Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

broken-hearted husband, the proud betrayer and his pale victim, the living and breathing portents and prodigies, the embodied virtues and vices of another age and another world, and all playing together! Men are but children of a larger growth. ***

Even fathers and mothers look upon children with a strange misapprehension of their dignity. Even with the poets, they are only the flowers and blossoms, the dew-drops or the playthings, of earth. Yet “of such is the kingdom of heaven.” The Kingdom of Heaven! with all its principalities and powers, its hierarchies, dominations, thrones! The Saviour understood them better; to him their true dignity was revealed. Flowers! They are the flowers of the invisible world; indestructible, self-perpetuating flowers, with each a multitude of angels and evil spirits underneath its leaves, toiling and wrestling for dominion over it! Blossoms! They are the blossoms of another world, whose fruitage is angels and archangels. Or dew-drops! They are dewdrops that have their source, not in the chambers of the earth, nor among the vapors of the sky, which the next breath of wind, or the next flash of sunshine, may dry up forever, but among

the everlasting fountains and inexhaustible reservoirs of mercy and love. Playthings! If the little creatures would but appear to us in their true shape for a moment! We should fall upon our faces before them, or grow pale with consternation, or fling them off with horror and loathing.

What would be our feelings to see a fair child start up before us a maniac or a murderer, armed to the teeth? to find a nest of serpents on our pillow ? a destroyer, or a traitor, a Harry the Eighth, or a Benedict Arnold, asleep in our bosom? A Catherine or a Peter, a Bacon, a Galileo, or a Bentham, a Napoleon, or a Voltaire, clambering up our knees after sugar-plums? Cuvier laboring to distinguish a horse-fly from a blue-bottle, or dissecting a spider with a rusty nail? La Place trying to multiply his own apples, or to subtract his playfellow's gingerbread? What should we say to find ourselves romping with Messalina, Swedenborg, and Madame de Staël ? or playing bo-peep with Murat, Robespierre, and Charlotte Corday? or puss puss in the corner with George Washington, Jonathan Wild, Shakspeare, Sappho, Jeremy Taylor, Alfieri, and Harriet Wilson? Yet stranger things have happened. These were all children but the other day, and clambered about the knees, and rummaged in the pockets, and nestled in the laps of people no better than we are. But if they could have appeared in their true shape for a single moment, while they were playing together, what a scampering there would have been among grown folks! How their fingers would have tingled !

Now to me there is no study half so delightful as that of these little creatures, with hearts fresh from the gardens of the sky, in

the

their first and fairest and most unintentional disclosures, while they are indeed a mystery,-a fragrant, luminous, and beautiful mystery!

Then why not pursue the study for yourself? The subjects are always before you. No books are needed, no costly drawings, no lectures, neither transparencies nor illustrations. Your specimens are all about you. They come and go at your bidding. They are not to be hunted for, along the edge of a precipice, on the borders of the wilderness, in the desert, nor by the sea-shore. They abound not in the uninhabited or unvisited place, but in your very dwelling-houses, about the steps of your doors, in every street of every village, in every green field, and every crowded thoroughfare.

EDWARD ROBINSON.

Tais renowned philologist and traveller, the son of Rev. William Robinson, who was pastor of the Congregational Church at Southington, Connecticut, for forty-one years, was born at that place on the 10th of April, 1794. He was destined for mercantile life, but, being on a visit to his uncle, at Clinton, Oneida County, New York, early in 1812, he concluded to enter Hamilton College, wbich had just been chartered. Accordingly, in the fall, he joined the first Freshman class, and graduated in 1816, with the highest honors. In October of the next year he was appointed tutor in his Alma Mater, where be remained a year, teaching the mathematics and the Greek language. In the latter part of the year 1818, he was married to the youngest daughter of the Rev. Samuel Kirkland, and sister of the late President Kirkland, of Harvard University. She died in the following July, and Mr. Robinson remained in Clinton, pursuing his studies, for two years longer.

In December, 1821, he went to Andover, Massachusetts, and after being here two years, without having been connected with the seminary, he was appointed assistant instructor, and continued such till 1826, translating in the mcan time, from the Latin, “Wahl's Clavis Novi Testamenti,” or Lexicon of the New Testament.

