The view is sublime. Moses on Pisgah could have had no such vision. He had knowledge added of the future grandeur of his people, but such a revelation as this tells so clearly what God can do for his people hereafter that that element of Moses’s enjoyment can be perceived, if not fully appreciated. All the well-known mountains stand up like friends to cheer us. Mont Blanc has the smile of the morning sun to greet us withal. Monte Rosa chides us for not partaking of her prepared visions. The kingdoms of the world—France, Switzerland, Italy—are at our feet. One hundred and twenty snow-peaks flame like huge altar piles in the morning sun. The exhilarant air gives ecstasy to body, the new visions intensity of feeling to soul. The Old World has sunk out of sight. This is Mount Zion, the city of God. New Jerusalem has come down out of heaven adorned as a bride for her husband. The pavements are like glass mingled with fire. The gates of the morning are pearl. The walls, near or far according to your thought, are like jasper and sapphire. The glory of God and of the Lamb lightens it.
But we must descend, though it is good to be here. It is even more difficult and tedious than the ascent. Non facilis descensus. With your face to the mountain you have only the present surface and the effort for that instant. But when you turn your back on the mountain the imminent danger appears. It is not merely ahead, but the sides are much more dangerous. On the way down we had more cannonades. In six hours we were off the cliffs, and by half past three we had let ourselves down, inch by inch, to Zermatt, a distance of nine thousand four hundred feet.
Looking up to the Matterhorn this next morning after the climb, I feel for it a personal affection. It has put more pictures of grandeur into my being than ever entered in such a way before. It is grand enough to bear acquaintance. People who view it from a distance must be strangers. It has been, and ever will be, a great example and lofty monument of my Father’s power. He taketh up the isles as a very little thing; he toucheth the mountains and they smoke. The strength of the hills is his also; and he has made all things for his children, and waits to do greater things than these.
THE GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO RIVER
Before me lies a thin bit of red rock, rippled as delicately as a woman’s hair, bearing marks of raindrops that came from the south. It was once soft clay. It was laid down close to the igneous Archaean rocks when Mother Earth was in her girlhood and water first began to flow. More clay flowed over, and all was hardened into rock. Many strata, variously colored and composed, were deposited, till our bit of beauty was buried thousands of feet deep. The strata were tilted variously and abraded wondrously, for our earth has been treated very much as the fair-armed bread-maker treats the lump of dough she doubles and kneads on the molding board. Other rocks of a much harder nature, composed in part of the shells of inexpressible multitudes of Ocean’s infusoria, were laid down from the superincumbent sea. Still the delicate ripple marks were preserved. Nature’s vast library was being formed, and on this scrap of a leaf not a letter was lost.