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Mr. World and Miss Church-Member
by W. S. Harris
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Mr. World and his associate, however, did not enter this place, but passed on through the entire Merry Village. On each side of the way they saw an endless variety of gaudy advertisements, each one setting forth some leading feature of some frivolous, indecent, or gay performance.

Miss Church-Member was not tempted as was her companion to spend time at such places. So he, in order to hold her company, sacrificed his desires and passed on without complaint.

I now turned and spoke to Blackana who still mutely sat at his appointed post. "Tell me the meaning of the Merry Village being located so near the Valley of Conviction."

Without the faintest murmur he replied: "Many of the millions who pass through the valley are strangely affected with a sad countenance and a heavy heart, which indeed drive them into a frenzy so that they go toward the King's Highway. Satan intends by the attractions of the Merry Village to divert the thought of all such travelers and hold them in the bounds of the Broad Highway. You will soon come to the path on which more people go to the narrow, rugged way than on all other paths combined. Were it not for this happy village, and the places beyond, many more would drop out of our ranks."

I doubted not the words of Blackana, and as I looked out again upon the Broad Highway, I saw that the two companions had just left the Merry Village and had come to the well beaten road leading to the right.

Here stood a preacher who, in tearful earnestness, urged all travelers to go the right way. I saw many heeding his words and go running on the new way after throwing away many cumbrous things.

At this place I saw some parting with their friends. One, in particular, I noticed who was pleading with another not to go, and ever clinging to him in bodily strength. Many who desired to leave the Broad Highway were similarly prevented.

In the fork of the road stood a number of large churches in each of which services were held every hour of the day. These were the Devil's churches, and were supplied by a courteous and shrewd class of ministers. On the left side of the way was a large garden and a series of groves, each filled with a merry throng of pleasure-seekers. Bands of music made the air resonant, and every device known to the world of sport could be found in full fling in these varied resorts where intoxicating drink was the main beverage, and dancing and gambling were the chief delights.

The Broad Highway was especially wide at this junction. It led onward between the Devil's churches and the pleasure grounds.

The greatest confusion prevailed on this wide area. Many missionaries from the King's Highway were busily engaged in speaking to the throngs that had come through the Valley of Conviction.

There were also many friends of the Devil, in vulgar attire, persuading the multitudes to rest in the joyful grove, while other agents of Satan, in more saintly manner, urged attendance upon the church services.

Thus I observed the heedless throng from the Valley of Conviction being attracted by the music and passing through the pleasure grounds, while an alarmingly large number attended the churches in the fork of the roads. A few stoics, without pausing, passed on along the Broad Highway.

Only a few, comparatively, could be persuaded to turn their steps toward the King's Highway.

Mr. World and Miss Church-Member stood for a long time watching the ever-changing panorama of the surging crowds. He was desirous of visiting the groves, but Miss Church-Member was too piously inclined. So they were halting between these two desires when a saintly looking person approached them.

"To what place are you journeying?" the beautiful stranger asked.

"We are journeying to a place called Heaven," promptly answered Miss Church-Member.

"Congratulations, indeed," spoke the stranger as he smiled. "You belong to the better class of travelers. Some, I fear, who go this way will miss Heaven. They are too much attracted by the frivolities of life and never have a desire to go to church."

"But we love the church," spoke up Mr. World. "However we have had little time and no opportunity to enter one for some time."

"You are welcome to the services in one of yonder buildings," said the stranger as he pointed toward the group of the Devil's churches. "There you can listen with pleasure and profit to the latest style of preaching, and the special music will prove entertaining. You should, without fail, attend church, or you will never increase in spiritual knowledge."

Without further hesitation the two pushed their way through the crowd and entered one of the churches where they were greeted warmly and ushered to a prominent seat.

The minister had already begun to speak and was growing eloquent as he warmed to his theme. They listened with absorbing interest to every word that fell from his lips.

"Into this church," the minister said, "come the wearied of heart, troubled perchance with inward fears resulting from the weird occurrences along the pathway through the Valley of Conviction. We bid you cast aside your thoughts of trouble and be at peace. There is a calmness you should covet untouched by such conviction.

"They who sing and preach in that valley are low subjects of ignorance and folly, and happy for you if you succeed in totally forgetting all you saw or heard while passing through. Why should you worry about your condition? Are you not good enough? You have come hither from respectable parents, perhaps received Christian baptism, and can easily distinguish between right and wrong. Why should cruel daggers now pierce your heart? What you have done or expect to do is surely pleasing to your God. If you belong to the church, you are doubly safe. Let time change, or worlds fall, the church will stand forever. If you continue faithful here, you will have a glorious end; only be not influenced by the contemptible advocates of the Narrow Way, who show their vanity by their professions of superior sanctity. Be satisfied with the good, old, staid principles of this church, and be not swept away by every wind of doctrine that is blasting the earth with its sulphurous breath. Rejoice in your pilgrimage and let conviction no longer sadden your life."

After continuing at some length in this strain, the minister announced that a quartette would render an appropriate selection just received from the mountain-tops of Apathy.

The congregation seemed to be greatly pleased as these words were sung with a show of sentiment:

"Come, ye that struggle With thoughts of conviction; Continue no longer Such burdens to bear. Throw off forever This needless affliction; And taste of the pleasures That wisdom would share. "There's rest for the soul In blissful forgetting; 'Tis bought by the prudent At moderate cost. Then cast to the winds Thy worry and fretting, And live in the sunshine Where shadows are lost."

At the conclusion of the services Mr. World conducted his friend from the church, and as they were moving again toward the surging crowds they heard the voice of an auctioneer.

"Let us tarry a moment," he urged as he turned his footsteps to that part of the Broad Highway known as the Devil's Auction.

A large company of men, women, and children were giving earnest heed to the auction which had been in progress all day.

The auctioneer held in his hand a gaudy bauble of worldly pleasure. He cried in the full strength of his voice that such beautiful specimens of pleasure were very rare. At once the bidding for it grew lively. It was soon thrown out to a reckless mortal who seized it with unusual avidity.

Then a door was opened in the rear, and lo, I beheld a series of rooms filled with baubles of every conceivable kind, enough to satisfy all who came for such lightsome things. One of extraordinary beauty was next offered. "What do I hear for it?" lustily shouted the auctioneer.

The whole host bent forward eagerly to get a nearer view of the new attraction.

"I'll give one hour of time!" said an aged man.

