« ElőzőTovább »
Passage of the Red Sea.
is distinguished above the other, for attention to the duties of religion, and that the number of attentive worshippers at the altar, among them, is far greater. We have alluded to this subject, as one which, above all others, promotes the happiness of this life, verifying the saying of inspiration, that Godliness has the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. It is true that the pleasures of mirth and of merriment will be lessened, because it is seen that their foundation is slender; that the passions must be in some measure subdued, because, when their barriers are broken down, they will let in a flood of evil—but the happiness of the heart is increased, and the heart must be the fountain from which all solid enjoyment is derived. In concluding this subject, we cannot refrain from introduc
ing those beautiful lines of the poet, naturally
connected with the remarks we have jus made:—
o —“Never man was truly blest, .*. But it composed, and gave him such a cast, As folly might mistake for want of joy; A cast unlike the triumphs of the proud; A modest aspect and a smile at heart.
Written by Miss Mary Jane Millard, aged fifteen years, and presented as a specimen of her composition while at school, in the Female Seminary at Rochester, N. Y.
P A SSAGE OF THE RED S E A.
Day with all its glories had expired as gently as it dawned. In the west, the sun went proudly down, tinging his sapphire throne with rich painted blushes of golden light; and thence reflected, with unsurpassing splendor, through the gay mist that rose above the billows. All the mighty towers of Migdol, with the giant head of Pihahiroth were glowing as with a crown of gold. But soon the gorgeous scene vanished, and all its glories with it, leaving nothing but the gray hues of approaching night.
At the base of a lofty mountain, the weary tribes of Israel reposed. The pale full moon was rising go over them, diffusing a mild pearly light throughout the vault of heaven, brightening the light fleecy clouds with dashes of snowy splendor, and moving among the attendant stars like a queen before her train. The mild, balmy breeze, which had prevailed with freshness through the day, went down with the sun, and the tranquil sea, as smooth as a mirror, moved on its unceasing roll, unheeding all his glories. There was an enchantment in the scene that would smile at all description. So calm, so sublimely beautiful, looked the earth, the sea and heavens; blent thought too deep for utterance
| filled the soul, and imagination with all her magic powers could not paint so fair a scene. But they, the weary tribes, were wrapped in slumbers, accompanied with sweet dreams of wandering in their promised Canaan, by the cooling fountains where the palm tree lent its shade, and the vines wet their drooping boughs, loaded with the rich purple clusters, half concealed behind their dark green soliage. But there were those whose sterner sinews required not repose. From their hearts the fount of love and joy was gushing, as the solemon voiceless prayer went from their quivering lips up to the throne of God. The air which before had been as still as that which wakes the holy Sabbath morn, was suddenly broken by a fearful, thrilling sound; 'twas such as had never before reached the ears of the Israelites! Hark! 'tis not the clash of meeting pines upon the mountain top ! the rage of warring winds—nor the loud rush of maddening waters upon the rocky shore: “Wake, Israel! though thy sleep be the sweetest now : Awake! the foe comes with his host to battle! Behold them descending yonder hill, innumerable as the leaves of the forest; with chaliots and horses, and fearful looking spearmen, all armed in the panoply of war: Arise and meet thine enemy " Now the murmurs of Israel mingle with the sound, because the precipitous mountain crags above them raise their eternal barriers, and will not let them pass. Before them, in their very path, the white waves of the maddening sea rush into wild disorder, while in their rear the oppressor is advancing with the quickness of a falchion's glance, armed with deadly weapons. Night has assailed them, and spread her dark gray mantle over the face of nature. The pale stars are in the silent watch towers, and the moon half strip|ped of her former splendor, is looking down in sadness through a thickening cloud, as if in sorrow for Israel's fate. Then spake the prophet—“Israel, cease thy mourning, and despair not because thine eyes behold not the way of salvation—for the mountain, if God so please, may become plain ground, and the sea as dry land! Nay, yonder gushing cloud might bear us safely through the heavens, rather than the host of us should perish!” After the faithful patriarch had uttered the comforting words to his sorrowing people, he went from amidst of them and stood upon a rock that overlooked the sea, with brow unblanched, i. calm as summer's twilight. While the earful sound of the advancing foe still louder pealed—as the aspirations of his heart in love to God mounted to heaven on the wings of faith—he stretched his rod upon the heaving sea, and delegated with the power and ma'. jesty of a God, issued his mandate to the obedient waves. Now the murmurs of Israel
Jäscent of the Great Pyramid.
