Press enter after choosing selection

The Minister Of Montclair

The Minister Of Montclair image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Tt was no use ; the letters danced before Lis eycp, the whole world feemed waverinii and unccrtaio in tliose days. He luid his book down. and bogan to thinkofllie great troublo wl:ioh jvas slmitiüg him in. When the black specks fist bcgan to danoe het een him and iper, montliB ago he liad no doubt about the matter. It was ADDOjing, to bo sure, hut he must liavo tazed his ejes too severely. He wouid vork a li t!e lees by larnp-ligh - spare thein a lit tic - aad he should bo all right. So he had pared thrin more nid more, and jet t!ie fpecks kept on their el tin daooe ; and aiv for v. -l .:-: tbe conviction had been growiof{ on him clowly tlmt lie was going to be blind. He had nt told liis ife yet - how could ho bcar to lay on her ghdulders the buiden of bis awful ealeniity ? O, it was too hard I And yct was it too hard 'i I);ired he ay bo ? he, God's ïninistor - wln had to'd otlicr suft'ercra so many tiuios that their cbastening1 weru desltout to thetn bv a kiud i'atbers naad, and that they (■hould count all that brouglit them ncarer to Ilim as joyous, uot ïiovous V Yet speaking at r tjie matiner f this world, liis burda seeuied greater tban he could Lear. Wbat could Le do - a blind, helpless man ? He must givo up nis work ia lifo - !et anotber tuke bis minis'ry - Bit helpless in the darkness. Heaveu onlj knew bow loüg. Could be be resigned ? Theo, suddenly a flash of hope kindlcd liis sky, tliere u)i4ht be help for him. This gathi-ring harkneí-smipht be isonic-ihing viLich acience could remove. He would bo sureol ihal before he told Mary And tiieu ho bccatne fuverishly impa'ient Ho must know at onca, i; soemed to him - he oould not wait. Ile callbd his ie and tuld her witli a mauner which bo triud hard to make calm that he was going out of towi) the nexl moruing ou a little businecs. She wondert'd tbat he was so unconitnunicalive - it was not like him - but ho would not trouble bim with aDy questious. 8he should undtrstiind it uil eome time, Khe thought there was somethiag Btrunge in bis wy of spe viking. The minister strove hard for the matery of his owu spirit, as the crs wbirled him aloug the next moroicg to the tribunal at which he was to receive hi sentence. He tried to think of sometbing else, but fouud the effort vain ; HO he saiu, over :iud over, as simply as a child, one form of words : "Father, which ever waj it turna, O, give nio ftrergtli to bear it." Holding fast to bis piayer, ss to on anchor, he got out. ot' tlie cara and went into the streets Wbat a curious mist eeemci] to surroui d all things! The bouS' 6 loiked sptctral like thiongh it; the very people lic met eeemed like ghosts lie liad uot re;ilized his defective visiou so uiuoh ut home vhcro it bad come on iiini gradually, and all object were so familiar. Btill, with au eílort, he could see tlie Kigna on the stri'et corners and üud fii wny. Ho reacbed at )at the recidence of tlie disiiiguislied oculist for whtse verdict he liud come. IJefnund the pttrlnr lialf filled with pcople waiting like himst-lf. He wr.s asked for his nmne and sent in a card ou wbich was writte : "Rev. Williain Speucer Moutclair." Theu he vaUd bis turn. He dartd not tbink how long the time was, 01 bat iUB et M ho was in. He just kept his simple child'n prayer in hm heart, und steadied himself with it. The time carne for bim at laat, nnd he followed the boy who summened hún into a little room shadcd wilh green. wiih green furniture, nnd on tho table a vase of fiowers. The stillness and the cool-Hcentcd air refreshed him. He saw dimly, as he saw cverylbing that morning, a tall, sliht man, with kind ■ face and quiet manners, who addrefsed 1 bim by name, invited him to fit down, anri then inquired uto bil syinptoms with fluch tact and sywpathy that Le teil us f Le were l al kiiiií with n fnend. At last the dootor uked him to take a seait by tha window and have his evos uMmined. His heart beat shockiugly, ! ml ho whiapered ui der hie lireath : "Thy wili, O üod, bodoue; onlygive uic s'rength." Dr. Gordon was silent for a moment or two - it eeemed ages to Mr. Spencer. Tlien he said wiili tho tendcrest and saddest voice, as if he folt to tbo utmost all tiie pain he was inilcting : "L c n 1 1 give you any hopo. Tho malady ih incurable. You will not lose your sight outiiely jut yet, but it must (JOMiC 80OII." The minister tried to ask how long it would bo beiore hc should bo blind; but his tongue Boemed to cleave to the roof of h s moutli, and he could only gnsp. Dr. Gordoo uni'erstood, arul answered, very kiodly, that it might bo a mom Li, poêibly