« НазадПродовжити »
THE BURNT MOUNTAIN.
The prophet Jeremiah, in denouncing God's wrath against Babylon, makes use of these remarkable expressions. “I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from thy rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain." (ch. li. 25.)
Our engraving shews how literally this has been done, as it represents a part of the ruins of that once mighty city thrown down from its foundation, and exhibiting on the summit of the ruinous heap, “ immense fragments of brick-work, of no determinate figure, tumbled together and converted into solid vitrified masses, as if they had undergone the fiercest fire, or been blown up with gunpowder.” It is, in fact, a burnt mountain, fused either by the direct or intermediate agency of the God of heaven--not improbably by lightning
Of this mound, Mr. Rich, in his memoir on the ruins of Babylon, says, “I visited the Birs, under circumstances peculiarly favorable to the grandeur of its effect; the morning was at first stormy, and 4th
threatened a severe fall of rain; but as we approached the object of our journey, the heavy clouds separating, discovered the Birs frowning over the plain, and presenting the appearance of a circular hill, crowned by a tower, with a high ridge extending along the foot of it. Just as we were within the proper distance, it burst at once upon our sight in the midst of rolling masses of thick black clouds, partially obscured by that kind of haze whose indistinctness is one great cause of sublimity, whilst a few strong catches of stormy light thrown upon the desert, in the back ground, serve to give some idea of the immense extent and dreary solitude of the wastes in which this venerable ruin stands."
A FEW WEEKS WITH MY FRIENDS. Very pleasant had been my morning's ramble with my friend Louisa, (see page 254,) as we wandered along the quiet lanes, crossed the rich sunny fields, gazed on the lovely scenery, and entered the peaceful cottages of the simple village poor.
“I have one more treat for you, Anna,” said my companion ; “an aged couple, who have shared each other's joys and sorrows, for more than fifty years, supporting themselves in honest independence, though their work is of the humblest and least lucrative kind. And now they seem standing together, on the top of Pisgah, looking into the heavenly country; and waiting for the command, 'Thou art this day to pass over Jordan.'"
We proceeded at a quick pace, down a beautiful slope ; and soon came in sight of their humble but pretty dwelling. By the door, at her spinning wheel, sat a thin old woman, whose sharp features were covered by a skin so wrinkled, that you might have mistaken it for parchment. But her eye seemed as bright, and her movements as active, as they could have been in early youth.
“Welcome, my dear young lady,” said old Rachel. "'Tis a morning fit to cheer those who kindly go about to cheer their fellow-creatures."
“It is very lovely,” replied Louisa. “I do not know, whether my friend would not give up all her London honors, if she might take such a cottage, as some we have visited this morning.”
The old man was sitting in a loom, diligently weaving the narrow bunting, which is used for flags ; an employment he obtained from the neighbouring town. Turning towards me, with a look of mild dignity, which belongs to none but the aged and consistent Christian, he observed,
“Ah, but, Miss ! I dare say you know who fixes the bounds of our habitations; and gives us duties and relations, comforts and discipline, which we should not find so fitted to us, in any place of our own choosing. That is a blessed state of mind, Miss,” he added, finding I continued silent, “when we can say,
'Father, I wait thy daily will,
Till death and heaven reveal the rest.'" “ It is,” I replied; "and I trust my visit will be made the means of bringing me to the experience of it.”
A tear stood in my eye, for I was but little accustomed to Christian communion. The good people looked at me with deep interest, while Rachel said,
“I hope we are not too bold, Miss Louisa ; but if your young friend is now beginning to cast in her lot among the people of God, I know you will help and encourage her. You will say, Come with us, and we will do thee good; for the Lord has spoken good concerning Israel.'
“ Yes, Rachel,” answered Louisa, “ the Christian's is a happy pilgrimage; and among his many privileges, it is no small one, that he
may invite all around to share his present and eternal blessings. We may go on without limit, saying, “yet there is room.
“What a difference,” exclaimed Thomas, “between our Almighty Friend, and the greatest and noblest upon earth. When they have allowed us to recommend a few cases, they have done all in their power, and think us much their debtors. Whereas, the more we expect for our own souls, from our gracious Benefactor, and the greater number of needy sinners we invite in his name, the more he is pleased with us. For it is His own word, 'He that winneth souls is wise; he obtains even now, joy inexpressible, while hereafter, we are told, 'they that turn many to righteousness, shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.'
“How beautiful and persuasive,” rejoined Louisa, " are those words of the Psalmist, ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good ; blessed is the man who trusteth in him.'”
* It is a blessed thing, Miss, to be permitted to bear witness from experience, that the Lord can give his children peace, which passeth all understanding. Yet, while we speak good of his name, we must take care to be faithful, too. God does not permit us to speak deceitfully for him. We must not conceal, that there is toil, and suffering, a struggle, and a warfare; as well as peace, and rest, and victory. I do not doubt, lady," added Thomas, turning to me, “but you have already found two natures striving for the mastery; and at times the conflict between flesh and spirit is a very sore one.”
“ This is one of the many lessons I am learning, Thomas.”
“ And it is a profitable lesson, Miss, though a painful one. By shewing us what is in our hearts, our heavenly Teacher lays us low, in our proper place; and makes Christ and his salvation precious to our souls. It is in mercy, not in
reproves If the Lord had meant to destroy us, he would not have shewn us such and such things.' Till we feel our ruin and vileness, we shall never lay hold on his word, 'the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.'”
“The Christian,” I replied, making an effort to state the feeling which at that time oppressed me, "the Christian, I should think, finds little difficulty in believing, that through his Saviour's atonement, all his sins may be forgiven ; but how, in the midst of weakness and corruption, he is ever to hold out to the end, seems a more trying question.”
“And yet, my dear young lady, the one is as fully provided for as the other, in the covenant of God's grace. The Holy Spirit is promised, to subdue our corruption, and perfect that which concerneth us. The promise stands, 'Sin shall not have dominion over you ;'* Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' We have only to plead these promises in prayer, and to watch and strive, in the strength of the Lord for their fulfilment."
“And thus,” added Louisa, with a sweet and grateful smile, we may look up to our reconciled God, and say,