Let me begin by saying that I am jealous of Christian George, having a once in a, well, lifetime doesn’t really begin to describe the opportunity he has to read, research, and compile what will become a twelve-volume set of The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon. So far, in volumes I and II, the workmanship has been exquisite and the contents edifying, something that I am quite certain we will see continue in the next ten volumes. And beyond that, what I have been reading is helping me grow and more richly understand Scriptures from a newfound, albeit much older, perspective.
Christian George is not just the editor of The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon, he is also an assistant professor of Historical Theology and the curator of the Spurgeon Library, which is located at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. He has spent many years on this endeavor, and I can only imagine at least several more, for all of which I am extremely grateful.
When I first saw that my box from B&H Publishing had arrived with The Lost Sermons, v.2 (TLS2 for short) I literally stood there and ripped it open as soon as I had my hands on the box. Given that I work and live at a boarding school, I was standing in front of a colleague named Darryl, and I proceeded to tell him, albeit briefly, about Spurgeon and Christian George’s work on The Lost Sermons. We “Ooh’d” and “awed” over the book for a few, and then I had to head back to my house, as work was calling.
The dustcover of the book is beautiful and detailed, made almost to look like the cover of an old notebook that had been heavily used. However, under the dustcover is an equally nice cloth-over-board, slightly off-white in color, with the words “the LOST SERMONS of C. H. SPURGEON” emblazoned in black on the cover and spine.
Once you delve into the volume, you are greeted by a picture of Spurgeon from 1860. And then, once you pass the table of contents, you read a most excellent foreword, penned by Jason K. Allen, President of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
However, my favorite aspect of the beginnings of the volumes come after the introductions and acknowledgments. It comes in the form of all the statistics, from number of words in each sermon to the number of pages in each of the twelve original notebooks (which is found in Volume I). The amount of work and detail that was put into these works is testament to the dedication of Christian George and his team and their desire to see these works edify the local church, bringing glory to God.
As I read through the sermons, one thing that I noticed is that the sermons appear to be, on average, getting longer, as if they are maturing; however, I am hesitant to rest on that word, “maturing”, as Spurgeon was gifted at preaching. Upon further investigation, looking back upon the pages of statistics both volumes, I see that the sermons do appear to be longer. In volume 1, it states that the sermons range from 85 to 871 words, while in volume 2, 91 words to 1,222 words. This is further confirmed, as it is notated in volume 1, in the section “The Lost Sermons”, that by volumes 8 and 9, Spurgeon was penning full length manuscripted sermons (George The Lost sermons of C.H. Spurgeon: his earliest outlines and sermons between 1851 and 1854. 2016. Pp. 28). With that being said, I am super exited to get from The Lost Sermons volume two to volumes eight and nine, as well as all those in-between and after!
Reading through the Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon Volume 2 (as well as volume 1) has been truly a treasure and a gift. It is almost as if I am peering back in time, seeing the thought process of one of greatest preachers as it translates from his mind to written word. What he sees in the texts and the connections made are marvelous and edifying to me, just as I am sure they were to the many who heard the full-on sermons that these outlines represent.