THE BOY WAS FATHER TO THE MAN
In October 1891 while Charles Haddon Spurgeon set out on his last journey to Mentone, where he died on 31st January 1892, the ‘British Weekly’ published a letter written by him at the age of fifteen, in 1849. It ran as follows:
My Dear Uncle,
Dumb men make no mischief. Your silence, and my neglect, make one think of the days when letters were costly, and not of penny postage. You have doubtless heard of me as a top-tree antinomian. I trust you know enough of me to disbelieve it. It is an object of my life to disprove the slander. I groan daily under a body of sin and corruption. Oh, for the time when I shall drop this flesh and be free from sin! I become more and more convinced that to attempt to be saved by a mixed covenant of works and faith, is in the words of Berridge, “to yoke a snail with an elephant.” I desire to press forward for direction to my Master in all things; but as to trusting to my own obedience and righteousness, I should be worse than a fool and ten times worse than a madman. Poor dependent creatures! Prayer had need be our constant employment, the foot of the throne our continued dwelling place; for the Rock of Ages is our only safe hiding place. I rejoice in an assured knowledge by faith of my interest in Christ, and of the certainty of my eternal salvation. Yet what strivings, what conflicts, what dangers, stand in my way! The foes in my heart are so strong that they would have killed me and sent me to hell long before this had the Lord left me; but, blessed be His name! His electing, redeeming, saving love has got fast hold of me; and who is able to pluck me out of my Father’s hand? On my bended knees I have often to cry for succour; and, bless His name! He has hitherto heard my cry. Oh, if I did not know that all the Lord’s people had soul-contention, I should give up all for lost! I rejoice that the promises left on record are meant for me as well as for every other saint of His, and as such I desire to grasp them. Let the whole earth, and even God’s professing people, cast but my name as evil; my Lord and Master, He will not. I glory in the distinguishing grace of God, and will not, by the grace of God, step one inch from my principles, or think of adhering to the present fashionable sort of religion.
Oh, could I become like holy men of past ages – fearless of men -holding sweet communion with God – weaned more from the world, and enabled to fix my thoughts on spiritual things entirely! But when I would serve God, I find my old, deceitful heart, full of the very essence of hell, rising up into my mouth, polluting all I say, and all I do. What should I do if, like you, I were called to be engaged about the things of time and sense? I fear I should be neither diligent
in business nor fervent in spirit. “But”, say you, “he keeps talking all about himself.” True, he does; he cannot help it. Self is too much his master. I am proud of what I have not got, and boasting when I should be bemoaning. I trust you have greater freedom from your own corruptions than I have; and in secret, social, and family prayer, enjoy more blessed sanctified liberty at the footstool of mercy.
Rejoice! for heaven awaits us, and all the Lord’s family! The mansion is ready; the crown is made; the harp is strung; there are no willows there. May we be enabled to go on, like lions, valiant for the truth and cause of King Jesus, and by the help of the Spirit, vow eternal warfare with every sin, and rest not until the sword of the Spirit has destroyed all the enemies in our hearts.
May we be enabled to trust the Lord, for He will help us; we must conquer; we cannot be lost. Lost! Impossible! For who is able to snatch us out of our Father’s hands?
May the Lord bless you exceedingly,
Your affectionate nephew,
C. H. Spurgeon