Wednesday, December 14, 2011

God Tugging at the Heartstrings

Teach me, O Lord, thy way of truth,
And from it I will not depart;
That I may steadfastly obey,
Give me an understanding heart.
~~From Psalm 119:33-40

I've decided it would be better to start posting the Aunt Jane's Hero summaries written out here rather than linking to the ones at my devotional blog. In case you haven't been here before, I had started with these posts a few years ago, summarizing the chapters from a little companion work I had written for this beloved work by Miss Prentiss. I'm trying to pick up the ones already completed there and hopefully do more as time and opportunity allow. We've done three of these summaries so far, and now we'll pick up another one:

  Chapter 4 is next up and since time is short, this summary may need to be short. The title that I gave to this chapter in the companion explains what I believe to be its essence. God was having dealings with someone and if you've been following along, you know that someone would be Horace. The chapter begins with a description of his moving about in society after the Georgiana situation--dancing parties, threatricals, music festivals and so on. But in the midst of observing him in these settings we are told this: "But he went home from these gay scenes out of spirits, and in spite of himself had his hours of reflection, when there came to him uncomfortable intimations that he was not living the true life for which he was born." Ahh, stirrings in his heart. Where might they have come from?

Soon after these words came an important paragraph:

"Now there was a man of a sorrowful countenance and of a sorrowful spirit away off in a little country-town, praying for his only son at these very moments, and his prayers were going to prevail. . . And ever and anon when he was pleading for his son with strong crying and tears, there would surge up in the soul of that son unwelcome, painful thoughts; recollections of his mother and his mother's teachings, faint yearnings for a faith and a practice like hers. He wist not whence they came. . ."

Obviously, the man who was praying was Horace's father. If you will recall, his mother had passed away. After reading this, I was struck by the truth of the words of James 5:16 that the "effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." This is a promise that we parents should cling to. I think it's a promise that should give impetus to the prayers of parents whose children are not at the place they wish them to be. Perhaps, these children will some day experience "faint yearnings" for more faith, a life that's different. These yearnings, even if they are weak, would probably come from God, and could it be that He would have been sent to your children by your prayers?

Many of us are thankful for where our children seem to be in the Lord. But certainly that is no reason for us to ease up with our prayers. I like what Stormie Omartian said in her book The Power of a Praying Parent. She said:

"All that needs to happen in our lives and the lives of our children cannot happen without the presence and power of God. Prayer invites and ignites both."

Moms and dads, shall we not persist in prayer?

Monday, November 21, 2011

So Be It

So be it; 'tis Thy plan not mine,
And being Thine is good;
And God, my will shall yield to Thine
Ere it is understood.

So be it; I a child of dust
Will not oppose Thy way,
Move on, mysterious Will, I trust,
I love, and will obey.

So be it; and do Thou, my heart,
No childish questions ask,
Thou in God's counsels hast no part,
Crave not so hard a task.
So be it; yes, so be it, Lord,
No word have I to say--
O be Thy gracious Name adored--
I love and will obey.

~ From  Golden Hours, Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good Motherly Advice

Mother has just gone. Her visit has done me a world of good. She found out something to like in Father at once and then something good in Martha. She says Father's sufferings are real, not fancied, that his error is not knowing where to locate his disease, and is starving one week and overeating the next. She charged me not to lay up future misery for myself by misjudging him now and to treat him as a daughter ought without the smallest regard t his appreciation of it. Then as to Martha, she declares that I have no idea how much she does to reduce our expenses, to keep the house in order, and relieve us from care. "But, Mother," I said, "did you notice what horrid butter we have? And it is all her doing."

"But the butter won't last forever," she replied. "Don't make yourself miserable about such a trifle. For my part, it is a great relief to me to know that with your delicate health you have this tower of strength to lean on."

"But my health is not delicate, Mother."

"You certainly look pale and thin."

"Oh well," I said, whereupon she fell to giving me all sorts of advice about getting up on step ladders, and climbing on chairs, and sewing too much, and all that.

~ Stepping Heavenward, April 30, 1838 entry.

[Oh, to be one to find something good in everyone and to give such godly counsel to one's daughter. What an example Katy's mom is to us all. And as to the delicate health situation as referenced to by her mother, indeed she was in delicate health, as you'll see Katy was about four months along in pregnancy here, since looking ahead you find she gives birth to her first child some time on or before October 4th. {smile} ~ mr]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Seen by God

A woman should not live for, or even desire, fame. This is yet more true of a Christian woman. If I had not steadily suppressed all such ambition, I might have become a sour, disappointed woman, seeing my best work unrecognized. But it has been my wish to

"Dare to be little and unknown,
Seen and loved by God alone."

