Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Other side of Their Sufferings

For Horace, if his experience had not been identical with that of Maggie, had learned that to love as an idolater is not to love as a Christian. And while he was full of thoughtful, tender services, and watched over her as he had never done before, and had entered into closer union with her than even that of the marriage tie, for there is no love like that which unites those who live to Christ, he knew, and she knew, that he was no longer a slave to her, as she was no longer a slave to him. The baptism of fire had purified their souls, and they had come out from it, hand in hand, and with songs to sing to other ears. It is true they were misjudged by those who had suffered less and learned less; but who has passed through this difficult complex journey of life unassailed, and nobly understood?

[So we see the results of the sufferings of Horace and Maggie with both having come back from the threshold of death.] ~ from Aunt Jane's Hero.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Teach Your Little Eyes

 "Thomas and his mother fighted together today and she couldn't whip him he ran away so."

"How came you to know that, Susy?

"The door was open and I was going by, and I heard a noise, and so I stopped."

"That was not right, my darling. You must teach your little eyes not to look at things they ought not to see. Didn't you feel all the time that it was not quite proper for you to stop and watch in that way? Always make it a rule never to look at anything, no matter what, if you have even a little bit of a feeling that you ought not. Your eyes are your own, and you must teach them."

"I will, mamma," said Susy. "And I am glad you're my mamma. I'm glad Thomas' mamma isn't mine. She didn't pray to God to make him good; she fighted with him. 

~ From Little Susy Stories

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Writing of "More Love to Thee"

"More Love to Thee" was written by Mrs. Prentiss during a time of great personal sorrow, following the loss of two children in a short period of time. For weeks Elizabeth was inconsolable. In her diary she wrote, "empty hands, a worn-out, exhausted body, and unutterable longings to flee from a world that has so many sharp experiences."

During this period of grief, Mrs. Prentiss began meditating upon the story of Jacob in the Old Testament. She noted how God met him in a very special way during his moments of sorrow and need. Elizabeth prayed earnestly that she too might have a similar experience. While she was meditating and praying one evening, these four stanzas were born--words that have since become a universal prayer for devout believers everywhere.

~ From Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions, by Kenneth W. Osbeck.

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 seek, 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, come grief or 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!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Something for Christ (3)

Something for Thee! On bended knee,
Unseen, unknown by mortal eye,
My soul for other souls shall plead--
As Thou for me didst intercede.
Thy love can own a tear, a sigh,
Something for Thee!

Something for Thee! Yet if for me
It is a useless, crippled hand,
Let perfect patience mark my way:
Since they who silently obey
Are doing as Thy wisdom planned,
Something for Thee!

~ from Golden Hours: Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Something for Christ (2)

Something for Thee! I do not see
A coming battle for my King,
I only see a little cup--
With water haste to fill it up:
Thy love will own this trivial thing,
Something for Thee!

Something for Thee! From self I flee,
What wilt Thou, Master, from me still?
With eager heart I stand and wait,
Longing for work, or small or great:
Let me be doing as Thy will,
Something for Thee!

~ "Something for Christ" from Golden Hours: Heart-Hymns for the Christian Life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Something for Christ (1)

Something for Thee! Lord, let this be
Thy choice for me from day to day;
The life I live it is not mine,
Thy will, my will, have made it Thine!
Oh let me do in Thine own way,
Something for Thee!

Something for Thee! What shall it be?
Speak, Lord, Thy waiting servant hears,
Is it to do some mighty deed?
Is it some multitude to feed?
Is it to do mid pains and fears,
Something for Thee?

~ "Something for Christ" from Golden Hours: Heart-Hymns for the Christian Life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Four Steps to Peace

I have just been to see Mrs. Campbell. In answer to my routine lamentations, she took up a book and read me what was called, as nearly as I can remember, "Four steps that lead to peace." 

"Be desirous of doing the will of another, rather than thine own."

"Choose always to have less, rather than more."

"Seek always the lowest place, and to be inferior to every one."

"Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in thee."

[Stepping Heavenward, June 15, 1838 entry.]

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Sum of the Gospel

Maggie helps her brother-in-law Tom to understand just what the gospel is:

"Well, I am not going to stand out against such prayers. I'm as ignorant as a heathen, and somebody will have a hard time pulling me along. But if you and Horace will help me, I will begin."

"To begin what, dear Tom?"

"To be good."

"But you can't be good, and we can't help you to be. All you've got to do you can do now, sitting on that chair."

"And what is that?"

“Give yourself to Christ. Then ask Him to give you repentance and faith, and everything else you need.”

