Monday, September 20, 2010

Book review - Aunt Jane's Hero

Author:  Elizabeth Prentiss
Title: ~ Aunt Jane's Hero - The portrait of a Christ-centered home ~
       Can you imagine having "perfect happiness that cannot be wrecked?"  
It seems far-fetched, unrealistic even.  Yet if all of our hopes, dreams, and innermost longings are centered on Christ, the Creator, rather than the created - if the desire to become so intimate with Him that His very Spirit fills us and pours over onto the lives around us, our joy might indeed be full.  If we so choose, our happiness can be in the safekeeping of One who is infinitely trustworthy, unfathomably wise, and always loving.  How could we possibly be disappointed?
Aunt Jane's Hero, first published in 1871, is a beautiful and touching portrait of a one couple who dedicated their lives to doing just that.  This endearing piece of fiction illustrates just how much can be accomplished through the dedication, prayer, and perseverance of souls striving to live in that veritable heaven-on-earth: a home dedicated to following the will of Christ.
As the Authoress, in her preface the the book, wrote:
"Before, they were living to themselves: self, with its hopes, and promises, and dreams, still had hold of them - but then 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 they knew not what, nor how; but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions.  They were hardly willing to follow on so far, or to draw so nigh to Him.  Had they chosen for themselves, or their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His kingdom.  If they had halted anywhere - if He had taken off His hand, and let them stray back - what would they not have lost?  What forfeits in the morning of resurrection?  But He stayed them up, even against themselves.  Many a time their foot had well-nigh slipped; but He, in mercy, held them up;  now, even in this life, they know that all He did was done well.  It was good for them to suffer here, for they shall reign hereafter - to bear the cross below, for they shall wear the crown above;  and that not their will but His was done unto them."
This little volume has a fresh challenge, some new gem to impart, each time I read it over.  It chronicles the story of Horace and Maggie Wheeler, two Victorian-era newlyweds, alongside a memorable cast of peers and neighbors through the trials, the temptations, and the victories of their Christian walk.  The story weaves amusingly dated victorian wit, interesting sub-plots, and challenging, biblical insights into a tapestry of true beauty.  The character of Aunt Jane, an elderly widow whose selflessness, godly wisdom and charming, old-fashioned humor serves as an inspiration and mentor to the young couple, illustrates the true spirit of the Titus 2 woman.  
Aunt Jane's Hero is a book you'll want, like me, to read and re-read.  Each time you will be encouraged anew, and find a deeper understanding of the essence of the Christ-centered home.

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