~ From letter to Mr. Cady, written in 1878. Mrs. Prentiss died later that year.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Oh Jesus, draw nearer,
And make Thyself dearer,
I yearn, I am yearning for Thee;
Come take for Thy dwelling,
The heart that is swelling
With longings Thy beauty to see!

How languid and weary,
How lonely and dreary,
The days when Thou hidest Thy face;
How sorrow and sadness
Are turned into gladness,
By a glimpse of its love and its grace.

Come nearer, come nearer,
And make Thyself dearer,
Thou joy, thou delight of my heart.
Close, close to Thee pressing
I long for Thy blessing,
I cannot without it depart.

~ Golden Hours, Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life, 1873

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another Lesson Learned

I have had a new lesson that has almost broke my heart. In looking over his father's papers, Ernest found a little journal, brief in its records indeed; but we learn from it that on all those weddings and birthdays, when I fancied his austere religion made him hold aloof from our merrymaking, he was spending the time in fasting and praying for us and for our children! Oh, shall I ever learn the sweet charity that thinketh no evil and believeth all things! What blessings may not have descended upon us and our children through those prayers! What evils may they not have warded off! Dear old Father! Oh, that I could once more put my loving arms about him and bid him welcome to our home! And how gladly would I now confess to him all my unjust judgments concerning him and entreat him for forgiveness! Must life always go on thus? Must I always be erring, ignorant and blind? How I hate this arrogant sweeping past my brother man, this utter ignoring of his hidden life! ~ Stepping Heavenward, April, 1844 entry

[Let me just say this. This entry by Katy caused an explosion of tears from my eyes more than any other in the entire book. I'll just leave it at that. mr]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Shadow Then Illumination

"I know that I, a poor girl, married a poor man," returned Aunt Jane. "And he took me to a home in which his love was my sole luxury, and mine my only refining influence. And how gladly I would go back with him this day, leaving behind me all that his long years of labor have won for me, into that homely home, if I might but go there with him in poverty instead of weeping for him amid this wealth. Oh! men make such mistakes! such fearful remediless mistakes!They sacrifice the lives on which other lives hang under the delusion that when they are gone money can satisfy the aching, empty hearts they leave behind them."

This was the first time she had ever made the slightest allusion to a sorrow that had cast first a great shadow and then a great illumination upon her life. An illumination; for a shadow implies a sun. ~ From Aunt Jane's Hero,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Full Possession of Christ

For you I desire but one thing--a full possession of Christ. Let us turn away our eyes from everything that does not directly exalt Him in our affections; we are poor without Him, no matter what our worldly advantages are; rich with Him when stripped of all besides. ~ Letter to Mrs. Leonard, April 5, 1869

[Love that--"full possession of Christ."]

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Be blessed this Lord's Day and every day by the beauty of our Savior.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

'Til the Storm Passes By

[Hurricane Irene has arrived where we are and is raging outside. I'm thankful that we still have electrical power so that I can post this reminder to all of us. ~ mr]

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wedding Day Thoughts

Yesterday was my birthday and today is my wedding day. We meant to celebrate the one with the other, but Sunday would come this year on the fifteenth.

I am dressed and have turned everybody out of this room, where I have suffered so much mortification and experienced so much joy, that before I give myself to Ernest and before I leave home forever, I may once more give myself away to God. I have been too much absorbed in my earthly love and am shocked to find how it fills my thoughts. But I will belong to God. I will begin my married life in His fear, depending on Him to make me an unselfish devoted wife.

Stepping Heavenward, January 16, 1837 entry.

[Worthy reflections for any new bride. ~ mr]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Life's Promises

Oh human life, thy promises are sweet,
They fall upon the ear
In cadence charming and their tones repeat
In accents clear.

But dost thou keep thy promise? Can I trust
Thy silvery voice,
Will it awaken echo-tones that must
Bid me rejoice?

Ah no! one voice alone my soul hath heard
That ne'er deceived,
One Heart alone the depths of mine has stirred,
Yet never grieved.

Jesus I turn to thee! Oh let me hid
Within thy breast,
Refuge and shelter, peace and grace provide,
And needed rest.

For in the mazes of a troublous hour
I make my way;
Oh come to me, Thou hast the will, the power,
Be mine alway!

~ From Golden Hours, Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mrs. Love, Mr. Pain, and Miss Joy

But it was only a few days after this that she [Little Lucy] went to the fireplace and filled her clean white apron with coals and ashes. Her mamma took them away from her, and shook her head, and said: "No, no!" again and again. But as soon as Susy had another clean apron put on, she ran again to the fire and began to fill it with coals, and no matter how often her mamma said No, no! she would keep doing it over and over. Then Mrs. Love said to her mamma: "If we let Susy do so, some day she will get burned. We ought to punish her, so that she will mind when she is spoken to."

"Yes, I think so, too," said her mamma.

