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doctrine of Christ, this divine blessing is secured. Do you suppose, then, said the Prefect, that you shall ascend to heaven and there receive rewards ? I not only suppose so, was the reply, but know it and am assured of it beyond a doubt. After a few similar inquiries which drew forth expressions of unwavering Christian confidence, the Prefect pronounced sentence on the whole company, condemning them to be scourged and then to be beheaded.
This event took place, according to the only record that remains of the time, in the year of our Lord 166; and about the sixty-third, some say the seventy-sixth year of Justin's age.
We have been contemplating one of the earliest Christian Fathers. He had many strong points. He is a stimulating example of religious literary activity. He was an influential man among his contemporaries, particularly in confirming the faith of his fellow-Christians. He was, perhaps, not fitted to allure those whose predilections were opposite to his own. He could rather wield the battle-axe than skilfully twine the silken cord around the hearts of those with whom he came into contest. He was, probably, too easily indignant at error and wickedness to make many conquests for truth and righteousness. Still, we have not sufficient materials to authorize a very positive opinion. We have enough to make us admire and love him, and to call forth the wish that we had more knowledge of a life so honestly and earnestly devoted to the Christian cause, and so freely sacrificed in its vindication.
ART. III.-THE EAST.
THE EAst: Sketches of Travel in Egypt and the Holy Land. By the Rev. J.
A. SPENCER, M. A. 8vo, pp 503. NewYork: Geo. P. Putnam. London: John Murray. 1850.
ANOTHER book on “ The East” has appeared. It comes from the pen of a Christian minister, and is therefore, as the reader might expect, specially consecrated to Biblical illustralion. It is well that another traveller has visited those glorious regions, and that he has recorded for his friends his observations and impressions. The science of Biblical interpretation is inductive; and the enlightened faith alike of the Biblical student and of the Bible reader, alike of the traveller in sacred lands and of the reader of his narrative, is cumulative and progressive. They who are accustomed to read daily the Sacred Scriptures in retirement, have no conception how like a home story, a tale of a grandfather, its narratives become to him who is permitted to sojourn awhile in the land where its scenes were pictured, and where its figures are still real. And he who has spent years communing with the learned in Biblical lore, in his sojourn in the country of Moses and the Evangelists, will every evening with increased surprise and delight behold the new air of real life which their pages are assuming. The large mind of a Gesenius may hold in broad, clear survey, hundreds of syntactic and etymological parallels between the ancient Hebrew and modern Arabic languages, and thousands of similarities in the past and present manners and customs of the East; and
yet a youthful rambler of a week in Eastern climes might have a clearer knowledge and a livelier faith. And, as with the narrative writer, so in a measure is it with the narrative reader. To the world of practical business men, who have but shreds of hours for thinking and reading, an hour at Gliddon's Panorama, or an evening over Stephens's Travels, is worth more than the huge tomes of Champollion and Wilkinson, and Clarke and Robinson.
Among all the countless books of Eastern travel yet written, there is not one that may not, to all minds, give some new view; and there is not one that is not to some minds the best of its class. For about twenty years past, through the sagacious if not liberal policy of one who has in some respects been another Hâroun el-Rashîd, Egypt, the Desert of Arabia, and Syria also, have been in a remarkable manner open to Christian travellers. Even so lately as 1816, the indefatigable Burkhardt could in no way enter and traverse these regions, other than by adopting the dress, and habits, and language, and even by professing the religion of the people of the land; travelling in the carefully sustained guise of a Muhammedan pilgrim. But the policy of Muhammed Ali, late Pasha of Egypt, made those countries, which ever since the Crusades were close shut up, so accessible to Christian travellers, that even an American stripling could roam fearless where he listed, lingering in lonely revery amid hallowed scenes. The star of that great warrior and statesman is now set; and his enlarged spirit seems not to swell in the breast of his successor. Perhaps that hallowed soil is not to be trodden long harmlessly; and perhaps for the generation to come no more new narratives will come to our sons and daughters from the VOL. XV.NO. LXI.
pen of the pilgrim returned from Sinai and Jerusalem. It may be, even the comparatively worthless book on the East will hereafter prove a priceless treasure.
Still more is it true that, to a certain class of minds, every well-written volume of Oriental travel is of great religious value. That of Mr. Spencer is from a husband and a friend, from a Christian pastor and religious teacher; and there is in its style the mingled attractiveness of a familiar letter of friendship, interspersed occasionally with an animated popular essay, or a fervent pious homily. To the large circle of his personal friends, and to the yet wider community of his brethren of the same Christian faith, Mr. Spencer's letters cannot but prove most interesting and instructive. The general reader and the student of the Sacred Scriptures also may find portions new and valuable.
