Monday, April 12, 2010

Spurgeon's Practical Wisdom

Spurgeon's Practical Wisdom:or Plain Advice for Plain People, by
Charles H Spurgeon, published by the Banner of Truth Trust, Large
clothbound, 328 pages

In this book, Spurgeon adopts the character of John Ploughman, an old
country farmworker, in order to teach moral and spiritual lessons in a
homely and semi-humourous plain style. The theme of these short
chapters is generally suggested by a proverb which is connected to
other similar sayings and pithy anectdotes as he proceeds. In the
course of his talks, Spurgeon covers many practical subjects such as
anger, temptation, gossip, pride, cruelty, debt, thrift, marriage and
childrearing. He defended his approach by saying "I have aimed my
blows at the vices of the many, and tried to inculcate those moral
virtues without which men are degraded. Much that needs to be said to
the toiling masses would not well suit the pulpit and the Sabbath".

This book presents "John Ploughman's Talk" and "John Ploughman's
Pictures" attractively with all of the illustrations from the original
two volumes. It is not difficult to see why the books were
outstandingly popular in Victorian times. A wider contemporary
audience might have been gained for them by the Banner of Truth in
reprinting them separately in paperback form. Though dated in their
language and illustrations, these chapters retain an appeal and will
be appreciated by readers of all ages. It is noticeable that moral as
opposed to gospel applications are more frequent. Spurgeon defended
this by saying that "it has led many to take the first steps by which
men climb to better things". One certainly goes away from reading them
humbled rather than entertained.