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THE PROFLIGATE'S DREAM.

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permitted, if not ordained, by "Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being?"

not the world, neither the things of the world.
Garments spotted by the flesh are to be hated.
These things may be helpful in settling the
minds of some who are too apt, from circum-
stances, to be led away from their stedfastness
and circumspection. In these days we needing
"to walk in wisdom towards them that are
without "-we need to manifest to all around
what a Christian really is.

Whether my readers shall think these ideas confirmed or otherwise by the following dream, I do not know-nor, in very truth, do I much care, since it is not for the purpose of supportany preconceived theory that I relate it here, but merely as a most uncommon instance of continuity of purpose and of imagery in a dream, and a graphic force of delineation, that might almost suit it for the subject of a drama;

was dreamt, and that the descendants of the dreamer's relatives are among the most wealthy and respected families in Glasgow.

There is too little tenderness of consciencethere is too much conformity to the world and let my readers rest assured that the dream there is too little close walking with God-there is too much compromise of our principles as saints; hence the necessity for being called upon to "watch and to keep our garments." And it may be, that the Spirit may bless these few abrupt remarks for leading some to ask if they are really living separate from the world-if they are really acting and speaking as witnesses for Christ before a crooked and perverse generation.

THE PROFLIGATE'S DREAM.*

A TRUE NARRATIVE.

WHAT are dreams? To this question, so often so earnestly asked, there never yet has, most probably never will be, a satisfactory answer given. It is one which seems most particularly to rouse the inquisitiveness of human nature, and has, accordingly, drawn forth from a thousand minds a thousand speculations and hypotheses. Some clever and ingenious-many more inanely silly than ever was dream of a half-wakened idiot.

To these I have no intention of adding one, good or bad. I am content to observe, that while Judgment sleeps, Imagination wakes; and relieved from the surveillance of her staid sister, she revels amidst the inexhaustible stores of ideas which she finds in the mind; and seizing these in heterogeneous handfuls, she thrusts them into her kaleidoscope, and then forces the helpless and unresisting soul to gaze at the sometimes gorgeous and bewitching, sometimes hideous and appalling, scenery she has !! thus created.

Who can wonder if, amidst the interminable combinations thus produced, a little truth should sometimes mingle? or if, in the endless wheelings of the phantasmagoria, they should occasionally assume the attitude of the future, as well as of the past? Nay, which of us, whose mental vision is bounded to each successive point of our own existence, shall venture to assert, that these combinations are not at times

* This most remarkable narrative, from the pen of a lady whose contributions have enriched several periodicals, was published some years ago, and, we have reason to believe, has, in several instances, been blessed to the awakening of hardened sceptics.

About ninety years ago, there was in Glasgow a club of gentlemen of the first rank in that city, for the meetings of which card-playing was the ostensible cause and. purpose; but the members of which were distinguished by such a fearless and boundless excess of profligacy, especially in the orgies of this Club, as to obtain for it the cognomen of "The Hell Club." They gloried in the name they had given or acquired for themselves, and nothing that the most unrestrained licentiousness could do to merit it was left untried.

Whether the aggregate of vice be greater or less in the present age than in the one gone by, I am not prepared to decide; but of this I am certain, that among the upper and middle ranks of society, it is forced to wear a more decorous disguise; for assuredly, in this our day, habitual drunkenness and shameless license dare not prank themselves forth in the eyes of all beholders, as if they thought they derived a glorious distinction from conduct too degrading for the brute creation. Still less would such men be now unhesitatingly received into the best society-that of cultivated, refined, and virtuous women-as if they were indeed the "fine fellows" they chose to call themselves.

Perhaps it may be that vices those diseases of the soul-run a round, like the diseases of the body; and some rage with virulence in one age or period, and die away only to give place to others that succeed to their devastating prevalence and energy.