In the summer of 1826, he went to Europe, and spent four years in travelling, combined with hard study, in the mean time (1828) marrying the youngest daughter of Professor Ludwig von Jacob, of Halle. On his return home in 1830, he was appointed Professor Extraordinary of Sacred Literature in the Andover Theological Seminary. In 1831, he commenced the publication of the “Biblical Repository," of which he was the editor and chief contributor for four years. In 1833 appeared his translation of “Buttman's Greek Grammar," and in 1836, his new Lexicon of the New Testament, and his translation of the “ Hebrew Lexicon of Gesenius."

In 1837, Dr. Robinson was appointed Professor of Biblical Literature in the Union Theological Seminary, in the city of New York, the position which he still holds. He accepted the appointment on condition that he might be permitted to carry out a plan previously formed, of visiting the lands of the Bible, in conjunction with his friend, Rev. Eli Smith, a missionary of the American Board. This he accomplished, and then repaired to Berlin, where he devoted bimself for two years to the preparation of his Biblical Researches in Palestine. In 1840, he returned to New York, and his great work was published the next year in three volumes, at Boston, London, and Halle. It at once established his fame, and, for learning, unwearied investigation, and scrupulous fidelity, placed him in the very front rank of travellers; and the Royal Geographical Society of London awarded to him one of their gold medals.

Notwithstanding his many official labors connected with the seminary, Dr. Robinson projected and established, in 1843, “ The Bibliotheca Sacra," which, for critical theological learning, bas not its superior on cither side of the Atlantic. He also published, in 1845, a Harmony of the Four Gospels in Greek, and the next year an English Harmony. In 1850 appeared a new edition of his Lexicon of the Nero Testament.

The next year he again set out for Palestine, to make new researches, as well as to go over some of the ground formerly explored. He returned in 1852, and made preparations for a new volume, which appeared in 1856, both in this country and England, and in the German language at Berlin. This great work is now the standard upon the geography of Palestine, and for accuracy and thoroughness leaves nothing more to be desired.'

PLAIN BEFORE SINAI.

As we advanced, the valley still opened wider and wider, with a gentle ascent, and became full of shrubs and tufts of herbs, shut in on each side by lofty granite ridges with rugged, shattered peaks a thousand feet high, while the face of Horeb rose directly before us. Both my companion and myself involuntarily exclaimed, “Here is room enough for a large encampment!” Reaching the top of the ascent, or water-shed, a fine broad plain lay before us, sloping down gently towards the S.S. E., enclosed by rugged and venerable mountains of dark granite, stern, naked, splintered peaks and ridges of indescribable grandeur, and terminated at the distance of more than a mile by the bold and awful

1

Palestine, Past and Present: with Biblical, Literary, and Scientific Notices : By Rev. Henry S. Osborn, A.M., Professor of Natural Science in Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia. This is a work of very great merit, recently published by James Challen & Son, Philadelphia,-a pleasant and animated book of travels, with personal reminiscences, descriptions of scenery, interspersed with occasional religious reflections and philosophical discussions; and all in a pure and lively style. It is illustrated by a series of original engravings from the pencil of the author, and by a new map of Palestine, and is together the most pleasant and readable work upon this land we have yet soen, -of no cphemeral interest, but of a living, permanent value.

front of Horeb, rising perpendicularly, in frowning majesty, from twelve to fifteen hundred feet in height. It was a scene of solemn grandeur, wholly unexpected, and such as we had never seen; and the associations which at the moment rushed upon our minds were almost overwhelming. As we went on, new points of interest were continually opening to our view. On the left of Horeb, a deep and narrow valley runs up S. S. E., between lofty walls of rock, as if in continuation of the S. E. corner of the plain. In this valley, at the distance of near a mile from the plain, stands the convent; and the deep verdure of its fruit-trees and cypresses is seen as the traveller approaches,—an oasis of beauty amid scenes of the sternest desolation. Still advancing, the front of Horeb rose like a wall before us; and one can approach quite to the foot, and touch the mount. As we crossed the plain, our feelings were strongly affected at finding here, so unexpectedly, a spot so entirely adapted to the scriptural account of the giving of the law. No traveller has described this plain, nor even mentioned it, except in a slight and general manner, probably because the most have reached the convent by another route, without passing over it; and perhaps, too, because neither the highest point of Sinai, (now called Jebel Mûsa,) nor the still loftier summit of St. Catharine, is visible from any part of it.

