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VAST as is the period, and singular as are the changes of European history since the Christian era, Judea still continues to be the most interesting portion of the world. Among other purposes, it may be for the purpose of fixing the general eye upon this extraordinary land, that it has been periodically visited by a more striking succession of great public calamities than perhaps any other region. With less to attract an invader than any other conspicuous land of the East, it has been constantly exposed to invasion. Its ruin by the Romans in the first century did not prevent its being assailed by almost every barbarian, who, in turn, assumed the precarious sovereignty of the neighbouring Asia. After ages of obscure misery, a new terror came in the Saracen invasion, which, under Amrou, on the conquest of Damascus, rolled on Palestine. A siege of four months, which we may well conceive to have abounded in horrors, gave Jerusalem into the hands of the Kaliph Omar. On the death of Omar, who died by the usual fate of Eastern princes-the dagger-the country was left to the still heavier misgovernment of the Moslem viceroys-a race of men essentially barbarian, and commuting their crimes for their zeal in proselytism. The people, of course, were doubly tormented.
A new scourge fell upon them in the invasion of the Crusaders, at the beginning of the 12th century, followed by à long succession of bitter hostilities and public weakness. After almost a century of this wretchedness, another invasion from the Desert put Jerusalem into the hands of its old oppressor, the Saracen; and in 1187, the famous Saladin, expelling the last of the Christian sovereigns, took possession of Palestine. After another century of tumult and severe suffering, occasioned by the disputes of the Saracen princes, it was visited by a still more formidable evil in the shape of the Turks, then wholly uncivilized -a nation in all the rudeness and vio. lence of mountaineer life, and spreading blood and fire through Western Asia. From this date (1317) it remained under the dominion of the
Ottoman, until its conquest, a few years ago, by that most extraordinary of all Mussulmans, the Pacha of Egypt, -a dreary period of 500 years, under the most desolating government of the world. It is equally impossible to read the Scriptural references to the future condition of Palestine, without discovering a crowd of the plainest and most powerful indications, that it shall yet exhibit a totally different aspect from that of its present state. Enthusiasm, or even the natural interest which we feel in this memorable nation, may colour the future to us too brightly; but unless language of the most solemn kind, uttered on the most solemn occasions, and by men divinely commissioned for its utterance, is wholly unmeaning, we must yet look to some powerful, unquestionable, and splendid display of Providence in favour of the people of Israel.
The remarkable determination of European politics towards Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, within these few years; the not less unexpected change of manners and customs, which seemed to defy all change; and the new life infused into the stagnant governments of Asia, even by their being flung into the whirl of European interests, look not unlike signs of the times. It may be no dream, to imagine in these phenomena the proofs of some memorable change in the interior of things-some preparatives for that great providential restoration, of which Jerusalem will yet be the scene, if not the centre; and the Israelite himself the especial agent of those high transactions, which shall make Christianity the religion of all lands, restore the dismantled beauty of the earth, and make man, what he was created to be-only "a little lower than the angels."
The statistics of the Jewish population are among the most singular circumstances of this most singular of all people. Under all their calamities and dispersions, they seem to have remained at nearly the same amount as in the days of David and Solomon, never much more in prosperity, never much less after ages of suffering. Nothing like this has occurred in the history of any other race; Europe in general having doubled its popula
tion within the last hundred years, and England nearly tripled hers within the last half century; the proportion of America being still more rapid, and the world crowding in a constantly increasing ratio. Yet the Jews seem to stand still in this vast and general movement. The population of Judea, in its most palmy days, probably did not exceed, if it reached, four millions. The numbers who entered Palestine from the wilderness were evidently not much more than three; and their census, according to the German statists, who are generally considered to be exact, is now nearly the same as that of the people under Moses-about three millions. are thus distributed :
In Europe, 1,916,000, of which about 658,000 are in Poland and Russia, and 453,000 are in Austria.
In Asia, 738,000, of which 300,000 are in Asiatic Turkey.
In Africa, 504,000, of which 300,000 are in Morocco.
In America, North and South, 5700. If we add to these about 15,000 Samaritans, the calculation in round numbers will be about 3,180,000.
This was the report in 1825-the numbers probably remain the same. This extraordinary fixedness in the midst of almost universal increase, is doubtless not without a reason-if we are even to look for it among the mysterious operations which have preserved Israel a separate race through eighteen hundred years. May we not naturally conceive, that a people thus preserved without advance or retrocession; dispersed, yet combined; broken, yet firm; without a country, yet dwellers in all; every where insulted, yet every where influential; without a nation, yet united as no nation ever was before or since has not been appointed to offer this extraordinary contradiction to the common laws of society, and even the common progress of nature, without a cause, and that cause one of final benevolence, universal good, and divine grandeur ? 'Twas eve on Jerusalem!
Glorious its glow
On the vine-cover'd plain,
On the mount's marble brow, On the Temple's broad grandeur, Enthroned on its height
Like a golden-domed isle
And the voice of her multitudes
From the vale deep and dim,"
What form stands on Zion ?—
His hand grasps a trumpet;
The heart's-blood runs chill At its death-sounding blast:
All the thousands are still—
Where, like one from the tomb,
"Thou'rt lovely, Jerusalem! Lovely, yet stain'd; Thou'rt a lion's whelp, Judah,
Yet thou shalt be chain'd. Thou'rt magnificent, Zion!
Yet thou shalt be lone ; The pilgrim of sorrow
Shall see thy last stone.
"Hark, hark to the tempest→→
What roar fills my ear?
On that tempest are roll'dTwin demons of havoc,
To ravage thy fold.
"They rush through the land
As through forests the fire; Woe, woe to the infant,
Woe, woe to the sire! Rejoice for the warrior
Who sinks to the grave; But weep for the living
A ransomless slave.
"But, veil'd be mine eyeballs! The red torch is flung, And the last dying hymn
Of the temple is sung! The altar is vanish'd,
The glory is gone; The curse is fulfill'd,
The last vengeance is done!
"Again all is darkness: Year rolls upon year;
I hear but the fetter,
I see but the bier,
THE SPRING AND THE BROOK.
IT may be that the Poet is as a Spring,
Brings with it mirror'd smiles, and green, and flowers-
Taking the simple cheer of every day,-
That solitary parent Spring behind!
FAIR thoughts of good, and fantasies as fair!
Rages sometimes, must noble growth be pined,
And leave the world small space to nourish weeds of crime.
To live for present life, and feel no crime
To see in life a merry-morrice craft,
Where he has done the best who most has laugh'd,
Is Youth's fit heaven, nor thus the less sublime:
But not to all men in their best of prime,
ACTION AND THOUGHT.
THERE is a world where struggle and stern toil
Then to that other world of thought from this
But round in weirdest metamorphosis,
False shapes and true, divine and devilish, close.
Broodeth the Spirit of God: thence evermore,
Them that will hear " Despair not! it is I."
In reverence will we speak of those that woo
LESSON TO POETS.
TRY not, or murmur not if tried in vain,
R. M. MILNes.