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of their causes and effects-he may bring the past and the present into comparison with each other, and may hope for what has pleased him formerly, and try to avoid what formerly pained him, and he may dread what he has seen others suffer, especially death, which is a constant terror to all men who are spiritually blind. He may also have many reasons for trying to seem good-he may be afraid of getting an ill name, and he may also have some dark notion from what he has heard or read, that he will fare better after death if he is religious, and therefore, he may go to church and attend to some forms, and pass very fairly through the world; but still he is quite blind as to all the things which are open to those on whom the Holy Spirit has bestowed an eye able to discern the things of God.
"Now," added my father, "I will try to explain to you what those things are which the divinely enlightened are enabled to see ; and which are quite hidden from the eye of flesh. Those persons whose eyes are opened by the Divine power see the light of the love of God shining on themselves, and all the creatures he has made in this lower world. They see that light shining in the sun and in the softer beams of the moon, and in the thousands of stars which nightly rise and set above their heads. They see his love glistening in the flowing waters, and blazing in the golden clouds. They see it in the fields rich with corn; in the green pastures; in the many coloured cups and bells of every flower; and they see it also in the very afflictions and trials, which he uses to make the people he has created, stand still in the midst of their vain pursuits, that they may have leisure to listen to his secret teachings. They see more than these things which are going on on earth, my dear boy; for when their eyes are opened, they see what the natural eye cannot see, and the natural ear cannot hear. They see what God has prepared for those who love him. They have glimpses of the glories of another world-they see what the Saviour has done for them, and they behold him in his glorious beauty and divine loveliness, and often are enabled so to look upon him, that they only look forward to death as the hour of release, in which they shall behold his divine excellence face to face. And now, my son, I think that you will be able to answer your own question, and to tell yourself whether you are or are not in a state of spiritual blindness."
My answer seemed to please my father, though at the time, I could not tell why it did so. "Papa," I said, "I cannot tell whether I am or am not blind in that way, but I do wish that if I am so, Jesus Christ would open my eyes, for I wish that I could see God's love every where, and could think with delight on being with my Saviour after I die; and sometimes even, papa, I think that I do see something of God's love, and then I get blind again." 'Nay, my son," answered my father, "when the Divine Spirit has once given his light to any one, he never becomes blind again, for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Many an one has enjoyed the sense of seeing with his natural eyes, and has lost it again; but those who have received sight from the Holy Spirit can never become blind. But as we are now in a natural way in total darkness, without being blind, so they may be condemned to suffer spiritual darkness for a time through the pleasure of God, in order to keep them in dependance on himself, and to make them know whence their light comes."
This last remark, though I remember it so well upon reflection, was a little above me at the time. We walked on a short way in silence, and then I made my father acquainted with what I had been thinking of during that silence, by summing up my thoughts upon what had been said. "So then there are two sorts of blindness," I said, "one is natural and the other spiritual. We know what seeing naturally is: we should be very sorry to lose our sight; but we do not mind being spiritually blind, because we do not know how pleasant it is to see all those things which are only spiritually seen. But when we are going to die it will be no comfort to have seen only the beautiful things in this world, because we must lose them; and then it will be so delightful to look forward to the bright things of the other world, and to the glorious Saviour. Papa, I think then, if I was forced to chose one of these sorts of blindness, it would be best to choose to be naturally blind. Have I chosen rightly, papa?"
"Instead of answering you," said my father, "I will tell you a story which I have just remembered; it is not an invented one, but something which happened so many years ago that you were not then born. We have a mile more to walk, and this story will make it short, so keep my hand and I will tell it you."
My father then began his story. "In the province of Delhi,
which you know is in the East Indies," he said, "there once lived a faithful missionary, who was sent from England to do what he could to instruct the poor ignorant people, in the knowledge of the Christian religion. He began his work by establishing schools, and he had two on his premises-that is, among some tall trees in the garden. One was very small, and contained only a few boys, the children of ignorant native Christians: the other was a large one, the master was a Hindoo-a worshipper of idols-and the boys were either Hindoos or Mahometans. In the Christian school, the boys were taught to read and get by heart passages from every part of the Bible, but the Hindoo schoolmaster refused to let his children learn any part of the New Testament, though he made no objection to some books of the Old Testament; and with this, the good missionary was obliged to be contented. Sometime after he had set his schools to work, he was reading one evening in his verandah, when a very, very poor boy, came in at the gate led by a half-starved dog. The dog had a string fastened to his collar, and the boy held the string, for he was quite blind. The dog led his ragged little master up to the front of the verandah, and then stood still; by which the blind boy knew that there was somebody near, from whom he might beg. So the boy stopped and made some very low bows, almost to the ground. The missionary looked with pity at the sightless child; the boy was almost without clothes; he had nothing on, but a few rags, and a little skull-cap, and appeared to be half-starved."
What do you want?' said the missionary, kindly, 'why are you come here, my boy?'
"The boy put his hand to his stomach, and said, Boukha hyBoukha hy, Saheb—which means in the language of that country, hunger, I have; hunger I have, Sir.'
"The missionary was always thinking of contrivances for carrying on his work; and whilst he looked at the blind boy, a thought came into his head, but he was not yet prepared to tell it. He thought that he should like to have some little time to consider it first; so he asked the boy his name, and learned that it was Gopaul; to which, the child added, that he lived in a hut near the village of the black people, with his grandmother; and then, in Hindostanee-for he knew few words in any other language-—he repeated, that he had hunger; and that his grandmother had
hunger also always hunger. To try if he had the smallest ray of light, the missionary tossed him a piece of money called a doublepice, crying 'catch! catch !'
"The blind boy put out his hand when thus called upon, but could not catch the pice, and it fell rattling on the gravel. At the very same instant the dog took it up in his mouth and placed it in his master's hand. Go,' said the missionary, when he saw the poor boy had got the money; and buy yourself and your grandmother a supper.'
"The blind boy gave the gentleman many thanks, and went away quite glad; but after two days, he came again at the same hour, led by his dog. The servants would not let him come in again, so he sate down outside the gates, and there the missionary found him when he returned from a ride. In the mean time this Christian gentleman had made up his mind about what he had thought of, the day he first saw Gopaul, and he had also found out that the child had told him the truth about his living with his grandmother, and being half-starved. He therefore made his plan known to the boy, and told him how he might earn a double-pice every day.
"You must get washed,' he said, 'and have your hair cut, and I will give you a cap and clothes, and you must come every day, and listen to the big boys in my schools when they are learning their verses, and try to remember them. As soon as you have learned a verse, you must teach it to the lesser boys in the school who are not yet able to read.'
"Good, very good, Saheb,' cried the poor blind boy. Saheb is my father, a very good father to poor Gopaul;' and when the gentleman had given him another double-pice to buy a supper for that evening, he went away very, very glad.
"Every thing was done as the missionary had planned and proposed," continued my father. "The poor blind boy got himself washed and trimmed; and when he had got his clean clothes and his white skull-cap, he seemed to be quite another person. The missionary then took him to the schools, and told the masters that they must not prevent his sitting where he could hear what passed. He soon learned a few verses from the Bible, and in a short time earned his pice, by teaching what he learned, to the small boys in the schools, for he went sometimes to one school, and sometimes to the other. The missionary thought he learnt only just as a
parrot would do, for sometimes he would repeat a verse about our blessed Saviour, and sometimes a passage from the books of Moses, without seeming to understand any thing he repeated; but like most blind persons, his memory was very good, and he never forgot any thing he had once learned.
"Gopaul remained in his place learning and teaching his verses, -as the missionary thought, like a musical box, which always repeats its tune without variation, and has no mind to give to its work; yet still doing his work so truly, and making his little pupils so perfect, that his Saheb paid him his double-pice with the greatest pleasure, and as duly as the evening came. The boy was getting quite plump with his good suppers, and thus months went on, till the missionary was obliged to take a long journey. He left Gopaul under the particular charge of the Christian schoolmaster, with as many double-pice as would be needed if he did not return in two months.
"But before these two months were gone, he came back, and almost his first question when he went to look at his schools was, 'Where is Gopaul? I don't see my poor blind boy.'
"The Christian school-master only waited for this question to tell his story, and thus it ran:-No sooner was the good missionary gone, than the Hindoo schoolmaster came to abuse the Christian master with much improper language. The charge he brought against him was, that he was trying to make Gopaul a Christian. The boy, he asserted, had learned many evil words from the Book of the Evangile,' as he called the New Testament, and had taught them to the Hindoo children under his own care. The Christian schoolmaster had not, as he said, given one bad word in return for the evil he had to bear; he only said, that if the Holy Word of God had made a Christian of the little idolater, it was not his work, but the work of God.
"The next day, the Hindoo master brought Gopaul's grandmother to abuse the Christian schoolmaster, which she did with her whole heart and tongue. When she could not persuade him to give up the pice to the Hindoo master to pay her grandson, she drove the poor child before her out of the grounds, resolving in her rage rather to give up her comfortable suppers than to confess herself conquered, for when the Hindoos take up any thing, their obstinacy is such that they will sometimes die rather than give way.