allegories of life

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CONTENTS. I. THE BELLS II. THE HEIGHT III. THE PILGRIM IV. FAITH V. HOPE VI. JOY AND SORROW VII. UPWARD VIII. THE OAK IX. TRUTH AND ERROR X. THE TREE XI. THE TWO WAYS XII. THE URNS XIII. SELF-EXERTION XIV. THE VINES XV. IN THE WORLD XVI. FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY XVII. GOING FORTH XVIII. THE FEAST XIX. THE LESSON OF THE STONE XX. THE SEEDS XXI. ONLY GOLD XXII. THE SACRIFICE XXIII. STRANGERSI.THE BELLS.In the steeple of an old church was a beautiful chime of bells, whichfor many years had rung out joyous peals at the touch of the sexton'shand upon the rope."I'll make the air full of music to-morrow," said the white-haired man,as he lay down to his slumbers. "To-morrow is Christmas, and the peopleshall be glad and gay. Ah, yes! right merry will be the chimes I shallring them." Soon sleep gathered him in a close embrace, and visions ofthe morrow's joy flitted over his brain.At midnight some dark clouds swept over the tower, while darker shadowsof discontent fell on the peaceful chime.Hark! what was that? A low, discordant sound was heard among the bells."Here we have been ringing for seven long years," murmured the highestbell in the chime."Well, what of it? That's what we are placed here for," said a voicefrom one of the deeper-toned bells."But I have rung long enough. Besides, I am weary of always singingone tone," answered the high bell, in a clear, sharp voice."Together we make sweetest harmony," returned the bell next thecomplainer."I well know that, but I am tired of my one tone, while you can bearmonotony. For my part, I do not mean to answer to the call of the ropeto-morrow.""What! not ring on Christmas Day!" exclaimed all the bells together."No, I don't. You may exclaim as much as you please; but, if youhad common sympathy, you would see in a moment how weary I am ofsinging this one high tone.""But we all have to give our notes," responded a low, sweet-voiced bell."That's just what I mean to change. We are all weary of our notes,and need change.""But we should have to be recast," said the low-toned bell, sadly."Most certainly we should. _I_ should like the fun of that. Now howmany of you will be silent in the morning when the old sexton comes toring us?""I will," answered the lowest-toned bell, boldly."If part of us are silent and refuse to ring, of what use will the restbe?" said one who had remained quiet until then. "For a chime all ofus are needed," she added, sadly."That's just the point," remarked the leader. "If all will be still, nonewill be blamed: the people will think we are worn out and need makingover. So we shall be taken down from this tower where we have been solong, and stand a chance of seeing something of the world. For _my_part, I am tired to death of being up here, and seeing nothing but thisquiet valley."....
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