By W. Y. Fullerton
THE CONTEMPORARY SKETCHES of the life of Spurgeon are an interesting conglomerate of significant facts, but they scarcely give an adequate picture of the man as
he lived and laboured with such prodigious energy. It seemed desirable, therefore, that before those who knew him and shared in his ministry had passed away, someone who had the privilege of his
friendship should say the things about him that still needed to be said, and place the familiar things in truer perspective than was possible at the time.
That pleasant burden has been placed upon me, and in fulfilment of the charge I have allowed to drop out of sight a multitude of particulars which were only interesting at the moment, not chronicling events as in an epoch but presenting the personality as in an epic, although I can only summon common prose in the doing of it.
Sir Sidney Lee, in his Leslie Stephen lecture on the "Principles of Biography," says excellently that "the aim of biography is, in general terms, to hand down to a future age the history of individual men and women, to transmit enduringly their character and exploits. Character and exploits are for biographical purposes inseparable. Character which does not translate itself into exploit is for the biographer a mere phantasm. But character and exploit jointly contribute biographic personality. Biography aims at satisfying the commemorative instinct by exercise of its power to transmit personality."
This biography is only historic in its earlier chapters; beyond these it seeks to focus the light on different aspects of the man, rather than to diffuse it in a narrative of the years and their happenings. This plan has its drawbacks, but I hope that the advantages may be appreciated, and if any seek the details of the time they will find them available elsewhere.
Very heartily I express my indebtedness to Mr. William Higgs for placing at my disposal his remarkable collection of contemporary records, and to the Rev. Charles Spurgeon and Mrs. Thomas Spurgeon for their generous co-operation.
To introduce Spurgeon to a generation that never knew him, and to keep alive his memory in a century he never knew, is honour enough for any man: a supreme privilege to a man who knew and honoured and loved him, and owes to him more than he can ever express or repay.
W. Y. FULLERTON
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