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A PASTOR'S SKETCHES: Conversation's with Anxious Souls Concerning the Way of Salvation: Two Volumes in One
Ichabod Spencer


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT - Solid Ground has joined hands with Granted Ministries to produce a smyth-sewn cloth-bound, shrink-wrapped edition of the Double Volume of A Pastor's Sketches. In addition to all that is found in the present paperback edition there are two important additions:

(1) The first added appendix is a short and concise summary of every sketch, allowing readers to quickly find a case that is similar to the one with which they are wrestling.

(2) The second added appendix is a short subject index based upon those summaries, directing readers to places where the various subjects are specifically addressed and dealt with more fully. NOW AVAILABLE TO SHIP!!

These sketches were first published in 1850 and 1853 toward the end of the remarkable ministry of the man known as "The Bunyan of Brooklyn." These books consist of 77 "sketches" or "case studies" drawn from the ministry of one of America's greatest pastors. It is required reading in three Seminaries in the USA with more to come. It is changing lives in over 25 countries and all 50 States and has drawn high praise from dozens of evangelical and reformed leaders throughout the world, like: Jerry Bridges, Maurice Roberts, Ernie Reisinger, James White, Gordon Keddie, Tom Nettles, Joel Beeke, Conrad Mbewe, Geoff Thomas and Peter Jeffery.

"I have never read anything quite like A Pastor's Sketches and I really think that if God is pleased to bring days of great revival again, no Christian book could be more helpful at such a time to pastors than Spencer's book. A book of great relevance to pastors, it will be cherished just as much by all those spiritual minded men and women in our churches who do the bulk of the work of bringing the gospel lovingly, courageously and wisely to those around them. I really believe its impact could be revolutionary." - David Vaughn, missionary in France

"A Pastor's Sketches is a sobering and challenging reminder that the Holy Spirit is the true agent of conversion. This book is urgently needed today when so much of our evangelism is patterned after current marketing methods. It has deeply convicted me to always seek to be in tune with the Holy Spirit as I minister to others." - Jerry Bridges, author of numerous books

"We live in a day when it is rare for people to speak about their souls. But in times of revival such as that in which Ichabod Spencer lived, there was so much of the Holy Spirit's work in evidence in men's lives that ministers needed to address the most searching questions to their hearers. Few did this so well as Dr. Spencer, whose Sketches, which are here reprinted after a lapse of many years, are a veritable treasury of pastoral wisdom. They will amply repay careful reading by pastors and serious Christians in our day." - Maurice Roberts, former editor of Banner of Truth Magazine

"The Spencer extracts are superb and will be of great benefit when printed. This is very sobering but enlightening material. It is quite contrary to much of today's practice and all pastors need to read it." - Peter Jeffery, author of over 40 books

"Spiritual casuistry, or 'cases of conscience,' as it used to be called, is nearly a lost art today. Few seminaries train ministerial students how to dialogue with seeking souls, even though counseling a seeking sinner can be more challenging than preaching to a large congregation. That's part of what makes Spencer's book of dialogues with inquiring sinners so unique. Spencer is a master at flushing sinners out of hiding and directing them to Jesus Christ for salvation through Spirit-worked, simple faith.

Though I suppose few pastors would approve of every response Spencer makes to inquirers, in the main his spiritual counsel is biblical, doctrinal, practical, and experiential. His perceptive counsel certainly has produced much fruit. A Pastor's Sketches is a compelling read for pastors and Christian workers; its pages contain the nuts and bolts of biblical evangelism, taught via authentic dialogues." - Joel R. Beeke, president and professor at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

"Dr. Spencer's book should certainly take a well-deserved place among the tools of any physician of souls. Anyone with the cause of Christ at heart will bemoan the fact that we have too many miscarriages in our evangelistic labor-wards. These sketches found in Spencer's book, together with the concluding lessons, will go a long way to bring back the biblical balance that we so desperately need if the preachers of the new millennium are to prove themselves to be able and true spiritual midwives. I have no doubt that its reprinting is long overdue." - Conrad Mbewe, pastor from Zambia


*A Pastor's Sketches (Double Volume) by Ichabod Spencer

*Counsels and Thoughts on the Spiritual Life of Believers by Thomas Moor


STEPPING HEAVENWARD by Elizabeth Prentiss

THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION: Sermons by Benjamin B. Warfield

BONUS GIFT: Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle

(* means it is a hardcover volume)

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SGCB Price: $24.00 (list price $40.00)

SGCB eBook Price: $12.95

SGCB Price: $30.00 (list price $70.00)

Additional Information
Author's Original Preface — A Pastor's Sketches 1
Author's Original Preface — A Pastor's Sketches 2
Biographical Introduction
Sample — A Pastor's Sketches 1
Sample — A Pastor's Sketches 2
Tributes from the Present
Tributes from the Past

Author's Original Preface — A Pastor's Sketches 2

The following Sketches have no necessary connection with those formerly published, and contained in another volume. Each volume is complete by itself, though the two are fit companions for each other.

