LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE.
Sometimes, O Lord, thou lightest in my
A lamp that well might Pharos all the lands;
Anon the light will neither burn nor spread
Shrouded in danger gray the beacon stands.
A Pharos? Oh, dull brain! Oh,
poor quenched lamp,
Under a bushel, with an earthy smell!
Moldering it lies, in rust and eating damp,
While the slow oil keeps oozing from its cell!
For me it were enough to be a flower
Knowing its root in thee was somewhere hid—
To blossom at the far appointed hour,
And fold in sleep when thou, my Nature, bid.
But hear my brethren crying in the dark!
Light up my lamp that it may shine abroad.
Fain would I cry—See, brothers! sisters, mark!
This is the shining of light’s father, God.
THE MANOR HOUSE DINING-ROOM.
The rector never took his eyes off the preacher, but the preacher never saw him. The reason was that he dared not let his eyes wander in the direction of Mrs. Ramshorn; he was not yet so near perfection but that the sight of her supercilious, unbelieving face, was a reviving cordial to the old Adam, whom he was so anxious to poison with love and prayer. Church over, the rector walked in silence, between the two ladies, to the Manor House. He courted no greetings from the sheep of his neglected flock as he went, and returned those offered with a constrained solemnity. The moment they stood in the hall together, and before the servant who had opened the door to them had quite disappeared, Mrs. Ramshorn, to the indignant consternation of Mrs. Bevis, who was utterly forgotten by both in the colloquy that ensued, turned sharp on the rector, and said,
“There! what do you say to your curate now?”
“He is enough to set the whole parish by the ears,” he answered.
“I told you so, Mr. Bevis!”
“Only it does not follow that therefore he is in the wrong. Our Lord Himself came not to send peace on earth but a sword.”
“Irreverence ill becomes a beneficed clergyman, Mr. Bevis,” said Mrs. Ramshorn—who very consistently regarded any practical reference to our Lord as irrelevant, thence naturally as irreverent.
“And, by Jove!” added the rector, heedless of her remark, and tumbling back into an old college-habit, “I fear he is in the right; and if he is, it will go hard with you and me at the last day, Mrs. Ramshorn.”
“Do you mean to say you are going to let that man turn every thing topsy-turvy, and the congregation out of the church, John Bevis?”
“I never saw such a congregation in it before, Mrs. Ramshorn.”
“It’s little better than a low-bred conventicle now, and what it will come to, if things go on like this, God knows.”
“That ought to be a comfort,” said the rector. “But I hardly know yet where I am. The fellow has knocked the wind out of me with his personalities, and I haven’t got my breath yet. Have you a bottle of sherry open?”