Sunday, February 19, 2017

Brief Charles Spurgeon Biography




Brief Charles Spurgeon Biography
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Victorian England's best-known Baptist minister, was born on June 19, 1834 in Kelvedon, Essex and spent his childhood and early teenage years in Stambourne, Colchester, and Newmarket. In 1856 he married Susannah Thompson; their only children, twin sons Thomas and Charles, were born on September 20, 1857.
Spurgeon had no formal education beyond Newmarket Academy, which he attended from August 1849 to June 1850, but he was very well-read in Puritan theology, natural history, and Latin and Victorian literature. His lack of a college degree was no hindrance to his remarkable preaching career, which began in 1850, when he was only fifteen years old. A few months after his conversion to Christianity, he began preaching at Teversham. The next year, he accepted his first pastorate, at the Baptist Chapel in Waterbeach. The church quickly grew from fewer than a dozen congregants to more than four hundred, and Spurgeon's reputation as a preacher caught the attention of New Park Street, London's largest Baptist church. He was invited to preach there in December 1853 and, following a brief probationary period, he agreed to move to London and become the church's new pastor.
Spurgeon's New Park Street congregation grew rapidly as well, soon becoming too large for the 1200-seat auditorium. On August 30, 1854, the membership agreed to enlarge the chapel; during the remodeling, services were held at the 5,000-seat Exeter Hall, a public auditorium in Strand Street. The renovations to New Park Street were complete in May 1855, but the chapel was still too small, and in June a committee was formed to oversee the construction of the church's new home, the 5,000-seat Metropolitan Tabernacle. The congregation moved once again, meeting in Exeter Hall and the 8,000-seat Surrey Gardens Music Hall until the Tabernacle was dedicated on March 18, 1861.
Spurgeon began publishing shortly after he started preaching. In January 1855, Passmore and Alabaster inaugurated the "Penny Pulpit," publishing one sermon every week; the series continued until 1917, a quarter-century after Spurgeon's death. Every year these sermons were reissued in book form, first as The New Park Street Pulpit (6 volumes, 1855-1860) and later as The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (57 volumes, 1861-1917). Spurgeon published scores of religious books in addition to his sermons; the most significant works include Lectures to My Students (1890), a collection of talks delivered to the students of his Pastors' College, and the 7-volume Treasury of David (c. 1869), a best-selling devotional commentary on the Psalms.
Spurgeon's work in London was not limited to preaching and sermon-publishing. He also served as president of the Pastors' College, which he founded in 1857; established the Stockwell Orphanage, which opened for boys in 1867 and girls in 1879; and oversaw evangelistic and charitable enterprises such as almshouses, organizations for distributing food and clothing to the poor, and a book fund for needy ministers.
Spurgeon's preaching was both enormously popular and highly controversial. Some regarded him as the greatest orator since Whitefield; others criticized him as theatrical, awkward, and even sacrilegious. Two of his most controversial works were his "Baptismal Regeneration" sermon and his "Down Grade" articles. On June 5, 1864, he preached a sermon entitled "Baptismal Regeneration," objecting to Anglican teachings on the sacramental power of infant baptism. Over 350,000 copies were sold, and the furor it provoked led to Spurgeon's withdrawal from the Evangelical Alliance, an ecumenical association of Dissenters and Evangelical Anglicans.
The "Down Grade" controversy began in 1887, when Spurgeon published a series of articles declaring that evolutionary thinking and liberal theology threatened to "Down Grade" the church. In this case, he was concerned not with Anglican teaching, but with what he believed to be doctrinal error, particularly Unitarian ideas, within the Baptist Union. He discussed his concerns in private letters to ministers such as Samuel Booth and Joseph Parker and in several articles published in The Sword and the Trowel, the Metropolitan Tabernacle's monthly periodical. When these articles did not receive the response Spurgeon wanted--the matter was not discussed at the Union's 1887 meeting in Sheffield and some members of his own congregation dismissed or made light of it--he concluded that he had no choice but to resign from the Union, which he did on October 28.
Illness forced Spurgeon to keep a low profile during the last few years of his life. He preached his final sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on June 7, 1891. He died in France on January 31, 1892; on February 9, over 60,000 people filed past his casket in the Tabernacle. He was buried at Norwood Cemetery on February 11.

