« הקודםהמשך »
possible, it would be speedily quenched by the authority of the Messiah’s name, as the classic poets appealed to the authority of the muse. (Grote, vol. i., p. 335)
For the reasons foregoing, as well as from more special and detailed considerations, which can be better stated when we come to treat of particular examples among the marvellous narratives of the Gospels, we think it is plain that the miracles in general of the Bible, both of the Old Testament and the New Testament, should be classed as myths, with the similar stories in all other religious records, sacred books, and primitive histories. In the next article we shall state and answer the chief objections to the foregoing view.
THE Doctor passed two miserable On the third day, just as his irrita
days. I suppose there come tion had passed its crisis and was be. crises in the experience of every man ginning to subside into that state of and woman when Life seems a gift chronic discord which is so well unworthy the Giver -- a cup from known to the victims of circumstances in which the wine is exhaled, and there general, there caine a summons from is left only the bitter, nauseous dregs. Mrs. Vaughan. The Doctor's teeth All sights and sounds are alike dis- came together sharply as he read it. gustful; the heart-strings vibrate only Some men would perhaps have evaded a jangling discord; the way from earth it; but the Doctor's mood was by to heaven is choked with vapors; there this time somewhat analugous to that is nothing beauteous or pleasant,above, of the sullen bull-dog who follows below, or around. Rash souls glide your butcher's cart, rather hoping from this mood to despair and a tragic that somebody will attempt a raid upend; if indeed that may be called an on it, so that he may show how beauend which is more truly a beginning. tifully nature has prepared him to Temperaments more leaden, grow sour defend it. and disdainful of their kind; but a few He had some respect for Mrs. strong, serene natures there are, that Vaughan, and felt by no means afraid hoid on strong and all-glorious to the of her; albeit he well knew that an anchor of Hope ; who stretch a subtle encounter with her would be no pascord serene and invisible into the skies tiine. If Miss Zarie should happen and bring down at last out of their to come in his way so much the turbulent threatenings, the very light- better for the bull-dog. ning of heaven to be the meek servant It was a quiet summer evening as of their will. The Doctor was con- he walked over to the Vaughan manscious of the gloom and the tempest, sion. All influences of air and sky but he had not learned how perfect a were tranquilizing and perhaps—who conductor was the strong pure purpose knows ?—some kindly angel breathed of his soul, which through all weathers over his troubled spirit an air from bore itself steadily aloft.
the upper worid which soothed and
softened and uplifted him, for the mo- orphan and our ward, and so by more ment, beyond the vibrations of earthly than ordinary ties made clear to us, discords. The atmosphere of a great and your child is my only namesake. Idea is always calm as Heaven itself, Concerning Eloise, you know that I of which it is a part; and before the have always regarded her as my daughDoctor reached his destination, he ter, and stand, in point of fact, her had somehow come to feel the little- nearest of kin. Looking at ali these ness of all personal resentment, and circumstances, I am sure you wiil not the necessity for all those who would deny me the right of love to discuss live the true life of the spirit, to carry with you a subject which, you must about with them constantly that broad be aware, affects me more nearly than mantle of charity which “covereth a any other except the persons prima. multitude of sins.”
rily concerned in it.” So tempered by wisdom, he awaited “ My dear madam," replied Rich. Mrs. Vaughan. She came into the ard, with unfeigned kindliness, “ I do room with a bland air, and gave him feel and acknowledge your right in a kindly “good evening.” Her pre- the premises, and have no misgiving sence was always more or less impos- in the matter save one; and that arises ing, but this evening, just as she had from the fact that it is so difficult for softened her heavy and somewhat any person to judge fairly and dissombre robe of black silk by the addi- passionately of another person's contion of delicate laces and bows of rose- duct in a case like this, where there colored ribbon, she had graced her seems to me to be a direct opposition manner with a sweetness and gentle between absolute right and all the ness beyond her ordinary wont. After received and established teachings of a few remarks that were only prelimi- mankind, uniess the person so judging nary, she opened upon the subject shall have had some similar experiwhich lay so near her heart.
ence, which shall have opened his “ Richard,” she said, and her voice eyes to the true relation of things. was as kir.d as though she had been Abstractly it would not be necessary speaking to her own son ; “Richard, to complete my view of the case that I have sent for you because I wanted you should know some things concernto speak to you about something ing my first acquaintance with Eisie, which it pains me very deeply to which to this day are known only to mention, and which yet, for the sake her and to myself; but because your of all concerned, I feel must be men- judgment is likely to be so largely intioned and calmly and affectionately fluenced by circumstances, I feel that discussed, to the end, if possible, that I have a right to place them fairly a great danger may be averted.
You before you. You will please to take will, of course, understand what I into consideration therefore that I mean; but you will pardon me for had become acquainted with Eioise dwelling a moment upon my own Vaughan through my friendship with feelings in the matter.
