For many years, I figured that C.S. Lewis must be the single most quotable Christian writer in the history of the church. His Mere Christianity alone is full of more quote-worthy insights and witticisms than many excellent Christian authors and thinkers manage in a lifetime of writing. Add in works like The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the Narnia books, and the case is closed.Or so I thought… until I started immersing myself in the sermons and devotional writing of the 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon. After reading through his Morning and Evening devotional and two sermon collections, I’m afraid that—no offense to Mr. Lewis—I must transfer the title of most-quotable Christian writer over to Mr. Spurgeon.
I’m being facetious about that title, but I’m quite serious about Spurgeon’s writing: it’s immensely witty, inspiring, and thought-provoking. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Spurgeon’s eloquent style, I’ve gathered together five of my favorite Spurgeon quotes below. (These are all drawn from Morning and Evening, Sermons at the New Park Chapel, and Sermons at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, each of which can be read online or via email subscription here at Bible Gateway.)
Without further ado, here are five of my favorite Spurgeon quotes:
1. Spurgeon on sin
“A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that he will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable….
“Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent?” – from Morning and Evening
2. Spurgeon on our misery
“If you are to go to Christ, do not put on your good doings and feelings, or you will get nothing; go in your sins, they are your livery. Your ruin is your argument for mercy; your poverty is your plea for heavenly alms; and your need is the motive for heavenly goodness. Go as you are, and let your miseries plead for you.” – from a sermon on Matthew 15:27
3. Spurgeon on Christ’s never-ending grace
“Our Lord Jesus is ever giving, and does not for a solitary instant withdraw his hand. As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, the oil shall not be stayed. He is a sun ever-shining; he is manna always falling round the camp; he is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from his smitten side; the rain of his grace is always dropping; the river of his bounty is ever-flowing, and the well-spring of his love is constantly overflowing.” – from Morning and Evening
4. Spurgeon on the reality of death
“[The apostle Paul] does not deny that death is a gloomy thing. He does not laugh at it; he does not say, “Oh, it is nothing to die;” he describes death as a monster; he speaks of it as having a sting; he tells us wherein the strength of that sting lies; and even in the exclamation of triumph he imputes that victory not to unaided flesh, but he says, ‘Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'” – from a sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
5. Spurgeon on “little sins”
“When Satan cannot get a great sin in he will let a little one in, like the thief who goes and finds shutters all coated with iron and bolted inside. At last he sees a little window in a chamber. He cannot get in, so he puts a little boy in, that he may go round and open the back door. So the devil has always his little sins to carry about with him to go and open back doors for him, and we let one in and say, ‘O, it is only a little one.’ Yes, but how that little one becomes the ruin of the entire man!” – from a sermon on Exodus 8
What preachers, writers, or thinkers do you find yourself quoting and sharing with others?