THE CONVERSION OF
(His Personal Testimony)
Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth
for I am God and there is no other.
This is the text that changed a man's eternal destiny from hell to heaven, from eternal destruction to eternal glory in Christ. Read Spurgeon's own words of how God's providence and God's grace intersected to save his soul forever...
In my conversion, the very point lay in making the discovery that I had nothing to do but To look to Christ and I should be saved. I believe that I had been a very good, attentive hearer; my own impression about myself was that nobody ever listened much better than I did. For years, as a child, I tried to learn the way of salvation; and either I did not hear it set forth, which I think cannot quite have been the case, or else I was spiritually blind and deaf, and could not see it and could not hear it; but the good news that I was, as a sinner, to look away from myself to Christ, as much startled me, and came as fresh to me, as any news I ever heard in my life. Had I never read my Bible? Yes, and I read it earnestly. Had I never been taught by Christian people? Yes, I had, by mother, and father, and others. Had I not heard the gospel? Yes, I think I had; and yet, somehow, it was like a new revelation to me that I was to ''believe and live.'' I confess to have been tutored in piety, put into my cradle by prayerful hands, and lulled to sleep by songs concerning Jesus; but after having heard the gospel continually, with line upon line, precept upon precept, here much and there much, yet, when the Word of the Lord came to me with power, it was as new as if I had lived among the unvisited tribes of Central Africa, and had never heard the tidings of the cleansing fountain filed with blood, drawn from the Savior's veins.
When, for the first time, I received the gospel to my soul's salvation, I thought that I had never really heard it before, and I began to think that the preachers to whom I had listened had not truly preached it. But, on looking back, I am inclined to believe that I had heard the gospel fully preached many hundreds of times before, and that this was the difference,--that I then heard it as though I heard it not; and when I did hear it, the message may not have been any more clear in itself than it had been at former times, but the power of the Holy Spirit was present to open my ear, and to guide the message to my heart….
I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm, one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people's heads ache; but that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they could tell me that, I did not care how much they made my head ache. The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose. At last, a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now, it is well that preachers should be instructed; but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was,--'
LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED,
ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.
He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text. The preacher began thus:--'
'My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, 'Look.' Now lookin' don't take a deal of pains. It ain't liftin' your foot or your finger; it is just, 'Look.' Well, a man needn't go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn't be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look. But then the text says, 'Look unto Me.' Ay!'' said he, in broad Essex, ''Many on ye are lookin' to yourselves, but it's no use lookin' there. You'll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, 'Look unto Me.' Some on ye say, 'We must wait for the Spirit's workin'.' You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, 'Look unto Me.' ''
Then the good man followed up his text in this way:--
''Look unto Me; I am sweatin' great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin' on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin' at the Father's right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! Look unto Me!''
When he had gone to about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said,
''Young man, you look very miserable.''
Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued,
''and you always will be miserable--miserable in life, and miserable in death,--if you don't obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.''
Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do,
''You man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin' to do but to look and live.''
I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said,--I did not take much notice of it -- I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, ''Look!'' what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, ''Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.''…
It is not everyone who can remember the very day and hour of his deliverance; but, as Richard Knill said, ''At such a time of the day, clang went every harp in Heaven, for Richard Knil was born again,'' it was e'en so with me. The clock of mercy struck in Heaven the hour and moment of my emancipation, for the time had come. Between half-past ten o'clock, when I entered that chapel, and half-past twelve o'clock, when I was back again at home, what a change had taken place in me! I had passed from darkness into marvelous light, from death to life.
