Spurgeon said, “Moreover, rest assured brethren, that he who wrote the Bible, the second and clearest revelation of his divine mind, wrote also the first book, the book of nature; and who are we that we should derogate from the worth of the first because we esteem the second?” He said, “as I am dwelling in my Father’s house, I ought to take delight in my Father’s works, and I must be a strange sort of child if I think it is a token of my affection for my Father not to care to look at the garden which He has laid out or the house which He has built.”
One calm and scenic Saturday afternoon in May of 1857, a young Charles Spurgeon found himself standing underneath a mulberry tree with a fellow minister. The weather was calm, not a leaf stirred. During their conversation a gentle breeze passed through, rustling the leaves above their heads. Spurgeon suddenly interrupted the minister and said with an excited hush, “Stop! keep quiet! don’t speak!—there! My sermon for to-morrow; ‘The sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.’” The next evening, he preached from 2 Samuel 5:24 at the New Park Street Chapel. Under that sermon a man was saved, who would go on to serve as a deacon at the Tabernacle for many years.
Spurgeon was utterly fascinated by nature and often found his most potent illustrations from its bounty. He warned against neglecting God’s revelation in nature, saying, “It appears to me that those who would forbear the study of nature, or shun the observation of its beauties are conscious of the weakness of their own spirituality.” And study Spurgeon did. One friend remarks that it was Spurgeon’s custom to spend countless hours in his personal garden at Westwood, lingering over each plant and flower “as over verses in a chapter of the Bible when commenting thereon.” He would marvel, “is not that exquisite? Look at the veins and colours in these leaves; don’t you think God has put His own thoughts into them?….His autograph is on every leaf and in every flower.”
Spurgeon’s sermons are adorned with illustrations from nature. He often would build whole sermons upon a single observation of a bird, star, flower, or season. To be clear, though Spurgeon was zealous for a robust recovery of natural revelation, he clearly affirmed that only by Scripture can the salvation of God be understood and received. He said, “We do not discover the secrets of Creation by mere reason, or the teachings of science; it is only by revelation that the marvellous story can reach us.” At the same time, he saw no disconnect between God’s revelation in nature and his revelation in Scripture. Rather, the truths of Scripture permeated every centimeter of creation