Sunday, 15 January 2012

Thoughts For The Weary

My recent bookshelf trawl revealed this gem

DSCF3211“Thoughts for the Weary and The Sorrowful”

It came from my Mum – but Alexander Raleigh’s wife compiled this book from her late husband’s writing in 1882, and this copy is inscribed in the front “Lucy Playford 1883 from ACH” and the frontispiece says “Edinburgh 1882” – so this must be a very early edition. Below Lucy’s neat hand is written “C E Playford 1899”

The book has been obviously well-used – throughout its pages there are many pencilled notes- and little cuttings and snippets stuck in every available space. some have dates on them – 1890, 1899, 1927, 1943 - while other inclusions have added comments e.g. “from Minna, N. Nigeria”. I wonder how many Christians have kept this book on their shelf and dipped into it for encouragement and refreshment and words of comfort down the past 130 years?


We tend to think of stress and fatigue and overwork as maladies belonging to the 21st Century, and speak of these ills as if our generation invented them. But in truth, there have always been moments in life when a woman [or man] feels there is just too much to do, and no time to rest, and when the burdens are too heavy to bear.

The handwriting styles and choice of cuttings and poems [by Marianne Farningham, Miss Havergal and other ladies] suggest to me that this book has passed through a succession of female libraries. Did these women have men who were away in the Army in WW1 or WW2? A note in the back page suggests an owner who as a worker in the Methodist Central Hall in East Ham in the 1930’s.

marianne farningham


above; Farningham and Havergal

Last Tuesday I read one of the New Year Poems at our Ladies’ fellowship, and I shared this little cutting, which is a challenge to all of us [man or woman] who endeavours to do too much. There are pencil underlinings and I have included them…

“To gauge the extent of our strength and to refuse to draw on the whole of our reserve force, which is supplied for emergencies and not for habitual use, is sensible and profitable. Of course many women may protest that is is absolutely necessary for economic, social or even civil reasons that they should ‘get through’ all that they see is waiting to be done. But when a serious breakdown, with a long absence from the accustomed sphere of service results, they are apt to change their opinion.

Wisely regulated physical rest is essential, and the ill-treatment of the body, followed by prayers that we may be able to achieve the impossible through faith, is utter foolishness and no mark of saintship”

I love that final sentence. Sometimes if we are too weary, it is our own fault – may God give us wisdom to manage our time and energy in the best way, to achieve what HE wants, not what WE desire.


  1. A great post, very interesting Angela. Thanks.

    Sft x

  2. Just testing to see if I am able to comment yet.
    Jane x

  3. Wise words, indeed. God DID rest on the 7th day, and I think we should respect our limits too. Overdoing to the point of exhaustion is not a sign of "holiness". He does want us to take care of our "temples of the Holy Spirit".
    I'd love to read that book. :-)

  4. Hello Angela, I hope you don't mind me being here. I found you through Floss. That passage is so apt for me at the moment!Re the commenting problem, I changed my browser from IE to Google Chrome and can comment without problems....bit of a nuisance though.

    1. Hi Nana Go-Go, welcome to my crazy blog.
      I think I am going to have to shift permanently to Chrome as IE is being such a pain.

      So glad that the passage resonates with other people too.

      Thanks for everyone's comments x


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