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Sto ries > The Conversion of C. H. Spurgeon by Henry Davenport Northrop

The Conversion of C. H. Spurgeon

C. H. Spurgeon
"Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the Earth"
(Isaiah 45:22).

Taken from the "
Life and Works of Charles H. Spurgeon" ---New Window
by Henry Davenport Northrop

WILL tell you how I myself was brought to the knowledge of the truth. It may happen the telling of that will bring some one else to Christ. It pleased God in my childhood to convince me of sin. I lived a miserable creature, finding no hope, no comfort, thinking that surely God would never save me. At last the worst came to the worst-- I was miserable; I could do scarcely anything. My heart was broken in pieces. Six months did I pray-- prayed agonizingly with all my heart, and never had an answer. I resolved that, in the town where I lived, I would visit every place of worship in order to find out the way of salvation. I felt I was willing to do anything and be anything if God would only forgive me.

I set off, determined to go round to all the chapels, and I went to all the places of worship; and though I dearly venerate the men that occupy those pulpits now, and did so then, I am bound to say that I never heard them once fully preach the gospel. I mean by that, they preached truth, great truths, many good truths that were fitting to many of their congregation-- spiritually-minded people; but what I wanted to know was, How can I get my sins forgiven? And they never once told me that. I wanted to hear how a poor sinner, under a sense of sin, might find peace with God; and when I went I heard a sermon on
'Be not deceived: God is not mocked,' which cut me up worse, but did not say how I might escape.

Earnestly Seeking.

I went again another day, and the text was something about the glories of the righteous: nothing for poor me. I was something like a dog under the table, not allowed to eat of the children's food. I went time after time, and I can honestly say, I don't know that I ever went without prayer to God, and I am sure there was not a more attentive hearer in all the place than myself, for I panted and longed to understand how I might be saved.

At last, one snowy day-- it snowed so much, I could not go to the place I had determined to go to, and I was obliged to stop on the road, and it was a blessed stop to me-- I found rather an obscure street, and turned down a court, and there was a little chapel. I wanted to go someplace. It was the Primitive Methodists' chapel. I had heard of these people from many, and how they sang so loudly that they made people's heads ache; but that did not matter. I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they made my head ache ever so much I did not care. So, sitting down, the service went on, but no minister came. At last a very thin-looking man came into the pulpit and opened his Bible and read these words:
'Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.' Just setting his eyes upon me, as if he knew me all by heart, he said:

'Young man, you are in trouble.'

Well, I was, sure enough. Says he,

'You will never get out of it unless you look to Christ.'

'It is Only Look.'

And then, lifting up his hands, he cried out, as only, I think, a Primitive Methodist could do,

'Look, look, look! It is only look !'

said he. I saw at once the way of salvation. Oh, how I did leap for joy at that moment! I know not what else he said: I did not take much notice of it-- I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, they only looked and were healed. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard this word 'Look!' what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh, I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away! and in heaven I will look on still in my joy unutterable.

I now think I am bound never to preach a sermon without preaching to sinners. I do think that a minister who can preach a sermon without addressing sinners does not know how to preach."

Preaching in the Old Place.

On Oct. 11, 1864, the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle preached a sermon to five hundred hearers in the chapel at Colchester (in which he was converted), on the occasion of the anniversary in that place of worship. He took for his text the memorable words, Isaiah xlv. 22,
"Look unto Me, and be ye saved," etc., and the preacher said, "That I heard preached from in this chapel when the Lord converted me." And pointing to a seat on the left hand, under the gallery, he said: "I was sitting in that pew when I was converted." This honest confession produced a thrilling effect upon the congregation, and very much endeared the successful pastor to many hearts.

Best of All Days.

Of his conversion Mr. Spurgeon spoke on every fitting opportunity, hoping thereby to benefit others. As an example of the advantage which he takes, under the title of "A Bit for Boys," he says, in "The Sword and the Trowel:"

"When I was just fifteen, I believed in the Lord Jesus, was baptized, and joined the church of Christ. This is twenty-five years ago now, and I have never been sorry for what I then did; no, not even once. I have had plenty of time to think it over, and many temptations to try some other course, and if I had found out that I had been deceived or had made a gross blunder, I would have made a change before now, and would do my best to prevent others from falling into the same delusion.

"I tell you, boys, the day I gave myself up to the Lord Jesus, to be His servant, was the very best day of my life. Then I began to be safe and happy; then I found out the secret of living; and had a worthy object for my life's exertions and an unfailing comfort for life's troubles. Because I would wish every boy to have a bright eye, a light tread, a joyful heart, and overflowing spirits, I plead with him to consider whether he will not follow my example, for I speak from experience."

Dawn of a New Life.

Early in the month of January, 1856, Mr. Spurgeon preached a sermon to his own congregation on Sunday morning, which is entitled "Sovereignty and Salvation." In that sermon he says:

"Six years ago to-day, as near as possible at this very hour of the day, I was 'in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity,' but had yet, by divine grace, been led to feel the bitterness of that bondage, and to cry out by reason of the soreness of its slavery. Seeking rest and finding none, I stepped within the house of God, and sat there, afraid to look upward, lest I should be utterly cut off, and lest his fierce wrath should consume me. The minister rose in his pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text: 'Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.'

"I looked that moment; the grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in that instant; and

"'Ere since by faith I saw the stream
His flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.'

I shall never forget that day while memory holds its place; nor can I help repeating this text whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord. How strangely gracious! How wonderfully and marvellously kind, that he who heard these words so little time ago, for his own soul's profit, should now address you this morning as his hearers from the same text, in the full and confident hope that some poor sinner within these walls may hear the glad tidings of salvation for himself also, and may to-day be 'turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God!'"

A Public Profession.

All the letters he sent home at that period were full of the overflowings of a grateful heart; and, although so young in years, he describes the operations of divine grace on the heart and life, and the differences between the doctrines of the gospel and the forms of the church, in terms so precise and clear, that no merely human teaching could have enabled him so to do.

Brought up, as he had been, among the Independents, his own views on one point of church ordinances now assumed a form differing materially from what his parents had adopted. Having experienced a change of heart, he felt it to be laid upon him as an imperative duty to make a full and public confession of the change by public baptism.

He had united himself formally with the Baptist people the year before; now he felt constrained to fully cast in his lot and become one of them entirely. He wrote many letters home to his father, asking for advice and information, but striving to enforce his own conviction for making a public profession of his faith in Christ. At length the father was satisfied that his son had no faith in the dogma of baptismal regeneration; that his motives for seeking to be publicly recognized as a follower of the Lord Jesus were higher than those he had feared; therefore no further opposition was made, and the necessary steps were taken for his immersion.

All the arrangements having been made, the young convert walked from Newmarket to Isleham, seven miles, on May 2d, and staying with the family of Mr. Cantlow, the Baptist minister there, he was by that gentleman publicly baptized in that village on Friday, May 3, 1851, being in his sixteenth year. He thus proceeds in his letter to his father:
"It is very pleasing to me that the day on which I shall openly profess the name of Jesus is my mother's birthday. May it be to both of us a foretaste of many glorious and happy days yet to come."

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St. Patrick's Confession ---New Window
by Patrick
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"I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a presbyter, of the settlement of Bannaven Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our presbyters who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners."

Topical Links: On Salvation

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