In January of 1842, Charles Dickens visited America. He traveled to New York, Ohio, St. Louis, Louisville, Boston, and several other cities. Dickens later wrote a book, American Notes, to detail his trip to America.
Dickens was disappointed with America. I suppose we can’t blame him. He detested slavery, the rough conditions back then, the perceived lack of education and lack of hospitable standards. Despite his disappointments he found beauty in this new country.
Dickens visited Niagara Falls while he was here. He explains what he saw like this:
“When we were seated in the little ferry-boat, and were crossing the swollen river immediately before both cataracts, I began to feel what it was: but I was in a manner stunned, and unable to comprehend the vastness of the scene. It was not until I came on Table Rock, and looked—Great Heaven, on what a fall of bright green water!—that it came upon me in its full might and majesty.
Then, when I felt how near to my Creator I was standing, the first effect, and the enduring one—instant and lasting—of the tremendous spectacle, was Peace, Peace of Mind, tranquility, calm recollections of the Dead, great thoughts of Eternal Rest and Happiness: nothing of gloom or terror.
Niagara was at once stamped upon my heart, an Image of Beauty; to remain there, changeless and indelible, until its pulses cease to beat, forever. Oh, how the strife and trouble of daily life receded from my view, and lessened in the distance, during the ten memorable days we passed on that Enchanted Ground!” (pg. 228-229)
What a beautiful description of God’s creation and of Dickens experience. I was impressed that Dickens thought of his Creator when he saw Niagara, that his thoughts would drift there, and that he would write about it.
I wish that I could describe God’s beauty like he does. He holds us to a higher standard. His speech displays a higher thought life, and his words like nothing we can read on an Instagram post today.
I pray that we are moved like this when we behold God’s creation. I pray our mind wanders to Him and that we stand in awe of His creation. God was the first artist, and His art is perfect and beautiful.
Thank you Dickens. I have felt this way when viewing the ocean, or a mountain. Thank you for expressing what I could not. Our Lord is wonderful. I praise Him for the great things He hath done.