So Mrs. Love called Mr. Pain and told him to slap Susy's little arm if she disobeyed again. It was not long before he had to come; and as soon as she saw him, Miss Joy, who had been frolicking with Susy a whole year, and never before had been absent from her--poor Miss Joy ran away and hid. As soon as Susy felt the slaps on her arm she let the coals drop and began to cry. She looked at her arm, which bore the red marks of Mr. Pain's hand, and pitied it very much. But the slap did her good. It taught her to obey her mamma about the fire, and saved her from being burned up, as she certainly would have been if she had kept on playing with the coals.

Mr Pain soon went away, and he had hardly turned his back when Miss Joy peeped out of the closet where she had been hiding, and made such a funny Face that Susy could not help laughing, and he face was both wet with tears and shining with smiles. She kissed her mamma and put her arms around her neck, and her mamma kissed her and said: "Susy won't be naughty any more." And Susy smiled and said: "No, No.!"~ From Little Susy's Six Teachers, 1856

[A lesson for the modern day philosophies on child rearing. ~ mr]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

To Be Like Thee

Oh Jesus Christ, in self-despair
I come to Thee! Hear Thou the prayer
Laid at Thy feet; I leave it there--
To be like Thee!

Turn out the darling bosom sin,
The love of self that rules within,
My earnest longing let me win--
To be like Thee!

O let me see Thy lovely face,
O let me hear Thy words of grace,
In Thine own image grow apace--
To be like Thee!

O Gentle, Sinless, Undefiled,
Ev'n in Thy Justice meek and mild,
Help me, Thy loving, longing child--
To be like Thee!

~ From Golden Hours, Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Bruised Horace

We all know how important it is to teach our children the Word of God. By doing so, we can spare them much difficulty, which would have been spared Horace had he a better understanding of the truths of Scriptures. Hop over to Scraps of Glory to read more..

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Faithful in Little Things First

"Then, dear Katy, suppose your first act of heroism tomorrow should be gratifying your mother in these little things, little though they are. Surely your first duty, next to pleasing God, is to please your mother and in every possible way to sweeten and beautify her life. You may depend upon it that a life of real heroism and self-sacrifice must begin and lay its foundation in this little world wherein it learns its first lesson and takes its first steps."

"And do you really think that God notices such little things?

"My dear child, what a question! If there is any one truth I would gladly impress on the mind of a young Christian, it is just this, that God notices the most trivial , accepts the poorest, most threadbare little service, listens to the coldest, feeblest petition, and gathers up with parental fondness all our fragmentary desires and attempts at good works. Oh, if we would only begin to conceive how He loves us, what different creatures we should be!" ~ entry for March 17, 1834, Stepping Heavenward.

[These words of wisdom from Mrs. Cabot to Katy are important words for any young lady of any time period.]

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Complete in Christ

Complete in Him! Oh, Lord, I flee,
Laden with this great thought, to Thee
With tears and smiles contending, cry,
Are words like these for such as I?

Complete in Him! No word of mine
is needed, Lord, to perfect Thine;
Wise Master-Builder, Let Thy hand
Fashion the fabric Thou hast planned.

Complete in Him! I nothing bring,
Am an imperfect, useless thing;
But human eyes shall joy to see
What God's dear hand shall add to me.

Complete in Him! Oh, longed-for-day,
When my poor, sinful heart can say,
Naught in myself, for ruin meet,
In Jesus Christ I stand complete!

~ From Golden Hours: Hymns and Songs of the Christian Life

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some Truths Discovered

We are imperfect creatures, wayward and foolish as little children, horribly unreasonable, selfish, and willful. We are not capable of enduring the shock of finding, at every turn, that our idol is made of clay and that it is prone to tumble off its pedestal and lie in the dust till we pick it up and set it in its place again. I was struck with Ernest's asking in the very first prayer he offered in my presence, after our marriage, that God would help us love each other; I felt that love was the very foundation of which I was built and that there was no danger that I should ever fall short in giving my husband all he wanted in full measure. But as he went on day after day repeating this prayer, and I naturally made it with him, I came to see that this most precious of earthly blessings has been and must be God's gift, and that while we both looked at it in that light and felt our dependence on Him for it, we might safely encounter together all the assaults made upon us by the world, the flesh, and the devil. ~ From Stepping Heavenward - Katy to Helen, February, 1847

Friday, June 10, 2011

Exact Moment of Salvation

"There is one thing more that troubles me," I said. "Most persons know the exact moment when they begin real Christian lives. But I do not know of any such time in my history. This causes me many uneasy moments."