"An hour of time is bid, an hour of time! Who'll give more?"

"I'll give one day!" joyously bid a thoughtless youth. He received it, and walked off in high glee.

"Here is another! A novelty just out!" boldly cried the auctioneer.

How anxiously all stepped forward, each one wishing to scrutinize the latest kind of pleasure offered.

The highest bidder was a restless youth who offered his all for the coveted prize.

Miss Church-Member was but little interested in these proceedings and urged her companion to the next auction-stand where certain rights and privileges were sold.

On the stand stood a glib-tongued fellow who announced that he would first offer for sale the Right to Sell Intoxicating Drink. "How much do I hear?" shouted the auctioneer as the cosmopolitan crowd looked on.

"Hundred dollars per annum!" cried the people of one state.

"One hundred, one hundred, going at one hundred!"

"Two hundred dollars!" bid the representatives of another state.

"Three hundred dollars!" was another offer that immediately came in.

"That is far below the value!" shouted the auctioneer. "Remember, all this money we get for licensing the saloon will go for charity or to help educate and civilise the people!"

Thousands upon thousands cheered to the echo, while the wicked auctioneer and his allies were highly pleased at the spectacle.

"Three hundred, three hundred! Altogether too low a sum for so great a privilege!"

"Five hundred dollars!" cried the authorities of another state.

"Going at five hundred, five hundred, five hundred!" rapidly and hilariously yelled the auctioneer, and the crowd cheered lustily.

"Still going at five hundred, five hundred! Who'll give six hundred? First, second, and last warning, and sold at five hundred dollars to the state represented by yonder group of delegates!"

Thus the program continued, and the right to sell liquor under respectability was sold at varying prices. Mr. World and Miss Church-Member left long before the auction was ended. They paused not at the other centers where Satan's agents were selling their worthless and death-dealing merchandize to the children of men.



CHAPTER XXII.

THE DEVIL'S HOSPITAL.

1. Miss Church-Member, suddenly attacked with heart trouble, is hurried away to the Hospital.

2. She receives the attention of Satan's fiendish surgical operators.

3. A visit through the various wings of the Hospital and sub-offices. The horrifying work described.

The travelers of the Broad Highway pushed onward by millions, seemingly unconscious of their end. Miss Church-Member had become so well accustomed to the ways of the world that she could now adapt herself with more ease to all the exigencies of the journey.

In the midst of her favorable circumstances she was nursing the germs of an insidious disease which rendered her heart weaker and weaker. At times short, but sharp pains were felt; and more than once her hand flew to her breast in evidence of the inward struggle.

Her disease reached a climax after she had gone not far beyond the Valley of Conviction. She was walking along in a happy mood, when she suddenly felt a pang in her heart and mentioned the circumstance to Mr. World who was still her faithful companion.

"What can it be that has been giving you this trouble for so long a time?" he asked.

"I know not," she faintly replied as she stood still and pressed both hands to her heart.

Thoroughly alarmed, Mr. World called for help while he supported her with his arm.

"It seems strange," gasped Miss Church-Member in a brief interval of relief, "that, with all the pure air along this way and the variety of things to engage my attention, I should be seized, at shortening intervals, with these cruel and unbearable heart-pangs. Oh, that I might be free from this intruder's grasp! What shall I do? Where shall I go? I feel again the edge of the invisible blade!"

At this she threw her arms upward and, shrieking in agony, was about to fall as she was caught by Mr. World.

"Let us hurry her off to the nearest hospital," promptly suggested one of the bystanders who had responded to the call for help. An ambulance carried the fainting Miss Church-Member to one of Satan's hospitals near by.



The chief physician ordered the apparently lifeless form to be taken at once to an examination room, granting Mr. World the privilege of remaining by the side of his suffering friend. A quick investigation disclosed the fact that Miss Church-Member had been overcome by a partial paralysis of the heart, induced by intense mental anxiety dating from the time when she had passed through the Valley of Conviction.

"Not a serious case," said the suave doctor in reply to a question from the anxious Mr. World. "An operation will take away, almost entirely, the cause of this trouble."

"Will you not explain to me the trouble, and the nature of the operation?" nervously asked Mr. World.

"Certain nerves which ramify through the human heart have been affected emotionally by the nonsensical teachings of the King's Highway. These teachings are commonly known us 'Narrow-Gauge Ideas.' If these nerves are rendered insensible, there is scarcely any trouble of that kind again. We can, by an intricate operation, paralyze the mother-nerve leading to the heart, and thereafter you may expect to find the heart of this woman almost dead to the foolish influences that needlessly send conviction and remorse into so many lives."

While the physician was rapidly speaking these words, the surgeon had arrived, and they forthwith proceeded to the operating room.

Mr. World watched the attendants as they carried Miss Church-Member away. He saw her no more that day, but heard that the operation was successful, and that the patient was resting quietly.

One of the managers of the institution, knowing that Mr. World was companionless, offered to escort him through the various departments of the Hospital. To this he gave his hearty consent.

They first went to the tower which proved to be a magnificent point of view. Here he could see far and wide, for the building itself was situated on elevated ground, and the tower rose far into the air.

On one side of the Hospital stretched away the Broad Highway more pleasing at this point of the route than at many others, and far away it seemed to lead into pleasant woodland realms.

On the other side of the building passed the King's Highway, which, at this point, was exceedingly rough and uninviting to the view.

Thus I saw how the shrewdness of Hell was exercised in locating hospitals at such places.

"Ignorance is the mother of all that folly," said Mr. World with a feeling of self-satisfaction, "I see a long line of separate buildings just below us—there along the King's Highway. What purpose do they serve?"

"Those are medical offices under the supervision of this hospital- staff. Any one traveling on the Narrow Path, and falling sick there, may enter for help and restoration. If the case be difficult, or requiring an operation, or even special nursing, the patient is brought to the hospital."

"Are you successful in most of your operations, especially with those patients who come from such a rugged path?"

"Fortunately we succeed in effecting a cure in almost every case. We can only deal with those who voluntarily come to our medical staff. Many, in sad need of our help, pass by all our special offices without ever seeking advice."

"Are your patients foolish enough, after having been treated, to go back to that jolting road, and thus again invite their ills?"

"Most of our patients go hence on the more delightful way which you see, and on which you have come hither."

"What diseases most commonly affect those who come to your physicians and hospitals for help?"

"Let me answer your question by taking you down to those offices. You may there observe for yourself."