two. ilo ftood up then to go. He kncw 11 liope was over. Ho paid his fee atid ttünt out ol the room and out of the tiouse. It scemed to hiin thnt thing had grown darker sioce ho went in. He hardiy kuew how he lound his wy to the cars. It was two hours pust bi dineer litue, and he was fuint for lack of f'ood, bul he did not.know it. 11e got to the station somehow, and waited fur tho tiain to tart for Montclair. All th.. way home he kopt whisperiug to himsolf, "One rnouth, possibly two - " as if it were a lesson, or tlie gutting by heart of wtiich bis life depended. Ho heard the oonduc'.ov cnll out Montcluir at last, and got out of the cars mechanically. His wife stood there waiting for him She had been auxious about hirn all day. "O. William I" she cricd, and then she 8w hij face, and stopped. There wns a look on it of one over whom mime awful doom is ponding - a wliite, fixed look thnt clullcd her. She took his iirm, and they wlkcd ou silcntly through the slimmer afiernooD. Wheo thty reached home, and she had takea oö her bonnet, he epoke at lust : "Mary, come here nnd let me look at you. I want to learn your face by heart." Bhe oame and knelt by him, whilo he tonK hor c.íipok belween his hauds ;ind tucüed every liueament. " Ar jou going away ?" she asked, after a while for his fixed, spent, mysterious gaze began to torturo her. "Ye", der, I am going; going ioto the dark." "To die?;'she2a?ped. "Yes, to dio to everytbing tliat makes up a man s lite id tnia world," Us auBwered bitterly. "Mary, I un Lng blind Think whut that mcaiis. After ti few more weeks, I hall oever feo you atfain, or our oliüdren, or this dear beaatifnl world whore we have livud and loved eucti otlier. The wuoio crrution s only an empty sound furcvcrmoru I O G d ! how can I be:r t ?" 'ís thereno liope ?" sho asked ith curiouM calmness, at wliieh she was herse!f amazed. "None. It was my errand tq town to-day to Cnd out. I have fit it coming on for niontlis, but I lioped againtt hope, and now I know. O Mary, to sit in the darkuess utitil my dcat.b day, striving fdr a sight rf your dear fucs ! It Í9 too biiter, and yet what arn I S!iying ? Shall iny Fatlier not choose Hi.s own way to briug me to tlie light cif heaven ? 1 must wtJT, I wili fiay, Hig will be uoüc." Just tlien the children carne running in ; boy gh, rotiiping Will ; sljy, yo'. UH'rry iittlü May. "Hush, clears," t'ie mother ?aid, softly ; "(apa is tired. You had better run out again." "No, Mary, let tliem stay," he interponed, ind then he said, so low tliat liis wife!3 ears just caught the whigper : "I cannot see thetn too much in thii littl while, this littie while." O how the day went on after that Every day the world looked dimmer to ihe minister's darkened eyes. Hespent alniost all his timo tryingto fix ihiugs he loved in his memory. It was pitiful ío seo uim going round over eaoh well known, well-luved Bccne, netitig anxiously just how those trteboughn otood out against the sky, or that hill climbed tovvard tbesiinfei. Hts:udied every üttle flower, every fern his ohildreti gathered ; for all creation seemed to Uiku for him a new beauty and VOTth. Most of all he studied tbeir dear borne faces. His wife grew used to the dim, wirtful eyes following her so constantly, but the children wondered wliy papa liked so well to keep them in sight; why he did not read or study any uioro. There carne a time at lust, one Eunday mornintr, when ihe brilüant summer sunsliine dawned for him in vaia. ''Tb it a bright clny, dear ?" he ssked, hearing bis wife move about tho room. "Very bright, William !" "Open the blinda, dcar, and let the gunsbiue in at tha cast windows." Miiry Spencer's hearts'ood still within her, but she commaudeU her voiue and answered steadily : "They are open, William. The whole room is full of light." "M;iry, I cannot pee, the timo's oome ; I am alone in the darkneea." "Not alone, my love," she cried in b passion of gritf. and pity, and tenderuess Thtn she went and fat di-wo beside him on the bed, and drew his heud to her bosom, and comfurted him, just as she wan wont to comlort her obildreo. Aftfir a time lier tender carcnaun, lier soothiüg tones, scemed to have hcaled his bruised, torturöd hert. Ho lifted up her he:id and kissed her. his first from out the darkni'ss in which he must abidiand tlien )ie st-ut ber awny. I think evpry soul, standing face to fuco with an untiied calamity, lngs to bo for puciï alono with its God. Three hoore afier that the cburch bella rang, :md as usual, the minia' er nnd his wifo walleed out of their lwelling save 'bat he now leaned upon her arm. In thal bour of seclu'sion he bad inado up his niind what to do. They walkoil p the iauiiliar way. and fhe left him at