Review of Spurgeon’s Works (Logos)

I doubt a living preacher quotes more often from the works of Charles Haddon Spurgeon than my boss. And that means I need to find ways to navigate Spurgeon’s massive works with ease and with speed (and even on the road). Logos Bible software makes my job a bit easier with two of their products:

Charles Spurgeon Collection, 86 volumes ($700) includes:
• The Treasury of David (6 vols)
• Lectures to My Students (4 vols)
• The Sword and the Trowel (the source of the letter I recently posted)
• Autobiography (4 vols)
• An All-Around Ministry
• Plus 70 other volumes

The Complete Spurgeon Sermon Collection, 63 volumes ($100) includes:
• The Park Street Pulpit Sermons (3 vols)
• The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (3 vols)
• The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (57 vols)

Added up the two Logos collections include 149 volumes (over 500 MB in text!), the total corpus of books and sermons by Spurgeon, and significantly cheaper than the printed volumes.

But best of all, the Logos version of Spurgeon’s works are very easy to navigate and specific references are very easy to find. Today I’ll highlight just a few examples of searches that illustrate the power of Spurgeon’s works in Logos. For this review I’ll narrow my attention to the 63 volumes of sermons that contain an estimated 25 million words! I’ll run a few searches. Let’s call it finding a needle in a 100-acre hay field.

Search 1: Sermon text

To find every sermon Spurgeon delivered on, say, Galatians 6:14, is very simple [string: <bible ~Gal 6:14>]. In seconds I find that Spurgeon preached five sermons on this text and that those sermons can be located in volumes 21, 24, 31, 49, and 61. I can pull these sermons up in a click. This is impressive. But what if I want to get more specific?

Search 2: Biblical reference and keyword

I can also search for phrases within those sermons. So for example, within the sermons on Galatians 6:14 I can locate every reference to “worldliness” [string: <bible ~Gal 6:14> AND worldliness]. Within seconds I find the lone reference from sermon #1447 in volume 24:

You can use the wealth of this world in the service of the Master. To gain is not wrong. It is only wrong when grasping becomes the main object of life, and grudging grows into covetousness which is idolatry. To every Christian that and every other form of worldliness ought to be crucified, so that we can say, “For me to live is not myself, but it is Christ; I live that I may honor and glorify him.”

Search 3: Keyword phrase near keyword

We can get even more specific. Let’s say I want to find every reference where Spurgeon uses the phrase “union with Christ” close to a reference to personal holiness [string: “union with Christ” NEAR holiness]. I find several references including this one from volume 37 of the sermons:

The outcome of our union with Christ must be holiness. “What concord hath Christ with Belial?” What union can he have with men that love sin? How can they that are of the world, who love the world, be said to be members of the Head who is in heaven, in the perfection of his glory? Brothers, we must, in the power of the text, and especially in the power of our union to Christ, seek to make daily advances in good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them; for walking means not only persevering but advancing.

Search 4: Keyword phrase near keyword phrase

Here’s another example. Let’s search Spurgeon’s sermons for every reference to Jonathan Edward’s sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” When does Spurgeon reference the sermon? Why does he reference the sermon?

A simple search [string: “Jonathan Edwards” WITHIN 30 WORDS “sinners in”] leads us to two references.

In volume 35 Spurgeon used it to encourage corporate prayer for the lost in London:

Might we not expect to see a great change in London, if the districts wherein we dwell were oftener on our hearts in prayer? You have heard of the great revival which followed Jonathan Edwards’ marvellous sermon upon “Sinners in the hand of an angry God.” That sermon was marvellous in its effects. The power of that sermon may be traced to this fact, that a number of Christian people had met together some days before, and prayed, that God would send a blessing with the minister who was to preach on that occasion.

Secondly, Spurgeon warned preachers not to emulate Edwards. This is from volume 55:

There is a temptation which assails all of us who preach to want to do some great thing. We fancy that, if we could preach such a famous sermon as Jonathan Edwards delivered when, he spoke of sinners in the hand of an angry God, when the people felt as though the very seats whereon they sat moved under them, and some of them even stood up, and grasped the pillars of the building in their terror—we fancy that, if we could but preach in such a style as that, then we should have lived to some purpose.

To find these two references within the 25 million words of sermon text—and to find them in under 2 seconds!—is a real testimony to the power and speed of Logos software.

Conclusion

I have owned print versions and PDF versions of Spurgeon’s works in the past but the potential for making use of Spurgeon’s works has accelerated greatly in Logos due to the wide variety of search options. The power to find a needle in a hay field is a true gift to the researcher.

If you can afford it, the Charles Spurgeon Collection (86 volumes) is a nice. If you can’t, stick to the over 3,500 sermons in the Complete Spurgeon Sermon Collection (63 volumes). In either case, enjoy feasting on the cross-centered legacy of the Prince of Preachers.

6 thoughts on “Review of Spurgeon’s Works (Logos)

  1. I remember hearing of an aged Luther scholar, blind as a bat after years of study, who was approached by a young man querying about an arcane reference to Luther. The old scholar pondered for a moment, and then, rising from his desk, walked carefully to his books where he traced his fingers along the spines of the Weimer Edition of Luther’s works. At a certain volume he stopped, pulled it out, and opened the volume to a place where the student could find the work–and the line–in question.

    Now, move over Logos!

  2. Years later that student went off searching for the reference, but couldn’t find it because he could not afford the print volumes, and even if he could it would no easy task to recall the volume or the page number. So he bought the Logos version, ran a quick search and was reminded of his mentor’s wise reference. And now he can copy and paste it to his blog and email to bless many others by it. :-)

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