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A Good Start: A Book for Young Men and Women Review by Kris PriceBy Charles Haddon Spurgeon
PO Box 547500
Orlando, FL 32854-7500
As my children approach their teenage years, I am always on the lookout for character-building books to share with them. It is vital to me that my children understand that their behavior now will determine the adults they become. I want them to remain true to the God who created them and understand His Word and how it applies to their lives. A Good Start: A Book for Young Men and Women contains 34 sermons by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. These are not short sermons either--the book is 329 pages long! The author, who first published the book in 1898, intended for the reader to "realize the importance of religion in their lives." Some of the sermons are about specific people in the Bible--Esther, Sarah, and Jacob. Other sermons discuss Biblical principles--grace, overcoming evil, prayer, etc.--and give valuable lessons on applying the Word of God to our lives.
As an example, one of the sermons is titled "The Attack." In this chapter, Mr. Spurgeon talks about Christian soldiering and that it "is no piece of military pastime; it is no proud parade; it means hard fighting from the day of enlistment to the day of reward." He goes on to say that Satan often attacks the seasoned Christian and, even though he doesn't know our thoughts as God does, "he shrewdly guesses at them from our actions and our words." Once we become a servant of God, the battle is only beginning--"You will have to go into such a wilderness and such a conflict as you never knew before." Mr. Spurgeon shares how, as a new Christian, he experienced many spiritual conflicts. He explains that he knows that he was being called to preach for God and fight against Satan. "Satan's empire consists in the yielding of our will to his will; but when our will revolts against him, then already we have in measure overcome him." He concludes by telling the reader to "abide steadfast in faith" so that he can overcome Satan's attack. As you can see by this example, the writing is for the older child (or even adult!).
I will begin using this book with my children when they are in fifth and seventh grades. The writing is not difficult, but understanding the message behind the sermons is probably going to be difficult for younger readers. Because the book is broken down into 34 chapters, a homeschool family could read through it at the pace of one sermon weekly and use it for their Bible study for a year. I also think that this book would be good for the family who home churches and is looking for a yearly study for their older children. No matter how a family uses this book in their home, there are valuable lessons in it for parents and children alike.