Among the Forces
by Henry White Warren
Previous Part     1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

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.


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.

Beside this stone now lies another of the purest white. It once flowed as water impregnated with lime, and clung to the lower side of a rock now as high above the sea as many a famous mountain. The water gradually evaporated, and the lime still hung like tiny drops. Between the two stones now so near together was once a perpendicular distance of more than a mile of impenetrable rock. How did they ever get together? Let us see.

After the rock making, by the deposit of clay, limestone, etc., this vast plain was lifted seven thousand feet above the sea and rimmed round with mountains. Perhaps in being afterward volcanically tossed in one of this old world's spasms an irregular crack ripped its way along a few hundred miles. Into this crack rushed a great river, perhaps also an inland ocean or vast Lake Superior, of which Salt Lake may be a little remnant puddle. These tumultuous waters proceeded to pulverize, dissolve, and carry away these six thousand feet of rock deposited between the two stones. There was fall enough to make forty Niagaras.

I was once where a deluge of rain had fallen a few days before in a mountain valley. It tore loose some huge rocks and plunged down a precipice of one thousand feet. The rock at the bottom was crushed under the frightful weight of the tumbling superincumbent mass, and every few minutes the top became the bottom. In one hour millions of tons of rock were crushed to pebbles and spread for miles over the plain, filling up a whole village to the roofs of the houses. I knew three villages utterly destroyed by a rush of water only ten feet deep. Water and gravitation make a frightful plow. Here some prehistoric Mississippi turned its mighty furrows.

The Colorado River is one of our great rivers. It is over two thousand miles long, reaches from near our northern to beyond our southern border, and drains three hundred thousand square miles of the west side of the Rocky Mountains. Great as it remains, it is a mere thread to what it once was. It is easy to see that there were several epochs of work. Suppose the first one took off the upper limestone rock to the depth of several thousand feet. This cutting is of various widths. Just here it is eighteen miles wide; but as such rocks are of varying hardness there are many promontories that distinctly project out, say, half a mile from the general rim line, and rising in the center are various Catskill and Holyoke mountains, with defiantly perpendicular sides, that persisted in resisting the mighty rush of waters. The outer portions of their foundations were cut away by the mighty flood and, as the ages went by, occasionally the sides thundered into the chasm, leaving the wall positively perpendicular.

We may now suppose the ocean waters nearly exhausted and only the mighty rivers that had made that ocean were left to flow; indeed, the rising Sierras of some range unknown at the present may have shut off whole oceans of rain. The rivers that remained began to cut a much narrower channel into the softer sand and clay-rock below. From the great mountain-rimmed plateau rivers poured in at the sides, cutting lateral canons down to the central flow. Between these stand the little Holyokes aforesaid, with greatly narrowed base.

I go down with most reverent awe and pick the little ripple-rain-marked leaf out of its place in the book of nature, a veritable table of stone written by the finger of God, and bring it up and lay it alongside of one formed, eons after, at the top. They be brothers both, formed by the same forces and for the same end.

Standing by this stupendous work of nature day after day, I try to stretch my mind to some large computation of the work done. A whole day is taken to go down the gorge to the river. It takes seven miles of zigzag trail, sometimes frightfully steep, along shelves not over two feet wide, under rock thousands of feet above and going down thousands of feet below, to get down that perpendicular mile. It was an immense day's work.

The day was full of perceptions of the grandeur of vast rock masses never before suggested, except by the mighty mass of the Matterhorn seen close by from its Hoernli shoulder.

There was the river—a regular freight train, running day and night, the track unincumbered with returning cars (they were returned by the elevated road of the upper air)—burdened with dissolved rock and earth.

A slip into this river scarcely seemed to wet the foot; it seemed rather to coat it thickly with mud rescued from its plunge toward the sea. What unimaginable amounts the larger river must have carried in uncounted ages! In the short time the Mississippi has been at work it has built out the land at its mouth one hundred miles into the Gulf.

In the side canon down which we worked our sublime and toilful way it was easy to see the work done. Sometimes the fierce torrent would pile the bottom of a side canon with every variety of stone, from the wall a mile high, into one tremendous heap of conglomerate. The next rush of waters would tear a channel through this and pour millions of tons into the main river. For years Boston toiled, in feeble imitation of Milton's angels, to bring the Milton Hills into the back Bay and South Boston Flats. Boston made more land than the city originally contained, but it did not move a teaspoonful compared with these excavations.

The section traversed that day seemed while we were in it like a mighty chasm, a world half rent asunder, full of vast sublimities, but the next day, seen from the rim as a part of the mighty whole, it appeared comparatively little. One gets new meanings of the words almighty, eternity, infinity, in the presence of things done that seem to require them all.

In 1869 Major J. W. Powell, aided by nine men, attempted to pass down this tumultuous river with four boats specially constructed for the purpose. In ninety-eight days he had made one thousand miles, much of it in extremest peril. For weeks there was no possibility of climbing to the plateau above.

Any great scene in nature is like the woman you fall in love with at first sight for some pose of head, queenly carriage, auroral flush of color, penetrative music of voice, or a glance of soul through its illumined windows. You do not know much about her, but in long years of heroic endurance of trials, in the great dignity of motherhood, in the unspeakable comfortings that are scarcely short of godlike, and in the supernal, ineffable beauty and loveliness that cover it all, you find a richness and worth of which the most ardent lover never dreamed. The first sight of the canon often brings strong men to their knees in awe and adoration. The gorge at Niagara is one hundred and fifty feet deep; it is far short of this, which is six thousand six hundred and forty. Great is the first impression, but in the longer and closer acquaintance every sense of beauty is flooded to the utmost.

The next morning I was out before "jocund day stood tiptoe on the breezy mountain tops." I have seen many sunrises In this world and one other: I have watched the moon slowly rolling its deep valleys for weeks into its morning sunlight. I knew what to expect. But nature always surpasses expectations. The sinuosities of the rim sent back their various colors. A hundred domes and spires, wind sculptured and water sculptured, reached up like Memnon to catch the first light of the sun, and seemed to me to break out into Memnonian music. As the world rolled the steady light penetrated deeper, shadows diminished, light spaces broadened and multiplied, till it seemed as if a new creation were veritably going forward and a new "Let there be light" had been uttered. I had seen it for the first time the night before in the mellow light of a nearly full moon, but the sunlight really seemed to make, in respect to breadth, depth, and definiteness, a new creation.

One peculiar effect I never noticed elsewhere. It is well known that the blue sky is not blue and there is no sky. Blue is the color of the atmosphere, and when seen in the miles deep overhead, or condensed in a jar, it shows its own true color. So, looking into this inconceivable canon, the true color came out most beauteously. There was a background of red and yellowish rocks. These made the cold blue blush with warm color. The sapphire was backed with sardonyx, and the bluish white of the chalcedony was half pellucid to the gold chrysolite behind it. God was laying the foundation of his perfect city there, and the light of it seemed fit for the redeemed to walk in, and to have been made by the luminousness of Him who is light.

One great purpose of this world is its use as significant symbol and hint of the world to come. The communication of ideas and feelings there is not by slow, clumsy speech, often misunderstood, originally made to express low physical wants, but it is by charade, panorama, parable, and music rolling like the voice of many waters in a storm. The greatest things and relations of earth are as hintful of greater things as a bit of float ore in the plains is suggestive of boundless mines in the upper hills. So the joy of finding one lost lamb in the wilderness tells of the joy of finding and saving a human soul. One should never go to any of God's great wonders to see sights, but to live life; to read in them the figures, symbols, and types of the more wonderful things in the new heavens and the new earth.

The old Hebrew prophets and poets saw God everywhere in nature. The floods clap their hands and the hills are joyful together before the Lord. Miss Proctor, in the Yosemite, caught the same lofty spirit, and sang:

"Perpetual masses here intone, Uncounted censers swing, A psalm on every breeze is blown; The echoing peaks from throne to throne Greet the indwelling King; The Lord, the Lord is everywhere, And seraph-tongued are earth and air."



