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A. Stewart (Alexander Stewart) Walsh.

Mary: The Queen of the House of David and Mother of Jesus online

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all then, but have been unable since to find it. Oh, I burn with desire
to have the ‘silver-tongued’ guide me to that pathway again.”

At the appointed time the twain sought the house of Christian Phebe,
and found it wrapped in gloom; the only sign of life without being a
man garbed as a camel driver, standing guard at the door. Cornelius
whispered to Miriamne, “He’s a knight—the warden.” The young man gave
the watchman a secret signal; the latter communicated through a little
gated window, with those within, and quickly the door swung open,
admitting Woelfkin and his companion. Within were light and cheerfulness
contrasting with the gloom without. A goodly company was already
assembled, chiefly made up of Crusaders, but now unharnessed. The faces
of the pilgrim soldiers betokened a change within. They betokened
spirits subdued, but not crushed; hearts having surrendered ambition for
devastating conquest, to welcome a finer hope. There were few things
about the place suggestive of war, and many suggestive of peace. At one
end of the room stood a desk, in shape much like an altar. It was draped
with a Templar banner, and to its side were fastened a sword, bent in the
shape of a sickle, and two spears forming a cross, supporting a cup; the
latter was in form the same as the cup of the Passion.

“There is something about this place that recalls the chapel of the
Palestineans, in London, Cornelius.”

“Well, you and I were there; now we are here. In that the two places have
likeness,” pleasantly responded the maiden’s escort.

Miriamne’s eyes wandered from object to object, as if seeking proof of,
her assertion, and her companion followed her gaze with a glance about
the place, which finally rested, as his glances were wont, on the eyes of
Miriamne.

“Oh, the devoutness, the peace, the fellowship!” she exclaimed.

Just then there was a movement: a number of the men present arose; a
hailing sign, significant to the initiated, was given by some, while
simultaneously a slight applause passed around the room:

“’Tis he,” whispered Miriamne.

“Your Hospitaler?”

“Yes.”

The knights all stood and sang in subdued voices, a psalm of hope. “The
movement of the melody suggests pilgrims climbing a hill.” At least, so
the maiden said its movement seemed to her.

When the psalm was finished, the knights resumed their seats and the
Hospitaler, without preliminary, at once addressed them:

“Knights of Christ, few and often in hiding, I would remind ye that no
plan of God is futile, and that His cause has no backward movement.

“A dream of conquest, restoration and glory came over all followers of
the cross. The dream had within it a hope of a holy land in Christian
possession, and all the children of earth getting from it the story of
the true faith. Then there was to come, we believed, the golden age,
in which all mankind in sweet charity’s glorious fellowship should go
forward.

“Nature, man’s mother, prays in a million mournful voices for that
golden day; and God, man’s eternal and loving Father, works by countless
invincible agencies to cause its full dawning. We Crusaders gave our
lives by thousands for our faith, but we seemed to have done little
beside change the name of this land from Philistine to Palestine. One, to
be sure, is softer to the ear than the other, but to the heart both names
bring the same miserable thoughts. Yet there was more than this attained.
Ye remember how our cavalier soldiers expressed their chivalric impulses
in honoring that queen of women, Our Lady? Like the rising of sun at
midnight, came the conviction to Christian Europe when at its worst,
socially, that reform must begin by purifying the homes of the people,
by exalting all home life. To do this, the mothers who bare and nurture
the fruits of the home, as well as making them for weal or for woe what
they are, must needs be exalted by right as well as by fitness to their
queenship. Every knight’s praise of Mary was an avowal of faith; his
faith that woman could be, should be, what his imagination pictured Mary
to have been.

“The knightly Christians were among the first to be moved by the belief
that that was a monstrous blight, a heresy toward God and nature which
regarded the finer sex as necessities or luxuries. Impressed by reverence
for Mary, the banded soldiers of the cross began to feel their mission
to be not only the recovery of the dead, but also of the living from
infidel dominion; hence, each Crusade banner came as a sunburst to those,
who, under the spell of gross passion, were enslaving their natural
co-partners.

“Men, while the harem ideal stands, while woman is impotent because
uncrowned, our lofty hopes can not bear fruit nor will our labors be
ended!”