The favorable reception which the former volume met with from the public; the numerous testimonials of its usefulness to private individuals, which have been received from many different parts of the country; and more especially the similar testimonials received from many of his ministerial brethren, have induced the author to believe it to be his duty, to issue this additional volume. The former one has a thousandfold more than realized every expectation that was ever entertained by the author respecting it; and although this volume may be less interesting in tender and affecting incidents, it is believed there are some reasons to hope, it will not prove less useful.

The author has aimed to present here such sketches as are unlike those of the former publication; so as to avoid, as much as possible, the needless repetition of the same ideas and arguments, and to make the volume a fit companion for the one which preceded it.

In these volumes, the author is not to be understood as professing to exhibit all the phases of Christian experience. To the varieties of such experience there is no assignable or conceivable end. Experiences are varied and modified by a thousand circumstances, which no pen can describe; by age, by condition, by illness, by peculiarities of mind and disposition, by the kind of preaching which has been heard, by associations, by habits of life, and perhaps, by the sovereign and infinite wisdom of the Divine Spirit, in His enlightening and saving influences. Sometimes one doctrine, or class of truths, and sometimes another, will take the lead in the reflections of an anxious mind, and so varied will these reflections become, that (it is believed), no wise man will ever attempt to describe religious experiences, which shall embrace all possible varieties. The circle of religious experience is immense, if not infinite. But this fact need discourage no inquirer, need embarrass no minister of the Gospel. The truth of God, after all, is simple: there never was a soul to which it is not applicable, and it is the sole instrument of the Spirit in the sanctification of the soul; and therefore there will be points of very distinct resemblance in all the saving experiences of men. And if what the author has written upon this subject tends to show, that the same truths are applicable to all souls; his work may not be valueless in illustrating the simplicity of the Christian religion, in conducting bewildered minds to the path of truth and salvation, and in showing, that the power and excellence of the Gospel lie in the great doctrines of grace, doctrines applicable to all souls who would find the way to Christ and eternal life.

The purpose of this book is not sectarian. It is confidently believed, that nothing here written can give any offence to evangelical Christians of any denomination. Not willingly would the author wound the feelings of any human being; and he has aimed here, to deal only with the religion of the heart, and the truths which promote it.

It is not probable, that all readers of this book will entirely approve the mode of the author's conversations with the inquiring. He has only to say, that his reliance has been placed upon the truth alone, as the instrument of the Holy Spirit in leading sinners to heaven; and consequently his aim, in these conversations, was simply to cause the truth to be understood, felt, and received, as the sole and sure guide. The matter of his teaching can be better judged of, by this book, than the manner of his teaching. The propriety of manner has respect to the person, his age, state of mind, and other things; and to give such a minute description of all these personalities as to justify the manner in which he spoke, the author knew full well would make the book too large, and diminish the power of its truth. But he has always been unwilling to utter a single sentence, which could would the feelings of an anxious inquirer after truth, aiming to find his way up to the Cross, and perplexed and harassed with the doubts, and difficulties, and darknesses of his own troubled mind. And he may be permitted to say, that some of the expressions contained in this book, (and the former one also), which, to a mere reader, will probably sound abrupt, and perhaps severe, are expressions which assumed their peculiar style, from the supposed propriety of it in the case. It was felt to be an important thing to condense the truth, to make it plain, and pointed, and incapable of being misunderstood; but he hopes and trusts there are no expressions here which will be found offensive to refined taste. Christianity, certainly, is kindness, and good manners, and good taste; and the author is confident, that he never uttered an unkind expression upon the ear of any inquirer, and never unnecessarily wounded the feelings of any one, who ever did him the favor to come to him. And the mode of conversation, men will entertain opinions somewhat unlike: the author can only say, he aimed to impress the truth upon the mind in the most effectual manner; and he feels fully satisfied with the kind regards towards himself which are entertained by those who have been led to Christ under his ministrations. They both prize and love him far more than he deserves.

Some of the conversations recorded here, (as well as those contained in the former volume), have a character which they could not have possessed, had it not been for an advantage, which the author always strove to improve. Whenever it was practicable, he studied the subjects beforehand. Having met an individual once, and expecting to meet him again, he carefully considered his case, aimed to anticipate his difficulties, studied the whole subject intensely, and, in many cases, wrote sermons upon it, the substance of which afterwards came out, to a greater or less extent, in the conversation. Thus, the conversations aided the sermons, and the sermons aided the conversations. If he might be permitted to do so, the author would commend this mode of ministerial action to younger ministers of the Gospel.

What is here presented to the public, has been submitted to the inspection of some of the author's ministerial brethren, in whose judgment and taste he has great confidence; and, without their approval, these pages would never have been printed.

If this humble volume, by the blessing of God, shall be the means of aiding sinners in the way of salvation, and of any little assistance to the younger ministers of the Gospel, in directing anxious, and guiding the perplexed, and comforting the broken in heart, the author's hopes will be realized.

Dr. Ichabod S. Spencer
Brooklyn, NY
March, 1853