I have been to school. Dame Nature is a most kind and skillful teacher. She first put me into the ABC class, and advanced me through conic sections. The first thing in the geyser line she showed me was a mound of rock, large as a small cock of hay, with a projection on top large as a shallow pint bowl turned upside down. In the center of this was a half-inch hole, and from it every two seconds, with a musical chuckle of steam, a handful of diamond drops of water was ejected to a height of from two to five feet. I sat down with it half an hour, compelled to continuous laughter by its own musical cachinnations. There were all the essentials of a geyser. There was a mound, not always existent, built up by deposits from the water supersaturated with mineral. It might be three feet high; it might be thirty. There was the jet of water ejected by subterranean forces. It might be half an inch in diameter; it might be three hundred feet, as in the case of the Excelsior geyser. It might rise six inches; it might rise two hundred and fifty feet. There was the interval between the jets. It might be two seconds; it might be weeks or years.

A subsequent lesson in my Progressive Geyser Reader was the "Economic." Here was a round basin ten feet in diameter, very shallow, with a hole in the middle about one foot across. The water was perfectly calm. But every six minutes a sudden spurt of water and steam would rise about thirty feet, for thirty seconds, and then settle economically, without waste of water, into the pool, sinking with pulsations as on an elastic cushion a foot below the bottom of the pool. One could stride the opening like a colossus for five and one half minutes without fear. He might be using the calm depth for a mirror. But stay a moment too long and he is scalded to death by the sudden outburst.

The next lesson required more patience and gave more abundant reward. I found a great raised platform on which stood a castellated rock, more than twenty feet square, that had been built up particle by particle into a perfect solid by deposits from the fiery flood. In the center was a brilliant orange-colored throat that went down into the bowels of the earth. That was not the geyser—it was only the trump through which the archangel was to blow. I had heard the preliminary tuning of the instrument.

The guide book said the grand play of this "Castle" geyser began from eight to thirty hours after a previous exhibition, and was preceded by jets of water fifteen to twenty feet high, and that these continued five or six hours before the grand eruption. I hovered near the grand stand till the full thirty hours and the six predictive hours were over, and then, as the thunder above roared threateningly and the rain fell suggestively, I took a rubber coat and camped on the trail of that famous spouter.

Geysers are more than a trifle freaky. "Old Faithful" is a notable exception. Every sixty-five minutes, with almost the regularity of star time, he throws his column of hissing water one hundred and fifty feet high. Others are irregular, sometimes playing every three hours for a few times, and then taking a rest for three or more days. This Castle geyser is not registered to be quiet more than thirty hours, nor to indulge in preparatory spouts for more than six hours. When I finally camped to watch it out all these premonitory symptoms had been duly exhibited. I first carefully noted the frequency and height of the spouts, that any change might foretell the grand finale. There were ten spouts to the minute, and an average height of twenty feet. Hours went by with no hint of a change: ten to the minute, twenty feet in height. People by the dozen came and asked when it would go off. I said, "Liable to go any minute; it is long past due now." Stage loads of tourists, scheduled to run on time, drove up, waited a few minutes, and drove on, as if the grand object of the trip was to make time—not to see the grandeur they had come a thousand miles to enjoy. A photographer set up his camera to catch a shadow of the great display. He stood, sometimes air-bulb in hand, an hour or two, then folded his camera tent and stole away. Five hours had passed and night was near. Everybody was gone. I lay down on the ground to convince myself that I was perfectly patient. I attained so nearly to Nirvana that a little ground squirrel came and ran over me, kissing my hand in a most friendly way.

Six hours of waiting were nearly over when, without a single previous hint of change, one descending spout was met by an ascending one, and a vast column of hissing water rose, with a sound of continuous thunder, one hundred feet in air; and stood there like a pillar of cloud in the desert. The air throbbed as in a cannonade, and the sun brushed away all clouds as if he could not bear to miss a sight he had seen perhaps a million times. Then the top of this upward Niagara bent over like the calyx of a calla, and the downward Niagara covered all that elevated masonry with a rushing cascade. Shifting my position a little, I could see that the sun was thrilling the whole glorious outpour with rainbows. At such times one can neither measure nor express emotions by words. In the thunder which anyone can hear there is always, for all who can receive it, the ineffably sweet voice of the Father saying, "Thou art my beloved son, and all this grand display is for thy precious sake."

In sixteen minutes the flow of waters ceased, and a rush of saturated steam succeeded. At the same time the fierce swish of ascending waters and of descending cascades ceased, and a clear, definite note, as of a trumpet, exceeding long and loud, was blown. No archangel could have done better. As the steam rolled skyward it was condensed, and a very heavy rain fell on about an acre at the east as it was drifted by the air. It looked more like lines of water than separated drops. I found it thoroughly cooled by its flight in the upper air.

I climbed the huge natural masonry, and stood on the top. I could have put my hand into the hot rushing of measureless power. What a sight it was! There were the brilliant colors of the throat, open, three feet wide, and the dazzling whiteness of the steam. At thirty-two minutes from the beginning the steam suddenly became drier, like that close to the spout of a kettle, or close to the whistle of an engine. All pure steam is invisible. At the same time the note of the trumpet distinctly changed. The heavy rain at the east as suddenly stopped. The air could absorb the present amount of moisture. One could see farther down the terrible throat that seemed about to be rent asunder. The awful grandeur was becoming too much for human endurance. The contorted forms of rocks on the summit began to take the forms and heads of dragons, such as the Chinese carve on their monuments. The awful column began to change its effect from terror to fascination, and I knew how Empedocles felt when he flung himself into the burning Aetna. It was time to get down and stand further off.

The long waiting had been rewarded. "To patient faith the prize is sure." The grand tumult began to subside. It was beyond all my expectations. Nature never disappoints, for she is of God and in her he yet immanently abides. The next day the sky and all the air were full of falling rain. How could it be otherwise? It was the geyser returning to earth. I sought the place. The awful trumpet was silent, and the steam exhaled as gently as a sleeping baby's breath.

Only one more lesson will be recited at present. I had just arrived in camp when they told me that the Splendid geyser, after two days of quiet, was showing signs of uneasiness. I immediately went out to study my lesson. There was a little hill of very gentle slopes, a little pool at the top, three holes at the west side of it, with a dozen sputtering hot springs scattered about, while in a direct line at the east, within one hundred and forty feet, were the Comet, the Daisy, and another geyser. The Daisy was a beauty, playing forty feet high every two or four hours. All the slopes were constantly flowing with hot water. This general survey was no sooner taken than our glorious Splendid began to play. The roaring column, tinted with the sunset glories, gradually climbed to a height of two hundred feet, leaned a little to the southeast, and bent like a glorious arch of triumph to the earth, almost as solid on its descending as on its ascending side. No wonder it is named "Splendid."

Whoever has studied waterfalls of great height—I have seen nearly forty justly famous falls—has noticed that when a column or mass of water makes the fearful plunge smaller masses of water are constantly feathered off at the sides and delayed by the resistance of the air, while the central mass hurries downward by its concentrated weight. The general appearance is that of numerous spearheads with serrated edges, feathered with light, thrust from some celestial armory into the writhing pool of agonized waters below. In the geyser one gets this effect both in the ascending and in the descending flood.

Four times that first night dear old Splendid lured me from my bed to watch her Titanic play in the full light of the moon. During all this time not a hot spring ceased its boiling, nor a smaller geyser its wondrous play, for this gigantic outburst of power that might well have absorbed every energy for a mile around. Obviously they have no connection. Then my beloved Splendid settled into a three-days' rest.

These are the essential facts of geyser display. There are very many variations of performance in every respect, I have seen over twenty geysers in almost jocular, and certainly in overwhelmingly magnificent, activity.

"To him who in the love of nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language."


What is the power that can throw a stream of water two by six feet over the tops of the highest skyscrapers of Chicago? It is heat manifested in the expansive power of steam. Scientists have theorized long and experimented patiently to read the open book of this tremendous manifestation of uncontrollable energy. At first the form and action of a teakettle was supposed to be explanatory. Everyone knows that when steam accumulates under the lid it forces a gentle stream of water from the higher nozzle. This fact was made the basis of a theory to account for geysers by Sir George Mackenzie in 1811. But to suppose that nature has gone into the teakettle manufacturing business to the extent of thirty such kettles in a space of four square miles was seen to be preposterous. So the construction theory was given up.