But I have wandered from the Club. Besides their nightly or weekly meetings, they held a grand annual Saturnalia, at which each member endeavoured to "outdo all his former outdoings" in the united forms of drunkenness, blasphemy, and unbridled license. Of all who shone on these occasions, none shone half so brilliant as Archibald Boyle. But, alas! the light that dazzled in him was not "light from heaven," but from that dread abode which gave name and energy to the vile association destined to prove his ruin-ruin for time and eternity!

Archibald Boyle had been at one time a youth of the richest promise-possessed of the

ners.

most dazzling talents and most fascinating manNo acquirement was too high for his ability; but, unfortunately, there was none too low for his ambition! Educated by a fond, foolishly indulgent mother, he too early met in society with members of the "Hell Club." His elegance, wit, unbounded gaiete de cœur, and versatility of talent, united to the gifts of fortune, made him a most desirable victim to them; and a victim and a slave, glorying in his bondage, he very quickly became. Long ere he could count twenty-five as his years, he was one of the most accomplished blackguards it could number on its lists; even his very talentsthose glorious gifts of God--but served to endow him with the power of being more exquisitely wicked! What to him were heaven, hell, or eternity? Words, mere words, that to him served no purpose, but to point his blasphemous wit, or nerve his execrations! What glory to him, the immortal spirit! was there, equal to that of hearing himself pronounced "the very life of the Club?" Alas! there was none; for the moment the immortal spirit so far forgets the Giver of its immortality as to plunge headlong into the midnight of vice, its moral vision becomes so distorted, that its deepest degradation is hailed as its utmost glory, even as the wretched lunatic devours the most revolting filth, and calls it a delicacy!

terious, half-seen guide, was still before! Ago nized, by he knew not what, of indescribable horror and awe, Boyle again furiously spurred the gallant horse. It fiercely reared and plunged-he lost his seat, and expected at the moment to feel himself dashed to the earth. But not so; for he continued to fall-fall-fall it appeared to himself with an ever accelerating velocity. At length, this appalling rapidity of motion abated, and to his amazement and horror, he perceived that his mysterious attendant was close by his side. "Where," he exclaimed, with the frantic energy of despair, "where are you taking me-where am Iwhere am I going?" "To hell," replied the same iron voice, and from the depths below, sullen interminable echoes repeated the sound so familiar to his lips, so stunning now to his scared and conscience-smitten ear.

"To hell," onward, onward, they hurried in darkness, rendered more horribly dark by the conscious presence of his spectral conductor. At length, a glimmering light appeared in the distance, and soon increased to a blaze; but, as they approached it, instead of the hideously discordant groans and yells he expected to hear, his ears were assailed with every imaginable sound of music, mirth, and jollity. They soon reached an arched entrance, of such stupendous magnificence and beauty, that all the grandeur of this world seemed in comparison even as the frail and dingy labours of the poor earth-born mole. Within it, what a scene! No amusement, no employment or pursuit of man, is there to be found on earth, which was not going on there with a vehemence which excited his unutterable wonder.

Yet, strange to say, while all within-all in the empire of that heart" out of which are the issues of life"-was thus festering in corruption, he retained all his very remarkable beauty of face and person, all his external elegance and fascination of manner; and more extraordinary still, continued an acknowledged favourite in the fairest and purest female society of the day. One night, or morning, on retiring to sleep, after returning from one of those annual meetings of the Club, to which I have already alluded, Boyle dreamt that, mounted as usual upon his famous black horse, he was still riding towards his own house-then a country seat embowered by ancient trees, and situated upon a hill now built over by the most fashionable part of Glasgow-and that he was suddenly accosted by some one, whose personal appearance the gloom of night prevented his more than indistinctly discerning, but who, seizing the reins, said, in a voice apparently accustomed to command, "You must go with me.' "And who are you?" exclaimed Boyle, with a volley of blasphemous execrations, while he struggled o disengage his reins from the intruder's grasp; That you will see by-and-by," replied the same He at length perceived that he was suroice, in a cold sneering tone, that thrilled his rounded by those whom he had known on earth, ery heart stream. Boyle plunged the spurs' and knew to have been long dead, and each owels deep into the panting sides of his hitherto one of them he saw pursuing the employment nfoiled and unfailing steed. The noble animal or object that had engrossed their time here eared, staggered, and then suddenly darted-time lent them to prepare for a far different orward with a speed that nearly deprived his rider of breath and sensation; but in vain, in vain! fleeter than the wind he flew the mys

