C. H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Gifts

The famous Baptist “Prince of Preachers”, C. H. Spurgeon, is often listed among a number of others by C. H. SpurgeonDispensationalists to support there view that spiritual gifts ceased shortly after the beginning of the Church. It might be interesting to see what Spurgeon himself said about such matters. Here is part of a sermon he gave in 1790, entitled Receiving the Holy Ghost.

You know, dear friends, when the Holy Spirit was given in the earliest ages, He showed His presence by certain miraculous signs. Some of those who received the Holy Spirit spake with tongues, others began to prophesy, and a third class received the gifts of healing. I am sure that if these powers were given now you would all be anxious to posses them. You would want to be healing or to be speaking in tongues, or to be working miracles by which you would benefit your fellow men and glorify God. Now be it never forgotten that those works of the Holy Spirit which are permanent must assuredly be of greater value than those which were transitory. We cannot suppose that the Holy Ghost brought forth the best wine at first and that His operations gradually deteriorated. It is a rule of the kingdom to keep the best wine to the last; and therefore, I conclude that you and I are not left to partake of the dregs, but that those gifts of the Holy Spirit which are at this time vouchsafed to the church of God are every way as valuable as those earlier miraculous gifts which are departed from us. The work of the Holy Spirit by which men are quickened from their death in sin is not inferior to the power which made men speak in tongues. Why, sirs, men might have the gifts of the Spirit as to miracles and yet might perish after all; but he that hath the spiritual gifts of the Holy Ghost shall never perish: they are saving blessings, and where they come they lift the man out of his sinful estate, and make him to be a child of God.

I would therefore press it upon you this morning that, as you would certainly inquire whether you had the gifts of healing and miracle-working, if such gifts were now given to believers, much more should you inquire whether you have those more permanent gifts of the Spirit which are this day open to you all, by the which you shall work no physical miracle, but shall achieve spiritual wonders of the grander sort. If we come to weigh spiritual operations, they are by no means secondary in the judgment of enlightened servants of God. Have ye then received the Spirit since you believed? Beloved, are you now receiving the Spirit? Are you living under his divine influence? Are you filled with his power? Put the question personally. I am afraid some professors will have to admit that they hardly know whether there be any Holy Ghost; and others will have to confess that though they have enjoyed a little of his saving work, yet they do not know much of his ennobling and sanctifying influence. We have none of us participated in his operations as we might have done: we have sipped where we might have drunk; we have drunk where we might have bathed; we have bathed up to the ankles where we might have found rivers to swim in. Alas, of many Christians it must be affirmed that they have been naked, and poor, and miserable, when they might in the power of the Holy Spirit have been clad in golden garments, and have been rich and increased in goods. He waiteth to be gracious, but we linger in indifference, like those of whom we read, “they could not enter in because of unbelief.” There are many such cases, and therefore it is not improper that I should with all vehemence press home upon you the question of the apostle, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” Did ye receive him when ye believed? Are ye receiving him now that ye are believing in Christ Jesus?

 What he thought about the gift of speaking in tongues is not clear, however I believe it is obvious that he allowed for the continuation of any gifts as and when they are needed.

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