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Archive for February, 2018

It seemed to the little crowd on the wharf that she was never going to move again. There she lay, immense, motionless on the grey crinkled water, a loop of smoke above her, an immense flock of gulls screaming and diving after the galley droppings at the stern. You could just see little couples parading – little flies walking up and down the dish on the grey crinkled tablecloth. Other flies clustered and swarmed at the edge. Now there was a gleam of white on the lower deck – the cook’s apron or the stewardess perhaps. Now a tiny black spider raced up the ladder on to the bridge.

In the front of the crowd a strong-looking, middle-aged man, dressed very well, very snugly in a grey overcoat, grey silk scarf, thick gloves and dark felt hat, marched up and down, twirling his folded umbrella. He seemed to be the leader of the little crowd on the wharf and at the same time to keep them together. He was something between the sheep-dog and the shepherd.
But what a fool – what a fool he had been not to bring any glasses! There wasn’t a pair of glasses between the whole lot of them.
“Curious thing, Mr. Scott, that none of us thought of glasses. We might have been able to stir ’em up a bit. We might have managed a little signalling. ‘Don’t hesitate to land. Natives harmless.’ Or: ‘A welcome awaits you. All is forgiven.’ What? Eh?”
Mr. Hammond’s quick, eager glance, so nervous and yet so friendly and confiding, took in everybody on the wharf, roped in even those old chaps lounging against the gangways. They knew, every man-jack of them, that Mrs. Hammond was on that boat, and that he was so tremendously excited it never entered his head not to believe that this marvellous fact meant something to them too. It warmed his heart towards them. They were, he decided, as decent a crowd of people – Those old chaps over by the gangways, too – fine, solid old chaps. What chests – by Jove! And he squared his own, plunged his thick-gloved hands into his pockets, rocked from heel to toe.
“Yes, my wife’s been in Europe for the last ten months. On a visit to our eldest girl, who was married last year. I brought her up here, as far as Salisbury, myself. So I thought I’d better come and fetch her back. Yes, yes, yes.” The shrewd grey eyes narrowed again and searched anxiously, quickly, the motionless liner. Again his overcoat was unbuttoned. Out came the thin, butter-yellow watch again, and for the twentieth – fiftieth – hundredth time he made the calculation.
“Let me see now. It was two fifteen when the doctor’s launch went off. Two fifteen. It is now exactly twenty-eight minutes past four. That is to say, the doctor’s been gone two hours and thirteen minutes. Two hours and thirteen minutes! Whee-ooh!” He gave a queer little half-whistle and snapped his watch to again. “But I think we should have been told if there was anything up – don’t you, Mr. Gaven?”
“Oh, yes, Mr. Hammond! I don’t think there’s anything to – anything to worry about,” said Mr. Gaven, knocking out his pipe against the heel of his shoe. “At the same time–“
“Quite so! Quite so!” cried Mr. Hammond. “Dashed annoying!” He paced quickly up and down and came back again to his stand between Mr. and Mrs. Scott and Mr. Gaven. “It’s getting quite dark, too,” and he waved his folded umbrella as though the dusk at least might have had the decency to keep off for a bit. But the dusk came slowly, spreading like a slow stain over the water. Little Jean Scott dragged at her mother’s hand.
“I wan’ my tea, mammy!” she wailed.
“I expect you do,” said Mr. Hammond. “I expect all these ladies want their tea.” And his kind, flushed, almost pitiful glance roped them all in again. He wondered whether Janey was having a final cup of tea in the saloon out there. He hoped so; he thought not. It would be just like her not to leave the deck. In that case perhaps the deck steward would bring her up a cup. If he’d been there he’d have got it for her – somehow. And for a moment he was on deck, standing over her, watching her little hand fold round the cup in the way she had, while she drank the only cup of tea to be got on board … But now he was back here, and the Lord only knew when that cursed Captain would stop hanging about in the stream. He took another turn, up and down, up and down. He walked as far as the cab-stand to make sure his driver hadn’t disappeared; back he swerved again to the little flock huddled in the shelter of the banana crates. Little Jean Scott was still wanting her tea. Poor little beggar! He wished he had a bit of chocolate on him.
“Here, Jean!” he said. “Like a lift up?” And easily, gently, he swung the little girl on to a higher barrel. The movement of holding her, steadying her, relieved him wonderfully, lightened his heart.
“Hold on,” he said, keeping an arm round her.
“Oh, don’t worry about Jean, Mr. Hammond!” said Mrs. Scott.
“That’s all right, Mrs. Scott. No trouble. It’s a pleasure. Jean’s a little pal of mine, aren’t you, Jean?”
“Yes, Mr. Hammond,” said Jean, and she ran her finger down the dent of his felt hat.
But suddenly she caught him by the ear and gave a loud scream. “Lo-ok, Mr. Hammond! She’s moving! Look, she’s coming in!”
By Jove! So she was. At last! She was slowly, slowly turning round. A bell sounded far over the water and a great spout of steam gushed into the air. The gulls rose; they fluttered away like bits of white paper. And whether that deep throbbing was her engines or his heart Mr. Hammond couldn’t say. He had to nerve himself to bear it, whatever it was. At that moment old Captain Johnson, the harbour-master, came striding down the wharf, a leather portfolio under his arm.
“Jean’ll be all right,” said Mr. Scott. “I’ll hold her.” He was just in time. Mr. Hammond had forgotten about Jean. He sprang away to greet old Captain Johnson.
“Well, Captain,” the eager, nervous voice rang out again, “you’ve taken pity on us at last.”
“It’s no good blaming me, Mr. Hammond,” wheezed old Captain Johnson, staring at the liner. “You got Mrs. Hammond on board, ain’t yer?”
“Yes, yes!” said Hammond, and he kept by the harbour-master’s side. “Mrs. Hammond’s there. Hul-lo! We shan’t be long now!”
With her telephone ring-ringing, the thrum of her screw filling the air, the big liner bore down on them, cutting sharp through the dark water so that big white shavings curled to either side. Hammond and the harbour-master kept in front of the rest. Hammond took off his hat; he raked the decks – they were crammed with passengers; he waved his hat and bawled a loud, strange “Hul-lo!” across the water; and then turned round and burst out laughing and said something – nothing – to old Captain Johnson.
“Seen her?” asked the harbour-master.
“No, not yet. Steady – wait a bit!” And suddenly, between two great clumsy idiots – “Get out of the way there!” he signed with his umbrella – he saw a hand raised – a white glove shaking a handkerchief. Another moment, and – thank God, thank God! – there she was. There was Janey. There was Mrs. Hammond, yes, yes, yes – standing by the rail and smiling and nodding and waving her handkerchief.
“Well that’s first class – first class! Well, well, well!” He positively stamped. Like lightning he drew out his cigar-case and offered it to old Captain Johnson. “Have a cigar, Captain! They’re pretty good. Have a couple! Here” – and he pressed all the cigars in the case on the harbour-master – “I’ve a couple of boxes up at the hotel.”
“Thenks, Mr. Hammond!” wheezed old Captain Johnson.
Hammond stuffed the cigar-case back. His hands were shaking, but he’d got hold of himself again. He was able to face Janey. There she was, leaning on the rail, talking to some woman and at the same time watching him, ready for him. It struck him, as the gulf of water closed, how small she looked on that huge ship. His heart was wrung with such a spasm that he could have cried out. How little she looked to have come all that long way and back by herself! Just like her, though. Just like Janey. She had the courage of a – And now the crew had come forward and parted the passengers; they had lowered the rails for the gangways.
The voices on shore and the voices on board flew to greet each other.
“All well?”
“All well.”
“How’s mother?”
“Much better.”
“Hullo, Jean!”
“Hillo, Aun’ Emily!”
“Had a good voyage?”
“Splendid!”
“Shan’t be long now!”
“Not long now.”
The engines stopped. Slowly she edged to the wharf-side.
“Make way there – make way – make way!” And the wharf hands brought the heavy gangways along at a sweeping run. Hammond signed to Janey to stay where she was. The old harbour-master stepped forward; he followed. As to “ladies first,” or any rot like that, it never entered his head.
“After you, Captain!” he cried genially. And, treading on the old man’s heels, he strode up the gangway on to the deck in a bee-line to Janey, and Janey was clasped in his arms.
“Well, well, well! Yes, yes! Here we are at last!” he stammered. It was all he could say. And Janey emerged, and her cool little voice – the only voice in the world for him – said,
“Well, darling! Have you been waiting long?”
No; not long. Or, at any rate, it didn’t matter. It was over now. But the point was, he had a cab waiting at the end of the wharf. Was she ready to go off. Was her luggage ready? In that case they could cut off sharp with her cabin luggage and let the rest go hang until to-morrow. He bent over her and she looked up with her familiar half-smile. She was just the same. Not a day changed. Just as he’d always known her. She laid her small hand on his sleeve.
“How are the children, John?” she asked.
(Hang the children!) “Perfectly well. Never better in their lives.”
“Haven’t they sent me letters?”
“Yes, yes – of course! I’ve left them at the hotel for you to digest later on.”
“We can’t go quite so fast,” said she. “I’ve got people to say good-bye to – and then there’s the Captain.” As his face fell she gave his arm a small understanding squeeze. “If the Captain comes off the bridge I want you to thank him for having looked after your wife so beautifully.” Well, he’d got her. If she wanted another ten minutes – As he gave way she was surrounded. The whole first-class seemed to want to say good-bye to Janey.
“Good-bye, dear Mrs. Hammond! And next time you’re in Sydney I’ll expect you.”
“Darling Mrs. Hammond! You won’t forget to write to me, will you?”
“Well, Mrs. Hammond, what this boat would have been without you!”
It was as plain as a pikestaff that she was by far the most popular woman on board. And she took it all – just as usual. Absolutely composed. Just her little self – just Janey all over; standing there with her veil thrown back. Hammond never noticed what his wife had on. It was all the same to him whatever she wore. But to-day he did notice that she wore a black “costume” – didn’t they call it? – with white frills, trimmings he supposed they were, at the neck and sleeves. All this while Janey handed him round.
“John, dear!” And then: “I want to introduce you to–“
Finally they did escape, and she led the way to her state-room. To follow Janey down the passage that she knew so well – that was so strange to him; to part the green curtains after her and to step into the cabin that had been hers gave him exquisite happiness. But – confound it! – the stewardess was there on the floor, strapping up the rugs.
“That’s the last, Mrs. Hammond,” said the stewardess, rising and pulling down her cuffs.
He was introduced again, and then Janey and the stewardess disappeared into the passage. He heard whisperings. She was getting the tipping business over, he supposed. He sat down on the striped sofa and took his hat off. There were the rugs she had taken with her; they looked good as new. All her luggage looked fresh, perfect. The labels were written in her beautiful little clear hand – “Mrs. John Hammond.”
“Mrs. John Hammond!” He gave a long sigh of content and leaned back, crossing his arms. The strain was over. He felt he could have sat there for ever sighing his relief – the relief at being rid of that horrible tug, pull, grip on his heart. The danger was over. That was the feeling. They were on dry land again.
But at that moment Janey’s head came round the corner.
“Darling – do you mind? I just want to go and say good-bye to the doctor.”
