John Ploughman's Talk

by C. H. Spurgeon
216 pages, Religion
Reviewed by Jenny

A collection of essays on plain, honest, godly-living.


For the rustic and the simple, in plain words John Ploughman sets out aspects of the Kingdom. Common sense is less common than we should like, so John takes it upon himself without flower or frivolity to point out good and upright living among the laymen.


John Ploughman can sometimes be blunt in his speech, but this is only because of the earnestness with which he sets forth the morals of Christianity. Without being overly 'religious' he upholds honesty, hard labor, wisdom, love, kindness — the fruit of the Spirit.

Spiritual Content

Being a Christian, John Ploughman’s admonitions are full of spiritual background; but the flavor of the essays are, again, very simple, full of common sense. He makes occasional disparaging allusions to the Catholic Church, and mentions parishes and his own local minister.


For those n’er-do-wells, idlers, and overly wicked people John Ploughman has little good to say. At one point, borrowing from the biblical exhortation, he says some people would be better off having a millstone hung about their neck and made to fall into the ocean and the world would be a better place. He has little patience for people who will not exercise common sense and none whatsoever for people who tear communities apart by their wickedness.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A common theme in John Ploughman’s Talk is that of beer. John laments the power beerhouses have over men and that men would rather throw all their hard earned money away than take it home to feed and clothe their families.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

None. Ignorant and stupid people are referred to as asses in the sense that they exhibit the mindless attitudes of the animals.


Simple, clearly written, and powerful, Spurgeon’s little book is a treasure on the shelf. He touches on such beautiful things as the sanctity of the home, the benefits of a sound mind, manual labor, and perseverance. Also, he covers, teaching a positive through a negative, such things as idleness, ignorance, lying, swindling, and many other things we come into contact with on a daily basis in the world. Through the eyes of a layman he teaches what Paul admonishes: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 13+

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