When I first began work on my Ph.D., I had an idea for a dissertation involving Spurgeon and a study of his preaching through specific years. Unfortunately, some of the necessary work required access to messages that preceded his popularly published works. That is when I heard about the coming publication of The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon.
While the direction of my dissertation will change, I have been fascinated by the findings of Dr. Christian T. George. I purchased the first volume last year, but when I got the opportunity to receive a review copy of the second volume, I jumped at the chance. The following review will not assess Spurgeon’s content of the second volume, but will address the presentation of his work.
The review copy I received was not the Collector’s Edition, but rather a cloth-over-board hardback with dust jacket. I must admit that I detest dust jackets. These are not unattractive. I just prefer the simplicity of design employed in most hardcovers that is hidden beneath the easily torn, folded, and wrinkled dust jacket. Thankfully, this set does not disappoint me in this regard, as the hardcover is both simple and tasteful.
Upon opening the book, I found its construction to be of very good quality. The book block is well built and opens easily, though it does not lay flat easily. The binding and paper quality seem to have been a consideration in this series, as they are sturdy. The binding itself appears to be sewn, while the the paper quality is hefty and crisp. These qualities provide assurance that this is a book intended to last for years to come.
The layout is also quite good. The various diagrams and images are very clear, and utilize a pleasing color scheme that is vivid, yet not overwhelming. Some of the diagrams found in the in the introduction are fascinating as they illuminate details such as the division of Spurgeon’s preaching between the Testaments and even a word cloud. These tools combined with the indexes will prove quite useful for researching.
Once the reader begins to address the outlines themselves, they find a photograph of the original page which is clarified by the editor, then footnoted with explanations and details that fill in any gaps or blanks that were unclear.
The result is an incredibly interesting book that is much more than a simple text. Through the use of diagrams, photographs, interpretation, and footnoting, each volume in this series comes across as an archival quality resource. It is both the work of Spurgeon while being an incredibly beneficial work on the young preacher’s messages. The notes give insight into the workings of his mind as the thoughts and edits are visible in his own hand.
This is an engaging series, and this second volume continues the trend. If you are interested in Spurgeon, specifically, or even just preaching in general, I feel that this series and this volume will be worthy of the shelf space in your collection.
*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*