I saw Mr. World and his escort enter a physician's office which stood as near the King's Highway as Satan could build it.

The doctor was examining a church deacon who, by reason of his disease, found it hard to travel on a way so narrow and rugged. He was given a vial of medicine with specific directions.

After the patient had left, the doctor smiled derisively and pocketed his fee with ghoulish delight.

"What ailed that man asked?" Mr. World. "Can you tell me the cause of his malady?" "He has been eating and eating sermons, exhortations, and pious literature, and has done scarcely any work for his so-called Master. Eating much and working little generally results in gout or rheumatic diseases. There are large numbers in the church coming here for treatment who are similarly affected. I suppose such Christians enjoy eating better than they enjoy working."

"Do you prepare them for better service on the King's Highway?"

"Never! My business is to give them such medicine as will make all kinds of spiritual food repulsive to them. Then, rather than starve, they go to the fat lands on the Broad Highway for which my medicine prepares them. There they eat of the fruit forbidden by their former Master, for it is sweet-tasting withal. Some go on in the forbidden kingdoms until death, and hold an honorable place in their first church. Others are dealt with more summarily on account of the radical views entertained by certain bigots who wage warfare against a man who finds delight in gardens other than his own."

The electric bell summoned the doctor to the door. He opened it, and there stood a pilgrim from the King's Highway.

She entered and, fully exhausted, sank into a chair.

"What is the difficulty?" asked the physician in a cool manner.

"Something terrible indeed, or else my comrades accuse me unjustly."

"With what do they charge you, Miss Goodly-Minded?" he questioned, as he felt her pulse.

"I am accused of being out of order just because I do not run all the time to prayer-meeting and to other services of the church. They say I am not fit to travel this way, and therefore I have found it very difficult to get over some of the obstacles. Weariness and fatigue have almost dragged me to the earth. My persecution will prove to be my death unless you can give me some medicine to relieve me."

"Let me see your tongue," the physician requested. This done, he continued: "Ah! I can easily see, by your coated tongue, that you have already eaten more good things than you could digest. If there is any error, it is because you have already gone to church too much. I have medicine to cure you."

At that he walked into another room and opened a secret door. I saw him pour a liquid from a large bottle labeled, "Satan's Malaria Cure." It contained a mixture of unbelief, ridicule, and self-righteousness. He filled a small vial with sugar pellets and saturated them with the mixture from the large bottle.

"Take four globules every hour," he directed, as he gave her the medicine, "and I would further advise that you travel for your health."

"What climate would be most helpful to me?" she asked, for she was a lady of considerable means and could go where she wished.

"A colder climate where you will be free from the noonday sun, and breathe in a new atmosphere. This medicine will do the rest."

She passed out of the door just as a feeble man was entering. He was an old pilgrim and evidently suffering much.

The doctor seized him by the hand with a strange vigor not even understood by Mr. World.

"So you are under the power of 'La Grippe,'" saluted the doctor.

"Under the power of something, I am sure, for everything is wrong with me, and everything seems wrong to me," was the slow answer.

The doctor soon diagnosed his case, and gave him powders with directions.

"It did not take you very long to attend to him," said Mr. World, after the aged man left the office.

"I deal with so many of that class that I keep the medicine ready. La Grippe is a splendid thing for my trade. It is affecting more pilgrims just now than any other disease. Some churches are more than decimated by the ravages of this plague."

The manager then conducted Mr. World into another office where the doctor was just giving medical attention to a young lady who was suffering with spiritual quinsy. It was so severe that she could not testify for Christ, and she wilfully passed by the "Great Physician" who could have healed her blessedly. She also passed by all the angels of mercy who throng the King's Highway. She turned a deaf ear to all the singers who sang, "Then why will ye die?" Finally she was heavily pressed by her disease and, seeing a physician's office which she could enter without climbing a step, she went in and chose rather to be treated by a doctor of the Devil, as if dead to all the offers of mercy which she had rejected.

She accepted his treatment without question, and even felt at ease in conscience, thinking that the easy, bland method of this physician was in every way preferable to the searching methods adopted by the Healer Divine.

She regained her voice, but it lost that sweet accent of heaven which once had characterized it. It was now difficult and embarrassing for her to pronounce the name of Jesus.

All this proved painful and intolerable, so she took a by-path to the left called "Unchastity" where she found a whole vocabulary of speech more suited to her utterance.

She spent the rest of her days in the habitations of immorality along the Broad Highway, unmindful of the tears and kindly solicitude of her entreating friends.

Into the third medical wing the two went only to see the fiendish program carried on there as in the other offices. The first patient they saw was a young man who, through the misguidance of a weakling, was persuaded to enter the office.

This physician, with a smile on his face, but vile purpose in his heart, administered wilfully the very medicine that gave a transient gratification to the patient's craving for narcotics, and which would finally cause the appetite to break out anew into an inward burning and gnawing, swinging a master's sash over him.

The physician told him that his taste was inherited, and it would consequently require much patience ere he could be cured. He gave him the devilish medicine, and urged him to continue using it until the bottle was drained to its dregs.

At first it gave the promised relief, but the young man, now more deeply contaminated by this concoction of Hell, raged in wilder passion than ever, and verily ran to his utmost on the By-Path of intemperance until the flower of his youth and manhood was blasted to the blackest, and his sense of honor lost in the hovels of vice and corruption which, in great variety, stood along the Broad Highway.

The book-keepers of Hell placed an additional mark to the credit of this doctor, while the church looked on the young man's fall somewhat indifferently, having been hardened by the frequency of similar occurrences.

At the request of Mr. World the manager conducted him back to the hospital building and proceeded to show the various departments to him.

There was some commotion in one of the operating rooms just as Mr. World entered. It proved to be the preliminary work necessary for dressing a severe scalp wound.

It happened that a certain woman, named Mrs. Criticiser, who belonged to an active church, attempted to injure a good and holy man by hurling stones at him.

She noticed that the little stones did him no harm, so she seized one of larger size and hurled it at him with great force. He, being a pure man, and standing on a rock, was not even touched by the missile. But it struck the great rock on which he was standing, rebounded with unexpected force, and struck the head of Mrs. Criticiser with stunning effect.

It was seen that the stone had made an ugly gash on her head, more severe and painful than she intended to inflict on the good Mr. Class Leader. Her friends, being acquainted with the Devil's Hospital, naturally carried her there for necessary attention.

