In 1855 Charles Haddon Spurgeon, aged 20, stepped into New Park Street pulpit and preached a sermon on the Immutability of God. The sermon shows Spurgeon the pastoral exegete, evangelical mystic and Calvinist preacher, each of them demonstrably present, and for the next three decades, gifts that would make him one the greatest preachers of any age in the English pulpit.
I have an original 1878 bust of Spurgeon, a piece of genuine Victorian Evangelical celeb culture. It sits comfortably on the Church History bookcase surrounded by volumes on Puritanism - I guess it might explode if I placed it beside Newman on the Oxford Movement shelf. The first paragraphs of the sermon, despite his early years, are vintage Spurgeon. In the wide corpus of his sermons there are countless paragraphs that combine spiritual passion, biblical rootedness and homiletic gift to such effect.
"There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumbline cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God....
But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe.... The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.
And, while humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore.
Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning."