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A DECEMBER VISION.

I SAW a mighty Spirit, traversing the world
without any rest or pause. It was
omnipresent, it was all-powerful, it had no
compunction, no pity, no relenting sense that any
appeal from any of the race of men could
reach. It was invisible to every creature
born upon the earth, save once to each. It
turned its shaded face on whatsoever living
thing, one time; and straight the end of that
thing was come. It passed through the forest,
and the vigorous tree it looked on shrunk
away; through the garden, and the leaves
perished and the flowers withered; through
the air, and the eagles flagged upon the wing
and dropped; through the sea, and the
monsters of the deep floated, great wrecks, upon
the waters. It met the eyes of lions in their
lairs, and they were dust; its shadow
darkened the faces of young children lying
asleep, and they awoke no more.

It had its work appointed; it inexorably
did what was appointed to it to do; and
neither sped nor slackened. Called to, it went
on unmoved, and did not come. Besought, by
some who felt that it was drawing near, to
change its course, it turned its shaded face
upon them, even while they cried, and they
were dumb. It passed into the midst of
palace chambers, where there were lights and
music, pictures, diamonds, gold and silver;
crossed the wrinkled and the grey, regardless
of them; looked into the eyes of a bright
bride; and vanished. It revealed itself to
the baby on the old crone's knee, and left the
old crone wailing by the fire. But, whether
the beholder of its face were, now a King, or
now a labourer, now a Queen, or now a
seamstress; let the hand it palsied, be on
the sceptre, or the plough, or yet too small
and nerveless to grasp anything: the Spirit
never paused in its appointed work, and,
sooner or later, turned its impartial face
on all.

I saw a Minister of State, sitting in his
Closet; and, round about him, rising from
the country which he governed, up to the
Eternal Heavens, was a low dull howl of
Ignorance. It was a wild, inexplicable
mutter, confused, but full of threatening,
and it made all hearers' hearts to quake
within them. But, few heard. In the single
city where this Minister of State was seated,
I saw Thirty Thousand children, hunted,
flogged, imprisoned, but not taughtwho
might have been nurtured by the wolf or
bear, so little of humanity had they, within
them or withoutall joining in this doleful
cry. And, ever among them, as among all
ranks and grades of mortals, in all parts of
the globe, the Spirit went; and ever by
thousands, in their brutish state, with all the
gifts of God perverted in their breasts or
trampled out, they died.

The Minister of State, whose heart was
pierced by even the little he could hear of
these terrible voices, day and night rising to
Heaven, went among the Priests and Teachers
of all denominations, and faintly said:

"Harken to this dreadful cry! What shall
we do to stay it?"

One body of respondents answered, "Teach
this!"

Another said, "Teach that!"

Another said, " Teach neither this nor that,
but t'other!"

Another quarrelled with all the three;
twenty others quarrelled with all the four,
and quarrelled no less bitterly among
themselves. The voices, not stayed by this, cried
out day and night; and still, among those
many thousands, as among all mankind, went
the Spirit who never rested from its labour;
and still, in brutish sort, they died.

Then, a whisper murmured to the Minister
of State:

"Correct this for thyself. Be bold! Silence
these voices, or virtuously lose thy power in
the attempt to do it. Thou cans't not sow a
grain of good seed in vain. Thou knowest it
well. Be bold, and do thy duty!"

The Minister shrugged his shoulders, and
replied, "It is a great wrongBUT IT WILL
LAST MY TIME." And so he put it from
him.

Then, the whisper went among the Priests
and Teachers, saying to each, "In thy soul
thou knowest it is a truth, O man, that there
are good things to be taught, on which all
men may agree. Teach those, and stay this
cry."

To which, each answered in like manner,
"It is a great wrongBUT IT WILL LAST MY
TIME." And so he put it from him.

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