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the young enthusiast : but they were disappointed, and the disappointment overwhelmed him with despair. Listening only to the visionary fancies of his imagination, he believed himself called upon to undertake a pilgrimage over the mountains to the distant shrine of his patron saint, as an expiation for the involuntary sins which he had mentally committed, and an additional means of acquiring the holiness he had as yet failed to attain.

He went forth at the commencement of a severe winter on this perilous and dreary undertaking. His sandalled feet trod the rugged rocks; his iron-shod staff assisted him over dangerous precipices. Giacomo was still young and active, although indolence and a life of inactivity had cramped his bodily as well as mental powers. He journeyed on day after day, finding a lodging as he could, and meeting with hospitality wherever there was a human being to render it. A snowstorm came on when no refuge was in sight. Sheltered beneath a rock, Giacomo saw the rapidly whitening ground; a strange sense of dread crept to his heart; his way would be probably lost; on these bleak mountains he might meet bis death-sink from life unknown, unregretted, without honour or reward. Then came the thought, of what use had he been in the world? why should he be regretted ? wherefore should his memory be honoured ? what had he done? He had never thought before of asking that question; he had thought only of having it asked what he had been. A goodness known to himself, a holiness felt by himself, had been his aim, his study, his ambition ; why, then, should a solitary, unknown death on the mountain be distasteful ? If he had lived to himself, why did he shrink from dying to himself? Why did he care for a human tear ? why shrink from the idea that no void would be perceived in the whole extent of the creation he had left? These were ideas the young pilgrim repulsed as sinful, as temptations to a return of carnal feeling; but they pressed upon his soul the more as danger thickened around him, and they spoke to his conscience with the voice of truth.

The storm passed over, and he went on his way; but the path was lost. He wandered at random, and came, as daylight was waning, on one of those broad levels of pasture which are found among the Alps-not valleys, but pleasant plains, amid mountains, where shepherds pasture their flocks and build their châlets, or huts.

On this green plain stood one of those large, rough buildings, called, in the language of the country, the stables.

Giacomo applied for admittance; the door was opened, and a welcome awaited him. The spectacle he beheld surprised him. The interior presented a large long room, occupied by about twenty persons, each one of whom was busily engaged at work. Near to the blazing fire, over which a large pan was preparing the evening meal, sat the head of the household, a venerable old man, the great-grandfather of the little children, the young girls, and hardy youths, who were at work at different employments and at different places, while a group of young ones together were talking, laughing, or singing as they wove osier baskets, platted mats, knitted, or twirled the distaff. The great-grandmother was dead; her labours were over. Her son, the grandfather, was missing also ; but there was the grandmother and the father and mother, active, busy, and healthful; and the old great-grandsire, though his eyes were somewhat dim, was not idle.

At each extremity of the building, separated by a partition, were the cattle, sheep, cows, and goats; and among the occupants were the domestics who shared the labour of attending to them, and of making the cheese and butter, which formed the chief commerce and wealth of the family. In spring, all the products of their other winter labours were annually brought down from their Alpine retreat, and sold in the towns with which they trafficked.

The busy scene struck the young solitary with a kind of electric surprise. After the sight of the lonely image of his Virgin, after the stillness of his cavern, after the continued idleness of his hermit life, such an electrical shock was likely to be produced by a sudden entrance on a scene so animated amid the dreary solitudes of the

snowy Alps. Two rosy children, who were seated on the floor, peeling rushes to make the long thin candles dipped in resin, which aided the light of the blazing fire in the long, long nights of winter, raised up their wondering faces as the bare-footed stranger stood before them, his dreamy eyes wandering around, while his habits of abstraction and bodily forgetfulness caused him to neglect even to shake the heavy snow from his dress, as, on the repeated invitation of the old man, he advanced towards the hearth.

Giacomo soon explained what he was, where he had come from, and whither he was going. He expected to be regarded with veneration, to be looked upon as a being of superior sanctity, whose entrance among the laborious occupants of that châlet would be hailed as a blessing. The old man heard him in silence, nodded his silvery head, and replied: 66 You are welcome, my son. We receive many wanderers here. Rest thee till morning.” Giacomo thought he should have styled him father rather than son.

The supper was prepared; the whole household drew round the simple board. The great grandsire rose, took off the cap that covered his head, and asked for the blessing of God on their meal. The flesh of the chamois, which the young men had killed, formed part of the repast. This flesh is dried, and laid by in store for the winter, when snow blocks up the mountaineers in their dwellings. Giacomo was offered some, but he declined, though he was very hungry. He ate some roasted chestnuts, for he would not even taste the beans that had been dressed with the meat. The mother warmed him some milk; he drank it thankfully; and then, drawing into a corner of the hearth, began to tell his beads, and repeat his devotions half aloud. Then he lay back and meditated, half asleep, while the buzz of conversation went on around him. When the labours of the day were ended, and every one's work was laid aside for the night, the whole party gathered towards the hearth.