But suppose a tube (how it is made will be explained later), large or small, regular or irregular, to extend far into the earth, near or through any great source of heat resulting from condensation, combustion, chemical action, or central fire. Now suppose this tube to be filled with water from surface or subterranean sources. Heat converts water, under the pressure of one atmosphere, or fifteen pounds to the square inch, into steam at a temperature of two hundred and twelve degrees. But under greater pressure more heat is required to make steam. The water never leaps and bubbles in an engine boiler. The awful pressure compels it to be quiet. A cubic inch of water will make a cubic foot—one thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight times as much—of steam under the pressure of one atmosphere. But under the pressure of a column of water one thousand feet high, giving a pressure of four hundred and thirty-two pounds to the square inch at the bottom, water becomes steam, if at all, only by great heat. Every engineer knows that the pressure exerted by steam increases by great geometrical ratios as the heat increases by small arithmetical ratios. Steam made by two hundred and twelve degrees exerts a pressure, as we have said, of fifteen pounds.

To simply double the two hundred and twelve degrees of heat increases the steam pressure twenty-three times.

Now suppose the subterranean tube or lake of Old Faithful to be freshly filled with its million gallons of water. Sufficient heat makes steam under any pressure. It rises up the tube and is condensed to water again by the colder water above. Hence no commotion. But the whole volume of water grows hotter for an hour. When it is too hot to absorb the steam, and the tube is too narrow to let the amount made bubble up through the water, it lifts the whole mass with a sudden jerk. The instant the pressure of the water is taken off in any degree, the water below, that was kept water by the pressure, breaks into steam most voluminously, and the measureless power floods the earth and sky with water and steam.

It is also known that superheated steam suddenly takes on such great power that no boiler can hold it. Once let the water in a boiler get very low and no boiler can hold the force of the resultant superheated steam. The same heat that, applied to water, gives perfect safety, applied to steam gives utter destruction. Hence the amazing force of the vast jets of the geyser that follow the first spurts.

As soon as the steam is blown off the subterranean waterworks fill the tube and the process is repeated.

This modus operandi was first proposed as a theory by Bunsen in 1846, and later was demonstrated by the artificial geyser of Professor J. H. J. Muller, of Freiburg.


I have the extremely difficult task of representing emotions by words—glories of color and form seen by the eye by symbols meant to be addressed to the ear. Before seeking to describe the diverse colors made largely by one substance, let us remember that while silica, the principal part of these water-built mounds, is one of the three parts of granite, namely, the white crystal quartz, it is also the substance of the beautifully variegated jasper, the lapis lazuli, the green malachite, and the opal, with its cloudy milk-whiteness through which flashes its heart of fire. Silica and alumina combine to make common clay, but alumina forms itself into the red ruby, the golden-tinted topaz, the violet oriental amethyst, the red, white, yellow, and violet sapphire, and the beautiful green emerald. With substances of such rare capabilities we may expect rich results in color and form.

We turn now to deposits from water of these two substances, especially the first. About the Old Faithful geyser is a mound about one hundred and forty-five feet broad at the base, twelve feet high, jeweled over with pools of beauty of every shape, beaded and fretted with glories of color never seen before except in the sky. How were they made?

Water is a general solvent. It can take into its substance several similar bulks of other substances without greatly increasing its own, some actually diminishing it. Hot alkaline water will dissolve even silica rock. When water is saturated with sugar, salt, or other substance, if a little or much water is evaporated some of the saturating substance must be deposited as a solid. All crystals, as quartz or diamonds, have been made by deposits from water. Hot water can hold in solution much more of a solid than cold water. Therefore, when hot water comes out of the earth and is cooled, some of the saturating substance must be deposited as a solid. It is done in various ways, especially two.

Suppose a little pool with perpendicular sides, say twenty feet across. It leaps and boils two feet high. It deposits nothing till the water comes to the cooling edge. Then it builds up a wall where it overflows, and wherever it flows it builds. The result is that you walk up the gentle slopes of a broad flat cone, and find the little lakelet in a gorgeous setting, perfectly full at every point of the circumference. If there is but little overflow, the result may be to deposit all the matter where it first cools, and make a perpendicular wall around the cup two or ten feet high. If the overflow is too much to be cooled at once, the deposit may still be made fifty or one hundred feet from the point of issue. If the overflow is sufficient, it may be building up every inch of a vast cone at once, every foot being wet.

Many minerals are held in solution and are deposited at various stages of evaporation. Let us suppose the lake to have the bottom sloping toward the abysmal center; the different minerals will be assorted as if with a sieve. At the Sunlight Basin the edge is as flaming red as one ever sees in the sunlit sky. And every color ever seen in a sunset flames almost as brilliantly in the varying depths. Suppose a low cone to be flooded only occasionally, as in the case of the Old Faithful geyser. The cooled water falling from the upper air builds up, under the terrible drench of the cataract, walls three or four inches high, making pools of every conceivable shape, a few inches deep, in which are the most exquisite and varied colors ever seen by mortal eye. You walk about on these dividing walls and gaze into the beaded and impearled pools of a hundred shades of different colors, never equaled except by that perpetual glory of the sunset.

Consider the case of a pool that does not overflow. Just as lakes that have no outlet must grow more and more salt till some have become solid salt beds, so must this pool, tossing its hot waves two or three feet high, evaporate its water and deposit its solids. Where? First, against the cooler sides of the rock under the water, tending to reduce the opening to a mere throat. Second, each wavelet tossed in air is cooled, and deposits on the edge, solid as quartz, a crust that overhangs the pool and tends to close it over as with hot ice. It may build thus a mound fifteen feet high with an open throat in the middle. Thus the pool has constructed an intermittent geyser. If the water supply continues, it also destroys itself. The throat closes up by its own deposits. It is a case of geyseral membranous croup.

I exceedingly longed to try vivisection on a geyser, or at least take one of half a hundred, drain it off, and make a post-mortem examination. On my very last day I found opportunity. I found a dead geyser, though not by any means yet cold. It was still so hot that people had given it an infernal name. I squeezed myself down through its hot throat, which seemed a veritable open sepulcher, and found a cave about twenty-five feet deep, twelve feet wide, and about sixty feet long. It was elliptical in form, the sides coming together at a sharp angle at the ends, bottom, and top. The way down to the fiery heart of the earth had simply grown up by deposits of silex on the sides and at the bottom. The water had evaporated by the intense heat, and I was in the hot hollow that had once held an earthquake and volcano. When I squeezed up to the blessed upper air I was glad there was no help from below.

I could tell of mounds that grew so fast as to inclose the limbs of a tree, making the firmest kind of a ladder by which I climbed to the top; of floods that overflowed acres of forest, leaving every tree firmly planted in solid rock; of mounds hundreds of feet high, covering twenty acres with forms of indescribable beauty—but I despair. The half has not been told. It cannot be. Great and marvelous are all Thy works, Lord God Almighty! In wisdom hast Thou made them all.

Emerson says: "Whilst common sense looks at things or visible nature as real and final facts, poetry, or the imagination which dictates it, is a second sight, looking through these, and using them as types or words for thoughts which they signify." Using these faculties and not mere eyesight, one must surely say: "Since this world, in power, fineness, finish, beauty, and adaptations not only surpasses our accomplishment, but also is past our finding out to its perfection, it must have been made by One stronger, finer, and wiser than we are."


*Reprinted from The Chautauquan.

When the Russians charged on the Grivitza redoubt at Plevna they first launched one column of men that they knew would be all shot down long before they could reach it. But they made a cloud of smoke under the cover of which a second column was launched. They would all be shot down. But they carried the covering cloud so far that a third column broke out of it and successfully carried the redoubt. They carried it, but ten thousand men lay on the death-smitten slope.

So the great ocean sends eight or ten thousand columns a day to charge with flying banners of spray on the rocky ramparts of the shore at Santa Cruz, California.

