One of my favorite books to read, one I discussed fairly recently, is Pilgrim’s Progress. I am not the only person who has held such affinity for Bunyan’s work; another man — by the name of Charles Spurgeon — said he read the book over a hundred times. Spurgeon, famously known as the “prince of preachers”, loved Pilgrim’s Progress so much, primarily, because it was filled with Scripture. Spurgeon was a man dedicated to the veracity of Scripture and had a heart for people. He was so committed to the truth of the Word that he spent his entire life preaching it, reading it, writing about it, teaching it, and living out its truths that none can doubt his convictions when it comes to biblical faithfulness.
Though Spurgeon has been most remembered for his prose, his command of the English language, and elocution, he also was active in social concerns. Though he was British, he adamantly opposed the evil institution of American slavery and frequently spoke up for the oppressed and orphaned in London. One man affected by Spurgeon’s work, a slave in his adolescence prior to the American Civil War, was Thomas Johnson. Though the story has rarely been told, Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey craft a beautiful story depicting the unlikely friendship between the great British minister, Charles Spurgeon and an African-American slave -turned preacher- Thomas Johnson.
The story is a historical fiction, based upon a true story with the lines and gaps “filled-in” along the way. The authors employ great uses of actual quotations and historical events and locations to craft a story that led me to greatly admire both of these men even more, weep at their sufferings, and rejoice with the hope that they both had. I was greatly affected by this book and am thankful for the (albeit assisted) glimpses into the lives of these two men and how God can work through anyone to bring about His glory.
One section of the book uses several quotes from one of Spurgeon’s sermons; I have included an excerpt from the original sermon here:
“I wish it were in my power to convey the light which I see in the cross into the mental eyeballs of all my hearers, but I cannot; God the Holy Ghost must do it. Yet, beloved, if ever you get light, it will be in this way: Christ must be a great light to you. Nobody ever found light by raking in his own inward darkness; that is indeed seeking the living among the dead. You may rake as long as ever you will among the embers of your depravity before you will find a spark of good there. Away from self, away from your own resolutions, away from your own prayers, repentances, and faith; away to Christ on the cross must you look. All your hope and help are laid on Immanual’s shoulders. You are nothing. Not a rag nor a thread of your own righteousness will do; Christ’s robe of righteousness must cover you from head to foot. Blow out your paltry candles, put out the sparks which you have vainly kindled, for behold the Sun is risen! “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Ye want no other light than that of Jesus: dream of no other. Give up self, give up self-hope, be in utter despair of anything that you can do, and now, whether you sink or swim, throw yourself into the sea of Christ’s love: rest in him and you shall never perish, neither shall any pluck you from his hands.”
I hope that you will read and enjoy this book as much as I did. And don’t forget, you can win your very own copy FOR FREE!
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Thank you again for reading. I pray that you have a very Merry Christmas!