The speaker was interrupted by a murmur of applause that ran around the
circle of auditors.

Miriamne glowed with delight, and raised her hand impressively and nodded
toward Cornelius. He only saw the motion and easily interpreted it as
meaning, “There, that’s what I felt, but could not express.”

The speaker continued: “God said it is not good that the man should be
alone; time that resolves all mysteries, and experience which transmutes
to gold all the rubbish of guess and experiment, has irrevocably declared
that man cannot be to his fullness, in a state of solitary grandeur. He
and the woman go up or down together; and, whether a seraph or a serpent
leads her, the man by inclination or by force is sure to follow her
footsteps.

“We Crusaders had a glimpse of the truth, but lost it to follow an _ignis
fatuus_. Yet, in this land, we confronted the harem with the home ruled
by one queenly wife and mother. The world, beholding the contrast begins
to believe, as never before, in the supremacy, over all institutions, of
that one where, under Eden’s covenant charters, purity and mother-love
mold the race in the name of sole and patient love. The Saracens paraded
their houris, their concubines, and their slaves as the proofs of their
prowess; but the Christians challenged the array by the quality of their
possessions, commencing with their women of God’s blood royal, and
ascending to each revered personage, from love’s companions, to Mary, to
Jesus. He that nobly deals with the one by his side will find her putting
on a glory that will brighten the luster of his kingliness, and bringing
forth to him those having the power to grasp and mold the destinies of
coming years. Listeners, mark me; there is a lesson profound in the
record of the strugglings with each other of Rebecca’s twins before their
birth. Indeed, each being begins his career within the life that gives
him life.

“Who will say, with assurance, that all of life lies within the reach of
any man of himself? Nay, be it said, rather, that she who first carries,
then leads, then inspires, as she only can, her sons and daughters, is
the one who lays her gentle hands, with resistless power, upon the keys
of all futures. It is the mother who impresses the prophecy of what is
to be on the heart of the infant, before the event finds place upon the
deathless page which records deeds done.”

Again applause interrupted.

The Hospitaler continued, as attention was given anew:

“That profoundest of ancient teachers, Plato, enunciated at least a
half-truth or truth’s shadow, in his doctrine of the preëxistence of
souls, though, as our church understands it, it pronounces the teaching
heretical. Be that as it may, this much assuredly is true: if each
man has not been on earth before, his present existence being the
repetition of a prior one, his intuitions, vague recollections out of
a past forgotten in a former death, surely there is none who is not
the fruit of his parents. He is largely what they made him, and of the
twain that beget, I affirm that the mother wields the ruling influence
in the life and character of the begotten. I believe men perpetuate
their worst traits through their posterity, easily and more persistently
than do women theirs. In the giant of the human pair brawn and muscle
predominate, and these, if depraved, feed every evil passion, giving
each power to run with virulence from sire to son. The woman, formed by
finer conceptions to be an angel, may fall to sinning and let weakness
take the place of gentleness. So be it; yet even then her weaknesses
and her sinnings, constantly repugnant to her nature as God framed it,
antagonistic to the refinement that is native, ebb and die along the
shores of her being’s course. She more naturally and more forcefully
transmits her good than she does her evil, as a general rule. They have
in fable-lore a tradition that the mythical goddess of love, Venus,
wore a resplendent girdle, the sight of which made every beholder love
the wearer. Let me give present force to the legend by affirming that
every true woman, girded with the virtues that it is her duty and her
privilege to wear, is an object, among all earthly beings, superlatively,
entrancingly beautiful—next after Christ, God’s best gift to man.”

Cornelius now plucked the corner of Miriamne’s _pepulum_. It was a
lover’s restless, questioning act. Being a man, trained as men, he was
naturally inclined to doubt the speaker and to join in secret ridicule,
that substitute for gainsaying when arguments are utterly lacking; but
being a lover, he was so far doubtful as to his old creeds concerning
women, as to be ready to be led. Miriamne turned toward her lover with a
smile lightened by eyes which glowed. Hers was not the smile of a girl
flatly complacent in an effort to be very agreeable. She believed; the
love she had for the man at her side was consecrated first to truth.
Her will was that of a blade of steel—yielding, serviceable; but still
elastic or firm, as need be and as its highest purposes required. She
smiled, but the smile mounting to her brightening eyes, left her fine
forehead, a very temple of thought, all placid. The smile and the glance
routed all doubts from the young man’s mind. She to him was a Venus, and
more, a saint. She wore the invisible girdle of which the knight had
spoken, and the youth felt its winning power. Another proof that the best
advocate of a woman is a woman; and of her worth, the best argument an
example.

The orator knight proceeded without pause:

“I know full well that some sneer and carp on woman’s weakness, having
recourse to Eden for argument. To these I reply: The enemy assailed not
the weaker, but the stronger first, and exhibited masterly generalship
in seeking to overcome the citadel that would insure the greatest loss,
the most complete victory. And note how long and arduous his siege of
Eve; then remember how quickly Adam fell. Crush the woman’s heart, ruin
her faith, degrade her body, and then, with this work completed, we are
ready to ring down the curtain over the end of the tragedy of a wrecked
world. When men hold women to their hearts, their manhood is enlarged and
their queens become their angels, bearing a ‘grail’ that catches for both
the choice things of heaven. But when a man turns his strength against a
woman, she ceases to be his charming, alluring helpmate. He has brawn,
and she, not having that, puts on that cunning which is the natural arm
of the weaker. When the honey-suckle turns to poison-ivy, or the dove to
a fox, then weep; but when woman lays aside the entrancings of her moral
beauty to enter a desperate strife with armed cunning, let men go mad
over their queens become witches. I tell you, hearers, when men become
demons women will give themselves to sorcery. I speak not of spiritual
possession, but of human deflowering. Shall our queens be uncrowned,
disrobed, degraded? No, no, Satan alone could say ‘yea.’”

When the burst of applause that had interrupted him subsided, the
Hospitaler continued:

“We knights revere the sign of the cross because the world’s Savior died
thereon; it will be well for us to revere womankind because it was given
to woman, not to man, to coöperate with God in bringing that Savior to
the world. A woman bore him with crucial pains, as each of us was borne,
before He bore the cross. And reverently I say it, companions, woman’s
cross is ever set, and all the earth is her Calvary. I can not but see,
as must you who think, that all this pain to her has in God’s great plan
some vicarious element, some blessing for mankind. We Christians pray
for the second coming of Jesus, the Jews wait and weep for the dawn of
a day of salvation, the Mohammedans, like hosts of the Pagans, in every
clime, are longing for some golden day; better than the present. This
universal longing is a prophecy of good to come. I can not believe that
the All-Father would suffer this universal and intuitive longing to end
in disappointment and mockery. He is too good for that. By this longing I
see standing out, less dimly, and yet dimly enough to be by many unseen,
some sublime, prophetic hints. Read sacred Writ. Wherever therein you
discern a prophetic character, emblem of Christ, forerunner of the golden
age, you will find not far from him, as his partner and help, fittingly a
woman!

“From the first it was so. Adam the first appeared, and a woman was his
partner, helpmate and more. He fell. A way of recovery was provided for
him, but it was the woman who was given to bring forth the One whose heel
was to crush the head of the author of humanity’s great catastrophe. Then
came the second Adam—Immanuel. At his advent the chief figure, next after
God the chief instrument in His bringing in, by His side along the years
in all helpful ministries, a woman, Mary, the beautiful, the perfect, the
ideal of women.

“Again and again we have puzzled over the records, wondering why Matthew
traced the genealogy of Jesus along the male line only, through David and
Jacob to Abraham the father of the faithful, and that Luke traced that
genealogy through Mary and her father, Heli. But there’s method most wise
in the records. Matthew wrote for the Jews, Luke for the Gentiles. The
hint is herein given that when the Gentiles are fully gathered in, woman
will be recognized in the ultimate religion, that knows neither race
nor sex. As in the royal line which gave man a Savior, as in a queenly
line having for man, society and home—the emblem of heaven expressed on
earth—blessing and saving powers.”

The knight closed with an appeal for the continuance of the revival of
the chivalrous spirit toward woman, saying:

“It matters little what becomes of the dust of the pious dead; the past
is secure, and Deity guards till the resurrection all tombs in His own
unfrustrated way, but it matters much how we treat the living! That is a
puerile piety which is ready to die to defend from foes that can not harm
inanimate ashes that appeal for no favor, while suffering, willingly,
living bodies encompassing bleeding hearts, to continue amid untold
agonies, their whole existence one long appeal for succor! Christian
knights, on with your new crusade, and may the golden age come grandly
in, its fruits—love, joy, and peace in every clime, to every race, to
every man, woman, and child!”

