Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All Them Beautiful Texts

A selection from a letter by the beloved hymn writer, Francis Ridley Havergal, to a pastor friend and his wife. She wrote of the joy that she had in teaching a 90 year-old blind woman, Mrs. Lane, verses from the Bible and the good these texts did for the old lady. Miss Havergal expressed what the old woman, who lived alone, said to her about these verses. What power and comfort there is in the Word of God! The letter was written in 1871.

"Oh dear, Miss, this summer's gone too quick for me; it made the time pass so pleasant, having all them beautiful texts. I couldn't tell you how it's passed away the time.

There's 'I am poor and needy, but the Lord thinketh upon me.' There's a many as don't think about a poor old blind body like me, but the Lord does; and that must be for me, Miss, because I'm very poor, Miss, just like it says in the verse.

And then there's 'When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee.' That's my companion, I call it, Miss; you wouldn't believe what company that is to me, and it seems to take me through all my little troubles of every day; I don't think that's been out of my mind an hour since you learnt it me.

Ah! I know what came next – 'Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.' That was right, wasn't it, Miss? I couldn't say it rightly at first, but I've got it faster than any now, since you taught it me over again; that's always my comfort when I feel so sinking like, and I think perhaps it's the end coming near, and then He'll love me unto the end.

But that last one I learnt – 'Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty' – that is beautiful; oh, it is a beauty! My poor eyes, Miss, that can't see you, it says they shall see Him; to think of that now! Well, to be sure now!"

And the dear old woman's voice lowered, murmuring on in broken exclamations of happy anticipation, till she seemed almost to forget her visitor's presence.

Letters by the Late Frances Ridley Havergal, edited by her sister, Maria V. G. Havergal, first published in 1885, reprinted by Kessinger Publishing’s Legacy Reprints, pp. 105-06.

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