May 14, 2008
Many thanks to all of you who visited BallantyneTheBrave.com and who sent in so many thoughtful comments and questions. It was a real blessing to correspond with you. Below are a few of the many questions and comments I received:
Dear Joshua: What is most important characteristic that you have learned or have had reinforced by reading Ballantyne’s books? Sincerely, Nathan A.
Thank you Nathan for your question, I believe that one of the most important characteristic's of Ballantyne’s is that we must include Christ in everything we do. That means in what we write, how we live, and the way we treat each other. Ballantyne emphasized this principle through heroic characters in his stories and through his own life. I really like this quote from Ballantyn'es own pen:
“...in all my writings I have always tried — how far successfully I know not — to advance the cause of Truth and Right and to induce my readers to put their trust in the love of God our Saviour, for this life as well as the life to come.”
God bless you.
Alba Gu Bra, Joshua Titus
This writer had questions about whether Ballantyne stories include female characters.
...I am a 14 year old girl from Iowa and I’ve really enjoyed reading the G.A. Henty books that are offered by Vision Forum. My personal favorite is In Freedom’s Cause. But none of his stories have any girl characters in the adventures. Do any of the Ballantyne books have girls ‘in on the action’?
Allison, Thank you for your excellent question. Both Ballantyne and Henty specifically wrote to the boys of their generation. They often set their stories in the context of wars and adventures where men were being challenged to play the role of men. Because of this fact, the stories favor male characters over female characters. But that does not mean that women are excluded from the stories. There are both boys and girls in many of the Ballantyne books. In my view, while these books were written specifically for young men, they are wonderful for the entire family. There are many benefits that women will get reading the stories, including the fact that they will learn to appreciate the type of courageous Christian men who are best suited as husbands and fathers. On a personal note, my own sisters have read G.A. Henty’s books and they are now starting the Ballantyne series as well.
Alba Gu Bra, J Titus
This writer wanted to know if there was truth to the stories of cannibalism in the South Seas.
Hi, I am thirteen years old and I have just finished reading The Coral Island and have begun to read The Gorilla Hunters. I cannot read the books fast enough, they are very exciting! I would like to know if there is any truth to these stories? Did “savages” really eat other people? And prefer eating one color of people over another? Thank you, Nathan O.
Nathan, This is an excellent and interesting question. As to your first question, I must say that presently, The Coral Island is one of my Ballantyne favorites, (though The Gorilla Hunters is a close second).
Concerning cannibalism: It is true, sadly, that cannibalism was as prevalent among the pagan nations of the South Seas. The Gospel coming to the islands through Christian missionaries (many of whom came from Ballantyne’s own Scotland) helped to bring an end to this barbaric practice.
As to your question concerning whether or not the savages preferred one skin color (melanin count) over another, I am not sure. Ballantyne seemed to think so. This much is true, Ballantyne always tried to be very accurate. It is also true that many of the Pacific Islanders had strange superstitious beliefs.
Thank you so much for your question.
Alba Gu Bra, Joshua Titus
And this writer asked about the maxim on our banner.
Could you please explain your closing, “Alba Gu Bra”? I did a quick search on the internet, but couldn't find a translation. Is it Gaelic? Thank you for taking the time to respond. Your web-site is a great idea! May God bless your endeavors, Joseph, a fellow Henty reader
Thank you for your question Joseph, “Alba Gu Bra” was the cry “Scotland forever” that was yelled by the Scots during battle.
Ballantyne was a patriotic Scot who personified the best of the Scottish traditions of orthodox Christianity and love of his nation. To honor Mr. Ballantyne, and in preparation for my own journey to Scotland, I wanted to adopt this maxim.
God bless you, Alba Gu Bra, Joshua Titus
In the future I will be looking for different types of questions and comments. But today I selected the first winner of my weekly Ballantyne give-away, because the writer asked a very simple, but important question which I believe is on the minds of many readers:
We have Henty. What does Ballantyne give us that Henty does not? Thanks! Hannah H.
Thank you Hannah, What a great question! There are some wonderful similarities between Ballantyne and Henty, but there are two primary differences between the two authors.
The first difference is this: Henty teaches courageous boyhood in the context of history. Henty’s stories are set in the context of real historical events. They are a wonderful way to learn history and manhood. Ballantyne sets manly adventures in the context of diverse geographic locations. Readers of Ballantyne learn to appreciate and understand the mysterious and wonderful world created by the Lord.
The second difference pertains to the way the two men communicate their faith. Both Henty and Ballantyne are professing Christian men who take Christianity very seriously. Henty’s theological roots are Anglican. Ballantyne is a self-conscious Reformed Christian. Henty is less overt about his faith, and the Gospel is more implicit, than explicit in his writings. Ballantyne, on the other hand, is a soul-winner who overtly preaches the Gospel through his stories and characters. His is a bold and courageous orthodox Christianity.
Alba Gu Bra J. Titus
In the future, I hope to award books to individuals that not only ask important questions, but who write helpful comments and insights concerning specific Ballantyne books. Keep writing. God bless you.