I have always been interested in history. Specifically, the way technology, religious beliefs and social customs work together to paint a picture of daily life. I first became interested in history in this way when I started trying to discern what God was trying to tell me as I studied the Bible. I found that many passages and lessons took on a different meaning when I knew more about the sociopolitical environment from which the author was writing.
It is for this reason that I immediately thought of the Children’s Edition of Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer by Rev. S. B. Shaw when I was told to pick a favorite book that I had worked on. The children’s edition of Touching Incidents (you will forgive me if I don’t type out the full title every time!) was published in 1895, the author adding illustrations to make the book more palatable to a younger audience. The very existence of this book in a children’s edition shows a huge change in moral and social ideals from the late 1800’s to today.
Many of the stories in Touching Incidents conclude with one or more children dying. Dying from disease, neglect, accidents and abuse. Does this sound like something you would want to read to your children or grandchildren? At first I was shocked and couldn’t understand why someone would find these stories comforting or uplifting. Then I tried to put myself in the place of a late nineteenth century American. Child mortality rates were much higher across all social classes than they are now. Death was a much larger part of everyday life. Would sharing the Gospel with your children, or other children in your community be a more urgent enterprise, when death’s presence loomed so large? I began to see the stories compiled in Touching Incidents in a new light.
There are many such examples of how faith and worship practices have changed in Touching Incidents. If you are interested in the beliefs and faith practices of our forefathers, you will find Touching Incidents to be a fascinating example of early American life.
Jason Cipriano is an OCR Technician at WORDsearch. In his spare time he is very active in Stephen Ministry and spends the rest of his time helping his wife Rebecca wrangle his two kids, three dogs, 2 frogs and hedgehog.
Download Children’s Edition of Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer, on sale for from $14.94 to $2.95 here.
Have you read a book that has inspired you lately? Let us know!