Mr. World saw Mrs. Criticiser brought into the room in a semi-conscious condition and watched the whole operation.

The surgeon declared that a scar would be carried on her head all through life. Indeed there is no balm in Hell to cure the wounded head or heart so as not to leave a scar. Had she gone to the "Great Physician," and asked Him aright to apply the "Balm of Gilead," her head would have been healed aright.

The manager then escorted Mr. World into one of the wards which was crowded to overflowing.

They tarried at the bedside of a man whose left arm and right leg were bandaged. There lay the poor fellow awaiting the slow processes of healing for his fractured bones.

It was on this wise that this man, a certain Mr. Treacherous, came to this sorry plight.

He was an ambitious member of the church, and aimed to be elected to an office therein. His admirers were too few, so the majority vote was given for another, named Mr. Wisdom.

This so aroused the jealousy of Mr. Treacherous that he was moved to seek amends for what he considered a stinging and crushing defeat.

"This will I do," said he, "I will dig a deep ditch across Mr. Wisdom's path of success, and will shrewdly cover it from view, and as he chances along that way, in the course of his service, he will surely fall into this ditch to his hurt. Then will I glory in his downfall, so that the stings of this, my defeat, will not prick me so sharply."

So Mr. Treacherous, in the blackness of the night, digged the ditch and covered it ingeniously. Then he waited day after day to hear of Mr. Wisdom's injury or death, that he might have cause for rejoicing.

Now Mr. Treacherous, since his defeat, was so heavily weighed down with envy and a desire for revenge that he could not sleep soundly, and was wont to walk about the house in a somnambulistic manner.

One night, under the influence of one of these strange spells, he went from the house and walked over the path that led to the ditch.

To his great dismay and double disgrace he waked not until his body struck the bottom of the ditch. He was bruised and some of his bones were broken. Thus he lay there in agony and cried all night long for help.

Ere the morning broke he wished a thousand times that he had not dug the ditch so deep, or rather, had not dug it at all.

A band of searchers found him and, lifting him from his disgrace, they hurried him to this hospital, for he was not minded to humble himself still more by going to another place where Mr. Wisdom and his kind found relief in time of trouble.

It is likely that Mr. Treacherous will never be able to walk again as perfectly as he did before, for it is the reputation of surgeons and physicians of this hospital, in dealing with cases of such extreme folly, that they so manipulate an operation as to render the patient incapable of complete recovery.

Mr. World and his congenial escort moved on from patient to patient, passing many hundreds who had met with accidents on the Broad Highway.

Many had been wounded by the "sword of the Spirit" and were now hoping to be cured by the processes here in vogue.

In passing on through another ward their attention was called to a woman who lay on a couch and seemed to be suffering more than she was able to bear.

Mr. World inquired concerning her, and was told that she was one Miss Busy-Body, a member in good standing of a radical church. She came to her grief in this strange manner: she had a special aptitude for sweeping before other people's doors, and could always find dirt, even if she could not find anything better.

She had been told repeatedly to sweep before her own door, but she did not heed this wise counsel, for she often said that there was no dirt visible about her own home.

One day she went forth as usually, broom in hand, and swept the dirt from other doors than her own, much to the annoyance and provocation of her neighbors, for she always raised the dust incontinently.

Now by her continual neglect at home the filth had accumulated to such an extent that when she returned home and attempted to enter the door, her foot slipped on the greasy step, and she fell, breaking her collar bone, two of her ribs, and otherwise injuring herself.

The manager told Mr. World that many such cases came to them for help every day—some from the King's Highway and still more from the Broad Highway.

They soon came to the bedside of one named Mr. Jealousy who occupied a private room. He was somewhat convalescent when Mr. World saw him.

Mr. Jealousy at one time was an active member of the church, but he undertook to stab Mr. Stability in the back. But Mr. Stability had a good back-bone so strong that no knife that Mr. Jealousy could handle was able to penetrate it.

One time in desperation Mr. Jealousy flung himself violently upon his imaginary foe. But his blade broke, and he himself fell upon it, cutting a terrible gash in his side. He was taken to this hospital for help.

Thus did Mr. Jealousy bring upon himself the disfavor of his church and he was forthwith expelled, for he refused to give the required promise of reformation.

Mr. World and the manager now came to a large door.

"In this room," said the manager, "we keep all our cancer patients. We have a large number of them and, since they require special treatment, we keep them separate to facilitate the work of the physicians and nurses."

I saw them enter the room, and heard the words of surprise that fell from the lips of Mr. World as he saw the magnitude of this department.

"These are they," explained the chief of the division, "who came here through 'profane and vain babblings.'"

Mr. World then passed through the leprosy ward where he saw quite a few who were once cleansed by the Divine Healer, but who, failing to give thanks for their recovery, suffered fatal relapse and were now in the last stages of this dread disease.

This place was so loathsome to him that he was hastened into the General Department where he saw all manner of patients, each in his particular dilemma.

A great number of this section were suffering from disordered livers, and of these not a few came from the church.

One such, who was a wealthy man, had so far protruded his disagreeableness upon the community that the church officials voluntarily gave him medicine for his liver. This was of no avail. He still grew more irritable and complained about the preacher, the sexton, the choir, and even his own wife. The weather never suited him, and when lie gave any testimony about religion it was always a partial outline of the supposed or real sorrows and troubles of the Christian pilgrimage.

While suffering from one of his morbid spells, he listened to the voice of the tempter who persuaded him to seek help at the hands of the physicians under the control of this Hospital. These doctors dosed him until they persuaded him to submit to an operation, and the wicked surgeon knew how to render him still more liable to trouble after his imaginary restoration toward which he was looking when Mr. World saw him.

When he leaves this Hospital he can never be cured from the fiercer subsequent attacks unless he be born again, and such an event Satan knows is very unlikely to occur.

Mr. World, in passing, spoke to quite a few who were suffering from spiritual dyspepsia, consumption, and a great number of other ailments which had developed into chronic form, or had made necessary the surgeon's cruel knife, and then, turning to his obliging friend, asked if he could not now see Miss Church-Member.

He was taken into a special department arranged for those who were convalescent.

When she saw her faithful and loving friend, Miss Church-Member smiled for the first time since the operation.

The pleasant interview soon ended at the behest of the nurse, and Mr. World was asked if he wished to enter the secret departments underground. This question aroused his curiosity and led to a lengthy conversation after which he expressed a desire to visit the secret chambers.

