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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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fail of my intent if my words seem like railings at the sex
most tender, most burdened. Since we are treating of the weeds
of the mourners, let us question why it is that widowers more
frequently seek remarriage than do widows. The bereaved man
easily says: ‘Get me another wife.’ The bereaved woman more
frequently says: ‘Let me hurry on heavenward after my only and
ever beloved.’

“With the true woman marriage is a committal so utter that it
is difficult for her, generally, to make it more than once.
Again me thinks that marriage brings the graver, heavier loads
to women. Once experienced, there is need of a mighty love to
allure her to a second trial. The man rises by self-assertion,
and wedlock does not hinder him. With the woman wedlock means
self-denial; her name changes, her career is merged into that
of her consort; her body is given, literally, to the new beings
she bears. To woman marriage has no parallel, except death. Her
only possible compensation is love, and that she should receive
with measures knowing no stint. Oh, men, all fair to other men,
all merciful to the beasts that toil, all prudent in keeping in
motion, by day and by night, the water-wheels in your orange
and mulberry groves, be fair and merciful to your consorts.
Yea, and evermore water with love’s most grateful refreshments
the bearing vines whose tendrils intwine your hearts, whose
fruits enrich your homes. This is religion; what is less is
heresy, and he who deals unkindly, cruelly or niggardly with
his other self, can not face God. The prayers of such are
hindered and like unto a tree whose leaves are storm-stripped.
You know the race, by birth, comes forth in two sexes, of
equal numbers, a hint of God’s plan to have mankind live as
pairs; but the men are a constant majority. Why? I answer that,
notwithstanding the perils falling upon the sterner sex, by
exposure, by war, and all such things, the trials falling to
woman’s lot work the greater havoc, keeping her sex in huge
majority in the places of the dead. Now you praise me, because
I’ve told your women to be like the glorious Mary? Praise me
again for telling them, as I do this instant, to be like her in
choice of consorts. If they can not find Josephs to begin with,
God grant to make the men they have like the choice spouse who
fell to Mary’s lot!”

The Hospitaler paused for a moment; there was a wave of excitement, very
near to applause, running over the audience. The bride and the groom,
together with all the women present, by their faces expressed their
delight. The men who had exclaimed at the first, looked blank and kept
silent now.

Abruptly, as before, again the knight spoke:

“I’ll touch now another pertinent theme—_Mary under the shadows
of scandal!_ I’d exalt her as one having sounded the depths
of woman’s misery, and yet preserving her integrity. I know
that some here will think themselves offended, since it’s the
fashion so to think when listening to discourse such as I
now intend. Society, more prudish than sincere or wise, has
demanded that the burning, scarlet, social wrong be spoken of
only by scrupulous hint, half words and reserves, at least
among decent and happy folks. For once, as God’s accredited
ambassador, I’ll change all this, and by Purity’s earthly
throne, the marriage altar, denounce the crime of crimes, the
blasting curse of all mankind. Let him that’s conscious of his
own impurity mince words. I’ll not! Jehovah might have brought
forth the Christ without subjecting Nazareth’s Virgin to the
painful necessity of being doubted. It was as He decreed
and wisely ordered. The happening was not because Deity was
frustrated, but because He knew that she whose example was
to be woman’s inspiration, could be so more surely, if her
career took her along all lines of woman’s needs. There was
a time when almost all who knew Mary doubted her integrity;
a time when her name was banded about by the roués of her
native place; a time when even her betrothed was resolving
to renounce, if not to denounce her. First I’d speak of how
impurity is abhorred of God, and then of His wondrous effort to
allure those lost by it, as evinced in sending out after them
the two lambs—the Eternal Lamb and the lamb-like woman.