cease—every eye is turned with amazement on the heaving deep. The mighty water is cleft asunder to its rocky bed—the vast liquid sheets curl over and over on either side, like scrolls of parchment, and stands as firm and immoveable as adamantime walls. Between it and the heavens God reared a fiery battlement to beam in radiant smiles on Israel, and frown in blackest darkness on the coming foe. The long glittering hall is ready waiting for the favored ones to pass. Deep awe had sealed in silence every lip, and filled each heart with love and reverence, as Moses leads them to the sea. With slow and solemn pace they enter the chambers of the mighty deep, lighted by God's eternal watch-fire, and impress their feet mid gems and rosy shells, on the sanded pavement of the sea. Onward they move in a line long and straight. :k >k + 4: >k On a distant mountain, the sober gray of morn was hanging like a veil on his rugged forehead. Then came a sound loud as ten thousand thunders! 'Twas the revengeful Egyptians pursuing, rending the air with their tremendous shouts. But the Israelites had no more to fear, for they were safe on the opposite shore, and beheld them swarm like insects that darkened all her borders. Lo! the frown of God is on the heavens! The dark fleecy clouds float their sable banners to enlist all the elements to battle. The pale stars and the wan moon have covered their fearful faces in darkness and in sorrow; while the rolling thunder peals through the upper heavens with a knell of desolation, and the maddening sea in acclamation utters back the sound ! Mourn for thy crimes, guilty Egypt, though now too late ; Simite thy breast, haughty and impious king! No more shall thine eves in pride behold thy palace towers, glittering with the gems of captive nations! And you, ye warriors, bow your heads in sorrow, who thirst for blood like tigers! no more shall ye behold the inmates of your once happy homes! The day of doom is dawning ! Ere the sun again mounts his meridian throne, shall the pride of armies perish, and the shades of death despoil the gleam of swords and spears, and all the costly ornaments that grace oppressive Egypt's front. With the diadem upon that kingly head, all shall remain on the
floor of ocean to rise no more! The storm now peals in wild fury, while along the vault of heaven the deep thunder rolls, and the fiery lightning of God's red wrath is streaming down upon them. They grasp the giant billows that were strongly locked—they rise still higher, arching the way of death, till they meet each other, and fall like silver tissue from the clouds; and every soul is swallowed in one tremendous ruin!
On my arrival I saw some persons nearly
at the top, and some just commencing the
ascent. They were all at the very edge; and certainly their apparently perilous situation justified me in the conviction that I could never be able to mount. However, determining to make the attempt, I commenced outside from where the entrance had been formed, and walked along the whole length of one side of the square, about forty feet from the ground to the opposite corner; the ledge being narrow, and in one place quite broken off, requiring a long step to gain the next stone. As the pyramid itself formed a wall to the right hand, and consequently an apparent defence, I felt no want of courage till I reached the corner where the ascent is in many places absolu'-ely on the angle, leaving no protection on either side. About this time I began to be heartily frightened, and when I heard one gentleman from above call to me to desist, and another tell me not to think of proceeding, right glad was I to return, and to attribute my want of success to their advice rather than to my own deficiency of spirit.— Each of the o as they descended told me the difficulty and fatigue were great, and they evidently were heated and tired; but, at length, in answer to my question a hundred times repeated, of “do you think I could go?” they proposed to try at least, and kindly of. fered to accompany me. Away I went, and by the assistance a footstool in some places, and the aid of the guides, and the gentlemen to encourage me, I succeeded in arriving half way, all the time exclaiming I should never get down again; and indeed my head was so giddy, that it was some minutes after I was seated at the resting stone half way before I could recover myself. Being a little refreshed, I resumed the ascent; but the guides were so clamorous that I turned back, finding their noise, and pushing and crowding, as dangerous as the height. The gentlemen, at length, brought them to some degree of order, partly by remonstrance, and partly by carrying the majority to the top, and leaving only two with me. . This quiet in some degree restored my head, and the footing as I advanced
became more easy, I reached the summit
amid the huzzas of the whole party. It was
a considerable time, however, before Igained
confidence to look around, notwithstanding I
was on a surface thirty feet square. The
prospect, though from so great an elevation,
disappointed me. I saw, indeed, an immense
extent of cultivated country, divided into fields of yellow flax and green wheat, like so many
Descent of the Andes—Good offctions.
