Last Sunday evening, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, the deservedly popular, unquestionably benevolent, and eminently shrewd Mr. Spurgeon was preaching a sermon on the sinfulness of little sins—a somewhat favourite topic among Nonconformist clergymen, and on which, under the title of “The Little Foxes,” some curious lay-sermons have been written by Mrs. Harriet Beecher-Stowe.
The gist of Mr. Spurgeon's discourse was that habitual indulgence in little sins leads to the commission of great ones—a position enforced by one of the most famous English divines in the illustration of the “boy who plays with the devil’s rattles.”
At the close of his useful sermon the minister introduced an American clergyman who, he said, was anxious to address a few words to the congregation. This reverend gentleman “improved the opportunity” by inveighing fiercely against the sin of smoking tobacco, especially in the form of cigars, and told his hearers how he had struggled and fought against the pernicious habit, and how at last, by the blessing and with the assistance of Providence, he had conquered his addiction to the weed.
Then uprose Mr. Spurgeon and, with quiet humour, remarked that he would not allow the congregation to separate without telling them that he did not consider smoking to be a sin, and that, by the grace of God, he hoped to enjoy a good cigar before going to bed that night.
Hypercriticism should discern no irreverence in the conclusion of those remarks. We should be thankful for all things; and in observing that he hoped to enjoy a cigar through the Divine grace, he was but echoing the natural piety of Charles Lamb, who asked why we should not say grace before going out for a walk in the fields as well as before and after meat. Dr. Johnson said grace before he began the 'Rambler'; and if Mr. Spurgeon be a smoker, he only adds another and most excellent name to the long catalogue of distinguished English divines of the Established and the Dissenting Churches who have solaced themselves with that Indian weed.
excerpted from Spurgeon’s Love of Cigars