« ElőzőTovább »
Beauties of Salathiel.
wall of circumvallation, and flinging it down in huge fragments. The assault and defence were alike desperate. The nightgrew pitchy dark, and the only evidence that men were around me, was the clang of arms. A sudden flash showed me that l had reached the foot of the rampart. The besieged, carried away by their native impetuosity, poured down in crowds. Their leader, cheering them on, was struck by a lance and fell. The sight rallied the enemy. I felt that now or never was the moment for my escape. I rushed in front, and called out my name.-At the voice the wounded leader uttered a cry which I well knew. I caught him from the ground. A gigantic centurion darted forward, and grasped my robe. Embarrassed with my burden, I was on the point of being dragged back; the centurion's sword glittered over my head. With my only weapon, a stone, I struck him a furious blow on the forehead.— The sword fell from his grasp; I seized it, and keeping the rest at bay, and in the midst of shouts from my countrymen, leaped the trench with the nobler trophy in my arms. I had rescued Constantius ! Jerusalem was now verging on to the last horrors. I could scarcely find my way through her ruins. The noble buildings were # stroyed by conflagration, or the assaults of the various factions. The monuments of our kings and tribes were lying in mutilation at my feet. Every man of former eminence was ne. Massacre and exile were the masters of the higher ranks; and even the accidental distinctions into which the humbler in birth or opulence were thrown by the few past }. involved a fearful purchase of public azard. Like men in an earthquake, the elevation of each was only a sign to him of the working of an irresistible principle of ruin. But the most formidable characteristic was the change wrought upon the popular mind. Three factions divided Jerusalem, even while the Roman battering-rams were shaking her colossal towers. Three armies fought night and day within the city, carrying on the operations of war with more than civil fury. Streets undermined, houses battered down, granaries burned, wells poisoned, the perpetual shower of death from the roofs, made the external hostility trivial: and the Romans required only patience to have been bloodless masters of a city, which yet they would have found only a tomb of its people. I wandered, an utter stranger, through Jerusalem. All the familiar faces were gone. At an early period of the war many of the higher ranks, forseeing the event, had left the city; at a later, my victory over Cestius, by driving back the enemy, gave a free passage to a crowd of others. It was at that time remarked that the chief fugitives were
Christians; and a singular prophecy of their Master was declared to be the warning of their escape. It is certain that of his followers, including many even of our priests and learned men, scarcely one remained. They declared that the is... by the Divine Wisdom through *...} he rest in glory !) was come; that the death of their Master was the consummating crime; and that, in the Romans, the nation “of a strange speech,” flying on “eagle wings from the ends of the earth,” was already commissioned against a people stained with the blood of the Messiah.
so was the word of the great prophet of Israel accomplished; fearfully fell the sword to smite away root and branch; solemnly, and by a hand which scorned the strength of man, was the deluge of ruin let loose against the throne of David. And still, though almost two thousand years, the flood of desolation is at the full; no moutain-top is seen rising; no spot is left clear for the sole of the Jewish foot; no dove returns with the olive. Eternal King, shall this be for ever! Wilt thou utterly reject the children of him whom thy right hand brought from the land of the idolater! Wilt thou forever hide thy might from the tribes whom thy servant Moses led through the burning wilderness!— Wilt thou not bring back the broken kingdom of thy servant Israel ! Still we wander in darkness, the tenants of a prison whose walls we feel at every step; the scoff of the idolater; the captive of the infidel: have we not abided without king or priest, or ephod or teraphim, many days, and when are those days to be at an end
Yet, is not the deluge at last about to subside Is not the trumpet at the lip to summon thy chosen; are not the broken tribes now awaiting thy command to come from the desert—from the sea—from the dungeon—from the mine—like the light from darkness? I gaze upon the stars, and think, countless and glorious as they are, such shall yet be thy multitude and thy splendor, people of the undone! The promise of the King of kings is fulfilling; and even now, to my withered eyes, to my struggling prayer, to the deep agonies of a supplication that no tongue can utter, there is a vision and an answer. On my knees, worn by the flint, I hear the midnight voice; and weeping wait for the day that will come, though heaven and earth should pass away.
