The Preacher Who Refused to be Bought Reminded this morning of Charles Spurgeon’s refusal to be used as a side show in his day by the well known P. T. Barnum of Barnum and Bailey Circus. The following is the account of the incident provided by 127 Ministry website. (I first learned of this story from my friend Don Currin.)

At one time Mr P.T. Barnum, head of the great Barnum & Bailey Circus, invited Charles Haddon Spurgeon of London to speak in the large tent at his traveling circus. He made every concession to make the offer attractive to Spurgeon. Barnum would provide the musical talent, unless Spurgeon wished to provide his own. He would provide any equipment or manpower Spurgeon desired. Spurgeon could speak as long or as short as he wished.

There was only one basic stipulation!

Barnum Circus Association would take the gate receipts and pay Spurgeon one thousand dollars per lecture.

This was a generous offer in Spurgeon’s day. Many would doubtless have said, “What a wonderful opportunity to reach people with the Gospel!” But not Spurgeon.

Knowing it would be wrong to join hands with the world, he sent a reply to Mr. Barnum:

Dear Mr. Barnum:

Thank you for your kind invitation to lecture in your circus tents in America. You will find my answer in Acts 13:10.

Very sincerely yours, Charles H. Spurgeon

If Mr. Barnum looked up Acts 13:10, he found these words: “O full of all subtility and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

It is sad that not all Christians have such convictions.


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