squares in a chess-board, with the Nile and its various canals which cause their luxuriance, and a vast tract of desert on the other side; I must, however, acknowledge that this scenery I enjoyed on recollection—for I was too anxious how I was to get down, to think much of the picturesque. A railing even of straws might give some idea of security, but here there was absolutely nothing; and I had to cross and recross the angle, as the broken ledges rendered it necessary—for it is a mistake to suppose there are steps; the passage is performed over blocks of stone and granite; some broken off, others crumbling away, and others, which, having dropped out altogether, have left an angle in the masonry; but all these are very irregular. Occasionally the width and height of the stones are equal; but generally the height greatly exceeds the width; in many parts the blocks are four feet high. Once the stone was so high, that as I slipped off I feared that my feet would shoot beyond the ledge on which they were next to rest, and which was certainly but a few inches wide. Another time I was in great peril; I had stretched one foot down with much exertion as far as it could reach, and as the other followed, the heel of the shoe caught in a crevice of the rock, and I had nearly lost my balance in the effort to extricate myself. In a few places, the width of the ledges enabled me to use the footstool, which considerably diminished the fatigue; but the greater number were far too narrow for its three feet to rest upon, and I thought it too insecure to allow an Arab to support it with his hands while I stepped upon it. After all this, it may be supposed I was glad when I had accomplished the undertaking: for, to tell the truth, the greatest pleasure I felt in ascending the pyramid was to be enabled to say, at some future time, that I had been at its summit.— Mrs. C. Lushington's Journey from Calcutta to Europe.
At length we came to the Chesta de Concual. This was a dreadful descent, leading down to an awful depth below, with the river running at the bottom, a very short distance to the right. It was really terrific to look down, and I am speaking within the opinion of many whom I have consulted on this subject, when I say, that it was at least eleven or twelve hundred feet in a directalescent, in all parts so steep, that there was no possibility of standing; many parts were also hard and slippery, and how to get down this was now our task, which I should never have thought in the power of human beings to accomplish,
had I not witnessed it and done it myself; so little are we aware what we are capable of
performing till brought to the trial. I stood and gazed with wonder, scarcely believing they would attempt it. However, the loads were taken off, and away they flew, tumbling and sliding down like lightning. Our beds went into the river, and were soon swept out of sight. Then the peons prepared, and laying themselves flat on their backs, with their arms and legs extended, to my utter amazement, they flew down one after another with the swiftness of an arrow, guiding themselves clear of the river, although going down with such velocity; one turned once or twice head over heels, then round and round like a ball, till he reached the bottom without the slightest injury. Now I thought this would never do for me, so I wanted to see how my companion would manage. He approached the brink, and making a hole first to rest his heel in, thrust his stick half way in the snow, so that it might support him to lower himself down a little, and then dug another hole. In this manner he went down the very steepest part, and then let go, and slid the rest in a sitting posture. Now came my turn; I commenced with the plan of my companion, but finding it so very steep, and not liking the handing posture by one arm, I acted more securely, but was much longer about it; first working a hole with my stick and putting my heel in it, then working another hole and putting the other heel in, thus seeing my way clearly before me, and having a footing of both feet at a time in a sitting posture, while I worked myself steps with my stick, till I passed the steepest part; then I let go, laying flat on my back, and went down with amazing velocity, a distance of five hundred feet. Coming down this place occupied me nearly two hours; but I would not have let go on the steepest part for all the gold and silver in the mines of Peru.-Lieutenant Brand's Journey, Voyage to Peru, &c.
There is no calculating the good which a single benevolent action will do. A penny properly bestowed often brings gladness to a drooping heart. We should ever cultivate a habit of doing good, and of speaking kindly and encouragingly to the poor. This will cost us but little—but there is no telling the amount of happiness that it may confer.
If all in their sphere would do the good in their power, two thirds of the present misery in the world would disappear. Doing good does not necessarily imply giving alms. It is to encourage, direct, and advise the poor and afflicted, as well as to minister to their bodily Wants.
