Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Most lovely was the scenery through which our travellers bent their way for a considerable time after leaving Ramah, and but for one circumstance, it would have been a season of rich enjoyment. Da Costa, while pointing out the ever-varying beauties that surrounded them, and expatiating on the unquestionable fertility of the soil, if but common justice in the way of tillage was done to it, seemed to Jose the recollection of his outcast condition. The land was his; and he spoke of it as though, not only in retrospect and in prospect, but also in actual possession, it was his own. Every group of olives, every scattered oak was to him an object worth descanting on; and his intimate knowledge of Scripture, which he quoted fluently, and so far as regarded the historical and geographical sense, with most correct application, rendered his discourse alike inJULY, 1842.

B

teresting and instructive. “You are aware,' said he, that it is the fashion among those who profess to understand our Scriptures better than we do ourselves, either to explain away by some shadowy interpretation what is declared of the natural fertility of this good land, or else assert that God has smitten it by an irreversible decree of barrenness, so that it shall never recover its former fruitfulness. According to them, the soil and its inheritors are alike shut out from the life-giving favour of the Almighty: their former distinction existing but in name; or rather indeed, as they would make out, rendered more conspicuous by the very marked reverse of all that they once were. It may be so, as regards the race of Israel; it may be,' he added, with a proud and scornful smile, as he encouraged his fiery steed to prance, and shew forth his own and his rider's stateliness, ‘it may be that we are all a race of abject, spirit-broken slaves; that among us is no intellect, no wealth, no enterprise, no worldly wisdom or spiritual knowledge : it may be that every man's foot is still on our neck, and that Israel is yet trodden down as the mire of the streets—but look at yonder patch of corn; narrow though the field be, how rich, how abundant is its produce! See that magnificent palm, rearing its tufted head on high, while the brown olive boughs beneath it are bending with the weight of ripening fruit; and see to the left what a carpet of gorgeous flowers is spread out, springing in pore wanton defiance of human culture from the recesses of this neglected soil-I tell you this country shall again bloom as Eden, when once its own sons have it under their fostering hands.'

* And I tell you,' answered Ryan, 'that they too,

the seed of Jacob, shall again blossom and bud, and ill the face of the world with fruit.'

• And you very well know,' said Mrs. Ryan, that your description of what Israel, through grinding oppression, and fearful persecution, has been in Europe, no longer exists. The Lord bath begun to take away the reproach of his people : the wealth that formerly was wrung from them by inhuman tortures is now borrowed by states and rulers, on terms most advantageous to the lenders, affording them an interest in, and an influence over the destinies of empires. In art, in science, in literature, the Hebrew continually stands before us successfully competing the higbest prizes of emolument and fame. Your position now is, id reference to Ezekiel's vision, not that of separated bones, scattered bleak and bare, and very dry throughout the valley, but of bones re-united, and rapidly receiving their covering of flesh and sinew, preparatory to the reception of perfect, glowing life.'

• And that once received,' added Captain Ryan, 'you will rise up an exceeding great army, against whom no people shall be able to stand; for the Lord your God will be with you, and the shout of a king be among you.'

Da Costa smiled kindly: 'I believe we are well agreed as to the end, however we may differ concerning the means of its attainment.'

During this time, Alick never once spoko, nor did his attention appear for a moment diverted from the little carriage in which Charley was slung, by a contrivance of his, more independent of the motions of the male than before. That child had been to him in an especial manner the bearer of glad tidings if

[ocr errors]

he would receive them as such ; and he felt as if to lose him would be a disjunction from the good that he was secretly longing to grasp. lncessantly was he gazing into the little litter, through the aperture that for ventilation was left in its curtain ; and often did the dull, heavy cast of a countenance ever bright with restless animation excite a fear lest the last smile had passed away. The short dialogue just recorded had allowed him a more protracted contemplation of that sunken face than he had before enjoyed: and when Captain Ryan again addressed him, tears had gathered in bis eyes..

• Dear Cohen! this trial falls heavily on you. To us it is indeed a heart-piercing stroke; but we have a consolation, the strength and the sweetness of which how gladly would we share with you!'

"It is my greatest comfort, sir, to see you and his dear mother so supported.'

• We need a divine support, indeed, for, even were he not as he is, our only one, the sole survivor of the five over whose early graves we have been taught submission to the will of the Lord, still there is that in his character which makes our hearts cleave to him with a fondness no words can pourtray. But thanks be to the Giver of all good gifts, what most ende him to us now, will prove the best source of consolation under the bereavement which I feel but too sure awaits ús.'

' I never loved any living thing half so well,' said Alick, struggling with bis grief: 'but no wonder, for wbo even among mature men loves my people as that babe does ?'

It is really marvellous. You know, Cohen, I have for some years been much devoted to the cause ; and Charles has heard a good deal on the subject at home: but there seemed to be a sort of preparedness in his young heart to receive the promise of God's gracious purposes towards Israel with a fulness and a gladness that I never saw equalled. Child as he is in temper, in manners, in language, on all other points, he is there the enthusiastic man; and I cannot tell you what a gloom steals over my spirit while thus conducting him, iosensibly I may almost say, through the land he so ardently longed to visit. It is teaching me a sad, but I hope a profitable lesson of my own deficiency in single-eyed devotion.'

They continued for some miles to pass over a country of smiling plains; but at length the ascent began, the road narrowed, and became extremely rugged, while before them, with occasional intermixture of a verdant and cultivated spot, rose piles of frowning rocks, and towering mountains, which gradually closed in'upon them, until their path became a narrow, rugged, steep defile, where two could not without difficulty pass abreast; and where the motion was such that with all the anxious care of his tender guardians poor little Charley was rocked in his rough cradle with a rudeness that completely dissipated his heavy slumber, and drew forth exclamations of surprise, if not of suffering. He fancied himself on board ship, and talked of a storm.

• We are not at sea, darling,' said Alick, “but travelling through the mountain-passes of Judea, on the way to Jerusalem.'

At that word the boy lifted up his head, and exclaimed, “Let me look at Jerusalem!'

"You shall when we come within sight of it,' answered his father ; but some hours must elapse be

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »