Tag Archives: Earnestness

“We hurl grenades into the enemy’s ranks” by Charles Spurgeon

“This is what you must do with your sermons: make them red-hot. Never mind if men do say you are too enthusiastic, or even too fanatical.

Give them red-hot shot. There is nothing else half as good for the purpose you have in view.

We do not go out snow-balling on Sundays, we go fire-balling. We ought to hurl grenades into the enemy’s ranks.

What earnestness our theme deserves! We have to tell of an earnest Saviour, an earnest heaven, and an earnest hell.

How earnest we ought to be when we remember that in our work we have to deal with souls that are immortal, with sin that is eternal in its effects, with pardon that is infinite, and with terrors and joys that are to last forever and ever!

A man who is not earnest when he has such a theme as this– can he possess a heart at all? Could one be discovered even with a microscope?

If he were dissected, probably all that could be found would be a pebble, a heart of stone, or some other substance equally incapable of emotion.

I trust that, when God gave us hearts of flesh for ourselves, He gave us hearts that could feel for other people also.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, The Soul-Winner (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1963), 76.

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“Our whole nature must be fired with an all-consuming passion for the glory of God and the good of men” by Charles Spurgeon

“We ought to be all alive, and always alive. A pillar of light and fire should be the preacher’s fit emblem.

Our ministry must be emphatic, or it will never effect these thoughtless times.

And to this end our hearts must be habitually fervent, and our whole nature must be fired with an all-consuming passion for the glory of God and the good of men.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students: A Selection from Addresses Delivered to the Students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1875/2008), 379.

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“True zeal for Christ” by Charles Spurgeon

“True zeal will show itself in the abundance of a man’s labours and gifts. Zeal labours for Christ. My brethren, if you want a picture of zeal, take the Apostle Paul.

How he compasses sea and land! Storms cannot stay him, mountains cannot impede his progress. He is beaten with rods, he is stoned, he is cast into prison, but the invincible hero of the cross presses on in the holy war, until he is taken up to receive a crown of glory.

We do little or nothing, the most of us; we fritter away our time. O that we could live while we live; but our existence—that is all we can call it—our existence, what a poor thing it is!

We run like shallow streams: we have not force enough to turn the mill of industry, and have not depth enough to bear the vessel of progress, and have not flood enough to cheer the meads of poverty.

We are dry too often in the summer’s drought, and we are frozen in the winter’s cold. O that we might become broad and deep like the mighty stream that bears a navy and gladdens a nation.

O that we may become inexhaustible and permanent rivers of usefulness, through the abundant springs from whence our supply cometh, even the Spirit of the living God.

The Christian zealot may be known by the anguish which his soul feels when his labours for Christ are not successful—the tears that channel his cheeks when sinners are not saved.

Do not tell me of zeal that only moves the tongue, or the foot, or the hand; we must have a zeal which moves the whole heart.

We cannot advance so far as the Saviour’s bloody sweat, but to something like it the Christian ought to attain when he sees the tremendous clouds of sin and the tempest of God’s gathering wrath.

How can I see souls damned, without emotion? How can I hear Christ’s name blasphemed, without a shudder? How can I think of the multitudes who prefer ruin to salvation, without a pang?

Believe me, brethren and sisters, if you never have sleepless hours, if you never have weeping eyes, if your hearts never swell as if they would burst, you need not anticipate that you will be called zealous.

You do not know the beginning of true zeal, for the foundation of Christian zeal lies in the heart. The heart must be heavy with grief and yet must beat high with holy ardour.

The heart must be vehement in desire, panting continually for God’s glory, or else we shall never attain to anything like the zeal which God would have us know.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Zealots” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 11 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1865), 392–393. Spurgeon preached this sermon from Luke 6:15 on July 16, 1865.

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“Was Jonathan Edwards an eloquent preacher?” by Sereno Dwight

“If you mean by eloquence, what is usually intended by it in our cities, he had no pretensions to it. He had no studied varieties of voice, and no strong emphasis. He scarcely gestured or even moved, and he made no attempt, by the eloquence of his style, or the beauty of his pictures, to gratify the taste, and fascinate the imagination.

But, if you mean by eloquence the power of presenting an important truth before an audience, with overwhelming weight of argument, and with such intenseness of feeling that the whole soul of the speaker is thrown into every part of the conception and delivery, so that the solemn attention of the whole audience is riveted, from the beginning to the close, and impressions are left that cannot be effaced, Mr. Edwards was the most eloquent man I ever heard speak.”

