What Did Charles Spurgeon Sound Like? A Recording of His Son
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) and his wife Susannah were married in January 1856, and she became pregnant right away with fraternal twins. Charles Jr. and Thomas Spurgeon (1856-1917) were born later that year in September, just a month prior to the tragedy at the Royal Surrey Gardens Music Hall while Charles was preaching.
After his father died in 1892, Thomas returned to England from New Zealand and served for 15 years as pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.
The comparisons between father and son were inevitable, as W.Y. Fullerton recorded in his 1909 biography:
Seen from the midst of the congregation he is not very dissimilar in appearance from his father. There is the frock coat, the little black tie, the quiet self-possessed demeanour, the clear, studied articulation; a voice, not quite that of Charles Spurgeon, not quite so strong and not quite so musical, so marvellously expressive and flexible, as his father’s, but clear and pleasant and melodious, and with many of the late pastor’s modulations and inflexions.
When presently, after the manner of the great preacher, he breaks off from the chapter he is reading and begins to comment upon it, it immediately becomes apparent that he has the same ready fluency of speech, the same easy, familiar style of address, and when he announces his text and plunges into his sermon, he soon shows himself not altogether lacking in the racy way of putting things, the terse and vigorous English, and the strong sense of humour that were so characteristic of the Tabernacle pulpit for many a long year.
Many of the gifts of his father—though no doubt in smaller measure—he certainly possesses, and every here and there one might have shut one’s eyes and fancied that it was the old pastor back again.
During Thomas Spurgeon’s pastorate—August 2, 1905, to be precise—he spoke into a Edison-Bell phonograph, recording the closing paragraph of his father’s final printed sermon. Since no audio exists of the Prince of Preachers himself, this must suffice as the closest approximation.
[If there are any audio engineers out there who want to engineer a better quality version, let me know.]
C. H. Spurgeon’s last words, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, June 7, 1891, recited by his son and successor, Thomas Spurgeon, Edison-Bell Records.
It is cause for real regret that none of my late, dear father’s words were preserved by means of the phonograph. Perhaps the next best thing is for me, his son and successor, to repeat what proved to be his passing message. It should not be less forceful now, fourteen years after its delivery, for the truth of God is unchanging.
If you wear the livery of Christ, you will find him so meek and lowly of heart that you will find rest unto your souls. He is the most magnanimous of captains. There never was his like the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold he always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders. If he bids us carry a burden, he carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and superabundant in love, you always find it in him. His service is life, peace, and joy. Oh, that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of JESUS CHRIST!