- Equanimity of temper is good at all times. No. 10.
Beauties of Salathiel.
B E A U TIES OF SA L.A. T HIE L.
From Jubal, Salathiel learned all the details of the siege. The Romans finding the possession of Massada, essential to the conquest of Judea, resolved to make themselves masters of it at all hazards. The Romans, commanded by Cestius, being baffled in every assault by the generalship of Eleazar and the intrepidity of the garrison, turned the siege into a blockade. Famine and disease were more formidable than the sword. Then they fought the battles of despair. But courage, a courage sustained by higher thoughts than those of the soldiery—the fortitude of piety and prayer, would not avail, and the fortress and its few defenders fell before the overwhelming number of the assailants. “By dawn,” said I, “we must set out for Jerusalem.”—Jubal replied:— “It has been closely invested for the last three months; and famine and faction are doing their worst within the walls. Titus is without, at the head of a hundred thousand of the legionaries and allies. To enter will be next to impossible; and when once entered, what will be before you but the madness of civil discord, and finally, death by the hands of an enemy utterly infuriated against our nation ?” “To Jerusalem, at all risks; my fate is mingled with that of the last stronghold of our fallen people. What matters it to one whose roots of happiness are cut up like mine, in what spot he struggles with man and fortune! As a son of Judea, my powers are due to her cause, and every drop of my blood shed for any other would be treason to the memory of my fathers. The dawn finds me on my way to Jerusalem.” “It is spoken like a prince of Naphtali; but I must not follow you. The course of glory is cut off for me; unless something may still be done by collecting the fugitives of the tribes, and harrassing the Roman communications. But Jerusalem, though every stone of her walls is precious to my soul, must not receive my guilty steps. I have horrid recollections of things seen and done there. , My mind is still too full of the impulses that drove it to frenzy. Onias, that wily hypocrite, will be there to fill me with visions of terror.— There too are—others.” He was silent; but suddenly resuming his firmness, “I have no hostility to Constantius; I even honor and esteem him; but my spirit is still too feverish to bear his presence. I must live and die far from all that l have ever known.” He hid his face in his mantle; but the agitation of his form showed more than clamorous grief. He walked forth into the darkness.
I was ignorant of his purpose, and lingered long for his return. But I saw him no more. Disturbed and pained by his loss, I had scarcely thrown myself on the cottage floor, my only bed, when I was roused by the cries of the village. A detachment of Roman cav. alry marching for Jerusalem had entered, and was taking up its quarters for the night. The peasantry could make no resistance, and attempted none. I had only time to call to my adopted daughter to rise, when our hut was occupied and we were made prisoners. This was an unexpected blow: yet it was one to which, on second thoughts, I was reconciled. In the disturbed state of the country traveling was totally insecure, and even to obtain a conveyance of any kind was a matter of extreme difficulty. The roving plunderers that hovered in the train of the camp were, of all plunderers, the most merciless. By falling into the hands of the legionaries we were at least sure of an escort; I might obtain some useful information of their affairs; and, once in sight of the city, might escape from the Roman lines with more ease as a prisoner, than I could pass them as an enemy. The cavalry moved at day-break; and before night we saw in the horizon the hills that surround Jerusalem. But we had full evidence of our approach to the centre of struggle, by the devastation that follows the track of the best disciplined army; groves and orchards cut down; corn-fields trampled; cottages burnt; gardens and homesteads ravaged. Farther on, we traversed the encampments of the auxiliaries, barbarians of every color and language within the limits of the mightiest of empires. We passed through some miles of boisterous and bustling scene, in which even a Roman escort was scarcely a sufficient security. The barbarians thronged round us, brandished their spears over our heads, rode their horses full gallop against us, and exhausted the whole language of scorn, ridicule, and wrath, upon our helpless condition. But the clamor gradually died away, and we entered upon another region, totally denuded of life and of the means of life; a zone of silence and solitude interposed between the dangerous riot of barbarism and the severe regularity of the legions. Far within this circle we reached the Roman camp; the world of disciplined war. The setting sun threw his flame on the long vistas of shield and helmet drawn out, according to custom, for the hour of exercise before nightfall. The tribunes were on horseback in front of the cohorts, putting them through that boundless variety of admirable movements, in which no soldiery were so dexterious as those of Rome. But all was done with