There are not many things in the material world more sublime than a thousand miles of crested waves rushing with terrible might against the rocky shore. While they are yet some distance from the land a small boat can ride their foaming billows, but as they approach the shallower places they seem to take on sudden rage and irresistible force. Those roaring waves rear up two or three times as high. They have great perpendicular fronts down which Niagaras are pouring. The spray flies from their tops like the mane of a thousand wild horses charging in the wind. No ship can hold anchor in the breakers. They may dare a thousand storms outside, but once let them fall into the clutch of this resistless power and they are doomed. The waves seem frantic with rage, resistless in force; they rush with fury, smite the cliffs with thunder, and are flung fifty feet into the air; with what effect on the rocks we will try to relate.

No. 1 of our illustrations shows "The Breakers," a two-story house of that name where hospitality, grace, and beauty abide; where hundreds of roses bloom in a day, and where flowers, prodigal as creative processes, abound. The breakers from which the house is named are not seen in the picture. When the wind has been blowing hard, maybe one hundred miles out at sea, they come racing in from the point, feather-crested, a dozen at once, to show how rolls the far Wairoa at some other world's end. All these pictures are taken in the calm weather, or there would be little seen besides the great leaps of spray, often fifty feet high. At the bottom of the cliff appear the nodules and bowlders that were too hard to be bitten into dust and have fallen out of the cliff, which is fifty feet high, as the sea eats it away. Some of these are sculptured into the likeness effaces and figures, solemn and grotesque. It is easy to find Pharaoh, Cleopatra, Tantalus, represented here.

This house is at the beginning of the famous Cliff Drive that rounds the lighthouse at the point and stretches away for miles above the ever-changing, now beautiful, now sublime, and always great Pacific, that rolls its six thousand miles of billows toward us from Hong Kong. Occasionally the road must be set back, and once the lighthouse was moved back from the cliffs, eaten away by the edacious tooth of the sea.

As Emerson says, "I never count the hours I spend in wandering by the sea; like God it useth me." There is a wideness like his mercy, a power like his omnipotence, a persistence like his patience, a length of work like his eternity.

The rocks of Santa Cruz, as in many other places, were laid in regular order, like the leaves of a book on its side. But by various forces they have been crumbled, some torn out, and in many places piled together. These layers, beginning at the bottom, are as follows; (1) igneous granite, unstratified; (2) limestone laid down from life in the ocean, metamorphosed by heat and all fossils thereby destroyed; (3) limestone highly crystallized, composed of fossil shells and very hard; (4) sandstone, made under the sea from previous rock powdered, having huge concretionary masses with a shell or a pebble as a nucleus around which the concretion has taken place; (5) shale from the sea also; (6) conglomerate, or drift, deposited by ice in the famous glacial cold snap; (7) alluvium soil deposited in fresh water and composed partly of organic matter. In our second illustration some of these layers, or strata, may be distinguished.

When the awful blows of the sea smite the rock, if it finds a place less hard than others, it wears into it a slight depression, after half a hundred thousand strokes, more or less, and ever after, as the years go by, it drives its wedges home in that place. A shallow cave results. Then the waters converge on the sides of the cave and meet with awful force in the middle. Thus a tunnel is excavated, like a drift in a mine, each wave making the tremendous charge and the reflowing surges bringing away all the detritus. This tunnel may be driven or excavated two hundred feet inland, under the shore. At each inrush of the wave the air is terribly condensed before it. It seeks outlet. And so it happens that the air is driven up through some crack in the rock and the superincumbent earth, one or two hundred feet from the shore, and a great hole appears in the ground from twenty to seventy feet deep. Then the water spouts fiercely up and returning carries back the earth and broken rock into the sea.

No. 3 of the illustrations here given represents such a great excavation one hundred feet back from the shore. It is one hundred and fifty feet long by ninety wide and over fifty feet deep. All the material had been carried out to sea by the refluent wave. On the natural bridge seen in front the great crowd in Broadway, New York, might pass or a troop of cavalry could be maneuvered. Through the arch a ship with masts thirty feet high might enter at high tide. Through the abutment of the arch where the afternoon sun pours its brightness the waves have cut other arches not visible in the picture. When the arches become too many or too wide the natural bridge will fall and be carried out to sea like many another.

But what does the sea do with the harder parts of the cliff? Its waves wear away the rock on each side and leave one or more long fingers reaching out into the sea. The wear and tear on such a projection is immense. A strong swimmer may play with the breakers away from the cliff. At exactly the right moment he may dive headlong through the pearly green Niagara that has not yet fallen quite to his head and may sport in the comparatively quiet water beyond, while the wild ruin falls with a sound of thunder on the beach. But let him once be caught and dashed against the rocks and there is no more life or wholeness of bones within him.

In the swirl of converging currents between two rocky projections, as the coarse sand and gravel is surged around a few hundred thousand times, there is a great tendency to wear through the wall of the projecting finger. It is often done. Illustration No. 4 shows at low tide such a projection cut through. Since the picture was taken the bridge has fallen, the detritus been carted away by the waves, and the pier stands lonely in the sea.

No. 5 shows one bridge exceedingly frail and another more substantial nearer the famous Cliff Drive. I go to the frail one every year with anxiety lest I shall find it has been carried away. How I wish I could show my readers the delicate sculpture and carving further back, nearer yet to the drive. But note the various strata, the rocks worn to a point as even the milder waves run over them; note the cracks that tell of the awful push and stress of the titanic struggle.

Illustration No. 6 shows three such under-hewn arches. The long projection of rock is so curved as to prevent the arches being fully seen in any one view. I have waded and swam through these rocky vistas, and there, where any more than moderate waves would have mangled me against the tusks of the cruel rocks, I have found little specimens of aquatic life by the millions, clinging fast to the rocks that were home to them and protecting themselves by taking lime out of the water and building such a solid wall of shell that no fierceness of the wildest storm could work them harm. All these seek their food from Him who feeds all life, and he heaves the ocean up to their mouths that they may drink.

No. 7 shows what has been a quadruple arch, only one part of which is still standing. Out in the sea, lonely and by itself, appears a pier, scarcely emergent from the waves, which once supported an arch parallel to the one now standing and also one at right angles to the shore. The one now standing makes the fourth. But the ever-working sea carves and carries away arch and shore alike. At some points a careful and even admiring observer sees little change for years, but the remorseless tooth gnaws on unceasingly.

On the right near the point is seen a board sign. It says here, as in many other places, "Danger." Sometimes two converging waves meet at the land, rise unexpectedly, sweep over the point irresistibly, and carry away anyone who stands there. One large and two small shreds of skin now gone from the palm of my left hand give proof of an experience there that did not result quite so disastrously.

The illustration facing page 188 is another example of an arch cut through the rocky barrier of the shore. But in this case the trend of the less hard rock was at such an angle to the shore that the sea broke into the channel once more, and then the combined waves from the two entrances forced the passage one hundred and forty paces inland. It terminates in another natural bridge and deep excavation beyond, which are not shown in the picture.

What becomes of this comminuted rock, cleft by wedges of water, scoured over by hundreds of tons of sharp sand? It is carried out by gentle undercurrents into the bay and ocean, and laid down where winds never blow nor waves ever beat, as gently as dust falls through the summer air. It incloses fossils of the plant and animal life of to-day. There rest in nature's own sepulcher the skeletons of sharks and whales of to-day and possibly of man. Sometime, if the depths become heights, as they have in a thousand places in the past, a fit intelligence may read therein much of the present history of the world. We say to that coming age, as a past age has said to us, "Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee, and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee."


I have a great variety of little masses of matter—some small as a pin's blunt point, and none of them bigger than a pin's head. They are smooth, glossy, hard, exceedingly beautiful under the microscope, and clearly distinguishable one from another. They have such intense individuality, are so self-assertive, that by no process can those of one kind be made to look or act like those of another. These little masses of matter are centers of incredible power. They are seeds.

Select two for examination, and, unfolding, one becomes grass—soft, succulent, a carpet for dainty feet, a rest for weary eyes, part food, but mostly drink, for hungry beasts. It exhausts all its energy quickly. Grass today is, and to-morrow is cut down and withered, ready for the oven.

Try the other seed. It is of the pin head size. It is dark brown, hard-shelled, dry, of resinous smell to nostrils sensitive as a bird's. The bird drops it in the soil, where the dews fall and where the sun kisses the sleeping princesses into life.