Simply by looking to Jesus, I had been delivered from despair, and I was brought into such a joyous state of mind that, when they saw me at home, they said to me, ''Something wonderful has happened to you;'' and I was eager to tell them all about it….I have always considered, with Luther and Calvin, that the sum and substance of the gospel lies in that word Substitution, --Christ standing in the stead of man. If I understand the gospel, it is this: I deserve to be lost for ever; the only reason why I should not be damned is, that Christ was punished in my stead, and there is no need to execute a sentence twice for sin. On the other hand, I know I cannot enter Heaven unless I have a perfect righteousness; I am absolutely certain I shall never have one of my own, for I find I sin every day; but then Christ had a perfect righteousness, and He said, ''There, poor sinner, take My garment, and put it on; you shall stand before God as if you were Christ, and I will stand before God as if I had been the sinner; I will suffer in the sinner's stead, and you shall be rewarded for works which you did not do, but which I did for you.'' I find it very convenient every day to come to Christ as a sinner, as I came as the first. ''You are no saint,'' says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, I go to Him; other hope I have none. By looking to Him, I received all the faith which inspired me with confidence in His grace; and the word that first drew my soul--''Look unto Me,''--still rings its clarion note in my ears. There I once found conversion, and there I shall ever find refreshing and renewal.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoy reading stories of the redeeming work of God's grace than bookmark this short (71 page) book by Hy Pickering entitled "TWICE BORN MEN." Therein you find the testimonies of some men you have heard of and some you have not, but your soul will be blessed as you are reminded of our great God Who is always "Mighty to Save." (Isaiah 63:1-note).
THE POWER OF
Charles Haddon Spurgeon experienced the power (dunamis) of God's Word which is "able (dunamai in present tense = God's Word continually has this inherent or intrinsic ability - no other writing can make such a claim) to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15-note). It therefore behooves us to focus our attention on the Word, not men's writings about the Word (including even those you are now reading!)
James echoes the dunamis power of God's Word…
Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able (dunamai in present tense = continually able) to save your souls. (James 1:21-note)
The Scripture describes the Gospel which "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16-note) and they do point the sinner to the Savior Christ Jesus, the One Who saves unregenerate men and women who exercise sincere faith (2 Timothy 1:5-note) in Him.
Paul describes the energizing effect of the Word of God in his first epistle to the Thessalonians…
And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received (paralambano) from us the Word of God's message, you accepted (dechomai) it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the Word of God, which also performs (energeo - energizes, works effectively - present tense = the Word of God continually performs) its work in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13-note)
Spurgeon experienced the power of God's Word and went on to become one of the greatest preachers of God's powerful Word. The following Spurgeon anecdote beautifully illustrates the supernatural power of God's Word…
The renowned preacher C H Spurgeon once tested an auditorium in which he was to speak that evening. Stepping into the pulpit, he loudly proclaimed, "Behold the lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) Satisfied with the acoustics, he left and went his way. Unknown to him, there were two men working in the rafters of that large auditorium, neither one a Christian. One of the men was pricked in his conscience by the verse Spurgeon quoted and became a believer later that day! Such is the penetrating power of God's eternal word!Little wonder that Paul is so insistent on our "preaching of the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2-note)
C. H. SPURGEON'S TEXT
Snow! Snow! Snow!
by Frank Boreham
It was the first Sunday of the New Year, and this was how it opened ! On roads and footpaths the snow was already many inches deep; the fields were a sheet of blinding whiteness; and the flakes were still falling as though they never meant to stop. As the caretaker fought his way through the storm from his cottage to the chapel in Artillery Street, he wondered whether, on such a wild and wintry day, anyone would venture out. It would be strange if, on the very first Sunday morning of the year, there should be no service. He unbolted the chapel doors and lit the furnace under the stove. Half an hour later, two men were seen bravely trudging their way through the snowdrifts; and, as they stood on the chapel steps, their faces flushed with their recent exertions, they laughingly shook the snow from off their hats and overcoats. What a morning, to be sure! By eleven o'clock about a dozen others had arrived; but where was the minister? They waited; but he did not come. He lived at a distance, and, in all probability, had found the roads impassable. What was to be done? The stewards looked at each other and surveyed the congregation. Except for a boy of fifteen sitting under the gallery, every face was known to them, and the range of selection was not great. There were whisperings and hasty consultations, and at last one of the two men who were first to arrive—`a poor, thin-looking man, a shoemaker, a tailor, or something of that sort'—yielded to the murmured entreaties of the others and mounted the pulpit steps. He glanced nervously round upon nearly three hundred empty seats. Nearly, but not quite! For there were a dozen or fifteen of the regular worshippers present, and there was the boy sitting under the gallery. People who had braved such a morning deserved all the help that he could give them, and the strange boy under the gallery ought not to be sent back into the storm feeling that there was nothing in the service for him. And so the preacher determined to make the most of his opportunity ; and he did.
