Many of Mr. Spurgeon's sermons have been translated into German, Dutch, Spanish, Welsh, Italian, and other languages. Some of the Russian sermons have been stamped with the official seal of the Greek Church. The London correspondent of the Standard stated that, when passing through Cape Colony some eighteen years ago, in many of the houses of the Boers he visited, he found a piano, and a copy of Mr. Spurgeon's sermons in Dutch. A clergyman—not of any English Church—who was a candidate for some important appointment, had to preach a trial sermon. He found it easier to preach one of Mr. Spurgeon's than to make one of his own. He took the easier course, and succeeded. He afterwards wrote to Mr. Spurgeon, confessing his sin, and asking his advice as to resigning his position. We have never heard what answer Mr. Spurgeon gave him.
One day, in the year 1887, a woman met Mr. Spurgeon, as he was entering the Tabernacle, hoping to get money from him. She was one of the canting tribe.
"I remember hearing your dear voice more than forty years ago," she said.
"Heard my voice forty years ago! Where was that?"
"You were preaching at the bottom of Pentonville Hill, near where Mr. Sawday's chapel is."
"Well," said Mr. Spurgeon, "was it not more than forty years ago?"
"Yes," she said, "it might be fifty."
"Oh," said he, "I suppose I was quite young then."
"Oh, yes! you were such a dear young man."
That, of course, was a needless assurance, but he ventured to think that she was not quite so sure of his dearness when he told her that he had never preached at the bottom of Pentonville Hill, and that fifty years ago he was only three years old, adding that it was a shameful thing for her to suppose that he would give her money for telling falsehoods. She was very soon missing.
Mr. Spurgeon often told the story of his first student, who came to him complaining that he had been preaching for some months and had not heard of a single conversion. "And do you expect," said Mr. Spurgeon, "that the Lord is going to bless you and save souls every time you open your mouth?"
"No, sir," he replied.
"Well, then," said Mr. Spurgeon, "that is why you do not get souls saved. If you had believed, the Lord would have given the blessing."
The young man was nicely caught, but many others would have answered in the same way.
A characteristic anecdote of Mr. Spurgeon was related to the present writer by one of the deacons of St. Andrew's Street Baptist Church, Cambridge. The incident occurred when the young man joined that church.
The Lord's Supper had been observed in the chapel on Sunday afternoon, and the communicants were passing out. Sitting in the same seat with young Mr. Spurgeon was a gentleman somewhat advanced in years. There seemed rather too much decorum for the warm-hearted youth, and he determined to break through it by speaking to the gentleman. He did so. The gentleman said, "I do not know you." "Not know me?" said the youth, "why, I am one of your brethren; at least, if you mean what we have been doing by communing together as fellow-disciples." The gentleman was quite captivated by the young man's sincerity and simplicity, and they became life-long friends.
It was at the house of this gentleman that Mr. Spurgeon stayed, when he visited Cambridge in 1870, during the session of the Baptist Union in Cambridge, when he preached on "Parker's Piece." The throng, consisting of several thousands, was so great, and the desire to speak to the preacher so general, that it was necessary for a few of his more intimate friends to make a circle with their joined hands, in the middle of which he walked, until he found refuge in the house of his venerable friend by passing through the garden door.
A man once came all the way from Holland to ask Mr. Spurgeon a very important question. He was sitting in his vestry seeing inquirers, when the young Dutchman came in and spoke in broken English.
"Where have you come from?" asked Mr. Spurgeon.
"From Flushing, sir, by boat. I want to know, sir, what I must do to be saved."
"Well, it is a long way to come to ask that question. You know what the Word says: 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.'"
"But I cannot believe in Jesus Christ," said the man.
"Well," said Mr. Spurgeon, "now look here. I have believed in Him a good many years, and I do trust Him; but if you know something or other against Him, I should like to know it, for I do not like to be deceived."
"No, sir," said he, "I do not know anything against Him."
"Why don't you trust Him, then? Could you trust me?"
"Yes, I would trust you with anything," said the Dutchman.
"But you do not know much about me," said Mr. Spurgeon.
