient baptistry,” he began. “He says that in the early Christian church baptism was always by immersion.” The crypt rang with laughter, and the objector confessed that the answer he had received was no less crushing because it had been given after a day’s delay.
Another Mentone experience was of a different character. An organ-grinder had been trying to attract attention for some time in the garden of the hotel when Mr. Spurgeon, noticing his forlorn look, asked if he might have the instrument. So he began to grind the music. The attention of the people in the hotel, as well as that of passers-by, was attracted, and he soon had a pile of coins, amounting to sixteen francs, which had been thrown to him. Then he insisted on some of the others taking their turn, but naturally none of them was so successful.
Even when he was ill he could extract merriment from his surroundings. Quite good-humoredly he told of a curate who felt it his duty to call upon him one year on his arrival at Mentone. He was shown up into the sitting-room, and after introducing himself he said, “And I hope you are bettah.” He was assured on the point. Then his visitor went to the stove and said, “I do like a fiah. Something so English about a fiah.” Back to the invalid, “And you really are bettah.” Again the assurance was given; again preference for an open fire rather than a stove was expressed, and the good man bowed himself out, having really done a great deal of good in another way than he intended. No matter how depressed Spurgeon was afterwards, it always roused him if one asked him if he was not “bettah,” and if he did not like a “fiah.”
Another year, depressed and ill, he had reached his hotel in Marseilles, and asked for a fire to help him to bear his pain, about which he once wrote: “Lucian says, ‘I thought a cobra had bitten me and filled my veins with poison; but it was worse, it was gout.’ That was written from experience, I know.” When the porter came to light the fire he brought vine branches to kindle it, and Spurgeon simply called out in agony, as he thought of the destiny of fruitless branches of the Vine, good for no work, only fit to be burned.
Yet another Mentone story. A simple lunch of biscuits and milk, taken in the hotel garden, often formed Mr. Spurgeon’s midday meal. He was, as all the residents in the hotel were aware, a total abstainer from intoxicants. Among the residents was a lady who was anything but well-disposed towards him, and one day she thought her chance of doing him an ill turn had come. He was evidently a humbug, and she was at no pains to conceal the fact. She had heard his secretary come downstairs and ask for whisky and milk, and it was therefore clear that drinking was being done on the sly. One of the ladies to whom she imparted the information happened to be a friend of Mr. Spurgeon, and she frankly said she did not believe a word of it. Then the mystery was explained by the defective hearing of the suspicious person. Mr. Harrald had simply asked for “biscuits and milk” for the accustomed lunch.
On December 30, 1888, after conducting a service at Mentone, Mr. Spurgeon went to a villa to have tea. Resting his stick on the marble outside the carpet, it suddenly gave way and he fell down the marble steps. He turned over twice, two of his front teeth were shaken out, and the money in his pocket was thrown into his Wellington boots. On being picked up he remarked, “Painless dentistry,” but in writing to his friend Newman Hall, he said, “Yet I pity the dog that has felt as much pain in his four legs as I have in one.”
In the summer of 1890 the clock on the tabernacle rostrum was stolen by a humorous burglar under the plea that “the reverend gentleman was less concerned with time than with eternity.”
When Mr. Spurgeon went, years ago, to preach for Dr. Clifford, whose church was then at Praed Street, he said in the vestry before the service, “I cannot imagine, Clifford, why you do not come to my way of thinking,” referring to his Calvinistic views.
“Well,” answered John Clifford, “you see, Mr. Spurgeon, I only see you about once a month, but I read my Bible every day.” Dr. Clifford is one of Mr. Spurgeon’s most ardent admirers. He has treasured some Spurgeon relics, among them the notes of one of his sermons, written on the back of an envelope; another a copy of the printed sermon No. 95, on “The Day of Atonement,” which he heard Spurgeon deliver in New Park Street on April 10, 1856, having come to London for the very purpose of hearing Spurgeon. On this copy of the sermon he wrote, “The atmosphere of expectation and of admiration; the ease and energy of the preacher, made the occasion memorable: J. CLIFFORD.”
Mr. Spurgeon generally arrived at the tabernacle early enough to choose the hymns for the service, and often he chose the tunes too. One day he said to the precentor, What tune shall we have to this hymn?” He answered that “Redhead” would be suitable. At this juncture one of the deacons, whose hair was decidedly bright, entered. “Why,” said Spurgeon, mentioning his name, “here is your tune—Redhead.”
