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ambition close at hand, and all so easy for mounting up to if he be but winged with gold. "All this will I give thee, yea, and much more," says the tempter, "for they are mine, and where I will I bestow them. I, Mammon, dwell with honor; Glory is mine, and Respectability; my fruit is better than virtue. The love of riches is the beginning of wisdom. Money crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets, How long, ye honest ones, will ye love simplicity? Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. Did any ever trust in wealth and was confounded? Look about you: how did Mr. Shortweight gain his millions? Yet what honor he lived in! Colleges named him Doctor of Laws, and not Banker. In funeral sermons ministers put him among the saints. Come thou and do likewise. Money answereth all things, and is imputed unto men for righteousness!"
"Shall I also climb that popular ladder?" asks tortured Jonas. But presently it seems as if his mother's form bent over him. It is the same sweet face which was once so often pressed to his, as she stilled his aching flesh and kissed his little griefs away. His ear tingles warm again, as if that mouth, long silent now, breathed into it her oft-repeated word, "Only The Right Is Acceptable With God." "Get you behind me, Devils all," cries he. They vanish into the cold ashes of his grate, while the fair angel that we name Religion, disguised in his mother's saintly shape, comes back and ministers to him. He goes home a strong man; but dreams that night that he was shipwrecked, and in the wildest storm his mother came and trod the waters under her, and brought him safe to land. Then turns ho, and dreams again that he was falling, falling, falling through the dark, never so long and far away, and that same strong-winged angel swept between him and the ground, and bore him off unhurt, repeating with its sweet motherly voice:
"Only The Right Is Acceptable With God!"
He wakes for honest toil and manly duty, with its dear and tranquil joys; and all day long that holy Psalm keeps quiring in his heart:
"Only The Right Is Acceptable With God!"
How soothing is Religion in sorrow! It is her only boy: Rachel could not save him. The girls were thinned out one by one. Sickness made them only dearer. Death plucked them, flower after flower. When he shook the family bush, how sadly did those white roses cast their petals on the wind! The corner of the village grave-yard seems snowed all over with mementoes of what has been. The father, too, is gone now. In sleep her arms fold together, but only on emptiness, as Love calls up the dear figure to cheat and avoid her grasp. Poor Rachel! all alone now! and dreams add their visionary woe to the live sorrows of the waking day. Now the last one lies there, straightened after death, a red rose put in his hand. It is the room he was born in. Her bridal chamber once is his funeral chamber now—the beginning of her hopes, the end of her disappointments—a porch only to so many graves. How fair he looks, the brown hair clustered round his brow. Since death, in the dead boy she sees the father's face come out more fair, just as he looked when she was eight and Robert ten, and they gathered chestnuts in the woods, he alone with her and she alone with him; he bearing the little sack their mutual hands had filled, when neither knew nor dreamed those little trodden paths would lead to marriage, and their mutual hand fill many a sack of joys and sorrows too. In the same face she sees her lover and her child—both dead now. That handsome bud will never be a flower. No maiden shall salute those cheeks with the first stealthy modest kiss of heavenly love. The real present and the ideal future meet there, and Rachel sits between, the point common to both; a wife without a husband, a mother with no child. Poor Rachel! Is there any consolation? She feels the Infinite Father is with her: he loves her husband better than she loved him, when passion melted the twain to one; loves the child better than she loved her lost one, her only one—her Boy. The Infinite Father is with her. In her early love she looked to him and was not ashamed. That day-star of Piety gleamed white in the roseate flush of her maiden love; through the throbbing joy of her bridal she looked up to the Infinite One, Father of bridegroom and of bride. When one by one those little sprigs pushed out from the married boughs, Rachel remembered him who never forgets ns in our heedlessness, thankful for the old life continued, the new life lent. Does she now forget the Rock whence our earthly houses be hewed out and builded up?
The neighbors look on the surface of her life—how disturbed it is, the great deep all broken up! But underneath it all, below the troubled depth of her sorrow, there is a deeper deep whereto she goes down. It is all still there, and. face to face, she communes with Him who will be with us in deep waters. In the ecstasy of grief she finds that settled joy of heart which transcends all other joys. She looks into another world and sees her white rosebuds, and the last, the red, open in the light of heaven and flower out to fairer maiden and manly beauty than earth knows of in temperate or in tropic lands! while amid those dear ones the mortal father, immortal now, who went before his boy, walks like a gardener among his plants, and makes ready also a place for her!" Thy will, not mine be done; it is well with the child." She needs no other prayer. The Comforter has come, that same Comforter who was in the beginning and cheered the hearts of millions before the name of Jesus was ever spoke on land or sea. Poor Rachel, is it? Then who, I ask, is rich? Henceforth she has a charmed life, her smiles fewer but serener and more heartfelt. The air is cool and delicate about her; the endemics of the ground can stir no fever in that tranquil blood. Her great sorrow has seemed a great religion, which fills her with stillness. A wife without a husband, a mother without a living child, is she alone, think you? The Infinite Father is with her, in her, and she also in him. Call not that lonely which is so densely populate with God.
