And they called her Faith from that hour.
The only alloy in the joy of the others was, as the kind father explained to them the causes of his delay, that they had not trusted him with the faith of the little child; and when he told them of the strange people he had been among, who needed counsel and instruction, and their great need of his ministrations, they sorrowed much that doubt had shadowed for a moment their trust in their father.
Thus do we distrust our Heavenly Parent; and when our needs rise like mountains before us, and all seems dark, we cry, “Alas! he has forgotten us!” And yet in our deepest night a light appears, his strong arm uplifts us, and we are taught how holy a thing is Faith.
Darkness had been upon the earth for a long time. It was a period of war and bloodshed, crime and disaster.
The old earth seemed draped in habiliments of mourning; and there was cause for aching hearts, for out of many homes had gone unto battle sons, fathers, and husbands, who would return no more. They fell in service; and kind mothers and wives could not take one farewell look at their still, white faces, but must go about their homes as though life had lost none of its helps.
* * * * *
“The poor, sad earth!” said one of a glad band, belonging to a starry sphere above. “I long to comfort its people; but my mission is given me to guide souls through the death valley, and bear them to their friends in the summer-land. I must not leave my post of duty. Who will go?”
“I will,” said Love, in sweet, silvery tones.
“You are too frail to descend into such darkness as at present envelops the earth; beside, they need another, a different element just now, to prepare the way for better things.”
“Who shall it be?” they all said, and looked from one to the other.
“Hope,” said their leader, the queen of the starry band.
There was to be high festival that night, in a temple dedicated to the Muses; and it was quite a sacrifice for any of their number to leave their happy sphere, for one so dark as that of earth.
Hope came forward at the mention of her name, holding in her hand the half-finished garland which she had been twining for one of the Graces.
“Wilt thou go to earth to-night, fair Hope?” asked the queen.
The star on her fair brow glittered brighter as she said unhesitatingly, “I will.”
“Your mission will be to carry garlands to every habitation which has a light within. The others you cannot, of course, discern. Come now, and let me clasp this strong girdle about thy waist, to which I shall attach a cord, by which to let you down to earth.”
They filled her arms with garlands, and flung some about her neck, till she was laden and ready to go.