Reading Spurgeon’s “Lectures to My Students” Part 12-13

Today, I have some quotes from chapters 12 and 13- “The Minister’s Ordinary Conversation” and “To Workers with Slender Apparatus” respectively.  As always, my personal comments will be in italics.

Chapter 12- The Minister’s Ordinary Conversation

“Let not the ambassador of heaven be other than a son of man.  In fact, let him remember that the more simple and unaffected (genuine, without pretense) he is, the more closely he will resemble that child-man, the holy child Jesus.”

Regarding reaching the average man-“I am persuaded that one reason why our working-men so universally keep clear of ministers is because they abhor their artificial and unmanly ways.  If they saw us, in the pulpit and out of it, acting like real men, and speaking naturally, like honest men, they would come around us.”

“Still, a minister, wherever he is, is a minister, and should recollect that he is on duty.”

“Some ministers need to be told that they are of the same species as their hearers.”

On friendly demeanor- “No one knows what a smile and a hearty sentence may do.  A man who is to do much with men must love them, and feel at home with them.  An individual who has no geniality about him had better be an undertaker, and bury the dead, for he will never succeed in influencing the living.”

“A man must have a great heart if he would have a great congregation…When a man has a large, loving heart, men go to him as ships to a haven, and feel at peace when they have anchored under the lee of his friendship.”

On arguments-“The sensible minister will be particularly gentle in argument.  He, above all men, should not make the mistake of fancying that there is force in temper, and power in speaking angrily.”

“But if you are drawn into controversy, use very hard arguments and very soft words.”

Chapter 13- To Workers with Slender Apparatus

This chapter is for those who cannot afford a large library for various reasons, and it is a gold mine for quotes!

“If a man can purchase but very few books, my first advice to him would be, let him purchase the very best.”

“Forgo, then, without regret, the many books which, like poor Hodge’s razors, of famous memory, “are made to sell,” and do sell those who buy them, as well as themselves.”  Imagine his chagrin if he were to peruse a Christian bookstore today.

Regarding Matthew Henry’s Commentary- “Get it, if you sell your coat to buy it.”

“Master those books you have.  Read them thoroughly…Peruse a good book several times, and make notes and analysis of it.  A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books which he has merely skimmed, lapping at them, as the classic proverb puts it “As the dogs drink of Nilus.”  Little learning and much pride come of hasty reading.”

“Books on the brain cause disease.  Get the book into the brain, and you will grow.”

“…a very well-deserved rebuke to those who think that possession of books will secure them learning.  A measure of that temptation happens to us all; for do we not feel wiser after we have spent an hour r two in a bookseller’s shop?  A man might as well think himself richer for having inspected the vaults of the bank of England.  In reading, let your motto be, “Much, not many.”  Think as well as read, and keep the thinking always proportionate to the reading, and your small library will not be a great misfortune.”

Great quote for book-lovers: “There is very much sound sense in the remark of a writer in the Quarterly Review many years back.  “Give us the one dear book, cheaply picked from the stall by the price of the dinner, thumbed and dog-eared, cracked in the back and broken in the corner, noted on the fly-leaf and scrawled on the margin, sullied and scorched, torn and worn, smoothed in the pocket and grimed on the hearth, damped by the grass and dusted among the cinders, over which you have dreamed in the grove and dozed before the embers, but read again, and again, and again, cover to cover.  It is by this one book, and its three of four single successors, that more real cultivation has been imparted than by all the myriads which bear down the mile-long, bulging, bending shelves of the Bodleian.”

“I would earnestly impress upon you the truth, that a man who is short of apparatus can make up for it by much thought.”

“Nowadays we are pestered with a set of fellows who must needs stand on their heads and think with their feet.  Romancing is their notion of meditation.  Instead of considering revealed truth, they excogitate a mess of their own, in which error, and nonsense, and conceit appear in about equal parts; and they call this broth “modern thought.””

“If you have no books to try your eyes, keep them open wherever you go, and you will find something worth looking at.

“A man’s own experience should be to him the laboratory in which he tests the medicines which he prescribes for others.  Even your own faults and failures will instruct you if you bring them to the Lord.”

“‘Not a novice,’ says the apostle; and it is possible to be a novice and yet a very accomplished scholar, a classic, a mathematician, and a theoretical theologian.  We should have practical familiarity with men’s souls; and if we have much of it, the fewness of our books will be a light affliction.”

“I have heard of a gentleman of whom it was said that you could never spend five minutes under an archway with him but what he would teach you something.  That was a wise man; but he would be a wiser man still who would never stop five minutes under an archway without learning somewhat from other people.”

Learning from the lost: “As for the inquirer, how much is to be gathered from him!  I have seen very much of my own stupidity while in conversation with seeking souls.”


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