My first object was to ascertain the fate of my family. From Constantius I could learn nothing; for the severity of his wound had reduced him to such a state, that he recognised no one... I sat by him day after day, watching with bitter solicitude for the return of his
Beauties of Salathiel.
every other name that I loved. The affecting eloquence of his appeals sometimesplunged me into the deepest depression; sometimes drove me out to seek relief from them even in the horrors of the streets; I was the most solitary of men. In those melancholy wanderings, none spoke to me; I spoke to none. The kinsmen whom Ihad left under the commandofmy brave son, were slain or dispersed; and on the night when I saw him battling with his native ardor, the men whom he led to the foot of the rampart were an accidental band, excited by his brilliant intrepidity to choose him at the instant for their captain. In sorrow, indeed, had I entered Jerusalem. The devastation of the city was enormous during its tumults. The great factions were reduced to two; but in the struggle, a large portion of the temple was burned. The stately chambers of the priests were dust and embers. The cloisters which encircled the sanctuary were beaten down, or left naked to the visitation of the seasons, which now, as by the peculiar wrath of heaven, had assumed a fierce and ominous inclemency. Tremendous bursts of tempest shook the city; and the popular mind was kept in perpetual alarm at the accidents which followed those storms. Fires were constantly caused by the lightning; deluges of rain flooded the streets, and falling on the shattered roofs, increased the misery of their famishing inhabitants; the keenest severity of winter in the midst of spring, added to the sufferings of a people doubly unprovided to encounter it, by its unexpectedmess, and by their necessary exposure on the battlements and in the field. Within the walls all bore the look of a grave, and even that grave shaken by some convulsion of nature. From the battlements the sight was despair. The Roman camps covered the hills, and we could see the soldiery sharpening the very lances that were to drink our . The fires of their nightwatches lighted up the horizon round. At every fire we could see our future slayers.-We heard the sound of their trumpets and their shouts; as the sheep in the fold might hear the roaring of the lion and the tiger ready to leap their feeble boundary. Yet the valor of the people was never wearied out. The wall, whose circle was to shut us up from the help of man or the hope of escape, was the grand object of attack and defence; and, though thousands covered the ground at its foot with their corpses, the Jew was still ready to rush on the Roman spear. This valor was spontaneous, for subordination had long been at an end. The names of John of Giscala and Simon, influential as they were in the earlier periods of the war, had lost their force in the civil fury and desperate pressures of the siege. No leaders were acknowledged
but hatred of the enemy, iron fortitude, and a determination not to survive the fall of Jerusalem. In this furious warfare I took my share with the rest; handled the spear, and fought and watched, without thinking of any distinction of rank. My military experience, and the personal strength which enabled me to render prominent services in those desultory attacks, often excited our warriors to offer me com. mand: but ambition was dead within me. I was one day sitting beside the bed of Constantius, and bitterly absorbed in gazing on what I thought the progress of death, when I heard a universal outcry, more melancholy than human voices seemed made to utter.— My first thought was that the enemy had forced the gates. . I took down my sword, and gloomily prepared to go out and die. I found the streets filled with crowds hurrying forward without apparent direction, but all exhibiting a sorrow amounting to agony; wringing their hands, beating their bosoms, tearing their hair, and casting dust and ashes on their heads. A large body of the priesthood came rushing from the temple with loud lamentations. The DAILY SACRIFICE had ceased — The perpetual offering, which twice a day burned in testimonial of the sins and the expiation of Israel, the peculiar homage of the nation to heaven, was no more! . The siege had extinguished the resources of the Temple; the victims could no longer be supplied, and the people must perish without the power of atonement. This was the final cutting off —the declaration of the sentence—the seal of the great condemnation. Jerusalem was undone! Overpowered by this fatal sign, I was sadly returning to my worse than solitary chamber; for there lay, speechless and powerless, the noblest creature that breathed in Jerusalem: yet a source of perpetual anxiety to me from his utter helplessness, and the deep affection which I bore him; when I was driven aside by a new torrent of the people, exclaiming— “The prophet! the prophets woe to the city of David I’” They rushed on in haggard multitudes; and in the midst of them came a mad fellow, bounding and gesticulating with indescribable wildness. His constant exclamation was— “Woe—woe—woe s” expressed in a tone that searched the very heart. He stopped from time to time, and flung out some denunciation against the popular crimes, then recommenced the cry of “Woe!” and bounded forward again. He at length came opposite to where I stood; and his features struck me as resembling some that I had seen before. But they were full of a strange impulse—the grandeur of inspiration, mingled with the animal No. 10.
