On the 10th June 1854, a large party of friends including the young preacher and Susannah gathered at the opening of the Crystal Palace in Sydenham. Here is Susannah's recalling of that time:
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...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 there unto;
And leave thy petition to Hismercy 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 weal!
"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?"
During that walk...God himself united our hearts and in indissoluble bonds of true affection, and, thou we knew it not, gave us to each other for ever. From that time our friendship grew apace and quickly ripened into deepest love.Less than two months after the incident at the Crystal Palace, C.H. Spurgeon formally proposed for the hand of Susannah Spurgeon. There is no record of the words Charles spoke in his declaration of love to Susannah, only that his confession was "wonderful" and "was there ever quite such a bliss on earth before?"
Charles Ray in his biography writes: "They were one in heart, in soul, in inclination, and even at this stage the great preacher had communicated to his fiancee much of his own spirituality and earnestness. There was more than mere earthly affection in their love for one another, and both felt that indeed the finger of God had marked out a united course for them. Susannah writes:
To me, it was a time as solemn as it was sweet; and with a great awe in my heart, I left my beloved and, hastening to the house and to an upper room, I knelt before God and praised and thanked him with happy tears for his great mercy in giving me the love of so good a man. If I had known then how good he was and how great he would become, I should have been overwhelmed, not so much with the happiness of being his, as with the responsibility which such a position would entail.In a letter to Susannah, Charles wrote not long after his proposal remarkable words which speak volumes as to the character of both the writer and the recipient:
Dear purchase of a Saviour's blood, you are to me a saviour's gift, and my heart is full to overflowing with the thought of such continued goodness. I do not wonder at his goodness, for it is just like him, but I cannot but lift my voice at his manifold mercies...Whatever befall us, trouble and adversity, sickness or death, we need not fear a final separation, either from each other or our God. I am glad you are not here just at this moment, for I feel so deeply that I could only throw my arms around you and weep.In light of what we have read today, a few questions come to mind:
1. What role does prayer have in our pursuit of a lifetime partner?
2. How important might it be to marry someone who is "one in heart, in soul, in inclination?"
3. What place do solemnity and sweetness respectively play in the coming together of a husband and wife?
4. In view of C.H. Spurgeon's letter to Susannah, how important is it that we can say of a prospective spouse: "Whatever befall us, trouble and adversity, sickness or death, we need not fear a final separation, either from each other or our God"?