If you are a regular visitor to our blog you would be hard pressed not to see how much we enjoy and appreciate books! On this score, Mrs Susannah Spurgeon is one of our heroines as she also saw the tremendous value in reading, but moreover set up a ministry sharing her value of books among others.
As Charles Ray writes, Mrs Spurgeon is not only remembered as "the wife of the great preacher to whom she rendered such valuable help and encouragement", her name also deserves "to live for ever in the annals of the Christian church in connection with her fund for supplying theological books to clergymen and ministers too poor to buy them".
Charles Spurgeon himself recognised the importance and necessity of this ministry: 'How can many of our ministers buy books? How can those in the villages get them at all? What must their ministries become if their minds are starved? Is it not a duty to relieve the famine which is raging in many a manse? Is it not a prudential measure, worthy of the attention of all who wish to see the masses influenced by religion, that the preachers who occupy our pulpits should be kept well furnished with material for thought? Does anybody wonder if preachers are sometimes dull?'
The book fund started off simply. In 1875, Charles Spurgeon completed Lectures to My Students of which his wife stated: 'I wish I could place it in the hands of every minister in England.' Spurgeon's reply: 'Then why not do do: how much will you give?' With the challenge laid down, Susannah sold some 'carefully hoarded crown pieces' which sufficed the finance for 100 copies of Mr Spurgeon's work. At this point the Book Fund was inaugurated.
Much of the work has been recorded in one of her own publications, Ten Years of My Life in the Service of the Book Fund, but you can read more of the growth and success of the Book Fund here and here. Mrs Spurgeon therefore remains, for me, not only an example of a godly wife and mother, but also one who single handedly sought to spiritually nourish many, who through no fault of their own could not afford the luxury of reading good theological books.