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The Village in the Mountains; Conversion of Peter Bayssiere; and History of a Bible   By:

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M. , a merchant, at the head of one of the first commercial houses in Paris,[1] had occasion to visit the manufactories established in the mountainous tracts of the Departments of the Loire and the Puy de Dôme. The road that conducted him back to Lyons traversed a country rich in natural productions, and glowing with all the charms of an advanced and promising spring. The nearer view was unusually diversified; not only by the fantastic forms of mountains, the uncertain course of small and tributary streams, and the varying hues of fields of pasture, corn, vines, and vegetables, but by the combinations and contrasts of nature and of art, and the occupations of rural and commercial industry. Factories and furnaces were seen rising amidst barns and sheep cotes, peasants were digging, and ploughs gliding amidst forges and foundries; verdant slopes and graceful clumps of trees were scattered amidst the black and ugly mouths of exhausted coal pits; and the gentle murmur of the stream was subdued by the loud rattle of the loom. Sometimes M. and his friend halted amidst all that is delightful and soothing; and after a short advance, found themselves amidst barrenness, deformity, and confusion. The remoter scenery was not less impressive. Behind them were the rugged mountains of Puy de Dôme; the lofty Tarare lifted its majestic head beside them, and far before appeared the brilliant summit of Mont Blanc.

[Footnote 1: An American gentleman then residing in that capital.]

In this state of mind he arrived at the skirts of a hamlet placed on the declivity of a mountain; and being desirous of finding a shorter and more retired track, he stopped at a decent looking dwelling house to inquire the way. From the windows several females were watching the movements of a little child; and just as M. inquired for a road across the mountains, the infant was in danger of being crushed by a coal cart which had entered the street. The cries and alarms of the females were met by the activity of the travellers, and the companion of M. set off to snatch the infant from danger, and place him in security. An elderly female from the second story, gave M. , who was still on his horse, the directions he desired; and, at the same time, expressed her uneasiness that the gentleman should have had the trouble to seek the child.

"Madam," interrupted M. , "my friend is only performing his duty: we ought to do to another as we would that another should do to us; and in this wretched world we are bound to assist each other. You are kind enough to direct us travellers in the right road, and surely the least we can do is to rescue your child from danger. The Holy Scriptures teach us these duties, and the Gospel presents us the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were in ignorance and danger, came to our world to seek and to save that which was lost."

"Ah! sir," replied the good woman, "you are very condescending, and what you say is very true; but your language surprises me: it is so many years since in this village we have heard such truths, and especially from the lips of a stranger."

"Madam," resumed M. , "we are all strangers here, and sojourners bound to eternity; there is but one road, one guide, one Saviour, who can conduct us safely; if we feel this, young or old, rich or poor, we are all one in Christ; and however scattered on earth, shall all arrive at the heavenly city, to which he is gone to prepare mansions for us."

"These doctrines, sir," exclaimed the female, "support the hearts of many of us, who have scarcely travelled beyond our own neighbourhood; and it is so rare and so delightful to hear them from others, that, if it will not be an abuse of your Christian politeness, I would request you to alight and visit my humble apartment."

"I shall comply most cheerfully with your request," replied M... Continue reading book >>

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