Tag Archives: Evangelism

“Use very hard arguments and very soft words” by Charles Spurgeon

“In all probability, sensible conversation will sometimes drift into controversy, and here many a good man runs upon a snag. The sensible minister will be particularly gentle in argument. He, above all men, should not make the mistake of fancying that there is force in temper, and power in speaking angrily.

A heathen who stood in a crowd in Calcutta, listening to a missionary disputing with a Brahmin, said he knew which was right though he did not understand the language—he knew that he was in the wrong who lost his temper first. For the most part, that is a very accurate way of judging.

Try to avoid debating with people. State your opinion and let them state theirs. If you see that a stick is crooked, and you want people to see how crooked it is, lay a straight rod down beside it; that will be quite enough.

But if you are drawn into controversy, use very hard arguments and very soft words. Frequently you cannot convince a man by tugging at his reason, but you can persuade him by winning his affections.

The other day I had the misery to need a pair of new boots, and though I bade the fellow make them as large as canoes, I had to labour fearfully to get them on. With a pair of boot-hooks I toiled like the men on board the vessel with Jonah, but all in vain.

Just then my friend put in my way a little French chalk, and the work was done in a moment. Wonderfully coaxing was that French chalk.

Gentlemen, always carry a little French chalk with you into society, a neat packet of Christian persuasiveness, and you will soon discover the virtues of it.”

–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), 201-202.

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“No one is too bad to be saved” by J.C. Ryle

“No one is too bad to be saved, or beyond the power of Christ’s grace. The door of hope which the Gospel reveals to sinners is very wide open.

Let us leave it open as we find it. Let us not attempt in narrow-minded ignorance, to shut it.

We should never be afraid to maintain that Christ is ‘able to save to the uttermost,’ and that the vilest of sinners may be freely forgiven if they will only come to Him.

We should offer the Gospel boldly to the worst and wickedest, and say, ‘There is hope. Only repent and believe. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.’ (Isaiah 1:18.)

Such doctrine may seem to worldly people foolishness and licentiousness. But such doctrine is the Gospel of Him who saved Zacchaeus at Jericho.

Hospitals discharge many cases as incurable. But there are no incurable cases under the Gospel. Any sinner may be healed, if he will only come to Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 2: 216-217.

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“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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“Make me also an instrument of His glory” by Jonathan Edwards

“Sir,

My request to you is that, in your intended journey through New England the next summer, you would be pleased to visit Northampton. I hope it is not wholly from curiosity that I desire to see and hear you in this place; but I apprehend, from what I have heard, that you are one that has the blessing of heaven attending you wherever you go; and I have a great desire, if it may be the will of God, that such a blessing as attends your person and labors may descend on this town, and may enter mine own house, and that I may receive it in my own soul.

Indeed I am fearful whether you will not be disappointed in New England, and will have less success here than in other places: we who have dwelt in a land that has been distinguished with light, and have long enjoyed the gospel, and have been glutted with it, and have despised it, are I fear more hardened than most of those places where you have preached hitherto.

But yet I hope in that power and mercy of God that has appeared so triumphant in the success of your labors in other places, that He will send a blessing with you even to us, though we are unworthy of it. I hope, if God preserves my life, to see something of that salvation of God in New England which He has now begun, in a benighted, wicked, and miserable world and age and in the most guilty of all nations.

It has been with refreshment of soul that I have heard of one raised up in the Church of England to revive the mysterious, spiritual, despised, and exploded doctrines of the gospel, and full of a spirit of zeal for the promotion of real vital piety, whose labors have been attended with such success. Blessed be God that hath done it! He is with you, and helps you, and makes the weapons of your warfare mighty.

We see that God is faithful, and never will forget the promises that He has made to His church; and that He will not suffer the smoking flax to be quenched, even when the floods seem to be overwhelming it; but will revive the flame again, even in the darkest times.

I hope this is the dawning of a day of God’s mighty power and glorious grace to the world of mankind. May you go on, reverend Sir! And may God be with you more and more abundantly, that the work of God may be carried on by a blessing on your labors still, with that swift progress that it has been hitherto, and rise to a greater height, and extend further and further, with an irresistible power bearing down all opposition!

And may the gates of hell never be able to prevail against you! And may God send forth more laborers into His harvest of a like spirit, until the kingdom of Satan shall shake, and his proud empire fall throughout the earth and the kingdom of Christ, that glorious kingdom of light, holiness, peace and love, shall be established from one end of the earth unto the other!

I fear it is too much for me to desire a particular remembrance in your prayers, when I consider how many thousands do doubtless desire it, who can’t all be particularly mentioned; and I am far from thinking myself worthy to be distinguished.

But pray, Sir, let your heart be lifted up to God for me among others, that God would bestow much of that blessed Spirit on me that He has bestowed on you, and make me also an instrument of His glory.

I am, reverend Sir, unworthy to be called your fellow laborer,

Jonathan Edwards”

–Jonathan Edwards, Letters and Personal Writings (ed. George S. Claghorn and Harry S. Stout; vol. 16; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1998), 16: 80–81. Edwards wrote this letter to George Whitefield on February 12, 1739/40.

