Dickens, and the yearning for Christ

I’ve been reading Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities off-and-on for a really long time, and even though it requires far more focus than I have to offer it on a daily basis, it is an extraordinary piece of art. Thus, I’ll be offering you some lovely quotes I’ve run across in the reading of it.

Today, our quote actually comes from the book’s introduction. I know it’s weird that I read the introductions and prefaces of all the books I read, but I do, and the hidden gems are one reason why.

In a letter to one of his friends, Dickens wrote the following: “I seem to be always looking at such times for something I have not found in life.” Then, Frederick Busch, the writer of the introduction, restated this sentiment as, “…a wretched searching for something nameless, elusive, but essential.”

I found this noteworthy because I believe it is both elegantly-written and indicative of the great human yearning for God. Perhaps the greatest falsity in Busch’s idea is the namelessness of the object for which Dickens searched. There are many names attributable to that for which the human heart will always be inexplicably driven: YHWH, Abba, I AM.

I read introductions because they often offer insight into the hearts of great men… and I often find that they aren’t so unlike my own as I sometimes imagine.


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