Monday, September 1, 2014

Tidbits on married life from J. R. Miller

Some time ago, I came across a quote I liked from a work titled Home Making, published in 1882, by James Russell Miller. (I was tickled to learn that Miller, a Presbyterian pastor, was born and brought up in my ancestors' neck of the woods near Frankfort Springs, Pennsylvania, which, as you can see, is pretty rural and not an area I hear mentioned a lot.) Over the past few days I finally took the opportunity to read the full work, to see if I liked the entire book as much. Well, aside from a surprisingly practical and sweet section on household worship, it was largely what you'd expect from a book called Home Making from the 1880s . . . which is to say, lots of sentimental Victorian poetry and "edifying" stories to drive home his points. And since I have a pretty high tolerance for the old fashioned, you know it must've been slightly cloying!

Good news, though! I'm going to post the handful of share-worthy gems I collected from the book, so that you don't have to go hunting for them yourself. :-)

On marriage:

“The present duty is unselfish love. Each must forget self in devotion to the other. Each must blame self and not the other when anything goes wrong. There must be the largest and gentlest forbearance. Impatience may wreck all. A sharp word may retard for months the process of soul blending. There must be the determination on the part of both to make the marriage happy and to conquer everything that lies in the way. Then the very differences between the two lives will become their closest points of union. When they have passed through the process of blending, though it may for the time be painful and perilous, the result will be a wedded life of deep peace, quiet joy and inseparable affection."
“[Husband and wife] should read and study together, having the same line of thought, helping each other toward a higher mental culture. They should worship together, praying side by side, communing on the holiest themes of life and hope, and together carrying to God’s feet the burdens of their hearts for their children and for every precious object.” 

“Pride must have no place in wedded life. There must never be any standing upon dignity, or any nice calculation as to whose place it is to make the apology or to yield first to the other. True love knows no such casuistry; it seeks not its own; it delights in being foremost in forgiving and yielding.”

On hospitality:

“Then this large heartedness will impart its spirit to the home itself. A husband who is generous within his own doors will not be close and niggardly outside. The heart that is used always to be open at home cannot be carried shut through this suffering world. The prosperous home of a generous man sends many a blessing and comfort out to less favored homes. Every true home ought to be a help to a great many struggling lives. Every generous and large hearted man scatters many a comfort among the needy and the suffering as he passes through this world.
There is nothing lost by such scattering. No richer blessing can come upon a home than the benedictions of those who have been helped, who have been fed at its doors, or sheltered beneath its roof, or inspired by its cheer and kindly interest. There is no memorial that any man can make for himself in this world so lasting and so satisfying as that which a life of unselfish kindness and beneficence builds up.” 

And my favorite:

“... [A] wife’s ministry of mercy reaches outside her own doors. Every true home is an influence of blessing in the community where it stands [. . .] The ideal Christian home is a far reaching benediction.” 

  I pray to have a home like this someday!

No comments:

Post a Comment