Silent, wealthy friends
I’m reading a biography about Oswald Chambers recently given to me by a friend. I’m finding it a fascinating read of a very fascinating man, whose personal history I know little of but whose writings I’ve read almost daily for over a decade.
David McCasland notes, in his well researched and engaging prose, that the power of Chambers to communicate came in part from his “insatiable hunger for knowledge.” He illustrates the point through an excerpt he includes from a letter Chambers wrote while on a trip in the United States in 1907:
My books! I cannot tell you what they are to me–silent, wealthy, loyal lovers. To look at them, to handle them, and to re-read them! I do thank God for my books with every fibre of my being. Friends that are ever true and ever your own.
Why, I could have almost cried for excess of joy when I got hold of them again. I see them all just at my elbow now– Plato, Wordsworth, Myers, Bradley, Halyburton, St. Augustine, Browning, Tennyson, Amiel, etc. I know them, I wish you could see how they look at me, a quiet calm look of certain acquaintance.
An exhortation to us all to follow a “wide range of literary pathways” to be sure.
The biography delves deeply into the personal life of Chambers, highlighting his development as an artist, a philosopher, and the theologian most know him as: his process of becoming completely abandoned to God. With letters to friends and family, his personal journals, and excerpts of articles he wrote for various publications, I’m starting to feel as though he is looking at me, a quiet calm look of familiarity.
Learn more about David McCasland’s biography of Chambers here.