Hammond started up. “I’ll come with you.”
“No, no!” she said. “Don’t bother. I’d rather not. I’ll not be a minute.”
And before he could answer she was gone. He had half a mind to run after her; but instead he sat down again.
Would she really not be long? What was the time now? Out came the watch; he stared at nothing. That was rather queer of Janey, wasn’t it? Why couldn’t she have told the stewardess to say good-bye for her? Why did she have to go chasing after the ship’s doctor? She could have sent a note from the hotel even if the affair had been urgent. Urgent? Did it – could it mean that she had been ill on the voyage – she was keeping something from him? That was it! He seized his hat. He was going off to find that fellow and to wring the truth out of him at all costs. He thought he’d noticed just something. She was just a touch too calm – too steady. From the very first moment –
The curtains rang. Janey was back. He jumped to his feet.
“Janey, have you been ill on this voyage? You have!”
“Ill?” Her airy little voice mocked him. She stepped over the rugs, and came up close, touched his breast, and looked up at him.
“Darling,” she said, “don’t frighten me. Of course I haven’t! Whatever makes you think I have? Do I look ill?”
But Hammond didn’t see her. He only felt that she was looking at him and that there was no need to worry about anything. She was here to look after things. It was all right. Everything was.
The gentle pressure of her hand was so calming that he put his over hers to hold it there. And she said:
“Stand still. I want to look at you. I haven’t seen you yet. You’ve had your beard beautifully trimmed, and you look – younger, I think, and decidedly thinner! Bachelor life agrees with you.”
“Agrees with me!” He groaned for love and caught her close again. And again, as always, he had the feeling that he was holding something that never was quite his – his. Something too delicate, too precious, that would fly away once he let go.
“For God’s sake let’s get off to the hotel so that we can be by ourselves!” And he rang the bell hard for some one to look sharp with the luggage.
* * *
Walking down the wharf together she took his arm. He had her on his arm again. And the difference it made to get into the cab after Janey – to throw the red- and-yellow striped blanket round them both – to tell the driver to hurry because neither of them had had any tea. No more going without his tea or pouring out his own. She was back. He turned to her, squeezed her hand, and said gently, teasingly, in the “special” voice he had for her: “Glad to be home again, dearie?” She smiled; she didn’t even bother to answer, but gently she drew his hand away as they came to the brighter streets.
“We’ve got the best room in the hotel,” he said. “I wouldn’t be put off with another. And I asked the chambermaid to put in a bit of a fire in case you felt chilly. She’s a nice, attentive girl. And I thought now we were here we wouldn’t bother to go home to-morrow, but spend the day looking round and leave the morning after. Does that suit you? There’s no hurry, is there? The children will have you soon enough … I thought a day’s sight-seeing might make a nice break in your journey – eh, Janey?”
“Have you taken the tickets for the day after?” she asked.
“I should think I have!” He unbuttoned his overcoat and took out his bulging pocket-book. “Here we are! I reserved a first-class carriage to Cooktown. There it is – ‘Mr. and Mrs. John Hammond.’ I thought we might as well do ourselves comfortably, and we don’t want other people butting in, do we? But if you’d like to stop here a bit longer–?”
“Oh, no!” said Janey quickly. “Not for the world! The day after to-morrow, then. And the children–“
But they had reached the hotel. The manager was standing in the broad, brilliantly-lighted porch. He came down to greet them. A porter ran from the hall for their boxes.
“Well, Mr. Arnold, here’s Mrs. Hammond at last!”
The manager led them through the hall himself and pressed the elevator-bell. Hammond knew there were business pals of his sitting at the little hall tables having a drink before dinner. But he wasn’t going to risk interruption; he looked neither to the right nor the left. They could think what they pleased. If they didn’t understand, the more fools they – and he stepped out of the lift, unlocked the door of their room, and shepherded Janey in. The door shut. Now, at last, they were alone together. He turned up the light. The curtains were drawn; the fire blazed. He flung his hat on to the huge bed and went towards her.
But – would you believe it! – again they were interrupted. This time it was the porter with the luggage. He made two journeys of it, leaving the door open in between, taking his time, whistling through his teeth in the corridor. Hammond paced up and down the room, tearing off his gloves, tearing off his scarf. Finally he flung his overcoat on to the bedside.
At last the fool was gone. The door clicked. Now they were alone. Said Hammond: “I feel I’ll never have you to myself again. These cursed people! Janey” – and he bent his flushed, eager gaze upon her – “let’s have dinner up here. If we go down to the restaurant we’ll be interrupted, and then there’s the confounded music” (the music he’d praised so highly, applauded so loudly last night!). “We shan’t be able to hear each other speak. Let’s have something up here in front of the fire. It’s too late for tea. I’ll order a little supper, shall I? How does that idea strike you?”
“Do, darling!” said Janey. “And while you’re away – the children’s letters–“
“Oh, later on will do!” said Hammond.
“But then we’d get it over,” said Janey. “And I’d first have time to–“
“Oh, I needn’t go down!” explained Hammond. “I’ll just ring and give the order … you don’t want to send me away, do you?”
Janey shook her head and smiled.
“But you’re thinking of something else. You’re worrying about something,” said Hammond. “What is it? Come and sit here – come and sit on my knee before the fire.”
“I’ll just unpin my hat,” said Janey, and she went over to the dressing-table. “A-ah!” She gave a little cry.
“What is it?”
“Nothing, darling. I’ve just found the children’s letters. That’s all right! They will keep. No hurry now!” She turned to him, clasping them. She tucked them into her frilled blouse. She cried quickly, gaily: “Oh, how typical this dressing-table is of you!”
“Why? What’s the matter with it?” said Hammond.
“If it were floating in eternity I should say ‘John!'” laughed Janey, staring at the big bottle of hair tonic, the wicker bottle of eau-de-Cologne, the two hair- brushes, and a dozen new collars tied with pink tape. “Is this all your luggage?”
“Hang my luggage!” said Hammond; but all the same he liked being laughed at by Janey. “Let’s talk. Let’s get down to things. Tell me” – and as Janey perched on his knees he leaned back and drew her into the deep, ugly chair – “tell me you’re really glad to be back, Janey.”
“Yes, darling, I am glad,” she said.
But just as when he embraced her he felt she would fly away, so Hammond never knew – never knew for dead certain that she was as glad as he was. How could he know? Would he ever know? Would he always have this craving – this pang like hunger, somehow, to make Janey so much part of him that there wasn’t any of her to escape? He wanted to blot out everybody, everything. He wished now he’d turned off the light. That might have brought her nearer. And now those letters from the children rustled in her blouse. He could have chucked them into the fire.
“Janey,” he whispered.
“Yes, dear?” She lay on his breast, but so lightly, so remotely. Their breathing rose and fell together.
“Janey!”
“What is it?”
“Turn to me,” he whispered. A slow, deep flush flowed into his forehead. “Kiss me, Janey! You kiss me!”
It seemed to him there was a tiny pause – but long enough for him to suffer torture – before her lips touched his, firmly, lightly – kissing them as she always kissed him, as though the kiss – how could he describe it? – confirmed what they were saying, signed the contract. But that wasn’t what he wanted; that wasn’t at all what he thirsted for. He felt suddenly, horrible tired.
“If you knew,” he said, opening his eyes, “what it’s been like – waiting to-day. I thought the boat never would come in. There we were, hanging about. What kept you so long?”
She made no answer. She was looking away from him at the fire. The flames hurried – hurried over the coals, flickered, fell.
“Not asleep, are you?” said Hammond, and he jumped her up and down.
“No,” she said. And then: “Don’t do that, dear. No, I was thinking. As a matter of fact,” she said, “one of the passengers died last night – a man. That’s what held us up. We brought him in – I mean, he wasn’t buried at sea. So, of course, the ship’s doctor and the shore doctor–“
“What was it?” asked Hammond uneasily. He hated to hear of death. He hated this to have happened. It was, in some queer way, as though he and Janey had met a funeral on their way to the hotel.
“Oh, it wasn’t anything in the least infectious!” said Janey. She was speaking scarcely above her breath. “It was heart.” A pause. “Poor fellow!” she said. “Quite young.” And she watched the fire flicker and fall. “He died in my arms,” said Janey.
The blow was so sudden that Hammond thought he would faint. He couldn’t move; he couldn’t breathe. He felt all his strength flowing – flowing into the big dark chair, and the big dark chair held him fast, gripped him, forced him to bear it.
“What?” he said dully. “What’s that you say?”
“The end was quite peaceful,” said the small voice. “He just” – and Hammond saw her lift her gentle hand – “breathed his life away at the end.” And her hand fell.
“Who – else was there?” Hammond managed to ask.
“Nobody. I was alone with him.”
Ah, my God, what was she saying! What was she doing to him! This would kill him! And all the while she spoke:
“I saw the change coming and I sent the steward for the doctor, but the doctor was too late. He couldn’t have done anything, anyway.”
“But – why you, why you?” moaned Hammond.
At that Janey turned quickly, quickly searched his face.
“You don’t mind, John, do you?” she asked. “You don’t – It’s nothing to do with you and me.”
Somehow or other he managed to shake some sort of smile at her. Somehow or other he stammered: “No – go – on, go on! I want you to tell me.”
“But, John darling–“
“Tell me, Janey!”
“There’s nothing to tell,” she said, wondering. “He was one of the first-class passengers. I saw he was very ill when he came on board … But he seemed to be so much better until yesterday. He had a severe attack in the afternoon – excitement – nervousness, I think, about arriving. And after that he never recovered.”
“But why didn’t the stewardess–“
“Oh, my dear – the stewardess!” said Janey. “What would he have felt? And besides … he might have wanted to leave a message … to–“
“Didn’t he?” muttered Hammond. “Didn’t he say anything?”
“No, darling, not a word!” She shook her head softly. “All the time I was with him he was too weak … he was too weak even to move a finger …”
Janey was silent. But her words, so light, so soft, so chill, seemed to hover in the air, to rain into his breast like snow.
The fire had gone red. Now it fell in with a sharp sound and the room was colder. Cold crept up his arms. The room was huge, immense, glittering. It filled his whole world. There was the great blind bed, with his coat flung across it like some headless man saying his prayers. There was the luggage, ready to be carried away again, anywhere, tossed into trains, carted on to boats.
… “He was too weak. He was too weak to move a finger.” And yet he died in Janey’s arms. She – who’d never – never once in all these years – never on one single solitary occasion–
No; he mustn’t think of it. Madness lay in thinking of it. No, he wouldn’t face it. He couldn’t stand it. It was too much to bear!
And now Janey touched his tie with her fingers. She pinched the edges of the tie together.
“You’re not – sorry I told you, John darling? It hasn’t made you sad? It hasn’t spoilt our evening – our being alone together?”
But at that he had to hide his face. He put his face into her bosom and his arms enfolded her.
Spoilt their evening! Spoilt their being alone together! They would never be alone together again.