I want you
Proctor; had learned to admire her to consider, before answering me, that from his representations; to you and Elsie, and especially Eloise, ciate her in all my dreams with
my are all to me as nearly as possible like future married life: that I
came to my own children. I learned to love Brockendale fully resolved to make you
for Proctor's sake, long before I her acquaintance, and if possible to thought of you as a relative. I wel- win her love ; that I naturally enough comed you to the family most heartily, mistook Elsie for the woman whom I feeling that no better thing could have had so long admired; that Elsie ber- happened to Elsie than to have won self knew of my self-deception and pursuch a husband. Elsie is our brother's posely fostered il ; and that it was not
till six months after my marriage that tion is whether in a matter the most a letter from Proctor undeceived me, momentous of any which concern only and at the same time explained the temporal interests,—and this form of disappointment which I had already speech does not fully express the imexperienced in my married life. That portance of the marriage relation, I was egregiously at fault in not feel- since it certainly affects in many cases ing the difference between the two the eternal welfare of not only the women I readily acknowledge; though two principal parties, but of all the not more so than many another man children who may be born of it ;of my youth and inexperience might whether, I say, in a matter so mohave been. Still if you know all these mentous, a man or a woman must things it is more easy to understand inevitably be bound to the consehow, seeing Eloise, and finding all my quences of an error committed through youthful dreams more than realized haste, or deception, or any of the many in her, I should the sooner discover influences that may continue to lead that relation which from the first I young men and women astray in such had believed to exist between us.
matters? Still for all this, had not circumstances Mrs. Vaughan, like the sensible thrown us together in such a way that woman she was, replied thoughtfully we both felt for the moment absolved and deliberately : from all those ties which are bind. “Richard,” she said, “ I need not ing only in this world, I might, nay tell you how astonished and how probably should, never have revealed deeply pained I am at this revelation. to her my most unhappy passion. I could not have conceived Elsie Since that time we have known that capable of such conduct. Yet still, my we loved each other—simply that and dear nephew, such things are not to nothing more. When by your own ac- be hastily judged. You have lived count she was suffering and perhaps in together now near seven years ; you peril of her life, I visited her only as one are the parents of a child; there are friend might visit another in such a every way so many interests involved case : and because I believed it to be that it seems to me, if you will look necessary to her health and moral and
at it calmly, you will see that it is spiritual well-being, I wrote her a altogether best to keep on in the old letter which was as innocent as I way; to break off this new relation. doubt not was her reply, though the I will take Eloise to Europe with me, latter I have have not been permitted she shall be utterly removed out of to see, as you doubtless are aware. your sight; your uncle and myself, You have now all the facts in the for we see alike in this matter-will case, and I beg that you will take do anything we can to heal this diffithem all into consideration before culty, if you will only listen to reason, forming your judgment.”
and return to your true and rightful Mrs. Vaughan was listening with allegiance. What God hath joined the utmost interest. The Doctor together, you know, no man may put continued :
asunder." “Do not imagine, however, that I My dear madam,” replied the consider myself unfortunate above all Doctor, “ the question is what is iny other men and women in being thus true and rightful ailegiance?' It is the victum of deceit. You and I because my whole soul utterly rejects both know too well the nature of my relation with Elsie, as false and marriages constantly taking place in sinful, and asserts the other to be society, not to feel certain that pure and true and ordained of God by thousands of husbands and wives find that law of spiritual attraction which themselves equally duped. The ques- was established when the human soul
was created, that I have chosen that against those who daily in the name course of conduct to which you object. of God and the church poison the God never did join me to my legal very fountains of life ; sap the very wife, since never for a moment has foundation of virtuous society by conthere ever been any true union be- tracting false and foul marriages ; tween us. We are as dissimilar as relations in which there neither is oil and water.”
nor can be any pure conserving ele. “ Yet still God in his providence ment. Madam, if through youthful did permit you to be legally joined, haste or indiscretion, I have given the and he must have intended some good influence of my life in favor of this to Aow from the union.”
false estimate of marriage, do not stay “ Mrs. Vaughan, I might answer me when at great cost and peril,- for you that good has already come of I value my good name Mrs. Vaughan,it. In his providence he has also I strive to make my record straight, permitted me to find that woman who and testify to all men that love is might be my true and loving and holier than lust; the truth better than faithful wife ; and I could never have a lie, even by the price of many tears been so certain as I now am that my and much sufering.” love for her is the full and entire Mrs. Vaughan was silent for a expression of my soul in that direc. moment. tion if it had not been for my ex- “ Richard,” she said at length, perience in the former relation. “much that you say is true. Your Having this knowledge, the question misfortune is that you carry these is, shail I live true to it, or shall I views far. I really believe make my life a lie?”
you are conscientious, but then pardon “ Richard, you treat the subject too me, fanatics alway are. If they were abstractly ; you must be more prac- not they could not do such mischief tical. What is to become of Elsie in the world. I must appeal to Eloise ; and Dora if you abandon them?” this thing must be stopped."