"You are wrong in thinking that most persons have this advantage over you. I believe that the children of Christian parents, who have been judiciously trained, rarely can point to any day or hour when they began to live this new life. The question is not, Do you remember, my child, when you entered this world and how? It is simply this: Are you now alive and an inhabitant thereof? . . .
~ Dr. Cabot to Kay, Stepping Heavenward, February 21, 1834 entry.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Pastor's Wife

You can't think how sweet it is to be a pastor's wife; to feel the right to sympathise with those who mourn, to fly to them at once, and join them in their prayers and tears. It would be pleasant to spend one's whole time among sufferers, and to keep testifying to them what Christ can and will become to them, if they will only let Him. ~ From a letter to Miss E.A. Warner, January 7, 1870.

[Wonderful reasons to enjoy one's lot in life, wouldn't you say? ~ mr]

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jesus Had Eyes

. . .So Charlie's papa often took his poor little boy in his arms and let him lay his head on his shoulder while he walked gently up and down talking about Christ. He told him all those sweet stories from the Bible, how Jesus pitied sick people, and how he cured them, and how many lame men he made to walk, and how many blind to see. So one day, after he had been talking so, he had to give Charlie to his nurse while he went out for a time, and Charlie lay with his head on [her] shoulder, just as he had done on his papa's, till all at once he lifted it up and said:

"Mary, did you know that Jesus hadn't any eyes?"

"Oh! yes, Jesus had eyes," said Mary.

"He had some once, but He gave them to a poor blind man," said Charlie.

You see Charlie was such a little boy that he thought when his papa told him that Jesus gave eyes to a blind man that He had to give him His own.

Little Charlie is in heaven now and has been there a great many years. And he has long known more about the goodness of God than anybody who still lives in this world. And if he could speak to you he would tell you that it is better to be without eyes and hands and feet than not to love Him who was willing rather to die than that you should not know and love Him. ~ From "Little Susy's Little Servants", Little Susy's Stories

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Horace at the Table

It was Sunday, and, as usual, when he went to church regularly anywhere, he sat with Aunt Jane in her pew. He had a bad habit of wandering about from church to church, with no special preference for any one, and she had not seen him at hers for some weeks. He behaved himself now with great outward devotion; took off his glove reverently, as his mother had taught him to do, as he sat at the sacramental table and received the sacred bread and wine, and joined in the hymns with apparent fervor. Aunt Jane's heart yearned for him; how much this festival mean to her--how little to him! And as she silently prayed for him, he felt the old discomfort creeping over him, the sense of unrest experienced, at times, at least, by every human soul that tries to satisfy its infinite longs and yearning with finite things. ~ From Aunt Jane's Hero

[Another reminder, folks, of the importance of praying for our wayward children. ~mr]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baptized With Suffering

It is just as much as I can do to keep my head above water . . . .Sometimes I think that the dreadful experience I have been passing through is God's way of baptizing me; some have to be baptized with suffering. Certainly He has been sitting as the Refiner, bringing down my pride, emptying me of this and that, and not leaving me a foot to stand on. If it all ends in sanctification I don't care what I suffer. Though cast down, I am not in despair. ~ From a letter to Mrs. Condict, February 3, 1873.

[ Oh my. Could I say that? "If it all ends in sanctification I don't care what I suffer." - mr]

Monday, May 16, 2011

God Is For Me

Turn back, mine enemy, unmoved
Thy wiles, thy snares I see;
Turn back, for when I cry to God
I know He is for me.

Thy day is over; I no more
Thy willing slave can be,
For I have learned to cry to God;
I know He is for me.

Hence with thy strong delusions, hence,
I parley not with thee,
But mid thy temptings cry to God,
I know He is for me.

Ah, if thou knewest as I know
The God to whom I flee,
Thou wouldest not think to gain mine ear;
I know He is for me!

~ From Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Surrender All

I know Mrs. Prentiss would agree with this. Listen and be blessed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day By Day

A blessed Mother's Day to all dear mothers. The Lord be with you day by day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thoughts of Katy's Mom

Hoping Katy's thoughts of her mom will encourage all you mother's today. I posted about them over at my devotional blog back in 2007. Read those thoughts here and may we all be more like this woman, who may be fictional, but certainly obtainable in real life if we love Christ as she did.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Real Progress

. . . I do not understand how a Christian can make such slow progress as I do and how old faults can hang on so.

If I had made any real progress, should I not be sensible of it?

I have been reading over the early part of this journal, and when I came to the conversation I had with Mrs. Cabot, in which I made a list of wants, I was astonished that I could ever have had such contemptible ones. Let me think what I really and truly most want now.

First of all, then, if God should speak to me at this moment and offer to give just one thing and that alone, I should say without hesitation, Love to Thee, O my Master!

Next to that, if I could have one thing more, I would choose to be a thoroughly unselfish, devoted wife. Down in my secret heart I know there lurks another wish, which I am ashamed of. It is that in some way or other, some right way, I could be delivered from Martha and her father. I shall never be any better while they are here to tempt me! ~ From Stepping Heavenward, (entry on her first wedding anniversary, dated January 16, 1838.)