–As quoted in Sereno Dwight’s Memoir of Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 1, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1834/1974), cxc.

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“The man who can weep over sinners” by Charles H. Spurgeon

“We are all of us ambassadors for Christ, and we are told that, as ambassadors, we are to beseech men as though God besought them by us. How I do love to see a tearful preacher! How I love to see the man who can weep over sinners; whose soul yearns over the ungodly, as if he would, by any means and by all means, bring them to the Lord Jesus Christ!

I cannot understand a man who stands up and delivers a discourse in a cold and indifferent manner, as if he cared not for the souls of his hearers. I think the true gospel minister will have a real yearning over souls something like Rachel when she cried, ‘Give me children, or else I die;’ so will he cry to God, that he may have his elect born, and brought home to him. And, methinks, every true Christian should be exceedingly earnest in prayer concerning the souls of the ungodly; and when they are so, how abundantly God blesses them, and how the church prospers!

But, beloved, souls may be damned, yet how few of you care about them! Sinners may sink into the gulf of perdition, yet how few tears are shed over them! The whole world may be swept away by a torrent down the precipice of woe, yet how few really cry to God on its behalf! How few men say, ‘Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I may weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!’

We do not lament before God the loss of men’s souls, as it well becomes Christians to do.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography, Volume 1: Early Years 1834-1859, revised edition compiled by Susannah Spurgeon and Joseph Harrald (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1962/1981), 329.

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“Impress of eternity” by John Angell James

“Will anyone deny that we want an earnest ministry to break in some degree the spell, and leave the soul at liberty for the affairs of the kingdom which is not of this world? When politics have come upon the minds, hearts, and imaginations of the people, for six days out of the seven, invested with the charms of eloquence, and decked with the colors of party; when the orator and the writer have both thrown the witchery of genius over the soul.

How can it be expected that tame, spiritless, vapid common-places from the pulpit, sermons coming neither from the head nor the heart, having neither weight of matter, nor grace of manner; neither genius to compensate for the want of taste, nor taste to compensate for the want of genius; and what is still worse, having no unction of evangelical truth, no impress of eternity, no radiance from heaven, no terror from hell; in short, no adaptation to awaken reflection, to produce conviction, or to save the soul; how can it be expected, I say, that such sermons can be useful to accomplish the purposes for which the gospel is to be preached?

What chance have such preachers, amidst the tumult, to be heard or felt, or what hold have they upon public attention, amidst the high excitement of the times in which we live? Their hearers too often feel, that listening to their sermons on the Sabbath, after what they have heard or read during the week, is as if they were turning from brilliant gas-light to the dim and smoking spark of tallow and rush.”

–John Angell James, An Earnest Ministry: The Want of the Times (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1847/1993), 194-5.

[HT: TSS]

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“We must not only direct but impel our hearers” by John Angell James

“But though a careful analysis of the text should form the basis of all our sermons, there must be something more than mere exegesis, however clear, correct, and instructive. We have to do not only with a dark intellect that needs to be informed, but with a hard heart that needs to be impressed, and a torpid conscience that needs to be awakened; we have to make our hearers feel that in the great business of religion, there is much to be done, as well as much to be known…

We must not only direct but impel our hearers. They all know far more than they practice of the Bible: the head is generally far in advance of the heart; and our great business is to persuade, to entreat, to beseech. We have to deal with a dead heavy vis inertiae [at rest stays at rest] of mind; yea more, we have to overcome a stout resistance, and to move a reluctant heart. If all that was necessary to secure the ends of our ministry were to lay the truth before the mind; if the heart were pre-disposed to the subject of our preaching, then like the lecturer on science, we might dispense with the hortatory manner, and confine ourselves exclusively to explanation.

Logic unaccompanied by rhetoric would suffice; but when we find every sinner we address, acting in opposition to the dictates of his judgment, and the warnings of his conscience, as well as to the testimony of Scripture; sacrificing the interests of his immortal soul to the vanities of the world, and the corruptions of his heart; madly bent upon his ruin, and rushing to the precipice from which he will take a fatal leap into perdition; can we, in that case, be satisfied with merely explaining, however clearly, and demonstrating, however conclusively, the truth of revelation?”

–John Angell James, An Earnest Ministry: The Want of the Times (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1847/1993), 87-8.

[HT: TSS]

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