With affection,
Ruben

Charles Haddon Spurgeon Quotes




Charles Haddon Spurgeon Quotes
There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .”

 “Hope itself is like a star- not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. ”


 “Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”


 “When your will is God's will, you will have your will.”

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.”

 “Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”

 “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

 “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”

“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”


“You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”

“Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.


We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” — join in the cry.”

“Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you're not saved yourself, be sure of that!”


“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”

“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.”

“If you can't see His way past the tears, trust His heart.”

“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.”

“If Christ is not all to you He is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as a part Saviour of men. If He be something He must be everything, and if He be not everything He is nothing to you.”

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness”
“You will never glory in God till first of all God has killed your glorying in yourself.”

“A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.”

“Have your heart right with Christ, and he will visit you often, and so turn weekdays into Sundays, meals into sacraments, homes into temples, and earth into heaven.”

“Men will allow God to be everywhere but on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow his bounties. they will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends Hes throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust.”

“The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”

 “That very church which the world likes best is sure to be that which God abhors.”

 “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.”


“Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend.”

“Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement.”

“Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.”

With affection,
Ruben



Monday, January 4, 2016

History of our calendar



History of  our calendar
The calendar is a systematic account of the passage of time used for the chronological organization of activities. It is a set of rules or norms that try to match the calendar year with the tropical year.
Formerly, many were based on lunar cycles, lasting use in the Muslim calendar, the date of various Christian religious festivals and on using the week (corresponding to the four lunar phases, approximately).
At present, most of the calendars are for reference cycle that describes the Earth around the Sun and are called solar calendars.
The sidereal calendar is based on the Earth's motion relative to other different stars to the sun.

Before today’s Gregorian calendar was adopted, the older Julian calendar was used. It was admirably close to the actual length of the year, as it turns out, but the Julian calendar was not so perfect that it didn’t slowly shift off track over the following centuries. But, hundreds of years later, monks were the only ones with any free time for scholarly pursuits – and they were discouraged from thinking about the matter of "secular time" for any reason beyond figuring out when to observe Easter. In the Middle Ages, the study of the measure of time was first viewed as prying too deeply into God’s own affairs – and later thought of as a lowly, mechanical study, unworthy of serious contemplation.
As a result, it wasn’t until 1582, by which time Caesar’s calendar had drifted a full 10 days off course, that Pope Gregory XIII (1502 - 1585) finally reformed the Julian calendar. Ironically, by the time the Catholic church buckled under the weight of the scientific reasoning that pointed out the error, it had lost much of its power to implement the fix. Protestant tract writers responded to Gregory’s calendar by calling him the "Roman Antichrist" and claiming that its real purpose was to keep true Christians from worshiping on the correct days. The "new" calendar, as we know it today, was not adopted uniformly across Europe until well into the 18th century.
Has the year always started on 1 January?
In some ways, yes. When Julius Caesar introduced his calendar in 45 B.C.E., he made 1 January the start of the year, and it was always the date on which the Solar Number and the Golden Number were incremented.
However, the church didn’t like the wild parties that took place at the start of the new year, and in C.E. 567 the council of Tours declared that having the year start on 1 January was an ancient mistake that should be abolished.
Through the middle ages various New Year dates were used. If an ancient document refers to year X, it may mean any of 7 different periods in our present system:
1 Mar X to 28/29 Feb X+1
1 Jan X to 31 Dec X
1 Jan X-1 to 31 Dec X-1
25 Mar X-1 to 24 Mar X
25 Mar X to 24 Mar X+1
Saturday before Easter X to Friday before Easter X+1
25 Dec X-1 to 24 Dec X
Choosing the right interpretation of a year number is difficult, so much more as one country might use different systems for religious and civil needs.
The Byzantine Empire used a year starting on 1 Sep, but they didn’t count years since the birth of Christ, instead they counted years since the creation of the world which they dated to 1 September 5509 B.C.E.
Since about 1600 most countries have used 1 January as the first day of the year. Italy and England, however, did not make 1 January official until around 1750.
In England (but not Scotland) three different years were used:
The historical year, which started on 1 January.
The liturgical year, which started on the first Sunday in advent.
The civil year, which

