W. Austin Gardner
It was but fitting that, as Mr. Spurgeon’s sermons had been the means of blessing to so many readers, he should, himself, receive a special message through one of his own discourses. He thus describes how the “waiter” became, on at least one occasion, “a guest at the gospel feast:”—
“I once learnt something in a way one does not often get a lesson. I felt at that time very weary, and very sad, and very heavy at heart; and I began to doubt in my own mind whether I really enjoyed the things which I preached to others. It seemed to be a dreadful thing for me to be only a waiter, and not a guest, at the gospel feast.
I went to a certain country town, and on the Sabbath day entered a Methodist Chapel. The man who conducted the service was an engineer; he read the Scriptures, and prayed, and preached. The tears flowed freely from my eyes; I was moved to the deepest emotion by every sentence of the sermon, and I felt all my difficulty removed, for the gospel, I saw, was very dear to me, and had a wonderful effect upon my own heart.
I went to the preacher, and said, ‘I thank you very much for that sermon.’ He asked me who I was, and when I told him, he looked as red as possible, and he said, ‘Why, it was one of your sermons that I preached this morning!’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I know it was; but that was the very message that I wanted to hear, because I then saw that I did enjoy the very Word I myself preached.’ It was happily so arranged in the good providence of God. Had it been his own sermon, it would not have answered the purpose nearly so well as when it turned out to be one of mine.”
C. H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1856-1878, vol. 3 (Cincinnati; Chicago; St. Louis: Curts & Jennings, 1899), 337.