At the age of seventeen Spurgeon became pastor of a handful of believers at Waterbeach, in Cambridgeshire, meeting in what had been a dovecote. Within five years he had become the best-known minister in the Metropolis, judged competent before another two years had passed to conduct a service of National Humiliation (on account of the Indian Mutiny) in the Crystal Palace, when almost 24,000 persons were assembled.
His pulpit ministry extended to all lands through the printed sermons which came weekly from the press, and such was the place that he had come to occupy in men's hearts that in his last illness, "for twelve days the attention of the civilized world was centered in the testimony borne, not only to the servant of God, but to the Gospel he preached, in column after column of almost every newspaper."
But this volume is far from being a record of human fame and success. From the first years of childhood in rural Essex till that snow-swept Sunday in Colchester, in 1850, and on to the first years of revival in London, Spurgeon pours out his story with an enthralling fullness and color, yet all this is so done that we are everywhere drawn to the center and passion of his life.
"In his heart," wrote Archibald Brown, "Jesus stood unapproached, unrivalled. He worshipped Him; he adored Him. He was our Lord's delighted captive." Whatever Spurgeon did he did it for Christ, and it is this controlling aim in his Autobiography which, in a natural way, leads our eyes from his service to the Savior he served and turns a biographical account into a book which continually touches our hearts.
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