Now the latent powers of that little center of force begin to play. They first open the hard shell from the inside, then build out an arm white and tender as a nerve fiber, but which shall become great and tough as an oak. This arm shuns the light and goes down into the dark ground, pushing aside the pebbles and earth. Soon after the seed thrusts out of the same crevice another arm that has an instinct to go upward to the light. Neither of these arms is yet solid and strong. They are beyond expression tender, delicate, and porous, but the one is to become great roots that reach all over an acre, and the other one of California's big trees, thirty feet in diameter and four hundred feet high.

How is it to be done? By powers latent in the seed developing and expanding for a thousand years. What a power it must be!

First, it is a power of selection—might we not say discrimination? That little seed can never by any power of persuasion or environment be made to produce grass or any other kind of a tree, as manzanita, mango, banyan, catalpa, etc., but simply and only sequoia gigantea.

There are hundreds of shapes and kinds of leaves with names it gives one a headache to remember. But this seed never makes a single mistake. It produces millions of leaves, but every one is awl-shaped—subulate. Woods have many odors—sickening, aromatic, balsamic, medicinal. We go to the other side of the world to bring the odor of sandal or camphor to our nostrils. But amid so many odors our seed will make but one. It is resinous, like some of those odors the Lord enjoyed when they bathed with their delicious fragrance the cruel saw that cut their substance, and atmosphered with new delights the one who destroyed their life. The big tree, with subtle chemistry no man can imitate, always makes its fragrance with unerring exactness.

There are thousands of seeds finished with a perfectness and beauty we are hardly acute enough to discover. The microscopist revels in the forms of the dainty scales of its armor and the opalescent tints of its color. The sunset is not more delicate and exquisite. But the big tree never makes but one kind of seed, and leaves no one of its thousands unfinished.

The same is true of bark, grain of wood, method of putting out limbs, outline of the mass, reach of roots, and every other peculiarity. It discriminates.

But how does it build itself? Myriads of rootlets search the surrounding country for elements it needs for making bark, wood, leaf, flower, and seed. They often find what they want in other organizations or other chemical compounds. But with a power of analytical chemistry they separate what they want and appropriate it to their majestic growths. But how is material conveyed from rootlet to veinlet of leaf hundreds of feet away? The great tree is more full of channels of communication than Venice or Stockholm is of canals, and it is along these watery ways of commerce that the material is conveyed. These channels are a succession of cells that act like locks, set for the perpendicular elevation of the freight. The tiny boats run day and night in the season, and though it is dark within, and though there are a thousand piers, no freight that starts underground for a leaf is ever landed on the way for bark or woody fiber. Freight never goes astray, nor are express packages miscarried. What starts for bark, leaf, fiber, seed, is deposited as bark, leaf, fiber, seed, and nothing else. There are hundreds of miles of canals, but every boat knows where to land its unmarked freight. Curious as is this work underground, that in the upper air is more so. The tree builds most of its solid substance from the mobile and tenuous air. Trees are largely condensed air. By the magic chemistry of the sunshine and vegetable life the tree breathes through its myriad leaves and extracts carbon to be built into wood. Had we the same power to extract fuel from the air we need not dig for coal.

In doing this work the power of life in the tree has to overcome many other kinds of force. There is the power of cohesion. How it holds the particles of stone or iron together! You can hardly break its force with a great sledge. But the power of life in the tree, or even grass, must master the power of cohesion and take out of the disintegrating rock what it wants. So it must overcome the power of chemical affinity in water and air. The substances it wants are in other combinations, the power of which must be overcome.

Gravitation is a great power, but the thousand tons of this tree's vast weight must be lifted and sustained in defiance of it. So for a thousand years gravitation sees the tree rise higher and higher, till the great lesson is taught that it is a weakling compared with the power of life. There is not a place where one can put his finger that there are not a dozen forces in full play, every one of which is plastic, elastic, and ready to yield to any force that is higher. So the tree stands, not mere lumber and cordwood, or an obstacle to be gotten rid of by fire, but an embodiment of life unexhausted for a thousand years. The fairy-fingered breeze plays through its myriad harp strings. It makes wide miles of air aromatic. Animal life feeds on the quintessence of life in its seeds. But most of all it is an object lesson that power triumphs over lesser power, and that the highest power has dominion over all other power.

The great power of vegetable life was shown under circumstances that seemed the least favorable in the following experiment:

In the Agricultural College at Amherst, Mass., a squash of the yellow Chili variety was put in harness in 1874 to see how much it would lift by its power of growth.

It was not an oak or mahogany tree, but a soft, pulpy, squashy squash that one could poke his finger into, nourished through a soft, succulent vine that one could mash between finger and thumb. A good idea of the harness is given by the illustration. The squash was confined in an open harness of iron and wood, and the amount lifted was indicated by weights on the lever over the top. There were, including seventy nodal roots, more than eighty thousand feet of roots and rootlets. These roots increased one thousand feet in twenty-four hours. They were afforded every advantage by being grown in a hot bed. On August 21 it lifted sixty pounds. By September 30 it lifted a ton. On October 24 it carried over two tons. The squash grew gnarled like an oak, and its substance was almost as compact as mahogany. Its inner cavity was very small, but it perfectly elaborated its seeds, as usual.

The lever to indicate the weight had to be changed for stronger ones from time to time. More weights were sought. They scurried through the town and got an anvil and pieces of railroad iron and hung them at varying distances, as shown in the cut. By the 31st of October it was carrying a weight of five thousand pounds. Then owing to defects of the new contrivance the rind was broken through without showing what might have been done under better conditions. Every particle of the squash had to be added and find itself elbow room under this enormous pressure. But life will assert itself.

No wonder that the Lord, seeking some form of speech to represent his power in human souls, says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches." The tremendous life of infinite strength surges up through the vine and out into all branches that are really vitally attached. No wonder that much fruit is expected, and that one who knew most of this imparted power said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."


*Reprinted from The Study.

Will God indeed dwell upon the earth? asked Solomon. Will God indeed work with man on the earth? asks the pushing, working spirit of to-day. Has man a right to expect a special lending of the infinite power to help out his human endeavors? Does God put special forces to open some doors, close others, influence some men to come to his help, hinder others, bring to bear influences benign, restrain those malign, and invigorate a man's own powers so that his arm has the strength of ten, because his heart is pure enough for God to work in it and through it? If this is so, in what fields, under what conditions, to what extent, and in accordance with what laws may we expect aid?

First, it is evident that there is power not ourselves. We did not make this world. We did not put into it even the lowest force, gravitation. It is more than our minds can compass to measure its power. We have no arithmetic to tell its power on every mote in the sunbeam, or flower, or grain-head bowing toward the earth, tree brought down with a crash, or avalanche with thunder. Much less can we measure the power that holds the earth to the sun spite of its measureless centrifugal force. We did not make the next highest force, cohesion. The particles of rock and iron cohere with so great an energy that gravitation cannot overcome it. But it is not by our energy. We did not make the next highest force, chemical affinity, that masters both gravitation and cohesion. Water, the result of chemical affinity between oxygen and hydrogen, can be rent into its constituent elements with nothing less than a stream of lightning. We did not make the next highest force, vegetative life. That masters gravitation, and lifts up the tree in spite of it; masters cohesion—the tree's rootlets tear asunder the particles of stone; masters chemical affinity—it takes the oxygen from air and water. We did not create that force, measureless to our minds. We say it must have come out of some omnipotence greater than all of them. The conclusion of all minds is, there is a power not ourselves.

It is unthinkable that these forces before mentioned should have originated themselves. It is equally so that they could maintain and continue themselves. There must be some continual upholding by a word of power.

It is equally plain that there is intelligence, thought, and plan behind these forces. They are not blind Samsons grinding in a prison-house, and liable at any moment to bring down in utter ruin every pillar of the universe on which they can put their hands.

If intelligent and planful, there must be personality. We may as well call it by the name by which it is universally known, God.