“But I thought it took a long time, and that people had to read and pray, and get wretched, and then at last they would feel their sins roll off their backs in a great bundle, and go on ever after relieved.”

“But that is not true. The first thing is to believe in Christ, and give yourself to Him, sins and all...”:

Aunt Jane's Hero by EP. Read this wonderful fictional account and see how God used Maggie's words to bring Tom to the point where he did indeed find himself in full possession of the "imperishable riches of Christ." ~ mr]

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"It is Easy to Forgive When One Loves"

From Katy's journal entry dated June 2, 1835 in the book Stepping Heavenward. Her report on this important conversation  between herself and Dr. Ernest Elliott immediately after she had been rude to him in some comments:

Another pained, disappointed look made me begin to recollect myself. I was sorry, oh! so sorry, for my anger and rudeness. I ran after him into the hall, my eyes full of tears, holding out both hands, which he took in both of his.

"Don't go until you have forgiven me for being so angry!" I cried. "Indeed, Dr. Elliott, though you may not be able to believe it, I am trying to do right all the time!"

"I do believe it," he said earnestly.

"Then tell me that you forgive me!"

"If I once begin, I shall be tempted to tell something else," he said, looking me through and through with those great dusky eyes. "And I will tell it," he went on, his grasp on my hands growing firmer. "It is easy to forgive when one loves." I pulled my hands away and burst out crying again.

"Oh, Dr. Elliott, this is dreadful!" I said. "You do not, you cannot love me! You are so much older than I am! So grave and silent! You are not in earnest!

"I am only too much so," he said and went quietly out.

[Ernest and Katy were married on January 16, 1837. :)]

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Go and Tell Jesus

Oh aching heart, oh restless brain,
Go and tell Jesus of thy pain;
He knows thee, loves thee, and His eye
Beams with divinest sympathy.

Go and tell Jesus; human ear
Thy mournful story may not hear;
Keep nothing back, for thee He cares,
His patient heart thy burden bears. 

Go and tell Jesus; well He knows
The human heart; its pangs, its throes;
He will not fail Thee, He will be
Friend, Comforter, and Peace to thee.

Go and tell Jesus; never yet,
Did He a breaking heart forget;
Press closely to His bleeding side,
There, there thou shalt be satisfied.

~ From Golden Houses: Heart-Hymns of
the Christian Life.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do We See Plants Growing?

January 1, 1842, Katy went to visit Mrs. Campbell and recorded some of their conversation: [From Stepping Heavenward]

"I have a great many little trials, but they don't do me a bit of good. Or, at least, I don't see that they do."

"No, we never see plants growing," she said.

"And do you really think then, that perhaps I am growing, though unconsciously?"

"I know you are, dear child. There can't be life without growing."

This comforted me, I came home, praying all the way and striving to commit myself entirely to Him in whose school I sit as a learner. Oh, that I were a better scholar! But I do not half learn my lessons, I am heedless and inattentive, and I forget what is taught. Perhaps this is the reason that weighty truths float before my mind's eye at times but do not fix themselves there.

[Can't we all identify in this as we do so much else insofar as Katy is concerned? ~ mr]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Eventful Train Ride

While Providence supports,
Let saints securely dwell;
That hand, which bears all nature up,
Shall guide his children well.
~~Philip Doddridge

An encounter. Maybe that would have been a better title for Chapter 6. But the title I gave to the companion's corresponding chapter will do well enough, since it was an encounter that made the train ride eventful. We saw Horace get wonderfully saved in the last episode and at the beginning of this one, he had regained most of his strength and vitality after his affliction. He had become both fatherless and motherless upon the death of his father, and was returning home on a train after that event. It is here that the author introduced two of the principals of this story: Annie and Maggie. I love the way Mrs. Prentiss wove these two young ladies into Horace's consciousness as he sat near them on his ride home. Actually, there were four young ladies sitting together and chatting at first, but from the mind of our young hero, we watched while two of them got off at the stop before his, and we also took note that he was relieved to see which two remained. We also had opportunity to see his chivalry and then experienced his befuddlement when one of the remaining two young ladies recognized him from some time in the past:

"Who is she? Where can I have met her?" he vainly asked himself. But he had presence of mind enough not to ask her, and he did not pretend to conceal that he was glad to see her, trusting soon to learn, in conversation, who she really was.

But he didn't find out who she was. He only pretended to know and that was a blunder on his part. By the time the chapter ended, with all three of them getting off at the same stop, they all parted with Horace bewildered and confused. You'll have to read it to see it all unfold. It's really quite amusing, I'd say.

