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most lonely of the hard-wood forest regions of Wisconsin. Riding through this on my return from the old French town of Prairie du Chien, I saw an unkempt, barefooted native, with his fishing equipment, looking intently into what seemed an uninteresting mud-hole in the road ahead. He long continued his silent watch, and finally seated himself in a comfortable position that he might persevere at his vague vigilance. "Well, stranger, what do you expect to find in that mud-hole?" Waa-ll, sir, I think I see some bees a waterin' theirselves here, and I thought I'd watch and see which way they went and I mout track 'em and find a bee-tree. They've got a right smart of honey laid up now. There's plenty of 'em among these basswood trees." Not much of a prophet was this fisherman, bee-man, and trapper, but he realized at least one thing which the brooding monk is ever in danger of forgetting, namely, that there are honey-bearing trees yet in the woods, and that if we would find them we must watch and see which way the bees fly. Though they lead us through untracked forests, and though in the pursuit we may often be scratched and baffled, there is the honey farther on. We must look

forward as well as backward, must believe in the future as in the past, must venerate the babe as well as the grandfather.

The fine task is to clothe the bee-hunter with the reverence, the courtesy, the humility of the Catholic father.

A few miles of noble forest solitudes from my bee-hunter I stopped at a log house for a drink of water, and the cordial Irish grandmother insisted on going deep into the dark woods to the spring for a fresh paiiful. When on her return I confessed that I was from Chicago, her hospitalities, if possible, were doubled, because “It seems like as if I had found a neighbor. I used to live in Chicago myself, but left it in 1848 and have lived in the woods ever since. I knew Long John Wentworth mighty well, and I felt real bad when I heard of his death." She wanted much to hear how things looked in Chicago now, particularly around where the old garrison house stood, "just outside the fort, you know." Her boy, born in the woods, had been in Chicago several times. He had told her that she could not find her way there now at all, but she was positive that if they would just put her on "Clark street bridge onct" she could find her

way "to the place where the old house stood by the river on the west side." Dear old soul, it is not likely that she will ever have a chance to try to find the old place, but the Chicago in her heart is a more magnificent reality than the huge piles of brick and stone that have come to confound her landmarks since she left the western village in 1848. There may be more of life, marvel, holiness, God, in her hospitable spirit than in many of the cold piles of exclusive selfishness that adorn the Chicago avenues. She was richer in her "eighty" of good land than many of Chicago's millionnaires.

"What went ye out into the wilderness to see?" The disciples had just returned from an excursion, a long trip to the banks of the Jordan, where they had talked with the weird John, and had been reminded by Jesus that they went to see not a mere "reed shaken in the wind," not a man "clothed in soft raiment " such as is worn in kings' houses, no, not even


prophet," but a messenger from the Most High, one who had come to prepare the wav for larger and better things. So if we in our vacation wanderings see only shaking reeds, comforts, luxuries, those things which encourage self

indulgence, increase discontent, and blind our eyes to the realities around us, it is better that we do not go. But if we can realize that not only the brave John by the Jordan, but every waving field of corn, the sweet-scented hay of the meadow, every leaf on the bough and every bird among the leaves, is a messenger direct from God, confronting us with his message, preparing his way, telling us that we do dwell in the house of the Lord, we are communicants at his table. And still more, wherever is seen the human heart revealed, whether it be in the careless child in the shade, the anxious mother in the strain of her household cares, or the finite providence of the farm-house at his chores, whether in gathering sheaves into the barn or laying the dead away in the grave, we have seen that which is more than reeds, however beautiful; than raiment, however soft; we have beheld messengers of the Most High preparing us to see his face, ripening us to realize the truth that no more impartial are the sun's rays than are the rays of his love, no more inclusive is the starry firmament above us than is that inner firmament of thought and duty. Varied are the trees in the forests, but more varied are the men and women of humanity;

yet all the forest is nature's, and all men are God's.

"What went ye out into the wilderness to see?" Messengers of an untrammelled religion, teachers of undogmatic piety, a scripture not bounded by word, form, or sect, heralds of the church of progress, the church with a door as open as nature, with a dome as vast as the sky, with a hand as helpful as a mother's, a church founded on God's texts inscribed in leaf, in bird, in field, in rock, in man.

"What went ye out into the wilderness to see?" That which rebukes laziness, which condemns selfishness, humiliates pride, denies all our pretensions to exclusive monopoly either of truth, duty, or love; that which enables us to realize life, its extent, its variety, its beauty. Seeing this we should come back to our tasks prepared to work more diligently, speak more plainly, hope more earnestly, and trust more devoutly.


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