I am reading Emma again. It is my favorite of the three Jane Austen novels I have read. I started Sense and Sensibility, but was overrun early on by too much femininity. I think I had to break something to recover.
Early on in Emma, Austen describes Captain Weston’s probability of a happy life after his second marriage. His first wife, who died after three years of marriage, was of a higher social and economic sphere: he married up. Although it was not an unhappy first marriage, his wife could not forget what she had given up; and Captain Weston exhausted all of his resources trying to keep his wife near to as comfortable as she wanted to be.
Almost twenty years later, Captain Weston marries Emma’s governess and friend, Miss Taylor, a “delightful and well-judging” woman with nothing to recommend her except herself. This time, Miss Taylor is the one marrying up, and Austen comments that this “must give [Captain Weston] the pleasantest proof of its being a great deal better to chuse than to be chosen, to excite gratitude than to feel it.”
I have been thinking about this line all day. In describing our relationship with God, marital language is common. I wonder if God feels “a great deal better” when He chuses (Austen’s spelling) us and excites gratitude in us? I wonder if my merely feeling grateful makes God happy—or “blesses God,” to use Bible language? Somehow I feel it does.
My heart feels very open when I think of Christ laying aside the power of His divinity to “part the heavens and come down,” to claim His bride lost, confused, and torn.
I wonder if Miss Taylor’s gratitude is a smidgen like mine.