Early Childhood of Charles Spurgeon
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
MR. SPURGEON addressed five thousand people twice a Sabbath in the same place for thirty years in succession. There have been men deeper, broader, more brilliant, more learned, more eloquent ; but since the world began few speakers in church or state ever held the attention of so many people to any one subject for so long a time. He was born in the parsonage of the Congregational Church at Kelvedon, in Essex. His grandfather also was a Congregational minister. The blood he received from his ancestors was full of vigor and virtue. His mother was a woman of ability and piety, a model minister's wife, of whom he was singularly fond and proud. We do not find in these parents flashes of genius, and we cannot expect to find them in the boy. But we find in them traits which to him in his calling, are more necessary than genius—good ability to think, enormous ability to work, phenomenal piety, and a purpose unconquerable as the arm of God. The boy started out into life with hereditary traits that promised to make him a great preacher, if the world should give him a chance. It is a strange fact that the most potential outer influences on the boy's life were not received at his own, but at his Grandfather Spurgeon's home. His grandfather was pastor of the church at Stamborne, and the babe was only a year old when he was taken to his grandfather's house to live, where he remained till he was a boy seven years old. Grandparents love their grandchildren as much as they do their own children. Some old people are crowded into a corner and made to feel that they are in the way, and nothing could be more ungrateful and contemptible than such treatment, but most of them are treated with reverence and affection, and sweetness and love are given in return. To banish the grandparents from society would leave it barren and lonesome. At the grandfather's, there lived a maiden sister, Ann Spurgeon, and this maiden aunt devoted her whole time to the care and training of the boy, and it is likely that she was the most potent outer factor in the formation of his character and destiny. She taught him the Bible and Puritan theology, and Pilgrim's Progress, and gave a bent to his nature which it retained ever after. Old maids are sometimes laughed at, but not in earnest, for the world knows their value. They are modest, unselfish, effective toilers; they could not be spared from their sphere of activity, especially from the school and the home. The maiden aunt at Stamborne, preached her thoughts and feelings to the thou-sands for thirty years, through the clay she had so much to do with moulding. Spurgeon respected and loved this aunt almost as a mother.
The modest toilers in the home do not realize how far-reaching their influence and service is upon the life and destiny of children. There may not be the development of character that shall excite the notice of a nation, but children, well trained in morals and religion, however humble may be their lot, will become kings and priests unto God and wear a royal diadem.