Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
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The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 1. Nashville: B&H, 2017. Edited by Christian George. 400 pages. $59.99
Charles Spurgeon once accused a student of plagiarizing one of his own sermons. During the inquisition, the student confessed to using Charles Simeon’s outline. In the moment of conflict, Spurgeon recalled that he also had lifted his sermon outline from the great preacher. Similarly, preachers from his day until now have benefitted (and borrowed) from the sermons of Charles Spurgeon. His use of metaphor combined with his ability to coin a phrase leaves few who can stand in his company. But how did the preacher become so masterful at his craft?
In The Lost Sermons of Charles Spurgeon, editor Christian George provides valuable answers to this question as he introduces the reader to the young preacher’s earliest sermons. As Assistant Professor of Historical Theology and Curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, George is uniquely qualified to spearhead this work of supplying the church with these sermons. George’s work is not merely academic, but proof of a deep interest in the life and labor of the famed preacher.
The sourcebook for this work is a handwritten notebook filled with the outlines that Spurgeon used while preaching. In cooperation with Spurgeon College, this series of sermons will survey nine notebooks, amassing a total of 400 sermons and filling 1,127 handwritten journal pages, all with the aim of fueling continued Spurgeon scholarship. The first edition contains seventy-six sermons. The title of the book hints that these sermons were “lost,” but they were indeed never lost, simply—unpublished. Spurgeon disclosed in his autobiography his hope to publish these volumes, but other ministry endeavors combined with ailing health did not allow for its completion. This initial collection of sermons is a welcome addition to the renaissance of Spurgeon research as it displays the early ministerial development of the Prince of Preachers.
Part one of the book contains introductory matter, including a supportive timeline overlay of Spurgeon’s life along with contextual entries. George offers a colorful description of the Victorian era that provides the necessary historical setting to understand the sermons. Additionally, George addresses
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the congruencies and disparities between Spurgeon and his time. The section concludes with a detailed analysis of the sermons, surveying word count, percentages of texts used from specific testaments and books, as well as a word cloud of topical frequency.
Part two of the book consists of the heart of this work: o...
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