There the young and lovely still swam in the giddy mazes of the midnight dance. There the bounding steed still bore his far more brutal and senseless rider through the excitements of the goaded race. There the intemperate still drawled, over the midnight bowl, the wanton song or maudlin blasphemy. There toiled the slaves of Mammon, and, grinding their bitter' task of seeking THROUGH ETERNITY for useless gold! confessed that their insatiate thirst of it on earth had indeed been but the apprenticeship of hell! And there the gambler plied his endless game: while, as if in utter mockery of their unremitting toil, there sparkled and blazed around such a flood of gem-like light, and all that we, poor children of the dust, call magnifi cence, as for a time quite dazzled and confounded his senses.

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Suddenly observing that his unearthly conductor had disappeared, he felt so relieved by

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THE PROFLIGATE'S DREAM.

his absence, that he ventured to address his former friend, Mrs D, whom he saw sitting, as was her wont on earth, absorbed at loo. 'Ha, Mrs D! delighted to see you; d'ye know a fellow told me to-night he was bringing me to hell!-ha, ha! If this be hell, I can only say it is the most devilish pleasant place I ever was in-ha, ha! Come now, my good Mrs D—, for auld langsyne, do just stop from your game for a moment, rest, and

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Chaperon me through the pleasures of hell," the scoffer would have said; but with a shriek that seemed to cleave through his very soul, she exclaimed, "REST! there is No rest in hell!" and from interminable vaults, voices as of many thunders prolonged and repeated the awful, the heart-withering sound, "THERE IS NO REST IN HELL!"

She hastily unclasped the vest of her gorgeous robe, and displayed to his scared and shuddering eye, a coil of fiery living snakes-" the worm that never dies" the worm of enry, spite, and malignity towards our fellow-men-wreathing, darting, stinging, in her bosom; the others followed her example, and in every bosom there was a hell-devised punishment. In some he saw bare and throbbing hearts, on which distilled slow drops, as it were, of fiery molten metal, under which, consuming, yet ever unconsumed, they writhed, and palpitated in all the impotence of helpless, hopeless agony. And every scalding drop was a tear of hopeless anguish, wrung by selfish, heartless villany, from the eye of injured innocence on earth.

In every bosom he saw that which we have no language to describe-no ideas horrid enough even to conceive; for in all he saw the fullgrown fruit of the fiend-sown seed of evil passions, voluntarily nourished in the human soul, during its mortal pilgrimage here; and in all he saw them lashed and maddened by the serpent-armed hand

"Of Despair:

For hell were not hell

If Hope had ever entered there!"

And they laughed, for they had laughed on earth at all there is of good and holy. And they sang-profane and blasphemous songs sang they! for they had often done so on earth, at the very hour God claims as his own-the still and midnight hour! And he who walked among them in a mortal frame of flesh and blood, felt how inexpressibly more horrible such sounds could be than ever was the wildest shriek of agony!

"These are the pleasures of hell," again assailed his ear, in the same terrific and apparently interminable roll of unearthly sound. He rushed away; but as he fled, he saw those whom he knew to have been dead for thousands of years still employed as they had been on earth, toiling through their eternity of sin; their choice on earth became their doom in hell!

He saw Maxwell, the former companion of

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his own boyish profligacy, mounted on a steed fleeter than any of earthly mould, still pursuing the headlong chace. "Stop, Harry! stop, speak to me! O rest one moment!" Scarce had the words been breathed from his faltering lips, when again his terror-stricken ear was stunned with the same wild yell of agony, re-echoed by ten thousand thousand voices: "THERE IS NO REST IN HELL!"