[We see, though, that actually she had made real progress, based on what she wanted at this point in time. Of course, she was wrong about the last one. I do believe dealing with Martha and Father had a good deal to do with her growth in Christ. ` mr]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Even the Little Trials

Great sorrows drive every Christian to God; but we are only too prone to try to bear our little trials alone. We fancy such petty affairs beneath His notice. Yet, may it not one day appear that the mountain was after all only a hillock; the great burden but a grain of sand? We must throw ourselves as children upon Him. We must be willing to consult His pleasure in the meanest affair of life; to seek his compassion and sympathy in "every pain we bear." Let Him be the judge of their worth and consequence; and perhaps He who seeth not as man seeth, will detect the mountain in what is called the hillock, and mark that as our intolerable burden, that men regard as the small dust of the balance. ~ from The Flower of the Family

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Six Little Feet

Do you miss the hearing little feet pattering round the house? It seems to me that the sound of my six little feet is the very pleasantest sound in the world. Often when I lie in bed racked with pain and exhausted from want of food--for my digestive organs seem paralysed when I have neuralgia--hearing these little darlings about the house compensates for everything, and I am inexpressibly happy in the the mere sense of possession. ~ from a letter written to sister-in-law on Jan. 15, 1864.

[It was good she recognized and appreciated it while they were there. So many of us don't really appreciate it until they have grown and gone away. ~ mr]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Wonder Why

… These were among his last thoughts before he went to sleep that night, and this accounted, he fancied, for the fact that her image, sweet and fresh, came to him with his first waking ones next day. But why she should go wherever he went, why she should flit in and out of his office was not so obvious. He laughed at himself, said it would pass in a day or two, and entered into his usual pursuits with unusual ardor.

“I have got off the business track,” he thought, “by absence from it; and my brain is confused by the journey yesterday.” But when he was riding up town after his day’s work was over, she came into the stage, too, and when he sat down to dinner, she sat down by his side. Oh, Maggie, how could you? He tried to shake her off in vain, and as he knew Aunt Jane would be expecting him in the evening, he set forth for her house, and our Maggie went with him… ~ From Aunt Jane’s Hero, E. Prentiss

[Horace had just met this young lady Maggie the day before on the train. What on earth was going on? Why would he be thinking about her nonstop like that? I wonder why he couldn’t get her out of his mind? I know why. God had put her there as a part of His plan for these two people. Let’s just say that it was His intention that they end up together, and this was one of the ways He was accomplishing His purposes. ~ mr]

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Softly and Tenderly

[Isn't this absolutely beautiful? So are the sentiments to someone named Lois.]

Friday, April 15, 2011

He is Mine

Call me not poor; I nothing lack,
For lo, a voice divine
Has made me feel that I am His
and told me He is mine.

Weep not that on this weary bed,
I long must droop and pine;
Here I have learned the peace of God
And know that He is mine.

Not mourn that He has torn away
My idols from their shrine;
Blest be the Hand that gave, that took,
For Jesus still is mine.

Let heaven's own radiance through the storm
Of every sorrow shine,
I heave no sigh, I shed no tear,
Am His, and He is mine.

~ From Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A little cold water

A cup of cold water given in Christ's name, if that is all one can give, is just as acceptable as the richest offering; and so is a teaspoonful, if one has no more to give. Christ loves to be loved, and the smallest testimony of real love is most pleasing to Him, and love shown to one of His suffering disciples, He regards as love to Himself. So a little child carrying a flower to some poor invalid, may thus do Christ honor and become more endeared to Him. E.P. (source unknown)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Knowest Thou?

Knowest thou how many stars
There are shining in the sky?
Knowest thou how many clouds
Every day go floating by?
God, the Lord, has counted all;
He would miss one, should it fall.

Knowest thou how many flies
Play about in the warm sun?
Or of fishes in the water?
God has counted every one.
Every one he called by name
When into the world it came.

Knowest thou how many children
Go to little beds at night?
That without a care or trouble
Wake up with the morning light?
God in heaven each name can tell;
Knows thee, too, and loves thee well!

~ German hymn Susy's papa sang to her and to Robbie, Little Susy's Six Birthdays

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where is She? Who is She?

Aunt Jane was not surprised to see Horace march in the very next evening. She knew that she had touched, though she had not changed, his heart.
He began abruptly, with--
"Suppose a man could bring his mind to get married on his poverty, where is he to find a girl willing to share it with him?"
"A good wife is from the Lord," she returned.
"But do you know where mine is?" he persisted. "If I am ever to marry, of course there is somebody in the world waiting for me. Now where is she? Who is she?"
"If I knew I would not tell you. I hate matchmaking. You might as well ask me, where are my clients? Who are they? And I should reply, wait till they come to you and you will see and know."
"All I have to do, then, is to be ready for her when she comes! Really, I begin to feel quite curious."
"Yes, to be ready," said Aunt Jane, emphatically. "For if you are not, an angel might come to you and go away unrecognized."
"But ready, how?"
"In moral worth and purity, Horace." And after a pause, she added: "If I were talking to some men, I should say: Ask God to make you fit for her when she comes, and then to send her."
"But why not to me?" he asked with a comical look.
"Because I know you wouldn't do it. You feel perfectly capable of choosing for yourself, and besides, you are not in the habit of taking counsel of Him in worldly matters."
~ From Aunt Jane's Hero,

[Ah, Horace has much to learn, doesn't he? It's interesting to see how God deals with him as time goes by. More on that later. ~ mr.]

