A Letter to Charles Spurgeon about His “Little” Book “All of Grace” (Winner of Most Illustrations in a Gospel Book)

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Dear Mr. Charles Haddon Spurgeon,

You, my friend, can write! I also hear you can preach, too, but alas, I’ll never hear it this side of heaven. I will look you up when I arrive, though. Until then I must be content with your books.

Speaking of books, I just finished your “little” volume .

What a “little” book!

I mean, 104-pages written in language fit for a “crossing-sweeper and rag-catcher,” quite unlike our pal John Owen who wrote a “littler” volume of 84-pages, but stitched it up so tight in style and content that one needs a seam ripper to take it apart…

…and boatloads of patience. Plus a study partner. And repeated revisits to previous texts. Over and over again.

But your “little” book requires none of that!

It was like riding the river Thames (without the litter and smell) in a canoe. And…and…redemptive doctrine being shot on film against any flat surface–canal wall, bridge beam or barge hull.

Of course you made it plain on the first page that your target audience were poor men and women, so the “plainest language” was to be used.

Yet, you hoped that a “prince of the blood,” “those of wealth and rank,” would “glance at this book, [and] the Holy Ghost can impress them also; since that which can be understood by the unlettered is none the less attractive to the instructed.”

Nice one.

As were the storehouse of illustrations. Straight out of the gate–page one no less!–you are letting these little greyhounds of narrative sleekness loose. This one being timeless:

A certain man placed a fountain by the wayside, and he hung up a cup near to it by a little chain. He was told some time after that a great art-critic had found much fault with its design. “But,” said he, “do many thirsty persons drink at it?” Then they told him that thousands of poor people, men, women, and children, slaked their thirst at this fountain; and he smiled and said, that he was little troubled by the critic’s observation, only he hoped that on some sultry summer’s day the critic himself might fill the cup, and be refreshed, and praise the name of the Lord. Here is my fountain, and here is my cup: find fault if you please; but do drink of the water of life.

We get it. Now. Today. My people, some hundred and fifty years removed. We get it. Friends of mine (who are artists and art critics and critics in general) would’ve criticized the cup and chain.

I could have. I did.

And it’s obvious you heard a lot of stories, Mr. Spurgeon. Not surprising for a man of your age and wisdom (at the time “All of Grace” was written, of course). This made reading your “little” 104-page volume rich and entertaining.

Some of these illustrations were just knock-your-socks-off good! Here is my favorite one:

We have been kept alive on the brink of death. Our spiritual life has been a flame burning on in the midst of the sea, a stone that has remained suspended in the air. It will amaze the universe to see us enter the pearly gate, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. We ought to be full of grateful wonder if kept for an hour; and I trust we are.

Where did you hear that one? I would like to know.


I must wait until heaven on that , too? Fair enough. I will wait…as long as you promise to tell me all of your secrets!

What is NOT a secret is your grip on the redemptive procedure. Just look at the chapter headings for your “little” book:

1. To You

2. What Are We At

3. God Justifieth the Ungodly

4. “It Is God that Justifieth”

5. “Just and the Justifier”

6. Concerning Deliverance from Sin

7. By Grace Through Faith

8. Faith, What Is It?

9. How May Faith Be Illustrated?

10. Why Are We Saved by Faith?

11. Alas! I Can Do Nothing

12. The Increase of Faith

13. Regeneration and the Holy Spirit

14. My Redeemer Liveth

15. Repentence Must Go with Forgiveness

16. How Repentance Is Given

17. The Fear of Final Falling

18. Confirmation

19. Why Saints Persevere

20 Close

Have you seen them all lined up like that before?!

The book I had did not have a TOC proper. Perhaps others do, and you may think I am stating the obvious by showing you the TOC for your own book, but I think it a useful exercise to write them all day so one can see the sequence of redemption.

Not that that will actually save anyone.

But hopefully it will draw them in to your “little” volume to read it drink from its depths! Because what one doesn’t see in looking at that list of chapters is that redemption is completely and UTTERLY a one-way act of God.

It is (my word, not yours. No sweat!).

Now, to conclude, I don’t really have any complaints to make about your “little” volume. I mean, how could I? Your messages and books are thought by some to be among the best in Christian literature.

Who can argue with that?

Besides, it was my fault that I read your “little” book on my phone where I had to scroll and scroll and scroll and SCROLL as I read, thinking, surely, soon, this “little” volume will end…Mr. Spurgeon will have concluded his point, put his quill down and closed the book and I can then write him a letter…

…a letter telling him that when I finally did read the last line of All of Grace, I closed out the book app, opened up Amazon and ordered a print copy for my shelf.

Not that your little book will actually make it to the shelf when it arrives. I intend to re-read All of Grace the moment I get it.

By the way, miss you.


Your fan, Demian Farnworth

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