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from thence reverting to the large amount of evil and of suffering, with which his profession brought him in such daily contact in the parish, a feeling of deep sorrow came over his mind. The difficulties with which poor human nature is beset, from its inherent selfishness, and, even among the most enlightened, its very partial and limited knowledge, oppressed and grieved him. “Would that I could do more !” thought he; “would that I knew more! But even if I did, what could I do with this dense cloud of moral darkness that is around. Oh, when will the light shine upon this chaos of sin and suffering !” As he was thus communing with himself, he felt a hand upon his shoulder, and turning round, he saw Mr. Marsden, the rector of the village.
“You are philosophizing, doctor, I am sure, by the expression of your face. Let me have the benefit of your musing thoughts, they are worth something, I know.”
“Worth nothing, my dear sir. They are burrs which you would scarcely thank me for shaking off upon you. I have been looking on the shady side of human nature, and grieving over the existence of evil, and almost murmur. ing at our condition.”
“It is written, my friend, 'two are better than one, for if one fall, he will lift up his fellow. Let me walk with you, I am not afraid of any burrs that cling to you. The sun is always in the heavens, you know, though the clouds in the valley intercept his light. And dark and difficult would be our path indeed, were there not a guiding Hand to lead us where, otherwise, we should never have courage to go. I was reading a passage the other day, I forget where, in which the writer compared our present condition to a piece of Gobelin tapestry, of which the wrong side only is presented to our view. It all looks like shreds, and ends, and confusion, but such a glorious pattern is working out on the other side! The workers themselves are oftentimes not allowed to see it. A master hand has drawn the plan, and with their eye on this, they go on, patiently trusting the issue to lis skill. Are we not workers too? and do we not know that a plan of inconceivable beauty has been drawn out for our guidance? Let us not, in the intensity of our ignorance, imagino we can improve upon it. We are on the wrong side of our work now, and shall be, perhaps, till we change these terrestrial for celestial bodies; but imagine what it will be to see the glorious work completed, and to know that we have been privileged to contribute to its beauty! Oh, my friend, these are spiritstirring thoughts ! ”
“They are, and may He who sent you to cross my path to-day, bless to both of us the lesson they impart. I believe it all, and am content to work on even in the dark; but my mind has a habit of questioning and cross-questioning itself, till at times it seems to give an uncertain answer. I shall call at the Rectory on my way home, if you will allow me, for you have opened up a train of thought which I would not willingly lose, and I must follow it out with you. At present my duties call me elsewhere, but I am all the better for the breath of mountain air which my spirit has inhaled from you."
They stopped at the gate of a pretty cottage-dwelling as the doctor said this, and the Rector pursued his walk down the lane to the hamlet, which was about a mile beyond.