But what did I see in this chapter? More than anything else, I see the providence of our God. Not only in the encounter itself, but also in all that led up to it. I see God ordering the steps of this young man who had just recently returned to Him from captivity by the world. And even though it ends with Horace in a state of bewilderment, we leave it knowing that we had been given just a taste of big things to come.

What do you know of God's providence in your life? Is He ordering your steps, even in times of confusion and uncertainty? We'll see what He does in the life of our hero as the plot progresses. His life, albeit fictitious, has been written in this precious little book, authored by one who knew firsthand of the workings of a loving Savior in the life of His children. Our lives have been written out by this same Savior and we should face our futures knowing that all that He ordains is right, and He holds our books in His hand.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Am I My Brother's Keeper?"

Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes,      
I owe him love and care;
The word of counsel and of cheer;
The power of earnest prayer.

When fierce temptation shakes his soul,
My strength should be his stay;
When flattering voices lure to sin,
My form should bar his way.

When sickness lays him low, my time,
My faithful ministries,
My health, my courage, all I have,
Should patiently be his.

And when his day of life grows dark,
And tears his eye bedim,
Mine is the heart to feel his grief,
To sympathize with him.

My brother’s keeper, then, am I;
O Christ, within me shine,
That mine may be the sacred joy
To help him to be Thine.

~ From Heart-Hymns of the Christian Life

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thoughts About Katy's Brother

A few of Katy's thoughts about her brother James:

"I have often thought that she would be a rare woman who could win him; he is handsome and talented and attractive; everybody is fascinated by him, everybody caresses him; and yet he has turned his back on the world that has dealt so kindly with him and given himself, as Jonathan Edwards says, 'clean away to Christ!'" ~ Stepping Heavenward, January 1, 1842 entry

[So it's the latter half of this description which makes him a rare treasure, wouldn't you agree? ~ mr]

Friday, May 25, 2012

The King is Coming

Upon writing an article on education for a magazine, Mrs Prentiss opened with a discourse on the birth of a new baby...

The King is at hand. Heralds have been announcing his advent in language incomprehensible to man, but which woman understands as she does her alphabet. A dainty basket, filled with mysteries half hidden, half displayed; soft little garments, folded away in ranks and files; here delicate lace and cambric; there down and feathers and luxury. The King has come. Limp and pink, a nothing and nobody, yet welcomed and treasured as everything and everybody, his wondrous reign begins. His kingdom is the world. His world is peopled by two human beings. Yesterday, they were a boy and girl. Today, they are man and woman, and are called father and mother.

Their new King is imperious. He has his own views as to the way he shall live and move and have his being. He has his own royal table, at which he presides in royal pomp. His waiting-maid is refined and educated—his superior in every way. He takes his meals from her when he sees fit; if he cannot sleep, he will not allow her to do so. His treasurer is a man whom thousands look up to, and reverence, but, in this little world, he is valued only for the supplies he furnishes, the equipages he purchases, the castle in which young royalty dwells. The picture is not unpleasing, however; the slaves have the best of it, after all. 

The reign is not very long. Two years later, there is a descent from the throne, to make room for the Queen. She is a great study to him. He puts his fingers into her eyes to learn if they are little blue lakelets. He grows chivalrous and patronizing. So the world of home goes on. The King and Queen give place to new Kings and Queens, but, though dethroned, they are still royal; their wants are forestalled, they are fed, clothed, instructed, but above all beloved. When did their education begin? At six months? A year? Two years? No; it began when they began; the moment they entered the little world they called theirs. Every touch of the mother’s hand, every tone of her voice, educates her child. It never remembers a time when she was not its devoted lover, servant, vassal, slave.  Many an ear enjoys, is soothed by music, while ignorant of its laws. So the youngest child in the household is lulled by uncomprehended harmonies from its very birth. Affections group round and bless it, like so many angels; it could not analyze or comprehend an angel, but it could feel the soft shelter of his wings.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Great Gain in Great Loss

Jesus, my all in all thou art;
My rest in toil, my ease in pain,
The medicine of my broken heart,
In war my peace, in loss my gain...
~~Charles Wesley

 So now it's time for another segment of reflections stimulated by my beloved companion to Aunt Jane's Hero. I originally posted most of the following thoughts on my Scraps of Glory blog in February of 2008. Goodness, how time flies. Here it is more than four years later and the same thoughts are still as fresh and new as they were then in my opinion. I have to say that the book itself, well over a century old, is still fresh and new to anybody who would pick it up to read. How wise Mrs. Prentiss was to give us all this in the form of fiction! Now, these thoughts from Chapter 5:

". . .The Young Men's Christian Association opened its arms to him; he became interested in the once-despised Mission School, and once or twice his voice was heard at the weekly prayer-meeting which he never used to attend. He felt, at times, that he had gained through loss; that he was a happier, better man; and yet a voice often whispered in his ear; that next to the love of God he needed the love of a Christian woman."

