A gripping parable by Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Maybe you care deeply for someone to whom this parable might speak, someone who is not yet pondering God’s grace and redemption. Pray about sending your loved one or friend this link to the late British preacher’s parable and the following counsel for turning to Christ for a new life on earth and in eternity.

“A certain tyrant sent for one of his subjects, and said to him, ‘What is your employment?’ He said, ‘I am a blacksmith.’ ‘Go home,’ said he, ‘and make me a chain of such a length.’ He went home; it occupied him several months, and he had no wages all the while he was making the chain, only the trouble and the pains of making it. Then he brought it to the monarch, and he said, ‘Go and make it twice as long.’ He gave him nothing to do it with, but sent him away. Again he worked on, and made it twice as long. He brought it up again, and the monarch said, ‘Go and make it longer still.’ Each time he brought it, there was nothing but the command to make it longer still. And when he brought it up at last, the monarch said, ‘Take it, bind him hand and foot with it, and cast him into a furnace of fire.’ There were his wages for making the chain. Here is a meditation for you…. Your master the devil is telling you to make a chain. Some of you have been fifty years welding the links of the chain; and he says, ‘Go and make it longer still.’ Next Sunday morning you will open that shop of yours, and put another link on; next Saturday night you will be drunk, and put another link on; next Monday you will do a dishonest action, and so you will keep on making fresh links to this chain; and when you have lived twenty more years, the devil will say, ‘More links on still!’ And then, at last, it will be, ‘Take him, and bind him hand and foot, and cast him into a furnace of fire.’ ‘For the wages of sin is death.’”

Excerpted from Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s sermon “Meditation on God” preached in 1858 at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, England.

If you need some help for encountering Christ to embark on a new life, go to the “New birth” tab at www.arttoalston.com.


2016: MLK Birmingham jail letter anew with prophetic power

Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 letter from the Birmingham jail stirred Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd to write last fall:

“When Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his Letter From a Birmingham Jail on April 16, 1963, he noted he had never written such a long letter. Reading this letter recently, the words in his final paragraph penetrated my heart. Dr. King wrote, ‘Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.’” (www.bpnews.net/45804)

I was prompted by Ronnie Floyd’s reflection to read MLK’s letter. I regret that I got no further, in the press of life, than printing it out. This morning, I took about 15 minutes to read it. You can read it as well at http://stanford.io/1OrT1J0. Certainly it is an apt activity for Martin Luther King Day, especially for those of us who have the day off in his honor.

It remains a soul-shaking document.

And now, in 2016, it retains its prophetic power, both in the ongoing yearning for racial reconciliation and, now, in the erosion of religious freedom at the hands of our new culture-shapers. We Christians may find ourselves compelled to engage in peaceful protest, in nonviolent action, perhaps within a few short years, as we’re increasingly told to keep our faith to ourselves.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from the Birmingham jail will be a gripping primer, theologically, philosophically, for the days ahead. Hopefully, too, our culture-shapers will be enlightened by King’s masterpiece of human rights.


Spurgeon, the Maharishi & meditation

Charles Haddon Spurgeon practiced meditation long before there was a Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Here’s some of Spurgeon’s meditation counsel, from 1874:

“It is an admirable plan to fix your thoughts upon some text of Scripture before you leave your bedroom in the morning—it will sweeten your meditation all the day. Always look God in the face before you see the face of anyone else. Lock up your heart in the morning and hand the key to God and keep the world out of your heart. Take a text and lay it on your tongue like a wafer made with honey and let it melt in your mouth all day. If you do this, and meditate upon it, you will be surprised to notice how the various events of life will help to open up that text. If that particular text does not seem suitable to some special occasion, steal away into a quiet place and get another one—only let your soul be so full of the Word of God that at all the intervals and spaces when you can think upon it, the Word of God dwelling in you richly may come welling up into your mind and make your meditation to be sweet and profitable!” (From Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s “Loving the Law of the Lord,” Sermon #3090, preached at London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle on May 10, 1874.)

For a 21st century look at meditation, I’ve written — with much help from on high — two e-books: When I Meditate and Meditation & Morality setting forth an evangelical/biblical perspective. See descriptors at www.arttoalston.com. Hopefully, Spurgeon would have enjoyed these. Difficult to imagine what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s reaction would have been.