“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”— so goes the introductory line in the first chapter of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. It seems that 200 years ago that was the notion of the parents of single daughters whenever a young man with a substantial income moved into the community. We don’t know of course what the young man in question might have thought of this notion.
Fast forward a hundred and fifty years and now it’s the late 1950’s and quite young women are out in the workforce earning a wage and making their own financial decisions to some degree. My first job paid three pounds nine shillings and sixpence. It was not a lot but it always went just far enough and one always knew that come next week there would be more.
Did we dream of a single man in possession of a good fortune coming our way? Of course we did! Though I doubt any our mothers were as embarrassing as Mrs Bennet. Imagine a mother being so keen to marry you off that she would choose a Mr Collins character just so she would not be homeless when her husband died.
Methinks the mothers of today would rather have a man in possession of good character than a good fortune, one who is kind, generous and loving. There is a saying that all a man needs is a damsel in distress to save and all a woman needs is a knight in shining Armour to save her. I thought of this when watching Millionaire Hot seat last night. One of the contestants shared how she was in an airport queue and not having a good grasp of English was quite perplexed about what to do next when the man behind her in the queue saw her distress and helped her out. They had now been married for seven years.
So, back to the first line, “It is a truth universally acknowledged….” I know another truth universally acknowledged on every continent and in every nation. Not by everyone it is true but, of the 6.9 Billion people on the earth in 2010 2.2 billion people accepted this truth. The truth is “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John:3:16 Niv)