I'm a huge fan of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I know, that comes as a shock to so many. But I thought I might need to begin with that for someone who stumbles across this blog for the first time (which is for the most part the only people who read it...those who stumble on it. To you, I apologize and I hope you didn't hurt yourself).
Anyway, one of my great disappointments is that there are no recordings of the Prince of Preachers, since the era of his ministry predated such technology. I read his sermons, and in my mind I'm trying to imagine what he would have sounded like. In fact, we were talking about heaven awhile back with some friends, and I joked that the best part for them was that there would be no more preaching to listen to. And as I thought about it, I thought, I hope that maybe there will be. If nothing else, maybe God can just pretend there are a bunch of lost sinners there long enough for me to hear Spurgeon let us have it!
I was delighted to discover that while Spurgeon was never recorded, his son, Thomas was. Thomas Spurgeon assumed the pastorate of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London after his father's death and served there for 15 years. At some point during that time, he was approached by the folks from Edison-Bell Records, and he recorded just a brief snippet of his father's last message at the Tabernacle. (You can read a little about it here, but the link there seems to be problematic, so I've included another link below)
What's interesting is how he introduces the clip. Thomas says: "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." He reminds us that truth is no less powerful 14 years after it was spoken, since the Word of God remains true, and then he launches into the quote.
The whole purpose is that by listening to the son, we might get a glimpse of the father's voice. Now, apart from the obvious theological point of hearing the voice of the Father through His Son, another thought struck me. Do my children sound like me? That is, can my faith be seen and heard in the lives of my children. Have I passed along a legacy of faith to them to such a degree that when I die someone can say, "If you want to know what Pastor Scott was like, just look at his kids."
Now, part of me cringes at the thought. We've joked before about how our kids seem to have inherited all our bad traits. (My one poor daughter seems to have received the boatload of those things. Sorry Joy-Joy). But aside from hereditary things, have they picked up my other bad habits? If they do sound like me, is it a positive impression? Or has my life be so inconsistent that their reflection of me isn't very flattering?
The idea of "generational faithfulness" has fallen on hard times in the American Church, though there are some sparks of revival. We need to not focus so much on the here and now, our own fame and fortune, that we forget that our primary purpose is to declare the wonders of our God so that our children will speak them to their children, and His glories will be passed on to a generation as yet unborn.
How great would it be if years from now, someone came to my son and said "You sound just like your dad," and they meant it as a compliment. How fantastic would it be for my grandchildren to know my Savior and to know that their grandfather loved Him and them enough to build my faith into my daughters and sons. I thank God for the reminder of my need to focus on my role as husband and father, and I pray that He might use me to show Himself glorious to generations of my progeny.
For those who are interested, here's a link to Thomas Spurgeon's recording followed by a transcript.
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!