Tuesday, June 28, 2011

He fills, he bounds...

This on "balance," by Andrew Preston Peabody (often excerpted in these pages) who records this reminiscence of Asahel Stearns, Congressman from Mass. and later Harvard Law Professor...

"Professor Stearns was one of those terete men, in whose moral nature there are no prominences, simply because there are no depressions; who therefore leave a blessed memory, without specific details to be remembered. I have, however, one reminiscence of him which I like to recall, and am glad to record. When I first went to the White Mountains, it was in a stage-coach with Mr. and Mrs. Stearns, two young collegians, and two other young persons, their friends and mine. The eighth passenger was an elderly clergyman of a type now happily extinct, but which my older readers may recognize, — of that class of men who thought it their duty to vilify nature, and to treat contemptuously the beauty and grandeur of the outward universe. It ought to be said that he was not on a journey of pleasure, but on a mission from a certain anti-Catholic association which threatened great things, but had a very brief and inefficient life. As we reached one after another of the grand points of view on our route, my young friends were jubilant with delight and admiration, while our clerical companion glowered and growled in his corner. At length, when we came in full sight of Mount Washington, and there was a spontaneous shout of rapture, he exclaimed, as angrily as if he had been personally insulted, "How mean and paltry must all this be in the eyes of Him who weighs the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance!" Professor Stearns rejoined calmly and reverently, in Pope's couplet, —
"' To Him no high, no low, no great, no small:
He fills, he bounds, connects and equals all.'"


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