“The Vision”, by Paul Hutchens. W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The title of this book suggests the plot, which concerns a certain Rodney Deland who had a “vision”. At first, he strove after it, then lost it through a sad love affair but finally regained and acted according to it.
Rodney’s ambition to use his talent to sing in the service of God’s kingdom is the “vision”. It was his ideal to become a worthy servant of God. He had been inspired to this end by his father who had given his entire life for the cause of the kingdom of God. Before the father’s violent and so-called “accidental” death, he had often witnessed for the truth and many a heart had been touched and inspired by his “songs of truth”. After this death, Mrs. Deland often spoke to her son of continuing the good work which his father had begun. Thus, it was that Rodney came to see the “vision” of glory in which he could take a leading part. He realized that through the use of his God-given talents he was called to work to the furtherance of the kingdom of God in the world.
Two factors caused Rodney to lose sight of his “vision” temporarily. He fell in love with a talented young lady whose so-called religion was in reality no religion at all. She adored the beautiful; the “beauty” of this world was her god. She worshipped this “beauty” with passionate service. To the sin of the world, including her own, she gave no consideration. This girl had a tragic influence on Rodney as did also the professors of the university at which he was studying. They served him with stones instead of bread, speaking of a better self in every man. Supposedly, man was struggling on the long, upward trail, through a process of evolution, toward God—or rather, to some goal that these men called God. Through these evil influences, Rodney’s faith began to waver, and finally to fall. At first, he realized that there was no “key-note” in this modernism, for there was no true Lord and Savior. Gradually he became unfaithful and was swept along with the modern current. He lost his vision and its “key-note”—Christ and Him crucified. He no longer had a gospel to bring through his music and song.
After tremendous spiritual struggles, Rodney finished his training period and acquired a position in a church. Here he met LaVera Webber, the daughter of the pastor, who was to be instrumental in bringing him back to his “vision”. Rodney soon became strongly attracted to her. She did not care for the deceitful beauty and culture of this world, as the first young lady had, but was interested in the truly beautiful things. It was the integrity of her soul that made Rodney realize that she had been tried by fire and had not been found wanting. She was as pure gold, with a truly beautiful view of life and of the world. This awakened in Rodney his former love for God and for His kingdom of grace.
This brief sketch is sufficient, for it is not our intention to tell all of the story. The story will grip you while you read of the struggles and temptations of this young student of music. Interest is sustained throughout the many trials Rodney experiences. The happy ending, in which the hero finds true peace of heart and mind, is to be appreciated. A great lesson is taught in Rodney’s choice of a wife with whom he can be assured of the favor and blessing of God.
One thing which I am sure our young people will notice, is that the entire story centers about the doctrine of salvation rather than the fundamental truth of God’s sovereignty. As was stated in a previous review, it is also true that in this book, the faith of the characters is presented as the basis for their salvation. Thus, the author, though thoroughly opposed to modernism and upholding the fundamental view of salvation by the blood of Christ alone, yet has the wrong approach. However, we can recommend this book to our young people with the admonition that they remember what they have to do with fiction. Also, that this fiction is not written by a Reformed man with a Reformed view of the truth.