Mrs. P. H. Spurgeon
by Charles Ray
Husband and Wife
MRS. SPURGEON, in the earlier years of her married life, used to accompany her husband in his holidays both in England and on the Continent, but in 1868, she tells us, her traveling days were done. ?Henceforth for many years I was a prisoner in a sick-chamber, and my beloved had to leave me when the strain of his many labors and responsibilities compelled him to seek rest far away from home. These separations were very painful to hearts so tenderly united as were ours, but we each bore our share of the sorrow as heroically as we could and softened it as far as possible by constant correspondence.? And what a delightful correspondence it was ? love letters of the very best and highest kind. ?God bless you,? wrote the husband on one occasion, ?and help you to bear my absence. Better that I should be away well, than at home suffering ? better to your loving heart, I know. Do not fancy, even for a moment, that absence could make our hearts colder to each other; our attachment is now a perfect union, indissoluble for ever. My sense of your value and experience of your goodness are now united to the deep passion of love which was there at the first alone. Every year casts out another anchor to hold me even more firmly to you, though none was needed even from the first. May my own Lord, whose chastening hand has necessitated this absence, give you a secret inward recompense in soul and also another recompense in the healing of the body! All my heart remains; in your keeping.?
?Did I but know that you are better,? he writes on another occasion, ?I don?t think I should have more to wish except your company,? and a day or two later, ?God be thanked for even the twinkling stars of better news in the letter I have just received from your dear self.? In a letter from Rome, we find the passage: ?I had two such precious letters from you this morning, worth to me far more than all the gems of ancient or modern art. The material of which they, are composed is their main value, though there is also no mean skill revealed in its manipulation. They are pure as alabaster, far more precious than porphyry or verd antique; no mention shall be made of malachite or onyx, for love, surpasses them all.?
Charles Haddon Spurgeon looked upon the writing of these letters as more than a loving duty to, his wife. Knowing how pressed he was with other correspondence that had to be attended to, and with literary work, she often used to urge him to write less often to her, so as to get more rest for himself, but this he would not hear of, and except when taking a long railway journey, he used to write a letter to his wife every day that he was absent from her. ?Every word I write,? he says in one note, ?is a pleasure to me, as much as ever it can be to you; it is only a lot of odds and ends I send you, but I put them down as they come, so that you may see it costs me no labor, but is just a happy scribble. Don?t fret because I write you so many letters; it is such a pleasure to tell out my joy.?
At another time, when sending some pen and ink sketches which he had made of the women?s head-dresses in Italy, he writes, ?Now, sweetheart, may these trifles amuse you; I count it a holy work to draw them, if they cause you but one happy smile.? ?That I smiled on them then, and weep over them now,? said Mrs. Spurgeon a year or two, ago, referring to these sketches and the letter that accompanied them, ?is but a natural consequence of the more complete separation which God has willed for us, ? he, dwelling in the land of glory, ? I, still tarrying amid the shadows of earth; ? but I verily believe that when I join him, ?beyond the smiling and the weeping,? there will be tender remembrances of all these details of earthly love and of the plenitudes of blessings which it garnered in our united lives. Surely we shall talk of all these things in the pauses of adoring ?worship and of joyful service. ?There must be sweet converse in Heaven between those who loved and suffered and served together here below. Next to the rapture of seeing the King in His beauty and beholding the face of Him who redeemed us; to God by His blood, must be the happiness of the communion of saints in that place of inconceivable blessedness which God has prepared for them that love Him.?
Those partings of husband and wife, after the latter became an invalid, must have been sore wrenches to Mrs. Spurgeon?s heart, but in accordance with the resolution she had made before and at marriage, she never faltered, but gave her loved one up willingly for service or for those Continental holidays which were necessary for his health. ?I thank God,? she said late in life, ?that he enabled me to carry out this determination and rejoice that I have no cause to reproach myself with being a drag on the swift wheels of his consecrated life. I do not take any credit to myself for this; it was the Lord?s will concerning me, and He saw to it that I received the necessary training whereby in after years I could cheerfully surrender His chosen servant to the incessant demands of his ministry, his literary work, and the multiplied labors of his exceptionally busy life.? That this was no vain and empty boast was dearly confirmed by a letter which C. H. Spurgeon wrote to his wife in 1871, in which he declared, ?None know how grateful I am to God for you. In all I have ever done for Him you have a large share, for in making me so happy you have fitted me for service. Not an ounce of power has ever been lost to the good cause through you. I have served the Lord far more and never less for your sweet companionship?
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