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lucy's Struggle

"I wish I was good!" said she. "I wish I was a Christian! I wish I could help "being fretful and selfish. Oh! I do wish I could be a Christian! But. it's no use. The more I try to be good, the worse I am. I do hate so to sew and to work; and I do love so to read and to study! Mother says the children are growing older; but so am I growing older, and not learning any thing, hardly. But it is wicked to fret about it, I know. Oh! I do wish I was a Christian!"

[Later Lucy shared her struggles with her father, who responded with godly counsel and assurances.]

She had long been groping about in the dark, wrapped in a reserve painful to both her parents and herself; and now the ice was broken. She would gladly have opened her heart more fully, but this was needless. One glance had sufficed to show to her father that the struggle against sin and the pursuit after God had begun; and he felt that he could safely leave her in His hands who giveth the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. He made her kneel once more by his side, while, in a few solemn words, he gave himself and her to God, to be His, and only His, for ever, and then retired for the night. Lucy returned to her room, greatly cheered and comforted. ~ From The Flower of the Family. A book for girls.

[Oh that all young girls would take such matters of the heart to their fathers, and that all fathers would respond as Lucy's did.]

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rock of Ages

I wonder if you realise what a very happy creature I am? and how too good God is to me? I don't see how He can heap such mercies on a poor sinner; but that only shows how little I know Him. But then, I am learning to know Him, and shall go on doing it forever and ever; and so will you. I am not sure that it is best for us, once safe and secure on the Rock of Ages, to ask ourselves too closely what this and that experience may signify. Is it not better to be thinking of the Rock, not the feet that stand upon it? It seems to me that we ought to be unconscious of ourselves, and the nearer we get to Christ, the more we shall be taken up with Him. We shall be like a sick man who, after he gets well, forgets all the old symptoms he used to think so much of, and stops taking his pulse, and just enjoys his health, only pointing out his physician to all who are diseased. ~ excerpt from letter to Mrs. Condict, dated March 6, 1870.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dressing, Undressing, and Feeding

Little children have a great deal done for them. Every little child who reads this book has to be dressed three hundred and sixty-five times every year; and undressed three hundred and sixty-five times. And every year they must have the same number of breakfasts, dinners and suppers. And I hope they thank God for his kindness to them, at least as often as He provides some dear mother or nurse to do this dressing, undressing, and feeding for them. Do you, Ellie? Do you, Willie? ~ From Little Susy's Six Birthdays.

[It always helps to begin to teach them to do for themselves early, though, doesn't it? Good for them, and for us! Not sure about that knife in the picture above!!!! :) ~mr]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Horace and Georgiana

I am firmly convinced that every single young lady who has a heart for God should read Aunt Jane's Hero. When it comes to young people waiting on God's direction, certainly the messages Mrs. Prentiss has in this book are nothing short of priceless. If any of you have daughters who will soon be considering or hoping for marriage, this is a treasure you can put in their hands. I believe Chapter 2 is crucial. My commentary on that chapter will give you more information. Please go over to Scraps of Glory to read it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Cup of Water

Dear Jesus, where wert Thou when I refused
To give a cup of water for Thy sake?
Where did I part with Thee, how did I dare
A single step in my own strength to take?

This shows me what I am; it shows that deep
In my heart's core the love of self still lies;
I have no goodness, in my own conceit
Oh let me never, never more be wise!

And wilt Thou condescend the cup to fill
My sinful hands put by, and may the lip
I would not moisten, taste Thy living draught,
And evermore its strength and sweetness sip!

~ From Golden Hours, Heart Hymns of the Christian Life

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Needed Fall

My pride has had a terrible fall. As I sat on my throne looking down on all the Amelias in the world, I felt a profound pity at their delight in petty trifles, their love of position, of mere worldly show and passing vanities.

"They are all alike," I said to myself. "They are incapable of understanding a character like mine or the exalted, ennobling principles that govern me. They crave the applause of this world, they are satisfied with fine clothes, fine houses, fine equipages. They think and talk of nothing else; I have not one idea in common with them. I see the emptiness and hollowness of these things. I am absolutely unworldly; my ambition is to attain whatever they, in their blind folly and ignorance, absolutely despise."

