In 1860, the Christian Watchman and Reflector, a Boston Baptist newspaper, secured Charles Spurgeon as an exclusive correspondent. Over that year, Spurgeon wrote 15 letters to the paper. They are being available now for the first time in 150 years. An index of the letters and several background articles can be found here: Charles Spurgeon in the Christian Watchman & Reflector | Index
Spurgeon’s last letter had been received and was published April 12, 1860. It had now been nearly a month and they hadn’t received another one, so Susanna wrote in his stead to explain why.
Here is the complete text of her letter:
A BUSY MAN
We have failed to receive an expected letter from Mr. Spurgeon the present week, but another communication from a friend, who is intimately acquainted with his duties and engagements, will give our readers some idea of the kind of life he leads. He can hardly know what leisure means, and one is surprised that he ever finds time for correspondence. Few of our ministers would consent to fulfil in a month his weekly duties, and we fear even his iron constitution must at length sink under such herculean toil.
TO MESSRS. FORD, OLMSTEAD & CO.
GENTLEMEN,—Mr. Spurgeon is just now so overwhelmed with work, that he has been unable either to send you the desired letter, or to thank you for your last favor…..His labors are unceasing, day after day he leaves home in the early morning, travels some distance, preaches twice, and returns weary and exhausted only to renew his course of arduous exertion on the morrow. I have his engagement-book now lying open before me, and it may give you some idea of his zeal in his Master’s service, if I tell you what work I find in it for the next three weeks. He will (D. V.) visit Birmingham and Worcester, preaching not less than six sermons during the three days devoted to those two towns; Needingworth and Sandbeach in Cambridgeshire, four sermons; Ashdon in Essex, two sermons; one sermon in Surrey Chapel, London, for the Religious Tract Society; another for the London Missionary Society, and one at Wandsworth, in behalf of the cause established there by one of his own students. These, together with two public meetings, the usual week-night services in Park Street Chapel; and the preaching at Exeter Hall, constitute an amount of work, which I think would almost alarm any other man. I have not taken into account the cares of his own church, the prayer-meetings, the church-meetings, the inquirers-meetings and the baptisms, all of which are conducted by himself. Somtimes he is even more laborious than I have described him, for I have known him preach ten, twelve and thirteen sermons a week (including Sunday) for three or four weeks consecutively, and then the labors I have mentioned seem but ordinary work.
I may as well say that Mr. Spurgeon merely asked me gratefully to acknowledge your kind letter, but that I felt constrained to embrace the opportunity of giving you some slight notion of the extent of my dear husband’s “work of faith and labor of love,” that whenever any delay occurs in his correspondence, you may attribute it to the right source, and feel assured that only the “Master’s” business prevents his immediate attention to your claims. Apologizing for this trespass on your time, I remain, gentlemen,
Clapham, April 18th, 1860.