In continuing our series on the Doctrine of God, I wish to cite the very opening paragraph of the very first sermon of Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s 63 volume collection of sermons. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a particular Baptist minister in London, England in the later part of the 19th century. He was and is known as “the Prince of Preachers.” The sermon from which the following citation was derived was delivered on January 7, 1855. Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834. That means that this sermon was delivered when Spurgeon was amazingly not yet 21 years old! I quote this excellent introduction because of the soaring way it draws out the importance and relevance of the study of the Doctrine of God:
“IT has been said by some one that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, ‘Behold I am wise.’ But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thoughts that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt and with the solemn exclamation, ‘I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.’ No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel ‘Great God, how infinite art thou, What worthless worms are we!’
“But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosauras, and all kinds of extinct animals, he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all the most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound, in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief—and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning. …”
[Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God,” sermon number 1 in Spurgeon’s Sermons: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit and New Park Street Pulpit (63 vols.), Accordance edition, OakTree Software, 2012.]
note: the photo with Spurgeon’s image is of a free T-shirt (from missionalwear.com) that I won from a drawing at challies.com. I love it and sometimes wear it in my sermon prep for inspiration. My wife, on the other hand, despises it and I am forbidden from wearing it in public. Therefore, a picture on my blog is the only time many of you will ever see it.
 Particular Baptists subscribe to a Calvinist or Reformed understanding of Christian soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and as such find their descent from the English Puritans, hence the “particular.” However, they endorse credo (believer’s) baptism, hence the “baptist.”
 Dictionary: “an extinct giant ground sloth of the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs in America, reaching a height of 16 feet (5 m) when standing erect. ORIGIN modern Latin, from Greek mega thērion ‘great animal.’”
 Dictionary: “a large extinct marine reptile of the Mesozoic era, with a broad flat body, large paddle-like limbs, and typically a long flexible neck and small head. ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from modern Latin Plesiosaurus, from Greek plēsios ‘near’ + sauros ‘lizard.’”