“To say that they whose trend is toward things unclean are
abhorred of God is to re-echo the edicts of nature and history.
They say whenever a sin is committed a devil is created to
avenge it. What legions avenge this sin which, most of all,
brutalizes man and turns all social relations into anarchy!
Ask your men of science. They will tell you that all the evils
flesh is heir to seem to get their seeds herein. Immortal
revenge haunts it! You know, how in the Christian’s holy book,
it is affirmed that many sicken and die because partaking
of the cup of the holy communion unworthily. Presumptuous
hypocrisy thus meets the wrath which paralyzed Uzzah and
Jeroboam. But the cup of the passion was love’s highest gift,
and the offense is not against the cup but against love in
its sublimest display. Therefore forever death is the penalty
that overhangs those who outrage this finest gem of angels and
mortals. Treason to love is suicidal as well as murderous! They
say that there is a demon whose touch causes hideous, coiling,
stinging serpents to grow from the bodies of those he touches.
I’ll tell you his name—Lasciviousness, and he works fatefully
wherever man abides. But the pure home is an invincible bulwark
against him, and hymen’s torch his blinding horror.”

There were some of the knight’s auditors, both men and women, who felt
it their duty, because of custom, to affect disapproval of the free
speaking they heard. Of these dissenters the women uttered no word, but
their eyes glared, and the color went and came in their cheeks. The
disapproving men exhibited faces as hard as marble, while their lips
mumbled incoherently.

The knight was not slow to perceive the rising storm, but he was
undaunted. He waxed more earnest and more eloquent; his words and theme
inflamed him.

One favorable to his faithfulness remarked to a comrade:

“The Hospitaler seems to grow taller, as if filled and enlarged by an
inspiration.”

His face shone as that of Moses when bearing the law, and some cowered
as if they heard coming toward them, from afar, the rumblings of Sinai.
Some white souls present wept, moved more by the truth in its beauty and
power than they could have been by any play on their emotions. It was an
hour of true oratory’s triumph; logic set on fire; a consecrated herald
grappling awful sin with the power of omnipotence.

Presently, after the thunder and lightning, came “the still, small
voice.” The man of God spoke with loving persuasiveness; he healed with
words, the woundings truth had made. Then he carried his audience with
him. Many bowed their heads to weep, as trees beaten by winds that
carried rain!

“We can all entreat fallen men as to most sins, why not as to
the chief sins? We speak to the fathers, brothers and sons
faithfully, pleadingly; why not to the women who are elect to
companion creation’s lords? Alas, the women have the greater
need of helpful admonition, when they fall, for revilings and
black despair fill up the cup of their remorse! You have heard
of the Feast of Lanterns among the Chinese? Those pagans, once
a year, go out with many-colored lights to symbolize Mercy
seeking lost daughters. Shall God’s choicest people fall behind
the pagan? Never, if true to the noble, tender, pure spirit
that emanates from God’s own ideal of womanhood. No, no! let
us vow with unwonted zeal, amid the lights, lessons and joys
of this hour, to be knights of new order; knights of the white
cross; sworn to denounce all impure practices on our own part,
and on the other hand to strive to allure the fallen to that
that is clean and white as the souls of the angels which do
excel! Let us go to those whom sin has made drunk, in their
despairing. Let us tell them that doubt castles are stormed!
Let us proclaim the seed of the woman the serpent’s destroyer!
Go, women to women, in woman’s name, remembering that pity in
the soul makes him or her that hath it successful suppliant
for all mercies at the throne on which forever the Interceding
Son of the Virgin reigns! Go, fathers, making your fatherhood
godlike in its just tenderness! Go, brothers, sons of women,
as pure, strong brothers indeed! There is many a scarlet woman
to-day with scalded eyes and ashen heart who is so because she
believed men brothers and fathers and found some wolves and
vultures. Go to those who have all days as nights, all joys
as apples of Sodom. They were not always so, and need not so
continue. Do not belittle their sin, yet seek to allure them
by a noble presentment of purity and by all encouragement to
attempt to win back their lost crowns. Tell them of the woman
that stood serenely amid bitterest scorns, and say as did her
Son to one like them: ‘_Go, and sin no more._’ Then teach those
who have no such blot upon them to be kind and helpful. We can
never judge any soul’s guilt until we at last know the measure
of the temptation! God alone knows that.

