Known as “The Bunyan of Brooklyn”, Ichabod Spencer was the pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, NY in the early 1800′s. He faithfully taught and preached the Doctrines of Grace and cared tenderly for the flock that God entrusted to him. Despite his constant bouts with sickness and pain, he made approximately 700 home visits per year and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully.
In The Bunyan of Brooklyn: The Life and Practical Sermons of Ichabod Spencer, Rev. J. M Sherwood describes Spencer as a humble pastor who gave himself wholly to serving the sheep in the ministry of the Word. I suppose the Rev. Spencer knew a thing or two about depravity and the pride of life. While some might argue that his choices were extreme, one thing is clear: Ichabod Spencer was a true shepherd who shunned and rejected any potential compromise or threat to the purity and integrity of the ministry that God entrusted him with. I’m sure you will agree that this brand of humility is rare today and flies in the face of all that today’s Hollywood-Celebrity-like pastor has come to represent.
May God raise up humble men in our generation, like Rev. Spencer, to shepherd the flock of God and faithfully preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“No man sought celebrity less than Dr. Spencer. He avoided everything that looked like a flourish of trumpets, and was severe on those who resorted to newspapers and other usual ways to obtain notoriety or reputation. He seldom went abroad, except in exchanges with his brethren. He did not take a prominent part in the management of our Public Charities and Institutions; was never foremost on anniversary occasions; and never aimed to take the lead in ecclesiastical meetings. He was modest, as real merit usually is – would not push himself forward – was content to be a worker. Some of his friends felt that he did himself injustice in these matters. But it was characteristic of him. Still he became early and extensively known in the Church, and was highly appreciated by the wise and good. Few men have received, wholly uninvited, more flattering and urgent solicitations than he. He seldom spoke of these; never trumpeted them through the land. And he observed one rule most conscientiously through life, which is too often violated by good men, and the violation of which, from whatever motive prompted, is productive of not a little mischief to the Church, and in the end injures those who indulge in it. Dr. Spencer received numerous overtures from various individuals and Churches soliciting his services and tendering him a formal call, if he would give the least encouragement; but in every instance, when advised of it, he saw no probability of accepting it, he took measures to forestall and prevent it. He would not sacrifice a good conscience to vanity; the interests of others for reputation.” (page 44)