Reading Spurgeon’s “Lectures to My Students” Part 10-11

These chapters are titled “The Faculty of Impromptu Speech” and “The Minister’s Fainting Fits”.

(Remember any commentary by the blogger will be in italics.)

10- The Faculty of Impromptu Speech

On impromptu speech- “We would not recommend any man to attempt preaching in this style as a general rule.”

Regarding preparation- “He [God] will never do for us what we can do for ourselves.”

“Very strongly do I warn all of you against reading your sermons, but I recommend, as a most healthful exercise, and as a great aid towards attaining extemporising power, the frequent writing of them.” A little later, “The pen is the scalpel which dissects the thoughts, and never, except when you write down what you behold internally, can you succeed in clearly discerning all that is contained in a conception, or in obtaining its well-marked scope.  You then understand yourself, and make others understand you.”

Chapter 11- The Minister’s Fainting Fits

This chapter is extremely personal for Spurgeon, whose struggle with depression is well-known.

I thought it might be consolatory to some of my brethren if I gave my thoughts thereon, that younger men might not fancy that some strange thing had happened to them when they became for a season possessed by melancholy; and that sadder men might know that one upon whom the sun has shone right joyously did not always walk in the light.”

“Even under the economy of redemption it is most clear that we are to endure infirmities, otherwise there were no need of the promised Spirit to help us in them.”

“Good men are promised tribulation in this world, and ministers may expect a larger share than others, that they may learn sympathy with the Lord’s suffering people, and so may be fitting shepherds of an ailing flock.”  This reminds me of the great quote- “Remember, you are preaching to hurting people.”

“Men, and men subject to human passions, the all-wise God has chosen to be vessels of grace; hence, these tears, hence these perplexities and castings down.”

“We are not to be living specimens of men in fine preservation, but living sacrifices, whose lot is to be consumed; we are to spend and to be spent, not to lay ourselves up in lavender, and nurse our flesh.”

Regarding the loneliness of leadership- “The mountain-tops stand solemnly apart, and talk only with God as He visits their terrible solitudes.  Men of God who rise above their fellows into nearer communion with heavenly things, in their weaker moments feels the lack of human sympathy.”

Regarding the use of nature and recreation as an aid for the soul- “A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind’s face, would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best.”

Regarding the path to a big ministry that was laid before him at such an early age- “I dreaded the work which a gracious providence had prepared for me.”

Regarding false brothers and sisters- “Ten years of toil do not take so much life out of us as we lose in a few hours by Ahithophel the traitor, or Demas the apostate…Hard words wound some delicate minds very keenly…A kick that scarce would move a horse would kill a sound divine.”

“Instruments shall be used, but their intrinsic weakness shall be clearly manifested; there shall be no division of the glory, no diminishing the honour due to the Great Worker.  The man shall be emptied of self, and then filled with the Holy Ghost.”

“Heaven shall be all the fuller of bliss because because we have been filled with anguish here below, and earth shall be better tilled because of our training in the school of adversity.”

“Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him.  Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not His saints.”


“Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are.  When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord.”


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