By admin | February 19, 2009
The Treasury of David and Preaching
The Treasury of David is a wealth of information and ideas! We must notice that Spurgeon intended, as one of its uses, for it to serve as a help for preachers, and thus it gives us a great deal of insight into his view of how the text of Scripture should be preached. In the preface to the volume on Psalms 88-110, our author indicates that he had been misunderstood and sought to correct the error. He said “A critic has so greatly mistaken my meaning as to find in the title to the Sermon Notes a specimen of human vanity. I am amazed at his discovery. I do not pretend to be entirely free from that vice, but no trace of it is discoverable there by my keenest and most conscientious inspection; on the contrary, I called those outlines “Hints to the Village Preacher,” because I did not think those of them which are my own to be good enough to offer to my brethren in the regular ministry, but hoped that they might aid those good men, engaged all the week in business, who are generally, but I think incorrectly, called lay-preachers, and are not supposed to have the facilities of time and books which fall to the lot of the regular ministry. I thought this somewhat modest on my part, and did not see how it could be misunderstood. Our village ministers are among the most thoughtful and useful of our brotherhood, and I never dreamed of casting a slur upon them; as, however, I have been misunderstood, I will now, without altering the title, take higher ground, and say that I trust the hints may be useful to any preachers in city or country; for the other day I met one of the most eminent metropolitan divines, and he most kindly thanked me for having suggested to him by a hint in the Treasury a sermon which he hoped had been most acceptable to his congregation, and he remarked that there was no need to be so very bashful about the aforesaid “hints.” I have followed his advice, and may now, perhaps, be misunderstood again. It is a small matter to be unjustly censured, but still I would not even seem to despise brethren in more obscure spheres, for it is the last thing in my heart.” Spurgeon realized that all preachers could benefit from the ‘hints!’
Reviewers understood the usefulness of the Treasury of David for preachers:
Dr. Stanford Holme’s review was published in The New York Homiletic Monthly, February, 1882. An extract from it will show in what esteem Mr. Spurgeon’s magnum opus was held by the writer —
“It is with no little satisfaction that I have seen the announcement of an American edition of Mr. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David. It is not only a most valuable Commentary on the Psalms for general use, but I regard it as the most important homiletic work of the age. Mr. Spurgeon, is a good Hebrew scholar. He is a man of deep practical piety. He has a fine poetic taste, a wonderful insight into the depths of the human heart, and a quaintness of expression, and a vigor and vivacity of style, that have the effect of genuine wit in giving point and life to his expressions. These, it will be acknowledged, form a rare combination of qualifications for an expositor of the Book of Psalms. But, to these, Mr. Spurgeon adds two other especial qualifications for the work, still more rare and valuable. His appreciation of and reverence for the inspired Word are among the most characteristic and remarkable features of the man. The Word of God is to him a thing of life and power, ‘and sharper than any two-edged sword.’ He sees God in the very words of the Bible. Like the bush on Horeb, a chapter, or a single verse, at times, glows with celestial splendor, and, to use his own words, ‘Hundreds of times have I as surely felt the presence of God, in the page of Scripture, as ever Elijah did when he heard the Lord speaking in a still small voice.’ He seems never to be satisfied, in his study of the Scriptures, till every single verse is thus verified by the Spirit, and becomes to him a living word. “Another special qualification of Mr. Spurgeon for this work, not less important and extraordinary, is a desire that knows no bounds — a passion — to help others preach that gospel of ‘which he himself would seem to be the greatest living herald. . . . Himself one of the greatest of living preachers, and excelled by few of former ages, he does all he can to reveal the secrets of his power to the world, and, if possible, to make others greater than himself; and that which, in our estimation, makes The Treasury of David of such value to a minister is, that its spirit and peculiar construction introduce us, as witnesses, into Mr. Spurgeon’s workshop, and enable us to see more clearly his method and manner of preparation for the pulpit than we can in his printed discourses, or even in his lectures to his students. Here we may examine sermons in all stages of development, — here we may learn how sermons grow. Indeed, a careful study of The Treasury of David reveals the whole secret of the strength of this Samson of the pulpit.”
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