He was conducted into a dark office and asked to sign a pledge that lay on a desk.



CHAPTER XXIII.

SATAN'S SECRET SERVICE.

1. While Miss Church-Member is convalescent, Mr. World alone visits the underground apartments where secret sins are taught.

2. The last horrible stages of vice represented.

I saw Mr. World standing in a shadowy room and reading the conditions of entering "Satan's Secret Service." He was soon surprised by hearing a voice from a gloomy corner: "You cannot gain entrance to these secret abodes unless you sign that pledge."

"The meaning of the pledge is not clear to me. Who will explain it?" asked Mr. World somewhat tremulously.

"You can read between those lines all you wish. Those sentences must be their own interpreters, and you must choose to sign or withdraw from this room, just as you prefer," came the firm answer from the dark corner.

Before Mr. World could decide what particular course to take, a hand gently touched his shoulder. He turned to see who stood in the rear.

"O, Mr. World, thou needst not fear to sign the pledge and enter the secret service of our great and glorious master," were the words that greeted him in a friendly tone.

"Who art thou, and how camest thou here?" asked Mr. World in suspense.

"I came here from 'going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.'" Then, without uttering another word, the strange visitor lifted the pledge from the desk and read it audibly:

"Into these darker chambers let me go, I promise to conceal its scenes of woe, And solemnly declare, as here I stand, That I will aid this secret working band."

"What can there be about that pledge not suited to your wish? It means that you are to have your eyes opened to behold new things, and also to learn the secret laws of life, healthful to your marrow and your bones."

Mr. World hesitated no longer. He signed the document forthwith, and a pass-word was whispered into his ear.

Suddenly a door opened at one end of the room, through which Mr. World walked into a large cavern which was illuminated only by faint glimmerings of light.

He could discern faintly that many creatures were there whose uncanny noises, freighted with oaths and blasphemies, sent their sulphurous fumes around. Although Mr. World was accustomed to foul scenes and profanity, yet he was sickened at this deeper touch of Hell.

"Where am I and how came I here?" he cried out excitedly. A woman came quickly in response to his outcry.

"You are in a place of liberty and personal license," she answered. "Here you are free from the annoyances of narrow-minded pilgrims from the King's Highway, and you may spend a season in pure delight in these secret abodes which you will find more and more suited to the cravings of your natural heart and mind."

Now Mr. World was a somewhat judicious man, and although he would not sanction what he called church fanaticism, yet he had some self-respect, and had never allowed himself to reach the slum-level of society.

"Here I cannot and will not stay. Are there no other apartments to which I can go?" he asked, as the woman offered him a glass of wine, and in a sensual way entreated him to remain.

Mr. World was a lover of wine, but was suspicious of the place, and so he moved to go and found great difficulty in getting to another door, which, at last, he reached only by determination, and, giving a pass-word, he went into the first regular department of Satan's Secret Service.

This place, which was secretly connected with the Wizard City, was one of Satan's centers from which originated schemes and devices to commit and practice embryonic murder.

I saw in this dark cavern the sons and daughters of earth, high and low, noble and ignoble, and my heart bled within at what I further witnessed.

Mr. World passed through from one section to another, studying carefully the secret processes in vogue, while illustrations, drawn by the artists of the Devil, instead of sending the blush of shame to his cheek, only fed his inner curiosity and verily aroused his baser passions.

Having finished, he gave the pass-word and was admitted to a sub-department called Foeticide.

This section, and the one he had just left, were located directly under the physicians' offices along the King's Highway. It could be seen that there was direct connection between these offices and the horrible subterraneous apartments through which Mr. World was now passing.

So many unnatural and horrible things were practiced in this sub- department that Mr. World was shocked beyond measure, for he had never dreamed of the extent of the malpractice to which his eyes here bore testimony.

All these things, while at first revolting, were only hardening his own heart to such an extent that, before he had passed through the last wing of the department, and heard the apologetic words of those who were in charge, he concluded that these agencies conduced to much good.

"Oh!" thought I, "how the light of Hell casts a strange coloring over the things of earth, thereby creating false theories of mortal life."

By means of the pass-word Mr. World was enabled to visit the next department where he witnessed sights more revolting than in any place previously entered. Here groveled the youth under the power of so-called stimulating medicaments.

Mr. World, with all his wickedness, was chilled with horror at these underground spectacles.

Noticing his evident disgust, one came to him and offered soothing explanations to which he listened very attentively.

"This is a blessed place," spoke the newcomer. "We, who are skilled in crime, give the youthful an expert training in the ways of pollution and kindred types of immorality. It is far better to teach the young to sin aright and with least damage to themselves, than to place them under all restraint and see them fall more wretchedly than these."

With all the moral turpitude of Mr. World he was scarcely ready, at first hearing, to accept this grinding sophistry of Hell.

"Are you quite sure, my friend, doubted Mr. World, that you are speaking words of soberness to me? Do you feel proud of the results of the work here accomplished?"

"Proud indeed, for our master has given us encomiums for the splendid work accomplished. You see, Mr. World, it is a settled fact that young people will sin, notwithstanding all the influence exerted to the contrary. Such as we can persuade we take under our direction, and try, as soon as possible, to harden them in personal crime. Our physicians have special medicines to inflame their propensities, so that they may, by continual burning, consume themselves and spare the youth from otherwise being tormented day and night in these flames of passion. Are you so dull, Mr. World, that you cannot grasp such self-evident truth?"

"It seems now somewhat clearer to my mind, but still my eyes behold such horrid scenes around me."

"I cannot question that," continued the smooth-tongued agent of darkness, "yet what you see are but the lower stages. If you could look beyond these dark corridors and see the types of womanhood which grow out of this under-soil, you would no longer breathe in doubt or look with shuddering frame on scenes around you. All good things come forth through putrefaction. Then why should you despise the putrefaction? Be content, Mr. World, and as you walk along the path of life, remember this great College underground, and recommend its salient features to the rising generation. You have signed the pledge and promised to aid this secret working band. So do it with a vim, keeping in view the blossoms and the fruit of after-growth."

Mr. World was completely won by this false and devilish reasoning, and looked on the whole program of shame quite philosophically.

He took full cognizance of the far-reaching effects of this section and, after an interview with one of the head physicians, he proceeded to visit the next section.

But what he saw there will not be told. No pen can describe and no tongue relate the loathsome filth of this last stage of immorality. An awful stench filled the air arising from medicines of last resort and from the putrefying flesh that clothed the living skeletons.

