In publishing the life of the late CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON, the publishers feel a peculiar pleasure and believe themselves especially fortunate in having secured the Rev. Russell H. Conwell, D.D., LL.D., pastor at The Temple, of Philadelphia, to prepare the work. There are many reasons why the popular preacher, who might justly be called the Spurgeon of America, should in this way pay a loving tribute to the memory of his great English ecclesiastical brother, and why such a book must have an absorbing interest for all readers. Foremost among these might be considered his personal acquaintance with the great divine of gigantic efforts and wonderful achievements, and the deep study he has ever given to his popular brother preacher’s life and the measure of its successes.
As a fellow-preacher of the Gospel, he knew better than any layman how to interpret the hidden springs of success to count the cost of Herculean efforts made, and better, understand the great man’s life-work in all its thousands of minute details which he, as an intimate personal friend had the opportunity to observe.
Like Spurgeon, he has the power to earn and raise large sums of money, but he devotes every dollar beyond a reasonable living expense to the cause he has so much at heart. His remarkable line of work, also, in many ways corresponds with that of Spurgeon,
The similarity in the work of the English Spurgeon and the American Conwell has often been commented upon by press and people. Spurgeon made, and Conwell is making, a complete sacrifice of talents, time and health to the one aim in life-the salvation of souls. Each commenced life a poor boy, and had an early life fraught with discouragements and temptations.
The author’s grand work for the Grace Baptist Church, of Philadelphia, has justly distinguished him as the greatest preacher of his denomination in this country. He was a student at Yale College, and graduated in the Law Department of Albany University and was admitted to the New York bar in 1865. His health not permitting the practice of law, he began as traveling correspondent of the Boston Traveler and the New York Tribune, during which his constant companion and warmest friend was Bayard Taylor, with who he traveled all over the world, and obtained distinction as a journalist.
In addition to the pastorate of a church which has one of the most remarkable houses of worship in the world, open every hour of every day and night in the year, and is never untenanted, Dr. Conwell is the head of Temple College, connected with the church fostered by him, which is for the free education of working-men and women in the classic collegiate branches, with fourteen professors, a preparatory department that sends pupils to Yale, Harvard and Amherst, and giving itself decrees equal to those of Princeton. He is the head of the Samaritan Hospital, also an outgrowth of his personal effort and example, which is doing incalculable good in Philadelphia.
In addition. to his church work, Dr. Conwell lectures all over the United States, to large and delighted audiences.
He is also a prolific author, The most important of his works are a ” Life of Garfield,” which he wrote at the home of the martyred President, in Mentor; “Why and How the Chinese Immigrate,” the material for which he gathered in the Chinese Empire Life of Hon. James G. Blaine,” Life of Bayard Taylor,” and “Acres of Diamonds,” each of which has been appreciatively read by thousands of readers in this and other countries.