One of Spurgeon’s sermons on death begins with regret for the recent passing of the Earl of Shaftesbury. Spurgeon explained that he was “the best man of the age,” full of integrity and godliness. Then Spurgeon praised him in words that are desperately needed today. His eulogy reminds us that our times are not that different from what Spurgeon encountered in the late 19th century.
“He exhibited scriptural perfection, inasmuch as he was sincere, true, and consecrated. Those things which have been regarded as faults by the loose thinkers of this age are prime virtues in my esteem. They called him narrow; and in this they bear unconscious testimony to his loyalty to truth. I rejoiced greatly in his integrity, his fearlessness, his adherence to principle, in a day when revelation is questioned, the gospel explained away, and human thought set up as the idol of the hour. He felt that there was a vital and eternal difference between truth and error; consequently, he did not act or talk as if there was much to be said on either side, and, therefore, no one could be quite sure. We shall not know for many a year how much we miss in missing him; how great an anchor he was to this drifting generation, and how great a stimulus he was to every movement for the benefit of the poor.”