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, in addition to supporting her husband, had a tremendous ministry of her own. Even through chronic health issues, she administered a book fund for poor pastors, edited and published her husband’s sermons, led a pastor’s aid ministry, made her home a hub of hospitality, and wrote five books. And as her own writings reveal, she was also a warm, charming, and fascinating woman.
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. Now available in paperback. To learn more about the lives and marriage of Charles and Susie Spurgeon, find Yours, Till Heaven by Ray Rhodes Jr.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Susie, Herself: An Introduction 23
Chapter 1 Formation and Family 29
Chapter 2 A Progressing Pilgrim 45
Chapter 3 Hearts United at the Crystal Palace 55
Chapter 4 A Marriage Made for Heaven 75
Chapter 5 The New Parents 87
Chapter 6 The Shadow of Sorrow: Tragedy and Faith 99
Chapter 7 Hand in Hand at Home and Abroad 113
Chapter 8 The Great Sufferer 123
Chapter 9 Mrs. Spurgeon's Book Fund 139
Chapter 10 The Move to Westwood: The Book Fund Continues 153
Chapter 11 Mentone: Happiness and a Sad Goodbye 165
Chapter 12 With Christ, Which Is Far Better 181
Chapter 13 A Lady of Letters 187
Chapter 14 Planting a Final Seed 203
Chapter 15 Seeing the King and His Glory 219
Epilogue: The Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon 237
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Susie
This is, without doubt, the most detailed, historically accurate, and definitive account on the life of my great-great grandmother Susie. Ray Rhodes has been meticulous in his research and yet has presented Susie’s life in a very readable and engaging way. I came away from each chapter wanting to live life like Susie did. First, and most important, to have that strong and abiding faith she had in God. Second, to have the complete devotion to my husband that Susie and Charles had to each other. Finally, to have the unwavering perseverance that she had to the end, despite prolonged illness and the many trials of her life. This book will encourage you to live life looking to Christ to supply and to be everything you need as you seek to serve Him for His glory.
Susannah Spurgeon Cochrane, great-great granddaughter of Charles and Susie Spurgeon
I have long wanted to read a biography of Susannah Spurgeon, and Ray Rhodes has given me (and the church) a gift in this biography of a remarkable woman. If you long to know that your trials will be used by God, your weakness is the way to holiness, and your faithfulness in the ordinary and hidden work of ministry is valuable to God, then let Susie be your teacher and your friend. You will find a fellow sister in this book, and you will be encouraged. God will do His intended work in the lives of His people, and Susie is one faithful example of that work.
Courtney Reissig, author of Glory in the Ordinary and The Accidental Feminist¿
I read the dedication and thought, “This book will be a delight.” On studying the timeline, I thought, “This book will be very helpful.” After the introduction, I thought, “This book will be charming.” Finishing Susie’s early life justified my presumption, “This book is well-researched.” Contemplating the vital intersection of Susie’s life with Spurgeon surprised me with the observation, “This book opens up new light on the Prince of Preachers himself.” When I came to the last remarkable month in Menton and Spurgeon’s death, I felt, “This book shows the value of marriage in which two people have so sympathized that they have become virtually of one mind and heart.” Looking at the ongoing theme of the Book Fund and the ministries it spawned, I thought, “What an example of practical vision and persevering execution this lady was!” Her independent usefulness in writing prompted the surmise, “This could serve as an example for many a Christian woman in sharing the riches of biblical knowledge, deep fellowship with Christ, and edifying admonition. And men too, for that matter.” The church planting venture and her part in the restoration of the Tabernacle inspired the conviction, “That is just right. We should never till the day we die cease working for the glory of God and the extension of the kingdom of Christ.” The universal lament following the death of this steel shadow sealed the conclusion in my heart, “In a life matured by grace, she would not have been this person without Charles; and he would not have achieved such stature and received such love and respect without her; and, in fact, all of us need our mates, our friends, our churches, our trials, our triumphs, and the constant awareness of the goodness and wisdom of God to become what we should here and to prepare us for what we will be hereafter.”
Tom Nettles, former professor of historical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon
It has been way too long for the release of a full-length biography of Susie Spurgeon. Ray Rhodes has made it worth the wait! This book is a gem that has the same effect on the reader that Susie had on all the lives she touched: it draws our minds and hearts to marvel at the Lord’s goodness. As Charles Spurgeon referred to his wife, this “bravest of women, strong in the faith” was so focused on God’s glory that theology pulsed through her veins and out of her heart, mouth, hands, and pen. Susie Spurgeon, queen of the housewife theologians, treated the many obstacles and sufferings in her path as opportunities for the Lord’s strength to work through her weaknesses. And he worked mightily through Susie to bless her family and friends, and to minister to pastors, to orphans, and to us as well. I’m thankful for how Ray has enriched my understanding of Christ through the life of Susie Spurgeon.
