« 上一頁繼續 »
and respiration, and motion are all on the up-grade and there are stones on the track.
There are also the pains of poverty and the constant cry of cut down, abridge, deny, privation, give up, less, until every cup in the pantry is a cup of bitterness. Appearances must be kept up and reality covered up with a smile, but, oh! what a fierce effort to secure this result and manage the finances of an ordinary home! The out-goings overbalancing the income and pushing the honest heart into anxiety. These conditions rise up like ghosts to frighten, and make the daytime a midnight and the life a nightmare. The doctor's bill, and grocer's bill, and the whole host of these enemies of peace crowd about a human being and peck at his poor body like a foul bird with the sharp point of a bill.
Poverty made Shakespeare hold horses at the theatre door before it would permit him to write the immortal "Hamlet." It made Homer suffer want as he wandered on the shores of Greece before he could sing the "Iliad." It made Chantry, the sculptor, drive a donkey with milk-cans on its back before he carved beauty into the stone. It forced Poussin to paint sign-boards on the road to Paris
before they hung his pictures on the gallery walls of Paris. There is pain in some form and some degree in every life.
There is a gravel in almost every shoe. An Arabian legend says that there was a worm in Solomon's staff, gnawing its strength away; and there is a weak spot in every earthly support upon which a man leans. King George of England forgot all the grandeurs of his throne because, one day, in an interview, Beau Brummel called him by his first name, and addressed him as a servant, crying, "George, ring the bell!" Miss Langdon, honored all the world over for her poetic genius, is so worried over the evil reports set afloat regarding her that she is found dead, with an empty bottle of prussic acid in her hand. Goldsmith said that his life was a wretched being, and that all that want and contempt could bring to it had been brought, and cries out, "What, then, is there formidable in a jail?" Correggio's fine painting is hung up for a tavern sign. Hogarth cannot sell his best painting except through a raffle. Andrew Delsart makes the great fresco in the Church of the Annunciata, at Florence, and gets for pay a sack of
For this problem of pain nature furnishes no answer. It is cold and unsympathetic, and gives to the nerve and the tree the same conditions and the same care. Neither is logic an angel to lead us out of the darkness. There must be a moral secret under the whole programme and movement of life. In one of the German picture galleries is a painting called "Cloud-Land." It hangs at the end of a long gallery, and, at first sight, it looks like a great daub of confused color with neither form nor beauty, but, as you walk toward the picture, it begins to take shape to itself. A mass of exquisite little cherub faces is discovered. If you come close to the picture an innumerable company of little angels and cherubim is seen. The clouds of pain are transformed into angel faces by a nearer and better vision. There is a higher meaning in pain to be discovered. There is a divine philosophy underneath all suffering. Wherever it exists sin also exists. The cause and explanation for which men seek may lie remote from the real organ of disease. All pain, and suffering, and tears flow from the one fountain whose eternal name is "Sin."
Pain is causal, not casual. It is not accidental, but necessary. It should never be regarded in any
other light than a part of the divine plan. It is from the laboratory of the great Physician, and is medicine for the soul's health, but it is medicinal and healing only when taken from the hand of God and according to His own prescription; not when swallowed with a boldness which is only brute courage. Why not make this world free from all pain? Why not keep men eternal strangers to aches? Why not have the family all remain together, and the family record tell the story only of births and marriages, but not deaths? Why the grave, the thorn, the storm, the cloud, the struggle? Suffering is a part of the divine idea. All our faculties are subjects of pain as well as pleasure. It is a twofold nature we possess, but both parts are divine. Pain is an arrow from the bow of God, not to kill, but to warn. God answers our prayers for character by placing us on the anvil. The sound of the hammer precedes the shaping into higher things. The violinist does not destroy the instrument when he screws up the key. It is not to break the chord, but to make it sound the concert-pitch. The child of God is not punished with pain. That looks toward law. God's dealings with His children look toward growth, character, and
culture. A child is not a criminal. His suffering has no relation to violated law. It has a vital relation to character. The desire is not simply to reach heaven. Blessedness is higher than happiness by the whole diameter of heaven. Blessedness is the result of holiness. That is the highest heaven; that is the objective point in pain. It is an easy admission to declare that God is infinite and man is finite, but it is not a part of metaphysics or theology simply when a man has been driven into it and speaks with the force of experience and a united life. He looks into a Father's face and recognizes suffering as a bright angel on his holy errand of mercy and blessing. He receives it as a seal of sonship. If pain overtakes him in his deepest religious service and strikes him down when he is on his way to heaven, he can say this is the divine means to enlarge manhood and restore kingliness and Godlikeness. Most men have never learned the profound truth that to live is better than to have. The world is shouting with the hollow sound of wasted life and broken logic," Not to have is not to live." It is a difficult task to keep the soul and body at an equal height: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven." The