Charles Haddon Spurgeon was known for his unrivaled Christian leadership through his public preaching and philanthropy, and equally admired in his home for the way he privately loved and led his family. After his death, his wife recounted the beauty, sincerity and sophistication of his family discipleship.
“After the meal was over, an adjournment was made to the study for family worship, and it was at these seasons that my beloved’s prayers were remarkable for their tender childlikeness, their spiritual pathos, and their intense devotion. He seemed to come as near to God as a little child to a loving father, and we were often moved to tears as he talked thus face to face with God.”
The man lived what he preached, and what he preached is worth living. His teachings on Christian family and fatherhood are as poignant and profound today as the day he uttered them, and therefore, we hope these selected quotes will edify and embolden godly fatherhood.
For the dads who are battling to be the men the Lord has called you to be for the sake of your household, be encouraged and shaped by these words of wisdom from a godly father and pastor. Likewise, for the young men who aspire to lead a family, let these insights form in you a vision of godly fatherliness you can begin developing before having children. For the women who are seeking to find a Christian standard for manliness, let Spurgeon’s words help you distinguish and cultivate sincere godliness in the men of your generation.
Fatherhood and Family Discipleship
“As we sow we reap. Let us expect our children to know the Lord. Let us from the beginning mingle the name of Jesus with their ABC.”
“If you are truly fathers you cannot help loving all the family: the fatherly instinct is love, and fathers in Christ should be brimful of it. Little ones should be induced by our loving spirit to come around us, feeling that if nobody else loves them we do, if nobody else cares for them we do.”
“I think I know of no grander sight than that of a gray-haired man who has served the Lord Jesus from his youth up.”
“Never let the domestic devotion degenerate into a dull formality, but throw a hearty living delight into it, so that there shall be joy in drawing near to the Lord, and not a weariness in it.”
“But once let the family altar be forsaken, and let parents forget the natural duty of ordering their households before the Lord and you may guard the church as you will, your labor will be vain: you have cast down her hedges – the bear out of the wood shall waste here; you have taken away the tower of the flock, and when the wolf comes he will find the sheep an easy prey. Christian parents, though I cannot address you this morning as I would, yet with all my heart would I say to you, do not sin against the child by your ill example or by your negligence as to his salvation, but seek the Holy Spirit that to your own offspring you may fully discharge the solemn duties which providence and grace have thrown upon you.”
“When a man’s heart is really right with God, and he himself has been saved from the wrath to come, and is living in the light of his heavenly Father’s countenance, it is certain that he is anxious about his children’s souls, prizes their immortal natures, and feels that nothing could give him greater joy than to hear that his children walk in truth.”
“A father’s experience is the best evidence that a young man can have of the truth of anything.”
“Every man, by his own conduct, is, more or less, educating the rising generation of the nation.”
“Aspire dear brethren, to shine widely, as a candle set upon a candlestick gives light to all that are in the house. First, see to it that you are truly saved yourselves: then cry to the Lord for your own kith and kin, and labor for them until they are all brought to the Redeemer’s feet; and then let your light shine throughout the neighborhoods wherein you dwell. It is a poor lamp which cannot be seen outside its own glass.”
“You who have seen the holy and happy lives of Christian ancestors will be wise to pause a good deal before you begin to make a deviation, either to the right or to the left, from the course of these godly ones.”
“God grant that…whoever comes into your house be compelled to know that God is there, and to know it mainly by the fact that you are a happy, joyful, cheerful, thankful Christian, speaking well of God’s name, and not ashamed in any company to avow that you are a soldier of the Cross, a follower of the Lamb!”
“A house without it is without a roof.”
“I esteem it so highly that no language of mine can adequately express my sense of its value.”
“I trust there are none here present, who profess to be followers of Christ who do not also practice prayer in their families. We may have no positive commandment for it, but we believe that it is so much in accord with the genius and spirit of the gospel, and that it is so commanded by the example of the saints, that the neglect thereof is a strange inconsistency.”