Now does this intelligent and powerful personality know our plans and lend his powers to the accomplishment of our purposes? It is better to put it the other way. Mr. Lincoln taught us the truer statement when one said to him, in the awful anxiety of the war, "I think God is on our side;" he answered, "My great concern is to know if we are on God's side." So our question is better thus: Does this intelligent, powerful personality accept and use our energy in the accomplishment of his plans?

That will depend on what he wants done. If he only wants mountains lifted, he can put the shoulder of an earthquake under the strata of a continent and tilt them up edgewise, or toss up a hundred miles of strata and let them come down the other side up. If he wants mountains carried hence and cast into the sea, he can bring rivers to carry for thousands of years numberless tons. If he wants worlds held in rhythmic relations to their sun, he can take gravitation. Man is of no use; he cannot reach so far.

But if this being has anything to do that he cannot do, he will gladly welcome man's aid. Has he? Yes. Obviously he wants things done he cannot do alone. Worlds are dead. Trees do not think. Morning stars may sing together, but they cannot love. None of them have character. None of them have conscious responsiveness to the full tides of power and love that flush the universe. None of them are permanent, or worth keeping forever. They are only scaffolding. He wants something greater than he can make; something as great as God and man and angels together can make. He wants not mere matter acted upon from without, but intelligences active in themselves; wants not mere miles of granite, but hearts responsive to love, and character that is sturdier than granite, more enduring than the hills that seem to be everlasting, and of so great a price that a whole world is of less value than a single soul, and of such permanence that it shall flourish in immortal youth when worlds, short-lived in comparison, shall have passed away. God can make worlds in plenty, but he wants something so much better that they shall be mere parade-grounds for the training of his armies.

Are there proofs that God's forces are cooperating with ours? Many. Gravitation holds us to the earth. We do not drift, all sides up successively, in space or chaos. We never want a breath but there are oceans of it rushing to answer our hunger for it.

But especially do we undertake all our more definite efforts with a full expectation of the aid of the forces without us. Man takes to agriculture with a relish that indicates that the soil and he are akin. He expects all its energies to cooperate with him. He plants the grain or seed expecting that all its vegetative forces will cowork with his plans. Every energy of earth, air, water, and the far-off sun work into his plans as if they had no other end in all their being. If a man wants a house, he expects the solidity of the rock, all the adaptations of wood that has been growing for a century, expects the beauty of the fir tree, the pine, and the box to come together to beautify the place of his dwelling.

There are other forces into which man can put his scepter of power and hand of mastery. They all work for and with him. Does he want his burdens carried? The river will convey the Indian on a log or the armaments of the greatest nations. The wind fits itself into the shoulder of his sail on the sea, and steam does more work on the land than all the human race together. Does he want swiftness? The lightning comes and goes between the ends of the earth saying, "Here am I." Obviously all these kinds of forces are always on hand to work into man's plans.

Is not our whole question settled? If these fundamental forces, these oceans of air and energy, forces so great that man cannot measure them, so delicate and fine that man does not discover them in thousands of years, are all waiting and palpitating to rush into the service of man to advance his plans, and hint of plans larger than he ever dreamed, until he grows great by handling these ineffable factors, how can it be otherwise than that the energies, thoughts, and loves back of these forces, and out of which they come, and of which they are the visible signs and exponents, are working together with man? Then, in all probability, nay in all certainty, all other forces, whether they be thrones or dominions, principalities or powers, things present or things to come, will also lend all their energies to the help of man. God does not aid in the lowest and leave us to ourselves in the highest. He does not feed the body and let the soul famish, does not help us to the meat that perishes and let us starve for the bread of eternal life.

Scripture passages, literally thousands in number, proclaim God's control of the regular operations of nature, his sovereignty over birth, life, death, disease, afflictions, and prosperity, over what we call accident, his execution of righteous retributions, bringing of deliverance, setting up thrones, and casting down princes. He upholds all things by the direct exercise of his power. "The uniformities of nature are his ordinary method of working; its irregularities his method upon occasional condition; its interferences his method under the pressure of a higher law." There can be no general providence which is not special, no care for the whole which does not include care for all the parts, no provided safety for the head which does not number all the hairs. The Old Testament doctrine of a special and minute providence over the chosen nation is expanded by Christ's loving teaching and ministrations into an equal care for the personal individual (Matt. vii, 11; xviii, 19; Heb. iv, 16). The cold glacial period of human fear that poured its ice floe over the mind of man, making him feel like an orphaned race in a godless world, has retired before the gentle beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and the winter is past, the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds and hearts has commenced.

It is everywhere recognized that the great outcome of a man's life is not the title to a thousand acres. He is soon dispossessed. It is not all the bonds and money he can hold. A dead man's hands are empty. It is not reputation that the winds blow away. But it is character that he acquires and carries with him. He has a fidelity to principle that is like Abdiel's. He is faithful among the faithless. He has allegiance to right that the lure of all the kingdoms of the earth cannot swerve for a moment. He counts soul so much above the body that no fiery furnaces, heated seven times hotter than they are wont, sway him for a moment from adherence to the interests of soul as against even the existence of the body.

Now, how has such an eminence of character been attained? Not altogether by individual evolution. Ancestral tendencies, parental example, the great force of strong, eternal principles, the moral muscle acquired in the gymnasium of temptation, and confessedly and especially a spiritual force vouchsafed from without, have wrought out this greatest result of heaven and earth. Of some men you expect nothing but goodness and greatness. They would belie all the tendencies of their blood to be otherwise than good. Some are constantly trained under the mighty influences of great principles that sway men as much as gravitation sways the worlds. What could be expected of the men of '76 when the air was electric with patriotism? What could be expected of men whose childhood was filled with the sacrifices of men who made themselves pilgrims and strangers over the earth, from England to Holland and thence over the drear and inhospitable sea to America, for the sake of liberty? What could be expected of men whose whole ancestry was cut off by the slaughter following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and they themselves exiled for liberty to worship God? What can be expected of men who have been tried in the furnace of temptation till they are pure gold? Nay, more, what can be expected of men who have in these temptations been strengthened out of God? Besides the strength of development by the resistance of evil, they have found that God made a way of escape, that he strengthened, them and that they were thus by supernal power able to bear it. Nay, rather, what may not be expected of such men?

But we will not forget that this great outcome is precisely the plan of God for every man's life, and that when man works he finds that there are forces outside of him thoroughly cooperative with him. He starts a rock down the mountain side, but gravitation reaches out ready fingers and hurls it a thousand times faster and faster. He launches his ship on the sea and the wind and steam carry it thousands of miles. He speaks his quiet breath into the ear of the phone and electricity carries it in every tone and inflection of personal quality a thousand miles. He vows, and works for purity and greatness of personal character, and a thousand gravitations of love, a thousand great winds of Pentecost, a thousand vital principles on which all greatness hangs, a thousand influences of other men, and especially a thousand personal aids of a present God, cooperate with his plans and works.

Of course every man who believes in a new type so high that good birth, wealth, culture, education, and broad opportunity cannot attain it believes in the divine co-operation to that end. It must be born of the Spirit. God sends forth his Spirit into our hearts crying, Abba, Father! It pleases the Father himself to reveal his Son in us.

Not only is this cooperation true in regard to the beginning of this higher life, but especially so in regard to the development and perfection of that life into the stature of perfect manhood in Christ Jesus. By continuous effort to lead into all truth, by intensity of endeavor that can only be represented by groanings that cannot be worded in human speech, the perfection of saints is sought.

And in the final glorification of those saints every man will say nothing of his own efforts, but all the praise will be unto him who hath redeemed us unto God, and washed us in his blood.

To what extent, then, may we expect God will lend his forces to work out our plans? First, in so far as those forces have to do with the maturing and perfecting of our character they become his plans. No energy will be withheld. All our plans should be such. The end in character may often be attained as well by failure of our plans as by success. God has to choose the poor in this world's things, rich in faith, to do his great work. And he has to make "the best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft a-gley" to get the desired outcome of character. He is then working with, not against, us. He would rather have any star for his crown of glory than tons of perishable gold.

But outside of our plans and work for ourselves what cooperation may we expect in our plans and work for others?

