National Repentance – Quotes from Charles Spurgeon

Every now and then I’ll find in my personal library a book which I cannot remember buying, receiving, or borrowing. So, if the book I’m about to mention is borrowed and actually belongs to you, let me know. 😉

The book is titled, “Only a Prayer Meeting – Studies on Prayer Meetings and Prayer Meeting Addresses”. It contains excerpts, full sermons, and quotes from Spurgeon concerning prayer and prayer meetings.

Living in such volitile, changeable, and introspective times, the section I read today seemed very relevant. He opens up by explaining that he had been asked to speak on the subject of “humilation on account of national, social, and personal sins”.

His comments on sin at the beginning and national sin helped give voice to thoughts I am trying to process myself. I’ll share some excerpts below.

What spoke to me especially was his dealing with national circumstances and national sin. Everything changes, but it all stays the same. Much that Spurgeon wrestled with on a national, social, and personal basis remains the same today. It is interesting to see how he tries his best to encourage acknowledgment and repentance of national sins without slamming a nation on the one hand, or completely exonerating it on the other.


Dear friends, according to the printed program, the subject for this morning is humiliation on account of national, social, and personal, sins. The very fact that there is such a thing as sin, should humble us in the very dust. Sins against God our Creator! How can creatures dare to rebel against the Almighty Lord who made them? Sins against so good a God!

If anyone of us were to see the depravity of his own heart, he would lose his reason. Concealed within sin there lurks a measureless world of mischief; who can know it? Were it not that the infinite satisfaction resulting from the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ is ever-present before the eye of the great God, He would at once ease Him of His adversaries, and sweep both sin and sinners out of the world.

I am asked to speak concerning national sins; but this is a work too delicate for me, and I fear it would do but little good even if executed to perfection. We are of many nationalities, and each man is jealous for his country. Let each nationality confess its own sin by one of its own representatives; and perhaps this were better done apart. Who cares to expose in public the faults of his own family?

Moreover, general descriptions of a people must necessarily be in a great measure incorrect. Little is done for the benefit of anybody by American Notes, which hold a nation up to ridicule; or by descriptions of English manners, which are only regarded as true where caricature is accepted as portrait! Patriotism repents for its beloved land in secret but it is wounded by unqualified and sweeping censures. The fact is, that all nations are of one blood, and display the same faults; but there is a considerable variety as to the proportion in which the evil ingredients are mixed. Sin is neither an English, nor a French, nor a German weed; it grows wherever there is an inch of human soil!

But enough of this, lest I should awaken difference of opinion where I would excite a common repentance. Let each nationality humble itself apart, and cry, in the language of Daniel: ‘O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.’ (Daniel 9:8).

C.H. Spurgeon

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