The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 1. His Earliest Outlines and Sermons Between 1851 and 1854. Edited by Christian George. Nashville: Broadman and Holman Academic, 2016. 560 pp. $59.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.
I have reviewed one other book, way back in 2009, by Christian George entitled Godology. Since that time, George has become a renowned Spurgeon scholar and serves as the curator of The Spurgeon Library as well as assistant professor of historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. You can read more at Spurgeon.org.
Divided into 2 parts over 560 pages, the first part offers an introduction to the book as well as the larger proposed 10-volume series. Here, the reader learns that though the sermons were never lost to history, they were lost to publishing history. In essence, George has set out to see the completion of what Spurgeon himself desired to accomplish though he had to abandon that attempt for reasons explained in his autobiography.
The second part which comprises the overwhelming majority of the text shares the sermons from notebook 1. This notebook contained some 77 sermons ranging from 85 words to 571 words. These were not the complete sermons as much as they were the outlines for the sermons preached between 1851-1854.
These notes and outlines are heavily annotated with remarks by Christian George that offer insight and explanations into what he was saying or why he corrected a text. Each sermon shows a facsimile on the facing page that shows precisely what Spurgeon wrote in his own hand with his own dip pen. George has done the reader the service of transcribing (and in some cases translating!) what Spurgeon wrote.
A definite modern adaptation to this resource is found on pages 34-45 offering pie charts and graphs and word clouds that break down all of the information found within the 77 sermons. From word counts to percentages of sermons found in various testaments and books of the Bible to the distances Spurgeon would travel in order to preach.
All of this adds another layer to those interested in the Prince of Preachers. My one contention is the use of the glossy paper as it makes writing your own notes nearly impossible (and certainly impossible with a dip or a fountain pen of which Spurgeon would be appalled 🙂 ).
My hope is this new publication, and the yet to be published remaining 9 volumes will introduce a new generation to the power of the preached word through one of the greatest pastors of any generation. This first volume deserves a wide readership and a prominent place in any pastor’s library. My prayer is that the Lord would use this series to raise up a new generation of preachers passionate for God’s glory as revealed in His Word specifically through the proclamation of it in the local pulpit.