Every preacher knows that for spiritual work in saving others the word of the Lord is true, "Without me ye can do nothing." There must be an outpouring of the Spirit or there is no Pentecost. Over against that settled conviction is the thrice-blessed command and assurance of the Master, "Go preach my Gospel; and lo, I am with you alway" (blessed iteration), "unto the end of the world." That has not yet come.

But there are other enterprises men must push—mines to be dug, railroads to be surveyed and built, slaves to be emancipated, farms to be cultivated, mischiefs framed by a law to be averted, charities to be exercised, schools to be founded, and generally a living to be gotten. To what extent may we expect divine aid?

First, all these things are his purposes and plans. But since it is necessary for our development that we do our level best, he will not do what we can. We can plant and water, but God only can give the increase. Even the fable maker says that a teamster, whose wagon was stuck in the mud, seeing Jupiter Omnipotens riding by on the chariot of the clouds, dropped on his knees and implored his help. "Get up, O lazy one!" said Jupiter; "clear away the mud, put your shoulder to the wheel, and whip up your horses." We may call on God to open the rock in the dry and thirsty land where no water is, but not to lift our teacups. It is no use to ask God for a special shower when deep plowing is all that is needed. It is no use to ask God to build churches, send missionaries, endow schools, and convert the world, till we have done our best.

But when we have done our best what may we expect? All things. They shall work together for good to those who love God enough to do their best for him in any plane of work. One could preach fifty sermons on the great works done by men, obviously too great for man's accomplishment. Time would fail me to tell of Moses, Gideon, Paul, Luther, Wesley, Wilberforce, William of Orange, Washington, John Brown, Abe Lincoln, and thousands more of whom this world was not worthy, who, undeniably by divine aid, wrought righteousness. One of the great sins of our age is that men do not see God immanent in all things. We have found so many ways of his working that we call laws, so many segments of his power, that we have forgotten him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. A sustainer is as necessary as a creator. There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who worketh all in all. The next great service to be done by human philosophy is to bring back God in human thought into his own world. Since these things are so, what are the conditions under which we may work the works of God by his power?

First, they must be his works, not ours as opposed to his, but ours as included in his. All our works may be wrought in God, if we do his works, follow his plans, and are aided by his strength.

Second, they must be attempted with the right motive of glorifying God. Christ is the pattern. He came not to do his own will, but the will of him who sent him. And he did always the things that pleased him. In our fervid desires for the accomplishment of some great thing we should be as willing it should be accomplished by another as by ourselves. The personal pride is often a fly in the sweet-smelling savor. God would rather have a given work not done, or done by another, than to have one of his dear ones puffed up with sinful pride. Great Saul must often be removed and the work be left undone, or be done by some humble David.

"Inaudible voices call us, and we go; Invisible hands restrain us, and we stay; Forces, unfelt by our dull senses, sway Our wavering wills, and hedge us in the way We call our own, because we do not know.

"Are we, then, slaves of ignorant circumstance? Nay, God forbid! God holds the world, not blind, unreasoning chance!"

How shall we secure the cooperative power? There is power of every kind everywhere in plenty. All the Niagaras and Mississippis have run to waste since they began to thunder and flow. Greater power is in the wind everywhere. One can rake up enough electricity to turn all the wheels of a great city whenever he chooses to start his rake. The sky is full of Pentecosts. Power enough, but how shall we belt on? By fasting, prayer, and by willing to do the will of God. We have so much haste that we do not tarry at Jerusalem for fullness of power. Moses was forty years in the wilderness: Daniel fasted and prayed for one and twenty days. We are told to pray without ceasing, and that there are kinds of devils that go not out except at the command of those who fast and pray.

"More things are wrought by prayer than This world dreams of."

The Bible is a record of achievements impossible to man. They are achievements of leaderships, emancipations, governments, getting money for building God's houses, making strong the weak, waxing valiant in fight, and turning the world upside down. The trouble with many of our modern saints is that they seek for purity only instead of power, ecstasy instead of excellence, self-satisfaction in a garden of spices instead of a baptism that straightens them out in a garden of agony. They are seekers of spiritual joys instead of good governments, cities well policed and sewered, with every street safe for the feet of innocence. The next revelation of new possibilities of grace that will break out of the old Word will be that of power.

How will this divine aid manifest itself? In the giving of wisdom for our plans and their execution. God will not help in any foolish plans. He wants no St. Peter's built in a village of six hundred people, no temple, except on a Moriah to which a whole nation goes up. Due proportion is a law of all his creations. The disciples planned not only to begin at Jerusalem, but to stay there. Their plans were wrong, and they had to be driven out by persecutions and martyrdoms (Acts viii, 4). But Africa, Europe, and Asia eagerly received the light which Jerusalem resisted. Some ministers to-day stay by their fine Jerusalems when the kitchens of the surrounding country wait to welcome them. The Spirit suffered not Paul to go into Bithynia, but sent him to Macedonia. Had he then persisted in going to Asia his work would have been in vain.

We may expect wisdom in the choice of the human agents we select. Half a general's success lies in his choice of lieutenants. No class leader should be appointed nor steward nominated till after prayer for divine guidance. God has more efficient men for his Church than we know of. He is thinking of Paul when we see only Matthias (Acts i, 26). When Paul had to depart asunder from Barnabas God sent him Silas, the fellow-singer in the dungeon, and Timothy, who was dearer to him than any other man.

We may expect opposition to be diminished or thwarted. Let Hezekiah spread every letter of Rab-shakeh before the Lord and pray (2 Kings xix, 14). The answer will be, "I have heard" (v. 20). Let the answer to every slander that Gashmu repeateth among the heathen be, "O Lord, strengthen my hands" (Neh. vi, 9); "My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works" (v. 14). Then all the heathen and enemies will "perceive that this work was wrought of our God" (v. l6). "When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." The purpose of the manifestation of the Son of God was "that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John iii, 8).

Lastly, we may expect actual help. These plans are all dear to God. He wishes them all accomplished. They have been wisely made. Opposition has been diminished. It only remains that our hearts be open to guidance and strengthening. Moses was sure I AM had sent him. Elijah had the very words to be uttered to Ahab put into his mouth. Nehemiah told the people that for building a city "the joy of the Lord is your strength." God strengthened the right hand of Cyrus. The three Hebrew children and Daniel knew that God was able to deliver them from fire and lions. "Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thy heart." And the great promise of the Lord to be with his disciples to the end is not so much a promise for comfort as for the accomplishment of their mission. Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." And all great doers for God, in all ages, have gladly testified that they have been girded for their work by the Almighty.

The designed outcome of this paper is that every reader should get a fresh revelation of the immanency of God in the kingdom of nature and grace; that the reader is more intimately related to him and his plans than is gravitation; that there are laws as imperative, exact, and sure to yield results in the mental and spiritual realms as in the material; that he is a part of God's agencies, and that all of God's forces are a part of his; that he may sing with new meaning,

"We for whose sakes all nature stands And stars their courses move;"

that in the burning vividness of this new conception each man may boldly undertake things for God—conversions, purifications, missionary enlargements, business enterprises—that he knows are too great for himself; that he may find new helps for spiritual victories as great as this age has found for material triumphs in steam and electricity; and that in all things man may be uplifted and God thereby glorified.

How shall it be done?

First, by a vivid conception that cooperation is designed, provided for, and expected. We are children of God; there can be but one great end through the ages in the universe. There should be cooperation of every force. There have been thousands of evident cooperations—waters divided and burned by celestial fire, Pharaohs rebuked, Ninevehs warned, exiles recalled, Jerusalems rebuilded, Luthers upheld, preachers of today changed from waning, not desired, half-over-the-dead-line ministers into vigorous, flaming heralds of the Gospel, who possessed tenfold power to what they had before; we ourselves personally helped in manifest and undeniable instances, and so have come to believe that God can do anything, anywhere, if he can get the right kind of a man. Promises of aid are abundant. Heaven and earth shall pass away sooner than one jot or tittle of these words fail. We are invited to test them: "Come now, and prove me herewith, and see if I will not open the windows of heaven once more, as at the deluge, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

Second, select some definite work too great for us to do alone, as the preparation of a sermon that shall have unusual power of persuasion to change action, the conduct of a prayer meeting of remarkable interest, the casting out of some devil of evil speech or action, the conversion of one individual, the raising of more money for some of God's purposes, and then go about the work, not alone, but in such a way that God can lead and we help. Let the fasting and prayer not be lacking. When the right direction comes let Jonathan take his armor-bearer and climb up on his hands and knees against the Philistines, let Paul go to Macedonia, Peter to Cornelius, Wesley send help to America. Bishop Foss said, in regard to several crises in a most serious sickness, that Christ always arrived before it came. So in regard to work to be done. The Lord was in Nineveh before Jonah, in Caesarea before Peter, and will be in the heart of every sinner we seek to get converted before we arrive. Any man who wants to do an immense business should seek a good partner. We are workers together with God. What is being done worthy of the copartnership?