The speaker sat down; there was a moment of deep silence, followed by an
outburst of approving acclamations.

Then ensued a hum of voices, the assembly breaking up into little
groups, one and another attempting each to prove his loyalty, his piety
or his good sense to the man next to him, by certifying his belief in the
knight’s words.

Miriamne, half unconscious of her surroundings, exclaimed:

“Oh, will not some one tell me how to begin?”

“Can I aid my Miriamne?” asked her lover.

“I don’t know; perhaps. But that Grail Knight with the silver tongue
sees, in his soul, what I would reach. When he speaks my feet take wings.
I can not tell you what or how it all is. He speaks and I see, as Moses
in the mount, the outline of the tabernacle of God that is to be with
men.”




CHAPTER XXXIV.

MEMORIALS AT BOZRAH.

“I’m footsore and very weary,
But I travel to meet a Friend;
The way is long and dreary,
But I know it soon must end.
He is traveling swiftly as whirlwinds,
And though I creep slowly on,
We are drawing nearer and nearer,
And the journey is almost done.
I know He will not fail me,
So I count every hour a chime,
Every throb of my heart’s beating
That tells of the flight of TIME.
I will not fear at His coming,
Although I must meet Him alone,
He will look in my eyes so gently
And take my hand in His own.”


An uneventful year passed over the missioners, but it was followed
quickly by eventful times.

Two messages came, one after the other, and not far apart, to Jerusalem,
which moved all the Christian colony at the latter place, but especially
Cornelius and his consort. The first was from Father Adolphus and as
follows:

“Your parents, Sir Charleroy and Rizpah, have departed
Bozrah. They went out together, and their end was peace. They
compensated themselves for the needless miseries they had
wrought in their younger days by keeping out of all shadows
during their journey after their reconciliation by the tomb of
their children, even until sunset. I could not summon you, for
they passed away quickly, only a few days coming between their
goings.”

Shortly after the foregoing, came the other message, and that
accidentally, for the link between Jerusalem and Bozrah being broken
by death, there was none left in the Giant City to send after or for
comforting to the missioners. “Father Adolphus is dead.” That was the
report brought by chance to the Christians at Zion. Hundreds in Jerusalem
had heard of him, and hearing of his death sighed mildly. The missioners
were his mourners—really, solely.

Ere long Dorothea left Jerusalem of Syria for the New Jerusalem, and this
event not only brought sorrow but also perplexity. Miriamne realized
that she could not now continue in the house of her betrothed, simply as
his betrothed, even if it were possible for the household to continue,
the head being absent. Whither should she go, orphan and kinless as she
was? Love protested mightily against any thought of going far from her
affianced, and then she felt profound pity for the man who mourned and
felt a mother’s loss deeply, as did Cornelius. He entreated for a speedy
wedding, and she, seeing then no alternative, consented thereto; but
as she assumed love’s yoke, she believed that the ambition of her life
was frustrated. She was not disconsolate, neither was she tearless. She
thought she discerned the leadings of God and submitted promptly, making
it thenceforth her duty cheerfully to engage in the, to her, seemingly
commonplace works of a missionary pastor’s wife. Her husband was a “man
of the people,” and found acceptance with the lowly. He was wont to call
himself “a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” Said he anon
to his flock: “Like that mysterious man who flits across your sacred
histories am I! You of the Jews, self-elect, as God’s elect, though
disgrafted, would put me, intending to do so or not, by the unknown and
unheralded Melchisedec. You think me, without father, without mother,
beginning of days, or end of life, because you do not find my name in the
chronologies of your high families nor myself in the covenants of the
Hebrews. You Christians doubt my authority because no ghostly ordaining
hands have been laid upon my head. But I’m the child of a King, and a
towel, such as my Master wore as He ministered, is robing enough for me!”
Old people, women and children, gave the young man unquestioning love,
and thus was well indorsed the choiceness of his ministerings. Miriamne
beheld these manifestations with secret joy, for she knew that through
the one she loved she was, in part, expressing her own thoughts and
sympathies. Once wed, she was too honest, too tender-hearted, too noble
to be less than all that wifehood implied, and yet she felt at times
as if the ambitions and hopes of her life, nursed through many years,
had not been compassed. She tried to settle down and humbly do the work
of a missionary’s helpmate, and to overcome, through Divine grace, the
ambition to do seemingly grander things than she was doing. Sometimes,
smiling through tears, she would say to her husband as he sought to
satisfy her heart’s yearnings with mention of the good work they were
doing:

