What text made salvation plain to Charles Spurgeon?
In the book, Life and Works of Spurgeon, published in 1890, Mr. Spurgeon gives the following account of his conversion.
I will tell you how I myself was brought to the knowledge of the truth. It may happen the telling of that will bring someone else to Christ.
It pleased God in my childhood to convince me of sin. I lived a miserable creature, finding no hope, no comfort, thinking that surely God would never save me. At last the worst came to the worst – and I was miserable; I could do scarcely anything. My heart was broken in pieces. Six months did I pray – prayed agonizingly with all my heart, and never had an answer. I resolved that, in the town where I lived, I would visit every place of worship in order to find out the way of salvation. I felt I was willing to do anything and be anything if God would only forgive me.
I set off, determined to go around to all the chapels; and I went to all the places of worship; and though I dearly venerate the men that occupy those pulpits now, and did so then, I am bound to say that I never heard them once fully preach the Gospel. I mean by that, they preached truth, great truths, many good truths that were fitting to many of their congregation – spiritually minded people; but what I wanted to know was, How can I get my sins forgiven? And they never once told me that. I wanted to hear how a poor sinner, under a sense of sin, might find peace with God; and when I went I heard a sermon on “Be not deceived: God is not mocked,” which cut me up worse, but did not say how I might escape.
I went again another day, and the text was something about the glories of the righteous: nothing for poor me. I was something like a dog under the table, not allowed to eat of the children’s food. I went time after time; and I can honestly say, I don’t know what I ever went without prayer to God; and I am sure there was not a more attentive hearer in all the place than myself, for I panted and longed to understand how I might be saved.
At last, one snowy day – it snowed so much I could not go to the place I had determined to go to, and I was obliged to stop on the road, and it was a blessed stop to me – I found rather an obscure street, and turned down a court, and there was a little chapel. I wanted to go somewhere, but I did not know this place. It was the Primitive Methodist chapel. I had heard how of these people from many, and how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter. I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they made my head ache ever so much I did not care. So, sitting down, the service went on, but no minister came. At last a very thin-looking man came into the pulpit and opened his Bible and read these words: Isaiah 45:22 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Just setting his eyes upon me, as if he knew me, as if he knew me all by heart, he said, “Young man, you are in trouble.” Well, I was, sure enough. Says he, “You will never get out of it unless you look to Christ.”
And then, lifting up his hands, he cried out, as only, I think, a Primitive Methodist could do, “Look, look, look! It is only look!” I saw at once the way of salvation. Oh, how I did leap for joy at that moment! I know not what else he said; I did not take much notice of it – I was possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, they only looked and were healed. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard this word “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh, I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away! And in heaven I will look on still in my joy unutterable.
I now think I am bound never to preach a sermon without preaching to sinners. I do not think a minister who can preach a sermon without addressing sinners does not know how to preach.
In the coming days I have a series of articles I am going to write on this verse as it has so much to give. So stay tuned and check back often and I am sure God will give us all a blessing, thanks for reading this article.
Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.