'Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith' (Heb 13:7 NAU)
- Examples to Follow: Charles Spurgeon as Husband 00:00
On the back of last term’s museum display of 100 Objects from Church History, I would like us to remember some key men in church history that are great examples to us. During these devotions, I would like to associate one word or one Bible verse with each of those men to remind us what we can remember them for, like Hebrews 13: 7 tells us to do.
Let’s start with Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher of the middle and late 1800s.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834. He was called to New Park Street Chapel in 1854.
Our summary words for Spurgeon could be ‘evangelism’, ‘courage’, ‘wit’, ‘boldness’, and ‘gospel’. But another word that we can remember Spurgeon by is ‘husband’. This is a worthy word to look at, as we can see in Ephesians 5:25:
'Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church' (Eph 5:25 NAU)
Some great preachers have sacrificed their families on the altar of ministry, but not Spurgeon. His wife, as the editor of his autobiography, speaks with endless delight of her husband’s love, and she said that she blesses God again and again for giving her the priceless privilege of her husband’s love. What a great testimony to Spurgeon.
The first time Susannah Spurgeon saw Charles Spurgeon was when he was standing behind the pulpit of New Park Street Chapel. Some of the congregation members were amazed by the preaching of Spurgeon, but also concerned about the empty pews. Concerned that Spurgeon would become discouraged and leave, the Deacon and his family invited relatives, friends, and acquaintances to the evening service, with Susannah among them.
Susannah was not impressed by Spurgeon’s unconventional outward appearance or his eloquence, but rather by his first gift to her, an illustrated copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
Susannah was greatly impressed by Spurgeon’s concern for her soul, and the book became very precious as well as helpful to her. With much trembling, Susannah told Spurgeon of her state before God and he gently led her, by his preaching and by his conversations, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to the cross of Christ. She received the peace and pardon that her weary soul was longing for.
Charles and Susannah were married 8 January 8 1856. Spurgeon delighted in his wife and he wrote the following in the front cover of his set of Calvin’s Commentaries, which Susannah had given to him as a gift:
'Blessed may she be among women. How much of comfort and strength she has ministered unto me it is not in my power to estimate. She has been to me God's best earthly gift, and not a little even of heavenly treasure has come to me by her means. She has often been as an angel of God unto me'
Susannah devoted her time and strength to advance her husband’s welfare and happiness. She saw it as her joy and privilege to be at his side, accompanying him on many of his preaching journeys, and nursing him in his occasional illnesses. For a period of ten blessed years, she encircled him with comforting care and tender affection.
Afterwards, God saw it fit to reverse their position to each other. For a long, long season, suffering instead of service became Susannah’s daily portion, and the care of comforting a sick wife fell upon Charles.
Susannah wrote about Charles:
'To the end of his beautiful life it was the same, his letters were always those of a devoted lover, as well as of a tender husband; not only did the brook never dry up, but the stream grew deeper and broader, and the rhythm of its song waxed sweeter and stronger'
Hebrews 13 says that we are to follow the faith and examples of our leaders. This is an unexpected but important way that we can follow the example of two heroes of church history: Charles and Susanna Spurgeon, and their magnificent commitment to the faithfulness and love that God intends to typify in all Christian marriages.
(Information for this article was sourced from Pastor Joel James)