Horace? Is this speaking of Horace? Yes, a different Horace as you can clearly see. These final lines of the chapter are evidence that the most wonderful thing that could possibly happen to any wandering young man had occurred--he had been brought back to his God. In Horace's case, it had happened as a result of the heavy hand of divine providence. The episode is a stirring account of how our young hero, in the midst of great loss, came into possession of great gain, even Christ. We stand in awe, as if this fictional character were someone we knew.

One night, during prayer time at our church, someone asked prayer for their wayward son. At that point I took a mental excursion around the room and counted four families who have either a son or a daughter who has strayed. As I thought about them, I thought of Horace and what happened to him in this chapter. I don't wish on any of these young people that they'd experience a loss such as the one Horace endured; but, oh, I pray they'll lay hold of his gain. Then, my thoughts went even further to ponder whether any of these parents would just as soon see God have hard dealings with their wandering ones if it's the only way. It's a tough call--to an area of prayer where any parent would tread with trepidation.

[Note: I've intentionally not mentioned what Horace's great loss was. Remember, these posts are little prods to get you to read the book! ~mr]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Susy's Teacher Faith

And now the little angel Faith opened his golden book and began to read.

“I have taught Susy that there is another world beside this, and I have told her that is her real home, and what a beautiful and happy one it is. I have told her a great deal about Jesus and the holy angels. I do not know much myself. I am not very old. But if I stay here six years longer I shall grow wiser, and I will teach Susy all I learn, and we will pray together every morning and every night till at last she loves the Lord Jesus with all her heart and soul and mind and strength.”

Then Susy’s papa and mamma looked at each other and smiled, and they both said: “Oh, beautiful Angel! Never leave her!” and the angel answered: “I will stay with her as long as she lives, and will never leave her till I leave her at the very door of heaven!”

[ Typing this through tears. I hope and pray that the "angel" Faith would stay with my children and grandchildren all the way through the gates of heaven. ~mr]

Image: Painting by Arthur John Elsey

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How Great Thou Art

I don't know if I've heard a rendition of this wonderful hymn that I've enjoyed so much.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poor Amelia

 "I had made up my mind to it, and I know it must come. I want to see Dr. Cabot. Do you think he would be willing to visit me after my neglecting him so?"
"I am sure he would," I cried.
"I want to ask him if he thinks I was a Christian at that time--you know when. If I was, then I need not be so afraid to die."
"But, dear Amelia, what he thinks is very little to the purpose. The question is not whether you ever gave yourself to God, but whether you are His now. But I ought not to talk to you. Dr. Cabot will know just what to say."
"No, but I want to know what you thought about it."
I felt distressed, as I looked at her wasted dying figure, to be called on to help decide such a question. But I knew what I ought to say and said it:
"Don't look back to the past; it is useless. Give yourself to Christ now."
She shook her head.
"I don't know how," she said. "Oh, Katy, pray to God to let me live long enough to get ready to die. I have led a worldly life. I shudder at the bare though of dying; I must have time."
"Don't wait for time," I said with tears. "Get ready now, this minute. A thousand years would not make you more fit to die."

[~ from Katy's January 20, 1843 entry. It is good she knew what she ought to say to the dying Amelia. I hope each of us will know what to say to any Amelia who may be at death's door or even before such a time.~mr]

Friday, April 6, 2012

It Is Finished

(Image Credit:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Susy's Teacher Aunt Patience

It was now the turn of Aunt Patience. Her book had covers wrought by her own hands, in grave and gay colors well mingled together.

“When I first came here,” said she, “Susy used to cry a great deal whenever she was hurt or punished. When she was sick she was very hard to please. When she sat down to learn to sew and to read and to write, she would break her thread in anger, or throw her book on the floor, or declare she never could learn. But now she has left off crying when she is hurt, and tries to bear the pain quietly. When she is sick she does not fret or complain, but takes her medicine without a word. When she is sewing she does not twitch her thread into knots, and when she is writing she writes slowly and carefully. I have rocked her to sleep a thousand times. I have been shut up in the closet with her again and again. And I hope I have done her some good and taught her some useful lessons.”

“Indeed you have, Aunt Patience!” said Susy’s papa. “But Susy is not yet perfect. We shall need you six years longer.”

~ From "Little Susy's Six Teachers"

[We never cease needing lessons from Aunt Patience. ~ mr.]