03 April 2008
Gleanings from an 1894 Sword and Trowel: Spurgeon at a Wedding (part one).
I now introduce to you one of my favourite selections from the 1894 Sword and Trowel—Mr. Spurgeon at a Wedding. The article is doubly sweet; it first gives an account by a Pastors’ College man of Spurgeon conducting his marriage ceremony, and then is followed by a recording of the sermon by the one of the editors of the magazine. (The editing of The Sword and the Trowel was a collaborative effort after Spurgeon died, so I am unsure of who authored the piece.) I’ll include the editor’s introduction and the groom’s account in this post, and will provide the sermon in another.
Here’s the article:
Among the reminiscences of the late beloved President, sent to us, two years ago, by brethren trained in the Pastors’ College, was one which we thought it well to retain until we could give a report of the special service to which the writer alludes. The right time for its publication appears now to have arrived; and the present article will appropriately follow the touching address printed in the last month’s Magazine under the title, Mr. Spurgeon at a Funeral. [I plan to publish that article soon to TheLifeWord.] There, we saw our late dear Editor sympathizing with the sorrowing; here, we think of him as increasing the joy of those who had reached the happiest hour of their lives. Pastor E.A. Hobby of Macclesfield, is the minister referred to, and his note concerning the memorable event is as follows:—
“How well do I remember my last interview with our beloved President! It was on a bright spring morning, in the month of May, 1890, when he came down from ‘Westwood’ to Thornton Heath, to conduct our marriage service in Beulah Baptist Chapel. Having arrived a few minutes before time, we waited for him in the vestry. Presently the door opened, and he entered, with a bright, happy smile upon his face. After a pleasant greeting, in a few kind words he presented my wife with Morning by Morning, in which he had written ‘To Mrs. Hobby, on her wedding day, May 6th, 1890, with best wishes and prayers of C. H. Spurgeon,’ and Evening by Evening, containing the inscription, ‘The Lord bless thee and keep thee!’ He also gave me a morocco-bound Revised New Testament, inscribed, ‘With the Christian love of C.H. Spurgeon.’
“After expressing our hearty thanks, we adjourned to the chapel, where the ceremony took place. After the legal part of the service was completed, and he had addressed us in some wise, cheery words, he turned to those who had witnessed the ceremony, and made a very touching appeal to the unconverted. What an appeal that was! How our hearts throbbed, and our eyes filled with tears, as the great preacher, in simple, searching, pathetic language pleaded for some soul to yield to Christ as a fitting seal to that happy covenant of love! After the address came the closing prayer,—such a prayer as he alone could offer; it was full of yearning for souls, gratitude for the Lord’s goodness, and holy unction.
“It is needless to say that we thanked our beloved President very heartily for his great kindness; but he persisted in saying that the obligation was on his side, thanking us for coming such a great distance to be married by him, and then adding, ‘Would you like an hour at “Westwood”?’ Of course we should; and time-tables were soon consulted, and later trains arranged for. So to ‘Westwood’ we went. He did not begrudge us the time, which he could ill afford to spare; but himself conducted us through the greenhouses and grounds. How those plants seemed to speak, as he described them to us! He appeared to be introducing us to friends as well as to flowers; a little tale about one, a sweet promise associated with another, and in a marvellous way he unveiled the works of God in nature. We had all the poetry of Pantheism set to the metre of the personality of God. From the greenhouses we went to the fernery, where we were shown the famous ‘mother-fern’, mentioned in The Sword and the Trowel for December, 1891.
“Last, but not least, we visited the President’s special ‘sanctum’, ‘the den.’ This seemed to us a peculiarly-consecrated room; for there, the man of God held secret communion with his Maker; there the famous Jerusalem blade was sharpened for the fray; there, the mighty warrior buckled on the breastplate of righteousness, and was shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Fain would we linger in this heavenly atmosphere; but time forbids. We must say, ‘Farewell,’ and feel thankful for the unexpected pleasure of spending an extra hour with the one we love so well. As we pass out, through the casement by which we entered, I turn for a parting glance, and breathe an almost inaudible ‘Good-bye.’ The indefatigable toiler was already at work; but his quick ear caught my words, and he responded, ‘Good-bye, dear brother, and God bless you!’ Thus ended my last interview with our beloved President.”
As soon as time allows, I will post the rest of this excellent article. The address Spurgeon gave included a most interesting charge to the wife in anticipation of her future role as the wife of a pastor. Be sure to return to read it.