Saturday, June 30, 2007
A Gem and Some Nuggets
There is a book that is a choice gem to me, with many nuggets of riches in its pages. From my standpoint, its author is like a lily among thorns in the rankings of female writers of any century. Aunt Jane's Hero is the gem and Elizabeth Prentiss is the one who produced the nuggets. Not as well known as her other great work, Stepping Heavenward, this nineteenth century narrative is a distinct and profound ministry to those who are waiting for God's will in marriage, those soon to be married, and those who have recently married. I know of none other like it.
I've written a companion to this book, and must admit that I've struggled with this project more than any other. Someday I hope to again offer it to the public, but for some reason I'm vaguely unsettled about this and that, so it's currently undergoing more revisions. It's so much a part of me; perhaps I hate to let it go. Pray for me about this, please.
I wanted to explain all that as an introduction to what I'm about to do here at Scraps. I'd like to take each of the twenty chapters of the AJH book (and of the corresponding companion) and do a post expressing what I see as the primary nugget in that chapter. I'll title each post to coincide with the chapter title in my companion. I can't really say how often I'll do this, but it will probably take us at least well into the fall is my guess. (After all, it's not the only topic I want to be talking about .) I hope this undertaking will whet the appetite of other folks for the Prentiss book and maybe even help me to pull everything together in my own mind.
I've been married for thirty-six years, but the words spoken by the principals of this story still prick, lift, and gently touch my heart. I think they would yours too.
So, as a foretaste of other valuable chunks to follow, here is a piece from the preface of the AJH book. It's a brief glimpse at a portrait of a Christ-centered home; indeed, it's a glance at the Christian life.
They were living to themselves: self, with its hopes, and promises, and dreams, still had hold of them; but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for contrition, and He sent them sorrow; they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; they had asked to be dead to the world, and he slew all their living hopes; they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by "as a refiner of silver," till they should reflect His image; they had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He reached it to them, it lacerated their hands. They had asked they knew not what, nor how; but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions...