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A New Atmosphere by Gail Hamilton

But by rejecting apples of Sodom altogether


let us have falsehood rather than truth, if this be truth. But this cannot be truth. Love sets up his ladder on the earth, but the top of it reaches unto heaven, and if the eye be clear and the heart pure, the angels of God shall be seen ascending and descending on it. The fashion of this world passeth away,

"But love strikes one hour,--LOVE."

Hear a woman's voice mingling now with angels' voices,--the voice of a woman whose pathway to the skies was a line of light shining still more and more unto the perfect day.

"I classed, appraising once, Earth's lamentable sounds: the welladay, The jarring yea and nay, The fall of kisses on unanswering clay, The sobbed farewell, the welcome mournfuller But all did leaven the air With a less bitter leaven of sure despair Than these words,--'I loved ONCE.'

"And who saith, 'I loved ONCE'? Not angels, whose clear eyes love, love foresee, Love through eternity, Who by To Love do apprehend To Be. Not God, called LOVE, his noble crown-name, casting A light too broad for blasting! The great God, changing not from everlasting, Saith never, 'I loved ONCE.'

"Nor ever the 'Loved ONCE' Dost THOU say, Victim-Christ, misprised friend! The cross and curse may rend; But, having loved,

Thou lovest to the end! It is man's saying,--man's. Too weak to move One sphered star above, Man desecrates the eternal God-word Love With his No More and Once.

* * * * *

"Say never, ye loved ONCE! God is too near above, the grave below, And all our moments go Too quickly past our souls, for saying so. The mysteries of life and death avenge Affections light of range: There comes no change to justify that change, Whatever comes,--loved ONCE!"


Men, by reason of their hardness of heart, gravitate towards the material theory, and women, by reason of their softness of heart, lower to the same level. Men defy heaven and earth to compass self-indulgence, and women defy the divine law written in their hearts rather than thwart men. Instead of setting their faces like a flint against this tendency, they accept it, excuse it, try to think it inevitable, a matter of organization, and make the best of it. They will counsel young girls not to reckon upon receiving as much love as they give! Fatal advice! Disastrous generalization! Yet neither unnatural nor unkind, for it is the fruit of a sad and wide experience. They would gladly spare fresh souls the apples of Sodom, whose fair seeming bewrayed themselves; but they should teach them to avoid disappointment, not by counting upon bitterness, but by rejecting apples of Sodom altogether, and receiving only such fruit as cheers the heart of God as well as man. Why shall not women receive as much love as they give? Is man less capable of loving than woman? Where in nature or in revelation is the warrant for such an hypothesis? When He commands, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength," is he not speaking to men as well as women? and are a man's heart, soul, mind, and strength less than a woman's? Are not husbands commanded to love their wives even as Christ loved the Church? and did he love the Church less than the Church loved him? Is not every man commanded in particular to love his wife even as himself,--to love his wife as his own body? and is a man's love to himself, his love to his own body, a feeble and untrustworthy sentiment? You find in the Bible no letting a man off from his duties of love; no letting him down. Old-fashioned as it is, written for a state of society far different from ours, often brought forward to prop up old wrongs and bluff off newly-found rights, the Bible is still the very storehouse of reforms. It contains the germs not only of spiritual life, but of spiritual living. Glows on its pages the morning-red which has scarcely yet gilded the world.

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