Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Bruised Horace
How shall the young direct their way?
What light shall be their perfect guide?
Thy Word,O Lord, will safely lead,
If in its wisdom they confide.
~~From Psalm 119:9-6
"Horace Wheeler had stood up years before, in the little village church, and confessed Christ before men. He was then not much more than a boy, and had very indefinite notions as to what this step implied and involved." These are the opening words of the third chapter, where Mrs. Prentiss slowly and carefully unfolds the character of the principal figure of this captivating novel. You'll understand Horace better now; You'll get a better "feel" for him. You'll learn that his godly mother has died and that his father, "a grave, hard, good man, prayed for, but rarely wrote to him." You'll also learn that he was an only child. Alone in New York, trying to establish himself in his law profession, you'll understand why his deceased mother's close friend, Aunt Jane, is almost a mother to him.
When you read this episode of the book, I have little doubt that you'll be amused by Horace's reaction to the outcome of his "proposal" encounter with Georgiana. You also will be quite interested in his thought processes when he comes upon a group of girls at Aunt Jane's the following evening.
As you and I reflect on Horace's views of life and of young women, it becomes rather clear where his views originated. I was struck by his lack of understanding of true Christianity, and in particular his neglect of Scriptures, so that "all he knew of religion was what his own meagre experience had taught him, and all he knew of young women he had learned in society." So, as a sneak preview, you might guess what happened. He ran into a truly godly girl at Aunt Jane's that night and not only didn't recognize her as such, but he had no clue of its significance. Unfortunately, he had no knowledge of what to look for in a girl--at least in a biblical sense. So he missed out, at least at this point.
What can we learn from this? I would say that this is an encouragement (or warning) to us to encourage our children in the Word of God, especially if they're still in our home and under our authority. How many woes we may be sparing them if we do!