The boy sitting under the gallery! A marble tablet now adorns the wall near the seat which he occupied that snowy day. The inscription records that, that very morning, the boy sitting under the gallery was converted ! He was only fifteen, and he died at fifty-seven. But, in the course of the intervening years, he preached the gospel to millions and led thousands and thousands into the kingdom and service of Jesus Christ. 'Let preachers study this story!' says Sir William Robertson Nicoll. 'Let them believe that, under the most adverse circumstances, they may do a work that will tell on the universe forever. It was a great thing to have converted Charles Haddon Spurgeon; and who knows but he may have in the smallest and humblest congregation in the world some lad as well worth converting as was he ?'
II Snow! Snow! Snow!
The boy sitting under the gallery had purposed attending quite another place of worship that Sunday morning. No thought of the little chapel in Artillery Street occurred to him as he strode out into the storm. Not that he was very particular. Ever since he was ten years of age he had felt restless and ill at ease whenever his mind turned to the things that are unseen and eternal. 'I had been about five years in the most fearful distress of mind,' he says. 'I thought the sun was blotted out of my sky, that I had so sinned against God that there was no hope for me!' He prayed, but never had a glimpse of an answer. He attended every place of worship in the town; but no man had a message for a youth who only wanted to know what he must do to be saved. With the first Sunday of the New Year he purposed yet another of these ecclesiastical experiments. But in making his plans he had not reckoned on the ferocity of the storm. 'I sometimes think,' he said, years afterwards, 'I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair now, had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm on Sunday morning, January 6th, 185o, when I was going to a place of worship. When I could go no further I turned down a court and came to a little Primitive Methodist chapel.' Thus the strange boy sitting under the gallery came to be seen by the impromptu speaker that snowy morning! Thus, as so often happens, a broken program pointed the path of destiny ! Who says that two wrongs can never make a right? Let them look at this ! The plans at the chapel went wrong; the minister was snowed up. The plans of the boy under the gallery went wrong: the snowstorm shut him off from the church of his choice. Those two wrongs together made one tremendous right; for out of those shattered plans and programmes came an event that has incalculably enriched mankind.
III Snow! Snow! Snow!
And the very snow seemed to mock his misery. It taunted him as he walked to church that morning. Each virgin snowflake as it fluttered before his face and fell at his feet only emphasised the dreadful pollution within. 'My original and inward pollution!' he cries with Bunyan ; 'I was more loathsome in mine own eyes than a toad. Sin and corruption would as naturally bubble out of my heart as water out of a fountain. I thought that everyone had a better heart than I had. At the sight of my own vileness I fell deeply into despair.' These words of Bunyan's exactly reflect, he tells us, his own secret and spiritual history. And the white, white snow only intensified the agonizing consciousness of defilement. In the expressive phraseology of the Church of England Communion Service, 'the remembrance of his sins was grievous unto him; the burden of them was intolerable.' I counted the estate of everything that God had made far better than this dreadful state of mind was : yea, gladly would I have been in the condition of a dog or a horse ; for I knew they had no souls to perish under the weight of sin as mine was like to do.' Many and many a time,' says Mr. Thomas Spurgeon, 'my father told me that, in those early days, he was so storm tossed and distressed by reason of his sins that he found himself envying the very beasts in the field and the toads by the wayside !' So storm tossed! The storm that raged around him that January morning was in perfect keeping with the storm within ; but oh, for the whiteness, the pure, unsullied whiteness, of the falling snow I
IV Snow! Snow! Snow!
