Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) started preaching at age seventeen in a Baptist Church near Cambridge then at nineteen began work as a Pastor for a Church in London. Buildings became too small for the people gathering to hear Spurgeon so congregations gathered in the Royal Surrey Gardens Music Hall having a capacity of 10,000 people.
In 1861 the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built this could hold 6,000 people and was always full. Spurgeon's sermons were published weekly in newspapers, and sold over 20,000 copies separately. Going to hear Spurgeon preach was considered an 'attraction of London'.This is what Spurgeon's son said about his Dad's preaching:
"There was no one who could preach like my father. In inexhaustible variety, witty wisdom, vigorous proclamation, loving entreaty, and lucid teaching, with a multitude of other qualities, he must, at least in my opinion, ever be regarded as the prince of preachers"
Spurgeon wrote over 140 books, read six books a week, responded to an average of 500 letters a week, pastored a congregation which grew to nearly 6000, founded a Bible College, Orphanage and publications enterprise for his sermons and production of his monthly magazine titled: 'The Sword and Trowel'. To manage all of this he worked roughly 18 hours a day.
The missionary David Livingstone, asked him once, "How do you manage to do two men's work in a single day? Spurgeon replied, "You have forgotten there are two of us". "I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." (Col 1v29)
Most of his work is still being published and sold today. There's also loads of his books on the net including his commentary on the Psalms, The Soul Winner (an amazing book on evangelism) and most of his sermons.
Check out The Spurgeon Archive for a ton of stuff.....(you can even download Spurgeon wall paper!!)...no I haven't by the way... I'm not that much of a geek.
A few quotes:
1) First a bit of humour:
'Do your best to make the [prayer] meeting interesting to all who are there; and do not hesitate to tell good Mr Snooks that, God helping you, he shall not pray for five and twenty minutes. Earnestly entreat him to cut it short, and if he does not, then stop him.'
2) Words written in the front cover of Spurgeon's Bible:
'The lamp of my study - C.H. Spurgeon, 1856.
'The light is as bright as ever - 1861
'Oh, that mine eyes were more opened! - 1864
'Being worn to pieces, rebound in 1870. The lantern mended, and the light as joyous to mine eyes as ever'.
3) Spurgeon being controversial:
'I smoke to the glory of God'
4) Spurgeon on doctrine:
"those who do away with Christian doctrine are, whether they are aware of it or not, the worst enemies of Christian living ... [because] the coals of orthodoxy are necessary to the fire of piety''
5) Spurgeon on work:
"If by excessive labour, we die before reaching the average age of man, worn out in the Master's service, then glory be to God, we shall have so much less of earth and so much more of Heaven!"
6) Spurgeon on Prayer:
"When I pray, I like to go to God just as I go to a bank clerk when I have cheque to be cashed. I walk in, put the cheque down on the counter, and the clerk gives me my money, I take it up, and go about my business. I do not know that I ever stopped in a bank five minutes to talk with the clerks; when I have received my change I go away and attend to other matters. That is how I like to pray; but there is a way of praying that seems like lounging near the mercy seat as though one had no particular reason for being found there"
7) Spurgeon on Evangelism:
"I remember, when I have preached at different times in the country, and sometimes here, that my whole soul has agonized over men, every nerve of my body has been strained and I could have wept my very being out of my eyes and carried my whole frame away in a flood of tears, if I could but win souls"
8) Spurgeon on Calvinism:
"To me, Calvinism means the placing of the eternal God at the head of all things. I look at everything through its relation to God's glory. I see God first, and man far down in the list ... Brethren, if we live in sympathy with God, we delight to hear Him say, 'I am God, and there is none else'"
9) Spurgeon on knowing Jesus:
"Above all, feed the flame with intimate fellowship with Christ. No man was ever cold in heart who lived with Jesus on such terms as John and Mary did of old ... I never met with a half-hearted preacher who was much in communion with the Lord Jesus"
10) Spurgeon on truth:
"These words are God's ... Thou book of vast authority, thou art a proclamation from the Emperor of Heaven; far be it from me to exercise my reason in contradicting thee ... This is the book untainted by any error; but it is pure unalloyed, perfect truth. Why? Because God wrote it"
God made him great!