Nanci and I have been going deep in the character of God as we face her cancer and the treatments. She read a portion of this to me the other day, and I went back and found Spurgeon’s larger context, which we first posted on our site eight years ago, to read to her. We were both encouraged that there is nothing like the attributes of God to overwhelm us with a sense of eternal perspective as well as to give us comfort and encouragement.
It also reminds me of the seeming impossibility of a 20-year-old with such a grasp of who God is and such a command of the English language. While it is true that there is only one Spurgeon, there have been countless people in the past who’ve been saturated in the knowledge of God at very young ages. I think we should raise the bar of our expectations for our children and young people in our churches, and challenge and stretch them to read and meditate and go deep in the person and Word and works of our incomparable God.
Over 160 years ago, on January 7, 1855, a pastor in England rose to preach. His name was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He was only twenty years old. This is the introduction to his sermon about God:
It has been said that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.
There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumbline cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God....
But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe.... The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.
And, while humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore.
Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning.
Excerpted from “The Immutability of God,” A sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark. J. I. Packer quotes from this message in Knowing God.