“I could speak on this theme for hours; but this is enough! The
story of Mary has somehow ever had peculiar efficacy with the
blighted of her sex. They easily are led, when all men fail
them, to dare to trust the One who had a mother so tender.
Many a motherless outcast has found Christ in trying to find
mother-love in Mary. After the phantasmagoria of illusive
pleasure it is healing, through faith in God’s exemplified
love, to dream of how it seems to have a real mother’s arms
enfolding one. I hold that it is profitable to the impure
man, sometimes looking within the Pantheon of memory, to find
therein conceptions he treasured in his purer days; but with
more determined assertion I find that it lifts up the soiled
woman to come in contact with the girdle of power and crown
jewels of that maiden and mother of Nazareth and Bethlehem.
It was she that stood against imperial Rome, in the person of
Herod; a chaste young Jewess against corsleted animality; a
country maiden, heaven-endowed, against an old fox; the loyal
mother-eagle against the python! But she that was simply good
evaded, outran, soared above, and finally confounded the evil
at its lowest dip, its highest power!”

Then the orator-knight, waving his hand to Cornelius to signify to him
that the missioner was to conclude the ceremonial, abruptly closed his
address and retired to one of the little alcove-chapels.

A simple espousal service followed, and then the company gathered
dispersed, going to join in hastily-arranged festivities in the park by
the temple. The Hospitaler and the missioners were auditors.

“Nourahmal, I can well believe, was a rare beauty; her grand-child has
her features, and she’s a vision.”

“What time my friend here, the Hospitaler, did not engage me I was
admiring the groom,” Miriamne responded to her husband.

“He hails from the Jabbock country,” remarked the knight.

“Jabbock? Faithful Ichabod’s native place?” exclaimed Miriamne.

“He was the groom’s uncle,” quoth the knight.

Then the trio were silent, the thoughts of each following back over
the past years and along God’s providences. The way life’s lines were
crossed, interwoven and entangled seemed to each very wonderful.




CHAPTER XL.

THE QUEEN’S VISION OF THE “AGE OF GOLD AND FIRE.”

“Oh, moist eyes,
And hurrying lips and heaving heart!
The world we’ve come to late is swollen hard
With perishing generations and their sins;
The civilizer’s spade grinds horribly
On dead men’s bones, and can not turn up soil,
That’s otherwise than fetid. All successes
Prove partial failure....
... All governments, some wrong;
The rich men make the poor who curse the rich,
Who agonize together, rich and poor,
Under and over in the social spasm.
...
Who being man and human, can stand calmly by
And view these things, and never tease his soul
For some great cure.”—MRS. E. B. BROWNING: “_Aurora Leigh_.”

“They went up into an upper room,
With the woman and Mary the mother of Jesus.”

“Many signs and wonders were done.
All that believed had all things common.”—ACTS.


“I’m anxious for the coming of the people to-day; Beulah said, a week
ago, at her wedding, that she’d have the old Druse camel-driver at this
service; though he ran away from her marriage feast.”

“I’ve heard that she and her grandmother had a convert to our faith,
nearly ripe,” replied Cornelius to his wife.

At this instant one of the “Bethany Sisters” timidly approached the
speakers, evidently anxious to deliver some communication.

“’Tis ‘Brightness’ by name and by nature,” remarked Miriamne.

“Well, sister Ziha, what is it?” questioned the chaplain.

“Pardon me; but there is waiting without, a grave and taciturn man who
says he would speak with the ‘Prophetess.’ He means our Miriamne.”

“Of what flavor is he, Ziha?”

“Surely, I can not imagine, sister Miriamne! His countenance is that of a
Persian Jew; his turban is Turkish; his tunic Christian. But his bearing
is that of a prince, though all his belongings, except his gorgeously
dressed camel, are those of a beggar!”

“I’ll see him, Ziha; bid him enter,” exclaimed Miriamne.

“That I did; but he says his haste is too great and his limbs too stiff
for dismounting. In truth, his brow, bleached to the bone, tells of
weighty years.”

“Let’s go to him,” said the chaplain.

The missioners going forth, at the easterly side of their temple, were
confronted by a majestic figure, mounted on a splendidly caparisoned
white camel, evidently a borrowed one.

“_Ullah makum_,” “God be with you,” said the man on the camel with great
courtliness and dignity, at the same time extending to the chaplain a
parchment roll.

“This for me?” questioned the latter.

