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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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of nobility is noble character; this is the time to be marked by an
universal recognition of universal brotherhood in a kingdom where there
is neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free, male nor female. A kingdom
where righteousness, impartial justice, liberty, equality, purity and
humanity are to be the regnant potencies. In this kingdom, how fittingly,
Christ stands as the king and ideal of man, and how fittingly his mother
supplements his sway by being presented herself to all womankind as a
queenly ideal. Let him or her dispute her title, who can surely say
the earth, in this redemption period, needs no such sublime epitome of
womanly virtue and worthfulness.

“My words are ended for to-day, assembled men and women. Some of these
things spoken may seem like deep sayings, but I leave them to find their
lodgment in your hearts and minds. I trust them, knowing that Truth has a
sword which cuts her way, each sweep of that sword making light.”




CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE “LIGHT OF THE HAREM” IN “THE TEMPLE OF ALLEGORY.”

“Would I had fallen upon those happier days,
And those Arcadian scenes....
Vain wish! Those days were never! airy dreams
Sat for the picture, and the poet’s hand
Imposed a gay delirium for a truth.
Grant it; I still must envy them an age
That favored such a dream; in days like these
Impossible when virtue is so scarce,
That to suppose a scene where she presides
Is tramontane, and stumbles all belief.”—YOUNG.

“The glory of the Lord came from the way of the east, ... and
the earth shined with His glory. Thou son of man show the house
to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their
iniquities, and let them measure the pattern.”—EZEKIEL, xliii.


“My Cornelius once said I might expend the fortune coming from my
grandfather, Harrimai, as I chose.”

“Why, that’s so without my saying. I did not court your grandfather, nor
his ownings, and have gotten affluence beyond the wildest dreams of a
lover in Miriamne’s self.”

“I think the old church on the hill is smiling day by day, more and more.”

“I’ve noted the improvement, and it assures me our hearers are growing.
A meanly kept sanctuary, witnesses of starved worshipers. Some churches
might be called stables for all-devouring, nothing-giving, lean kine.”

“I’d like to be brought to confession; question me!”

“Question? I can not doubt either Miriamne or her doings; to question,
one must doubt.”

“Sir Courtly! But I’ll flank your courtesy; I’ve purchased and furbished
up the old ecclesiastical pile.”

“I might have guessed it was Miriamne’s work! Now, good Bishop of
Bethany, appoint me Rector.”

“Churchman forever! We’ll have no Rector.”

“No Rector? No sermons? No congregation?”

“We’ll have a multitude, if we can get into the place the God-shine; that
brightens and draws ever.”

“Allurement by light! A new device. Are we to have a tryst where
lotus-dreamers may take sun-baths?”

“Curiosity, too proud to question directly, travels around with
banterings.”

“Incisive Miriamne, my ægis, thin as paper, is shredded: I confess!”

“Confession compels pardon and counsel. I’ll give both. The restored
sanctuary is to be the capitol of our fraternity, the ‘_Sisters of
Bethany_.’”

“Capitol? Are you inviting the Sultan to take your homes and your heads?
A capitol sounds like politics, revolution and things governmental.”

“There is to be war and a revolution; our munitions are to be solely
moral agencies; our aim, to revolve the world around toward Paradisiacal
days. I’d have parting streams flow out from Bethany to water the
earth, and sing anew the jubilant strains of Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and
Euphrates.”

“Arcadia! Alas, how sad such dreams, because so impossible to realize.
The Arcadians, so charming in the poet’s pictures, were, in fact, very
warlike, very loutish, very human.”

“Say not that what has been must always be. Moses, at a time when Israel
was at its lowest dip, received of God a pattern of the Tabernacle. The
God of Moses is unchangeable. I’ve gotten from Him a pattern, also.”

“And now I question, as you wish!”

“The old sanctuary is to be a ‘_Temple of Allegory_.’ We shall attempt
therein to picture the finest truths by symbols that shall make them
tangible and irresistible.”

“A splendid ambition! Possess me of your intricacies of canon and
catechism. I’d accept them.”

“You overlook our simplicity by expecting complexity. We shall not walk
like ghosts, hampered by the grave-clothes of the dead, though august
forms. Seven words, enough for each day of the round week, are our whole
profession: ‘_Humanity toward humanity, with godliness toward God._’”

As they conversed, they walked toward the old sanctuary at the suburbs of
Bethany, and now were drawing near it.

“Behold, Miriamne, the Hospitaler; yonder.”

“Yes, I’ve called the knights hither; the Hospitaler will dedicate our
temple to-day.”

“But has he ecclesiastical authority so to do?”

“The same authority that these growing shrubs and vines have to make the
place beautiful. See, I’ve pierced the walls of the grim pile, wherever I
could, to make a window. The Hospitaler is to take them for a theme.”

“Windows for themes?”

“He is able; and understands by them that we’d have let into musty
beliefs floods of sweet light.”

“The knights are singing!”

“Yes, the Grail song, ‘_Faint though pursuing_;’ the dedication has
commenced.”

The words sung recited the grail quest; but its chorus, a simple one,
was much the same as that sung at the May-day festivities on a former
occasion. The people gathered, heartily joined in the chorus. When the
singing ceased, the Knight, in his usual abrupt manner, began addressing
the assembly:

“The beloved young missioners have undertaken, by means of
their handiwork here, to strikingly present the noblest truths,
and they have taken a step in the right direction. Love for the
pictorial, manifest especially in children, grows with growth;
those adult needing and seeking, as they grow, finer, grander
symbols. Our Divine Lord, who ‘_knew men_’ and ‘_knew_ what
was in man,’ did not rebuke, but rather utilized this taste
of man, by teaching the profoundest things of His Kingdom by
means of it. He came as close as close could be to the very
core of human life, as it was or to all time will be. While
He might have navigated Galilee in a palatial barge, borne
over be-flowered waves by perfumed breezes and golden wings,
with the aureoled spirits, ‘_who do excel in strength_,’ by
thousands, to escort Him, He chose rather to journey in an
all-winning humility, borrowing, as He had need, the old
boat of some poor Tiberian fisherman. He might have entered
Jerusalem, that last time, in an Elijah-like chariot, dazzling
the city with splendors surpassing those that the rapt John
beheld on Patmos; but the King of Glory, seeking to be the
King of all men, elected in that supreme moment to get near to
men by approaching the august courts of Herod and Caiphas, and
the commons as well, on an ass—an humble beast, and borrowed
at that. All this allegorized the condescension and sympathy
of Jehovah. The universe is full of patterns! The books of
Nature, Revelation, and Providence, having a common authority,
are constant in the use of pictured truth. Nature gives us the
dawning of light and the marshaling of order out of darkness
and chaos. There is the low earth, the high firmament, ripe
summer going down into the winding sheets of winter and up
to the resurrections of spring. Twig, flower, seed, forest;
insect that creeps, and bird that flies; the speck-life moved,
and the behemoth; the atom and the planet-system—waning and
growing, dying and living, from formlessness to beauty, from
time to eternity! Then take the inspired picture-history:
Eden’s fall, Egyptian captivity, the Red Sea passage, the
wilderness, the manna by the way, the rest by the Mount of the
Law, the entrance to the Promised Land. Lastly, the Incarnate
One, an eternal symbol, the realization and fulfillment of all
preceding. ‘Which things are an allegory,’ exclaimed Paul, with
a sweeping back-look. The three books present to the thoughtful
pictured banners innumerable, to wave him onward. This temple
is dedicated to the purpose of pointing to these pictures.
Fitly the ‘angels of the mount’ have determined to make
prominent the beautiful, patient, modest Mary, Mother of Jesus.
And to study her intelligently or profitably, it is necessary
to know her not only as an historical personage, but as one
in the cavalcade of symbolism unfolded by Sacred Writ and by
Nature. She passes by, herself every way unique, the exemplar
of God to those aspiring after gentle, devout girlhood,
pure and wise maiden-life, constant wifehood, and patient,
consecrated, and influential motherhood. Turn again to the
Divine Word, the beacon of the ages, the history of Providence,
the solver of life’s problems. It is made up of an entrancing
array of symbols, types, prophetic dramas, and gorgeously
constructed visions, constantly representing or dextrously
pointing, by countless trophies and allegories, to its Ideal
and Darling, Mary’s Son, _who ‘spoke as man never spake, yet
who without a parable spake nothing.’_ Though the literary ages
are strewn with long winrows of dead books, no work of man long
surviving the mutations of time, God’s picturesque handiwork,
the inspired volume, as potently molds the thoughts, charms
the affections and quickens the hopes of our race with its
tokens, types, idyls and illustration as it did when the earth
was younger by far than it is now. It is a living fountain,
not only giving, but retaining its immortality! It abides
because it masterfully deals with the things that pertain to
the wonderland of the soul. How necessary its methods is at
once apparent to any one who considers, discerningly, man as
a complex union of spirit and matter; wonderful forever, but
‘_very good_,’ since the All Holy, Great High Priest performed
the nuptial ceremony of that union. If there could be found a
being able to reason, as a man, who had not within himself this
unity, and who had never experienced its phenomena, such would
at once combat the possibility of its existence. Even those
so organized, and momentarily realizing the jointure of the
God-like spirit with the earthly body, the higher condescending
to and communing with the inferior, the inferior at times
over-persuading, dominating and utterly shipwrecking its great
spiritual co-partner, are compelled to admit the whole as being
a fact without parallel, alike inscrutable and bewildering. A
life-time of profoundest introspection can carry the greatest
mind, herein, only to the confines of new wonders. But the
interest in the study of the unwritten, unvoiced language of
symbolisms by which the wonderfully united twain, soul and
body, confer and commune with each other deepens with the
study. What a fine, expressive, rapid, exact, exalted language
that must be! To each well understood; without their arcana
unknown, unheard, incomprehensible. And it is of necessity
all symbol, natural, intuitive, without a single arbitrary
sign! This sign-language acts by _symbol_ in the royal temple
of memory and imagination. And so again we perceive the
representative, picturesque or typical is the medium of the
fine, the deep and the lofty in expressing truth. This is the
soul’s language, by which it communes with whatever else there
is in man, through which it receives the songs of Heaven,
and the august or tender messages of the Spirit, out of the
deathless land.

“When this sphere of ours was rolling swiftly onward through
the shadows of night, as well as swiftly downward through
darker shadows of sin, Divine love said ‘Let there be light.’
Then the hosts of heaven saw at Bethlehem a mother and babe
marking the place of world-dawn, unfolding the design of
Deity to effect redemption by touching the race of man at
infancy; the most effective because the most plastic point;
through motherhood the most influential because the tenderest
instrumentality. The never-to-be-forgotten spectacle thrilled,
with a new ecstasy, the beings of glory whose every throb
of life is joy. They tracked the heavens about with light as
they sped out to keep abreast the fleeing earth and shout over
Bethlehem, ‘Glad tidings! Glad tidings!’ They saw Eden restored
through the advent of a new, pure home; they saw a mystic
covenant between God and man typified in the child begotten of
a human mother in conjunction with the Eternal Father. By this
there seemed to be an attesting that humanity was to be raised
to Divine favor; there also was a symbol showing the value of
law; for through the incarnation, Deity, in the form of a babe,
became submissive to law administered by a mortal mother.

“He is blind who can not see in all these things God’s purpose
to elect some of His creatures to be His co-laborers in the
choicest co-operations, and also to be exemplars of what He
does and would do. These things being so, we do well to learn
the alphabet of His goodness from His elect heroes, heroines
and saints; and I proclaim to-day my innermost belief in Christ
as the argument, logic and fruit of God’s love; but, at the
same time, I praise, as one enravished, the character of her
who was God’s poem, God’s peroration! We now proclaim this
temple dedicated to the purposes of showing forth the things I
have spoken.”

The Hospitaler abruptly ceased his address, as he began it. There were
other services consisting of psalm-singing and prayers, and the service
was ended.

As the congregation dispersed, the young missioner, Cornelius, exclaimed:
“Miriamne, the Hospitaler has awakened me as from sleep by God’s truth.
Oh, the heavens are not as full of shining stars as God’s truth is full
of beauty! It seems strange that men like myself, and wiser, are so long
in bringing these things to their minds. You, my dear little mystic, are
my interpreter.

“It’s just as I told you, wife. We must go in pairs. In the Egyptian
mythologies, Osiris had his Isis, Amen-Ra his Maut, and Kneph his Sate.
Thank God I have my adolescent other self!”

“I, a woman, help you? My sex is honored by the praise. Are they worthy
of all they need? Is it madness to seek to gather all women having gifts
and needs into a helped and helping fraternity whose creed is a fine
example? If I help Cornelius, cannot a peerless one like Mary help all?”