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God had called out Abraham and he departed Haran trusting in God and it was counted as righteousness unto him. He was strong in faith and he became the friend of God on account of his faith. Lot, his nephew went with him. Considering his trust was in Abraham rather than in God shall reveal the consequences in a stark contrast later on. When the land could not contain them both Abraham let Lot take precedence over him. “If thou wilt take the left hand then will I go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left (Ge.13:9).”

Consider this verse: “…Unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make thee a great nation, and I will bless thee..(Ge.121-3) We need to remember that God had already told Abraham that a land He had already in mind and yet he was willing to risk it for the sake of maintaining harmony between his nephew and him. For Abraham the promise of God to bless him was enough. What about his nephew whose faith was more tied up in a human way that of blood ties?

God had upheld Abraham despite of letting his nephew first.Lot saw the plains of Jordan most suited to his conveniences and journeyed east.We read that ‘Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere. It was solid common sense that appealed to Lot.

Predestination of God is to be understood in either or choice of man. Lot exercised free will and it was based on solid common sense borne out of experience. Predestination of a Christian is based on his faith in Christ Jesus.

Benny

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Individual and nation

These two entities  carry different weights before God. God as the Sovereign Lord God wills fellowship with man. It is what such terms as Mercy and grace would signify. It rests on conditions all of which are laid down by God.

We shall consider what these are from the life of Abraham. The Spirit informs us that he was the friend of God (Jas.2:23; 2 Chr.20:7; Is.41:8)

Friendship is cultivated between individuals and it entails shared experience, which in case of God and man can never be of equal weight. Righteousness of God and of man are irreconcilable. Only faith or trust can make these hold in balance. This is what Apostle James declares: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” Righteousness was imputed to Abraham. Glory of his grace in this case made Abraham as his friend on account of faith.

“Walk before me and be thou perfect (Ge.17:1).”

He was called out by God and he obeyed. “…And he went out not knowing whither he went (He.11:8) “Can two walk together except they be agreed (Am.3:3)?” Faith is the shared experience of God and man.

Secondly he was the father of many nations.

Quality of faith is consistent. Faith is one (Ep.4:5). Faith of God is such he does not have to judge any one on account of superficial considerations of race, colour, creed. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son (Jn.5:23)”.

When God first appeared to him Abraham was seventy-five years old and accordingly departed out of Haran. In order to make him the Father of many nations God found it necessary that he made himself above such considerations that man finds as essential. National identity, familial bonds were of little worth as much as trust to be called a friend of God.

The Spirit in recounting the manner Abraham resorted to ruse on account of his wife Sarah (Ge.12:10-20) in the land of Egypt reveals the cultural context in which children of God have to conduct their lives. A similar incident is mentioned in the life of his son Isaac while he sojourned in the land of Gerar (Ge.26:6-11). How do we handle our cultural baggage? A parable of Jesus throws useful commentary for our spiritual growth. The kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea. It brings to surface both good and bad. (Mt.13: 47-50). We have to get rid of whatever is bad and hindrance to our growth.

As customary with the Spirit supplying marginal notes to Abraham as an instrument or rather as Friend of God his relation is established. The order of Melchizedek connects divine seal stamping him as the father of many nations. St Paul and the writer to the Hebrews supply additional information for helping us see his position in the divine Plan. Melchizedek was the “King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent…abideth a priest continually (He.7:1-4)”. He brought Abraham bread and wine when he came after the slaughter of the kings at the valley of Shaveh (Ge.14:17). Bread and wine are additional clues as to the identity of the Priest-King.

“Unto him that loved us …and made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;(Re.1:6-7)”

Evidently it is a different order than the Law of Moses enjoined. “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Ge.12:3).” The nation of Israel was recipient of blessings of God and it tells only part of the story.

Benny

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Theodoric Voler had been brought up, from infancy to the confines of middle age, by a fond mother whose chief solicitude had been to keep him screened from what she called the coarser realities of life. When she died she left Theodoric alone in a world that was as real as ever, and a good deal coarser than he considered it had any need to be. To a man of his temperament and upbringing even a simple railway journey was crammed with petty annoyances and minor discords, and as he settled himself down in a second-class compartment one September morning he was conscious of ruffled feelings and general mental discomposure. He had been staying at a country vicarage, the inmates of which had been certainly neither brutal nor bacchanalian, but their supervision of the domestic establishment had been of that lax order which invites disaster. The pony carriage that was to take him to the station had never been properly ordered, and when the moment for his departure drew near, the handyman who should have produced the required article was nowhere to be found. In this emergency Theodoric, to his mute but very intense disgust, found himself obliged to collaborate with the vicar’s daughter in the task of harnessing the pony, which necessitated groping about in an ill-lighted outbuilding called a stable, and melling very like one–except in patches where it smelled of mice. Without being actually afraid of mice, Theodoric classed them among the coarser incidents of life, and considered that Providence, with a little exercise of moral courage, might long ago have recognized that they were not indispensable, and have withdrawn them from circulation. As the train glided out of the station Theodoric’s nervous imagination accused himself of exhaling a weak odor of stable yard, and possibly of displaying a moldy straw or two on his unusually well-brushed garments. Fortunately the only other occupation of the compartment, a lady of about the same age as himself, seemed inclined for slumber rather than scrutiny; the train was not due to stop till the terminus was reached, in about an hour’s time, and the carriage was of the oId-fashioned sort that held no communication with a corridor, therefore no further traveling companions were likely to intrude on Theodoric’s semiprivacy. And yet the train had scarcely attained its normal speed before he became reluctantly but vividly aware that he was not alone with the slumbering lady; he was not even alone in his own clothes. A warm, creeping movement over his flesh betrayed the unwelcome and highly resented presence, unseen but poignant, of a strayed mouse, that had evidently dashed into its present retreat during the episode of the pony harnessing. Furtive stamps and shakes and wildly directed pinches failed to dislodge the intruder, whose motto, indeed, seemed to be Excelsior; and the lawful occupant of the clothes lay back against the cushions and endeavored rapidly to evolve some means for putting an end to the dual ownership. It was unthinkable that he should continue for the space of a whole hour in the horrible position of a Rowton House for vagrant mice already his imagination had at least doubled the numbers of the alien invasion. On the other hand, nothing less drastic than partial disrobing would ease him of his tormentor, and to undress in the presence of a lady, even for so laudable a purpose, was an idea that made his ear tips tingle in a blush of abject shame. He had never heen able to bring himself even to the mild exposure of openwork socks in the presence of the fair sex. And yet–the lady in this case was to all appearances soundly and securely asleep; the mouse, on the other hand, seemed to be trying to crowd a wanderjahr into a few strenuous minutes. If there is any truth in the theory of transmigration, this particular mouse must certainly have been in a former state a member of the Alpine Club. Sometimes in its eagerness it lost its footing and slipped for half an inch or so; and then, in fright, or more probably temper, it bit. Theodoric was goaded into the most audacious undertaking of his life. Crimsoning to the hue of a beetroot and keeping an agonized watch on his slumbering fellow traveler, he swiftly and noiselessly secured the ends of his railway rug to the racks on either side of the carriage, so that a substantial curtain hung athwart the compartment. In the narrow dressing room that he had thus improvised he proceeded with violent haste to extricate himself partially and the mouse entirely from the surrounding casings of tweed and half-wool. As the unraveled mouse gave a wild leap to the floor, the rug, slipping its fastening at either end, also came down with a heart-curdling flop, and almost simultaneously the awakened sleeper opened her eyes. With a movement almost quicker than the mouse’s, Theodoric pounced on the rug and hauled its ample folds chin-high over his dismantled person as he collapsed into the farther corner of the carriage. The blood raced and beat in the veins of his neck and forehead, while he waited dumbly for the communication cord to be pulled. The lady, however, contented herself with a silent stare at her strangely muffled companion. How much had she seen, Theodoric queried to himself; and in any case what on earth must she think of his present posture?
“I think I have caught a chill,” he ventured desperately.
“Really, I’m sorry,” she replied. “I was just going to ask you if you would open this window.”
“I fancy it’s malaria,” he added, his teeth chattering slightly, as much from fright as from a desire to support his theory.
“I’ve got some brandy in my holdall, if you’ll kindly reach it down for me,” said his companion.
“Not for worlds–I mean, I never take anything for it,” he assured her earnestly.
“I suppose you caught it in the tropics?”
Theodoric, whose acquaintance with the tropics was limited to an annual present of a chest of tea from an uncle in Ceylon, felt that even the malaria was slipping from him. Would it be possible, he wondered to disclose the real state of affairs to her in small installments?
“Are you afraid of mice?” he ventured, growing, if possible, more scarlet in the face.
“Not unless they came in quantities. Why do you ask?”
“I had one crawling inside my clothes just now,” said Theodoric in a voice that hardly seemed his own. “It was a most awkward situation.”
“It must have been, if you wear your clothes at all tight,” she observed. “But mice have strange ideas of comfort.”
“I had to get rid of it while you were asleep,” he continued. Then, with a gulp, he added, “It was getting rid of it that brought me to-to this.”
“Surely leaving off one small mouse wouldn’t bring on a chill,” she exclaimed, with a levity that Theodoric accounted abominable.
Evidently she had detected something of his predicament, and was enjoying his confusion. All the blood in his body seemed to have mobilized in one concentrated blush, and an agony of abasement, worse than a myriad mice, crept up and down over his soul. And then, as reflection began to assert itself, sheer terror took the place of humiliation. With every minute that passed the train was rushing nearer to the crowded and bustling terminus, where dozens of prying eyes would be exchanged for the one paralyzing pair that watched him from the farther corner of the carriage. There was one slender, despairing chance, which the next few minutes must decide. His fellow traveler might relapse into a blessed slumber. But as the minutes throbbed by that chance ebbed away. The furtive glance which Theodoric stole at her from time to time disclosed only an unwinking wakefulness.
“I think we must be getting near now,” she presently observed.
Theodoric had already noted with growing terror the recurring stacks of small, ugly dwellings that heralded the journey’s end. The words acted as a signal. Like a hunted beast breaking cover and dashing madly toward some other haven of momentary safety he threw aside his rug, and struggled frantically into his disheveled garments. He was conscious of dull suburban stations racing past the window, of a choking, hammering sensation in his throat and heart, and of an icy silence in that corner toward which he dared not look. Then as he sank back in his seat, clothed and almost delirious, the train slowed down to a final crawl, and the woman spoke.
“Would you be so kind,” she asked, “as to get me a porter to put me into a cab? It’s a shame to trouble you when you’re feeling unwell, but being blind makes one so helpless at a railway station.”
by HH Munro (Saki)

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In order to understand the Book of Genesis for spiritual edification a child of God has to keep the rule of three mentioned here below..

Before coming to them  by way of preface allow me to point out one difference that reading the God’s word literally and with the help of the Spirit shall make. The Bible is the revealed word the divine Will concerning man and nations. It chronicles their destinies with and without God. Literal reading makes the nation of Israel, their Law and temple practices loom larger than what is real. Such a distortion makes a reader easily fall for many wrong interpretations touted by teachers some false and some ignorant. For example some sects teach reinstitution of temple worship, animal sacrifices as God ordained that shall be continued in eternity.. Israel has no more preferred status than a gentile who has accepted Jesus as his sovereign redeemer. Israel as nation was rejected as the gentiles were adopted over their attitude to God, the Son. Israel rejected the son of Man because they failed to see him as the end of Law. The gentiles were chosen according to the promise of God to Abraham. “In thee shall all families be blessed.”

Three points emerge from the Book of Genesis.

Firstly the time element: the Throne and the footstool (Is.66:1) is symbol for God’s sovereignty. As God document the Spirit treats the heaven and the earth as one entity. The creative calendar of God runs on God’s Time and it explains the expression ‘in the beginning.’ It is of a different quality than what the Prophet Ezekiel provided. “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month and so on…(Ez.1:1) or with regards to the birth of Jesus we have this verse, “But when the fullness of the time was come God sent forth his Son…(Ga.4:4)” God’s Time can only be what value God gives it. Without firmly fixing this any interpretation is bound to err. (Mt.13:32).

Secondly the role of the Logos Aspect.

In order to explain the many separations set forth in the Book of Genesis, some background explanation will be helpful. It is in terms of man as the end user. The very eternal nature of the Word makes it the arbiter of human interactions on the earth. The Word is useful as a tool to separate his motives and action. Power and Wisdom that we associate with Godhead must work for him for which the Scripture serves as Manual of Instruction. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (He. 4:12)”.

Thirdly element of  there is nothing of chance in the Core Will of God. chance is a fallacy of human understanding owing to his inability to see time as God views it. . Since there is only single element of time, which is God’s Time all other time earth time or any other are local time zones however linked to Time. Analogy of currency tied to the Gold standard may help us here. This incontrovertible proof dismisses all human events as God ordained every event each taking place in his Time frame. What is suffering but a human condition? Sufferings of Joseph owed to his brethren whose jealousy eventually prompted them to get rid of him. They saw in him nothing more than a slave but God had foreseen Joseph as the deliverer of Israel in the time of a famine. His brethren had no inkling of a famine in the offing but God had. So where hidden actions of man are brought to light in God’s Time and suffering is God’s way of equipping His chosen instruments perfect through suffering. Besides when the Spirit sets God’s Time in terms of earth times, treats Joseph as a forerunner of Jesus thereby reconciling two time frames into a single narrative.

Benny

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Schermafdruk 2018-02-19 10.51.39

Mr. Half, the toad was smart … And he knew it. He was sure he was one in a million. He was not going to let his chance pass by. “I shall amaze the world.,” that is what he said So he stepped out one morning. He was smart alright! Hundred things he could do, -he could juggle, do handstand and cartwheel, Well, almost anything. But was he good enough? His adventures are funny and show what you can do all in one day. Are you ready young folks? Let us follow the Remarkable Mr. Half, as yellow as a buttercup in bloom and as funny as any toad that took to the road. The Remarkable Half-Half is the first in the Half-Half series. Age group: 4-8 years

Paperback:$13

soon in kindle

Product Details:

 

  • Series: Illustrated Half-Half series
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (February 15, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1985607093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1985607095
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.1 x 6 inches

 

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Here we are concerned about two aspects of the fall of man.

Glory of God gave, as we have already discussed in the study of Genesis, a shape. The earth was without form but in the creation account of God, this glory gave the earth its form. Consider the  creatures which God brought to Adam and he gave them names. Does it not indicate God considered him as the Alpha male and it was not merely a coincidence. God considered Adam as his steward to minister to the well being of creatures of the air, beasts of burden etc., Here we see him as a forerunner of Jesus who in the fulness of time came as Servant-King. Here we have two aspects of man one as a carnal being and the other as a spiritual emblem of heavenly realities. In order to distinguish between the two we have ‘inner man’ as a distinct reality which no man can escape from. Death similarly is what no man can escape unless one is born again.

Secondly we see  the heavenly realities belong to an overcomer. For this reason Adam was cast out from the Garden so he might not reach out and eat of the fruit of the tree of life. He was ‘dead’ in his inner man.

Now on to our key verse:

“And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil….So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken (Ge.3:22-23-NIV).”

God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and made him a living soul. When Adam disobeyed God death occurred which God had warned him about (Ge. 3:3). So death must have occurred and the Spirit hints about the kind of death that took place. The cherubim with flaming swords forbade Adam (vs.24)., which is an emblem of his inability. He could no longer enjoy his former state of being within the divine Will. He had forfeited his gift and it was his own doing. ‘For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance( Ro.11:29). In the NIV they are irrevocable.

Adam because of the gift from God is deemed the son of God (Lk.3:38). It is on this basis the Holy Spirit builds him as an antitype whereas Jesus Christ is the Type. He is the son over his own house (He.3:6). Having said we can understand why the Lord God says, “Behold the man is become as one of us.”

Inner man

Jesus said, ‘It is the spirit that gives life and flesh profits nothing…(Jn.6:63),’When we consider the born again experience we owe to the Word made flesh so in accepting Jesus by faith we find way back to God. Where Adam lost our new birth allows us to know good and evil according to the Core Will. As an earnest of our inheritance the indwelling Spirit works with our inner man. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;…Ep.3:16-20; (2 Co.4:16) Earlier we were led by the spirit of man whereby we served our appetites in our flesh and allowed ourselves to be carried about by custom and traditions of the world. White evangelicalism for this reason is carnal and contrary to the divine Will. Our inner man does not depend on sensory inputs but is guided by spirit of truth. To distinguish the spirit of the world and our spiritual experience within, we may characterize our inner man being driven by a dominant force.

Alpha force is the dominant force, ‘the power that worketh in us’ whereby the indwelling Spirit can build us to the fulness of God. Alpha force is not a scriptural term but we use it with caution. Eye of the inner man is single and the light with which it is led by light of the knowledge of the word creates love of Christ as honey in a hive. So much so the born again experience produces fruits of the Spirit.

How does the inner man differs from carnal man?

The Spirit has given us a clear indication from the story of Hannah in the first book of Samuel. “Now Hannah, she spake in her heart: only her lips moved..(1 S.1:13-16).”

Firstly let us recalls the words of Jesus with regards to prayer. The prayer of a heathen has its characteristic. ‘Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do.’ “For your Father knoweth what things you have need of, before you ask him (Mt.6:7-8).  Inner man makes a case for a child of God and the world shall never fully fathom its outcome until God brings to light. Hannah was thrown in deepest pit of anguish. Her adversary still tormented since she had no insight what her taunts were creating in her rival. But God heard her since the groaning and supplications of her inner man was neither within the control of her adversary or in her direct control. We do not know how we should pray at times since we are very much drawn into agony of the spirit to pray with wisdom. “I am a woman of sorrowful spirit”.  Peace of God, as we read ‘passeth all understanding,’ This is what God has assured his children and it is not what anyone who grandstand before the world can command at will. So those who misuse the word of God for their own glory whether it be prosperity theology or of Belial have got their reward and for us it shall be the peace not as the world gives but what we can appreciate in eternity..

Benny

 

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“It’s strange how you can get booze on credit but not bread.”This quote is from Pandora’s Box(1929), which sums up Germany’s Weimar Republic.

Can we not sum up the spirit of consumerism in the US? “You have to be 21 years of age if you want to purchase booze. But you can buy and own a gun if you are 19”. (USA, 2018)

That is economics of death. Those who subscribe to consumerism as an indicator of nation’s Happiness would not want to know the economics of life. Life is cheap indeed if you can press lethal gun its hand give blank check to kill as much  with impunity. It is money in the bank for every empty cartridge. The same politicians who pillory  woman caught in economic mire for undergoing abortion turn a blind eye on gun control. These are the ones who make ‘Right to own a gun as a badge of ‘courage’.What is Dutch courage and what we see now: a man feels ‘naked’ without a gun? Where integrity of man has gone to I wonder. It is the ‘bone spur’ of our times  and shake it before the Army so you may excuse from serving the nation when it needs you most.

Would the 19 year school shooter have had the guns had President Trump let safety controls in place?

Tailspin: Decree revoking gun sales to those with severe mental problems was Trump’s own doing. He signed the bill rolling back 2013 Obama era strict back ground checks into law without a photo op or fanfare. The president welcomed cameras into the oval office Tuesday for the signing of other executive orders and bills. The NRA“applauded” Trump’s action (ack: NBC news).

Benny

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My Getaway Story

As soon as I learned my 3Rs I planned my escape and meticulously chose the island villa and every artifact  to make my retirement, an ultimate guide to the purveyors of Good Taste. A decade went into making an inventory of Matisse, Goya and great masters that would be catalogued and displayed in the Salon where High Art was so well represented made even a Tate feel outclassed. On the day I turned seventy it was time for the works. “Presto! Let the good times roll said, I” so did my wife and my brood.  Only snag was that my supposedly kaboodle of billions in bonds, stocks, life annuities and what have you would show to give my last phase its gloss. Ah then all I need say was, “open sesame.” But my several portfolios never got disentangled from Internal Revenue service and all bullion and precious metals did not come detached from the ground. My wealth after leapfrogging several Black Tuesdays and down turns from Macau to Wall Street developed some aneurysm. It was a bubble and  it burst. My villa with it.

Benny

 