From out of that taunting panorama of purity the boy passed into the cavernous gloom of the almost empty building. Its leaden heaviness matched the mood of his spirit, and he stole furtively to a seat under the gallery. He noticed the long pause; the anxious glances which the stewards exchanged with each other; and, a little later, the whispered consultations. He watched curiously as the hastily-appointed preacher—`a shoemaker or something of that sore—awkwardly ascended the pulpit. 'The man was,' Mr. Spurgeon tells us, 'really stupid as you would say. He was obliged to stick to his text for the simple reason that he had nothing else to say. His text was, "Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 45:22) He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in the text, and I listened as though my life depended upon what I heard. In about ten minutes the preacher had got to the end of his tether. Then he saw me sitting under the gallery; and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. He then said : "Young man, you look very miserable." Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance. However, it was a good blow, well struck. He continued : "And you will always be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death—if you do not obey my text. But if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved !" Then he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist can shout, "Young man, look to Jesus! look, look, look!" I did; and, then and there, the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun! I could have risen on the instant and sung with the most enthusiastic of them of the precious blood of Christ and of the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me before! In their own earnest way, they sang a Hallelujah before they went home, and I joined in it !'
The snow around!
The defilement within!
Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth!'
Precious blood . . . and simple faith!' `I sang a Hallelujah!'
V Snow ! Snow! Snow!
The snow was falling as fast as ever when the boy sitting under the gallery rose and left the building. The storm raged just as fiercely. And yet the snow was not the same snow ! Everything was changed. Mr. Moody has told us that, on the day of his conversion, all the birds in the hedgerow seemed to be singing newer and blither songs. Dr. Campbell Morgan declares that the very leaves on the trees appeared to him more beautiful on the day that witnessed the greatest spiritual crisis in his career. Frank Bullen was led to Christ in a little New Zealand port which I have often visited, by a worker whom I knew well. And he used to say that, next morning, he climbed the summit of a mountain near by and the whole landscape seemed changed. Everything had been transformed in the night !
Heaven above is softer blue,
Earth around a deeper green,
Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen.
Birds with gladder songs o'erflow,
Flowers with richer beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
I am His and He is mine!
`I was now so taken with the love of God,' says Bunyan—and here again Mr. Spurgeon says that the words might have been his own--`I was now so taken with the love and mercy of God that I could not tell how to contain till I got home. I thought I could have spoken of His love, and told of His mercy, even to the very crows that sat upon the ploughed lands before me, had they been capable of understanding me.' As the boy from under the gallery walked home that morning he laughed at the storm, and the snow that had mocked him coming sang to him as he returned. 'The snow was lying deep,' he says, 'and more was falling. But those words of David kept ringing through my heart, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow!" It seemed to me as if all Nature was in accord with the blessed deliverance from sin which I had found in a moment by looking to Jesus Christ!'
The mockery of the snow!
The text amidst the snow!
The music of the snow!
Whiter than the snow!
`Look unto Me and be ye saved!'
`Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow!'
VI `Look unto ME and be ye saved!' Look! Look! Look!
I look to my doctor to heal me when I am hurt; I look to my lawyer to advise me when I am perplexed; I look to my tradesmen to bring my daily supplies to my door; but there is only One to whom I can look when my soul cries out for deliverance.
`Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth!'
`Look! Look! Look!' cried the preacher.
'I looked,' says Mr. Spurgeon, 'until I could almost have looked my eyes away; and in heaven I will look still, in joy unutterable !'
Happy the preacher, however unlettered, who, knowing little else, knows how to direct such wistful and hungry eyes to the only possible fountain of sat-is faction!
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"Snow, Snow, Snow" is from Frank Boreham's fascinating book entitled A Bunch of Everlastings - This is a fascinating book in which Boreham describes the role of a text from the Bible which was instrumental in bringing 23 well known saints to salvation (e.g., Martin Luther, John Knox, John Bunyan, David Livingstone, William Carey, John Wesley, John Newton, et al). Click here for the table of contents and take some time to read how God's Word moved in mysterious ways to redeem each of these dead souls from darkness to eternal light and life in Christ Jesus our Lord. I can assure you that your faith will be strengthened and encouraged as you see God's mighty hand of providence. What an awesome God we serve...
Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,
seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Spurgeon's Devotional - Faith's Checkbook