He tried to shut his eyes; he found he could not. He threw himself down, but the pavement of hell, as with a living and instinctive movement, rejected him from its surface; and, forced upon his feet, he found himself compelled to gaze with still increasing intensity of horror at the ever-changing, yet ever-steady torrent of eternal torment. And this was hell!- the scoffer's jest the byword of the profligate!

All at once he perceived that his unearthly conductor was once more by his side. "Take me," shrieked Boyle, "take me from this place; by the living God, whose name I have so often outraged, I adjure thee, take me from this place!"

"Canst thou still name his name?" said the fiend, with a hideous sneer; "go then; but— in a year and a day, we meet, to part no more!"

Boyle awoke; and he felt as if the last words of the fiend were traced in letters of living fire upon his heart and brain. Unable, from actual bodily ailment, to leave his bed for several days, the horrid vision had full time to take effect upon his mind; and many were the pangs of tardy remorse and ill-defined terror that beset his vice-stained soul, as he lay in darkness and seclusion, to him so very unusual.

He resolved, utterly and for ever, to forsake "The Club." Above all, he determined that nothing on earth should tempt him to join the next annual Saturnalia.

The companions of his licentiousness soon flocked around him; and finding that his deep dejection of mind did not disappear with his bodily ailments, and that it. arose from some cause which disinclined him from seeking or enjoying their accustomed orgies, they became alarmed with the idea of losing "the life of the Club," and they bound themselves by an oath never to desist till they had discovered what was the matter with him, and cured him of playing the Methodist; for their alarm as to losing "the life of the Club" had been wrought up to the highest pitch, by one of their number declaring that, on unexpectedly entering Boyle's room, he detected him in the act of hastily hiding a book, which he actually believed was the Bible!

Alas! alas! had poor Boyle possessed sufficient true moral courage, and dignity of mind, not to have hidden the Bible, or whatever other book he chose to read, how different might

have been the result!

After a time, one of his compeers,more deeply cunning than the rest, bethought himself

of assuming an air of the deepest disgust with the world, the Club, and the mode of life they had been pursuing. He affected to seek Boyle's company in a mood of congenial melancholy, and to sympathize in all his feelings. Thus he succeeded in betraying him into a much misplaced confidence as to his dream, and the effect it had produced upon his mind. The result may readily be guessed. His confidence was betrayed his feelings of repentance ridiculed; and it will easily be believed, that he who "hid the Bible" had not nerve to stand the ribald jests of his profligate companions on such a subject.

I cannot trace the progress, and would not, if I could. Suffice it to say, that, virtuous resolutions once broken-prayers once offered, voluntarily called back by sin from the throne of Heaven-all was lost! yet not lost without such a fell struggle between the spirit of good and of evil as wrung the colour from his young cheek, and made him, ere the year was done, a haggard and a grey-haired man!

From the annual meeting he shrunk with an instinctive and shuddering horror, and made up his mind utterly to avoid it. Well aware of this resolve, his tempters determined he should have no choice. How potent, how active, is the spirit of evil! How feeble is unassisted, unprayerful man! Boyle found himself, he could not tell how, seated at that table on that very day, where he had sworn to himself a thousand and a thousand times nothing on earth

should make him sit!

His ears tingled, and his eyes swam, as he listened to the opening sentence of the president's address: "Gentlemen, this is leap-year, therefore it is a year and a day since our last annual meeting!"

Every nerve in Boyle's body twanged in agony at the ominous, the well-remembered words. His first impulse was to rise and fly; but then the sneers! the sneers!

How many in this world, as well as poor Boyle, have sold their souls to the dread of a sneer, and dared the wrath of an almighty and eternal God, rather than encounter the sarcastic curl of a fellow-creature's lip!

He was more than ever plied with wine, applause, and every other species of excitement, but in vain. His mirth, his wit, were like the lurid flashes from the bosom of a brooding thunder-cloud, that pass and leave it all darker than before; and his laugh sounded fiendish even to the evil ears that heard it.