“Pardon the thought, but one word haunts me—idolatry!”

“Impossible! We all need soul company, and have room within for such. We
must have an inner population of real heroines and heroes or be filled
with ghosts and myths. The empty soul, eaten up with self-worship, goes
mad; the myth-possessed becomes an idolater. If we harbor the God-like,
keeping the highest place for Deity, our inner selves will be no hideous
chambers of imagery, but a counterpart of heaven.”

“But some have fallen into putting Mary before Jesus, and so we’ve seen
the advent of Mariolatry.”

“But this only, and surely, here I know, no friend of the Divine Son
can dethrone Him by honoring her, aright; indeed, as He, Himself, did.
It was of Him she spoke when exclaiming: ‘_My soul doth rejoice in God
my Savior!_’ Can one truly honor Him and despise and ignore the woman
who gave Him human birth? Can one have His mind and forget her for whom
love was uppermost to Him in His supreme last hours? Can one honor her
aright, and yet dethrone the Son whom she enthroned? She bore Him, then
lived for Him. She honored herself in bearing Him, and was His mother,
His teacher and His disciple. He revered her, she worshiped Him. Awed by
His augustness, she was yet conscious of an ownership of His greatness;
believing in His divinity, she yet enjoyed the nearness to Him of a
mother.”

“I can not but believe that she is a queen, indeed, high among the
glorified who reign with God! I question again: Who ever did, or could,
become heretic or carnal by sincerely revering the peerless woman whom
Christ enthroned on His heart?”

“I know at least that the fathers at imperial and pagan Rome placed a
representation of Mary in their Pantheon when public policy made it an
imperative necessity to overthrow the influence of the lewd, fanciful and
ungodly ideals that had been set up therein,” responded Cornelius.

“The world is a Pantheon full of corrupt ideas. Let us raise high the
choice ones God has sent us—But see, yonder is the wife of a poor old
Druse camel-driver. She was once a sinner in the streets of Jerusalem.
Now she is a Sister of Bethany, allured to goodness by our Temple’s
allegories!”

“A woman that was a sinner, a scarlet woman?”

“Only such. No; all of that! One woman; a lost one? How little to man;
how much to God! Had nothing else been done, heaven would have been set
singing, as ever, over a sinner’s return. That’s reward enough for all
we’ve attempted.”

“Now I’m interested, indeed!”

“Well you may be, when you hear all. We’ve here one once a harem beauty,
who, having lost her power to fascinate, was committing her life to that
hag-cunning belonging to old women who supplement their decaying power by
wickedness, fox-like and serpentine.”

“The old, old story; yet I thank God if her life be sweetened.”

“Hers is a strange story.”

“May I know it?”

“Yes; it is, as I’ve gathered it in scraps, a sad romance. She was born
of Georgian parents, among the mountains of Armenia, and gifted, in her
youth, as are most of those of her sex in that country, with unusual
personal beauty. She early attracted the attention of the monsters
who dealt in human flesh, and a Georgian noble unrighteously claiming
her family as his serfs, bartered away Nourahmal to merchants seeking
recruits for Mameluke harems. She became, in time, part of the retinue of
a sheik by the name of Azrael, a desperate adventurer, who, on account
of his blood-deeds, was called by his followers the ‘Angel of Death,’
His luxurious and desperate way of living justified his claim to Turkish
extraction; his adroitness and avidity for intrigue stamped him as a
Mameluke.”

“Nourahmal? Azrael? Why, these must be the same of whom I’ve heard Sir
Charleroy speak?” queried Cornelius.

“The same!”

“She comes out of the past as one from the dead!”

“And her story is a series of strange events. It is as follows: Azrael
suspected her of having abetted the escape of my father and Ichabod,
therefore determined to kill her. She gained a temporary respite through
having saved her master’s life from an assassin plotting to supplant him;
though she periled her own in so doing.