Beauties of Salathiel.
* fierceness of frenzy. The eye shot fire un
der the sharp and hollow brows; the nostrils contracted and opened like those of an angry steed; and every muscle of a singularly elastic frame was quivering and exposed from the effects alike of mental violence and famine. “Ho! Prince of Naphtali: we meet at last!” was his exclamation: his countenance fell; and a tear gushed from lids that looked incapable of human weakness. “I found her, my beauty, my bride! She was in the dungeon. he seal-ring that I tore from that villain's finger was worth a mine of gold, for it opened the gates of her prison. Come forth, girl!” With these words he caught by the hand, and led to me a pale creature, with the traces of loveliness, but evidently in the last stage of mortal decay. She stood silent as a statue. In compassion I took her hand, while the multitude gathered round us in curiosity. I now remembered Sabat the Ishmaelite, and his story. “She is mad,” said Sabat, shaking his head mournfully, and gazing on the fading form at his side. “Worlds would not restore her senses. But there is a time for all things.” He sighed, and cast his full eye on heaven.— “I watched her day and night,” he went on, “till I grew mad too... But the world will have an end, and then all will be well. Come, wife, we must be going. To-night there are strange things within the walls, and without the walls. There will be feasting and mourning; there will be blood and tears: then comes the famine—then comes the fire—then the sword; and then all is quiet again, and forever! But heaven is mighty. To-night there will be wonders; watch well your walls, people of the ruined city. To-night there will be signs; let no man sleep, but those that sleep in the grave. Prince of Naphtalis— have you too sworn, as I have, to die?” He lifted his meagre hand. “Come, yethunders; come, ye fires: vengeance cries from the sanctuary. Listen! undone people; listen! nation of sorrow, to the trumpets of the ministers of wrath. Woe —woe—woe s” Pronouncing those words with a voice of the most sonorous, yet melancholy power, he threw himself into a succession of strange and fearful gestures; then beckoning to the female who submissively followed his steps, plunged away among the multitude. I heard the howl of “Woe—woe—woes" long echoed through the windings of the ruined streets;
and thought that I heard the voice of the an
gel of desolation. The seventeenth day of the month Tamuz, ever memorable in the sufferings of Israel, was the last of the Daily Sacrifice. Sorrow and fear were on the city; and the silence of the night was broken bylamentation from the
multitude. I retired to my chamber of affliction, and busied myself in preparing for the guard of the Temple, to withdraw my mind from the gloom that was beginning to master me. Yet when I looked round the room, and thought of what I had been, of the opulent enjoyments of my palace, and of the beloved faces that surrounded me there, I felt the sickness of the heart. The chilling air that blew through the dilapidated walls, the cruse of water, the scanty bread, the glimmering lamp, the comfortless and squallid bed, on which lay, in the last stage of weakness, a patriot and a hero, being full of fine affections and abilities, reduced to the helplessness of an infant, and whom, in leaving for the night, I might be leaving to perish by the poniard of the robber,-unmanned me. I cast the scimetar from my hand, and sat down with a sullen determination there to linger until death, or that darker vengeance which haunted me, should do its will. The night was stormy, and the wind rolled in long and bitter gusts through the deserted chambers of the huge mansion. But the mind is the true place of suffering; and I felt the season's visitation in my locks drenched about my face, and my tattered robes swept by the freezing blasts, as only the natural course of things. I was sitting by the bed-side, moistening the fevered lips of Constantius with water, and pressing on him the last fragment of bread which I might ever have to give, when I, with sudden delight, heard him utter for the first time articulate sounds. I stooped my ear to catch accents so dear and full of hope. But the words were a supplication. He prayed to the Christian's d. ! I turned away from this resistless conviction of his belief. But this was no time for debate, and I was won to listen again. His voice was scarcely above a whisper, but his language was the aspiration of a glowing heart. His eyes were closed; and evidently unconscious of my presence, in his high communion with heaven, he talked of things of which I had but imperfect knowledge, or none; of blood shed for the sins of man; of a descended Spirit to guard the path of the servants of heaven; of the unspeakable love that ave the Son of God to torture and mortal eath for the atonement of that human iniquity, which nothing but such a sacrifice could atone. He named the names dear to us both; and praying “for their safety, if they were in life, or for their meeting beyond the grave, resigned himself to the will of his Lord.” Iwaited in sacred awe till I saw, by the subsiding motion of the lips, that the inward
prayer which followed was done; and then, anxious to gain information of my family,
