C.H. Spurgeon’s Conversion

C.H. Spurgeon’s Conversion

From The One Year Book of Christian History by Michael and Sharon Rusten


Charles Spurgeon was born in Kelvedon, Essex, England, in 1834 of Dutch ancestry. His father and grandfather were both independent pastors outside of the Church of England, and he was raised with a strict adherence to the Scriptures. In his father’s and grandfather’s studies, Charles pored over their books. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress were his early reading.

Despite knowing intellectually that “Christ died for our sins”, Charles was so aware of his shortcomings that he could not believe that it applied to him. Turning to books such as Alleine’s “Admonition to Unconverted Sinners” and Baxter’s “Call to the Unconverted” only seemed to confirm his need for salvation.

He asked many different preachers the same question: “How can I get my sins forgiven?” No one provided an answer he understood, but on January 6, 1850, everything changed.

Fifteen-year-old Charles was headed to church during a snowstorm that Sunday morning when he ducked into a Primitive Methodist chapel to escape the snow. The congregation was sparse, and a lay preacher was filling in for the pastor. His text was “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” Charles loved to tell the story:

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimmer of hope for me in that text.

The preacher began thus: “This is a very simple text indeed. It says ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pain. It ain’t liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to college to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look…

When he had…managed to spin out about ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, “Young man, you look very miserable.” Well, I did, but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, “And you will always be miserable – miserable in life and miserable in death – if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved…Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live.”

I saw at once the way of salvation…I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness rolled away, and in that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith that looks to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, “Trust Christ and you shall be saved.” Yet it was no doubt, all wisely ordered, and now I can say,

“E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.”

Charles Spurgeon did indeed keep looking to Jesus and went on to become the most famous preacher of his generation, ministering in London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle.

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