What Did Charles Spurgeon Sound Like? Probably This.

charles spurgeon sermon recording

On this day 124 years ago, Charles Spurgeon passed away. He is one of the most famous ministers in history,  but no one alive today truly knows what the great “Prince of Preachers” sounded like; no recordings of his more than 3,500 sermons exist. Nevertheless, an obscure project undertaken by a famous inventor may provide a clue.

Read on to learn more and listen to the recording for yourself.

Hearing the prince

thomas edison and charles spurgeonIn 1876, the parents of a young man from England sent their son to Australia in order to recuperate from an unknown sickness that had plagued him for years. He didn’t relish the journey, later remarking, “Life on a ship was like going to prison, with the added chance of being drowned.”

Upon arriving in the former penal colony, Thomas began preaching in the countryside to anyone who would listen. He eventually left Australia and made his way to New Zealand where he became pastor of a small church in Auckland. Under his leadership, the church grew rapidly, coming to occupy an auditorium-style building which seated 1,200. Because of its rapid expansion and to align the name with his father’s famous megachurch in England, Thomas renamed the church the “Auckland Tabernacle.”

Thomas led the church for nine years, but the disease he’d sought to escape had followed him to New Zealand. Regretful, he relinquished the pulpit to another. Known for his unwillingness to be idle, he continued to preach to anyone who would listen.

The voice of his father

When Thomas’ father died, the Baptist preacher returned to England to take over his father’s pastoral duties. Thomas’ ministry was filled with both successes and setbacks. The biggest challenge came in 1898 when a fire completely destroyed the church; the only pieces left standing were the outside walls. The church would eventually open to massive crowds excited for its rededication.

Around this time, the famous inventor Thomas Edison asked Thomas to recite a portion of his father’s final sermon for a recording. He gladly accepted the request and recorded the final words that Charles Spurgeon, his father, had preached in the Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1891. The recording survives to this day and provides the closest thing to hearing the voice of the Prince of Preachers.

Listen to the recording for yourself!

Thomas Spurgeon pastored the church his father founded for 14 years, before retiring from ministry. He had given the world a window into the life of Charles Spurgeon by donating his voice, a precious gift for all of those enriched by the ministry of his father.

Thomas’ legacy lives on in New Zealand; the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle still thrives today, offering multiple services, including one in Mandarin.


Want to explore Charles Spurgeon’s ministry more in depth? Pick up The Complete Spurgeon Sermon Collection (63 vols.) in Logos, and you’ll get over 3,550 sermons, each of which are fully searchable. Anytime you’re studying a passage or topic, you can find what Spurgeon preached about it in seconds—without pulling a single book off the shelf.