It was by mistake that Mr. World got into this place. The door opened to admit a few "Unfortunates," as they were called by the attendants, and Mr. World, standing near by, entered without permission.

He was no sooner inside the door than he was frantically seized by a sunken-eyed creature.

"O man of health, deliver me from this inner eating and from the grave that opens to me its mouldy mouth!" was the heart-rending cry that grated on the ears of Mr. World.

Another, hearing this pleading cry, came rushing toward the same spot and sobbed piteously:

"Oh! Mr. World, have pity on me! I had help when I had means and vitality. Oh! give me some relief now."

Mr. World was so terror-stricken that he could not speak, but struggled with all his might to escape from the place.

He gained double strength, but of no use. These two men imagined that they had a claim on him by reason of his name, and therefore held on with tightening grasp. For a moment Mr. World ceased his struggling and looked at his two pitiable beseechers.

"I can give you nothing. Why torment me thus?" he tremblingly gasped with abated breath.

"In our better days we gave all we had to the world and now we need help. Surely you can give it." They became furious and ranted the more at the thought of their past folly.

"Why come to me? Go to Mr. Flesh, or ask the Devil for help," pleaded Mr. World.

"We have served the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. All have failed us miserably. To whom else can we go but to anyone within our reach? Oh! forsake us not in this awful plight!"

Poor Mr. World, unable longer to bear the sickening and threatening attack, sank to the filth-covered floor and groaned aloud.

At once a fierce and powerful being came to the rescue and, flinging the two unfortunates aside, lifted Mr. World to his feet and looked down upon him with his awful eyes.

Mr. Intemperance lay crouching near the side of Mr. Lust, each smarting under the pain of his fall.

"How came you to this place?" sternly asked the monster.

"By walking in at the door," answered the terrified Mr. World.

"Without permission?" he further asked.

"There was no one there to ask, and I, being out sight-seeing, thought I might also enter in here."

The monster seized Mr. World by the arms and looked at him in a still more frightful manner.

"You are not yet ready to come into this region, and if you will solemnly pledge me that you will never reveal what you have seen here, I will conduct you safely to the door; if not, you must remain here without a ray of hope until death gives relief."

Mr. World humbled himself and gave double assurance of secrecy. Then the grim creature conducted him a little to one side and bade him look down into a deep and dark yawning chasm.

"Down there," commenced the Old Monster, "runs the Black River deep and wide. The stream, coming from its distant source, drains the filthy realm of human society, and not far hence it enters into the boundless ocean of eternal death. The wild sounds which you hear are the unseen dashings of its never-ceasing waves, and the moans of those who have fallen victims to its merciless currents."



CHAPTER XXIV.

THE LAST WARNING.

1. Miss Church-Member is now induced to frequent the haunts of vice in the "Wicked Valley."

2. The blessed work of Warning as given by rescue bands from the King's Highway.

3. The heedless throngs passing by.

4. The experiences at this place of Mr. World and Miss Church-Member.

There was a joyful meeting in the reception room of the Hospital when Mr. World, returning from his underground experiences, met his beloved friend Miss Church-Member who had recovered sufficiently to resume the journey.

In joyful spirits they sauntered forth on the wide and pleasant path, away from the Hospital and toward their imaginary Heaven.

Miss Church-Member's face was more cheerful and her footsteps more buoyant than at any time since she left the Valley of Conviction.

Mr. World, observing her favorable condition, complimented her with these words: "Blessed be the memory of that Hospital, for I can see that your face is no more covered with the cloud of care that once robbed you of so many joys. The unkind intruder has drifted away, and now the light radiates from your every feature. It is also plainly evident that you are no more tormented by a troubled conscience."

"I am glad that my sufferings have not been in vain," she modestly declared. "May the new light which you so readily notice in my face add to the pleasantness of our journey and the profit of our lives." Their conversation grew more and more pleasant as they passed through a long stretch of woodland. They could see beyond, them, and in the rear, the legions that were traveling the same path and in the same direction.

Emerging from the woodland they saw that their path came again in close proximity to the King's Highway.

The intervening space between the two paths, called the Wicked Valley, was all astir with every form of evil as practiced in the world of sin. In this vale nearly every traveler on the Broad Highway tarries awhile, and many are lured away from the Highway of the King here to mingle with the servants of Mammon.

Mr. World and his friend paused opposite a cluster of magnificent buildings with frontage toward the Heavenly Way. Some were used by vulgar theatricals; some devoted to the sensual dance; some were occupied by the Devil's maid-servants in prostitution, and many others were used as haunts of intemperance and personal pollution.

All along the road to perdition at thousands of places stand such clusters of buildings, each under the command of one of Satan's most efficient leaders.

"Here," said Mr. World, "let us take a long rest. If you have your glasses properly adjusted you can see new beauty behind magnificent walls."

She looked at first doubtfully. "Ah! I never frequented such places before. I would not as much as look at them."

"I doubt not your word, Miss Church-Member, but remember you are growing older and wiser. You are no more a narrow-minded creature influenced by prejudice and sophistry."

She was now in a condition to imagine that much of her earlier instruction was erroneous. She had not forgotten the teaching of the sermon in Mr. World's church. Subsequently she reasoned that the only way to learn the taste of forbidden fruit was to eat of it.

"I will enter these buildings as a student," she soliloquized. "I will be cautious. Surely I have sufficiently clear judgment to discern between good and evil."

The crafty Mr. World, having won her confidence, escorted her all through the Wicked Valley. By a continual palliation she yielded one point after another until her virtue was sacrificed on a cursed altar.

Satan assisted her in solving many perplexing problems when she reeled in the realm of doubt.

At the conclusion of their protracted visit I heard the wicked Mr. World say to his beloved friend: "Your eyes are completely cured. You may now with safety lay aside the glasses. I hope you will never have occasion to use them again."

Of the multitudes that tarried here from the Narrow Way very few went out at the front door. Having stultified themselves, they passed from the rooms at the rear, and thenceforth traveled on the other path more suited to their changed natures.

The two congenial companions, proceeding on their way, soon overtook a company of church-members.

In the social intercourse which ensued each one resented the criticisms of those who refused to leave the Old Path.

"Verily," said one, "I now enjoy more liberty. I believe the road to Heaven should be as broad-gauged as possible."