“ Madam, I trust I am man enough “I judge then," said the Doctor, not to abandon them in any injurious “that you are ready to excuse me,”
and he took his hat to bid her good Yes, but we all know human evening. “I trust however, when nature, Richard. You may live in
you inform Eloise of the means taken this way a few years longer to the to betray her confidence, you will exdestruction of Elsie's peace of mind onerate me from guilt in the matter. and the injury of Eloise's good name. Mrs. Vaughan, I can forgive Elsie for But in the end there will be a divorce, the deception she practised upon me. or a graver scandal,
Oh, Richard, I might even forgive her for waylayyou must be warned in time, and ing and opening my letters — but' I spare your family this heavy disgrace.” never shall forgive her for showing
“ Mrs. Vaughan, a divorce may be that letter to a woman who neither odious, but it is not necessarily knows nor can know the purity of the disgraceful. That it is a very grave mind that dictated it. and momentous thing I am fully im- power, Mrs. Vaughan, to see that that pressed. I know full well the re- letter reaches its
destination ; sponsibility which a
and while I have to thank you for when he lays a destroying hand upon much courtesy in this matter, I shall what is truly the foundation of society certainly hold you responsible in -the marriage relation.
But do not honor and conscience, for the use you impute evil to me who strive truly to make of your power.” consummate a true and pure marriage ; Mrs. Vaughan replied coldly : let your accusations rather be directed “ I have the letter you speak of in
It is in your
my pocket. I feel it my duty to carry viable mood. It was a matter of some it to Eloise.”
moment to him, as well as to others, “ You will of course use your own to stand well in the eyes of the world, judgment in the matter, madam,” said and especially to retain the respect of the Doctor, “ but if your course results his family. He felt keenly besides in giving to this unfortunate matter a the pain which Eloise must suffer still greater publicity, you must also through a rupture of the old, tender retake the responsibility.”
lations between herself and her Uncle If Mrs. Vaughan had been a woman Vaughan's family. Abner Vaughan of penetration she might have under- was a man of few words ; he would stood the Doctor's manner; as it was avoid a matter like this as long as it she received no intimation of his real was possible to do so; but when the intention. His thought was, “ If you time came that he must act, the Doctor make it impossible for me to corre- well knew, that his course having spond with Eloise, you shall not been well considered, would be firmly thereby prevent my communicating adopted. On every hand, therefore, with her ; I am still master of my own persecution, and only persecution, actions, and while I don't like scandal, seemed to await him. The Doctor I will assert my rights in this matter." was not a man obstinate by nature; A man given to open threatening he was not in any sense of the word would have said this : the Doctor a passionate man. In every fibre of held his peace.
his being he felt that it was not at all Going out of the house he met his lower, or selfish nature, which Miss Zarie. She opened upon him clung so tenaciously, in the face of all at once.
peril and danger, to the object of his “So you've been to see Dorothea,” love, but the highest and purest inshe said; “I hope you left her easier stincts of his soul. Eloise evoked from in her mind than you found her.” him, not only all that we characterize
“ I can't say, indeed,” said the by the term love, but she awoke also Doctor curtiy, “ I do not hold myself the aspiration, the adoration of his responsible for the state of Mrs. scul. Only through her was religion Vaughan's mind”
in its tenderest, purest form, revealed “ But in this case, Doctor, we shall to him. The question, therefore, of all hold you responsible for the family whether or not he should renounce name and honor.”
his allegiance to her, became, not one “ Zarie," said the Doctor, “ if you of mere convenience, or personal pleastalked to me about right and wrong I ure. Judged in that light only, reason could understand you better, even if would inevitably decide against the I did not agree with you ; but this relation. It cut far more deeply than chattering of your teeth for fear of this into the tissues of his life. It scandal is something which I can- amounted in effect to the query, not appreciate. I despise scandalwhether for personal ease and con. mongers. I should despise myself venience, he should turn traitor to his if I lived at their dictation. More- highest convictions and revelations over, I never did know any woman of truth. Whether the interests and who stood in constant fear of the convetionalities of this life should be let tribe, who was not either a scandal. to outweigh the necessities of that monger or the victim of a guilty spiritual existence which knows no conscience.”
bounds of time, but once begun, as Miss Zarie turned livid with rage. alas ! to so many souls it never is begun The shaft had struck home in a manner in this world, stretches away undis. that she was not likely to forget. turbed by death into the limitless
The Doctor walked home in no en- æons of eternity.