I read under the pines of Lake Tahoe, on that Sunday afternoon, some pages from a recent English work that raises the question of inspiration. Is the Bible the word of God, or the words of men? It is neither. It is the word of God breathed through the words of men, inextricably intertwined with them as the tone of the wind with the quality of the tree. We must go to the Bible as to a grove of evergreens, not asking for cold, clear truth, but for sacred influence, for revival to the devout sentiment, for the breath of the Holy Ghost, not as it wanders in pure space, but as it sweeps through cedars and pines.
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In my Sunday musing by the shore of our Lake, I raised the question,—Who were looking upon the waters of Tahoe when Jesus walked by the beach of Gennesareth? Did men look upon it then? And if so were they above the savage level, and could they appreciate its beauty? And before the time of Christ, before the date of Adam, however far back we may be obliged to place our ancestor, for what purpose was this luxuriance of color, this pomp of garniture? How few human eyes have yet rested upon it in calmness, to drink in its loveliness! There are spots near the point of the shore where the hotel stands, to which not more than a few score intelligent visitors have yet been introduced. Such a nook I was taken to by a cultivated friend. We sailed ten miles on the water to the mouth of a mountain stream that pours foaming into its green expanse. We left the boat, followed this stream by its downward leaps through uninvaded nature for more than a mile, and found that it flows from a smaller lake, not more than three miles in circuit, which lies directly at the base of two tremendous peaks of the Sierra, white with immense and perpetual snow-fields. The same ring of vivid green, the same center of soft deep blue, was visible in this smaller mountain bowl, and it is fed by a glorious cataract, supported by those snow-fields, which pours down in thundering foam, at one point, in a leap of a hundred feet to die in that brilliant color, guarded by those cold, dumb crags.
Never since the creation has a particle of that water turned a wheel, or fed a fountain for human thirst, or served any form of mortal use. Perhaps the eyes of not a hundred intelligent spirits on the earth have yet looked upon that scene. Has there been any waste of its wild and lonely beauty? Has Tahoe been wasted because so few appreciative souls have studied and enjoyed it? If not a human glance had yet fallen upon it, would its charms of color and surroundings be wasted charms?
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