Morning and Evening: Daily Readings by Charles H. Spurgeon
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night…And whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1: 2-3).From strength to strength go on;
Wrestle, and fight, and pray,
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day. No neutralities can exist in religion. We are either ranked under the banner of Prince Immanuel, to serve and fight His battles, or we are vassals of the black prince, Satan. To whom belongest thou?
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was an English preacher who lived from 1834-1892 and is known for his bold sermons and writings. Spurgeon became a pastor at age 20 and preached over 3000 sermons during his lifetime. His largest and probably best-known work is his Treasury of David, a seven volume collection of sermons on the Psalms. At our church, we almost think of Spurgeon as an honorary elder because our pastors and teachers value and draw from his works so much. I’ve had the intention of reading a major work by Spurgeon for years and finally decided this year to go through his Morning and Evening devotionals, and I am finding it a tremendous blessing.
This volume is a collection of short devotionals – mini sermons really – two for each day of the year. Each one is based on one phrase or verse from Scripture and takes only about two minutes to read. It’s amazing to me how much depth and meaning Spurgeon could get out of one short sentence! He then uses the context of the verse, other scriptures, and memorable illustrations and metaphors to expound the text and make application to the reader. Topics he touches on include: heaven, suffering, prayer, God’s Word, God’s attributes, the atonement (Christ’s work on the cross), the work of the Holy Spirit, the church, sanctification (the process of becoming holy), obedience and mortification of sin, and more.
The selections provide the reader with a balanced variety of words of comfort, encouragement, conviction, instruction, exhortation, and warning. Here is just a small sampling of the “jewels” this volume contains:
God’s altar was to be built of unhewn stones, that no trace of human skill or labour might be seen upon it… The proud heart of man is very anxious to have a hand in the justification of the soul before God… It were well if sinners would remember that so far from perfecting the Saviour’s work, their carnal confidences only pollute and dishonour it.
It is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints, and to observe His goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping His covenant with them. But ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God…as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before? We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that He wrought all His mighty acts and showed Himself strong for those in the early time, but doth not perform wonders or lay bare his arm for the saints who are now upon the earth.
It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.
We are very apt to regard the apostolic saints as if they were “saints” in a more especial manner than the other children of God…We have the same light that they had, the same grace is accessible to us, and why should we rest satisfied until we have equaled them in heavenly character? They lived with Jesus, they lived for Jesus, therefore they grew like Jesus. Let us live by the same Spirit as they did, “looking unto Jesus,” and our saintship will soon be apparent.
Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to last they testify of Him…We should always read Scripture in this light; we should consider the word to be as a mirror into which Christ looks down from heaven; and then we, looking into it, see His face reflected as in a glass.
If God had willed it, each of us might have entered heaven at the moment of conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for immortality that we should tarry here…Why then are we here? Would God keep His children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary?…The answer is – they are here that they may “live unto the Lord,” and may bring others to know His love…We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him…Let us see that our life answereth its end.
Believers in Christ are saved. They are not looked upon as persons are in a hopeful state, and may ultimately be saved, but they are already saved…This complete salvation is accompanied by a holy calling…God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but He called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by His workmanship in them.…Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord is the author of it…Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord works in such a manner that our righteousness is for ever excluded. Such is the privilege – a present salvation; such is the evidence that he is called to it – a holy life.
A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face and live in thy Father’s love.
These daily readings will cause the reader to reflect on his own relationship and walk with God, to praise Him for His works, attributes, and promises, and at times to deal honestly with his heart and humble himself in repentance. The passages help the believer to take his eyes off himself – his merits, failings, and troubles – and to look instead to Christ. Sometimes the writer addresses that reader who may yet be in a state of unbelief to turn to Jesus, “to believe and live.” Spurgeon’s thoughts come from the heart of one who clearly loved and cared about people, but who loved his Lord above all else.
(Note: Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening is on my list of non-fiction works I believe every Christian should read.)
Related sites & articles
- Spurgeon’s Daily Meditations (www.spurgeon.org)
- The Spurgeon Center (center.spurgeon.org)
- Listen to Spurgeon’s sermons (www.sermonaudio.org)
Have you used another book of daily devotional readings that you would recommend?