Spurgeon's Conversion

[HT] Josh Harris

How did Charles Haddon Spurgeon come to saving faith in Jesus Christ? Later in his life, Spurgeon took delight in telling the story. It was January 6, 1850 and he was 16 years old. Though he was knowledgeable of the Bible, he had not been born again. He was despairing and desperate to find some comfort for his soul. That Sunday because of heavy snow he couldn’t reach the church he planned to attend and instead wound up at a small Primitive Methodist church.

There were only 15 people present and, because of the weather, there was no preacher. So an uneducated and—by Spurgeon’s own estimation—not-very-bright member of the congregation was forced to give an impromptu sermon. Spurgeon remembered the man as "thin-looking," and either a tailor or shoemaker. He was not impressive in appearance, nor in his delivery of his sermon. According to Spurgeon, he didn’t even pronounce his words correctly as he read Isaiah 45:22, which said, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” I’ll let you hear the rest of the story in Spurgeon’s own words:

“Blessed be God for that poor local preacher. He read his text. It was as much as he could do. He was an ignorant man, he could not say much; he was obliged to keep to his text. Thank God for that. He began, 'Look, that is not hard work. You need not lift your hand, you do not want to lift your finger. Look, a fool can do it. It does not need a wise man to look. A child can do that....Look unto Me. Do not look to yourselves, but look to Me, that is Christ….Look unto Me; I am sweating great drops of blood for you; look unto Me, I am scourged and spit upon; I am nailed to the cross, I die, I am buried, I rise and ascend, I am pleading before the Father’s throne, and all this for you.'

Now that simple way of putting the Gospel had enlisted my attention, and a ray of light had poured into my heart.

Stooping down, he looked under the gallery and said: 'Young man, you are very miserable.' So I was, but I had not been accustomed to be addressed in that way. 'Ah,' said he, 'and you will always be miserable if you don’t do as my text tells you; and that is, Look unto Christ.' And then he called out, with all his might, 'Young man, look; in God’s name look, and look now. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live.'

I did look, blessed be God! I know I looked then and there; and he who but that minute ago had been near despair, had the fullness of joy and hope. The cloud was gone, the darkness rolled away, and in that moment I saw the sun. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard the word Look, I could almost have looked my eyes away. I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith that looks alone to Him.”