“Well, a man has come between me and the ‘grail.’ I’m following him, may
he follow it, and God guide both.”

After a time Cornelius and Miriamne made a pilgrimage to Bozrah, drawn
thither by a desire common to both to honor their loved ones departed.
They found the Giant City all pervaded by the spirit of the moribund
past. Even the Christian church, once a light, a joy and a promise of a
better day, had fallen into decline at Bozrah. The edifice had become
dilapidated, the congregation was depleted.

In name, Father Adolphus had a successor, younger, more learned, more
eloquent in his way, than the saintly man now sleeping. But the infidels,
the very ones who were wont to confess that they could not, if they
would, make headway against the old priest’s godly life, now laughed to
scorn the stately and scholarly arguments of the new leader. The converts
under the new regime were few, the common people did not from him hear
the word gladly; and the regular congregation was rent by schisms.

One chapel service sufficed both Miriamne and Cornelius. They found in it
nothing but cold formality and the memory of what had been, but was now
no more.

“Oh, Cornelius,” Miriamne cried, “reverently I say it, but is it not
strange that our faith edges its way over the world so slowly, with such
heralds?”

“Leastwise, you may say, you do not see your ‘Grail’ here, Miriamne?”

“Oh, now, I realize the worth of Von Gombard as I never did before.”

“Are you not sorrowed at his absence, Miriamne?”

“Sorrowed! Truly not; but unspeakably glad that he walks with the sons
of God; a very king, I know, amid the greatest. Oh, how sad I’d be to
see the poor, dear, tired old man with his overfull heart and trembling
limbs now going about in painful ministries here! God was twice good;
in leaving him so long, then in taking him. Ah, if there were more like
that old saint, those that there are would not need to tarry till their
twilight.”

“Shall we prolong our stay?”

“No! I’ve listened long enough to the lull of eternity here. Bozrah’s
past has taught me its all. I’m ready to go home.”

“Home! When, to-morrow?” ardently questioned Cornelius, anxious himself
to depart the Giant City.

“After to-morrow; the coming day, at my instance, the memorial of my
parents is to be set up.”

The following morning, just before sunrise, the husband and wife repaired
to the tomb of their loved ones, to witness, by pre-arrangement, the
unveiling of a memorial. It consisted of two figures carved from whitest
marble; a woman’s form with a face expressive of tenderness and beauty,
marked with deepest grief, but not with hopelessness. Across her lap
there lay the form of a young man, the rigors of death plainly marked
on his face and limbs. There was no mistaking the representation, and
Cornelius quickly exclaimed:

“I know the one that sits thus holding that crucified body! ’Tis real!
Impressive! Awful!”

“It is fitting, think you?”

“I’m too much moved to judge, perhaps; though I do wonder that you
have not had carved upon the pedestal the names of your dead, or some
explanation.”

“Names? What matter, to the stranger passing, who lie beneath the stone?
As for the meaning, let those who come and go question till it appear.”

“I’m the first questioner, Miriamne. The application?”

“Remember that my mother, in her almost solitary grief, held her dead
children for a time against her broken heart, but it was a heart filled
with a mother-love which never faltered. There is nothing in love
surpassing such on earth. Then at last, when her life work was done, her
cup full, my mother, as her final consolation, held to her heart the Son
whose death gives life, as yon Madonna holds the Christ.”

“I bow to Miriamne’s judgment; the creation is appropriate; Glorious
Madonna!”

“I have a hope that it may stand here in the Hauran an enduring sermon to



Online LibraryA. Stewart (Alexander Stewart) WalshMary: The Queen of the House of David and Mother of Jesus → online text (page 32 of 40)