“My hair is not red, but golden,” he answered.
“Yes,” said Spurgeon in a flash, “eighteen carat.”
On three occasions Mr. Spurgeon had an interview with a madman under dangerous conditions, but his coolness triumphed in each case. One came into the vestry at the tabernacle, shut the door, and declared that he had come to cut Mr. Spurgeon’s throat. “I would not do that,” he replied. “See what a mess it would make on the carpet.”
“Oh, I never thought of that!” he said, and was quietly led out of the room.
The second occasion was when he was lying ill at the Hotel des Anglais at Mentone. He had persuaded all his friends to go for a walk, and scarcely had they left when a man, evidently mad, rushed in and said, “I want you to save my soul.” With presence of mind, Spurgeon told him to kneel down by the bed, and he prayed as best he could. Then he told him to go away and return in half an hour. It turned out that he had eluded his keepers. As soon as he was gone, the doctor and servants were summoned, but he had stabbed someone in the street before he could be overtaken, and in a few days he met with a tragic end.
The third was in his own house. Spurgeon happened to be in the entrance hall when some one knocked loudly at the door and, to save trouble, he opened it himself. A man with a huge stick sprang in, slammed the door, and stood with his back against it, declaring that he had come to kill Mr. Spurgeon. The great thing was to get rid of him, so Mr. Spurgeon said, “You must mean my brother: his name is Spurgeon.” He thought he could give his brother at Croydon warning in good time.
“Ah!” said the maniac, “it is the man that makes jokes I mean to kill.”
“Then you must mean my brother, he makes jokes,” Mr. Spurgeon said, and the unwelcome visitor was evidently shaken in his intention.
But he drew himself up and said, “No, I believe you are the man,” and then he asked Spurgeon whether he knew a certain asylum. “That’s where I live, and it takes two men to hold me. Are you strong?”
“Yes, terrific,” said Spurgeon.
“Stronger than ten men?”
“Ten men!” thundered Spurgeon in his loudest voice. “That’s nothing. You don t know how strong I am. Give me that stick.” Thoroughly cowed, the man handed it over, and Spurgeon, opening the door, told him that if he was not out of the house that minute he could break every bone in his body. The man fled, and information was given to the police that soon resulted in his being again under restraint.
Impostors often tried to see him. One, who represented himself as the son of Beecher, obtained an interview and walked round the garden with Spurgeon. When he asked for a check to be cashed, Spurgeon’s suspicion was aroused, and the man was shown off the premises as soon as possible. A few days afterwards a gentleman was murdered in a tunnel on the Brighton Railway. The murderer was caught, and when his portrait appeared in the newspapers, Spurgeon at once recognised his visitor.
One afternoon he visited the home of one of his deacons at Orpington. His hostess took him out for a drive in a dogcart with a very spirited horse. Passing under a railway bridge just as a train was crossing, the horse began to rear, and Mr. Spurgeon in alarm said, “Oh, what shall I do?” “Do?” responded his hostess, a strong, self-reliant woman, perfectly familiar with horses, as she pushed him back into his seat. “Do what I do in the tabernacle when you are preaching, and I want to shout—sit still.”
One day, when dining with a friend, a foreign rabbi was also a guest. Hot ducks were part of the fare, of which the rabbi was not allowed to partake. He gave two or three significant sniffs, and got in that way as much of the ducks as he dare. Then, turning to Mr. Spurgeon, he said, “Moses very hard, Moses very hard.”
“Yes;” Spurgeon answered, “there is a yoke upon the neck which neither your fathers nor you have been able to bear.”
“I remember spending a very pleasant evening with Dean Stanley,” he once said. “The dean was in excellent spirits and spoke of disestablishment. ‘When we are all disestablished and disendowed,’ he said, ‘what do you propose to do with the Abbey and St. Paul’s? Which do you propose to buy for your own use? But really, you must not buy St. Paul’s, that you must leave for the Cardinal, it will remind him of St. Peter’s.’ And so he went on, laughing heartily at his fancy sketch of the future of the disestablished church. He was always very cordial.”
Spurgeon tells two stories of occasions when he preached with his father. In the east of London the father was announced to preach on behalf of a small Baptist Chapel, and the Congregationalists lent their building opposite for the service. There was such a crowd that the son preached in the Baptist Chapel to the overflow. In the evening he was announced to preach in the Baptist Chapel, but again there was an overflow, and his father came at his call and preached in the schoolroom opposite. The second occasion was at Pollockshaws, when the father preached in a church to a congregation of about a thousand, and the son took the overflow of three thousand or more, an incident that greatly amused the father.
