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]