Saturday, January 7, 2017


The following extracts from the autobiography of Dan Smith gives us an historical glimpse of what Christian courtship was like prior to World War II:

A broken romance nearly shattered me. Edith was the wholesome and most beautiful daughter of a Methodist minister, the Rev. George Growcott. . . .
Mr. Growcott's rules concerning his daughter were very strict. The door closed on me at 9:30 p.m. sharp. Only once did I fail to deliver the goods and that when Edith slipped and sprained her ankle. But I was really no romantic with the girls. I was so reserved that it took me many a day before I summoned up courage to kiss her. That was quite an accomplishment because, up to that point of time, I could not remember ever having kissed my mother. I did so later - once - when I left home for China. We Scottish are so undemonstrative, however, that it was a kind of embarrassment both to mother and me.

My romance suddenly came to an end. I was always preaching and Edith was always waiting. One Saturday night  with three appointments on the Sunday, we were walking in the country and, feeling that I was not paying her due attention, Edith stopped, thinking to jolt me to an awareness of her presence. But I was so immersed in thought for messages that I walked three miles to Leven village before realizing she was not with me. That did it! She went off to London to train as a nurse and found a more attentive suitor, But the loss of Edith hurt, and I determined never to have another love.
~ "Pilgrim of the Heavenly Way" Daniel Smith pp.41-42

Poor Dan would have done well to have had a chaperone like many proponents of modern courtship doctrines require. Perhaps the chaperone would have brought his attention to the fact that he had neglected his girl. No harm, however, since Dan was later married in a fashion which some proponents of the courtship doctrines may applaud. Knowing nothing but her name and the fact that she was a missionary on the opposite side of his disctrict in China, he became convinced that Catherine would be his wife. Three days after meeting her, he proposed. They would have been married immediately, but the China Inland Mission (with whom they both worked) recommended that he take the vacation the mission had planned for him before marrying. Three days and a thirty-one page letter that he wrote while on vacation were the extent of the courtship. With the vacation just taken, there was no time for a honeymoon. Thus, the two married barely knowing one another. Despite forty years of faithful service together in the Lord's work, I dare say very few even of the most hardy adherents of "courtship" would recommend closely following this example. The biography, however, is well worth reading, spiritual in content and full of interesting stories. His faith, worthy of following.
Pilgrim front cover

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