At one of the college conferences Dr. Usher prayed very earnestly for the children of the assembled ministers. This suggested to Spurgeon that he might write to the sons and daughters; so he had two letters lithographed, one suitable for the younger children, and the other adapted for those older, and these were sent to those whose names were furnished by members of the conference. Many were led by these letters to decide for Christ. Years after, this suggested to me the idea of addressing the senior schools of our schools in Leicester in this way; so I had two letters prepared in facsimile, one for boys and one for girls, and scores of them responded. Mr. Thomas Spurgeon once did the same thing in the tabernacle school.
A clergyman and his wife gained seats in the first gallery near the preacher. The sermon over, they rose to go, and in trying to get out of the pew knocked down some hymnbooks, and made a noise. The husband pulled the wife’s dress to try and detain her. Mr. Spurgeon, who had been quietly looking on, said in a confidential whisper, “You had better go, sir, or you will hear more of it.”
Spurgeon had a rooted objection to instrumental music in the worship of God. But he came at length to tolerate an American organ in mission services, and he made Manton Smith a present of a silver cornet, on which was inscribed the text from the ninety-eighth Psalm, “With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.” Once when asked his opinion of a grand organ, he answered, “Yes, it praises its maker very well.” He also disliked choirs and detested anthems. After a special musical performance he was told that one of the pieces was supposed to have been sung by David. “Then I know why Saul threw his javelin at him,” he replied, much to the chagrin of the choirmaster.
When he went to Kingston-on-Thames to preach for his first student, Mr. Medhurst, an old woman, in answer to the question how she liked him, said that she would have liked him much better “if he had not imitated our dear pastor so much.” That almost equals the story of the person who did not appreciate Shakespeare because he was so full of quotations.
During the Irish Revival of 1859, Mr. Spurgeon crossed to Ireland. He was greeted in the steamer as “Brother,” and discovered that of the crew, all but three had been converted. Coming back, one man came up to him and showed him a leather-covered book in Welsh, asking, “Do you know the likeness of that man in front?” He answered that he knew, and asked if they read the sermons the book contained. “Yes, sir,” came the answer, “I read them aloud as often as I can. If we have a fine passage coming over, I get a few round me and read them a sermon.” Another man told of a gentleman who stood laughing while a hymn was being sung, so one of the sailors proposed that they should pray for him. They did so, and the man was suddenly smitten down, and on the quay began to cry for mercy and plead with God for pardon.
At one of the Annual College Conferences, the first meeting on the Monday evening was to be at Kingsgate Street Chapel. A number of the ministers were passing through Lincoln’s Inn Fields on their way to the meeting, when somebody asked, “Is this the Royal College of Surgeons?” (The Royal College is there.) “No,” one of the men answered, “it is the Royal College of Spurgeons.” Alongside this retort may be put the answer of a boy at an examination in one of our Secondary Schools. “What is caviar?” he was asked. He answered, “Spurgeon’s roe.”
On his way to the poll on one occasion, Spurgeon met his friend Mr. Offord, and told him where he was going. His friend reminded him of his heavenly citizenship, and chided him for taking part in political matters. “You should mortify your old man,”‘ he said. “That is what I am going to do,”‘ said Spurgeon. “My old man is a Tory, and I am going to vote Liberal.”
There is a pretty story of an old lady whom he visited in her illness. She began to tell him how much she owed to him spiritually, and he told her not to talk any more about it. “But I will,” she answered, “for my former pastor, Joseph Irons, once preached a sermon on the words, ‘Thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.’ And he said, ‘Give Solomon his thousand, but let his ministers have their two hundred.’ So I must tell you how I have been blessed through your ministry. You shall have your two hundred.”
Spurgeon began preaching as a boy, and even to the end there was much of the boy in him. Once he longed so much for the coming of his holiday that he persuaded Mrs. Spurgeon to mark a piece of tape with the dates and hang it on the chandelier over the table. Each day a bit was solemnly cut off after dinner, and at length only about an inch was left. Preparations were then made for the journey, but at the last moment he was taken ill, and nevermore was a tape hung up to mark the passing days.