How the winds blow on the surface, at the human level; with what wrathful sweep tread those posters of the sea and land! Go a few furlongs up, and you have left the whirlwind behind you; you are above the thunder, and beneath your feet the harmless lightnings flash unheard away; all the noises of Sebastopol and Waterloo roll by and leave no mark on the most delicate ear. Even the earthquake is not felt in that calm deep of the upper air! On the sea, go down not many rods,
"The water is calm and still below,
For the winds and waves are noiseless there,
In the motionless field of upper air.
Is sporting amid those bowers of stone,
Has made the top of the wave his own."
How old and gray-headed Mr. Grandfather is. At Boston, in 1783, he heard the bells ring for Peace, which meant also Independence. His thoughtful mother, not without prayers, watched his cradle at the beginning of the storm of Revolution. Now he is old, very old. He has been out on the sea of life and done business in its great waters. Many a proud wave has gone over him. But he got through. Children and children's children are the crown of triumph for his old age. Yet he is more religious than old. He stoops a little now, and sometimes slumbers in his chair. The mists of the valley which all must tread lie spread out before him, white with the moonlight of old age. Of a pleasant day he sallies forth, staff in hand, this Gidipus, who has met the Sphynx of time and solved the great riddle of life, and he wonders " where the old people are?" How young the world looks to his experienced eyes! He lifts his hat to some venerable man whom he saw christened in the meeting-house so long ago that the ink has turned brown on the yellow paper in the parish book. There is a funeral to-day of a white-haired woman, old, very old. Mr. Grandfather remembers her as a chubby little rosy-cheeked maiden, with black hair, and eyes so full of fun, just getting into her teens when he was but half-way there. Now he reads on the silver plate, " Aged XCIV." "Ninety-four?" quoth he, "a great age. Yes, I knew she was about that! A great age. Fourscore and fourteen! Six more, and it is a hundred." He remembers the green-gages she used to give him out of her father's great garden; now it is built all over with huge granite stores, four stories high, and the pear trees and plums which Mr. Blackstone brought over from England have followed their planter long since. He remembers her wedding—seventy-six years ago last July, boy of twelve that he was. On the plain table of those "good old times " he set a china bowl of white lilies, which he swam for in Hammond's Pond that morning, to honor his pretty cousin's marriage with. It was the first time they ever had such flowers at a Puritan wedding; but the minister liked it, so did cousin Lucy, but the new cousin thought only of her who made him so happy. "Now she is clad for another change," quoth Mr. Grandfather, as he lays his last gift of blossoms on her coffin; "always a little before me, never long; born seven years first, wed twelve years before me. We shall meet again before long. This is the last of earth for you; soon it will be for me. Well, I am oontent. 'Shock of corn fully ripe '—let the dear Father come and take of his planting, at the great Harvest Home. To die is also gain." I
That night Mr. Grandfather tarries late in his sitting-room, when the rest are gone to bed. He slept a little after supper in his great arm chair, and is quite wakeful now. The old clock stands there; it tells the hours of human time; nay, with delicate hand it marks even the seconds, just as life itself will always do. It reports likewise the days of the month and of the week, the shape of the moon; on the top of all is a ship at sea, rising and falling by wheel work,*as if driven by the wind and tossed. Mr. Grandfather looks into his wood fire, and then all the long voyage of his past life comes pictured to him from his cradle to cousin Lucy's funeral. There are sad things to look on, which bring back a tear; he did not know it till it fell hot on his hand and made him start. There are joyous things also, which set his heart throbbing as when he was a bridegroom. Nay, there are wrong things which he did, repented of, and outgrew so long ago that they seem merely historical, like the sins of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; yet he remembers the lesson they taught. His boyish loves return—father and mother, children—nay, children's children. The wife of his heart, reverently buried years ago, comes back in bridal garments, then sits at the new cradle. Then another funeral rushes on his sight: "Lover and friend thou puttest far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness," quoth he. "Nay, nay, not into darkness; say rather into marvellous light! My time is not far off. How long, 0 Lord? How soon? Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." The old clock strikes twelve; the first day of another month comes into its place, and the new moon lifts its silver rim to tell below what heavenly life goes on above. "Soon shall I behold thy face in righteousness, and I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."
I wonder any man can be content to live without the joyous conscious-, ness of God; without this how any one can bear the griefs of time, I know not, nor cannot even dream. I would be certain that my little ven
ture is insured at the Provident office of the Infinite God; then shall I fear no shipwreck, but steer my personal craft as best I may, certain of a harbor; and though it be at the bottom of the sea, I am safe landed in heaven. If I have well done my part, and where or when it may, I am sure the voyage will turn out fortunate.
0 young men and young women; men and women no longer young! It is not enough to be brave and thoughtful; not enough to be moral also, and friendly each to each. You have a Faculty which makes another World for you, the World of God. There is a joy which is not in wisdom, with all its science and its art of beauty and of use; nor yet in Morality, with its grand works of justice; nay, nor yet even in the sweet felicity of loving men and being loved in turn by them; there is a life within the Veil of the Temple; it is the Life with God, the Innermost Delight of human Consciousness. Animated by that your Wisdom shall be greater, more true your Science, and more fair 3Tour Art; your Morality more firm and sure, your Love to men more joyous and abiding, your whole Character made useful, and beautiful exceedingly.