Charles H. Spurgeon: A Gallery of Famous Friends
W. E. Gladstone
Four times Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of England (W. E. Gladstone) and the “Prime Minister” of the Baptists (C. H. Spurgeon) were similar in many ways. Gladstone was known as “The Grand Ol’ Man”; Spurgeon was called “The Gov’nor.” Of Gladstone it was said, “He was religious, and his religion was the secret of his power.” Both were men of principle, prayer, and belief in God.
Gladstone was educated at Eton and Oxford and became a Conservative Member of Parliament for Newark. His first important speech called for the emancipation of slaves. He became leader of the Liberal Party in 1867 and Prime Minister four times between 1868 and 1894.
In January 1882 Gladstone requested a reserved seat in the Tabernacle to hear his friend Spurgeon preach. He arrived early with his son and sat in the vestry with Spurgeon until the service. Following the visit, the Prime Minister’s enemies criticized him because he was a member of the Church of England visiting a Dissenting Chapel. This did not deter Gladstone from inviting Spurgeon, on several occasions, to Downing Street for breakfast or lunch. In 1886, however, Gladstone and Spurgeon split politically over giving Home Rule to Ireland. In 1898, when Gladstone died, a writer remarked, “Were not C. H. Spurgeon in his youth and W. E. Gladstone in his old age the most wonderful phenomena of the nineteenth century?”
D. L. Moody
Great American revivalist
Both Moody and Spurgeon were stocky and bearded. Both looked physically weary until they began preaching, when their faces became transfigured. Both could use humor and pathos to good effect. Both founded colleges, and both men began their Christian service among children. They both had a deep experience of the Holy Spirit.