The People's Preacher
How did the sermons of Spurgeon affect people in Australia?
Here are two excerpts form Memorable Incidents and Letters from the Surgeon archive.
Australian Story One
In one letter a minister recorded a remarkable case of conversion. "I was preaching," he said, "in the Baptist Chapel, Aberdeen Street, Geelong, a few years ago, when, at the close of an evening service, an elderly man came to the platform to bid me 'good-night.' As he was a stranger, I asked him where he came from, and how long he had known the Lord: he then told me the story of his conversion, and the strange way by which he was led to the Savior. About five years before, while keeping sheep, some miles beyond Ballarat, he picked up a sheet of a weekly newspaper, which the wind had blow, over the plains. He glanced at a few sentences, and these drew him on to read more, and then he found he was eagerly perusing a sermon by Mr. C. H. Spurgeon. 'If I had known it was a sermon,' he said, 'before I had begun to read it, I should have tossed it away;' but, having commenced the discourse, he wanted to see how it finished. It set him thinking; he carefully preserved it, reading it over and over again in deep concern, until, finally, it became the means of leading him to the Cross. For many years he had not entered a place of worship, and he was utterly careless about his soul till this paper was blown to his feet.
Australian Story Two
We can find room for only one more Australian case, that of a well-known saw-mill proprietor in New South Wales, who had become an able and earnest local preacher in the Wesleyan Church. At an evangelistic service he thus referred to his own case:
"For twenty-five years of my life I lived in the darkness of sin. I had never been inside a Protestant place of worship. I had never in all that time met a Christian man. I knew nothing of the distinction between Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc.; they were all alike despised, in my eyes, as being all in gross error. About that time five of my companions were drowned together at Port Stevens. The occurrence made a deep impression upon my heart. The thought would force itself upon me, 'What if you had been among the number? Would you not now have been weeping and wailing among the lost souls in hell?'
"I was greatly troubled, and did what alone I could do—prayed to God; but not knowing anything of the way of salvation through faith in Christ, and having no one to guide me, I lived for two years in the most awful agony. I would rather die than live those two years over again. I knew nothing of the great preachers of the day, until I happened to hear of Mr. Spurgeon; and a friend being about to visit Sydney, I asked him to get me at volume of Spurgeon's sermons. I read them eagerly, and received much light and comfort from them. At length, I came to one bearing the title, 'Seeking for Jesus' (No. 947), and as I read God spoke peace to my troubled heart. I felt that my sin was pardoned, and I could sing aloud for joy. It was about noon on a glorious Sabbath day when the great change took place, and I well remember the spot on which it occurred. Since then, ten years ago now, I have been telling the story of the Cross wherever I can."