“As Azrael awaited her recovery from the wounds she had suffered in
his behalf, he devised another scheme which he hoped would compass his
favorite’s destruction and his own elevation. He was ambitious to be
Sherif of Mecca. To attain that honor he saw he must needs do something
to enhance his popularity greatly with his Mohammedan followers, and so
conceived the plan of getting into his power, Harrimai of the Jews and
Adolphus of the Christians. His purpose was to rack those two leaders
into apostasy and the betrayal of their followers. Had he succeeded, the
event would have been crushing to Jews and Christians east of Jordan.
He promised Nourahmal her freedom and restoration to her Georgian home
if she aided him in his design; though he did not disclose his purpose
to her beyond that of securing the presence of Von Gombard and Harrimai
in his camp. She felt that there was some malign, hidden purpose in her
master’s breast, but deemed it expedient, at the outset, to seem to
co-operate in his plan.”

“But how was the sheik using his strategy against Nourahmal?”

“As a fiend! He, having no conception of a friendship between a man and
a woman that was pure and free from intrigue, suspected the relations
between his favorite and Ichabod. He thought the two only needed the
opportunity to precipitate into perfidy. He laid his plan darkly, and,
leaving a trusty follower to carry it out, hastened forward to Mecca.”

“But surely, Nourahmal was not what he thought her!”

“No; though training her as a plastic child, he judged she was what he
had tried to make her; at her worst she was. But let me continue. The
assault on my parents and Ichabod, on the road between Gerash and Bozrah,
was the opening of the drama. The plan then was to seize Rizpah, and
under pretense of negotiating for her ransom, inveigle Harrimai into the
hands of Azrael’s followers. Nourahmal was to aid in this by affecting
tears, pleading for pity and suggesting the sending for the girl’s
father.”

“What besetments perilous we pass through, all unknown to us! Harrimai
and your parents, to their death, never suspected the devices worked
against them!”

“Nor dreamed that a harem favorite, a mere girl, and an utter stranger to
them, was their good angel!”

“Good angel! How?”

“She witnessed the assault from behind a sequestering wall, in company
with a follower of the sheik, commissioned to kill her instantly if she
faltered in the part appointed her. This infernal guard was also charged
to insinuate into her mind the feasibility of elopement with Ichabod. If
she could be compromised, Azrael knew he could justify her death to those
who remembered her heroic defense of himself. That was to follow as soon
as she had done her part in inveigling Harrimai to Azrael’s camp.”

“A demonstration of a personal devil, Miriamne.”

“I’d say rather of an overruling God.”

“How fared Nourahmal after Azrael’s chagrin?”

“Cornelius anticipates me. When she saw Ichabod fall, a sudden desire
for liberty for herself and to help the imperiled Rizpah, prompted her
to drive a dagger into the heart of her guard and cry, ‘Rescuers come!’
That cry drove the remnants of the assailers of Sir Charleroy to sudden
flight. She asserted to the fugitives that Laconic, the new runner, just
passing, had slain her guard, and so allayed suspicion until opportunity
of escape came. She soon made her way to Bozrah, where she found among
the Christians a temporary home. From thence she drifted into Jerusalem.”

“’Twas strange she did not turn toward Gerash.”

“I said as much to her, but desire to get as far as possible from
Azrael, and as near as possible to the Holy City, of which Ichabod had
so glowingly spoken to her, determined her course; besides that, Ichabod
being dead, Gerash was a strange place to her—Jerusalem seemed to her,
she said, near heaven.”

“Had she only known it, she was near heaven in Bozrah, being near Von
Gombard.”

“Her story weaves a chaplet for his tomb to-day; for now it appears that
from Nourahmal the old priest foreknew the intention of those Saracens,
who assailed the city that day I was with him. Though they designed
capturing him to put him on the rack, he rushed into the conflict,
crying, ‘Kill the foe with kindness!’ The assault would have been fatal
to Bozrah, too, had not the leader of one of the invading bands ordered
a retreat, just at the point of victory. This was indirectly Nourahmal’s
work; for that leader had been won by her to esteem Christians far enough
to be unwilling to murder them, though not adverse to plundering them.
That was a great improvement in a Mohammedan.”

“And Nourahmal knows from you that you are Sir Charleroy’s daughter?”

“Yes, by that I won her confidence. Indeed, she began this confidence at
first, by saying, ‘I love you, because you so remind me, angel of the
mount, of a Christian knight, who was the dear friend of the only pure
and unselfish man I knew in all my youth! Such words led to questions



Online LibraryA. Stewart (Alexander Stewart) WalshMary: The Queen of the House of David and Mother of Jesus → online text (page 35 of 40)