I love the fair and beautiful blossoms, that are scattered so abundantly in the spring season over the field, and by the quiet edges of the wood, or when their sunny petals tremble to the pleasant murmuring of the streams, that go by like merchantmen trafficking their melody for gales of odor. I would not gather the first flowers that lift up their delicate heads to meet me in my spring path;-it seems to me almost as if they were gifted with a feeling, and a perception of the loveliness of nature, and I cannot carelessly pluck them from their frail stems and throw them aside to their early withering—'tis like defacing the pages of a favorite book of poetry, round which the spirit of the bard seems hovering still in a persevering watchfulness.
Beautiful flowers! they are the “jewelry” cf spring, and bravely do they decorate her laughing brow, gladdening all hearts with her exceeding loveliness. But no: there are some hearts for whom her voice has no cadences of joy, her beauty no power to hasten the .# pulse. How can the glorious spring speak rejoicingly to those over whose degraded brows the free gales seem to breathe revilings, instead of peacefulness and high
thoughts, and for whose ears the gush of mel
ody seems only to syllable one reproachful name ! Gladness and beauty are not for the sympathies of the wretched, and far better than the brightness of the vernal sunshine does the dreariness of winter harmonize with the desolate spirit of the slave. O, that the warm breathings of universal love might drive out from the bosoms of men, the cold unfeeling winter of indifference, with which they have so long regarded the sufferings of their oppressed brethren : that the beautiful blossoms of Christian compassion and holy benevolence, springing up in their hearts, might shed over them the fragrance of the memory of good deeds! Then should the benediction-of those that were ready to perish, come upon them like the blessing of
Spring Flowers—Our Country
Our eastern borders behold the sun in splendor rising from the Atlantic, while the western shores are embraced in darkness by the billows of the Pacific. Our country has indeed a vast extent of territory, with the diversified climates of the globe. On the one hand is the ever smiling verdure of the beautiful and balmy south, and on the other the sterile hills and sombre pine forests of the dreary north—and intermediate the outstretched region where the chilling blasts of winter are succeeded by the zephyrs, and the flowers of summer. The snow-clad summits of her mountains look down upon the elemental war of the storm-clouds floating above the shrubless prairie, that realizes the obsolete notion of the earth being an immense plain; and, towards the ocean on the east and the west, upon the broad rich valleys where the father of waters, the endless rivers, and the majestic Columbia with its hundred branches gently wind alon or rapidly rush on to mingle their waters wit the waves of the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, or the magnificent expanse of our North west Caspian seas. Could the power of vision at once extend over our whole wide domain, what a grand ennobling scene would be presented to a spectator standing upon one of the lofty peaks of the Rocky Mountains, or, as Washington Irving aptly denominates it, “the crest of the world.” And then to take, upon a summer day, a birds-eye view of all the roads, canals, rail roads, lakes, and rivers; the innumerable post coaches whirling along over our 130,000 miles of post road; our steamers gliding magically along our waters; our locomotives shooting off comet like upon their track; our rapid intercourse between the sea-board and the inland maritime cities; and our peaceful armament approaching and departing with the commerce of the world; with all the various complicated movements of country town and city; and then, like Prior on Gronger Hill, to hear all the different musical and discordant sounds coming up to this “crest of the world”—if they could come from the entire scene, from the bellowing of the buffalo, leading his shaggy hundreds over the prairie, to the roar of the cataract as it shakes the earth with its stupendous plunge; with all this beneath the ear, well might the enraptured spectator exclaim, what a beautiful Panorama. For variety, beauty, grandeur, and sublim
ity of scenery, what country can surpass our own 3 What country can equal the life-sustaining power that slumbers in her soil? With all her wealth, improvements, and intelligence, and with our 20,000,000 of inhabitants, still we have but just commenced the settlement of our country and are only on the borders of the mighty wilderness. Her undeveloped resources are capable of sustaining a free population of more than 100,000,000. A century hence, in 1939, the United States of America, with 50 stars upon her banner, may welcome, at the dawning of that newyear's morn, no less than 120,000,000 of hap. py freemen. How exalted may then be the intelligence and virtue of the people. success of our efforts in the improvement of our schools and the general diffusion of knowledge, enables us to make an estimate of what our posterity of the third generation are likely to become.