the loot of tho pulpit stairs, and went back to hew pew in front. IIo groped up the stairs, and rising in his place, he spoko to the wondering congreqation : 1 "Brethrcn, I stand before you as one n wlioni tlio Fathor's hai.d haa fallen ïeavily I am blínd. I bIiiiII ntver eeyouagain in this world - you, my hildrci), for whose souls I have striven o long. I have locked ray last on your eind, familiar faces on thifi earth - sea t t that I miss none of you when uiy yes are unsealed agaiu in hearer. Oiant, O Father, that uf those whorn hou hast given me I may lose nono " Thero as not a tearleíB fuco among lióse which were üfted up t liim, us ie stood there with li is sightless eyes raiscl to heavon, his hands outstretchid as if to bring down on thein the bleesing 'ir which ho prayed. S mo of the womon snbbed audibly, but the minister wu9 calm. Afcer a moment he said : "My brethren, ag far as is possible, he serviceB will proceed as usual." Then in a olear voice, iu which there seemed to his listeners' ears some uncarthly sweetnrss, he recited tho ono itindredth and thirteenth Psalm, oom nencing : 'Out (f the decp have I called upon Theü, O Lord ; Lord hear my voice." Afterwards he gavo out the first line f a hymn, which tho congregation eang. Tlien he prayed, nnd some said who ïLMird him, the eyes closet! on earth were bfholdiuy the beautiful visión, for is spoke as a sen beloveil, whosa vcry soul was full of t'ie glory of the FatLur's )resence. The sermón which followcd was euch i oue hb they had nevor bufore heai d rum his lips. There waf power in it, a evor, a tenderness, which no worJs of nine can describe. It was the testimony of a living witnesc, who had found tbe Lord a very present help in the imo df trouble. When uil was over, and hc 03tne down ho pulpit ftiirs, his wit.) stood agaiu at tho toot, and he took her nnn aud weot out silently. He seemed to the wuiting congregatiiin as one set, apart aud consec.rak'd by the anointiog of a ppecial orrow, and they daied uot break the ioly silence around him with common speeches. The uext afternoon a commitlee frotó ;he church went to the parsonage. Mrs. Spuncer saw theru coming and told her insband." 1 It mu8tbe," he said, "to ask my advice in the choice of niy succesaor." "I think they niighl have waited one day," she eried, witb a wotnan's patBiunate impatisDue at any Beemiug foigetfulnt'ss of the claims given him by hia years of f lithful service. The delegation had reaohed the door by tbat time, and the minister did not tiuiwtrr her. She waited on tho men into the study and h-ft them there, going ahout her uual task with a heari run oí Diueruess. it was uaiurai, perhaps, lliat they did uot w;tnt a bliiui minister, but to tell Lim so now, to mak e the very firet pang of bis sorrow s'inrp. r by their uutliaukfuluese, it wm Uio much. An bour passed before they went away, and then she beard her husbami's voice calliug bcr, and weut into tbe study propared to sympatbizo witli eorrow. She found liiiu sitting where sbe bad left bim ; witb such a joy, aud peace, aDd tliaukfulneBs upon hia face as she had nevar ezpcctcd to see it wear agtia "Mary," he raid, "ibero aro some kind beiirts in tbis woild. My parish watit mo to stsiy vitii tbcm, aud insisl on raismg my sulary a bundred dollars a year." "Want you te stay with them ?" she cried, lurdiy understandin" bis words. 'Yi.'S I lold them that 1 coul i n;tdo tbem justice, but tbey wuul-l tiot listen ; tliey beiiovo that my very affliotion will give me new power o' e tbu barts oí neo; tlien [ can do 8 mucb as ever. Tbey would not wait a duy, you Bee, lest wu sbould be auzious nbout our futuie" "And I tbougbt tbey were coming in iiideecnt haste, to give you notiee to go," Mre. Spsncer cried penitently. "IIow I iuijudgcd them ! Shall I uever lcarn Cbristiaji cbarity ?" So it was settlcd tbat tbe minister of Moutclair sbould abido with I be people For tbree years more hia persuasive voico called tbem to clioose the better way, and tben hia own summons carne to go up higber. In tliosa three years be liad Bown more eeed and reaped more liarvest thau some raen in a lg lifetime. He did bis work faitbfujly, and was ready wben tbe bour carne for bim to go bonie. Just at the last, wheu tbose who loved bim best etood weeping around bis bedside, tbey caugbt upou bis face the radiaoce of a ligbt not of thia world.. Ho put out bis bando with a glad ory. "I eee ! I cee ! Out of tbe dark into the ligbt !" And bcfure tbey could look with arce and wonder into each otber's eyes, the gbny h:id bevuil to fade, tbe outstretebed biuds f'e!l heavily, and tbey knew that the blind miuister wai goue, "paBt nicht, nast dav." where for bim there


Old News
Michigan Argus