Tag Archives: Charles H. Spurgeon

32 – February 01 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

 

150px-Arthur_Tappan_Pierson_D.DDr. A.T. Pierson

A Presbyterian became a Baptist

1896 – This was the day that one of America’s greatest Bible expositors, Dr. A.T. Pierson was immersed, in his own words, “to fulfill all righteousness” by Spurgeon’s brother, Dr. James A. Spurgeon at the West Croydon Chapel, London.  Dr. Pierson, one of the most successful  Presbyterian ministers in America, counted among his personal friends such as D.L. Moody, Charles H. Spurgeon, George Muller and A.J. Gordon.  His pulpit ministry was so effective that he resigned in 1859 to devote his full time to Missionary crusades.  In 1891 he was invited to serve the Metropolitan Tabernacle in the Spurgeon’s absence for up to six months, until Spurgeon should recover from his illness.  However, on Jan. 31, 1892, Spurgeon died and Pierson continued the pulpit ministry while Spurgeon’s brother James carried on the pastoral responsibilities.  Pierson had slowly been coming to Baptist views and believed that he should request baptism but feared that his motives would be questioned.  When the Tabernacle called Spurgeon’s son Thomas as pastor that relieved him of that stigma and he was baptized by on Feb. 1 the day that he was invited to preach at Spurgeon’s Tabernacle.  His motives were still questioned and on April 6, 1896, the Philadelphia Presbytery requested his resignation.  “With peace of heart produced by obedience, Pierson wrote the presbytery, ‘Had I this action to take again I would only do it more promptly…’  Thank God for the testimony of Dr. A.T. Pierson.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp.

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J. R. GRAVES, Life, Times, and Teachings. 2


INTRODUCTION

By A. J. Holt, D.D.

In the sixties, Dr. J. R. Graves was probably the greatest Baptist in the World. During that period and for many years previously, Charles H. Spurgeon was stirring all London and half the world besides with his marvelous messages. Richard Fuller was thundering his massive sermons from his Baltimore pulpit. George C. Lorimer was charming Boston and half the United States besides with his remarkably chaste and faultless oratory.

But J. R. Graves was not only preaching great sermons; he was preaching through a mighty agency – The Baptist – a paper of widespread circulation and popularity.

As an individual man, Dr. J. R. Graves was distinguished, Of medium stature, with a remarkably keen, penetrating eye, a classic brow, a long brown, well-trimmed beard, and a most marvelously modulated-voice. He was a most distinguished speaker. He was singularly free from pomposity. Like all other really great men, he was not at all self-centered. he was both gentle and gentlemanly in demeanor.

AN ORATOR

J. R. Graves had all the gifts and graces of the genuine orator. He could stand on his feet and think and speak convincingly. That peculiar fascination of speech called by the politicians “spellbinding,” he had in its full extent. While he was not the classic word-painter as was Dr. J. B. Hawthorne; nor the massive, tremendous, overwhelming  logician as was Dr. B. H. Carroll; yet he combined in an unsurpassed degree all the excellencies of both. it seemed impossible to hear him through and then be unconvinced that he was correct in his positions. He was a deliberate speaker. He never grew red in the face, nor did he “tear a passion to tatters.” He was calm, calculating, and always kept his hearers expecting something greater than he was saying. He did not speak with scholarly precision as did Dr. John A Broadus; nor with the fiery passion of our late F.C. McConnell. His oratory was just peculiar to himself. He rarely spoke a shorter time than two to three hours, and yet his hearers seemed never to tire. I rode sixty miles horseback to hear him preach just one sermon, and was well repaid for my time and trouble.

J.R. GRAVES AS AN EDITOR

To write what he wanted to write; to write it in good, forcible English and make it readable was the peculiarity of this remarkable man. Those days were hard on Baptist papers. Millions of Baptist money went down in unsuccessful Baptist newspapers. Where ten Baptist papers now flourish, The Baptist, edited by J.R. Graves, alone flourished then. Several States had departments and departmental editors, but the master mind of all was the editor-in-chief.; He not only wrote great leading editorials, but he wrote tracts, and made The Baptist the vehicle of publication for his numerous debates.

J.R. GRAVES AS A CONTROVERSIALIST

That was an age when Baptist principles were assailed on every hand. The famous Alexander Campbell had cut a wide swath among Baptists. he was also a great orator and logician. he had never had an antagonist who fully and completely answered all his points as did the redoubtable J.R. Graves. The Wesleys had made a deep impression on the religious world and J. R. Graves was needed to correct some extravagances which the followers of the Wesleys had created. Dr. Graves’ “Great Iron Wheel,” which had a tremendous circulation and an equally wide influence, was directed primarily against the Senior Bishop of the Southern Methodist Church, Joshua Soule. The great Brigham Young had just organized his following and had carried them across the Rockies and had literally “made the desert to blossom as the rose.” it needed a J.R. Graves to counteract the influence of Mormonism. The Baptist position was under fire from every side, and this one man became the Great Defender of the Faith. Baptists were not slow to recognize the fact that a mighty debater for truth had arisen among them and this fact perhaps more than any other made him the tremendous power for good among us. it was everywhere believed that no champion could possibly withstand the orthodoxy, logic and power of J.R. Graves

The labors of this remarkable man were simply prodigious. he wrote books, tracts, and great editorials constantly, in addition to all his debates and all his great preaching tours. he organized and set to work the great “Southern Baptist Publication Society.” It had a brief and remarkable career and was swamped by other and less competent leaders.

