Imatges de pÓgina

At nightfall the total want of every comfort for a sick room pressed more forcibly on their minds. Jerusalem was not so far off as to make the journey formidable; but the road was bad, and accommodations were uncertain. Da Costa could ensure them a welcome to a respectable house, if still tenanted as when he last visited the Holy City; but this was doubtful. While the anxious discussion proceeded, Alick stole away into the adjoining room; and creeping softly to the couch, listened to the breathings of his little friend, which were short and quick, and unequal : he kneeled beside the bed, overwhelmed with anxious sorrow, and tried to pray, but his views seemed to have become more darkened and perplexed than ever, probably because he had carried his inquiries farther and in a more observant spirit, while Da Costa, with the quickness for which he was remarkable, still explained away, according to the dictates of man's wisdom, those truths which are only to be apprehended by simple faith. Charley's breath soon assumed an articulate sound; and after some low murmurings, he distinctly repeated

The Cedars wave on Lebanon,
But Judah's statelier maids are gone.

At the same time a moonbeam stole through the unglazed crevice that served as a window, upon the pillow, and shewed his eyes open : he turned them, and putting his hand to the face that bent over him, and which was now moist with tears, he said, “Darling Alick, I was thinking, or dreaming, or something, about how I saw you at sea, and how we talked, and got fond of one another; I love you very dearly, and so does Jesus Christ.'

[ocr errors]

• He loves you, Charley, you mean.'

And he loves you, Mr. Alick, and Mr. Dockster, and all the Jews ; and all the Christians that believe in him; only you don't know it. Now I know it, and I do be so happy you can't think : I dare say I'm going to die ; and if I didn't know that Jesus has the key of heaven, and if I didn't know that he loves me, how would I get in ? If he did not love me, he would not let me in; and if I didn't know be bas the key, I couldn't ask him to let me in, you know.'

• Charley, every word you speak goes to my heart; but I wonder why you should think Jesas Christ loves the Jews, when they don't care about him; to say the least of it.

And besides, if he does love us, what good will it to do us, since, as you say, we don't know he has the key; that means, the power.'

Why there's the very thing itself' Mr. Alick. The trouble is, that you won't ask him, when he is all ready to give you as soon as you do. Sure, if you asked him you would get your land back fast enough; but you won't ask bim, either for that or the kingdom of heaven, so you don't get them.' Alick sighed heavily: 'I'd rather bave the least corner in the kingdom of heaven, Charley, than even all this goodly land, my own land, the land of my father Abrabam.'

• Have you asked him for it?' said Charley.

'I hardly koow: I cannot frame my lips to address a prayer directly to him; but if thoughts are heard, he has heard many a prayer from me; for I am always thinking of him.'

• Think of him still,' whispered Mrs. Ryan, wbo, concealed by the shade of the room had stood near, and heard the latter part of the copyersation. Think

of him, as the faithful and true God, keeping his covenant of mercy for ever. See how he smooths the bed of death, and gladdens the fleeting spirit of that infant believer; and how he subdues the mother's rebellious grief, and upholds the mother's fainting heart, and speaks peace to his mourners ; a peace sweeter than all the joys of earth can give.'

Mamma, is that you ?' said Charley.

It is, my darling.' . Oh, mamma, please let me go to Jerusalem!'

. My precious child, when I think of all the superstition that has led people away from God to rest in the name, in the mere stones of Jerusalem, and other things that are accounted holy, I do fear lest my Charley's mind may be at all drawn off from the Lord, by this very great anxiety to reach the place where he taught and suffered.'

It isn't that, mamma; but I love Jerusalem so! I don't love it better than the heavenly Jerusalem, mamma, but I don't like to stop bere: I don't like to die here.'

Mrs. Ryan's inmost desire was to leave the place they were in, and she, too, connected many calming thoughts with the locality of Jerusalem. She therefore promised not to oppose the journey: and as Charley was becoming drowsy again, Alick left her beside him.

Instead of returning to his friends, he sauntered out into a bright grove of olive-trees, interspersed with a thousand bright flowers, that lay just outside the town. The moon was clear, and nothing could exceed the beauty of the scene. The air, balmy and loaded with fragrance, came refreshingly to his aching brow; and when through a vista of trees, the

hill country of Judea broke on his sight, and all the most powerful feelings of his soul were called at once into play, he could have kneeled to ask, in the anxious enquiry of a thoroughly awakened mind, whether Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the King of Israel.

But it was not there that his doubt was to be settled ; much remained for him to learn, and a sharper school must prepare him for it. As yet, his path had been smooth and easy, with no greater difficulty to encounter than the rising perplexities of his own mind. Very different scenes were before him, and dangers of which he little dreamed.

The decision was taken to proceed, if circumstances admitted of their so doing; and with many misgivings, but still enabled to rest all his care on One well able to sustain it, the father placed his child in the conveyance provided, with every possible precaution against the consequences to be dreaded from so' exceedingly rough a road; and escorted by a larger body of guards than before, under the direction of the friendly Armenian, they set forward towards the Holy City.

C. E.



No. II.

THE “ seed of the word” sown upon “good ground" is not always equally productive. There is the thirty, the sixty, and the hundred fold increase ; even where the soil differs little in natural productiveness. External influences concur to hinder or advance its growth. The dew of heaven, bestowed in abundance, or but scantily supplied : the sunshine given or withheld: the care or supineness of the husbandman:-these, and a thousand other imperceptible agencies operate in producing that different result, which the testimony of our Lord leads' us to anticipate, and which experience abundantly confirms.

“ In Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female:” both are coequal“ heirs together of the grace of life :" both are stewards of the providential bounty, and of the manifold grace of God: both are accountable creatures : both must stand before the judgment seat of Christ: and both ; if they enter heaven at all, must enter “ through much tribulation.” But if it be so, that natural sorrow, when sanctified by divine grace, becomes instrumental in perfecting the heirs of glory ; then we may reasonably look for the most frequent exemplifications of Christian charac-,

« AnteriorContinua »