Imatges de pÓgina

struct the souls gone beyond the veil as in waves that break with wailing only to souls outside a great affliction guide those flow back into the everlasting void. The who are struggling in it. That is a migh- calmest and most centred natures are ty baptism, and only Christ can go down sometimes thrown by the shock of a with us into those waters.

great sorrow into a tumultuous amazeMrs. Scudder and the Doctor only ment. All things are changed. The marked that she was more than ever earth no longer seems solid, the skies conscientious in every duty, and that she no longer secure; a deep abyss seems brought to life's daily realities something underlying every joyous scene of life. of the calmness and disengagedness of The soul, struck with this awful inspiraone whose soul has been wrenched by a tion, is a mournful Cassandra; she sees mighty shock from all moorings here be- blood on every threshold, and shudders low. Hopes did not excite, fears did in the midst of mirth and festival with not alarm her; life had no force strong the weight of a terrible wisdom. enough to awaken a thrill within ; and Who shall dare be glad any more, that the only subjects on which she ever spoke has once seen the frail foundations on with any degree of ardor were religious which love and joy are built ? Our subjects.

brighter hours, have they only been One who should have seen moving weaving a network of agonizing rememabout the daily ministrations of the cot- brances for this day of bereavement ? tage a pale girl, whose steps were firm, The heart is pierced with every past whose eye was calm, whose hands were joy, with every hope of its ignorant ever busy, would scarce imagine that prosperity. Behind every scale in muthrough that silent heart were passing sic, the gayest and cheeriest, the grandtides of thought that measured a uni- est, the most triumphant, lies its dark verse; but it was even so. Through that relative minor; the notes are the same, one gap of sorrow flowed in the whole but the change of a semitone changes awful mystery of existence, and silently, all to gloom ;- all our gayest hours are as she spun and sewed, she thought over tunes that have a modulation into these and over again all that she had ever dreary keys ever possible; at any mobeen taught, and compared and revolved ment the key-note may be struck. it by the light of a dawning inward rev- The firmest, best-prepared natures are elation.

often beside themselves with astonishSorrow is the great birth-agony of ment and dismay, when they are called immortal powers,--sorrow is the great to this dread initiation. They thought searcher and revealer of hearts, the great it a very happy world before,-a glorious test of truth; for Plato has wisely said, universe. Now it is darkened with the sorrow will not endure sophisms,-all shadow of insoluble mysteries. Why shams and unrealities melt in the fire this everlasting tramp of inevitable laws of that awful furnace. Sorrow reveals on quivering life? If the wheels must forces in ourselves we never dreamed of. roll, why must the crushed be so living The soul, a bound and sleeping prisoner, and sensitive ? hears her knock on her cell-door, and And yet sorrow is godlike, sorrow is wakens. Oh, how narrow the walls! oh, grand and great, sorrow is wise and farhow close and dark the grated window! seeing. Our own instinctive valuations, how the long useless wings beat against the intense sympathy which we give to the impassable barriers ! Where are we? the tragedy which God has inwoven into What is this prison? What is beyond the laws of Nature, show us that it is Oh for more air, more light! When will with no slavish dread, no cowardly shrinkthe door be opened? The soul seems to ing, that we should approach her divine itself to widen and deepen; it trembles mysteries. What are the natures that at its own dreadful forces; it gathers up

cannot suffer? Who values them ?


From the fat oyster, over which the and moisture. Silent and dark it stands, silver tide rises and falls without one dropping one fading leaf after another, pulse upon its fleshy ear, to the hero and seeming to go down patiently to who stands with quivering nerve part- death. But when every leaf is dropped, ing with wife and child and home for and the plant stands stripped to the utcountry and God, all the way up is an termost, a new life is even then working ascending scale, marked by increasing in the buds, from which shall spring a tenpower to suffer; and when we look to der foliage and a brighter wealth of flowthe Head of all being, up through prin- So, often in celestial gardening, cipalities and powers and princedoms, every leaf of earthly joy must drop, bewith dazzling orders and celestial bla- fore a new and divine bloom visits the zonry, to behold by what emblem the In- soul. finite Sovereign chooses to reveal him- Gradually, as months passed away, the self, we behold, in the midst of the floods grew still; the mighty rushes of the throne, “a lamb as it had been slain.” inner tides ceased to dash. There came