THE TOP OF SINAI, (SUFSAFEH.) The extreme difficulty and even danger of the ascent was well rewarded by the prospect that now opened before us. The whole plain er-Râhah lay spread out beneath our feet, with the adjacent wadys and mountains; while Wady esh-Sheikh on the right, and the recess on the left, both connected with and opening broadly from er-Râhah, presented an area which serves nearly to double that of the plain. Our conviction was strengthened that here, or on some one of the adjacent cliffs, was the spot where the Lord “descended in fire” and proclaimed the law. Here lay the plain where the whole congregation might be assembled; here was the mount that could be approached and touched, if not forbidden; and here the mountain brow, where alone the lightnings and the thick cloud would be visible, and the thunders and the voice of the trump be heard, when the Lord " came down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.” We gave ourselves up to the impressions of the awful scene, and read, with a feeling that will never be forgotten, the sublime account of the transaction and the commandments there promulgated, in the original words as recorded by the great Hebrew legislator."

Exod. xix. 9-25; xx. 1-21.

THE CEDARS OF LEBANON.' The cedars are not less remarkable for their position than for their age and size. The amphitheatre in which they are situated is of itself a great temple of nature, the most vast and magnificent of all the recesses of Lebanon. The lofty dorsal ridge of the mountain, as it approaches from the south, tends slightly towards the east for a time, and then, after resuming its former direction, throws off a spur of equal altitude towards the west, which sinks down gradually into the ridge terminating at Ehden. This ridge sweeps round so as to become nearly parallel with the main ridge, thus forming an immense recess or amphitheatre, approaching to the horseshoe form, surrounded by the loftiest ridges of Lebanon, which rise still two or three thousand feet above it and are partly covered with snows. In the midst of this amphitheatre stand the cedars, utterly alone, with not a tree besides, nor hardly a green thing in sight. The amphitheatre fronts towards the west, and, as seen from the cedars, the snows extend round from south to north. The extremities of the arc, in front, bear from the cedars southwest and northwest. High up in the recess, the deep, precipitous chasm of the Kadisha has its beginning,—the wildest and grandest of all the gorges of Lebanon.

Besides the natural grace and beauty of the cedar of Lebanon, which still appear in the trees of middle age, though not in the more ancient patriarchs, there is associated with this grove a feeling of veneration, as the representative of those forests of Lebanon so celebrated in the Hebrew Scriptures. To the sacred writers, the cedar was the noblest of trees, the monarch of the vegetable kingdom. Solomon " spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall."? To the prophets it was the favorite emblem for greatness, splendor, and majesty: hence kings and nobles--the pillars of society-are everywhere cedars of Lebanon. Especially is this the case in the splendid description, by Ezekiel, of the Assyrian power and glory. Hence, too, in connection with its durability and fragrance, it was regarded as the most precious of all wood, and was employed in costly buildings, for ornament and luxury. In Solomon's temple, the beams of the roof, as also the boards and the ornamental work, were of the cedar of Lebanon ;; and it was likewise used in the later temple of Zerubbabel. David's palace was

1 The elevation of the cedars above the sea is given by Russegger and Schubert at six thousand Paris feet,--equivalent to six thousand four hundred English feet. The peaks of Lebanon above rise nearly three thousand feet higher.

2 1 Kings iv. 33; cump. Judges ix. 15; 2 Kings xiv. 9; Ps. xxix. 5; civ. 16. 3 Isa. ii. 13; xiv. 8; xxxvij. 24; Jer. xxii. 23; Ezek. xvii, 22; Zech. xi. 1, &c. 4 Ezek. xxxi. 3-9.51 Kings vi. 9, 10; comp. v. 6, 8, 10; 1 Chron. xxii. 4. 6 Ezra iii. 7.

« ForrigeFortsett »