“For thee,” replied the rider, bowing as before, but looking past the
question with fixed, though reverent, gaze at Miriamne.

“But who are you?” again questions the chaplain.

“God knows,” was the sententious reply of the rider, his eyes still
turning, not with curiosity, but with a deferential and affectionate
interest, toward the chaplain’s wife.

“What message here, my father?” questioned again Cornelius, in the
language of Galilee.

The aged man’s dark face lightened at the words, and turning his reverent
gaze from Miriamne toward the questioner, he slowly responded:

“The ‘Angels of the Mount’ are not too proud to call a poor camel driver
‘my father?’ Age has respect here! I might have known this: Nourahmal is
full of the odors of this new Bethany!”

“And do you come from Nourahmal?” quickly interrogated Miriamne.

“Nourahmal and I are one, by the voice of God spoken through the holy
Hospitaler, who is alluring me daily from the secret faiths of my fathers
to learn the prayers that Nourahmal learns here.”

“I see,” continued Miriamne; “I speak with Nourahmal’s consort. Pray
dismount for refreshment. We bid you every welcome, Mahmood.”

“Mahmood! called by such fine people by my proper name; not ‘dog’ or
‘here you,’ or ‘old camel goad!’ Wonderful!”

“Will Nourahmal’s spouse dismount?”

“Blessed woman, I’ve had great refreshment in being thus permitted to see
thee face to face, and thank thee and thine for what thou hast done for
me and mine; but I can not tarry; old age and poverty have bargained to
make constant toil my master. I must keep moving or the swifter youths
will take away my master and leave me to hire out to starvation;” so
saying, the speaker smote his camel and the beast moved away, slowly,
along the road toward Jerusalem.

Cornelius, recovering himself from his meditations, called after the
departing Druse.

“What of this parchment?”

“The Hospitaler sent it! He said it would talk with ‘the Angels of the
Mount.’”

The camel driver had stopped his beast to say this much. For a moment
he looked at the missioners, then at their temple and its surroundings.
There was a world of questioning, and wonder, and yearning in the old
man’s countenance. Again his goad fell on the beast he rode and the
latter bore him along.

“Shall we meet again, father?” Cornelius called after him.

“Stay master work! Go master want! ’Till good shade Death takes to
the cool rest-land the holy Hospitaler, the Angels of the Mount, my
Nourahmal, and may be me; even me the poor, old, camel-driver, Mahmood!”
was the slow reply as the Druse departed. A turn in the road soon shut
him from view.

“Well, my spouse, Miriamne, our new Bethany sees strange visitants these
days,” remarked her husband.

“The mystic Druse is finding something that is finer than the creeds of
his mountain clans,” rejoined Miriamne.

“Be not too certain; those Highlanders of Palestine are ever politic;
they’ll quote the Koran to one of Islam, kiss the Bible in the company
of Christians; but once alone are Druse to the last.”

“That is their character; but we’ve a transforming gospel; no man as
old as he and companion of such advocates of the White Kingdom as the
Hospitaler and Nourahmal, could talk as did that old man to kill time or
conventionally.—But you do not study your parchment.” Cornelius, recalled
by Miriamne’s words, unfolded the document given him by the camel-driver,
and read aloud:

“My son and my daughter: Greeting; the streams of gospel
blessing rising in the springs of your mountain temple reach
refreshingly even unto Jerusalem, as I daily perceive.
Therefore, for your consolation and for the enkindling of your
pious zeal, I herewith send these lines. Work onward, beloved,
believing, hoping you have arrived at the dawn of a new
revelation and well commenced a true work for God. To-day, as I
sought to interpret His prophecies, it came to me that that you
are attempting to do is nigh to being a fulfillment of His word
as recorded in the manner following by Ezekiel:

“Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house,
and stood over the cherubim.

“And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in
my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every
one stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house; and the glory
of the God of Israel was over them above.

“The word of the Lord came unto me, saying:

“Thus saith the Lord God: I will assemble you out of the countries where
ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.

“And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the
detestable things thereof and all the abominations.

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within, and
I will take the stony heart.

“That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and they
shall be my people, and I will be their God.

“Then did the cherubim lift up their wings, and the glory of the God of
Israel was over them above.