Sorrow is divine. Sorrow is reigning first a delicious calmness, and then a ceon the throne of the universe, and the lestial inner clearness, in which the soul crown of all crowns has been one of seemed to lie quiet as an untroubled thorns. There have been many books ocean, reflecting heaven. Then came that treat of the mystery of sorrow, but the fulness of mysterious communion givonly one that bids us glory in tribulation, en to the pure in heart,- that advent of and count it all joy when we fall into the Comforter in the soul, teaching all divers afflictions, that so we may be as- things and bringing all things to rememsociated with that great fellowship of suf- brance; and Mary moved in a world fering of which the Incarnate God is the transfigured by a celestial radiance. Her head, and through which lle is carrying face, so long mournfully calm, like some a redemptive conflict to a glorious vic- chiselled statue of Patience, now wore a tory over evil. If we suffer with Him, radiance, as when one places a light bewe shall also reign with Him.

hind some alabaster screen sculptured Even in the very making up of our with mysterious and holy emblems, and physical nature, God puts suggestions of words of strange sweetness broke from such a result. “Weeping may endure for her, as if one should hear snatches of a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” music from a door suddenly opened in There are victorious powers in our nature heaven. Something wise and strong and which are all the while working for us in sacred gave an involuntary impression our deepest pain. It is said, that, after of awe in her looks and words ;-- it was the sufferings of the rack, there ensues not the childlike loveliness of early days, a period in which the simple repose from looking with dovelike, ignorant eyes on torture produces a beatific trance; it is sin and sorrow; but the victorious sweetthe reaction of Nature, asserting the be- ness of that great multitude who have nignant intentions of her Creator. So, come out of great tribulation, having after great mental conflicts and agonies washed their robes and made them white must come a reaction, and the Divine in the blood of the Lamb. In her eyes Spirit, co-working with our spirit, seizes there was that nameless depth that one the favorable moment, and, interpene- sees with awe in the Sistine Madonna, trating natural laws with a celestial vi- eyes that have measured infinite sorrow tality, carries up the soul to joys be- and looked through it to an infinite peace. yond the orelinary possibilities of mor- My dear Madam," said the Doctor to tality.

Mrs. Scudder, “I cannot but think that It is said that gardeners, sometimes, there must be some uncomin

monly gracious when they would bring a rose to richer exercises passing in the mind of your flowering, deprive it, for a season, of light daughter; for I observe, that, though she



is not inclined to conversation, she seems women. It was my privilege to be in the to be much in prayer; and I have, of family of President Edwards at a time late, felt the sense of a Divine Presence when Northampton was specially visited, with her in a most unusual degree. Has and his wife seemed and spoke more like she opened her mind to you ?”

a glorified spirit than a mortal woman,“Mary was always a silent girl,” said and multitudes flocked to the house to Mrs. Scudder, “and not given to speak- hear her wonderful words. She seemed ing of her own feelings ; indeed, until to have such a sense of the Divine love she gave you an account of her spiritual as was almost beyond the powers of nastate, on joining the church, I never knew ture to endure. Just to speak the words, what her exercises were. Hers is a most • Our Father who art in heaven,' would singular case. I never knew the time overcome her with such a manifestation when she did not seem to love God more that she would become cold and almost than anything else. It has disturbed me faint; and though she uttered much, yet sometimes,— because I did not know but she told us that the divinest things she it might be mere natural sensibility, in- saw could not be spoken. These things stead of gracious affection.”