The night was gloomy, with frequent and fitful gusts of chill and howling wind, as Boyle, with fevered nerves and a reeling brain, mounted his horse to return home.

The following morning the well-known black steed was found, with saddle and bridle on, quietly grazing on the road-side about half-way to Boyle's country-house, and a few yards from it lay the stiffened corpse of its master!

ON DEATH.

Ir is a solemn thing to die-
To sever every earthly tie;

To watch the blooming cheeks grow pale;
To mark the sinking vigour fail;

To count the pulse, which, faint and slow,
Tells of the closing scene below;
To feel eternity draw nigh-
It is a solemn thing to die!

It is a fearful thing to die

The death of a sinner's agony-
A prayerless heart-no voice to plead―
Thick darkness, and no hand to lead;
To see beyond the open grave
No star of hope-no arm to save-
No ear for his despairing cry-
It is a fearful thing to die.

It is a blessed thing to die—
To know no sin, no tear, no sigh;
To pass into a world of light,
Where faith itself is lost in sight;
To leave a world of pain and strife;
To find an entrance into life;
To see our Saviour eye to eye-
It is a blessed thing to die.

ABRAHAM'S TREE.

BY JOHN KITTO, D.D.

ANON.

In the 10th chapter of Genesis we read, that after Abraham had parted from Lot, he moved his camp to various parts of Canaan, and at length settled, as it proved, for a considerable period "among the terebinths (or as some make it, "the oaks ") of Mamre," near to Hebron.-Verse 18. The word rendered here by "terebinths," is unhappily given as "plain" (margin, "plains ") in the authorized i version. Again, at the commencement of the 18th chapter, we read "the Lord appeared to Abraham among the terebinths of Mamre," where the common version again has "plains." It is clear that trees are intended; and the only question among the learned is, whether they were oaks or terebinth trees. The general opinion of Hebrew critics is for the latter; and with this we concur, but without deeming the matter so clear as to preclude the possibility of oaks being intended.

Among these trees it is manifest that there was one with which Abraham's own tent was more immediately connected, and it must have been conspicuous and remarkable; for the patriarch invites the three angels, who visited him in the guise of wayfaring men, to repose themselves "under the tree;" and we are afterwards told that, "he stood near them under the tree, and they did eat."-Gen. xviii. 1, 8. This tree is brought forward more prominently by Josephus. In speaking of Abraham's abode here, he intimates that the tree, which he calls an oak, was so distinct and important, indicated definitely as "the that it could be, and was, oak Ogyges" (Antiquities, i. 10, 4); and further on he designates it, in connection with the visit of the

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angels, as "the oak of Mamre."

ABRAHAM'S TREE.

139 the ruined tree did not last much longer, and that the honourable traditions connected with it were transferred to some other large tree that grew hard by. [ Now, after some interval, we find ecclesiastical writers and travellers speaking of Abraham's tree as still existing and flourishing. The old confusion of names is still kept up-some speaking of it as an oak, and some as a terebinth, but usually the latter. This, in the case of those who actually saw the tree, we can only account for, by supposing that, being diffident of their botanical knowledge, they called it by the name given to Abraham's tree by the authorities on which they chiefly relied; and preferably a terebinth, because the Vulgate gives that name to the tree of Mamre. That which now exists is an oak; but still of a species sufficiently different from those familiarly known to most Europeans to make them hesitate to contradict the authorities which pronounced Abraham's tree to have been a terebinth, which would be still more difficult to those who 'believed, as was generally the case, that the tree was

tent. What is the age of the present tree cannot, with any certainty, be said. It is, undoubtedly, the same which travellers have, for many centuries past, spoken of as the tree of Abraham; as, from its great size, and the slow growth of the species, it is not improbable that the tree may be the immediate successor of that of which Jerome speaks. This is an antiquity sufficiently venerable; and we incline to think that it cannot be far from the site of the former tree; because there is, close by it, a well with which the name and memory is also connected; and wells are more durable even than trees.

