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He was converted to Christ at the age of 16 and immediately began preaching. He preached in the streets and in the fields before he was 21. In his first church, he began with 100 members. It grew until he was preaching to 10,000 people in the Surrey Music Hall. His church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, seated 6,000 people. He withdrew from every movement among English Baptists which tended to criticize the Authorized Version 1611 in any way.
Before his death, he published more than 2,000 sermons and 49 volumes of commentaries, sayings, anecdotes, illustrations, and devotions.