"Certainly it should," said another. "Those who want to climb hills and continually suffer inconveniences may do so. As for me, I want to reach Heaven on the easiest road. I believe this course leads to Paradise just as directly as the other."

These utterances were highly complimented by Mr. World, and he said that he was to be congratulated on meeting and associating with such congenial people. "On the way on which we are now traveling one can reach his reward as certainly and as speedily as on any other route. In addition, one can here enjoy natural and graceful pleasures which of course are not tolerated under the eyes of selfish and narrow-minded bigots."

I saw Mr. World and Miss Church-Member, now more intimate than ever, pass on alone, ever walking more hastily. Satan had told them, during their stay in the Wicked Valley, that the faster they journeyed the sooner and the more certainly would they reach their reward.

Not far from the Wicked Valley there is a section called the Place of Warning. It has been maintained for thousands of years by virtuous workers from the King's Highway. It is the last warning-station that travelers pass before reaching the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and here with tearful earnestness do the Shining Pilgrims of the cross speak their words of last caution, sing their sweet hymns of warning, and put forth every other loving endeavor in the hope of snatching some from the thoughtless throngs that go rushing by toward the Dark Valley.

I listened and heard a voice from the Place of Warning speak to a motley crowd that were passing.

"Whither go ye, whither go ye?"

"We go to a better place called Heaven," answered one of the company.

"Then come hither and go on the Path of Life. The way on which ye are now traveling leadeth unto everlasting death."

"Aha! Aha! Aha!" cried they all. "We are well informed about the way and need no foreign voice to give direction."

Then came the solemn hymn of warning in words so tender and clear that each one could hear every sentence:

"There's a sad day coming, A sad day coming. There's a sad coming by and by; When the sinner shall hear his doom: 'Depart, I know you not.' Are you ready for that day to come?"

CHORUS:

"Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready for the judgment day?"

The words had not yet died on the air when a young man ran hastily from the company toward the Way of Life. His companions then gave vent to their ridicule, some even going after him and endeavoring to pull him back, but without avail.

Some sang an idle song to drown the hymn of warning that still rang in their ears. Others engaged in boisterous conversation, and still others mocked with foul profanity. They passed on, and as far as I could see them they were pushing on to the Valley of Death.

I saw another man who was heavily burdened with pieces of timber on which was written: "Faults of Church-Members." He also came to the Place of Warning.

"Throw off the cumbersome weight you are carrying on your back, and travel on the way where your burden ill be light," came a friendly voice from the Rescue Station.

"I am not so foolish as to throw away my only hope," he answered with unthankfulness in his tone.

"'Your only hope,'" repeated the voice of warning, "how can you explain such foolish words?"

"With passing ease. I will soon come to the River of Death and with these boards I can make myself a raft whereon I can pass over safely."

Then spoke the voice of warning clearer than before:

"O, foolish man! Knowest thou not that the River of Death, toward which thou art rapidly moving, cannot be crossed in a bark so frail? I have seen millions who tried in vain to ride its angry currents, but they sank beneath its dark waters. Come, O mortal man, if thou hast nothing better on which to depend, listen to the voice of wisdom and come, without delay, to the Path of Glory."

But the man passed on. I watched him till he reached the river, and saw him go from the shore in his self-constructed raft.

"I sink! I sink! Save me!" he, cried in utmost agony of terror as his little raft whirled about, leaving the poor self-deceived fellow to the mercy of the waves.

I saw others as they passed the Place of Warning. Thousands and tens of thousands, some now totally deaf to every voice of warning, some with cotton-filled ears, and others with instruments of music with which they drowned the calls of warning.

Many more passed by who carried little balloons of self-righteousness with which they expected to rise above the murky River of Death.

A young woman, who moved more cautiously, stopped at the Place of Warning and listened attentively.

Directly a voice spoke to her: "Not far hence, O mortal woman, there is a wide river. It surges on forever. No one who goes this way can escape its waters. Listen now to the voice of Wisdom. Leave this blood-marked way of misery and woe, and come to these happier dominions where 'her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.'"

"Surely I will not be lost," she replied. "I am depending on the mercy of God who is too kind to be unjust. I will come out all right in the end."

"Take heed, my friend," pleaded the warning voice. "You are hoping for mercy at the dividing line between time and eternity. Better forget not what the Scripture saith. 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy let him be filthy still.' So thou canst not wilfully neglect so great salvation and hope that God will cover at last all thy folly. 'Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.' 'To-day, if ye hear his voice, harden not your hearts'"

"You have said nothing new to me. They are the old thread-bare passages that I have heard from my youth up, and I am minded to accept a broader view of these statements than you seem to take of them."

At this she tossed her head haughtily and continued her journey, resolving more firmly than ever that she would not spend eternity outside the Gates of Heaven.

When she came to the Dark Valley and to the angry swelling currents, her pitiful prayer broke out from the long-covered depth of her soul. "Mercy, O mercy, to a wretch like me!" But no hand came to her rescue.

I saw Mr. World and Miss Church-Member as they approached the Place of Warning. They heard the sweet music, rendered so excellently, but gave no attention to the sentiment expressed by the words. They listened only to the harmony of sounds.

"O, Miss Church-Member!" pleaded a voice, "you who were once so earnestly engaged on the King's Highway, will you not, before you reach the River of Death, forsake your perilous course and walk on the path of life eternal?"

These words, which would have once brought conviction to her heart, only brought vanity to her head. "'Judge not, that ye be not judged,' and go speak to the lost, not to me so well equipped to meet the direst foe. Turn your words to those on the other path, who go hobbling along in misery, not fit to live or die."

"Come, come!" put in Mr. World, "your pearls before swine are only trampled under foot. Forget not so quickly the teachings of our Lord."

As they passed on, in a self-righteous manner, she cheerily looked into his face and said: "It was kind in you to come so promptly to my rescue. I might have prattled there a whole day and yet not have shown them half their folly."



CHAPTER XXV.

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

1. Mr. World and Miss Church-Member getting farther from the light.

2. They drift into the deepening shadows where the path could be traveled only one way.

3. The terrible experience of the two companions contending with the imps of the dark valley.

4. Their sad and tragic end as they catch a glimpse of what they might have been.

After leaving the place of the Last Warning, the Broad Highway grew darker and darker as it steadily diverged from the King's Highway.

The little light that Satan's pilgrims do enjoy is borrowed from "the path of the just that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

Mr. World saw the deepening shadows and endeavored to be as cheerful as usually, hoping thereby to prevent any alarm in the mind of his faithful friend.

