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Beulah by Augusta J. Evans

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employ it properly. One Sabbath afternoon she sat in her room, with
her cheek on her hand, absorbed in earnest thought. Her little Bible
lay on her lap, and she was pondering the text she had heard that
morning. Charon came and nestled his huge head against her.
Presently she heard the quick tramp of hoofs and whir of wheels; and
soon after her husband entered and sat down beside her.

"What are you thinking of?" said he, passing his hand over her head

"Thinking of my life--of the bygone years of struggle."

"They are past, and can trouble you no more. 'Let the dead past bury
its dead!'"

"No; my past can never die. I ponder it often, and it does me good;
strengthens me, by keeping me humble. I was just thinking of the
dreary, desolate days and nights I passed, searching for a true
philosophy and going further astray with every effort. I was so
proud of my intellect; put so much faith in my own powers; it was no
wonder I was so benighted."

"Where is your old worship of genius?" asked her husband, watching
her curiously.

"I have not lost it all. I hope I never shall. Human genius has
accomplished a vast deal for man's temporal existence. The physical
sciences have been wheeled forward in the march of mind, and man's
earthly path gemmed with all that a merely sensual nature could
desire. But, looking aside from these channels, what has it effected
for philosophy, that great burden, which constantly recalls the
fabled labors of Sisyphus and the Danaides? Since the rising of
Bethlehem's star, in the cloudy sky of polytheism, what has human
genius discovered of God, eternity, destiny? Metaphysicians build
gorgeous cloud palaces, but the soul cannot dwell in their cold,
misty atmosphere. Antiquarians wrangle and write; Egypt's moldering
monuments are raked from their desert graves, and made the theme of
scientific debate; but has all this learned disputation contributed
one iota to clear the thorny way of strict morality? Put the Bible
out of sight, and how much will human intellect discover concerning
our origin-our ultimate destiny? In the morning of time sages
handled these vital questions, and died, not one step nearer the
truth than when they began. Now, our philosophers struggle,
earnestly and honestly, to make plain the same inscrutable
mysteries. Yes; blot out the records of Moses, and we would grope in
starless night; for, notwithstanding the many priceless blessings it
has discovered for man, the torch of science will never pierce and
illumine the recesses over which Almighty God has hung his veil.
Here we see, indeed, as 'through a glass, darkly.' Yet I believe the
day is already dawning when scientific data will not only cease to
be antagonistic to Scriptural accounts, but will deepen the impress
of Divinity on the pages of Holy Writ; when 'the torch shall be
taken out of the hand of the infidel, and set to burn in the temple
of the living God'; when Science and Religion shall link hands. I
revere the lonely thinkers to whom the world is indebted for its
great inventions. I honor the tireless laborers who toil in
laboratories; who sweep midnight skies in search of new worlds; who
unheave primeval rocks, hunting for footsteps of Deity; and I
believe that every scientific fact will ultimately prove but another
lamp planted along the path which leads to a knowledge of Jehovah!
Ah! it is indeed peculiarly the duty of Christians 'to watch, with
reverence and joy, the unveiling of the august brow of Nature by the
hand of Science; and to be ready to call mankind to a worship ever
new'! Human thought subserves many useful, nay, noble, ends; the
Creator gave it, as a powerful instrument, to improve man's temporal
condition; but oh, sir, I speak of what I know, when I say: alas,
for that soul who forsakes the divine ark, and embarks on the gilded
toys of man's invention, hoping to breast the billows of life and be
anchored safely in the harbor of eternal rest! The heathens, 'having
no law, are a law unto themselves'; but for such as deliberately
reject the given light, only bitter darkness remains. I know it; for
I, too, once groped, wailing for help."

"Your religion is full of mystery," said her husband gravely.

"Yes; of divine mystery. Truly, 'a God comprehended is no God at
all!' Christianity is clear, as to rules of life and duty. There is
no mystery left about the directions to man; yet there is a divine
mystery infolding it, which tells of its divine origin, and promises
a fuller revelation when man is fitted to receive it. If it were not
so we would call it man's invention. You turn from Revelation
because it contains some things you cannot comprehend; yet you
plunge into a deeper, darker mystery when you embrace the theory of
an eternal, self-existing universe, having no intelligent creator,
yet constantly creating intelligent beings. Sir, can you understand
how matter creates mind?"

She had laid her Bible on his knee; her folded hands rested upon it,
and her gray eyes, clear and earnest, looked up reverently into her
husband's noble face. His soft hand wandered over her head, and he
seemed pondering her words.

May God aid the wife in her holy work of love!

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