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   Chapter 49 A COMMON MIRACLE.

Warlock o' Glenwarlock By George MacDonald Characters: 7001

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

Until he was laid up, Cosmo had all the winter, and especially after his old master was taken ill, gone often to see Mr. Simon. The good man was now beginning, chiefly from the effects of his complaint, to feel the approach of age; but he was cheerful and hopeful as ever, and more expectant. As soon as he was able Cosmo renewed his visits, but seldom stayed long with him, both because Mr. Simon could not bear much talking, and because he knew his father would be watching for his return.

One day it had rained before sunrise, and a soft spring wind had been blowing ever since, a soothing and persuading wind, that seemed to draw out the buds from the secret places of the dry twigs, and whisper to the roots of the rose-trees that their flowers would be wanted by and by. And now the sun was near the foot of the western slope, and there was a mellow, tearful look about earth and sky, when Grizzie, entering the room where Cosmo was reading to his father, as he sat in his easy chair by the fireside, told them she had just heard that Mr. Simon had had a bad night and was worse. The laird begged Cosmo to go at once and inquire after him.

The wind kept him company as he walked, flitting softly about him, like an attendant that needed more motion than his pace would afford, and seemed so full of thought and love, that, for the thousandth time, he wondered whether there could be anything but spirit, and what we call matter might not be merely the consequence of our human way of looking at the wrong side of the golden tissue. Then came the thought of the infinitude of our moods, of the hues and shades and endless kinds and varieties of feeling, especially in our dreams; and he said to himself "how rich God must be, since from him we come capable of such inconceivable differences of conscious life!"

"How poor and helpless," he said to himself, "how mere a pilgrim and a stranger in a world over which he has no rule, must he be who has not God all one with him! Not otherwise can his life be free save as moving in loveliest harmony with the will and life of the only Freedom-that which wills and we are!"

"How would it be," he thought again, "if things were to come and go as they pleased in my mind and brain? Would that not be madness? For is it not the essence of madness, that things thrust themselves upon one, and by very persistence of seeming, compel and absorb the attention, drowning faith and will in a false conviction? The soul that is empty, swept, and garnished, is the soul which adorns itself, where God is not, and where therefore other souls come and go as they please, drawn by the very selfhood, and make the man the slave of their suggestions. Oneness with the mighty All is at the one end of life; distraction, things going at a thousand foolish wills, at the other. God or chaos is the alternative; all thou hast, or no Christ!"

And as he walked thinking thus, the stream was by his side, tumbling out its music as it ran to find its eternity. And the wind blew on from the moist west, where the gold and purple had fallen together in a ruined heap over the tomb of the sun. And the stars came thinking out of the heavens, and the things of earth withdrew into the great nest of the dark. And so he found himself at the door of the cottage, where lay one of the heirs of all things, waiting to receive his inheritance.

But the news he heard was that the master was better; and the old woman showed him at once to his room, saying she knew h

e would be glad to see him. When he entered the study, in which, because of his long illness and need of air, Mr. Simon lay, the room seemed to grow radiant, filled with the smile that greeted him from the pillow. The sufferer held out his hand almost eagerly.

"Come, come!" he said; "I want to tell you something-a little experience I have just had-an event of my illness. Outwardly it is nothing, but to you it will not be nothing.-It was blowing a great wind last night."

"So my father tells me," answered Cosmo, "but for my part I slept too sound to hear it."

"It grew calm with the morning. As the light came the wind fell.

Indeed I think it lasted only about three hours altogether.

"I have of late been suffering a good deal with my breathing, and it has always been worst when the wind was high. Last night I lay awake in the middle of the night, very weary, and longing for the sleep which seemed as if it would never come. I thought of Sir Philip Sidney, how, as he lay dying, he was troubled, because, for all his praying, God would not let him sleep: it was not the want of the sleep that troubled him, but that God would not give it him; and I was trying hard to make myself strong to trust in God whatever came to me, sleep or waking weariness or slow death, when all at once up got the wind with a great roar, as if the prince of the power of the air were mocking at my prayers. And I thought with myself,'It is then the will of God that I shall neither sleep nor lie at peace this night!' and I said,'Thy will be done!' and laid myself out to be quiet, expecting, as on former occasions, my breathing would begin to grow thick and hard, and by and by I should have to struggle for every lungsful. So I lay waiting. But still as I waited, I kept breathing softly. No iron band ringed itself about my chest; no sand filled up the passages of my lungs!

"The cottage is not very tight, and I felt the wind blowing all about me as I lay. But instead of beginning to cough and wheeze, I began to breathe better than before. Soon I fell fast asleep, and when I woke I seemed a new man almost, so much better did I feel. It was a wind of God, and had been blowing all about me as I slept, renewing me! It was so strange, and so delightful! Where I dreaded evil, there had come good! So, perchance, it will be when the time which the flesh dreads is drawing nigh: we shall see the pale damps of the grave approaching, but they will never reach us; we shall hear ghastly winds issuing from the mouth of the tomb, but when they blow upon us they shall be sweet-the waving of the wings of the angels that sit in the antechamber of the hall of life, once the sepulchre of our Lord. And when we die, instead of finding we are dead, we shall have waked better!"

It was an experience that would have been nothing to most men beyond its relief, but to Peter Simon it was a word from the eternal heart, which, in every true and quiet mood, speaks into the hearts of men. When we cease listening to the cries of self-seeking and self-care, then the voice that was there all the time enters into our ears. It is the voice of the Father speaking to his child, never known for what it is until the child begins to obey it. To him who has not ears to hear God will not reveal himself: it would be to slay him with terror.

Cosmo sat a long time talking with his friend, for now there seemed no danger of hurting him, so much better was he. It was late therefore when he rose to return.

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