Saturday, October 27, 2007

Commenting and Commentaries by C.H. Spurgeon

I am not part of the gang that worships and adores Spurgeon. However, I recently read 'Commenting and Commentaries.' I have to say that I enjoyed this book more than any other that I have read by Spurgeon.
Then again, I fail to see how any Christian bibliophile could not enjoy a book about books.

In this work Spurgeon gives brief evaluations on commentaries on the whole Bible and specific parts of it. These commentaries are of varying shades of opinion and it is fascinating to get Spurgeon's take on the great expository works of the ages.

The sad part of the book is reading Spurgeon's harsh comments about J.N. Darby and 'Darbyism.' Spurgeon recommends some of CH Mackintosh's commentaries on the Pentateuch, and a few other Brethren works, but expresses his contempt for 'Darbyism.'

Spurgeon inluded in his catalogue two works by Darby, 'Practical Reflections on the Psalms' and Studies in the Book of Daniel'. Sadly, he did not include Darby's greatest and most readable (just about) work, the 'Synopsis of the Books of the Bible'. Spurgeon made one memorable comment on Darby:

If the author would write in plain English, his readers would probably discover that there is nothing very valuable in his remarks.

It is true that Darby's prose was absolutely appalling, but it is unfortunate that Spurgeon was unwilling to look beyond his opaque style.

Significantly, it must be said that there is none of the dogamtic amillennialism (or rather anti-millennialism) in this book that one finds in many Reformed circles today. Spurgeon gave very positive recommendations to such Premillennial works as Tregelles 'Daniel the Prophet' and B.W. Newton's 'Thoughts on the Apocalypse'.