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“Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?” by Lemuel Haynes

“I stand here this day, my friends and brethren, to plead for thousands of poor, perishing, dying, fellow mortals, who need the bread of life, and whose cries and distresses call for compassion.

We stand this day to plead the cause of Jesus, who sits upon the holy hill of Zion with pardon in His hands.

We plead the promises and predictions of God’s Word that may encourage your hope and trust.

Be not afraid of the haughty mandate of the prince of darkness, for it shall be made to subserve the interest of Christ’s kingdom.

Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to wrest souls from the jaws of death and hell, and to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?

To promote the felicity of the universe is the happiness of the redeemed in glory. And this spirit among Christians is heaven begun on earth.

If your hearts do not glow with holy affections towards perishing sinners, by which you are disposed to do something for their relief, then you have reason to fear and tremble that you have no inheritance among the saints in light.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “Divine Decrees: An Encouragement to the Use of Means,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 99-100.

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“Why am I such a stranger to the poor of my native town?” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“March 3.—Accompanied A. B. in one of his rounds through some of the most miserable habitations I ever beheld. Such scenes I never before dreamed of.

Ah! Why am I such a stranger to the poor of my native town? I have passed their doors thousands of times. I have admired the huge black piles of building, with their lofty chimneys breaking the sun’s rays.

Why have I never ventured within? How dwelleth the love of God in me? How cordial is the welcome even of the poorest and most loathsome to the voice of Christian sympathy!

What imbedded masses of human beings are huddled together, unvisited by friend or minister! ‘No man careth for our souls’ is written over every forehead.

Awake, my soul! Why should I give hours and days any longer to the vain world, when there is such a world of misery at my very door?

Lord, put Thine own strength in me. Confirm every good resolution. Forgive my past long life of uselessness and folly.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 34.

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“To whom will you flee for help?” by Jonathan Edwards

“‘Whither will you go?‘ You who will not receive Christ: where do you propose to go?

Where do you think to find anyone else that hath the words of eternal life?

To whom will you flee for help?

Where do poor, cheated souls think to find another Savior?

Is there ever another God that delivers you from the wrath of this God, who is Jehovah?

Is there ever another mighty Savior that you think will do as well as Christ?

Is there ever another captain that you intend to enlist under that can by his almighty power deliver you from all evil, that can conquer all your enemies and bestow an eternal crown and kingdom upon you?

Do you expect to find another Savior, of another kind, that will indulge you and let you go on in sin as much as you please?

Where is this other Savior that you are going to and trust in?

Who is he?

In what part of the world does he dwell? Let us know.

This other Savior will be found to be only that old serpent, the devil. It will come to this at last.

Well, and what do you expect of the devil?

Is he able to save you?

Is he able to fight against God and overcome him?

Will he ever bestow eternal life upon you?

Has he the words of eternal life?

Has he got a heaven, too, that you expect to enjoy a better heaven than the heaven into which Christ is ascended?

What is it that you think to receive of him?

Don’t you think that he intends to ruin and destroy, and forever to torment you when he has once got you in his power?

Why, then, do you follow after him so diligently, as if he could give you eternal life?

Or is there anyone else that has the words of eternal life?

Is it riches and pleasure and worldly prosperity?

Can you suck eternal life out of them, or to whom will you go?

Certainly you expect eternal life, or something as good as eternal life, from some being or other. Who is it?

Consider and see who it is.

If you don’t come to Christ, consider what you intend to do. Something must be done or you are miserable forever.

Now what is that thing that you have thought?

Will you let yourself alone and be unconcerned about eternal life, and let yourself go down into hell as fast as the devil and your lusts can carry you?

If you don’t intend so to neglect yourself, but intend to do something, what is it except you come to Jesus Christ?

Will you put trust in your own performances?

Will you give your goods to the poor or do some very good deed and so depend upon that, and think that God is obliged to you for it, or that you make amends for your sins by it?

Will you be much in prayer and reading the Scriptures, and the duties of divine worship, and think by them to procure everlasting life?

This will not do.

You can’t do more in duties than what is duty, and whatsoever is done therein that is not your indispensable duty is sin.

What other project yet have you in your minds?

All projects and contrivances are vain and senseless but only that way which infinite wisdom has contrived, and none but infinite wisdom could project, even the dying Son of God.

If there is any cheaper way of getting to heaven than the blood of the Son of God, that you can think of, doubtless God would have thought of it before you, and so Christ’s blood might have been spared.

Wherefore, stand no longer, for if ever you get to heaven any other way than by faith in Christ, it will be because you are wiser than God.

Come, therefore, to this rock at last.

For hitherto you have been wandering about like Noah’s dove and have found no rest for the sole of your foot, nor never will till you return to this ark.

Come, therefore, and trust in Him, and yield yourself to Him, sweetly reposing yourself on Him.

For He hath the words of eternal life.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Life Through Christ Alone” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10. Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 528-530. You can read this sermon on John 6:68 in its entirety here.

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