In this he follows the Septuagint, which also call the tree an oak. In the history of a long subsequent age, speaking of the descent of Simon of Gerasa upon Hebron, the historian points out the great antiquity of the city, and states, that about six stadia from it, was to be seen a large turpentine tree, commonly repeated to be as old as the creation of the world.-De Bell. Jud. iv. 9, 7. He does not intimate whether he supposed it the same as Abraham's tree; but the probability is that, as he had just before been alluding to the residence of Abraham there, he intended to indicate the tree which was in his time regarded as the tree of the patriarch. It is true that, as we have before seen, he had called Abraham's tree an oak, and that which he here speaks of is a terebinth. But this confusion of the terms oak and terebinth reigns in all the accounts of Abraham's tree, from the earliest reports down to our own time. This arose probably from the doubt which still exists, whether the original Hebrew word means an cak or a terebinth; and in the early notices this is so perplexing as to create a sus-identically the same that flourished over Abraham's picion that were there actually two great trees in and about the first centuries of the Christian era-one an oak, and the other a terebinth-the rather as one set of traditions rests the claim of the tree to veneration upon the ground of its marking the residence of Abraham, and the place where he entertained the angels; while another pretends that the tree grew from a staff which one of the angels left sticking in the ground. These two traditions are so irreconcilable, if understood in reference to the same tree, that it seems next to impossible that one of them should have arisen while the other existed; but they are quite intelligible if two trees are understood. Without attempting to settle this point, we may proceed to state, that the early ecclesiastical writers afford several notices of Abraham's tree, which they tell us was in their time, and long had been famous for a great fair, or gathering of merchants-the greatest in Palestine. It was at this fair, under the tree of their great ancestor, that the captive Jews were, after the war of Hadrian, offered for sale in such great numbers that the market was glutted, and, as had been predicted by one of old, "no man would buy them."-Deut. xxviii. 68. The tree also became the scene of superstitions so gross, and so strongly tending towards idolatry, that in the time of Constantine the Government interfered to correct these abuses. This was accomplished by Eusebius, the celebrated bishop of Cæsarea, who is the first Christian writer who speaks distinctly of the tree and the traditions connected with it. Jerome mentions it several times, and in such a way as to require some attention to reconcile his statements. In one place he speaks of it incidentally, as still subsisting; but in another, he says that it had perished in the time of the Emperor Theodosius. These two contradictory passages are reconciled by another, in which he informs us that "the cellulæ, or little rooms, of Sarah, which were her nursery for Isaac, and the vestiges (vestigia) of the oak under which Abraham saw the day of Christ and was glad," were still in his time visited as objects of veneration. It is probable that these remains of

Until our own day few travellers had visited Hebron for more than one hundred and fifty years, and those few who had been there furnished no satisfactory notices of Abraham's tree. Now, however, that Hebron is again visited, the activity of modern research, and the exactness of modern observation, have supplied ample information on the subject. Full descriptions have been supplied; the species has been accurately determined; and a fine print in Borrer's "Journey from Naples to Jerusalem," exhibits the tree itself before us in all its noble proportions.

The tree stands at the head of a fine open valley, which extends north-west of the town, from which it is rather more than a mile distant. Large trees of any kind are very rare in this part of the country; and Dr Robinson declares that he hardly saw another like it in all Palestine, and certainly not anywhere south of the Plain of Esdraelon. The trunk of the tree measures twenty-two feet nine inches around the lower parts. It separates almost immediately into three large boughs or trunks, and one of these again into two. The trunk is twenty-five feet nine inches in girth at the point where the branches separate. The spread of the branches is, in one direction, eightynine feet, and in another eighty-three feet in diameter. Such dimensions are calculated to attract attention in a country where large trees are so uncommon; and they certainly do constitute what would anywhere be considered as a magnificent and remarkable

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