Unfortunately liars are not yet extinct, and, like Richard Baxter and John Bunyan, you may be accused of crimes which your soul abhors. Be not staggered thereby, for this trial has befallen the very best of men, and even your Lord did not escape the envenomed tongue of falsehood. In almost all cases it is the wisest course to let such things die a natural death. A great lie, if unnoticed, is like a big fish out of water, it dashes and plunges and beats itself to death in a short time. To answer it is to supply it with its element and help it to a longer life.
Falsehoods usually carry their own refutation somewhere about them, and sting themselves to death. Some lies especially have a peculiar smell, which betrays their rottenness to every honest nose. If you are disturbed by them the object of their invention is partly answered, but your silent endurance disappoints malice and gives you a partial victory, which God in his care of you will soon turn into a complete deliverance. Your blameless life will be your best defense, and those who have seen it will not allow you to be condemned so readily as your slanderers expect. Only abstain from fighting your own battles, and in nine cases out of ten your accusers will gain nothing by their malevolence but chagrin for themselves and contempt from others.
This post continues a lecture from C.H. Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students (read the series so far).
Avoid with your whole soul that spirit of suspicion which sours some men’s lives, and
Suspicion makes a man a torment to himself and a spy towards others. Once begin to suspect, and causes for distrust will multiply around you, and your very suspiciousness will create the major part of them. Many a friend has been transformed into an enemy by being suspected. Do not, therefore, look about you with the eyes of mistrust, nor listen as an eaves-dropper with the quick ear of fear. To go about the congregation ferreting out disaffection, like a gamekeeper after rabbits, is a mean employment, and is generally rewarded most sorrowfully.
Some time ago I was given the then-new volume of “missing sermons” of C.H. Spurgeon published by Day One Publishers. C.H. Spurgeon has always been be my “preaching hero,” and I have read far more of his sermons than those of everyone else combined. His autobiography shaped me like nothing else in the early days of my ministry. We who are Calvinists often claim that his success was due to his Puritan Calvinism. In the 1990’s I argued in an unpublished paper that it was Spurgeon’s plain speech, not just his Calvinism, that made him so successful. Here is an excerpt from that paper.
What fails in the theological interpretation of Spurgeon is its inability to explain how many other English preachers who had held as tenaciously to Calvinistic tenets as Spurgeon did were not nearly as successful as he was! Furthermore, it fails to explain the tremendous appeal of preachers like his contemporaries Joseph Parker in London and Russell Conwell in Philadelphia—who were not Calvinists! What Spurgeon brought to the pulpit, along with an effective evangelical Calvinism, was a populism born out of his own personal experience. One of the ways in which this was manifested was his commitment to plain speech.
Special thanks to The Spurgeon Archive. Spurgeon delivered this message on Thursday evening, January 1, 1885 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”—Revelation 21:5.
HOW PLEASED WE ARE with that which is new! Our children’s eyes sparkle when we talk of giving them a toy or a book which is called new; for our short-lived human nature loves that which has lately come, and is therefore like our own fleeting selves. In this respect, we are all children, for we eagerly demand the news of the day, and are all too apt to rush after the “many inventions” of the hour. The Athenians, who spent their time in telling and hearing some new thing, were by no means singular persons: novelty still fascinates the crowd. As the world’s poet says—