It was the early dawn of a bright beautiful day, when, standing on the brow of a hill at one of the Himalayan summer resorts, the writer saw in the distance the white-capped peaks of earth's highest altitudes. Through the haze the snow was revealed as a mass of purity, a faint symbol of that which is spiritual and perfect. By and by the sun's rays cleared the atmosphere, unfolding to the sight the somberness of the valleys, intensifying to almost radiant brightness the heaven-kissing snowy heights and presenting a picture of splendor and chasteness without spot or blemish. It was a never-to-be-forgotten vision! Thought was lifted from nature to "nature's God," and entered upon a train of meditation which was at once instructive and inspiring.

But as heaven is not won by a single endeavor—only on the ascending scale of Christly striving to enter in—so it was necessary to learn that earthly visions at their best are imperfectly typical of divine purity and holiness. The peacefulness of the scene was marred by a contrast—a picture that also conveyed a lesson. From within a few yards' distance there came the sound of beating of drums, hissing noises, and other indications of violent agitation in a hovel of the most primitive and repulsive description. To the local resident this was a commonplace; to the visitor it impelled inquiry. The efforts thus signalized were designed to exorcise the devil, who as a constant source of trouble needed handling by a method which centuries of inherited belief had crystallized into a conviction, as the only effective means to achieve the desired end. All night the vigorous attack had continued; but the persistence of the satanic presence and power had shown no signs of weakening, and it was predicted that it would be necessary to fight on and on for hours until the victory was gained.

What a manifestation here of what Jesus called the "power of darkness," that dominion of sin under which mortal man is bowed down with woe! The mental atmosphere was murky and chilly. One was tempted to think that here was the most pronounced illustration of what the apostle described as "having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." The contrast was at first incredible by its very extremeness. To drop in a moment from the contemplation of one of nature's wonders clothed in its beautiful garb, serene and majestic,—and spiritually interpreted as it was by the Christian Scientist who saw it as figurative of the eternal beauty which pertains to the heavenly kingdom,—down to the Cimmerian darkness of a mentality into which no spiritual concept of the creator could ever have entered, and to which the sense of evil was more potent and ubiquitous than the power of good,—this stirred the heart to a sense of pungent sorrow on the one hand and deep thankfulness on the other.

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April 20, 1912

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