I shall always regard the fact of my being here today as a remarkable instance of providence. I should not have occupied this hall probably, and been blessed of God in preaching to multitudes if it had not been for what I considered an untoward accident. I should have been at this time studying in College, instead of preaching here, but for a singular circumstance which happened. I had agreed to go to College: the tutor had come to see me, and I went to see him at the house of a mutual friend; I was shown by the servant into one drawing-room in the house, he was shown into another. He sat and waited for me two hours; I sat and waited for him two hours. He could wait no longer, and went away thinking I had not treated him well; I went away and thought he had not treated me well. As I went away this text came into my mind, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.” So I wrote to say that I must positively decline; I was happy enough amongst my own country people, and got on very well in preaching, and I did not care to go to College. I have now had four years of labour. But, speaking after the manner of men, those who have been saved during that time would not have been saved, by my instrumentality at any rate, if it had not been for the remarkable providence turning the whole tenor of my thoughts, and putting things into a new track. You have often had strange accidents like that. When you have resolved to do a thing, you could not do it anyhow; it was quite impossible. God turned you another way, and proved that providence is indeed the master of all human events.
For meditation: God is never taken by surprise or inconvenienced by accidents. He puts his people in the right place at the right time (Esther 4:14).
note: Spurgeon commenced this sermon with an account of an event at Halifax the previous Wednesday (7 April) during a snow storm. He preached in a wooden structure to thousands in the afternoon and evening. With only a hundred people left to exit, some flooring collapsed, injuring a couple. Three hours later the whole building collapsed. Had it not been for a fast thaw, there could have been a catastrophe.