Thus communing with myself, I was pleased to hear Dr. Cabot and his wife announced. I hastened to meet them and to display to them the virtues I so admired in myself. They had hardly chance to utter a word. I spoke eloquently of my contempt for worldly vanities and of my enthusiastic longing for a higher life. I even went into particulars about the foibles of some of my acquaintances, though faint misgivings as to the propriety of such remarks on the absent made me half-repent the words I still kept uttering. When they took leave, I rushed to my room with my heart beating, my cheeks all in a glow. . . What a horrible reaction now took place! I saw my refined, subtle disgusting pride, just as I suppose Dr. and Mrs. Cabot saw it!. . .There was a terrible struggle in my soul. I saw that instead of brooding over the display I had made of myself to Dr. Cabot, I ought to be thinking solely of my appearance in the sight of God, who could see far more plainly than any earthly eye could all my miserable pride and self-conceit. But I could not do that and chafed about till I was worn out, body and soul. At last I sent the children away and knelt down and told the whole story to Him who knew what I was when He had compassion on me, called me by my name and made me His own child. And here I found a certain peace. Christian, on his way to the celestial city, met and fought his Apollyons and his giants, too; but he got there at last! ~ from Stepping Heavenward, October 30, 1842 entry

[Let each of us take heed. ~ mr]

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Beautiful Savior

I posted this once at my personal blog and thought it fitting to post it here in case anyone stops by. We all know that Mrs. Prentiss would have wholeheartedly attested to the truths expressed here. Have a blessed Lord's Day. ~ mr

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Place to Deny Myself

If I tell you that I am going to take under my especial care and protection one of the family--a little girl of eleven years whom nobody can manage at all, you may wonder why. I found on my plate at dinner a note from Mrs. Persico saying that if I wanted an opportunity of doing good, here was one, that if Nannie could sleep in my room, etc., it might be of great benefit to her. The only reason why I hesitated was the fear that she might be in the way of our best hours. But I have thought all along that I was living too much at my ease, and wanted a place in which to deny myself for the sake of the One who yielded up every comfort for my sake. Nannie has a fine character but has been mismanaged at home, and since coming here. She often comes and puts her arms around me and says, "There is one in this house who loves me, I do know." I receive her as a trust from God, with earnest prayer to Him that we may be enabled to be of use to her. . .
~ From a letter to her cousin, dated January 3, 1841.

[Mrs. Prentiss' attitude could be applied by us in many situations. I'm sure we each can think of some place where we can deny self. ~ mr]

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Behind "More Love to Thee"

Do we ever tire of hearing the stories behind the various hymns we hold so dear? I found this article concerning the writing of "More Love to Thee" and thought perhaps a few of you might enjoy reading it. You may also like to bookmark this site for your edification. ~ mr

Monday, March 7, 2011

Self-Forgetting Spirit

I am ashamed of myself, of late, that these subjects of love and matrimony find a place in my thoughts which I never have been in the habit of giving them, but people here talk of little else and I am borne on with the current. I think that to give happiness in married life a woman should possess oceans of self-sacrificing love and I, for one, haven't half of that self-forgetting spirit which I think essential. ~ excerpt from letter to Anna S. Prentiss, April 24, 1843

[ How many of us would attest to a lack in this area? A need for prayer, yes?]

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meet Aunt Jane and Horace

From time to time I'll be sharing posts in a series I started almost four years ago at my devotional blog. They're about my second favorite Prentiss work--Aunt Jane's Hero. I'm sharing the first one now. ~ mr

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Steadfast Heart

Keep my heart steadfast, dearest Lord
For earth's allurements shine,
And bid me turn mine eye away
From looking into Thine

Oh keep me steadfast! Earthly tones
Fall sweetly on my ear,
And while I pause to list to them
Thy voice I cannot hear.

Oh keep me steadfast! Human smiles
Delude my childish heart;
While rapt in them how easily
From Thee I can depart.

Yes, keep me, keep me, for myself
I cannot, cannot keep;
Keep me by day, keep me by night
O Thou who dost not sleep.

~ From Golden Hours, Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life, 1873

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nearer My God to Thee

It's my understanding that during her time of sorrow over the loss of her children, Mrs. Prentiss found comfort in this hymn. It's one in which we all can find comfort. I love this rendition. Since it's instrumental, I'm writing out these wonderful words for you:

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God to Thee.

There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

~ Sarah F. Adams

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Personal Love of Christ

Mother keeps saying I spend too much time in brooding over my sorrow. As for her, she seems to live in heaven. Not that she has long prosy talks about it, but little words that she lets drop now and then show where her thoughts are and where she would like to be. She seems to think everybody is as eager to go there as she is. For my part, I am not eager at all. I can't make myself feel that it will be nice to sit in rows, all the time singing, fond as I am of music. And when I say to myself, "Of course we shall not always sit in rows singing," then I fancy a multitude of shadowy, phantomlike beings, dressed in white, moving to and fro in golden streets, doing nothing in particular, and having a dreary time, without anything to look forward to.

