Mountains Are Not Meant to Envy

Awed Thoughts on Spurgeon

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Founder & Teacher,

Mountains are not meant to envy. In fact they are not meant to be possessed by anyone on earth. They are, as David says, “the mountains of God” (Psalm 36:6).

If you try to make your Minnesota hill imitate a mountain, you will make a fool of your hill. Hills have their place. So do the plains of Nebraska. If the whole world were mountains, where would we grow bread? Every time you eat bread say, “Praise God for Nebraska.”

I’m talking about Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I am warning my wavering self that he is not to be imitated.

Spurgeon preached as a Baptist pastor in London from 1854 till 1891 — 38 years of ministry in one place. He died January 31, 1892, at the age of 57.

His collected sermons fill 63 volumes, equivalent to the 27-volume Ninth Edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, and stands as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity. 

He read six serious books a week and could remember what was in them and where. He read The Pilgrim’s Progress over 100 times.

He added 14,460 people to his church membership, and did almost all the membership interviews himself. He could look out on a congregation of 5,000 and name the members.

He founded a pastors’ college and trained almost 900 men during his pastorate.

Spurgeon once said he had counted as many as eight sets of thoughts that passed through his mind at the same time while he was preaching. And he often prayed for his people as he preached to them. He would preach for 40 minutes at 140 words a minute from a small sheet of notes that he had worked up the night before. The result? Over 25,000 copies sold each week in 20 languages, and someone was converted every week through the written sermons.

He was married, with two sons who became pastors. His wife was an invalid most of her life and rarely heard him preach.

He founded an orphanage, edited a magazine, produced over 140 books, responded to 500 letters a week, and often preached 10 times in a week in various churches as well as his own.

He suffered from gout and rheumatism and Bright’s disease, and in the last twenty years of his ministry was so sick that he missed a third of the Sundays in his pulpit.

He was a politically liberal, conservative Calvinist who smoked cigars, spoke his mind, believed in hell, and wept over the perishing — thousands of whom were gloriously saved through his soul-winning passion.

He was a Christian Hedonist, coming closer than anyone I know to my favorite non-biblical sentence: “One thing is past all question; we shall bring our Lord most glory if we get from Him much grace.”

This man was a “mountain of God.” In his presence I do not think imitation. I think admiration. What hath God wrought! Pick up and read!

Your little hill,

Pastor John