The definitive biography of Susannah Spurgeon.
While many Christians recognize the name of Charles H. Spurgeon, the beloved preacher and writer, few are familiar with the life and legacy of his wife, Susie. Yet Susannah Spurgeon was an accomplished and devout woman of God who had a tremendous ministry in her own right, as well as in support of her husband. Even while dealing with serious health issues, she administered a book fund for poor pastors, edited and published her husband's sermons and other writings, led a pastor's aid ministry, wrote five books, made her home a hub of hospitality, and was instrumental in planting a church. And as her own writing attests, she was also a warm, charming, and fascinating woman.
Now, for the first time, Susie brings this vibrant woman's story to modern readers. Ray Rhodes Jr. examines Susannah's life, showing that she was not only the wife of London's most famous preacher, but also a woman who gave all she had in grateful service to the Lord.
Susie is an inspiring and encouraging account of a truly remarkable woman of faith that will delight Spurgeon devotees and fans of Christian biographies alike.
“I am writing in my husband's study, where he thought, and prayed, and wrote. Every inch of the place is sacred ground. Everything remains precisely as he left it. His books (now my most precious possessions), stand in shining rows upon the shelves, in exactly the order in which he placed them, and one might almost fancy the room was ready and waiting for its master. But oh! That empty chair! That great portrait over the door! The strange, solemn silence, which pervades the place now that he is no longer on earth! I kneel sometimes by his chair, and laying my head on the cushioned arms, which so long supported his dear form, I pour out my grief before the Lord, and tell Him again that though I am left alone, yet I know that 'He hath done all things well'…”
In the last few years I have begun to learn more about Charles Spurgeon and develop an appreciation for his life and ministry. It probably started with a documentary, Through the Eyes of Spurgeon, that led me to a number of his writings, collected quotes, and sermons. I recently worked through the massive Autobiography compiled by his wife and his secretary. When I saw that Moody was publishing Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes, I knew I needed to pick it up.
Rhodes gives readers a glimpse at the woman behind the man. Although much has been written about Charles, his continued popularity is owed, in large part, to the support Susie gave him while he was alive and the work she did after he died to continue his legacy through the Pastors Book Fund, resulting in more and more people becoming familiar with her husband’s ministry.
I was fascinated by her early life — studies in France, spiritual awakening, growing interest in Charles. When illness left her housebound at a young age, she still managed to be a constant source of support for her husband and ministered to pastors and their families in England and around the world through her book fund. God’s grace was evident in her life, from start to finish, and hers was a truly remarkable life.
In a couple chapters I thought the author focused more on Charles than Susie, but the majority of the book is all about her. What most stood out to me was the love she and Charles shared. Their joy, affection, and mutual love is enviable and worthy of imitation in every marriage. Her life following her husband’s death revealed her to be a passionate and strong woman even as she continued to struggle with grief over his passing and her health began to fail. Countless individuals testified to her influence and impact on their lives, most notably her twin sons, who admired her greatly.
We need more biographies like this. It’s not important merely because women are underrepresented in our studies of Christian history, though this is true. It’s important because her life and ministry are worth remembering because of the service she rendered to God and his people.
I received this book from the publisher in order to provide this review. The opinions expressed are my own.