Unlike perhaps many of the people who will flock to this book, I am a relative novice in the world of famed 19th century preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I know of his revered Morning and Evening devotion book, but little of the prolific writer and speaker behind it.
Yet, even to a such a novice, The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon there was much to appreciate about the volume.
As beautiful as it is with full color reproductions of Spurgeon’s actual notebooks, it is not conducive to reading through from cover to cover. It is precisely as it states, “outlines and sermons.” Some of these outlines are more complete than others, but there are many that contain incomplete thoughts that would have been filled in during the actual delivery of the message.
Edited by Christian T. George, the volume contains plenty of footnotes to help guide the reader to other materials – such as Spurgeon’s autobiography and collections of his lectures and sermons – that help fill in the blanks left by the outline format. The notes also help to guide readers through the potential thought process of the great preacher as it notes places where words were added to the outline or where words and phrases were stricken.
The introduction to the book is truly an asset in establishing the setting into which Spurgeon was writing and delivering the sermons he outlined. It also contains colorful charts, graphs and even a word cloud to illustrate the content on which Spurgeon concentrated during this season of his ministry.
While beautifully presented, this book is best considered as a reference work for scholars, pastors and students looking for more insight into the world of Spurgeon. Casual readers or newcomers to Spurgeon’s writing may be better served by starting with one of his more accessible volumes.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon: His Earliest Outlines and Sermons Between 1851 and 1854 in exchange for my unbiased review.