Aimee Byrd, author of¿Why Can't We Be Friends?¿and¿No Little Women
Charles Spurgeon was the most famous name in Christendom in the latter half of the nineteenth century. He is still widely regarded as “The Prince of Preachers” in all of Christian history and is the hero of countless evangelical preachers today, including myself. What is much less known is how much Spurgeon loved and relied upon his godly wife, Susannah. Through both original research and new insights into long-dormant material, Ray Rhodes has restored “Susie” to her rightful place alongside her famous husband. Anyone interested in Spurgeon will enjoy this book, especially for its insights into the home life, family worship practices, and spiritual relationship of the Spurgeons. Anyone looking to read the life of a heroic Christian woman will find it in this biography of the remarkable Susannah Spurgeon.
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and¿Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, and author of¿Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Family Worship,¿and¿Praying the Bible
Admirers of C. H. Spurgeon will be delighted to pick up this new biography of his wife, Susannah. Ray Rhodes’s carefully researched account of Susie’s life freshly illuminates the story of the woman who upheld the nineteenth century’s greatest preacher by her love and prayer. Susie’s story exemplifies trust in God in the midst of chronic illness and paints a sweet picture of married love. Readers will also give thanks to God for her Pastors’ Book Fund, which supplied thousands of volumes to equip needy pastors. We can learn much from the stories of saints who have gone before, and this book is no exception.
Megan Hill, author of¿Praying Together¿and¿Contentment, editor for The Gospel Coalition, regular contributor to CT Women and¿Today in the Word, and pastor’s wife.
It is hard to believe that there has been no substantial study of Susannah Spurgeon’s life until this work by Ray Rhodes. Her husband and his ministry are so well-known, but for some reason, Susannah and her life have been but a chapter in his story. Thankfully Ray has now corrected this and given us a full account of her inspiring pilgrimage. I hope this book receives a wide readership among both women and men.¿
Michael A. G. Haykin, FRHistS, Chair and Professor of Chair History, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of numerous volumes including, Eight Women of Faith
As modern readers, it’s often difficult to relate to the saints of old. Ray Rhodes paints us a picture of a woman who devoted herself to personal piety—an inspiration for women in any age.
Sarah Zylstra, senior writer at The Gospel Coalition
A well-worn adage states, behind every great man is a great woman; and it’s often true. Most of us know the great C. H. Spurgeon, but precious few know the godly woman to whom he was married—the woman who raised his children, who kept his house, who was his soul mate, and who helped keep him sane amid the boiling cauldron of local church ministry in Victorian England. In these clearly written, lively pages, my friend and fellow pastor Ray Rhodes brings Susie Spurgeon to life in bold relief and in full color, taking us inside the life of the woman who loved the Prince of Preachers. This is a unique, much-needed biography. It’s the best kind of history—written to serve the church of Jesus Christ—and it will serve as the standard biography of the delightful Mrs. Spurgeon for decades to come. There is literally something compelling here for every Christian. Read and rejoice that God gave the great Spurgeon such a lion-hearted helpmate.
Jeff Robinson, lead pastor, Christ Fellowship Church of Louisville, KY, and senior editor, The Gospel Coalition
What a joyful, unexpected delight this book is! Immediately engaging,¿lightning paced, colorfully written, and surprisingly encouraging. Susannah Spurgeon¿was no second fiddle. Despite her staggering medical challenges,¿she modeled well that we are all to be faithful until our King returns.¿This is plain ol’ good reading.
Todd Friel is the host of Wretched TV and Radio and the author of numerous books.
Susie lifts us up from our life of comfort and convenience to a time when the difficulties of daily living, coupled with her health limitations, did not hinder her from using her gifts for the promotion of God’s kingdom. What an inspiration she is at the side of her famous husband, Charles Spurgeon, encouraging him in times of depression and ministerial challenges, as well as heeding God’s beck and call to send books and supplies to needy ministers around the world! Susie’s ministry of encouragement to faithful, humble pastors encourages us to use whatever gifts God has given us, in the situation where He has placed us, for His glory. Ray Rhodes’s treatment of the history of Susannah Spurgeon, in the setting of Victorian England, is interesting, informative, and motivating!
Mary Beeke, author of¿The Law of Kindness; and wife of Joel Beeke (author, and president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary)
I love Ray Rhodes’s new book,¿Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon,¿for so many reasons. But it’s just what I’d expect from a friend who loves the gospel as much as Ray does; loves Lori, his wife, with so much delight and zeal; and is committed to putting as many good books into the hands and hearts of God’s people as possible. Susie dispels the caricature of there being a “little woman” behind every great man. Susannah Spurgeon had an amazing story and voice, life, and legacy of her own—a life she gladly lived in the shadow of her world-renowned husband, Charles Spurgeon—but a life from which we all can learn and greatly benefit. Thanks to Ray, I no longer view Susannah Spurgeon as just a supporting character in the ministry of her husband. Thanks to Ray, when I hear the name Spurgeon, I’ll now ask, “Are you referring to Susie or Charles?” I cannot overstate the importance, timeliness, and helpfulness of this book.
Scotty Ward Smith, Pastor Emeritus, Christ Community Church, Franklin, TN; Teacher in Residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, TN; author of numerous books including Everyday Prayers