Thoughts which he had always been able to expel from his mind before, like evil birds fluttered again and again into the windows of his soul. For this he upbraided himself; but only to discover that at the very moment when he regretted that he had been tempted at all, he also regretted that he had not been tempted further.
All day long his agitated spirit alternated between remorse that he had enjoyed so much, and regret that he had enjoyed so little. Never had he experienced such a tumult in his soul. He struggled hard, but he could not tell whether he had conquered or been defeated.
It was not until he had retired to his room at night and thrown himself upon his knees, that he began to regain peace. There, in the stillness of his chamber, he strove for the control of his thoughts and emotions, and fell asleep after long and prayerful struggles, with the sweet consciousness of a spiritual triumph!
THE TRAIL OF THE SERPENT
“Every man living
shall assuredly meet with an hour of temptation,
a critical hour which shall more especially try what metal his
heart is made of”—South.
It was long after he had awakened in the morning before the memory of the adventure of yesterday recurred to David’s mind. His sleep had been as deep as that of an infant, and his rest in the great ocean of oblivion had purified him, so that when he did at last recall the experience which had affected him so deeply, it was with indifference. The charm had vanished. Even the gypsy’s beauty paled in the light of the Holy Sabbath morning. He could think of her with entire calmness, and so thoroughly had the evil vanished that he hoped it had disappeared forever. But he had yet to learn that before evil can be successfully forgotten it must be heroically overcome.
He did not yet realize this, however, and his bath, his morning prayer, a passage from the gospel, the hearty breakfast, the kind and trustful faces of his family, dispelled the last cloud from the sky of his soul. Having finished the round of morning duties, he made himself ready to visit the lumber camp, there to discharge the sacred duty revealed to him in the vision.
The confidence reposed by the genuine Quaker in such intimations of the Spirit is absolute. They are to him as imperative as the audible voice of God to Moses by the burning bush.