from the 7th to the 12th century started on 25 December,

from the 12th century until 1751 started on 25 March,

from 1752 started on 1 January.
It is sometimes claimed that having the year start on 1 January was part of the Gregorian calendar reform. This is not true. This myth has probably started because in 1752 England moved the start of the year to 1 January and also changed to the Gregorian calendar. But in most other countries the two events were not related. Scotland, for example, changed to the Gregorian calendar together with England in 1752, but they moved the start of the year to 1 January in 1600.
Then what about leap years?
If the year started on, for example, 1 March, two months later than our present year, when was the leap day inserted?
When it comes to determining if a year is a leap year, since AD 8 the Julian calendar has always had 48 months between two leap days. So, in a country using a year starting on 1 March, 1439 would have been a leap year, because their February 1439 would correspond to February 1440 in the January-based reckoning.
What is the origin of the names of the months?
A lot of languages, including English, use month names based on Latin. Their meaning is listed below. However, some languages (Czech and Polish, for example) use quite different names.
Month
Latin
Origin
January
Januarius
Named after the god Janus.
February
Februarius
Named after Februa, the purification festival.
March
Martius
Named after the god Mars.
April
Aprilis
Named either after the goddess Aphrodite or the Latin word aperire, to open.
May
Maius
Probably named after the goddess Maia.
June
Junius
Probably named after the goddess Juno.
July
Julius
Named after Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.E. Prior to that time its name was Quintilis from the word quintus, fifth, because it was the 5th month in the old Roman calendar.
August
Augustus
Named after emperor Augustus in 8 B.C.E. Prior to that time the name was Sextilis from the word sextus, sixth, because it was the 6th month in the old Roman calendar.
September
September
From the word septem, seven, because it was the 7th month in the old Roman calendar.
October
October
From the word octo, eight, because it was the 8th month in the old Roman calendar.
November
November
From the word novem, nine, because it was the 9th month in the old Roman calendar.
December
December
From the word decem, ten, because it was the 10th month in the old Roman calendar.
How did Dionysius date Christ’s birth?
There are quite a few theories about this. And many of the theories are presented as if they were indisputable historical fact. The following are two theories that tend to be more accepted:
According to the Gospel of Luke (3:1 & 3:23) Jesus was "about thirty years old" shortly after "the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar." Tiberius became emperor in C.E. 14. If you combine these numbers you reach a birthyear for Jesus that is strikingly close to the beginning of our year reckoning. This may have been the basis for Dionysius’ calculations.
Dionysius’ original task was to calculate an Easter table. In the Julian calendar, the dates for Easter repeat every 532 years. The first year in Dionysius’ Easter tables is C.E. 532. Is it a coincidence that the number 532 appears twice here? Or did Dionysius perhaps fix Jesus’ birthyear so that his own Easter tables would start exactly at the beginning of the second Easter cycle after Jesus’ birth?
Was Jesus born in the year 0?
No.
There are two reasons for this:
There is no year 0.
Jesus was born before 4 B.C.E.
The concept of a year "zero" is a modern myth (but a very popular one). In our calendar, C.E. 1 follows immediately after 1 B.C.E. with no intervening year zero. So a person who was born in 10 B.C.E. and died in C.E. 10, would have died at the age of 19, not 20.
Furthermore, as described in section 2.14, our year reckoning was established by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century. Dionysius let the year C.E. 1 start one week after what he believed to be Jesus’ birthday. But Dionysius’ calculations were wrong. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus was born under the reign of king Herod the Great, who died in 4 B.C.E.. It is likely that Jesus was actually born around 7 B.C.E.. The date of his birth is unknown; it may or may not be 25 December.
Why do the 9th thru 12th months have names that mean 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th?
September through December were the seventh through tenth months of a calendar used by the first Romans. Ancient historian and Greek biographer Plutarch, wrote in C.E. 75, about how they became displaced to two positions higher than their names would indicate.
Why does February have only 28 days?
January and February both date from about the time of Rome’s founding. They were added to a calendar that had been divided into ten month-like periods whose lengths varied from 20 to 35 or more days. A winter season was not included, so those period lengths are believed to have been intended to reflect growth stages of crops and cattle.
When introduced, January was given 29 days and put at the beginning of the calendar year. February was given 23 days and put at the end. Then, for an undetermined period shortly after Rome’s founding, months were said to have begun when a new moon was first sighted. At some later time, month lengths were separated from lunations and again became fixed. At that time, February’s original length was extended by five days which gave it a total of 28.
With affection
Ruben          January  2016