But watch the career of one thoroughly artificial. Through inheritance, or perhaps his own skill, having obtained enough for purposes of display, he feels himself thoroughly established. He sits aloof from the common herd, and looks out of his window upon the poor man, and says—“Put that dirty wretch off my steps immediately!” On Sabbath days he finds the church, but mourns the fact that he must worship with so many of the inelegant, and says, “They are perfectly awful!” “That man that you put in my pew had a coat on his back that did not cost five dollars.” He struts through life unsympathetic with trouble, and says, “I cannot be bothered.” Is delighted with some doubtful story of Parisian life, but thinks that there are some very indecent things in the Bible. Walks arm in arm with a millionnaire, but does not know his own brother. Loves to be praised for his splendid house; and when told that he looks younger than ten years ago, says—“Well, really; do you think so!”
But the brief strut of his life is about over. Up-stairs—he dies. No angel wings hovering about him. No gospel promises kindling up the darkness;—but exquisite embroidery, elegant pictures, and a bust of Shakespeare on the mantel. The pulses stop. The minister comes in to read of the Resurrection, that day when the dead shall come up—both he that died on the floor, and he that expired under princely upholstery. He is carried out to burial. Only a few mourners, but a great array of carriages. Not one common man at the funeral. No befriended orphan to weep a tear upon his grave. No child of want pressing through the ranks of the weeping, saying—“He is the last friend I have; and I must see him.”
What now? He was a great man: Shall not chariots of salvation come down to the other side of the Jordan, and escort him up to the palace? Shall not the angels exclaim—“Turn out! a prince is coming.” Will the bells chime? Will there be harpers with their harps, and trumpeters with their trumpets?
No! No! No! There will be a shudder, as though a calamity had happened. Standing on heaven’s battlement, a watchman will see something shoot past, with fiery downfall, and shriek: “Wandering star—for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever!”
With the funeral pageant the brilliant career terminated. There was a great array of carriages.
When night came down on Babylon, Nineveh, and Jerusalem, they needed careful watching, otherwise the incendiary’s torch might have been thrust into the very heart of the metropolitan splendor; or enemies, marching from the hills, might have forced the gates. All night long, on top of the wall and in front of the gates, might be heard the measured step of the watchman on his solitary beat; silence hung in air, save as some passer-by raised the question: “Watchman, what of the night?”