"No, not much; only I know you are a preacher of the Word, and I believe you are honest, and I could trust you."
"Do you mean to say," said Mr. Spurgeon, "you could trust me, and that you could not trust the Lord Jesus Christ? You must have found out something bad about Him. Let me know it."
The man stood thoughtfully for a moment, and then said, "Dear sir, I can see it now. Why, of course I can trust Him; I cannot help trusting Him. He is such a blessed One that I must trust Him. Good-bye, sir; I will go back to Flushing; it is all right now."
A man, says Mr. Spurgeon, was preaching out of doors, when one of his hearers cried out: "Ah, Jack, you dare not preach like that at your own door!"
Unfortunately, this Mr. John—had offered to fight one of his neighbours a little while before, and therefore it was not likely he would have done much preaching near home. Mr. Spurgeon adds, "If any man's life at home is unworthy, he should go several miles away before he stands up to preach, and then, when he stands up, he should say nothing."
In the course of a Sunday evening sermon against self-righteousness, Mr. Spurgeon personified someone in the audience saying, "I don't think much of your religion, nor of your religious men, after all. Why, there is a man sitting behind you whom you think a lot of, and you have made him an officer of the church, and I can remember the time when he had scarcely got a shirt to his back."
To this the preacher replied: "My dear fellow, don't you be too fast, for you have surely no cause to boast; perhaps your mother remembers the time when you had not any shirt to your back."
On the 18th June, 1855, the evening before he was twenty-one, Mr. Spurgeon preached from the text, "What is your life?" (James 4:14) It was published under the title of "Pictures of Life, and Birthday Reflections." Many years after, 30th March, 1884, he preached from the same text, shortly after the sudden death of the Duke of Albany. The sermon is published, being No. 1,773, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. In the course of the following week a gentleman called to see him on business. He was evidently greatly moved, and thus explained the circumstance: "As I entered this building," said he, "I saw an announcement that you had lately preached from the words, 'What is your life?'"
"Well," asked Mr. Spurgeon, "what is there special about that?"
"Why!" said the gentleman, "the night before you came of age, you preached from the same text."
"A very different discourse," said Mr. Spurgeon, "from the one just delivered."
"Well," said he, "I have never been able to shake hands with you before today, but I have great pleasure in doing so now. When you were twenty-one I was dreadfully depressed in spirit; I was so melancholy that I believe I should have destroyed myself if I had not heard you preach that sermon, nearly twenty years ago. It encouraged me to keep on in the battle of life, and, what is better, it made such an impression on me that I have never gone back to what I was before. Though I live a long way from here, no one loves you more than I do, for you were the means of bringing me up out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay."
At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Stockwell Orphanage, one day, when the business was concluded, Mr. Spurgeon said in very grave and solemn tones: "Before we separate, I have a most serious matter to bring before you. It has to do with the Head Master, Mr. Charlesworth. He has introduced a child into the Orphanage without the consent of any of the trustees."
The trustees were astonished, and all looked very grave. Questions were asked, great surprise was expressed, and they were proceeding to discuss the Master's conduct, when Mr. Spurgeon's gravity began to give way, and it soon came to the remembrance of some of them that Mrs. Charlesworth had recently presented her husband with a son.
It is well known that when Mr. Spurgeon first came to London there were very few of his Baptist brethren in the Metropolis who showed him any active sympathy. Many were jealous of him, not a few had their fears about him, but some saw in the stripling the make of a good man and a great preacher.
At one of the "fraternal meetings of the Baptist ministers of South London, for tea, conference, and prayer, one of them prayed for Mr. Spurgeon after this manner: "O Lord, bless Thy young servant, who has so much to learn, and so much to unlearn."
Rev. John Aldis, now residing at Beckington, Somerset, in his ninety-third year, was present, being then the pastor of the Church at Maze Pond. He expressed himself unfavourably as to the manner in which the prayer was offered, saying, "Mind how you treat that young man, for if I am not greatly mistaken he will yet be one of the greatest preachers of the age. He has a fervour of spirit, a command of language, such as I never knew in one so young." The wisdom and kindness of his words were worthy of the man.