Saturday, March 03, 2018

My Victorian Year #9

This week I finished Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. This one was a reread for me. I liked it so much more the second time. Sometimes you just have to be in the right mood for a book. And sometimes an author has to grow on you. I read Mary Barton before I discovered I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Elizabeth Gaskell.
Our Lord Jesus was not above letting folk minister to Him, for He knew how happy it makes one to do aught for another. It's the happiest work on earth.
The firm faith which her mind had no longer power to grasp, had left its trail of glory; for by no other word can I call the bright happy look which illumined the old earth-worn face. Her talk, it is true, bore no more that constant earnest reference to God and His holy Word which it had done in health, and there were no deathbed words of exhortation from the lips of one so habitually pious.
And death came to her as a welcome blessing, like as evening comes to the weary child. Her work here was finished, and faithfully done.
If they've been worthy to be heartily loved while alive, they'll not be forgotten when dead; it's against nature. And we need no more be upbraiding ourselves for letting in God's rays of light upon our sorrow, and no more be fearful of forgetting them, because their memory is not always haunting and taking up our minds, than you need to trouble yourself about remembering your grandfather's face, or what the stars were like—you can't forget if you would, what it's such a pleasure to think about.
"Let my trespasses be unforgiven, so that I may have vengeance for my son's murder." There are blasphemous actions as well as blasphemous words: all unloving, cruel deeds, are acted blasphemy.
He fell to the narrative now afresh, with all the interest of a little child. He began at the beginning, and read on almost greedily, understanding for the first time the full meaning of the story. He came to the end; the awful End. And there were the haunting words of pleading. He shut the book, and thought deeply. All night long, the Archangel combated with the Demon.
"God be merciful to us sinners.—Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us!" And when the words were said, John Barton lay a corpse in Mr. Carson's arms.
Well! God does not judge as hardly as man, that's one comfort for all of us!
But still, you see, one's often blind to many a thing that lies right under one's nose, till it's pointed out.
You can never work facts as you would fixed quantities, and say, given two facts, and the product is so and so. God has given men feelings and passions which cannot be worked into the problem, because they are for ever changing and uncertain.
If fellow-creatures can give nought but tears and brave words, we take our trials straight from God, and we know enough of His love to put ourselves blind into His hands. You say our talk has done no good. I say it has.
I see the view you take of things from the place where you stand. I can remember that, when the time comes for judging you; I shan't think any longer, does he act right on my views of a thing, but does he act right on his own.
There are stages in the contemplation and endurance of great sorrow, which endow men with the same earnestness and clearness of thought that in some of old took the form of Prophecy.
To those who have large capability of loving and suffering, united with great power of firm endurance, there comes a time in their woe, when they are lifted out of the contemplation of their individual case into a searching inquiry into the nature of their calamity, and the remedy (if remedy there be) which may prevent its recurrence to others as well as to themselves.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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