In all his exuberance for the Puritans, however, Spurgeon was not ill-informed on the mistakes of church-state relationships in their manner of putting down heresy.  Speaking of his detestation of Puseyism – that is, Anglican high-church sacramentalism consistent with Roman Catholicism – Spurgeon called for the “God of Gideon to be with the few whom He may make worthy to smite the great host who have covered the land!”  He is quick to add, however, that “the Puritans erred in using carnal weapons and, hence, their victory was short-lived.”  That interpretation of Puritan greatness and weakness persisted throughout Spurgeon’s years.  Speaking to his College Conference in 1886, he said, “Our Puritan forefathers raised their walls and laid their stones in fair colors, building well the city of God.”  Then came Oliver Cromwell, the “greatest of heroes” who handled the sword of steel as few have ever done.  The carnal weapon, however, “agreed not with the temple of the Lord.”  The Lord seemed to say to him, as to David, “Thou hast been a man of blood and, therefore, thou shalt not build the house of the Lord.”  On that error, Puritanism faltered, and “all its exceeding stateliness of holiness, because its sons saw not that the kingdom of the Lord is not of church and state, not of the law of nations, but purely of the Spirit of the Lord.”

From: Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles (Fearn: Mentor, 2013), p. 25.


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