1858 | London

Inspector of Souls

The all-seeing God.

May I ask you one question—but one? Your God can both see and hear; would your conduct be in any respect different if you had a god that could not, such as those that the heathen worship? Suppose for one minute that Jehovah, who is nominally adored in this land, could be (though it is almost blasphemy to suppose it) smitten with such a blindness that he could not see the works and know the thoughts of man; would you then become more careless concerning him than you are now?

I trow not. In nine cases out of ten, and perhaps in a far larger and sadder proportion, the doctrine of divine omniscience, although it is received and believed, has no practical effect upon our lives at all. The mass of mankind forget God; whole nations who know his existence and believe that he beholds them, live as if they had no God at all. Merchants, farmers, men in their shops and in their fields, husbands in their families, and wives in the midst of their households live as if there were no God; no eye inspecting them; no ear listening to the voice of their lips, and no eternal mind always treasuring up the recollection of their acts. Permit me, then, this morning, as God shall help me, to stir up your hearts; and may God grant that something I may say may drive some of your practical atheism out of you. I would endeavor to set before you God, the all-seeing one, and press upon your solemn consideration the tremendous fact that in all our acts, in all our ways, and in all our thoughts we are continually under his observing eye. 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from a sermon. Born in 1834 and raised in the Congregationalist tradition, Spurgeon became a Baptist at age fifteen, gave his first sermon at sixteen, and was the most popular pastor in England by twenty-two. Known as the Prince of Preachers, he delivered sermons that attracted the attention of political and social leaders of the day, including John Ruskin, Florence Nightingale, and Prime Minister W.E. Gladstone. In 1857 Spurgeon preached at London’s Crystal Palace to a congregation of nearly 24,000 without any amplification.