Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) had a way with words. In fact, few people in the history of the English church have had a better command of the language. It is not hyperbole, perhaps, to say, “What Da Vinci (or Rembrandt or Michelangelo) was to painting, Spurgeon was to rhetoric.”
Thankfully, in the providence of God Spurgeon used his gift of language to communicate grace and truth. One example of this is an entry in a little book given me by a dear friend entitled, Strengthen My Spirit. This compilation of 180 readings from Spurgeon’s sermons and writings is food for the soul. These readings are powerful help as we “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12). I offer the following excerpt for your strength.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. -2 Tim. 3:12
“It is by no means pleasant to be opposed in doing right by those who ought to help us in it. It is very painful to flesh and blood to go contrary to those we love. What is more, those who hate Christians have a way of reviling so that they are sure to make us wince. They watch our weak points, and with very wonderful skill, they turn their discoveries to account. If one thing is more provoking than another, they will be sure to say it, and say it when we are least able to bear it.
“It may be that they are very polite people, and if so, your refined persecutors have a very dainty way of cutting to the bone and yet smiling all the while. They can say a malicious thing so delicately that you can neither resent it nor endure it. They are perfect masters of it and know how to make the iron enter into the soul.
“Do not be astonished, therefore, if you are sorely vexed, neither be amazed as though some strange things happened to you. The martyrs did not suffer sham pains; the racks on which they were stretched were not beds of ease, nor were their prisons rooms of comfort. Their pains were agonies; their martyrdoms were torments.
“If you had sham griefs, you might expect counterfeit joys; let the reality of your tribulation assure you of the reality of the coming glory.”
Charles Spurgeon, Strengthen My Spirit (Barbour Publishing, 2011), p. 93.