“Labour to be alive in all your duties. … Brethren, we must have life more abundantly. … Be full of life at all times, and let that life be seen in your ordinary conversation.” With this winsome exhortation, Dr. Michael Reeves compels readers to meet the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Known for his ministry in the era of Victorian propriety, it is perhaps too often assumed that Spurgeon was himself a wooden and stoic product of his day. With the turn of each page, Reeves demonstrates that nothing could be further from the truth. By the end of the book, the reader is left with a potent and lingering desire to spend more time with this lively man and to drink deeply of the life which so invigorated him.
Spurgeon on the Christian Life is a well-crafted and handsomely displayed catalogue of the life and ministry of C.H. Spurgeon. Touching briefly upon virtually every aspect of his life and major doctrine, Reeves illustrates the power of abundant life in Christ on the canvas of the man Charles Spurgeon. If Reeves has achieved anything in his “personal introduction” to this man, it is nothing less than to offer an entire buffet of appetizers that fuels a hunger to taste and experience what this great Christian and preacher had in greater, more substantial quantities. So vast was the reach of the gospel of Christ in Spurgeon (or rather, in every Christian life) that the reader is left with the concrete conviction that there is no corner of the human experience unaffected by its rays of life-giving light.
While not technically a biography, the reader is introduced to the impact that Christ has upon those who genuinely believe in Him, via the experience of Spurgeon and his own conversion to Christ. One might rightly call this a biographical sketch of applied Christology. Though reared in the warm environment of Puritan theology and preaching, Spurgeon was not converted to Christ until the middle of his teen years. Reeves skillfully shows the change this unexpected conversion had on young Spurgeon, and its experiential effect upon the rest of his life and ministry, so that to reflect on Spurgeon is to think of Christ and life in Him. For the rest of his post-conversion life, which embodied the highs and lows of any life, Spurgeon illustrates how Christ should impact every moment with a quality of life that can only be found in Him.
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As the book progresses from an introductory glimpse of Spurgeon’s vitality, Reeves quickly rounds the corner to the reason behind this man of such abundant life. To any who have read even the smallest sampling of Spurgeon’s preaching and writing, the reality of Christ is the obvious focal point of his ministry. While this is true, it is more than that. Spurgeon was a man whose ministry flowed from his life, and his life was fully enveloped and defined by Christ. From his view of Scripture, to the solidifying doctrine of Calvinism, to the daily discipline of prayer, to the experience of suffering, Christ was made central to the entirety of Spurgeon’s daily life. Spurgeon was who he was in the pulpit because of how Christ impacted him in every other corner of his life. His sole aim in all of his public ministry was simply to call people to see and savor Christ as he himself had.
Like the rain soaked soil of Spurgeon’s beloved English countryside, Reeves shows the impact of a life saturated with Christ in Spurgeon, blooming with the lush vegetation and vibrant colors of a hundred different species of flowers (Spurgeon himself loved to see God in the work of creation as is aptly shown in this volume). To Spurgeon, the Christian life was not about a mere message, but the Person behind the message. He preferred to speak of Christ, not simply “the Gospel.” In speaking of his living Savior, Spurgeon himself came alive. In this particular way of Christian living, we see him flaming with evangelistic zeal, rebuking with prophetic passion, and comforting with the most tender of compassions, because the person of Christ affects the entirety of life for the believer, and His impact cannot be ignored. With well-selected excerpts from sermons, writings, and personal correspondence, the reader is invited to know and enjoy Christ as Spurgeon himself did. With great skill, Reeves causes his subject to speak to the reader as a friend counseling and encouraging them to find Christ sweet and sufficient for their life, just as he had found Him to be. One might even sense that were Spurgeon alive today, he would anxiously follow up to find what fruit Christ had produced in his readers, having considered his thoughts offered throughout the book.
For Charles Haddon Spurgeon, life in Christ was all that mattered. To use his own analogy of John Bunyan and Scripture, if one were to cut Spurgeon, he would bleed with the joy and imperative of knowing Christ, for in Him was life, and life more abundant to the glory of God.
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 C.H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1900), p. 188-91.