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lilation, the plurality, being humble, gentle, and kindly hearted, look only in nature for what is lovely and kind; partly, also, God gives the disposition to every healthy human mind in some degree to pass over or even harden itself against evil tilings, else the suffering would be too great to be borne and humble people, with a quiet trust that everything is for the best, do not fairly represent the facts to themselves, thinking them none of their business. So, what between hardhearted people, thoughtless people, busy people, humble people, and cheerfully-minded people,—giddiness of youth, and pre-occupations of age,—philosophies of faith, and cruelties of folly,—priest and Levite, masquer and merchantman, all agreeing to keep their own side of the way,—the evil that God sends to warn us gets to be forgotten, and the evil that He sends to be mended by us gets left unmended. And then, because people shut their eyes to the dark indisputableness of the facts in front of them, their Faith, such as it is, is shaken or uprooted by every darkness in what is revealed to them. In the present day it is not easy to find a well-meaning man among our more earnest thinkers, who will not take upon himself to dispute the whole system of redemption, because he cannot unravel the mystery of the punishment of sin. But can he unravel the mystery of the punishment of No sin? Can he entirely account for all that happens to a cab-horse? Has he ever looked fairly at the fate of one of those beasts as it is dying,—measured the work it has done, and the reward it has got, put his hand upon the bloody wounds through which its bones are piercing, and so looked up to Heaven with an entire understanding of Heaven's ways about the horse! Yet the horse is a fact—no dream—no revelation among the myrtle trees by night; and the dust it dies upon, and the dogs that eat it, are facts; and yonder naupy person, whose the horse was it till its knees were broken over the hurd'es, who had an immortal soul to begin with, and wealth and peace to help forward his immortality; who has alsc devoted the powers of his soul, and body, and wealth, and peace, to the spoiling of houses, the corruption of the innocent, nnd the oppression of the poor; and has, at this actual moment of his prosperous life, as many curses waiting round about him in calm shadow, with their death's eyes fixed upon him, biding their time, as ever the poor cab-horse had launched at him in meaningless blasphemies, when his failing feet stumbled at the stones,—this happy person shall have no stripes,— shall have only the horse's fate of annihilation; or, if other things are indeed reserved for him, Heaven's kindness or omnipotence is to be doubted therefore.
We cannot reason of these things. But this I know—and this may by all men be known—that no good or lovely thing exists in this world without its correspondent darkness; and that the universe presents itself continually to mankind under the stern aspect of warning, or of choice, the good and the evil set on the right hand and the left.
And in this mountain gloom, which weighs so strongly upon the human heart that in all time hitherto, as we have seen, the hill defiles have been either avoided in terror or inhabited in penance, there is but the fulfilment of the universal law, that where the beauty and wisdom of the Divine working are most manifested, there also are manifested most clearly the terror of God's wrath, and inevitableness of His power.
Nor is this gloom less wonderful so far as it bears witness to the error of human choice, even when the nature of good and evil is most definitely set before it. The trees of Paradise were fair; but our first parents hid themselves from God "in medio ligni Paradisi,"—in the midst of the trees of the gar den. The hills were ordained for the help of man; but, instead of raising his eyes to the hills, from whence cometh hie help, he does his idol sacrifice " upon every high hill and under every green tree." The mountain of the Lord's house is established above the hills; but Nadab and Abihu shall see under His feet the body of heaven in his clearness, yet go 3own to kindle the censer against their own souls. And so t> the end of time it will be; to the end, that cry will still be heard along the Alpine winds, " Hear, oh ye mountains, the Lord's controversy!" Still, their gulfs of thawless ice, and unretarded roar of tormented waves, and deathful falls of fruitless waste and unredeemed decay, must be the image of the souls of those who have chosen the darkness, and whose cry shall be to the mountains to fall on them, and to the hills to cover them; and still, to the end of time, the clear waters of the unfailing springs, and the white pasture-lilies in theii clothed multitude, and the abiding of the burning peaks in their nearness to the opened heaven, shall be the types, a ad the blessings, of those who have chosen light, and of whom it is written, "The mountains shall bring peace to the peop le, and the little hills, righteousness."
How were the gigantic fields of shattered marble conveyed from the ledges which were to remain exposed? No signs of violence are found on these ledges ; what marks there are, the rain and natural decay have softly traced through a long series of years. Those very time-marks may have indeed effaced mere superficial appearances of convulsion; but could they have effaced all evidence of the action of such floods as would have been necessary to carry bodily away the whole ruin of a block of marble leagues in length and breadth, and a quarter of a mile thick? Ponder over the intense marvellousness of this.
And yet no trace of the means by which all this was effected is left. The reck stands forth in its white and rugged mystery, as if its peak had been born out of the blue sky. The strength that raised it, and the sea that wrought upoi. it, have passed away, and left no sign ; and we have no words wherein tc describe their departure, no thoughts to form about their action than those of the perpetual and unsatisfied interrogation,—
"What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou lleddest?
And ye mountains, that ye skipped like lambs?"
As we pass beneath the hills which have been shaken by earthquake and torn by convulsion, we find that periods of perfect repose succeeded those of destruction. The pools of calm water lie clear beneath their fallen rocks, the waterlilies gleam, and the reeds whisper among their shadows; the village rises again over the forgotten graves, and its churchtower, white through the storm-twilight, proclaims a renewed appeal to His protection in whose hand "are all the corners of the earth, and the strength of the hills is His also." There is no loveliness of Alpine valley that does not teach the same lesson. It is just where "the mountain falling cometh to naught, and the rock is removed out of his place," that, in process of years, the fairest meadows bloom between the fragments, the clearest rivulets murmur from their crevices among the flowers, and the clustered cottages, each sheltered beneath some strength of mossy stone, now to be removed no more, and with their pastured flocks around them, safe from the eagle's stoop and the wolf's ravin, have written upon their fronts, in simple words, the mountaineer's faith in the ancient promise—
"Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh; "For thou shalt be in league with the Stones of the Field; and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee."
The idea of retirement from the world for the sake of sell mortification, of combat with demons, or communion with angels, and with their king,—authoritatively commended as it was to all men by the continual practice of Christ Himself,—. gave to all mountain solitude at once a sanctity and a terror, in the mediaeval mind, which were altogether different from anything that it had possessed in the un-Christian periods. On the one side, there was an idea of sanctity attached to rocky wilderness, because it had always been among hills tha the Deity had manifested himself most intimately to men, "and to the hills that His saints had nearly always retired for meditation, for especial communion with Him, and to prepare for death. Men acquainted with the history of Moses, alone at Horeb, or with Israel at Sinai,—of Elijah by the brook Cherith, and in the Horeb cave; of the deaths of Moses and Aaron on Hor and Nebo; of the preparation of Jephthah's daughter for her death among the Judea Mountains; of the continual retirement of Christ himself to the mountains for prayer, His temptation in the desert of the Dead Sea, His sermon on the hills of Capernaum, His transfiguration on the crest of Tabor, and his evening and morning walks over Olivet for the four or five days preceding His crucifixion,—were not likely to look with irreverent or unloving eyes upon the blue hills that girded their golden horizon, or drew upon them the mysterious clouds out of the height of the darker heaven. But with this impression of their greater sanctity was involved also that of a peculiar terror. In all this,—their haunting by the memories of prophets, the presences of angels, and the everlasting thoughts and words of the Redeemer,—the mountain ranges seemed separated from the active world, and only to be fitly approached by hearts which were condemnatory of it. Just in so much as it appeared necessary for the noblest men to retire to the hill-recesses before their missions could be accomplished or their spirits perfected, in so fir did the daily world seem by comparison to be pronourced profane