“My books are my true company” by Herman Bavinck

“By way of chronology, Unink’s death occurred within weeks of Arie den Dekker’s most recent (wordless) rejection of Bavinck’s suitorship for his daughter.

These were lonely and difficult days for Bavinck: at twenty-nine years old he lived with his parents, saw no immediate prospect of marriage, and, following Unink’s untimely death, had few friends close at hand.

These circumstances set the scene for a comment made in a subsequent letter to the dying Johan van Haselen that typifies the phase into which his life was moving: ‘My books are my true company.’

Barred from pursuing Amelia, bereft of Unink, and with the likes of Snouck Hurgronje and Henry Dosker only accessible by letter, Bavinck surrounded himself with new conversation partners.

In the prime of life, his closest companions became a group of long-dead theologians.”

–James Eglinton, Bavinck: A Critical Biography (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020), 142-143.

“The lone island of despondency” by Charles Spurgeon

“I think that this is the darkest of all the Psalms. It has hardly a spot of light in it. The only bright words that I know of are in the first verse. The rest of the Psalm, is very dark, and very dreary.

Why, then, am I going to read it? Because, it may be, there is some poor heart here that is very heavy.

You cannot tell out of this great crowd how many sorrowing and burdened spirits there may be amongst us. But there may be a dozen or two of persons who are driven almost to despair.

My dear friend, if this is your case, I want you to know that somebody else has been just where you are.

Remember how the shipwrecked man upon the lonely island all of a sudden came upon the footprints of another human being.

So here, on the lone island of despondency, you shall be able to trace the footprints of another who has been there before you. Hear how he prays.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “An Exposition of Psalm 88” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 41; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1895), 478.