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Things Material And Spiritual

From: Doctor Jones' Picnic

The wind continued all night as last noted, and Silver Cloud, without a
tremor or swaying motion of any kind, was scurrying across the barren
wastes of the Arctics at marvelous speed. At noon upon the second day
from the Pole, Professor Gray took an observation, and announced that
they then were at latitude 68 deg., 20 min., longitude 120 deg. 16 min.,
West Greenwich.

"We are about crossing the Arctic circle. We are just above the barren
grounds north of Great Bear Lake," said the Professor. "Shortly after
breakfast to-morrow morning we will cross the northern boundary of the
United States at our present speed."

"What great body of water is that I see ahead?" asked Denison a little

"That is Great Bear Lake," replied Professor Gray. "See how the
vegetation begins to show up."

The weather was superb, and the lake lay calm and smooth beneath them as
a mirror. While they were tearing through the skies at express train
speed, their elevation being a little over 3,000 feet, they could
plainly see through their glasses that small birch trees and evergreens
upon the banks were nearly motionless.

"Now you see an illustration of my theory," cried the delighted Doctor.
"Here are we in a gale; below, scarcely a breath of air is stirring. It
did not work in Russia, and we were obliged to anchor. But I shall
regard that as a providential affair and shall stick to my theory. I
would not for anything have failed to plant the good seed which we left
there. Great good will come of it, and it may be the commencement of a
general recognition throughout all Europe of God's great law of cure. If
so, I shall count that as of infinitely greater importance than the
location of the North Pole."

The wind veered to the northwest toward evening, and a consultation of
the map showed that they were heading precisely as they wished to. On
the following morning, they crossed what the Professor informed them was
the Lake of the Woods.

"Before noon we shall be well into Northern Minnesota. We are peculiarly
favored upon this trip. It is very doubtful whether we would encounter
so many favorable gales in any number of future trips."

"We are not home yet, Professor, and we may have an opportunity to test
the Doctor's theory as to air currents," said Will.

Soon after breakfast a further change in the wind occurred, and they
found themselves going due east. They watched through their glasses the
foliage below, but could see no difference in the direction of the lower
atmospheric stratum.

"We will go as we look for a time," said the Doctor.

"What do I see yonder!" cried Denison. "A train of passenger cars, sure
as you live! That must be the Canadian Pacific."

"It is," replied Professor Gray. "And away to the south, you see Lake
Superior. We are passing along its northern coast."

"Don't those little settlements look beautiful!" said Mrs. Jones. "See
the little white church yonder with its tiny spire! It just seems to me
as if I should like to stop and attend service in that pretty little

"See the people rushing out to look at us!" observed Dr. Jones. "Suppose
we lower to within a few hundred feet of them, and give them a good
sight at the ship."

Accordingly Silver Cloud settled rapidly as it neared the little town.
They crossed the village at a height of about 500 feet. They could see
that the people were terribly frightened. Some were lying upon the
ground as if dead; others were upon their knees with their hands
stretched toward the globe that glistened like a star in the sunlight.
Many were rushing screaming into their houses. A few could be seen
fleeing from town, afoot or horseback, at the top of their speed.

"Don't be alarmed, good people," shouted Dr. Jones. "We are only
aeronauts who have been to the North Pole. Good-bye!"

"I won't do that again," said he. "Some of those people may die from the
effects of this fright. But here we are again for home."

Silver Cloud had again mounted skyward and encountered a splendid breeze
from the north. A few moments later the blue, crystal waters of Lake
Superior were undulating beneath them.

"Just see the shipping!" ejaculated Denison. "I sailed to the upper end
of this great lake to Duluth, twenty-five years ago. Then but few
steamers came up so far, and not many sailing vessels except those in
the iron and copper trade. Now see them in every direction! I am
astonished at the amount of traffic on these lakes."

Only those who have been away from their native land, and especially if
their travels have extended over the barren wastes of the extreme north,
can fully appreciate the immortal Scott:

"Breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said;
'This is my own, my native land!'"

They traveled so rapidly over Upper Michigan that by evening they were
across the strait of Mackinaw. Then the wind lulled to a ten-mile breeze
and veered a point or two easterly. The great pine forests below were a
cheerful contrast to the illimitable fields of ice and snow and
uncultivable lands which they had so lately traversed. The farms and
villages grew thicker every hour and their twinkling lights were
pleasant sights to the voyagers as the night came on.

