Great Advice from Charles Spurgeon

In enlarging upon my text, let me say first, — when you commence your

ministry make up your mind to begin with a clean sheet; be deaf and blind

to the longstanding differences which may survive in the church. AS soon

as you enter upon your pastorate you may be waited upon by persons who

are anxious to secure your adhesion to their side in a family quarrel or

church dispute; be deaf and blind to these people, and assure them that

bygones must be bygones with you and that as you have not inherited your

predecessor’s cupboard you do not mean to eat his cold meat. If any

flagrant injustice has been done, be diligent to set it right, but if it be a mere

feud., bid the quarrelsome party cease from it, and tell him once for all that

you will have nothing to do with it. The answer’ of Gallio will almost suit

you: “If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason

would that I should bear with you: but if it be a question of words and

names, and vain janglings, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such

matters..” When I came to New Park-street Chapel as a young man from

the Country, and was chosen pastor, I was speedily interviewed by a good

man who had left the church, having, as he said, been “treated shamefully.”

He mentioned the names of half-a-dozen persons, all prominent members

of the church, who had behaved in a very unchristian manner to him, he,

poor innocent sufferer, having been a model of patience and holiness. I

learned his character at once from what he said about others (a mode of

judging which has never misled me), and I made up my mind how to act. I

told him that the church had been in a sadly unsettled state, and that the

only way out of the snarl was for every one to forget the past and begin

again. He said that the lapse of years did not alter facts, and I replied that it

would alter a man’s view of them .if’ in that time he had become a wiser

and a better man. However, I added, that all the past had gone away with

my predecessors, that he must follow them to their new spheres, and settle

matter with them, for I would not touch the affair with a pair of tongs. He

waxed somewhat warm, but I allowed him to radiate until he was cool

again, and we shook hands and parted. He was a good man, but

constructed upon an uncomfortable principle, so that he Came across the


path of others in a very awkward manner at, times, and if I had gone into

his narrative and examined his case, there would have been no end to the

strife. I am quite certain that, for my own success, and for the prosperity of

the church,! took the wisest course by applying my blind eye to all disputes

which dated previously to my advent. It is the extreme of unwisdom for a

young man fresh from college, or from another charge, to suffer himself to

be earwigged by a clique, and to be bribed by kindness and flattey to

become a partisan, and so to ruin himself with one-half of his people.

Know nothing of parties and cliques, but be the pastor of all the flock, and

care for all alike. Blessed are the peacemakers, and one sure way of

peacemaking is to let 4he fire of contention alone. Neither fan it, nor stir it,

nor add fuel to it, but let it go out of itself. Begin your ministry with one

blind eye and one deaf ear.

The blind eye and the deaf ear will come in exceedingly well in connection

with the gossips of the place. Every church, and, for the matter of that,

every village and family, is plagued with certain Mrs. Grundys, Who drink

tea and talk vitriol. They are never quiet, but buzz around to the great

annoyance of those who are devout and practical. No one needs to look far

for perpetual motion, he has only to watch their tongues. At tea-meetings,

Dorcas meetings, and other gatherings, they practice vivisection upon the

characters of their neighbors, and of course they are eager to try their

knives upon the minister, the minister’s wife, the minister’s children, the

minister’s wife’s bonnet, the dress of the minister’s daughter, and how

many new ribbons she: has worn for the last six months, and so on ad

infinitum. There are also certain persons who are never so happy as when

they are “grieved to the heart” to have to tell the minister that Mr. A. is a

snake in the grass, that he is quite mistaken in thinking so well of Messrs.

B and C., and that. they have heard quite “promiscuously” that Mr. D. and

his wife are badly matched. Then follows a long string about Mrs. E., who

says that she and Mrs. F. overheard Mrs. G. say to Mrs. H. that Mrs. J.


should say that Mr. K. and Miss L. were going to move from the chapel

and hear Mr. M., and all because of what old N. said to young O. about

that Miss P. Never listen to such people.. Do as Nelson did when he put his

blind eye to the telescope and declared that he did not see the signal, and

therefore would go on with the battle. Let the creatures buzz, and do not

even hear them, unless indeed they buzz so much concerning one person

that the matter threatens to be serious; then it will be well to bring them to

book and talk in sober earnestness to them. Assure them that you are

obliged to have facts definitely before you, that your memory is not very

tenacious, that you have many things to think ;of, that you are always

afraid of making any mistake in such matters, and that if they would be

good enough to write down what they have to say the case would be more

fully before you, and you could give more time to its consideration. Mrs.

Grundy will not do that; she has a great objection to making clear and

definite statements; she prefers talking at random.

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