could not be fanaticism, for she was a “ Do not disturb yourself, Madam,” person of a singular evenness of nature, said the Doctor. “ The Spirit worketh and of great skill and discretion in temwhen, where, and how He will; and, un- poral matters, and of an exceeding hudoubtedly, there have been cases where mility, sweetness, and quietness of dispoHis operations commence exceedingly sition.” early. Mr. Edwards relates a case of a “I have observed of late," said Mrs. young person who experienced a marked Scudder, " that, in our praying circles, conversion when three years of age; and Mary seemed much carried out of herJeremiah was called from the womb. (Jer self, and often as if she would speak, and emiah, i. 5.) In all cases we must test the with difficulty holding herself back. I quality of the evidence without relation have not urged her, because I thought it to the time of its commencement. I do best to wait till she should feel full libnot generally lay much stress on our im- erty.” pressions, which are often uncertain and “ Therein you do rightly, Madam,” delusive; yet I have had an impression said the Doctor; “ but I am persuaded that the Lord would be pleased to make you will hear from her yet.” some singular manifestations of His grace It came at length, the hour of utterthrough this young person. In the econ- And one day, in a praying circle 'omy of grace there is neither male nor fe- of the women of the church, all were male; and Peter says (Acts, ji. 17) that startled by the clear silver dones of one the Spirit of the Lord shall be poured who sat among them and spoke with the out and your sons and your daughters unconscious simplicity of an angel child, shall prophesy. Yet if we consider that calling God her Father, and speaking of the Son of God, as to his human nature, an ineffable union in Christ, binding all was made of a woman, it leads us to see things together in one, and making all that in matters of grace God sets a special complete in Him. She spoke of a love value on woman's nature and designs to passing knowledge, - passing all love of put special honor upon it. Accordingly, lovers or of mothers, – a love forever there have been in the Church, in all ages, spending, yet never spent,

-a love ever holy women who have received the Spirit pierced and bleeding, yet ever constant and been called to a ministration in the and triumphant, rejoicing with infinite things of God, such as Deborah, Hul- joy to bear in its own body the sins and dah, and Anna, the prophetess. In our sorrows of a universe, - conquering, vicown days, most uncommon manifestations torious love, rejoicing to endure, panting of divine grace have been given to holy to give, and offering its whole self with





an infinite joyfulness for our salvation. day every week for the prayer-meeting. And when, kneeling, she poured out her Though I ought not to say I lose it, eisoul in prayer, her words seemed so ther; for I was telling Miss General Wilmany winged angels, musical with un- cox I wouldn't give up that meeting for earthly harpings of an untold blessed- bags and bags of gold. She wanted me ness. They who heard her bad the sen- to come and sew for ber one Wednessation of rising in the air, of feeling a day, and says I, • Miss Wilcox, I'm poor celestial light and warmth descending and have to live by my work, but I a’n't into their souls; and when, rising, she so poor but what I have some comforts, stood silent and with downcast drooping and I can't give up my prayer-meeting eyelids, there were tears in all eyes, for any money,- for you see, if one gets and a hush in all movements as she a little lift there, it makes all the work go passed, as if something celestial were lighter, - but then I have to be particular passing out

to save up every scrap and end of time.” Miss Prissy came rushing home ward, Mrs. Scudder and Miss Prissy crossed to hold a private congratulatory talk the kitchen and entered the bedroom, with the Doctor and Mrs. Scudder, while and soon had the dove-colored silk under Mary was tranquilly setting the tea-table consideration, and cutting bread for supper.

* Well, Miss Scudder," said Miss Pris“ To see her now, certainly,” said Miss sy, after mature investigation, “ here's a Prissy, “moving round so thoughtful, not broad hem, not cut at all on the edge, as I forgetting anything, and doing every- see, and that might be turned down, and thing so calm, you wouldn't 'a' thought so cut off the worn spot up by the waist, it could be her that spoke those blessed - and then, if it is turned, it will look words and made that prayer! Well, every bit and grain as well as a new silk; certainly, that prayer seemed to take us I'll sit right down now and go to ripall right up and put us down in heaven! ping. I put my ripping-knife into my and when I opened my eyes, and saw the pocket when I put on this dress to go roses and asparagus-bushes on the man- to prayer-meeting, because, says I to myteltree-piece, I had to ask myself, 'Where self, there'll be something to do at Miss have I been?' Oh, Miss Scudder, her Scudder's to-night. You just get an iron afflictions have been sanctified to her! to the fire, and we'll have it all ripped and and really, when I see her going on so, pressed out before dark.” I feel she can't be long for us. They say, Miss Prissy seated herself at the open dying grace is for dying hours; and I'm window, as cheery as a fresh apple-blossure this seems more like dying grace som, and began busily plying her knife, than anything that I ever yet saw.” looking at the garment she was ripping

“ She is a precious gift,” said the Doc- with an astute air, as if she were about to tor; “let us thank the Lord for his


circumvent it into being a new dress through her. She has evidently had a by some surprising act of legerdemain. manifestation of the Beloved, and feedeth Mrs. Scudder walked to the looking-glass among the lilies (Canticles, vi. 3); and and began changing her bonnet cap for a we will not question the Lord's further tea-table one. dispensations concerning her."