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“The ways of God in Nature, as in Providence, are not as our ways; nor are the models that we frame any way commensurate to the vastness, profundity, and unsearchableness of His works, which have a depth in them greater than the well of 
We had now reached the summit of the loftiest crag. For some minutes the old man seemed too much exhausted to speak.
“Not long ago,” said he at length, “and I could have guided you on this route as well as the youngest of my sons; but, about three years past, there happened to me an event such as never happened to mortal man – or at least such as no man ever survived to tell of – and the six hours of deadly terror which I then endured have broken me up body and soul. You suppose me a very old man – but I am not. It took less than a single day to change these hairs from a jetty black to white, to weaken my limbs, and to unstring my nerves, so that I tremble at the least exertion, and am frightened at a shadow. Do you know I can scarcely look over this little cliff without getting giddy?”
The “little cliff,” upon whose edge he had so carelessly thrown himself down to rest that the weightier portion of his body hung over it, while he was only kept from falling by the tenure of his elbow on its extreme and slippery edge – this “little cliff” arose, a sheer unobstructed precipice of black shining rock, some fifteen or sixteen hundred feet from the world of crags beneath us. Nothing would have tempted me to within half a dozen yards of its brink. In truth so deeply was I excited by the perilous position of my companion, that I fell at full length upon the ground, clung to the shrubs around me, and dared not even glance upward at the sky – while I struggled in vain to divest myself of the idea that the very foundations of the mountain were in danger from the fury of the winds. It was long before I could reason myself into sufficient courage to sit up and look out into the distance.
“You must get over these fancies,” said the guide, “for I have brought you here that you might have the best possible view of the scene of that event I mentioned – and to tell you the whole story with the spot just under your eye.”
“We are now,” he continued, in that particularizing manner which distinguished him – “we are now close upon the Norwegian coast – in the sixty-eighth degree of latitude – in the great province of Nordland – and in the dreary district of Lofoden. The mountain upon whose top we sit is Helseggen, the Cloudy. Now raise yourself up a little higher – hold on to the grass if you feel giddy – so – and look out, beyond the belt of vapor beneath us, into the sea.”
I looked dizzily, and beheld a wide expanse of ocean, whose waters wore so inky a hue as to bring at once to my mind the Nubian geographer’s account of the Mare Tenebrarum . A panorama more deplorably desolate no human imagination can conceive. To the right and left, as far as the eye could reach, there lay outstretched, like ramparts of the world, lines of horridly black and beetling cliff, whose character of gloom was but the more forcibly illustrated by the surf which reared high up against its white and ghastly crest, howling and shrieking forever. Just opposite the promontory upon whose apex we were placed, and at a distance of some five or six miles out at sea, there was visible a small, bleak-looking island; or, more properly, its position was discernible through the wilderness of surge in which it was enveloped. About two miles nearer the land, arose another of smaller size, hideously craggy and barren, and encompassed at various intervals by a cluster of dark rocks.
The appearance of the ocean, in the space between the more distant island and the shore, had something very unusual about it. Although, at the time, so strong a gale was blowing landward that a brig in the remote offing lay to under a double-reefed trysail, and constantly plunged her whole hull out of sight, still there was here nothing like a regular swell, but only a short, quick, angry cross dashing of water in every direction – as well in the teeth of the wind as otherwise. Of foam there was little except in the immediate vicinity of the rocks.
“The island in the distance,” resumed the old man, “is called by the Norwegians Vurrgh. The one midway is Moskoe. That a mile to the northward is Ambaaren. Yonder are Islesen, Hotholm, Keildhelm, Suarven, and Buckholm. Farther off – between Moskoe and Vurrgh – are Otterholm, Flimen, Sandflesen, and Stockholm. These are the true names of the places – but why it has been thought necessary to name them at all, is more than either you or I can understand. Do you hear anything? Do you see any change in the water?”
We had now been about ten minutes upon the top of Helseggen, to which we had ascended from the interior of Lofoden, so that we had caught no glimpse of the sea until it had burst upon us from the summit. As the old man spoke, I became aware of a loud and gradually increasing sound, like the moaning of a vast herd of buffaloes upon an American prairie; and at the same moment I perceived that what seamen term the chopping character of the ocean beneath us, was rapidly changing into a current which set to the eastward. Even while I gazed, this current acquired a monstrous velocity. Each moment added to its speed – to its headlong impetuosity. In five minutes the whole sea, as far as Vurrgh, was lashed into ungovernable fury; but it was between Moskoe and the coast that the main uproar held its sway. Here the vast bed of the waters, seamed and scarred into a thousand conflicting channels, burst suddenly into phrensied convulsion – heaving, boiling, hissing – gyrating in gigantic and innumerable vortices, and all whirling and plunging on to the eastward with a rapidity which water never elsewhere assumes except in precipitous descents.
In a few minutes more, there came over the scene another radical alteration. The general surface grew somewhat more smooth, and the whirlpools, one by one, disappeared, while prodigious streaks of foam became apparent where none had been seen before. These streaks, at length, spreading out to a great distance, and entering into combination, took unto themselves the gyratory motion of the subsided vortices, and seemed to form the germ of another more vast. Suddenly – very suddenly – this assumed a distinct and definite existence, in a circle of more than a mile in diameter. The edge of the whirl was represented by a broad belt of gleaming spray; but no particle of this slipped into the mouth of the terrific funnel, whose interior, as far as the eye could fathom it, was a smooth, shining, and jet-black wall of water, inclined to the horizon at an angle of some forty-five degrees, speeding dizzily round and round with a swaying and sweltering motion, and sending forth to the winds an appalling voice, half shriek, half roar, such as not even the mighty cataract of Niagara ever lifts up in its agony to Heaven.
The mountain trembled to its very base, and the rock rocked. I threw myself upon my face, and clung to the scant herbage in an excess of nervous agitation.
“This,” said I at length, to the old man – “this can be nothing else than the great whirlpool of the Maelström.”
“So it is sometimes termed,” said he. “We Norwegians call it the Moskoe-ström, from the island of Moskoe in the midway.”
The ordinary accounts of this vortex had by no means prepared me for what I saw. That of Jonas Ramus, which is perhaps the most circumstantial of any, cannot impart the faintest conception either of the magnificence, or of the horror of the scene – or of the wild bewildering sense of the novel which confounds the beholder. I am not sure from what point of view the writer in question surveyed it, nor at what time; but it could neither have been from the summit of Helseggen, nor during a storm. There are some passages of his description, nevertheless, which may be quoted for their details, although their effect is exceedingly feeble in conveying an impression of the spectacle.
“Between Lofoden and Moskoe,” he says, “the depth of the water is between thirty-six and forty fathoms; but on the other side, toward Ver Vurrgh this depth decreases so as not to afford a convenient passage for a vessel, without the risk of splitting on the rocks, which happens even in the calmest weather. When it is flood, the stream runs up the country between Lofoden and Moskoe with a boisterous rapidity; but the roar of its impetuous ebb to the sea is scarce equalled by the loudest and most dreadful cataracts; the noise being heard several leagues off, and the vortices or pits are of such an extent and depth, that if a ship comes within its attraction, it is inevitably absorbed and carried down to the bottom, and there beat to pieces against the rocks; and when the water relaxes, the fragments thereof are thrown up again. But these intervals of tranquility are only at the turn of the ebb and flood, and in calm weather, and last but a quarter of an hour, its violence gradually returning. When the stream is most boisterous, and its fury heightened by a storm, it is dangerous to come within a Norway mile of it. Boats, yachts, and ships have been carried away by not guarding against it before they were within its reach. It likewise happens frequently, that whales come too near the stream, and are overpowered by its violence; and then it is impossible to describe their howlings and bellowings in their fruitless struggles to disengage themselves. A bear once, attempting to swim from Lofoden to Moskoe, was caught by the stream and borne down, while he roared terribly, so as to be heard on shore. Large stocks of firs and pine trees, after being absorbed by the current, rise again broken and torn to such a degree as if bristles grew upon them. This plainly shows the bottom to consist of craggy rocks, among which they are whirled to and fro. This stream is regulated by the flux and reflux of the sea – it being constantly high and low water every six hours. In the year 1645, early in the morning of Sexagesima Sunday, it raged with such noise and impetuosity that the very stones of the houses on the coast fell to the ground.”
In regard to the depth of the water, I could not see how this could have been ascertained at all in the immediate vicinity of the vortex. The “forty fathoms” must have reference only to portions of the channel close upon the shore either of Moskoe or Lofoden. The depth in the centre of the Moskoe-ström must be immeasurably greater; and no better proof of this fact is necessary than can be obtained from even the sidelong glance into the abyss of the whirl which may be had from the highest crag of Helseggen. Looking down from this pinnacle upon the howling Phlegethon below, I could not help smiling at the simplicity with which the honest Jonas Ramus records, as a matter difficult of belief, the anecdotes of the whales and the bears; for it appeared to me, in fact, a self-evident thing, that the largest ship of the line in existence, coming within the influence of that deadly attraction, could resist it as little as a feather the hurricane, and must disappear bodily and at once.
The attempts to account for the phenomenon – some of which, I remember, seemed to me sufficiently plausible in perusal – now wore a very different and unsatisfactory aspect. The idea generally received is that this, as well as three smaller vortices among the Ferroe islands, “have no other cause than the collision of waves rising and falling, at flux and reflux, against a ridge of rocks and shelves, which confines the water so that it precipitates itself like a cataract; and thus the higher the flood rises, the deeper must the fall be, and the natural result of all is a whirlpool or vortex, the prodigious suction of which is sufficiently known by lesser experiments.” – These are the words of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Kircher and others imagine that in the centre of the channel of the Maelström is an abyss penetrating the globe, and issuing in some very remote part – the Gulf of Bothnia being somewhat decidedly named in one instance. This opinion, idle in itself, was the one to which, as I gazed, my imagination most readily assented; and, mentioning it to the guide, I was rather surprised to hear him say that, although it was the view almost universally entertained of the subject by the Norwegians, it nevertheless was not his own. As to the former notion he confessed his inability to comprehend it; and here I agreed with him – for, however conclusive on paper, it becomes altogether unintelligible, and even absurd, amid the thunder of the abyss.
“You have had a good look at the whirl now,” said the old man, “and if you will creep round this crag, so as to get in its lee, and deaden the roar of the water, I will tell you a story that will convince you I ought to know something of the Moskoe-ström.”
I placed myself as desired, and he proceeded.
“Myself and my two brothers once owned a schooner-rigged smack of about seventy tons burthen, with which we were in the habit of fishing among the islands beyond Moskoe, nearly to Vurrgh. In all violent eddies at sea there is good fishing, at proper opportunities, if one has only the courage to attempt it; but among the whole of the Lofoden coastmen, we three were the only ones who made a regular business of going out to the islands, as I tell you. The usual grounds are a great way lower down to the southward. There fish can be got at all hours, without much risk, and therefore these places are preferred. The choice spots over here among the rocks, however, not only yield the finest variety, but in far greater abundance; so that we often got in a single day, what the more timid of the craft could not scrape together in a week. In fact, we made it a matter of desperate speculation – the risk of life standing instead of labor, and courage answering for capital.
“We kept the smack in a cove about five miles higher up the coast than this; and it was our practice, in fine weather, to take advantage of the fifteen minutes’ slack to push across the main channel of the Moskoe-ström, far above the pool, and then drop down upon anchorage somewhere near Otterholm, or Sandflesen, where the eddies are not so violent as elsewhere. Here we used to remain until nearly time for slack-water again, when we weighed and made for home. We never set out upon this expedition without a steady side wind for going and coming – one that we felt sure would not fail us before our return – and we seldom made a mis-calculation upon this point. Twice, during six years, we were forced to stay all night at anchor on account of a dead calm, which is a rare thing indeed just about here; and once we had to remain on the grounds nearly a week, starving to death, owing to a gale which blew up shortly after our arrival, and made the channel too boisterous to be thought of. Upon this occasion we should have been driven out to sea in spite of everything, for the whirlpools threw us round and round so violently, that, at length, we fouled our anchor and dragged it if it had not been that we drifted into one of the innumerable cross currents – here to-day and gone to-morrow – which drove us under the lee of Flimen, where, by good luck, we brought up.
“I could not tell you the twentieth part of the difficulties we encountered ‘on the grounds’ – it is a bad spot to be in, even in good weather – but we made shift always to run the gauntlet of the Moskoe-ström itself without accident; although at times my heart has been in my mouth when we happened to be a minute or so behind or before the slack. The wind sometimes was not as strong as we thought it at starting, and then we made rather less way than we could wish, while the current rendered the smack unmanageable. My eldest brother had a son eighteen years old, and I had two stout boys of my own. These would have been of great assistance at such times, in using the sweeps, as well as afterward in fishing – but, somehow, although we ran the risk ourselves, we had not the heart to let the young ones get into the danger – for, after all is said and done, it was a horrible danger, and that is the truth.
“It is now within a few days of three years since what I am going to tell you occurred. It was on the tenth day of July, 18-, a day which the people of this part of the world will never forget – for it was one in which blew the most terrible hurricane that ever came out of the heavens. And yet all the morning, and indeed until late in the afternoon, there was a gentle and steady breeze from the south-west, while the sun shone brightly, so that the oldest seaman among us could not have foreseen what was to follow.
“The three of us – my two brothers and myself – had crossed over to the islands about two o’clock P. M., and had soon nearly loaded the smack with fine fish, which, we all remarked, were more plenty that day than we had ever known them. It was just seven, by my watch , when we weighed and started for home, so as to make the worst of the Ström at slack water, which we knew would be at eight.
“We set out with a fresh wind on our starboard quarter, and for some time spanked along at a great rate, never dreaming of danger, for indeed we saw not the slightest reason to apprehend it. All at once we were taken aback by a breeze from over Helseggen. This was most unusual – something that had never happened to us before – and I began to feel a little uneasy, without exactly knowing why. We put the boat on the wind, but could make no headway at all for the eddies, and I was upon the point of proposing to return to the anchorage, when, looking astern, we saw the whole horizon covered with a singular copper-colored cloud that rose with the most amazing velocity.
“In the meantime the breeze that had headed us off fell away, and we were dead becalmed, drifting about in every direction. This state of things, however, did not last long enough to give us time to think about it. In less than a minute the storm was upon us – in less than two the sky was entirely overcast – and what with this and the driving spray, it became suddenly so dark that we could not see each other in the smack.
“Such a hurricane as then blew it is folly to attempt describing. The oldest seaman in Norway never experienced any thing like it. We had let our sails go by the run before it cleverly took us; but, at the first puff, both our masts went by the board as if they had been sawed off – the mainmast taking with it my youngest brother, who had lashed himself to it for safety.
“Our boat was the lightest feather of a thing that ever sat upon water. It had a complete flush deck, with only a small hatch near the bow, and this hatch it had always been our custom to batten down when about to cross the Ström, by way of precaution against the chopping seas. But for this circumstance we should have foundered at once – for we lay entirely buried for some moments. How my elder brother escaped destruction I cannot say, for I never had an opportunity of ascertaining. For my part, as soon as I had let the foresail run, I threw myself flat on deck, with my feet against the narrow gunwale of the bow, and with my hands grasping a ring-bolt near the foot of the fore-mast. It was mere instinct that prompted me to do this – which was undoubtedly the very best thing I could have done – for I was too much flurried to think.
“For some moments we were completely deluged, as I say, and all this time I held my breath, and clung to the bolt. When I could stand it no longer I raised myself upon my knees, still keeping hold with my hands, and thus got my head clear. Presently our little boat gave herself a shake, just as a dog does in coming out of the water, and thus rid herself, in some measure, of the seas. I was now trying to get the better of the stupor that had come over me, and to collect my senses so as to see what was to be done, when I felt somebody grasp my arm. It was my elder brother, and my heart leaped for joy, for I had made sure that he was overboard – but the next moment all this joy was turned into horror – for he put his mouth close to my ear, and screamed out the word ‘ Moskoe-ström! ‘
“No one ever will know what my feelings were at that moment. I shook from head to foot as if I had had the most violent fit of the ague. I knew what he meant by that one word well enough – I knew what he wished to make me understand. With the wind that now drove us on, we were bound for the whirl of the Ström, and nothing could save us!
“You perceive that in crossing the Ström channel, we always went a long way up above the whirl, even in the calmest weather, and then had to wait and watch carefully for the slack – but now we were driving right upon the pool itself, and in such a hurricane as this! ‘To be sure,’ I thought, ‘we shall get there just about the slack – there is some little hope in that’ – but in the next moment I cursed myself for being so great a fool as to dream of hope at all. I knew very well that we were doomed, had we been ten times a ninety-gun ship.
“By this time the first fury of the tempest had spent itself, or perhaps we did not feel it so much, as we scudded before it, but at all events the seas, which at first had been kept down by the wind, and lay flat and frothing, now got up into absolute mountains. A singular change, too, had come over the heavens. Around in every direction it was still as black as pitch, but nearly overhead there burst out, all at once, a circular rift of clear sky – as clear as I ever saw – and of a deep bright blue – and through it there blazed forth the full moon with a lustre that I never before knew her to wear. She lit up every thing about us with the greatest distinctness – but, oh God, what a scene it was to light up!
“I now made one or two attempts to speak to my brother – but, in some manner which I could not understand, the din had so increased that I could not make him hear a single word, although I screamed at the top of my voice in his ear. Presently he shook his head, looking as pale as death, and held up one of his finger, as if to say ‘listen!’
“At first I could not make out what he meant – but soon a hideous thought flashed upon me. I dragged my watch from its fob. It was not going. I glanced at its face by the moonlight, and then burst into tears as I flung it far away into the ocean. It had run down at seven o’clock! We were behind the time of the slack, and the whirl of the Ström was in full fury!
“When a boat is well built, properly trimmed, and not deep laden, the waves in a strong gale, when she is going large, seem always to slip from beneath her – which appears very strange to a landsman – and this is what is called riding, in sea phrase. Well, so far we had ridden the swells very cleverly; but presently a gigantic sea happened to take us right under the counter, and bore us with it as it rose – up – up – as if into the sky. I would not have believed that any wave could rise so high. And then down we came with a sweep, a slide, and a plunge, that made me feel sick and dizzy, as if I was falling from some lofty mountain-top in a dream. But while we were up I had thrown a quick glance around – and that one glance was all sufficient. I saw our exact position in an instant. The Moskoe-Ström whirlpool was about a quarter of a mile dead ahead – but no more like the every-day Moskoe-Ström, than the whirl as you now see it is like a mill-race. If I had not known where we were, and what we had to expect, I should not have recognised the place at all. As it was, I involuntarily closed my eyes in horror. The lids clenched themselves together as if in a spasm.
“It could not have been more than two minutes afterward until we suddenly felt the waves subside, and were enveloped in foam. The boat made a sharp half turn to larboard, and then shot off in its new direction like a thunderbolt. At the same moment the roaring noise of the water was completely drowned in a kind of shrill shriek – such a sound as you might imagine given out by the waste-pipes of many thousand steam-vessels, letting off their steam all together. We were now in the belt of surf that always surrounds the whirl; and I thought, of course, that another moment would plunge us into the abyss – down which we could only see indistinctly on account of the amazing velocity with which we wore borne along. The boat did not seem to sink into the water at all, but to skim like an air-bubble upon the surface of the surge. Her starboard side was next the whirl, and on the larboard arose the world of ocean we had left. It stood like a huge writhing wall between us and the horizon.
“It may appear strange, but now, when we were in the very jaws of the gulf, I felt more composed than when we were only approaching it. Having made up my mind to hope no more, I got rid of a great deal of that terror which unmanned me at first. I suppose it was despair that strung my nerves.
