THE position of the wife of a great man and particularly of a great minister, is not only one of rare difficulty but calls for an exercise of unselfishness and self-effacement which is quite contrary to the natural instincts of human nature. The lady who would be a true helpmeet to the popular preacher and God-ordained pastor must to a very large extent sink her own individuality and claims and be. come absorbed in those of her husband.
She must be prepared to part often with the one she loves best on earth, in order that he may go to, fulfill his solemn engagements untrammeled by domestic repinings; she must render every assistance in her power and yet not expect: to reap the praise from men, which is rightly her due; she must initiate and carry through new plans of Christian effort and be satisfied that they shall be regarded as nothing more than a legitimate part of her husband’s ministry; and she must take upon her shoulders a load of responsibility, which the ordinary wife knows nothing of and which amid such a multitude of duties might well overwhelm a strong and vigorous man. If it be true in at general sense, that “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favor of the Lord,” how much more must it be the case with the minister who is encouraged ‘and helped by his partner in life. The members of the Christian churches little know what they owe to the wives of their pastors and when, by way of faint praise, they oftentimes declare that the lady of the manse has “done what she could,” the expression usually implies a qualification that the work might have been greater or better. How many of those who thus look with a more or less supercilious eye upon the work of the minister’s wife do a tithe of the good in the world which can be placed to her credit?
No grander example of the possibilities which the position of a preacher’s wife affords, could be offered to her sisters of the manse or to the world at large than Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon, whose death on October 22nd, 1903, has left the Church poorer than it yet realizes. Called to a position of rarer difficulty at an early age, her husband already raised on dazzling heights of popularity, which few could have endured without being’ lifted up with pride, it was an ordeal for the retiring girl to be thus suddenly thrust into prominence. Then when the storms of abuse’, and slander broke on her loved one’s head, she might well have been crushed and broken, but she bore up and by her words of comfort, her strong affection and her piety and faith, helped him to weather the gale. In every branch of his work she threw her heart and soul, she stinted herself to render financial assistance to the various causes, and to the smallest detail acted with her husband as a faithful steward of the God in whom she. trusted. Never did woman fulfill the marriage vow more faithfully. In sickness and in health, through good report and evil, she was ever his support and it would be difficult to find anywhere another woman, who in spite of adverse circumstances and conditions, ill-health and infirmity, did such monumental work for God and man as Susannah Spurgeon. Her life was one long self-sacrifice. She need not have expended the strength she so much required for herself; no one would have blamed the invalid for seeking comfort in rest, but what she did, she did with a will and as “unto the Lord.” Her life is a brilliant example of what can be done by a weak woman who devotes herself to the service: of the Master and not only as the wife of Charles Haddon Spurgeon will Mrs. Spurgeon live green in the memory of all true Christians, but as herself, as the woman who found solace in suffering by ministering to the needs of others, she will stand out through all time.