Miss Prissy, after a while, commenced Certainly,” said Miss Prissy, briskly, in a mysterious tone. “it's never best to borrow trouble; - suffi- “Miss Scudder, I know folks like me cient unto the day' is enough, to be sure. shouldn't have their eyes open too wide,

And now, Miss Seudder, I thought I'd but then I can't help noticing some things. just take a look at that dove-colored silk of Did you see the Doctor's face when we yours to-night, to see what would have to was talking to him about Mary? Why, be done with it, because I must make every he colored all up and the tears came into minute tell; and you know I lose half a his eyes. It's my belief that that blessed



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man worships the ground she treads on. felt that it was a sinful rising, I should I don't mean worships, either, — 'cause have told him I'd never put foot in his that would be wicked, and he's too good a house again ; I'm glad, for my part, he's man to make a graven image of anything, gone out of our church. Now Jim Mar- but it's clear to see that there a'n't any- vyn was like a prince to poor people; body in the world like Mary to him. I and I remember once his mother told him always did think so; but I used to think to settle with me, and he gave me 'most Mary was such a little poppet—that she'd double, and wouldn't let me make change. do better for Well, you know, I • Confound it all, Miss Prissy,' says he, thought about some younger man ;- but, “I wouldn't stitch as you do from mornlaws, now I see how she rises up to be ing to night for double that money.' ahead of everybody, and is so kind of Now I know we can't do anything to solemn-like. I can't but see the leadings recommend ourselves to the Lord, but of Providence. What a minister's wife then I can't help feeling some sorts of she'd be, Miss Scudder ! -- why, all the folks must be by nature more pleasing ladies coming out of prayer-meeting were to Him than others. David was a man speaking of it. You see, they want the after God's own heart, and he was a genDoctor to get married ; - it seems more erous, whole-souled fellow, like Jim Marcomfortable-like to have ministers mar- vyn, though he did get carried away by ried ; one feels more free to open their his spirits sometimes and do wrong things; exercises of mind; and as Miss Deacon and so I hope the Lord saw fit to make Twitchel said to me, -If the Lord had Jim one of the elect. We don't ever made a woman o' purpose, as he did for know what God's grace has done for Adam, he wouldn't have made her a bit folks. I think a great many are condifferent from Mary Scudder.' Why, the verted when we know nothing about it, oldest of us would follow her lead,-'cause as Miss Twitchel told poor old Miss Tyrshe goes before us without knowing it.” el, who was mourning about her son, a

“I feel that the Lord has greatly blessed dreadful wild boy, who was killed falling me in such a child,” said Mrs. Scudder, from mast-head; she says, that from the “and I feel disposed to wait the leadings mast-head to the deck was time enough of Providence.”

for divine grace to do the work.” “ Just exactly,” said Miss Prissy, giving “I bave always had a trembling hope a shake to her silk; “ and as Miss Twitchel for poor James,” said Mrs. Scudder, — said, in this case every providence seems not on account of any of his good deeds to p'int. I felt dreadfully for her along or ainiable traits, because election is withsix months back; but now I see how out foresight of any good works, - but I she's been brought out, I begin to see that felt he was a child of the covenant, at things are for the best, perhaps, after all. least by the father's side, and I hope the I can't help feeling that Jim Marvyn is Lord has heard his prayer. These are gone to heaven, poor fellow ! His father is dark providences; the world is full of a deacon,- and such a good man !-- and them; and all we can do is to have faith Jim, though he did make a great laugh that the Lord will bring infinite good out wherever he went, and sometimes laughed of finite evil, and make everything betwhere he hadn't ought to, was a noble- ter than if the evil had not happened. hearted fellow. Now, to be sure, as the That's what our good Doctor is always Doctor says, amiable instincts a’n't true repeating; and we must try to rejoice, holiness'; but then they are better than in view of the happiness of the universe, unamiable ones, like Simeon Brown's. without considering whether we or our I do think, if that man is a Christian, he friends are to be included in it or not." is a dreadful ugly one; he snapped me “Well, dear ine!” said Miss Prissy, “I short up about my change, when he set- hope, if that is necessary, it will please tled with me last Tuesday; and if I hadn't the Lord to give it to me; for I don't seem


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