The Way of All Flesh eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 485 pages of information about The Way of All Flesh.

CHAPTER XXI

Strange! for she believed she doted upon him, and certainly she loved him better than either of her other children.  Her version of the matter was that there had never yet been two parents so self-denying and devoted to the highest welfare of their children as Theobald and herself.  For Ernest, a very great future—­she was certain of it—­was in store.  This made severity all the more necessary, so that from the first he might have been kept pure from every taint of evil.  She could not allow herself the scope for castle building which, we read, was indulged in by every Jewish matron before the appearance of the Messiah, for the Messiah had now come, but there was to be a millennium shortly, certainly not later than 1866, when Ernest would be just about the right age for it, and a modern Elias would be wanted to herald its approach.  Heaven would bear her witness that she had never shrunk from the idea of martyrdom for herself and Theobald, nor would she avoid it for her boy, if his life was required of her in her Redeemer’s service.  Oh, no!  If God told her to offer up her first-born, as He had told Abraham, she would take him up to Pigbury Beacon and plunge the—­no, that she could not do, but it would be unnecessary—­some one else might do that.  It was not for nothing that Ernest had been baptised in water from the Jordan.  It had not been her doing, nor yet Theobald’s.  They had not sought it.  When water from the sacred stream was wanted for a sacred infant, the channel had been found through which it was to flow from far Palestine over land and sea to the door of the house where the child was lying.  Why, it was a miracle!  It was!  It was!  She saw it all now.  The Jordan had left its bed and flowed into her own house.  It was idle to say that this was not a miracle.  No miracle was effected without means of some kind; the difference between the faithful and the unbeliever consisted in the very fact that the former could see a miracle where the latter could not.  The Jews could see no miracle even in the raising of Lazarus and the feeding of the five thousand.  The John Pontifexes would see no miracle in this matter of the water from the Jordan.  The essence of a miracle lay not in the fact that means had been dispensed with, but in the adoption of means to a great end that had not been available without interference; and no one would suppose that Dr Jones would have brought the water unless he had been directed.  She would tell this to Theobald, and get him to see it in the . . . and yet perhaps it would be better not.  The insight of women upon matters of this sort was deeper and more unerring than that of men.  It was a woman and not a man who had been filled most completely with the whole fulness of the Deity.  But why had they not treasured up the water after it was used?  It ought never, never to have been thrown away, but it had been.  Perhaps, however,

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The Way of All Flesh from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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