Besides all this, Dr. Graves was a great evangelist. in no realm did he outshine his great powers as an evangelist. he always had tremendous crowds, and there was simply no counting the converts that came into the kingdom through his ministry.

he gripped his friends with “hooks of steel.” To young preachers he was fatherly and generous. Had he lived he would have most likely organized another theological seminary. he was not unfriendly to those existing, but they were inadequate to the demands. After his sad paralytical stroke, he rallied sufficiently to give

CHAIR TALKS

While never again the vigorous speaker or thinker he was before, yet his Chair Talks were inspirational and well attended. he said of himself that he was only half a man after his affliction, yet he continued to the time of his departure to be grandly servicable.

He loved his Lord and he loved his brethren. When the writer of these lines was a missionary to the Indians, J.R. Graves proposed to become responsible for his support, if it were necessary. He had long been deeply interested in the Indians.

Since his going, many have endeavored to imitate him in debate or otherwise, but none have ever had his power, his wisdom, his peculiar adaptability for the work he set on foot and so signally accomplished. Surely there was “one among us whom we knew not.” His like will not appear again. he filled an allotment in life that no other had ever filled before, and that no one has ever filled since. his name and his fame will live on.

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352 – Dec. 18 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


His motto: “First pure, then peaceable.”
 December 18, 1853 – Charles H. Spurgeon first stood in the pulpit of the Baptist Chapel of New Park Street on a cold dull morning. His ministry began during a general spiritual decline in England. The evangelical churches had not escaped the tendencies of the times. The work of Whitefield and Wesley was admired, but little followed. The cutting edge of biblical truth had been gradually dulled. The prevailing attitude seemed to be that a more refined and intellectual presentation of the gospel was needed in the Victorian Era. This spirit had also affected New Park Street Chapel, situated in a dim and dirty region close to the South bank of the Thames River. It had a great history stretching back into the 17th century. For some years it had been in a state of decline, and the large ornate building which would seat a 1,000 was only ¾ filled. This was the scene facing the 19 year old pastor on his first morning before his people. He thundered, “You think that because a thing is ancient, therefore it must be venerable. You are lovers of the antique. You would not have a road mended, because your grandfather drove his wagon along the rut that is there. “Let it always be there,” you say; “Let it always be knee deep. Did not your grandfather go through it when it was knee deep in mud, and why should you not do the same? It was good enough for him, and it is good enough for you…You have never seen revival. You do not want to see it. Saw it they did. In 1866, morning and evening at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, morning and evening the congregation exceeded 10,000. Spurgeon never forsook his fundamental principles. When he departed from the Baptist Union he identified it as an “inadequate faith in the inspiration of the scriptures.” His motto: “First pure, then peaceable.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 528-29.

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349 – Dec. 15 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


The conversion that “shook the world.”
December 15, 1850 – Charles H. Spurgeon was converted to Christ, and it was the conversion that “shook the world.”  According to the following account given by Baptist Historian William Cathcart,” Spurgeon happened to go into a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Colchester, and heard a sermon on the text, ‘Look unto Me and be ye saved.’ From that hour he rejoiced in salvation.” However, in a sermon that Spurgeon himself delivered in the New Park Street Chapel on Sunday, January 6, 1856, he gave the date of his conversion as Jan. 6, 1850. Nevertheless the conversion of the 15 year old boy can never be called into question, for his life was changed radically as he placed his trust in the finished work of Christ for his redemption. It was a cold, snowy day, and the storm was so fierce that the scheduled preacher did not arrive to preach his message. Fifteen people or fewer made up the congregation. A local layman finally agreed to preach, and he chose for his text Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” In a brief few minutes the speaker had exhausted the text…and seeing the guilt-ridden face of the lad under the balcony, he fixed his eyes upon Charles, and pointing with his finger he shouted, “Young man, you’re in trouble! Look to Jesus Christ! Look! Look! Look! “ And Spurgeon did look in faith, believing, and God brought peace and purpose to his heart and life. Little could that layman have known that the storm in his heart was more severe than the storm outside the building! In his Autobiography, he gives an entire chapter to the subject of his conviction. He said, “Let none despise the strivings of the Spirit in the hearts of the young; let not boyish anxieties and juvenile repentance be lightly regarded.” Jesus said, “Forbid them not.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 523-24.

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