Last week, we introduced a new series called "Your weekly dose of Susannah Spurgeon." We were introduced to a woman who has been described as a wife who exercised tremendous "unselfishness and self-effacement", a "true 'helpmeet", and one who sank "her own individuality and claims" and became "absorbed in those of her husband." Today I want us to go deeper into her life, considering the outset of such a remarkable life and ministry.
As a frequent attender of New Park Street Chapel with her parents, Susannah Thompson grew up familiar with the preaching of the gospel of which she recalls the ministry of Pastor James Smith: 'A quaint and rugged preacher, but one well versed in the blessed art of bringing souls to Christ...Often I had seen him administer the ordinance of baptism to the candidates, wondering with a tearful longing whether I should ever be able thus to confess my faith in the Lord Jesus.'
That longing became a reality when, by means of a sermon from Romans 10:8, 'The Word is near you, in your mouth and in you heart' Susannah "was first aroused to a sense of her own personal need of a saviour." She writes: 'From that service..I date the dawning of the true light in my soul...constrained by his love, that night witnessed my solemn resolution of entire surrender to himself.'
Sadly, "few attempts at encouraging young converts to engage in service for their Lord" and "the lack of communion with kindred youthful spirits...were no doubt, more or less responsible for a state of coldness and indifference which in a short time took the place of joy and gladness of soul that had followed conversion." Susannah records: 'Seasons of darkness, despondency and doubt passed over me...but I had kept all my religious experiences carefully concealed in my own breast.'
It was through this period of her Christian life that the influence of a young man would indeed change her life forever and he himself would become more dear to her than any other. Next Monday we'll look at Susannah's first contact with Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
All references are taken from Charles Ray's The Life of Susannah Spurgeon.