The first perfect book, save the inspired volumes, has not yet been written. The volume of Mr. Spencer may
be espected therefore to have its faults as well as its excellences. A very general fault of books of travels is the want of a definite aim, or the failure to adhere rigidly to an end proposed. Some may regard such a suggestion problematical
, if not paradoxical; for it is manifest that not only many readers but also many writers of books of this class do not look for or seek any definite aim, and would even think it contrary to the
very nature of a traveller's narrative that it should have any special end in view. Strong too is the temptation, even to the writer of scholarlike habits of mind, when in such a field as that of the teeming Orient, to wander out of his track to pluck here a flower and there a fruit; forgetful that flowers may be unseemly on a rich, grave habit, and that a nectarine is distasteful to the man satiating his hunger with strong meat. So numerous are the volumes now written on the East, that there has come to be an almost treadmill sameness in the round of observation and remark. A little of division of labor in this field would exhibit more skill and beauty of invention, more finish of workmanship, and more profitable aggregate results. Such unique productions as those of the romantic Lamartine, and of the scholarlike Robinson, stand at the head of new eras in this department of literature; and, if such writers had followers rather than imitators, more of the Eastern student's deep conviction, and more of the Oriental pilgrim's sacred fervor might be made to pervade the minds and hearts of our nation of readers. Mr. Spencer, in conformity with his character and chosen office, has made it his chief aim to gather facts and treasure impressions which
may tend to confirm the faith of his readers in the truth of those sacred volumes which God has sent us from the East, and to awaken a new attachment to the blessed religion which they teach. It would be strange if in a land of a thousand fascinating scenes, mind and pen should not sometimes unconsciously wander. In pursuing such a course of observation and remark as that proposed by the authors, there are at least these three distinct fields of investigation: 1st. The present features of the countries visited, with the habits and manners of the people; 2d. The remaining monuments of the ancient wisdom and greatness of the nations that formerly dwelt there ; 3d. The traditions and historical faith of the present inhabitants.
The present aspect of men and things in the East—the unchanging peculiarities of climate and soil, of vegetable and animal products, and of the external habits and modes of thinking among the people—these in their stereotyped permanency of character may be made specially to illustrate the Sacred Scriptures. Go thread long Egypt, and look on its riband of black soil skirting the banks of its nourishing river, the very “marrow and fatness” of earth's mould, pushing to quick perfection “the onion and melon and cucumber," and other esculents so sighed for by ancient Israel ; its wheat furnishing bread as in Abraham's and Jacob's day for all the border of the “great sea" and all the “Hebrew” land; and its “Goshen” pastures of clover growing faster than the countless herds can eat it; and yet behold it in all its rich and spontaneous luxuriance of productiveness,“ without rain,' (as hints the prophet,) and "watered by the foot” of incessant toil. Pass through Sinai's Desert; and, after standing under its towering, scathed, awful summit, from weeks of hungry and thirsty sojourning in “that waste howling wilderness, feel, though you may not speak, the rapture with which the Israelite's eye first fell on the green hills of that “goodly land.” Enter and traverse that land. Ride through the rightly named “hill country of Judea;” remarking the rocky sides of the valleys, covered with “vineyards inclosed,” and studded with their lowers, all redolent with the odor of the grapes of Eshcol, and literally flowing with "honey," (or the grape syrup,)* which the successors of Jacob dwelling here send still down into Egypt; while grazing herds cover the hill tops, and the land flows with milk” also. Pass to the open plains, which stretch along the seaboard, the Jordan's valley, and through old Samaria; and, walking in the fields, observe the rude plough, drawn often, despite Moses's law, by a cow and an ass "unequally yoked together"; and mark too how the ploughman keeps his eye intently fixed, and cannot "look back,” lest in the rocky soil his frail implement should be caught and shivered to fragments; while to clear it when clogged he bears in his hand a huge, broad-pointed, spear-like "goad,” a fitting instrument for a Shamgar to slaughter Philistines with. And now see the sower scattering his seed on the unfenced, half-ploughed fields, by “the way-side," where the birds (from religious scruples unmolested) gather it, among "rocks" and among thorns,” or on “good ground.” Linger later in the season; and behold the reaper with his sickle, followed by many a gleaning Ruth, gathering his sheaves upon the hard-beaten threshing-floor of earth, where they are • beaten with rods,” or torn by the sharp rollers of the “ threshing wain,” or trampled by the feet of unmuzzled oxen; and then see with his long-handled “fan" (or shovel) the winnower come, throwing up the grain to the breezes,
* The Arabic dibs, the name given to the grape syrup, now largely exported from Palestine to Egypt, is evidently the same as the corresponding Hebrew word in the passages alluded to.
thoroughly purging the floor and gathering the wheat into the garner." In the more rural and uncultured district observe at “high noon" the little Davids and blooming Rachels, bringing their fathers' flocks to the wells; and, when the stone is removed, descending the rude inside steps, and filling their huge pitchers, and bearing them off on their heads; while, if with your strange garb you approach and with foreign accent address them, the quick eye will catch your wish, and with anxious haste and a smile of delight the rude but sweet child of the Desert will “ let down her pitcher on her shoulder” and give the thirsty traveller drink. And as eventide comes, drawing nigh where “as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" these shepherds “ sojourn in their tents," observe how each little stripling goes before his flock, “calling them by name,” while all“ follow" him.
Then again leaving the country pass through the massive gates and between the crumbling walls of the Eastern city. As you stroll along the broad avenue on its outskirts, there will come sweeping by, perhaps, in glittering pageant, the chariot of the Eastern monarch, with a score of attendants “girt about the loins” and running, Elijah-like, before their master, bearing his pipe and “his shoes," and heralding with loud voices his approach. Turning into the narrow, dark streets, the ass on which you ride, like Balaam's, will oft “crush your foot against the wall,” though less than an angel form comes to