- The Dawning of Love
THE manner and circumstances in which C. H. Spurgeon declared his love to, Miss Thompson were very characteristic of the man. At the opening of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, on June 10th, 1854, a large party of friends connected with the New Park Street Chapel was present, including the preacher and the young girl to whom he had rendered such valuable spiritual help. “We occupied some raised seats,” says Mrs. Spurgeon, “at the end of the Palace where the great clock is now fixed. As we sat there talking, laughing’ and amusing ourselves as best we could, while waiting for the procession to pass by, Mr. Spurgeon handed me a book into which he had been occasionally dipping and pointing to some particular lines said, ‘What do you think of the poet’s suggestion in those verses?’ The volume was Martin Tupper’s Proverbial Philosophy, then recently published, and already beginning to feel the stir of the breezes of adverse criticism, which afterwards gathered into a howling tempest of disparagement and scathing sarcasm. ‘No thought had I for authors and their woes at that moment, The pointing finger guided my eyes to the chapter ‘On Marriage,’ of which the opening sentences ran thus “‘Seek a good wife of thy God, for she is the best gift of His providence; Yet ask not in bold confidence that which He hath not promised: Thou knowest not His good will; be thy prayer then submissive thereunto; And leave thy petition to His mercy assured that He will deal well with thee. If thou art to have a wife of thy youth, she is now living on the earth; Therefore think of her and pray for her well!
“‘Do you pray for him who is to be your husband?’ said a soft, low voice in my ear, — so soft that no one else heard the whisper. “I do not remember that the question received any vocal answer; but my fast-beating heart, which sent a tell-tale flush to my cheeks, and my downcast eyes, which feared to reveal the light which at once dawned in them, may have spoken a language which love understood. From that moment a very quiet and subdued little maiden sat by the young Pastor’s side, and while the brilliant procession passed round the Palace, I do not think she took so much note of the glittering pageant defiling before her, as of the crowd of newly-awakened emotions which were palpitating within her heart. Neither the book nor its theories were again alluded to, but when the formalities of the opening were over, and the visitors were allowed to leave their seats, the same low voice whispered again, “Will you come and walk round the Palace with me?’ How we obtained leave of absence from the rest of the party, I know not; but we wandered together for a long time, not only in the wonderful building itself, but in the gardens and even down to the lake, beside which the colossal forms of extinct monsters were being cunningly modeled.” “During that walk on that memorable day in June, I believe,” wrote Mrs. Spurgeon, a few years before her death, “God Himself united our hearts in indissoluble bonds of true affection, and, though we knew it not, gave us to each other for ever.
From that time our friendship grew apace and quickly ripened into deepest love, — a love which lives in my heart today as truly, aye, and more solemnly and strongly than it did in those early days; for, though God has seen fit to call my beloved up to higher service, He has left me the consolation of still loving him with all my heart, and believing our love shall be perfected when we meet in that blessed land where Love reigns supreme and eternal.” Would anyone but Charles Haddon Spurgeon have whispered his love in the midst of a crowd, and have made it known by asking the lady of his choice to pray for her future husband?