In visiting a friend he saw a rosemary bush in the garden, and playfully remarked, “Oh, rosemary! you know what people say about it, I suppose? ‘Where the rosemary grows, the misses is the master.'” Next time he was in his friend’s garden the rosemary bush was gone.
When he visited Mr. Tinworth, the artist complained to him of a criticism that had been passed on his panel “The Enemy Sowing Tares.” “You see I have depicted him sowing with his left hand, and this person said that was not correct. I did not know what to say to him.” “Why,” said Spurgeon, “you should have told him that he never saw Satan sowing tares with his right hand.”
A minister once put a case to him. There was a hearer who objected so much to the Gospel he preached, that though for the look of the thing he attended the church, when the sermon began he put a finger in each ear so that he could not hear. He asked what Spurgeon would do in a case like that. “Why,” he said, without hesitation, “I would pray that a fly might light on his nose.”
Some of his critics pursued him with their pinpricks even to the end. He was really troubled once at Mentone when a person, without sense of the fitness of things, sent a letter through the post to him, addressing it “To the Unprofitable Servant, C. H. Spurgeon.”
On one of the occasions when the Regent’s Park students met with those of the Pastor’s College, Mr. Spurgeon left the choice of subjects to Dr. Angus. He suggested the two titles “Culture” and “Go,” evidently thinking that the second would be appropriate to Spurgeon, and with courtesy asked him which he would select. Spurgeon mischievously chose “Culture”! Both speakers acquitted themselves well.
Mr. George Moore, the London merchant, was a generous supporter of Mr. Spurgeon. Once when visiting him at his home in the North, Mr. Spurgeon complimented Mrs. Moore on her husband’s influence. “You are a queen,” he said, “for your husband is ‘King of Cumberland,'” referring to his power among the farmers and people around.
“Oh, no, he is not that,” the wife replied.
“No,” was the quick reply, “he is Mo[o]re.” Samuel Smiles tells the story.
Sir Evan Spicer tells how his father once asked Spurgeon to speak at a meeting on Saturday, and the answer was, “I wouldn’t go to heaven on a Saturday—if I had to come back again.”
Once he was asked where the devil is in this age. “Time enough to ask the question,” he answered, “when we miss him.”
One of his friends, whose business chiefly consisted in the sale of a celebrated brand of ox tongues, sent him a number of packets as a present. In return, Spurgeon sent him two or three of his books of sermons, with the inscription, “Samples of my own preserved tongue.”
Dr. Jowett recounts a conversation he had with Lord Rosebery who, when visiting the tabernacle on one occasion when the service was somewhat disturbed by a fainting woman, was very much struck with the calmness with which Spurgeon regarded the incident. Looking round he said, “Oh, it’s only Mary So-and-so,” and she was soon removed. Contrasting this with an experience he had when a little while after he went to hear a great preacher in Brooklyn who was quite upset when a similar incident happened in his congregation, Lord Rosebery praised Spurgeon for his absolute self-control, and his genial, all-inclusive humanity.
A baby cried during one of the services at the tabernacle, and the preacher, instead of being irritated, prayed that the little life might early be claimed for God. As the boy grew up he was, of course, told that Mr. Spurgeon had prayed fox him, and at length he became a minister of the Gospel. To one who was also present on the occasion he lately wrote, “As we were both there that day, early in the eighties, just after I had made my decision for Christ, my father took me in to see C. H. S., and recalled the incident. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘it was about 1872. I have prayed like that twice. The Lord has found you, do you go and find the other one.'” The following week he used the incident on Exeter Hall platform as an illustration of prayer answered after many days.
At breakfast one morning in his own home, when he and I were alone and were talking about intimate things, he said, “Fullerton, there is one prayer I have lately been praying—that the Lord would give me a short memory for grudges.” Never did a man, I think, need to pray such a prayer less, but he knew his own heart best, and ever illustrated the pregnant saying of Agassiz that “heavy heads always bow.”
During the anxious months of Mr. Spurgeon’s last illness, his neighbour, Robert Taylor, the Presbyterian minister of Upper Norwood, who often visited him, asked him one day if he could put into a few words his Christian faith. “It is all in four words,” he answered, and the answer is memorable “Jesus died for me.”
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Source: Charles Haddon Spurgeon: A Biography by W.Y. Fullerton. This book was transcribed for The Spurgeon Archive by Dan Carlson. Collection administered by Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.