I told Mother so. She said earnestly and yet in her sweetest, tenderest way, "Oh, my darling Katy! What you need is such a living, personal love of Christ to make the thought of being where He is so delightful as to fill your mind with the single thought!"

What is "personal love of Christ?"

~ From Stepping Heavenward, Katy's entry of December 14, 1831.

[Be honest. How many of us have had such thoughts? ~ mr]

Monday, February 21, 2011

Susy's Fourth Birthday

Susy was very much surprised on the morning of the day she was four years old to hear her mamma call her to come and take her four birthday kisses. She had forgotten all about birthdays, it was so long since she had had one. She sprang out of bed and ran in to her mamma, who kissed her this time on her mouth, on each cheek, and her forehead; and seemed to love her even more than usual. Soon after breakfast she took Susy away into that little room to which she was in the habit of going alone, and they knelt down together and held each other's hand, while mamma thanked God very much for giving her such a dear little girl, and for letting her live four years; and asked Him, if he pleased, to let her live another year, and to make her his own little lamb.

~From Little Susy's Six Birthdays, 1853

[Moms of little ones might consider taking a cue from Susy's mamma. What impact there would have been on Susy's life. ~ mr]

Friday, February 18, 2011

Such Are They. . .

"Such are they in all ages who follow the Lamp whithersoever He goeth. Had they chosen for themselves, or their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His kingdom. They would have had Lot's portion, not Abraham's. If they had halted anywhere--if He had taken off His hand, and let them stray back--what would they not have lost? What forfeits in the morning of the resurrection? But He stayed them up, even against themselves. Many a time their foot had well-nigh slipped; but He, in mercy, held them up; now, even in this life, they know all he did was done well. It was good for them to suffer here, for they shall reign hereafter--to bear the cross below, for they shall wear the crown above; and that not their will but His was done on them." ~ From the preface to Aunt Jane's Hero, published 1873

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blest Child

Blest child! dear child! For thee is Jesus calling;
And of our household thee--and only thee!
Oh, hasten hence! to His embraces hasten!
Sweet shall thy rest and safe thy shelter be.

Thou who unguarded ne'er hast left our threshold,
Alone must venture now an unknown way;
Yet, fear not! Footprints of an Infant Holy
Lie on thy path. Thou canst not go astray.

~ lines entitled To My Dying Eddy, January 16th. (Her little son Eddy passed away January 16, 1852.)

Note: Yesterday, a couple from our church, parents of four other children, received news that their unborn child was lifeless in the womb. The pregnancy was well along. Please remember the R. family in prayer. ~ mr

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Katy's Last Entry

I have no wish to choose. But I have come to the last page of my journal and, living or dying, shall write in this volume no more. It closes upon a life of much childishness and great sinfulness, whose record makes me blush with shame; but I no longer need to relieve my heart with seeking sympathy in its unconscious pages, nor do I believe it well to go on analyzing it as I have done. I have had large experience of both joy and sorrow; I have seen the nakedness and the emptiness, and I have seen the beauty and sweetness of life. What I have to say now, let me say to Jesus. What time and strength I used to spend in writing here, let me now spend in prayer for all men, for all sufferers, for all who are out of the way, for all whom I love. And their name is Legion, for I love everybody.

Yes, I love everybody! That crowning joy has come to me at last. Christ is in my soul; He is mine; I am as conscious of it as that my husband and children are mine; and His Spirit flows forth from mine in the calm peace of a river whose banks are green with grass and glad with flowers. If I die, it will be to leave a wearied and worn body and a sinful soul to go joyfully to be with Christ, to weary and to sin no more. If I live, I shall find much blessed work to do for Him. So living or dying, I shall be the Lord's.

~ Stepping Heavenward - Excerpt from Katy's final journal entry, dated June 30, 1860.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

More Love to Thee

Beautifully done. Unfortunately, the third stanza is left out; it was at the heart of why it was written. Lovely nonetheless.

More Love

More love to thee, O Christ, More love to thee!
Hear thou the prayer I make On bended knee;
This is my earnest plea, More love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, More love to thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, Sought peace and rest;
Now thee alone I see; Give what is best;
This all my prayer shall be, More love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, More love to thee!

Let sorrow do its work, Send grief and pain;
Sweet are thy messengers, Sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me, More love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, More love to thee!

Then shall my latest breath Whisper thy praise;
This be the parting cry My heart shall raise,
This still its prayer shall be, More love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, More love to thee! ~

~ Written in 1856 during a time of illness and sorrow over the loss of her two children. It was published in 1869. Other than Stepping Heavenward, it is her best known work.