“Our guest has ended his devotions,” said the old man; “ he sleeps. We will not disturb him, to ask him if he objects to ours, since he has not supposed that we could object to his. Such a supposition on our part would be an offence. Antoine, bring the blessed book.”

The father took the book which the young lad brought, for the old man's eyes were dim, and he could not read. His grandson read the chapter from St. Paul's epistle, which exhorts every man to labour, working with his hands, that he might have to give to him that needeth. Then the old great grandfather spoke a few words to all his household about their several duties, and their fulfilment of them or negligence in them during the day that had closed; the blessedness of being a child of God by true faith in Christ, and doing everything affectionately as unto him, and not unto men. Then he rose up, and they all knelt down, and the old man prayed to God, thanked the Author and Giver of all good for the mercies of the day, and asked a continuance of them for the night; implored pardon of every secret fault or open transgression through the peace-speaking blood of Jesus; and asked for grace and strength to help each from day to day to fulfil his allotted part in life, as unto God; to make his duty a portion of his religion, to bring his religion into every duty. He

prayed also for the traveller ; asked God to protect him in liis journey, and to lead him

by the Holy Spirit into the way of life, that he might know Him who is the way, the Truth, and the Life, as his Saviour and his God. Then, giving to his aged daughter, to her children and children's children, his paternal blessing, he invited the weary pilgrim to follow their example, and retire to repose. Surprised at what he had seen and heard, the young hermit went to the simple couch, which the youths of the household made up for him. Some of the words he had heard seemed still sounding in his ears, and he fell asleep murmuring these : “ With us the best is the most useful.”

In the morning he rose up to go on his toilsome pilgrimage to the shrine of the saint; but the snow had fallen heavily, and the way was blocked up. It continued to fall; the usual season of snow had come on, and the châlet was enclosed in it; the household were prisoners until should melt again. This season usually lasts for months, but it never takes these mountaineers by surprise ; long before it sets in preparations are made for it; an abundance of employment is made ready. It had come on now, and Giacomo was enclosed in the châlet. The old man told him so; he told him he might depend on their hospitality ; but he told him at the same time he feared he would be miserable. “ We are kept happy and contented by our labours,” said he; “ we are constantly employed ; every one tries to be useful to another; we assist each other, feel for one another, take an interest in what each other does or wishes. We are a little body, members one of another. We serve God to the best of our ability; we depend on his grace and blessing; and we desire to love one another as Christ loved us.”

With surprise, Giacomo found that his hosts were Waldenses ; people whom he esteemed hereţies and outcasts from the faith ; people whose forefathers had been driven by persecution to take refuge in those mountains, where they still lived, still laboured, still, after the manner that others called heresy, worshipped the God of their fathers. Perhaps Giacomo might think he had been sent to convert these heretics ; perhaps a miracle, wrought in his favour, might attest his Divine mission. The first time he attempted to execute it he found more difficulty than he had anticipated. The old man put his hand on the venerable volume, which was always called the blessed book.

My son,” he said, “I have lived ninety and two years in


66 Let us

this life, and for fourscore and ten of those years my faith has been taught me from this blessed book. From it


father taught me the faith his father had taught him; so has it been among us from generation to generation : but I am not yet too old to change if the word of God tells me I am wrong. Come, my son, and show me from this book that


have chosen the right path and I the wrong one, and, old as I am, I will learn of you what is our duty in this life, and what is our hope for the life to come.”

The young hermit chose other references ; but the Waldenses were not to be influenced by any other. not,” said the old man, “have our domestic harmony broken by disputations; the gospel is peace and love ; those who strive for it should be impressed themselves with its spirit. My son, since you must dwell with us, be persuaded also to work with us. Idleness will not advance your spiritual health. Perform your own devotions as you will; but take no offence at ours. The

young hermit was at first disappointed, then discontented. The cheerful faces, the merry voices, the joyous laughter, oppressed him ; to relieve his ennui he had recourse to the blessed book, the Bible of the Waldenses. It interested and amused him. He read nothing there like the lives of his favourite saints; nothing like his own life ; nothing like that life he had devoted to the worship of the Virgin. He began to work with the rest; the scene he daily saw around him grew less distasteful; the hymns that resounded through the châlet became pleasant to his ear. The young hermit read the Bible, and looked at the lives around him ; they were household lives, necessarily confined to the walls that enclosed them, but these walls were wide enough to illustrate a great deal of the gospel, of Christianity itself, in its distinct parts of doctrine and precept, of faith and works; and to show the truth that “ faith without works is dead,” “ being alone,” while" without faith it is impossible to please" God; Jas. ii. 17-26; Heb. xi. 6.

Giacomo saw the Bible illustrated; he read, and he looked, and heard, and observed. The Bible that he read spoke to his understanding, and told him it must be true; the conduct, tempers, and dispositions he witnessed spoke to his heart, and told him they were Christian, for the Spirit of love ruled the household.

The winter at last passed away, the snow melted from around the châlet, the green grass was seen again, and the

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