Friday, October 14, 2016

A Treasure Find

Last weekend after a very busy week, we decided to spend some time together walking through a nearby antique mall (as in, it's only about 5 minutes from our house.) It has changed a fair bit since we were last there with many more booths and antiques added. We had a lot of fun going through it together!

There was much to admire, some things to wonder about ('what in the world is this?!'), and a few treasures found their way home with us. Dad and Mom got an old three-pane window that they plan to put black-and-white photos in, and I found two books. The first was this one . . .


I already have an antique copy of In His Steps, but whenever I see favorite antique books that are reasonably priced (which is not very often as they are getting rarer), I like to get them. If I am ever blessed with a family of my own, I would love to be able to pass these books on to my children. If I am not, there are so many others that the books could be shared with.

While I was glad to find this book, of the two, the one I was thrilled to discover was this one (and for only $1.50!) . . .


It is now the oldest book in my collection with the copyright date of 1833 (the same year the first edition of the book was published - who knows, maybe this is a first edition!) Unfortunately, it is missing 21 pages near the beginning so I need to see if I can find the book online and print those out.

The book, written by Harvey Newcomb, is titled Letters to a Sister and is literally, letters to his younger sister. When she was left orphaned, she went and lived with him under his care until at some point, she left to go live with strangers (I am unsure why.) These letters were written then with the purpose to help her in her walk with the Lord, since he was no longer near her.

The letters are all instructional in the Christian life (save for a few on health/lifestyle which are a bit interesting given the time period :) and are overall, so good. From the love of the Scriptures and reading them, meditating on God's Word, studying God's word, prayer, denying self, service to others, the fruits of the Spirit, self-examination, and much more.

Here are several excerpts that stood out to me when reading it the other evening (emphasis in the original) . . .

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"Searching [the Scriptures] is a difficult and laborious work. To induce us to engage in it, we must have a strong desire for something valuable. There is, in this blessed book, a treasure of sufficient value to call forth this desire. It contains the revealed will of God. All who love God will be anxious to know his will. They will make it the rule of their conduct. 'Thy word,' says the Psalmist, 'is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.' 

"The will of God, as made known in this world, is like a lantern, which sheds a light on our path, and directs the steps of our feet. The sincere Christian will then search after a knowledge of God's will, with more eagerness than he would search for hidden treasures of gold and silver. He will set his heart to the work. This is what God commands . . . To set our hearts to any work, is to go about it in earnest, with all the energies of our souls . . . David says, 'Thy word have I hid in my heart.' But mark the reason of his conduct. Why did he hide God's word in his heart? He explains his motive: 'that I might not sin against thee.'"

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"When you open this blessed book, let this always be the sincere inquiry of your heart: 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' Come to it with this childlike spirit of obedience, and you will not fail to learn the will of God. But when you have learned your duty in God's Word, do it without delay."

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"From the precious truths and promises which we have been considering, we infer the duty of contentment in every situation of life. If God directs all our ways, and has promised to give us just what he sees we need, we surely ought to rest satisfied with what we have; for we know it is just what the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, and unbounded goodness, sees fit to give us. 

"But the apostle Paul enforces this duty with direct precepts. 'But godliness with contentment, is great gain.' 'Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.' ' Be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' Here he gives the promise of God, as a reason for contentment . . . The child of God should cast all his care and burden upon him; and when he has made suitable efforts to accomplish what he considers a good object, he must commit the whole to the Lord, with a perfect willingness that his will should be done, even to the utter disappointment of his own hopes."

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Aren't these excerpts good? I haven't read much of the book yet and am looking forward to reading it in its entirety!

16 comments:

  1. Terrific finds! I love collecting old books too. It is always such a treat to find one that is especially unique. Thank you for sharing excerpts from "Letters to a Sister". I had never hear of that title, but it sounds like s treasure.

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    1. How fun that you love collecting antique books, too, Sarah! There are so many wonderful treasures to be found. And yes, it always is a treat to find one!

      You're welcome for sharing! I hadn't heard of this book before either, though after looking at it, I think I had read a reprint of one of his books that included excerpts from this one.