After dinner, all being tired from a long day of sightseeing, they
gathered in the little smoking-room for their usual evening chat. For
some reason, this time the conversation took a turn not unusual among
creatures who have to do with two worlds, the spiritual and material.

"I would like to ask you, Dr. Jones," said the Professor, "if you ever
encountered, or had any experience with what you were positive was

"I have," answered the Doctor.

"Well, Doctor, I confess that I never saw or heard anything in my life
that could not be explained upon natural principles. It is not that I am
especially skeptical, but my life has been spent in the study of things
material, and the laws that govern them. So it may be that I have not
been in a state of mind to apprehend spiritual phenomena, as I might
otherwise have done. However that may be, I am very desirous of hearing
a relation of your experiences on that line."

"There is nothing, Professor Gray," replied Dr. Jones, "that I am more
positive of than that we are constantly surrounded by, and in actual
contact with, spiritual forces. And further, that if we were but in a
receptive condition, or were in the attitude toward God that we should
be, we might, like Elisha's servant, see the hosts of the Lord camping
upon the hills round about us. But my individual belief would be of no
value if not based upon experience.

"The first thing I ever saw that I recognized as purely spiritual in its
character was at the deathbed of a four year old boy. I was myself at
this time but twelve years old, but I received an impression that I can
never forget. I was standing at the foot of his little bed, his father
and mother and three or four brothers and sisters were ranged along the
sides and by his head. He was gasping in the last struggle with the grim
monster, when he suddenly threw his hands toward the ceiling and cried
out in a clear, strong voice, 'O papa! see there!' His little face that
had been so distorted with suffering lightened up with the glory of the
better world. His arms gradually sank to his side, and he was dead. But
that heavenly smile remained upon his face long after death. One may
explain away this glory-burst through the eyes of a dying child, calling
it hallucination of a fevered or diseased brain if they will, but to me
it was a revelation of spirit land.

"A few years ago I was permitted again to get a glimpse of the pearly
gates, and this time it was the hand of a sweet little girl who lifted
aside the veil for her sorrowing friends and myself. She was in the last
extremity with diphtheritic croup. Her face was bloated and blue-black
with suffocation. Her eyes were nearly bursting from their sockets,
glassy and staring; and her face, always so sweet and beautiful, was now
distorted so that her mother could not endure the sight, and cried in
her agony, 'My God! is this my little Bertha? I cannot believe it!'
Bertha, in her expiring effort for breath, had raised upon her knees in
bed, when suddenly, as in the other case, she raised her hands, her face
illumined with the 'light that is not seen upon sea or land,' and she
said in a strong, clear whisper--for her vocal cords were so involved in
the diphtheritic membranes that her voice was gone completely--'O mamma!
I see Jesus!' The ecstasy lasted a moment or so, and then I laid her
back upon the pillow--dead! Here again is an opportunity for the
agnostic to cavil and reject such evidence. But of one thing you may be
sure: If he derives as much pleasure from his unbelief as I do in
believing, then he is a very happy man.

"And now I will relate what to me was still more startling and wonderful
on the line of spiritual evidence or experience. I practiced medicine a
few years in the Sierra Mountains, California. I was called one
afternoon to see a patient in a mining camp some twelve or fifteen miles
away. I rode a faithful, sure-footed little mare, and chose a short cut
over a dangerous mountain trail. I had a deep canyon to cross, and was
coming down into it on my return, when night set in. It became so dark
that I could not see the trail, but fully trusted my little mare. I
dropped the reins upon her neck and let her choose her own way and gait.
We were on the most dangerous part of the trail, where it was not more
than twelve or fifteen inches wide, and upon my left hand was a black
chasm, some fifty or seventy-five feet deep. I was singing a hymn as
unconcernedly as I ever did in my life, when suddenly something said to
me, 'Get off that horse!' I did not stop to reason or ask questions, but
promptly threw myself off on the right side and stood a moment by the
animal, not knowing what the meaning could be. It was not an audible
voice that had spoken to me, yet it was none the less distinct and
unmistakable. I stood two or three minutes thus, waiting for further
developments. Then I stepped down in front of Mollie--as I called the
mare--into the trail, and started to lead her. I did not dare to get
into the saddle again, though I could not imagine what was coming next.
I had not proceeded ten feet, when I came to an exceedingly steep pitch
in the trail. I had gone down this pitch but a few feet when something
held me and I could go no farther. I nearly fell over the obstruction
which I felt holding my legs. I reached down and found a heavy wire
drawn very tightly across the trail, just above my knees. You will never
know the feelings I experienced at that moment. I saw in an instant that
my Heavenly Father had interposed and saved me from a violent death."

"What was that wire, and how came it there?" asked Fred.

"It was a telegraph wire. The pole on the opposite side of the canyon had
been washed from its footing, and was hanging by its full weight from
the wire, thus drawing it very taut across the trail."

"Could not this warning which you received be accounted for from a
psychological standpoint?" asked Professor Gray.

"I will answer your question by asking another: If we reject the
spiritual side of man's nature, then we have nothing left of him but the
material. Now I ask you as a physicist, what is there in the laws
governing matter that could in any degree account for the phenomenon
that I have just related?"

"Nothing," answered the Professor.

"That is right, Professor. And I prefer to recognize the hand of God in
this, and to believe that He exercises a special care over his children;
that not a hair falls from the head of one of his believing children
without the Father's notice. It is so much better to simply trust and
believe. Nothing is so detestable as the spirit of skepticism abroad in
the land to-day. The ministry itself is more or less permeated and
honeycombed with the abominations called 'Higher Criticism,'
'Evolution,' etc. They would have us believe that the Bible is filled
with interpolations, and that wicked men and devils, careless
translators or copyists have been allowed to destroy to a very great
extent the validity of that book. Now I simply take this stand: God has
created you and me, and has endowed us each with an immortal principle
which we call soul. He has placed us in this probationary state and has
set before us two ways: The straight and narrow way that leads to
Eternal Life, and the broad way that leads to Eternal Death. In order
that we may know His will and so be able to fulfill the conditions of
salvation, He has given us the Holy Bible. He is responsible for the
validity of that book, and we may defy all the smart Alecks and devils
in the universe to invalidate a single essential word of it. The gist of
the whole matter reduces to a simple syllogism.

"The major proposition is: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou
shalt be saved.

"The minor proposition: I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

"The conclusion: Therefore I am saved.

"This is my faith, and He is able to keep that which I have committed
unto Him, Bible and all, till that day. I have given you several
experiences that are not to be lightly explained away, nor scoffed aside
by skepticism. I could relate you another still more wonderful
experience, one on a par with Saul's conversion as he went to Damascus
to kill the saints. I refer to my own conversion. But I think that you
have had enough for once."

"Let me ask one question further, Doctor," said the Professor. "As we
have disposed of the psychological hypothesis in explanation of the
source of the impression that you received upon the trail, and which
without doubt saved your life, we must accept the spiritual. I wish to
ask, then, if it might not have been the spirit of a departed friend who
thus warned you?"

"No, sir!" replied the Doctor with great emphasis. "Departed spirits
have no such functions. On the other hand, we are told that 'He giveth
His angels charge concerning thee to keep thee in all thy ways. They
shall bear thee up in their hands lest at any time thou dash thy foot
against a stone.' And again: The angel of the Lord encampeth round about
them that fear Him, and delivereth them. Also: Are they not ministering
spirits sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation?
It means infinitely much to be the child of a King. Angels to bear us up
in their hands and to minister unto us if we will but comply with the
terms. So there is no need of spooks, wraiths, and ghosts of departed
men in our lives. God gives us all the light necessary. He lighteth
every man that cometh into the world."

"Well, Doctor, there is still another difficulty that I think you have
not met or settled. I have acquaintances that I know are sincere in
their belief that they receive communications from departed friends.
They are people who do not accept the Christian faith, and you have
established the fact, from a biblical standpoint, that He giveth his
angels charge over those who are Christians, or heirs of salvation. If,
then, the spiritualist receives communications from the spirit world,
and they come neither through angels nor departed friends, from whom do
they come?"

"The Devil!"


"The Devil, or one of his legions of imps."

"Excuse me, Doctor, but how is one to know whether his communications be
from a good or evil spirit? How, for instance, do you know whether your
communication which warned you of the wire across the trail was from an
angel or devil?"

"That question is not worthy of you, Professor Gray. In all the history
of this poor, sin-cursed world, the Devil never did one kind act to a
human being. He never wiped away a tear of sorrow, or mitigated a
heartache or pain, nor ever will. Jesus settled that matter when the
Jews accused Him of casting out devils through the prince of devils,
Beelzebub. If Satan be divided against Satan, his kingdom cannot stand.
When Satan warns one servant of God of danger, and saves him from death
his kingdom will fall. But say, let's to bed. We must be out by daylight
in the morning."

Next: Familiar Scenes And Faces

Previous: Battle Of Missionary Ridge And Lookout Mountain

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