characteristic silence. No sound was heard but the measured tramp of the manoeuvre, and the voice of the tribune. The sight was at once absorbing to the eye of one, like me, an enthusiast in soldiership, and appalling to the lover of his country. Before me was the great machine, the resistless, living energy, that had leveled the strength of the most renowned kingdoms. With the feeling of a man who sees the tempest at hand; in the immediate terror of the bolt, I could yet gaze with wonder and admiration at the grandeur of the thunder cloud. As the night fell, the legions saluted the parting sun with homage, according to a custom which they had learned in their eastern campaigns. Sounds, less of war than of worship, arose; flutes breathed in low and dulcet harmonies from the lines; and this iron soldiery, bound on the business of extermination, moved to their tents in the midst of strains made to wrap the heart in softness and sol
emnity. I awoke at sunrise. But was I in a land of enchantment! I looked for the immense
camp;-it had vanished. A few soldiers collecting the prisoners sleeping about the field were all that remained of an army. Our guard explained the wonder. An attack on the trenches, in which the besiegers had been driven in with serious loss, had determined Titus to bring up his whole force. The troops moved with that habitual silence which eluded almost the waking ear. They were now beyond the hills, and the hour was come at which the prisoners were ordered to follow them. But where was the daughter of Ananus? I had placed her in a tent with some captive females of our nation. The tent was struck, and its inmates were gone. On the spot where it stood, a flock of sheep were already grazing, with a Roman soldier leaning drowsily on his spear for their shepherd. To what alarms might not this fair girl be exposed ? Dubious and distressed, I followed the guard in the hope of discovering the fate of an innocent and lovely child, who seemed, like mysels, marked for misfortune.
At the close of a weary day we reached our final station, upon the hill Scopas, seven furlongs from Jerusalem. Bitter memory was busy with me there. From the spot on which I flung myself in heaviness of heart, huddled among a crowdofmiserable captives, and wishing only that the evening gathering over me might be my last, I had once looked upon the army of the oppressors marching into my toils, and exulted in the secure glories of myself and my country.
But the prospect now beneath the eye showed only the fiery tract of invasion. The
pastoral beauty of the plain was utterly gone. The innumerable garden-houses and summer dwellings of the Jewish nobles, gleaming in every variety of graceful architecture, among vineyards and depths of aromatic foliage, were leveled to the ground; and the gardens turned into a sandy waste, cut up by trenches and military works in every direction. In the midst rose the great Roman rampart, which Titus, in despair of conquering the city by the sword, drew round it to extinguish its last hope of provisions or reinforcements; a hideous boundary, within which all was to be the sepulchre. I saw Jerusalem only in her expiring struggle. Others have given the history of that most memorable siege. My knowledge was limited to the last hideous days of an existence long declining, and finally extinguished in horrors beyond the imagination of man. I knew her follies, her ingratitude, her crimes; but the love of the city of David was deep in my soul; her lofty privileges, the proud memory of those who had made her courts glorious, the sage, the soldier, and the prophet, lights of the world, to which the boasted illumination of the heathen was darkness, filled my spirit with an immortal homage. I loved her then, I love her still. To mingle my blood with that of my perishing country was the first wish of my heart. But I was under the rigor of the confinement inflicted on the Jewish prisoners. My rank was known; and while it produced offers of new distinction from my captors, it increased their vigilance. To every temptation I gave the same denial, and occupied my hours in devices for escape. In the meanwhile, I saw with terror that the wall of circumvallation was closing; and that a short period must place an impassable barrier between me and the city. After a day of anxious gazing on the progress of this wall of destiny, I was roused at midnight by the roaring of one of those tempests, which sometimes break in so fiercely upon an eastern summer. The lightning struck the old tower in which I was confined, and I found myself riding upon a pile of ruins. Escape, in the midst of a Roman camp, seemed as remote as ever. But the storm which shook solid walls, made its way at will among tents, and the whole encampment was broken up. A column of infantry passed where I was extricating myself from the ruins. They were going to reinforce the troops in the trenches against the chance of an attack during the tempest. I followed them. The night was terrible. The lightning that blazed with frightful vividness, and then left the sky to tenfold obscurity, led us through the lines. The column was too late, and it found the besieged already mounted upon the