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Night Brings Out The Stars

" Mother, where are the beautiful stars that we gazed upon last night? I have looked all over the clear blue sky, but cannot find a single one;" and the lovely child looked wistfully out of the open window, up into the broad expanse of heaven, till the dazzling sun almost blinded him; but no little stars came twinkling one by one, to greet his earnest gaze as they had done last evening. " Did you not tell me the stars were always in the sky?"

The mother drew the boy closer to her side, parted the golden locks and kissed his fair brow as she thought-fully replied,

"They are, my child, but 'tis night that brings out the stars."

A few months have passed, the mother o'er her child bends, wrapt in grief. An icy, but an unseen hand spreads chilly dew upon her darling's brow, glazes his sparkling eye, shuts forever his sight. Fondly, oh how fondly does the stricken one hold fast the tiny hand to her ashen lips. Sweetly she breathes his name; but ah ! how strange! he answers not. Ah ! a smile seraphic now plays upon his pallid lips, his glassy eye to heaven is raised, his lips move gently, quiveringly, but she cannot catch the sound. His eye is open to angelic vision, his ear to heavenly strains. Ethereal spirits are hovering near; he sees them, and longs to go. One gasp, and now the exile's fled, his spirit's gone to God who gave it. The mother cannot see it thus. A clod of icy clay lies stretched before her, but 'tis not her boy. Oh! here is mystery she cannot comprehend. They fold the delicate hands across the pulseless breast, the cold clods rattle on the little coffin, each one striking another pang to her heart. She returns to the hearth of home; but oh! 'tis so desolate, so lonely now! All is darkness throughout the world and in her soul; she sees no light beyond, no hope in the future, and naught on earth to cheer her now; and, in bitter anguish, she cries—" Oh! long, long days of weariness and woe, will ye never, never cease?" Her eye rests upon the Sacred Book; she reads the long-neglected page. The darkness disappears ; and up, through the Gates of Peace, she sees her angel boy all robed in wings of light and beckoning her to come. A new light has penetrated to the dark depth of her soul, which guides her, through this vale of woe, up to the realms of everlasting day. Ah! who will say it was not the long dark night of sorrow that brought the Star of Faith to that lone mother's heart !

Away, in a cold, dark room, where a ray of heaven's sunlight scarcely ever penetrated, a fair young girl was weeping for the beautiful home she had once so proudly called her own ; yet in this lone, dreary room she was obliged to live, toiling from the first dawn of day till long after the dusk of even. But here she thought strange thoughts and dreamed strange dreams, till they grew into poems, which stirred the hearts and brought tears to the eyes of thousands. Here, through long, weary days and nights she dug deep down into the mines of Thought, bringing up the precious gems so long hidden there, till an admiring world blessed her name and crowned her with the laurel wreath of Fame. Was it not the long dark night of poverty and want that brought that Star of Genius out, whose rays shall light thousands along the pathway of usefulness ?

Our world knew a long night of heathen darkness, when corruption, luxury and depravity were at their height; when the greater number of mankind were groping their way through mazy labyrinths, guided only by now and then a flickering beam, which only seemed to make the darkness more intense; when schools of virtue had degenerated into schools of vice; when pagan idolatry had entered the halls of science, shrouded the palaces of kings, and thrown its dark pall over a benighted world. Amid this chaos of darkness a few faint and flickering beams of light emerged from behind the distant horizon; then the star of Christianity shone forth in all its splendor, shedding a halo of golden light over a benighted world. The greatest and the lowliest were cheered by it. John saw it in the wilderness. The shepherds of Bethlehem beheld it as they watched their flocks on the distant hills, and hailed the cheering light that foretold its coming. Though at times since it has been partially obscured by clouds and mist, it has shone on through all ages, beaming on some with a never-wavering light: and may it steadily continue to glow with a more intense beauty, till every nation and every tongue shall confess that it is a star of the brightest luster, and the only one, which alone can guide to perfect bliss.

Night has brought out other stars, among whom I would mention the Christian martyrs, our Pilgrim Fathers, John Bunyan, William Tell, and our own beloved Washington. Nor would I neglect to mention here the pious Luther. It was during the dark night of Popish persecution that shrouded the whole Eastern continent that he appeared. This bold reformer, beneath whose sway kings trembled and empires shook; he who, true to his mission, boldly unraveled the sophistry of the Roman Church, revealing to an astonished world its corruption and depravity, and stood boldly up for truth and right, despite the persecution which assailed him on every side —he, we repeat, may well be numbered among the bright stars that night has revealed.

During America's recent night, the dark night of the late Rebellion, which the golden beams of morning have yet but scarcely dispelled, appeared many stars of the first magnitude the names of these I need not mention; they are familiar to us all as household words; and the enlivening light which shines forth from their souls will diffuse itself throughout the world, shedding a brighter luster over every Christian nation, which will last as long as man shall exist. But high over all the stars that this night has brought out, appears the star of Freedom. O'er mountain, stream and sea, its glorious light shall beam till every land and every nation catch its rays, revere and bless the star that guides them on to higher life and nobler deeds.

And, now, another star breaks up the sky; and, though its light beams faintly, glimmeringly, at times, 'tis a star for which the world is anxiously looking, and one which it will hail with acclamations of joy. 'Tis the Star of Temperance a star which the wisest and the best foretell; for through the telescope of years they see it, beaming forth one of the brightest stars that has ever shone upon our earth. They see it beside its gentle sister star, Christianity, their golden rays blending together, crumbling down the prison walls, penetrating the dark halls of vice and crime, guiding the inmates to homes of purity and peace, on to that better world where it needs no night to bring out the stars.

( Originally Published 1887 )

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