*Reprinted from the Methodist Review.

"The day of the Lord will come . . .; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

What is there after that?

To this question there are three answers:

I. There are left all of what may be called natural forces that there were before the world was created. They are not dependent on it. The sea is not lost when one bubble or a thousand break on the rocky shore. The world is not the main thing in the universe. It is only a temporary contrivance, a mere scaffolding for a special purpose. When that purpose is fulfilled it is natural that it should pass away. The time then comes when the voice that shook the earth should signify the removal of "those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." We already have a kingdom that cannot be moved. "The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

It should not be supposed that the space away from the world is an empty desert. God is everywhere, and creative energy is omnipresent. Not merely is a millionth of space occupied where the worlds are, but all space is full of God and his manifestations of wisdom and power. David could think of no place of hiding from that presence. The first word of revelation is, "In the beginning God created the heaven." And the great angel, standing on sea and land when time is to be no longer, swears by Him who "created heaven, and the things that therein are," in distinction from the earth and its things that are to be removed. What God created with things that are therein is not empty. Poets, the true seers, recognize this. When Longfellow died one of them, remembering the heartbreaking hunt of Gabriel for Evangeline, and their passing each other on opposite sides of an island in the Mississippi, makes him say of his wife long since gone before:

And now I shall seek her once more, On some Mississippi's vast tide That flows the whole universe through, Than earth's widest rivers more wide.

Evangeline I shall not miss Though we wander the dim starry sheen, On opposite sides of rivers so vast That islands of worlds intervene.

But what is there in space? There is the great ceaseless force of gravitation. Though the weakest of natural forces, yet when displayed in world-masses its might is measureless by man's arithmetic. Tie an apple or a stone to one end of a string, and taking the other end whirl it around your finger, noting its pull. That depends on the weight of the whirling ball, the length of the string, and the swiftness of the whirl. The stone let loose from David's finger flies crashing into the head of Goliath. But suppose the stone is eight thousand miles in diameter, the string ninety-two million five hundred thousand miles long, and the swiftness one thousand miles a minute, what needs be the tensile strength of the string? If we covered the whole side of the earth next the sun, from pole to pole and from side to side, with steel wires attaching the earth to the sun, thus representing the tension of gravitation, the wires would need to be so many that a mouse could not run around among them.

There swings the moon above us. Its best service is not its light, though lovers prize that highly. Its gravitative work is its best. It lifts the sea and pours it into every river and fiord of the coast. Our universal tug-boat is in the sky. It saves millions of dollars in towage to London alone every year. And this world would not be habitable without the moon to wash out every festering swamp and deposit of sewage along the shore.

Gravitation reaches every place, whether worlds be there or not. This force is universally present and effective. In the possibilities of a no-world condition a spirit may be able to so relate itself to matter that gravitation would impart its incredible swiftness of transference to a soul thus temporarily relating itself to matter. What gravitation does in the absence of the kind of matter we know it is difficult to assert. But as will be seen in our second division there is still ample room for its exercise when worlds as such have ceased to be.

In space empty of worlds there is light. It flies or runs one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles a second. There must be somewhat on which its wing-beat shall fall, stepping stones for its hurrying feet. We call it ether, not knowing what we mean. But in this space is the play of intensest force and quickest activity. There are hundreds of millions of millions of wing-beats or footfalls in a second. Mathematical necessities surpass mental conceptions. In a cubic mile of space there are demonstrably seventy millions of foot tons of power. Steam and lightning have nothing comparable to the activity and power of the celestial ether. Sir William Thompson thinks he has proved that a cubic mile of celestial ether may have as little as one billionth of a pound of ponderable matter. It is too fine for our experimentation, too strong for our measurement. We must get rid of our thumby fingers first.

What is light doing in space? That has greatly puzzled all philosophers. Without question there is inexpressible power. It is seen in velocity. But what is it doing? The law of conservation of force forbids the thought that it can be wasted. On the earth its power long ages ago was turned into coal. The power was reservoired in mountains ready for man. It is so great that a piece of coal that weighs the same as a silver dollar carries a ton's weight a mile at sea. But what is the thousand million times more light than ever struck the earth doing in space? That is among the things we want to find out when we get there. There will be ample opportunity, space, time, and light enough.

It is biblically asserted and scientifically demonstrable that space is full of causes of sound. To anyone capable of turning these causes to effects this sound is not dull and monotonous, but richly varied into songful music. Light makes its impression of color by its different number of vibrations. So music sounds its keys. We know the number of vibrations necessary for the note C of the soprano scale, and the number that runs the pitch up to inaudibility. We know the number of vibrations of light necessary to give us a sensation of red or violet. These, apprehended by a sufficiently sensitive ear, pour not only light to one organ, but tuneful harmonies to another. The morning stars do sing together, and when worlds are gone, and heavy ears of clay laid down, we may be able to hear them

Singing as they shine, "The hand that made us is divine."

There are places where this music is so fine that the soft and soul-like sounds of a zephyr in the pines would be like a storm in comparison, and places where the fierce intensity of light in a congeries of suns would make it seem as if all the stops of being from piccolo to sub-bass had been drawn. No angel flying interstellar spaces, no soul fallen overboard and left behind by a swift-sailing world, need fear being left in awful silences.

There seems to be good evidence that electrical disturbances in the sun are almost instantly reported and effective on the earth. It is evident that the destructive force in cyclones is not wind, but electricity. It is altogether likely that it is generated in the sun, and that all the space between it and us thrills with this unknown power.[1] All astronomers except Faye admit the connection between sun spots and the condition of the earth's magnetic elements. The parallelism between auroral and sun-spot frequency is almost perfect. That between sun spots and cyclones is as confidently asserted, but not quite so demonstrable. Enough proof exists to make this clear, that space may be full of higher Andes and Alps, rivers broader than Gulf Streams, skies brighter than the Milky Way, more beautiful than the rainbow. Occasionally some scoffer who thinks he is smart and does not know that he is mistaken asks with an air of a Socrates putting his last question: "You say that 'heaven is above us.' But if one dies at noon and another at midnight, one goes toward Orion and the other toward Hercules; or an Eskimo goes toward Polaris and a Patagonian toward the coal-black hole in the sky near the south pole. Where is your heaven anyhow?" O sapient, sapient questioner! Heaven is above us, you especially; but going in different directions from such a little world as this is no more than a bee's leaving different sides of a bruised pear exuding honey. Up or down he is in the same fragrant garden, warm, light, redolent of roses, tremulous with bird song, amid a thousand caves of honeysuckles, "illuminate seclusions swung in air" to which his open sesame gives entrance at will.

II. But there will be in space what the world has become. It is nowhere intimated that matter had been annihilated. Worlds shall perish as worlds. They shall wax old as doth a garment. They will be folded up as a vesture, and they "shall be changed." The motto with which this article began says heavens pass away, elements melt, earth and its works are burned up. But always after the heaven and earth pass away we are to look for "new heavens and a new earth." On all that God has made he has stamped the great principle of progress, refinement, development—rock to soil, soil to vegetable life, to insect, bird, and man. Each dies as to what it is, that it may have resurrection or may feed something higher. So, in the light of revelation, earth is not lost. Science comes, after ages of creeping, up to the same position. It, too, asserts that matter is indestructible. Burn a candle in a great jar hermetically sealed. The weight of the jar and contents is just the same after the burning as before. A burned-up candle as big as the world will not be annihilated. It will be "changed."

Previous Part     1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse