“Lighted Horizon’’ by Edith Snyder Pedersen, Wm. H. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1940, 191 pages
“Lighted Horizon” is the title of a truly fascinating story involving three sisters as the main characters. They are Helen, describes as pretty and dark, Judith, the family “scape-goat”, and Ruth, blond and selfish, the youngest of the three.
Although this book centers about three young ladies our young people must not conclude that this book has interest only for the girls. For the lives of these three sisters are intertwined with those of three young men, who enter their lives very naturally. The greatest feature of the book lies in the marvelous portrayal of the various characters. Surely the authoress excels in this respect. Though the three sisters were very different in respect to their characters, nevertheless the story pictures very strikingly that not one of the three could find true happiness without the living Christ. Throughout the story this main thought is brought to the foreground.
The life of Judith depicts the awful consequences of married life without Christ. Although she and her youthful husband, Alan Varley, find life seemingly pleasant enough at first, and, although both of them possessed a great deal of so-called “righteousness”, nevertheless they soon found themselves leading a life of ever deepening sinfulness. It becomes apparent that Alan especially is very weak morally. He submits to the evil of an excessive use of intoxicating liquor and fails consequently in his responsibilities as a father and a husband. Their superficial joy made way to a realization of hopelessness and a tragic recourse to a “life in the gutter”. Judy seems self-sufficient in her own private world of external goodness and morality at first, but, when she realizes the truth of the fact that “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven” her heart is rent with sorrow and distress. She is then brought to the realization that heaven’s joy and peace is not from below but from above. Her infant daughter, Bernice, is the instrument in the hands of the Lord that brings her to the realization of these things. We are then told how that the mighty power of God’s grace enters their lives, knitting them together as they had never thought possible before. Alan, brought back as a firebrand plucked out of the burning fire, and reunited with his small family, tastes, by the grace of God, a little bit of heaven with them. The story goes on to depict the gracious workings of faith in the lives of Helen and Ruth also. Certainly the authoress is successful in her attempt to picture our God as a might fortress, and the tremendous comfort Christ affords to all of the sisters, even though they differ radically in respect to their characters. This story is integrated with a strong plot, in which you will lose yourself very easily. I’m sure.
However, 1 would warn our young people to beware of a wrong presentation of the nature of saving faith in this book. The writer proceeds as though faith is the basis of the salvation of the characters portrayed. Saving faith is never the basis of our salvation, but is the divine means
whereby the God of our complete salvation imparts this salvation to His people.
The approach of the authoress is time and again Arminian. If you will critically bear in mind this approach, and the fact that you have to do here with fiction, I can heartily recommend this book to our young people for recreational reading. Let’s remember that the main object of the book is to impress upon the minds of youthful Christian readers the fact that under no circumstances can true happiness be obtained except it be in the way of faith in Christ and His redeeming work.
Material we would recommend for more serious study:
- William Smith, LL. D., The Old Testament History, and, The New Testament History. Both of these works of Dr. William Smith can be procured at the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., or at the Zondervan Publishing House at Grand Rapids, Michigan. These two books should be in our Society and personal libraries. In them you fill find a clear, understandable history of God’s Covenant People throughout both the Old and New Dispensations. Many maps and charts accompany them, as well as tables and explanations of the different weights, dimensions, et cetera of Holy Writ. These books can be very valuable in your study of the Scriptures, both for Society Lessons or for your catechetical home-work.
- The Acts of the Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches, in session June, 1940. No!….. this booklet is not meant for older people, but also for our youth! The official language of our Synods is English, which enables our young people also to read and to acquaint themselves with the doings of our churches. In it may be found statistics and other interesting information concerning our denomination. Our Societies would do well to keep one or two copies in their libraries and thus provide all of their members with the opportunity to keep up with the progress of our churches, of which they form an integral part. You can procure your copies from the Rev. Peter De Boer, Holland, Michigan.
- “The Standard Bearer”, should be subscribed to by each Society and kept on file for future reference and Bible study. We beseech our youth to read “The Standard Bearer’’ also. In the sixteen volumes now completed you can find the best commentary on the Scriptures obtainable. The English articles and the Meditations appearing in this “Reformed semi-monthly” magazine are worth the price of subscription alone. Two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) sent to Mr. Ralph Schaafsma, 1101 Hazen Street, S. E., Grand Rapids, Michigan will deliver “The Standard Bearer” to your society for one year. Let’s make work of subscribing to this magazine immediately!