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Amy Carmichael :: Nor Scrip—1. Jupiter's Moons

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'You ought to tell it.'

It was an old friend, world-wide traveller and missioner, who was talking, and I listened, unconvinced.

We had been spending an hour in 'going round,' a rather tiring round to an old man in the heat; but he had asked to be shown all. So we had shown the nurseries set in their fifteen acres of garden ground, whose walls, coloured the soft red of the earth here, are covered in places with the polished leaves and yellow bells of allamanda and whose house gate is a mass of blue convolvulus. The other gate by which carts go in and out has, in large Tamil characters, the word Salvation written up high without, and Praise within; and those words preach all day long. He had seen the children's little hospital, and the school-house, like an old-fashioned house at home, built round a courtyard, and the bowery porch-rooms open to the air, and used as class-rooms and play-rooms. Then we had gone to the farm, and to the field where graft mangoes are planted for future benefit, and where the big well, very deep all the year round, gives the children splendid swimming joys. And finally we had returned to the guest-room, where Dr. Inwood set forth his views in the single authoritative sentence which begins this book.

And he talked to me awhile, meeting my objections, for I thought we had written enough; showing me how because of our rather unique circumstances we have a unique witness to bear.

'For instance, I thought So and So (he named a group of friends at home) were behind you, and others think the same.' And I knew it was true. Not one, but three separate groups are supposed to be behind us, three stools between which we might so easily have fallen. And the wonder and the joy is that we have not. 'It is of the Lord's mercy' as an old word says. 'You ought to tell it,' he continued. 'It is keeping back something that belongs to Him if you don't.'

Is it a far cry from such words to the words of Tobit, son of Tobiel, who in the time of Enemessar king of the Assyrians was led captive from Naphthali in Galilee? Here are the words of Tobit:

'And all her streets shall say, Alleluia; and they shall praise Him, saying, Blessed be God which hath extolled it for ever.'

In Dohnavur we have a path twelve feet wide and two hundred long. It ends in an ancient tamarind tree. Under this tree in olden days demons were worshipped and false gods praised. Now two innocent swings hang under the shadowy boughs. The walk is bordered by cork trees, with flowers like glorified snowdrops hanging in scented clusters among dark leaves. On either side are nurseries, each with a story of kindness making an air of joy for it. In front, beyond a few low trees and roofs rise the forms and, in certain lights, the wonderful colours of mountains. If ever a street on earth had cause to say Alleluia this path has. It is set about with beauty and the loving-kindness of the Lord.

A year and three months after that 'You ought to tell it,' on a quiet moonlit morning before dawn, I walked up and down this path listening to its Alleluia and wondering how I could cause others to hear it. I never more feared to write any book, nor was ever more reluctant. But in the pale blue of the southern sky, the Cross shone in the moonlight. And to the west Jupiter, that matchless lamp of our February skies, led over the sloping shoulders of the hills. Looking at these lights one took courage.

Then the children, waking, ran out from the nearest nursery, 'Oh, please show us Jupiter in the telescope! We have never seen his moons.' So we carried the telescope out, and set it up and looked. There lay the great lovely globe with two sparkling little moons above and two below. Those small unimportant things did not say, 'What are we beside the great planet? We will not shine.' And one of the thoughts that had held back this writing had been, Are there not the great books, such for example as those the China Inland Mission sends out to all who will read, telling of provision in answer to prayer? What need then of a little one like this?

So from those far distances, words went out to the end of the world from the little moons of Jupiter. And in their sound was neither speech nor language, but their voices being heard drew from me as an answer a willingness to write. And now may He without whom all writing is ashes and vanity, give and direct this little book.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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