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  2. I love to collect old books, I loved the passages that you shared from the book "letters to a sister", I have never heard of this one, a wonderful find.
    Sue

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    1. That's neat that you love collecting old books as well, Sue! Even outside of the contents, there's just something special about an old book.

      I am glad that you liked the excerpts from this one! It was indeed a wonderful find.

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  3. What a shame that pages are missing from the book. I do hope you will be able to find thm online. There is nothing quite like an old and well loved book, so much nicer than an electronic one. What a pretty cloth in your photos!

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    1. It is, Elizabeth! I am glad all the other ones are there, though, and are still readable and tightly bound. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of another blog reader who e-mailed me, I now have an online source for them. :)

      I so agree! I have a hard time reading books online anyway. It seems I can never grasp the contents quite as thoroughly as I can with a book in hand.

      Thanks for your comment on the cloth! I embroidered that quite a few years ago. :)

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  4. Sarah sounds like you found a treasure in the book "letters to a sister"! Thanks for sharing some with us. They are so uplifting and what a brother he was, reaching out to teach his sister Gods word and encourage her to learn and follow it. Hope you can find the missing pages. God bless! Linda

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    1. It is indeed a treasure, Linda! You're welcome for sharing. :) I am glad that you enjoyed them, and what you shared about the brother is the same as of my same thoughts.

      As I shared in a comment reply right before this one, I now have an online source to the missing pages thanks to the thoughtfulness of another blog reader who e-mailed me. So now I'll be able to read them!

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  5. Oh, Sarah, what fabulous finds! Please, please share more as you read on. This has been such a blessing to me. And, like Linda and Elizabeth, I hope and pray that you find the missing pages too. I love old books: the care and expertise with which they were physically made, and, most especially, the wisdom so often contained therein. Thank you, as always, for being a sister of encouragement to me.
    With love and blessings from Ireland,
    Anne
    xx

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    1. They were, Anne! As I read more in the book, I hope to share more here. I am so glad that these excerpts were a blessing to you!

      Thanks to the thoughtfulness of another blog reader, I have a online source for the missing pages! She found the book online and emailed me a link.

      That is wonderful that you love old books as well! There is just something special about them, and yes, the wisdom often found within them is such an encouragement and blessing.

      Thanks so much for your sweet words. :) And likewise, your comments are always a blessing to me!

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  6. I would love to know more about the faithful hands that held those books...I hope they found comfort in the pages. They are in good hands, now!
    The writer's advice is serious and true ~ they are not the 'fluffy' Christian books you see nowadays. The deeper aspects to faith do not change.
    I am glad you found a special treasure! : )

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    1. I know, Alex! I often wish that as well. Especially the ones that have inscriptions in front of them with the recipient's name and messages from the giver.

      Yes, the advice certainly is. That is one thing I have found about old books like this is that they are so often very deep, compelling and convicting. And many times, much moreso than their modern counterparts which as you shared, sadly are often just 'fluffy' (that's a good word to describe them! :)

      Thank you! I am, too. :)

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  7. Great finds, Sarah! I love visiting antique shope and searching for old books too. I hope to find a George MacDonald original one day, although, I think that may be a hard one to find. Beautiful excerpts you've quoted. Hope you can find the missing pages. ♥

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    1. They were, Anne! I can just imagine how enjoyable your antique shop visits are. :) Wish I could join you sometime!

      I don't think I have ever seen a George MacDonald book at an antique store before. Sometimes with those hard to find authors, I have resorted to looking on ebay or at the online store abebooks. We have found some wonderful (and often inexpensive) treasures that way.

      The missing pages have been 'found' now thanks to a thoughtful reader who e-mailed me a link to the book!

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  8. Hello Sarah,

    I've been so busy wrapping things up from summer and now getting ready for winter I haven't spent much time reading my favorite blogs. I am so glad I took some time this morning to catch up on yours. Thanks for sharing your insight, adventures, treasures, photography and yourself with us.

    Blessings to you and your lovely family,
    Mrs.B

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    1. I am glad that you enjoyed catching up on my blog, Mrs. B! You're welcome for sharing everything. :)

      I hope you and your family are doing well and blessings to you, too!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)