“And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood
upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.

“These solemn words tell how the glory and favor of God was
driven from the people of old by their sinning; how slowly,
yearningly, God departed; how in every land He provide _little
sanctuaries_ for the faithful few. And more than all this,
the Holy Word describes God in Spirit as pausing on the mount
to the east of Jerusalem. That pausing place was your Olivet.
The Jewish Rabbins in their sacred histories affirm that for
three years God, in manifest form, tarried, near where your
Temple of Allegory stands, repeating over and over the solemn
call, ‘_Return unto me, and I will return unto you!_’ Beloved,
since then the eternal voice, through Jesus Christ, has spoken
through three ministering years from these mountains to the
world. You are now re-echoing the cry. God be with you, as He
is, and give you faith to call and call until the ascended
Christ come into all hearts.”

“No name to his letter, as usual?” remarked the chaplain.

“He seems to loathe names almost; but recently, when I made bold to ask
him his, he sententiously observed, ‘God knows; ’tis in a white stone,
I’m to get; for this life I’m only remembered by what I’ve done.’ But
what engages my husband’s attention now?”

“I’m trying to interpret the picture yonder, over the door, to the
retreat you call the ‘_Mother’s Pillow_.’”

“What think you of it? You perceive it’s the legend of the mother pelican
feeding her famishing young with blood drawn from her own bosom, which
she has wounded for their food.”

“I think the picture likely to depress nervous mothers!”

“That’s a picture of one side of mother life; look beyond it.”

At that the light from a distant window was let fall, by some unseen
attendant, all about the entrance to the “_Mother’s Pillow_!”

“I see a splendid ‘Gabriel’ above the pelican; the angel’s hand points
upward.”

“Glorious Gabriel! Angel of mothers and victories, by interpretation,
‘God’s champion!’ You’ve heard his titles, Cornelius?”

“I know that he bore victory to Gideon and lightened the way for Daniel’s
conquest of all Babylon; nor do I forget that he was the angel which
comforted giant Samson’s mother before her child was born.”

“Yea, he that made the sign of the cross, doing wondrously, above the
smoke of Monoah’s altar, was after commissioned to greet and guide Mary,
the mother of the Giant King of the new dispensation.”

“You’ve fine insights, Miriamne, but there’s incompleteness in your
symbolism here.”

“True, I feel that; all interpretation of motherhood is inadequate; but
look further.”

“I see the ‘Queen of Mothers!’ Why have you left her and the babe in such
deep shadows?”

“That’s this life’s reality; but look higher.”

The chaplain complied; a vine trellis was swung aside, and he beheld,
above the shadowed picture, in an arch reaching nearly to the roof of the
temple, another, the latter a marvel of light and color.

“Glorified Mary, uplifted by the babe, now grown and Kingly!” exclaimed
the chaplain.

“And so is taught for mothers’ comfort, that the Son of God honored her
who bore Him, because she was to Him a true mother. May we not believe
that this love for Mary, in the God heart, is widened into peculiar
tenderness toward all who give the earth its lords and paradise its elect
through the crucifixions of maternity?”

“Oh, Miriamne, I’ve learned in the past to stand, as it were, with bared
head, all reverential in the presence of true motherhood; when I see
it strengthened by faith, enriched by suffering; the most entrancing
example of self-abnegation on earth! To-day I feel, if possible, in these
surroundings, a deeper reverence than ever, for that estate of woman. Say
on.”

“Paganism worshiped the sun, the earth, woman; whatever brought forth;
it was its best attempt at expressing a vaguely realized yet noble
sentiment. The religions that repudiated paganism, in their efforts to
extirpate all idolatry, went to the extreme of denying merited honor to
some most worthy. Then came the Christian revolution, and God turned all
eyes toward a pure woman. He proclaimed forever the honors of motherhood
by presenting through it to the world His Unspeakable Gift.”

“So heaven’s last appeal to our race, after Sinai’s thunders and the rapt
visions of the prophets became ineffective, was made by the eloquence of



Online LibraryA. Stewart (Alexander Stewart) WalshMary: The Queen of the House of David and Mother of Jesus → online text (page 37 of 40)