Two posts on the blog All Things Expounded, on the subject Poets and Theologians (part 1 | part 2), tipped me off that Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), the great nineteenth-century British “Prince of Preachers”, wrote a few poems and hymns, including a beautiful communion hymn. i love reading Spurgeon’s books and sermons, which are full of joy in Christ despite the immense hardships he faced. Spurgeon wrote the following poem, titled Immanuel (meaning, “God with us”; see Matthew 1:23), when he was 18. It appears in volume one of his Autobiography.
When once I mourned a load of sin,
When conscience felt a wound within,
When all my works were thrown away,
When on my knees I knelt to pray,
Then, blissful hour, remembered well,
I learned Thy love, Immanuel!
When storms of sorrow toss my soul,
When waves of care around me roll,
When comforts sink, when joys shall flee,
When hopeless griefs shall gape for me,
One word the tempest’s rage shall quell,
That word, Thy name, Immanuel!
When for the truth I suffer shame,
When foes pour scandal on my name,
When cruel taunts and jeers abound,
When “Bulls of Bashan” gird me round,
Secure within Thy tower I’ll dwell,
That tower, Thy grace, Immanuel!
When hell, enraged, lifts up her roar,
When Satan stops my path before,
When fiends rejoice and wait my end,
When legion’d hosts their arrows send,
Fear not, my soul, but hurl at hell
Thy battle-cry, Immanuel!
When down the hill of life I go,
When o’er my feet death’s waters flow,
When in the deep’ning flood I sink,
When friends stand weeping on the brink,
I’ll mingle with my last farewell,
Thy lovely name, Immanuel!
When tears are banished from mine eye,
When fairer worlds than these are nigh,
When Heaven shall fill my ravish’d sight,
When I shall bathe in sweet delight,
One joy all joys shall far excel,
To see Thy face, Immanuel!
What a wonderful testimony of the Christian’s life and hope!
For more on Spurgeon, watch the documentary below, or watch or listen to John Piper’s biographical talk, Charles Spurgeon: Preaching through adversity.
“C.H. Spurgeon — The People’s Preacher”, via Spurgeon.org