Susannah Thompson didn’t marry Charles Spurgeon for his wealth, class, clothing, or appearance. In fact, the country preacher’s “long, badly-trimmed hair” amused her.
Nor did Susannah marry Charles because he had polite manners, power in the pulpit, or eloquence of any kind. Actually, she thought “his countrified manner and speech excited more regret than reverence.”
But near the end of her life, Susannah looked back over her marriage and concluded:
“It is a mercy that our lives are not left for us to plan, but that our Father chooses for us; else might we sometimes turn away from our best blessings, and put from us the choicest and loveliest gifts of His providence.”
In their early twenties, Susannah and her husband carried the weight of the world on their shoulders. Charles had become a household name in England and America. Susannah supported his ministries, edited his books, and even helped him outline his sermons.
As the pastor’s wife of the world’s largest Protestant church, all eyes were on Susannah. The Prince of Preachers wouldn’t go far without his princess. Susannah was expected to be a spiritual superwoman—a straight-laced, “afternoonified” Victorian mother and wife.
Charles and Susannah Spurgeon were a power couple. But their power came from Jesus Christ, not each other.
In addition to the burdens of ministry, the Spurgeons also faced public scrutiny, criticism in the press, and tremendous physical and mental illnesses, all while parenting twin sons Charles and Thomas.
How did the couple cope with the pressure of being perfect parents?
Here are twelve Spurgeon quotes from the world’s most famous couple about parenting even when it feels hard.
1. “Train your child in the way in which you know you should have gone yourself.”
2. “Teach the children the three R’s—Ruin, Redemption, and Regeneration.”
3. “Let his first little prayers be noticed by you.”
4. “Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that Sunday School is intended to ease them of their personal duties.”
5. “Let us from the beginning mingle the name of Jesus with their A B C. Let them read their first lessons from the Bible.”
6. “What a blessing to have our children enlisted in Christ’s army!”
7. “Tell the child that he is dead in trespasses and sins, let there be no doubt about his natural condition.”
8. “If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up.”
9. “Teach the little ones the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
10. “Tell him he must be born again. . . . Be tender, but be true.”
11. “Gather the little ones around your knee and listen to their words, suggesting to them their needs, and reminding them of God’s gracious promise.”
12. “Set before your child life and death, hell and heaven, judgment and mercy, his own sin, and Christ’s most precious blood.”
A Final Word
For times when parenting feels hard, know this: You don’t walk the path alone. God goes behind you, before you, and beside you.
If you feel you’ve failed at parenting altogether, Spurgeon has a word for you also:
“Some of the worst of men have been the children of godly parents.”
Ultimately, all children belong to God—especially those who’ve lost their way. God doesn’t give up on his prodigal sons and daughters. Neither should we.