Active must be the ardent imagination that can picture the scene at a glance. The ideal landscape cannot equal the reality, however lively may be the fancy. The idea of such a view as we have fancied to be beheld from the mountain-top a hundred years from this day, can never be conveyed by words—the picture must be painted by the wonder-working power of ideality.
Our country such is thy physical greatness and such the intellectual and moral power that now give promise of a glorious destiny, far beyond all parallel in the annals of the world. For such a destiny may thy institutions be well sustained, and may a halo of glory play about the name of every man who honestly labors in behalf of his fellows and posterity, to uphold, purify, perpetuate, and extend them.
In analyzing the human powers and faculties, and examining the springs of action, by which influence is easily exercised over others; in a word, to define what constitutes character, or weight of character, we often find it a difficult matter to explain. Integrity, industry, skill, and many talents of the first order, may be occasionally possessed, and yet the unhappy person may have very little influence, and consequently but imperfect success in most of his undertakings. The truth is, I apprehend, that he has some prominent defect in his character, which prevents him from having what would otherwise be, his proportional influence in society. he most important point is to acquire self. command, if we ever expect to have any permanent influence over others. We must not lose our balance, whenever we meet with any trifling unpleasant circumstance. We
are never to expect to have every thing go exactly right in this world. At best, we can make only a distant approximation to perfection. This is all which we are to expect in others, and certainly it is all that a modest man can expect others to find in him. We are to endeavor to palliate the evils which come within our sphere, not to quarrel with them, and be constantly complaining of them, and of our want of complete success. We are also to bear with patience those which we cannot remove. Though we cannot effect every thing that might be desirable, yet we can all contribute something to the general
Next to self-control, or an almost imperturbable equanimity, probably the most important in a character for influence, is independence and firmness. And perhaps no two qualities are more commonly mistaken and misunderstood. Independence consists in a man's thinking for himself; firmness, in acting for himself, according to the dictates of his conscience. There is a wrong, as well as a right way of exhibiting both of these qualities— They ought rarely, if ever, to be called into operation upon matters of indifference or mere expediency; and when they are required, they usually have much more influence when exercised in a smooth, than in a rough and forbidding manner. It is a great error to imagine that a man cannot be independent unless he thinks differently from the great mass of mankind upon plain and common sense topics, so that he must be always disputing, and taking the opposite side. He also makes the same mistake as to firmness, by obstinately adhering to matters of little importance. People of this description are generally the last to yield to others the liberties they are constantly taking themselves, and though always inclined to dispute, are yet the most impatient when their own opinions are gontroverted, even in the most delicate manner. They are a kind of noli metangere, (touch me not) with which it is difficult to come in contact without a sting. Such a character never succeeds well in any situation, and it is most of all unhappy in a professional man.
True independence and firmness keep a man stable and consistent, without leading him into the extreme measures of an ultra partizan. He adheres steadily to his own opinions, but does not obtrude them when they are uncalled for by the occasion.
The glory of a good man is the testimony of a good conscience: have that and thou wilt have inward peace in the midst of many troubles.
Men often go from love to ambition, but sel
dom return from ambition to love.