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Spurgeon, Charles Haddon


English Baptist minister and preacher; b. Kelvedon, Essex, June 19, 1834; d. Mentone, Jan. 31, 1892. Of Dutch ancestry, Spurgeon was reared in the Independent (Congregationalist) tradition, but became a Baptist in 1850. Although he had little formal education, Spurgeon early displayed extraordinary preaching ability and became pastor of Waterbeach, Cambridge (1852). In 1854 he was called to a run-down London parish at New Park Street, Southwark, where he quickly drew such enormous crowds that the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, London, accommodating 6,000, was built in 1861 for him. There he preached to crowded congregations until his death. Many charitable institutions grew up around the Tabernacle, including an orphanage, a pastors' training college, and organizations for the distribution of religious tracts. At 22 he was the most popular preacher in England. His success was due partly to his youth, but also to his spontaneous humor, intense earnestness, and direct appeal to the individual conscience. His rigid Calvinism led him into many controversies with evangelical Anglicans and with fellow Baptists. The growing indifference to Orthodoxy and the rationalistic tendencies in liberal Biblical criticism disturbed him. Some 2,500 of his sermons have been published in 50 volumes in The Tabernacle Pulpit collection. Many have been translated into other languages. Among his better-known publications are The Saint and the Saviour (1857) and Commenting and Commentaries (1876). His four-volume autobiography (18971900) was compiled by his wife and Rev. W.J. Harrald, his private secretary, from his diary, letters, and records. A condensed version, edited by D. O. Fuller, appeared in 1946.

Bibliography: g. h. pike, The Life and Work of C. H. Spurgeon, 3 v. (London 189293). j. c. carlile, C. H. Spurgeon: An Interpretative Biography (London 1933). w. y. fullerton, C. H. Spurgeon (London 1920). a. r. buckland, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 18:841843.

[w. hannah]

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