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with a contrast to our text: "In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people." Here glory and beauty become consummate and perpetual. In whatever sparkling things you delight, delight also in the Lord. Take every lovely object and delectable moment as gifts from His hand, enjoy everything in His fear, let all be hallowed by His blessing, and the succession of ephemeral pleasures shall enrich your imagination, affections, and character with abiding treasure and joy. Worn by a pure and devout soul fading flowers become amaranth.
Be alert to realise all goodly things as they swim past. The epicurean ought not to be the only one to seize the ever-vanishing pleasures of sight and hearing, of scent and taste, of intellectual rarities, of social felicities, and to joy in the lovely things as bees riot in the dust of beauty; it is the right and privilege of the pure also to grasp fleeting joys and taste their sweetness. To-day, whilst it is called to-day, rejoice in whatever the day brings. Do not say, I will return to this flower. It blooms only for a few sunny hours, and then withers on its stem. As the Italians say: "There is no rose of a hundred days."
My Lord, I find that nothing else will do,
FASCINATION OF DIFFICULTY
Hast thou entered the treasures of the snow, or hast thou seen the treasuries of the hail?—JOB Xxxviii. 22
OHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS, returning to the Alps from a visit to Venice, sat down to write a history of avalanches, remarking, "In the long run we really love the sternest things in life best." Symonds's paradox expresses a deep and suggestive truth. We see this in the young, with all their reputed love of ease and indulgence. They leave the most luxurious homes for voyages and campaigns which imply almost incredible hardship and peril. The terrible career is not forced upon them as upon a convict or conscript; they deliberately choose it, they enter upon it as gay as a bridegroom, and they do so with full knowledge of its privations and sufferings. This is a matter of everyday occurrence. They cheerfully quit the primrose paths for steep and rugged ways, every step in which means toil and may mean destruction. Our national history furnishes striking evidence of this strange fascination. With the whole rich world before them, our adventurous forefathers found Arctic exploration specially alluring. In The Expansion of England Seeley records this remarkable passion: “Our explorers, naturally but unfortunately, turned their attention to the Polar regions, and so discovered
nothing but frozen oceans, while their rivals (Spanish and Portuguese) were making a triumphal progress on from island unto island at the gateways of the sun.” Again, in our own day we have a fresh demonstration in our Alpine climbers of this allurement of difficulty. Not finding severity enough in their national pathway, members of the rich and leisured class voluntarily seek it where a very short step comes between them and death. Like Symonds, they forsake enchanted Venice and the gardens of Italy for the snowy altitudes of the Alps, ice-gulfs, and the loose mountain trembling from on high. Strange that it should be so, yet so it is. Our fear of excessive cold is intense and inveterate; scientists think it is a reminiscence of the awful struggle of primitive man with the ice age: yet it is overcome by the passion for difficulty, the instinct for peril. At the thought of the edelweiss we forget all the gay flowers of the field.
It is not difficult to justify this instinct for stern things, for really we see at last that it is the instinct. of self-preservation, the preservation of our higher self through the denial and discipline of our lower self. The gilded youth dandled in the lap of luxury secures his manhood by the wild daring of loss and difficulty— by losing his life he saves it. Seeley says: "Our explorers unfortunately turned their attention to the Polar seas, and so discovered nothing but frozen oceans." Is that the whole truth? Certainly no goldmines, precious stones, spices, or orchids are found in these frozen regions; yet we cannot be blind to the fact that our national adventure there through many generations has proved a splendid discipline. In the end
the explorers who dared the Polar night discovered something more than frozen oceans: they have secured everything, even the glorious lands at the gateways of the sun. And sad as the summer catastrophes of Switzerland are, Alpine climbing may be the necessary tonic of a rich civilization. One of the deepest instincts of our nature teaches the preciousness of severity.
Life may easily become much too easy. We heard the other day of a lady who, in mistaken compassion, cracked a cocoon so that the butterfly might the more easily escape; but when the pampered creature emerged, it was sickly and colourless, and soon died. The painful effort of escape was essential to its strength and splendour. Through tribulations must we struggle into the higher life of the spirit. We love to review the treasuries of the sun, the wealth of soft and lovely things: let us remember the treasuries of the snow, the noble, holy, and beautiful issues of sanctified hardship and sorrow.
THE POLES OF THE MORAL WORLD
Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Thy sight; that Thou mayest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.—Ps. li. 4.
T is of first consequence that we clearly perceive and steadily remember the fact of the absolute and eternal antagonism of sin with the nature and purpose of the Almighty. Once permit this great truth to be obscured, and all moral life is relaxed. And in certain quarters strenuous efforts are made to obscure it. Poets and philosophers so speculate on moral evil as to leave the impression that it is not wholly illegitimate, but is in some sense and measure a medium for the manifestation of God's will and the agent of His purpose. One of this school argues that evil and good are fundamentally identical, that they constitute a "double-faced unity." "double-faced unity." At the very moment of writing we notice in one of the reviews this passage: "The mystery of evil owes its mysteriousness chiefly to the incongruous attributes with which earlier thought invested its author. Clear away these disfigurements, and the moral reproach of the mystery will disappear with them, and evil, freed from all that is malignant, may then find place in the divine scheme, as a stern but faithful minister of its benign purpose."