Spurgeon on Christmas

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Ivan

Pastor
Charles Spurgeon closes his sermon entitled, "The Birth of Christ" (#2392, MTP) with the following words that express my own desire for friends and family at this time of year.

Now a happy Christmas to you all; and it will be a happy Christmas if you have God with you. I shall say nothing to day against festivities on this great birthday of Christ. We will to-morrow think of Christ's birthday; we shall be obliged to do it, I am sure, however sturdily we may hold to our rough Puritanism. And so, 'let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavend bread of sincerity and truth.' Do not feast as if you wished to keep the festival of Bacchus; do not live to-morrow as if you adored some heathen divinity. Feast, Christians, feast; you have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting to-morrow, celebrate your Saviour's birth; do not be ashamed to be glad; you have a right to be happy. Solomon says, "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment."
"Religion never was designed
To make your pleasures less."


Recollect that your Master ate butter and honey. Go your way, rejoice tomorrow, but in your feasting, think of the Man in Bethlehem; let him have a place in your hearts, give him the glory, think of the virgin who conceived him, but think most of all of the Man born, the Child given. I finish by again saying, ---

"A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL"
 

Galatians220

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Did Spurgeon have an alter, Christmas-observing ego?

I took great comfort in the quote above, Ivan, and I thank you profusely for pointing it out to us and posting it! Not observing Christmas at all does/could make those of us who celebrated it for decades feel a little like a criminal if we must go to our office Christmas party (which I did on Tuesday), and bake for and attend family Christmas parties (ditto, today), and buy and receive gifts (guilty as charged)... We don't decorate at all, but... You can't just not participate at all. That would be unkind - to yourself as well as to others.

I wonder whether those in Spurgeon's era considered Christmas as much of a Catholic observance as we do. Spurgeon, after all, did say this:

With what indignation, then, must the Lord look down upon that apostate harlot, called the Romish Church, when, in all her sanctuaries, there are pictures and images, relics and slivines, and poor infatuated beings are even taught to bow before a piece of bread. In this country, Popish idolatry is not so barefaced and naked as it is in other lands; but I have seen it, and my soul has been moved with indignation like that of Paul on Mars’ Hill, when he saw the city wholly to idolatry; I have seen thousands adore the wafer, hundreds bow before the image of the Virgin, scores at prayer before a crucifix, and companies of men and women adoring a rotten bone or a rusty nail, because said to be the relic of a saint.
It is vain for the Romanist to assert that he worships not the things themselves, but only the Lord through them, for this the second commandment expressly forbids, and it is upon this point that the Lord calls himself a jealous God. How full is that cup which Babylon must drink; the day is hastening when the Lord shall avenge himself upon her, because her iniquities have reached unto heaven, and she hath blasphemously exalted her Pope into the throne of the Host High, and thrust her priests into the office of the Lamb. Purge yourselves, purge yourselves of this leaven. I charge you before God, the Judge of quick and dead, if ye would not be partakers of her plagues, come out from her more and more, and let your protest be increasingly vehement against this which exalteth itself above all that is called God.
Let our Protestant Churches, which have too great a savor of Popery in them, cleanse themselves of her fornications, lest the Lord visit them with fire and pour the plagues of Babylon upon them. Renounce, my brethren, every ceremony which has not Scripture for its warrant, and every doctrine which is not established by the plain testimony of the Word of God. Let us, above all, never by any sign, or word, or deed, have any complicity with this communion of devils, this gathering together of the sons of Behal: and since our God is a jealous God, let us not provoke him by any affinity, gentleness, fellowship, or amity with this Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth.
Charles Spurgeon, A Jealous God, March 29, 1863

(Emphasis is mine.) Either Spurgeon (whom I've always admired) was a little schizoid, or he changed his mind at some time, or he did not consider Christmas so much in the realm of Catholicism that it violated the RPW.

Whatever. Who cares at this moment? It's, oh, some sort of holiday, and I'm about to see a couple of my brothers whom I haven't seen in years... :) And that's just fine!

Margaret​
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
Renounce, my brethren, every ceremony which has not Scripture for its warrant, and every doctrine which is not established by the plain testimony of the Word of God.

What is the broader context of this statement? It looks like he is talking about sacraments, not celebrations such as Christmas.

Edit: Also, if celebrating Christmas were commanded by the Church, then his statement probably applies as well. I doubt any Christmas celebrators here on the PB are commanded by their church to celebrate Christmas, though.
 
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Ginny Dohms

Puritan Board Freshman
Either Spurgeon (whom I've always admired) was a little schizoid, or he changed his mind at some time....Margaret

It appears that way to me too, as he preached and wrote against Christmas in these following quotes:

"We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. (Charles Spurgeon, Sermon on Dec. 24, 1871).

When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide, and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men, as to observe the ordinances of the Lord. We ask concerning every rite and rubric, "Is this a law of the God of Jacob?" and if it be not clearly so, it is of no authority with us, who walk in Christian liberty. (from Charles Spurgeon's Treasury of David on Psalm 81:4.)
 

Galatians220

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Yes, Ginny, I'd read those quotes a few years ago, too, but couldn't find them quickly yesterday. Thanks so much for posting them!

Now I don't know what to think about Spurgeon... :confused: :confused: :confused: :book2: I like Ivan's OP quite a bit, but I can't square the sentiments with anything else I've ever read by CHS. Wonder what went on there, and when it was that he said, "...it will be a happy Christmas if you have God with you..." :eek:

Margaret
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Maybe Spurgeon made some distinction in his mind between ecclesiastical observances (i.e. church calendar etc.) and civil/customary observances (customary feastings on the 25th). This was also common in the South in the 19th century long before ecclesiastical observance was accepted in non conformist churches (i.e. non Episcopalian). The first sermon cited in the thread was a Lord's day sermon from Dec. 24, 1854.
 

Galatians220

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thanks, Chris! That makes sense - and it's not too far off from what most of us do in the *practical* aspects of this particular holiday.

Appreciate it!

Margaret
 
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