…The preacher who measures himself by his looking glass, may please a few silly girls, but neither God nor man will long put up with him. The man who owes his greatness to his tailor, will find that needle and thread cannot long hold a fool in a pulpit. A gentleman should have more in his pocket than on his back, and a minister should have more in his inner man than on his outer man. I would say if I might, to young ministers, do not preach in gloves, for cats in mittens catch no mice; don’t curl and oil your hair like dandies, for nobody cares to hear a peacock’s voice; don’t have your own pretty self in your mind at all, or nobody else will mind you. Away with gold rings, and chains, and jewelry; why should the pulpit become a goldsmith’s shop? Forever away with surplices and gown, and all those nursery doll dresses – men should put away childish things.
– Spurgeon, as “John Ploughman”
ed. note: This is taken from Spurgeon’s little book John Ploughman’s Talk: Plain Advice for Plain People. It’s a wonderful little gem (my copy is 186 rather small pages) that highlights the great preacher’s humble association with what we might call the “salt of the earth” common man. It’s neither Biblical exposition or exegesis, but rather an amazing non-stop torrent of wit, earthy wisdom, (“Anything that hurts the home is a curse, and ought to be hunted down as gamekeepers do to the vermin in the copses”) folksy proverbs (“have nothing to do with a boaster, for his beer is all froth”), and displays Spurgeon’s uncanny ability for spinning metaphors and similes, even the occasional limerick:
An ape is ne’er so like an ape
As when he wears a popish cape.”
It’s written in such a fashion that causes one first to smile or outright laugh at the whimsical good-natured humor, then to say, “but of course, he’s absolutely right!” Every preacher worth his salt admires Spurgeon; this is a side of him not seen and admired enough, in my most humble opinion. Worth the few bucks to go to Amazon and get a copy, even if you would be helping Jeff Bezos take over the world .
Thanks to Pops for making me familiar with this grand little book.