The path, though wide, was now steeply descending, and travelers often slipped on the steeper inclines.

I saw that the two companions descended with difficulty, cautiously watching every footstop, lest they, like many others, should fall to their hurt. They now gave but little attention to the things along the way, and when they did pause for rest on the easier grades, they found the meadows more barren and everything more dark and dank.

Miss Church-Member had been painfully conscious of these unhappy contrasts, and Asked repeatedly the meaning of all that her eyes beheld and her heart realized, but Mr. World, true to his nature, partly allayed her fears with words of hope and glowing promises.

But I heard her again ask with a quivering voice: "Where is the light that so lately lent its blessed cheer, and whither go we stumbling downward in the dark?"

"We only go in the darkest hour that comes before the dawn," he said with a firm voice but a trembling heart. "Be hopeful, my dear, I will not forsake you."

Her heart was not calmed, for she could see his distress which he had hoped to conceal, and no one could minimize the surrounding scenes which now seemed like omens of death.

They stood still, and learned, upon inquiry, that they were standing in the Shadows of Premonition.

Mr. World could no longer endure the strain. His bold attitude gave way to his rising fears, for he saw that his wasted life was ending with no opportunity of redeeming its days. His whole body quivered as they walked still farther in a desperate effort to find relief.

Miss Church-Member was almost overcome as she continued looking upon the ominous darkness around. She soon realized that her only refuge whom she had seized by the arm proved miserably weak in this hour of great need.

"Oh! Mr. World," she cried, in utmost agony of mind, "where have you led me? Save me ere I perish!"

He spoke not, but with his aspen fingers he pointed backward toward the sloping Highway. Then with all eagerness they endeavored to retrace their steps, but somehow they could do no more than stumble and fall, and when they were making their most desperate effort to return they heard a voice from someone invisible. This voice announced to them that here the path could be traveled only one way. The same voice urged them to push through the shadows and face their end like heroes. At this their hope died within them, and they had no more courage to struggle up the hill. They stood again in their wretched dilemma and heard the sound of distant waters, doleful to their ears, and from this they could distinguish the bitter wails of those who also found that they could not return.

Mr. World and Miss Church-Member cast their eyes heavenward and discerned that they were standing in a very deep valley. They saw the dim outlines of all their past evil life. Their deeds stretched away at interminable length, and in the aggregate they were piled, like ledge upon ledge, until they verily shut out the mercy of a just God.

Here they stood in the first shadow of their self-constructed Hell.

"Oh, what a valley!" shrieked Miss Church-Member, as her consciousness now revealed to her more in one second than all the fanciful dreams of a life-time evolved.

And Mr. World was undone. He knew not which way to turn. He was speechless as he saw so clearly the worthless product of his life's work almost overarching him.

Finally Mr. World cried out excitedly: "If we cannot go back, neither will we go forward!"

Then a grim monster spoke in a slow, dead tone: "No one remaineth here; away, away from this place!"

Miss Church-Member was terrorized at the presence of so cold a creature and frantically cried out: "I cannot and will not endure it! Can I not go back to the Voice of Warning?"

"Back? Never! No one who comes thus far ever goes back. During the earthly life of one called Jesus there was but one snatched from these lowlands, and he was the thief on the cross."

"If there was chance for a thief, there might be hope for me," she sighed as her wretched face brightened.

"Hope for you?" repeated the cold-hearted monster. "None whatever, and for none of your kind who come thus far. Pass on, make room for the thousands coming this way, the sound of whose tread you already hear."

Looking at Mr. World she pitifully sobbed: "Why do you not help me? You have brought me here; plead my cause."

"Alas, I cannot even plead my own!" He could say no more, for he took a longing glance backward, over the hills of time, where he could truly see, for the first time, the horrible depth of his folly.

Then came the monstrous creature again and sternly commanded them: "Tarry no more on this side of the river's brink."



They tasted the bitter fruits of opportunities lost, and felt the awful pangs of a soul without hope as their reluctant footsteps carried them on through the valley made dark by the shadow of their own deeds.

I then heard the discordant and agonizing wails of poor Miss Church-Member and her wretched companion; but the sounds fell harmoniously on the ears of Satan who listened to them chiming with the music of Hell, in its deathlike rhythm, as it reverberated forever from the depth beyond them, and from the throngs passing by.

Miss Church-Member could no longer hold fast to Mr. World. It took both arms to contend with the real and imaginary imps who stood grinning at her folly, and grievously tormented her from all sides.

"O mercy! mercy! Where am I?" she shrieked. "How can you be so heartless, Mr. World? Why not rid me of these fiends?"

"Cry to me no more!" he groaned out in anguish. "I am also overwhelmed with foes and fears that verily drag me down with infernal and relentless grasp."

This only deepened her pathetic cry, for she saw that she was lost forever, and realized anew that Mr. World was unable to give help, contrary to all his promises of the past.

Then did, they look forth, and beheld afar off the Valley of the Shadow of Death through which the King's Highway passed. They saw that its foot-sore pilgrims leaned upon a rod and staff, and that they were supported by the pierced hands of a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Neither did the pilgrims fear any evil nor tremble at any foe, for Christ was their all in all, and his lovely light lit the whole valley until it was all aglow with heavenly radiance.

This vision revealed to Mr. World and Miss Church-Member the place where they might have been, and pierced their hearts as with a thousand daggers.

They soon stood on the verge of the Awful River which was filled with the filth and slimy putrefaction of the world, the fungus growth of society, and the scum of all nationalities. From these currents came unearthly sounds, doleful lamentations, melancholy and hopeless.

Not far down the stream they saw the fitful light of an eternal burning whose ghastly glare lit the water crests of the Black River.

I saw a relentless monster, in deep silence, stretching forth his bony arm, and with his icy fingers he pushed the two companions from the brink of the river, thus bringing them face to face with the last enemy whose sharp sting they felt as they were being overwhelmed by the merciless waves.



Their heart-rending cries for mercy brought no relief. They had sinned against all light, and had even spurned the last kindly warning. The Door of Hope was shut forever.

As they were sinking to rise no more they caught another vision of the Shining Pilgrims of the King's Highway, and saw that when they reached the brink of the River of Death they were met by a convoy of angels, on whose snowy pinions they were borne aloft to the very gates of the Celestial City which apparently stood on white clouds.

THE END

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