“It may look like boasting – but what I tell you is truth – I began to reflect how magnificent a thing it was to die in such a manner, and how foolish it was in me to think of so paltry a consideration as my own individual life, in view of so wonderful a manifestation of God’s power. I do believe that I blushed with shame when this idea crossed my mind. After a little while I became possessed with the keenest curiosity about the whirl itself. I positively felt a wish to explore its depths, even at the sacrifice I was going to make; and my principal grief was that I should never be able to tell my old companions on shore about the mysteries I should see. These, no doubt, were singular fancies to occupy a man’s mind in such extremity – and I have often thought since, that the revolutions of the boat around the pool might have rendered me a little light-headed.
“There was another circumstance which tended to restore my self-possession; and this was the cessation of the wind, which could not reach us in our present situation – for, as you saw yourself, the belt of surf is considerably lower than the general bed of the ocean, and this latter now towered above us, a high, black, mountainous ridge. If you have never been at sea in a heavy gale, you can form no idea of the confusion of mind occasioned by the wind and spray together. They blind, deafen, and strangle you, and take away all power of action or reflection. But we were now, in a great measure, rid of these annoyances – just us death-condemned felons in prison are allowed petty indulgences, forbidden them while their doom is yet uncertain.
“How often we made the circuit of the belt it is impossible to say. We careered round and round for perhaps an hour, flying rather than floating, getting gradually more and more into the middle of the surge, and then nearer and nearer to its horrible inner edge. All this time I had never let go of the ring-bolt. My brother was at the stern, holding on to a small empty water-cask which had been securely lashed under the coop of the counter, and was the only thing on deck that had not been swept overboard when the gale first took us. As we approached the brink of the pit he let go his hold upon this, and made for the ring, from which, in the agony of his terror, he endeavored to force my hands, as it was not large enough to afford us both a secure grasp. I never felt deeper grief than when I saw him attempt this act – although I knew he was a madman when he did it – a raving maniac through sheer fright. I did not care, however, to contest the point with him. I knew it could make no difference whether either of us held on at all; so I let him have the bolt, and went astern to the cask. This there was no great difficulty in doing; for the smack flew round steadily enough, and upon an even keel – only swaying to and fro, with the immense sweeps and swelters of the whirl. Scarcely had I secured myself in my new position, when we gave a wild lurch to starboard, and rushed headlong into the abyss. I muttered a hurried prayer to God, and thought all was over.
“As I felt the sickening sweep of the descent, I had instinctively tightened my hold upon the barrel, and closed my eyes. For some seconds I dared not open them – while I expected instant destruction, and wondered that I was not already in my death-struggles with the water. But moment after moment elapsed. I still lived. The sense of falling had ceased; and the motion of the vessel seemed much as it had been before, while in the belt of foam, with the exception that she now lay more along. I took courage, and looked once again upon the scene.
“Never shall I forget the sensations of awe, horror, and admiration with which I gazed about me. The boat appeared to be hanging, as if by magic, midway down, upon the interior surface of a funnel vast in circumference, prodigious in depth, and whose perfectly smooth sides might have been mistaken for ebony, but for the bewildering rapidity with which they spun around, and for the gleaming and ghastly radiance they shot forth, as the rays of the full moon, from that circular rift amid the clouds which I have already described, streamed in a flood of golden glory along the black walls, and far away down into the inmost recesses of the abyss.
“At first I was too much confused to observe anything accurately. The general burst of terrific grandeur was all that I beheld. When I recovered myself a little, however, my gaze fell instinctively downward. In this direction I was able to obtain an unobstructed view, from the manner in which the smack hung on the inclined surface of the pool. She was quite upon an even keel – that is to say, her deck lay in a plane parallel with that of the water – but this latter sloped at an angle of more than forty-five degrees, so that we seemed to be lying upon our beam-ends. I could not help observing, nevertheless, that I had scarcely more difficulty in maintaining my hold and footing in this situation, than if we had been upon a dead level; and this, I suppose, was owing to the speed at which we revolved.
“The rays of the moon seemed to search the very bottom of the profound gulf; but still I could make out nothing distinctly, on account of a thick mist in which everything there was enveloped, and over which there hung a magnificent rainbow, like that narrow and tottering bridge which Mussulmen say is the only pathway between Time and Eternity. This mist, or spray, was no doubt occasioned by the clashing of the great walls of the funnel, as they all met together at the bottom – but the yell that went up to the Heavens from out of that mist, I dare not attempt to describe.
“Our first slide into the abyss itself, from the belt of foam above, had carried us a great distance down the slope; but our farther descent was by no means proportionate. Round and round we swept – not with any uniform movement – but in dizzying swings and jerks, that sent us sometimes only a few hundred yards – sometimes nearly the complete circuit of the whirl. Our progress downward, at each revolution, was slow, but very perceptible.
“Looking about me upon the wide waste of liquid ebony on which we were thus borne, I perceived that our boat was not the only object in the embrace of the whirl. Both above and below us were visible fragments of vessels, large masses of building timber and trunks of trees, with many smaller articles, such as pieces of house furniture, broken boxes, barrels and staves. I have already described the unnatural curiosity which had taken the place of my original terrors. It appeared to grow upon me as I drew nearer and nearer to my dreadful doom. I now began to watch, with a strange interest, the numerous things that floated in our company. I must have been delirious – for I even sought amusement in speculating upon the relative velocities of their several descents toward the foam below. ‘This fir tree,’ I found myself at one time saying, ‘will certainly be the next thing that takes the awful plunge and disappears,’ – and then I was disappointed to find that the wreck of a Dutch merchant ship overtook it and went down before. At length, after making several guesses of this nature, and being deceived in all – this fact – the fact of my invariable miscalculation – set me upon a train of reflection that made my limbs again tremble, and my heart beat heavily once more.
“It was not a new terror that thus affected me, but the dawn of a more exciting hope. This hope arose partly from memory, and partly from present observation. I called to mind the great variety of buoyant matter that strewed the coast of Lofoden, having been absorbed and then thrown forth by the Moskoe-ström. By far the greater number of the articles were shattered in the most extraordinary way – so chafed and roughened as to have the appearance of being stuck full of splinters – but then I distinctly recollected that there were some of them which were not disfigured at all. Now I could not account for this difference except by supposing that the roughened fragments were the only ones which had been completely absorbed – that the others had entered the whirl at so late a period of the tide, or, for some reason, had descended so slowly after entering, that they did not reach the bottom before the turn of the flood came, or of the ebb, as the case might be. I conceived it possible, in either instance, that they might thus be whirled up again to the level of the ocean, without undergoing the fate of those which had been drawn in more early, or absorbed more rapidly. I made, also, three important observations. The first was, that, as a general rule, the larger the bodies were, the more rapid their descent – the second, that, between two masses of equal extent, the one spherical, and the other of any other shape , the superiority in speed of descent was with the sphere – the third, that, between two masses of equal size, the one cylindrical, and the other of any other shape, the cylinder was absorbed the more slowly. Since my escape, I have had several conversations on this subject with an old school-master of the district; and it was from him that I learned the use of the words ‘cylinder’ and ‘sphere.’ He explained to me – although I have forgotten the explanation – how what I observed was, in fact, the natural consequence of the forms of the floating fragments – and showed me how it happened that a cylinder, swimming in a vortex, offered more resistance to its suction, and was drawn in with greater difficulty than an equally bulky body, of any form whatever.
“There was one startling circumstance which went a great way in enforcing these observations, and rendering me anxious to turn them to account, and this was that, at every revolution, we passed something like a barrel, or else the yard or the mast of a vessel, while many of these things, which had been on our level when I first opened my eyes upon the wonders of the whirlpool, were now high up above us, and seemed to have moved but little from their original station.
“I no longer hesitated what to do. I resolved to lash myself securely to the water cask upon which I now held, to cut it loose from the counter, and to throw myself with it into the water. I attracted my brother’s attention by signs, pointed to the floating barrels that came near us, and did everything in my power to make him understand what I was about to do. I thought at length that he comprehended my design – but, whether this was the case or not, he shook his head despairingly, and refused to move from his station by the ring-bolt. It was impossible to reach him; the emergency admitted of no delay; and so, with a bitter struggle, I resigned him to his fate, fastened myself to the cask by means of the lashings which secured it to the counter, and precipitated myself with it into the sea, without another moment’s hesitation.
“The result was precisely what I had hoped it might be. As it is myself who now tell you this tale – as you see that I did escape – and as you are already in possession of the mode in which this escape was effected, and must therefore anticipate all that I have farther to say – I will bring my story quickly to conclusion. It might have been an hour, or thereabout, after my quitting the smack, when, having descended to a vast distance beneath me, it made three or four wild gyrations in rapid succession, and, bearing my loved brother with it, plunged headlong, at once and forever, into the chaos of foam below. The barrel to which I was attached sunk very little farther than half the distance between the bottom of the gulf and the spot at which I leaped overboard, before a great change took place in the character of the whirlpool. The slope of the sides of the vast funnel became momently less and less steep. The gyrations of the whirl grew, gradually, less and less violent. By degrees, the froth and the rainbow disappeared, and the bottom of the gulf seemed slowly to uprise. The sky was clear, the winds had gone down, and the full moon was setting radiantly in the west, when I found myself on the surface of the ocean, in full view of the shores of Lofoden, and above the spot where the pool of the Moskoe-ström had been. It was the hour of the slack – but the sea still heaved in mountainous waves from the effects of the hurricane. I was borne violently into the channel of the Ström, and in a few minutes was hurried down the coast into the ‘grounds’ of the fishermen. A boat picked me up – exhausted from fatigue – and now that the danger was removed speechless from the memory of its horror. Those who drew me on board were my old mates and daily companions – but they knew me no more than they would have known a traveller from the spirit-land. My hair which had been raven-black the day before, was as white as you see it now. They say too that the whole expression of my countenance had changed. I told them my story – they did not believe it. I now tell it to you – and I can scarcely expect you to put more faith in it than did the merry fishermen of Lofoden.”

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