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299 spicuous a feature in its ruins. From the great number of old oil-presses at this place, and others north and south, it is evident that those now naked hills were once clothed with olive-trees. And that is probable enough, for this chalky marl is the best of all soils for the olive. When thus cultivated and adorned, this part of Asher must have been most beautiful. So thought that crowning city, Tyrus, and in her self-complacent vanity exclaims, “I am of perfect beauty."
We will now pass into the wady on the east of Kanab, where the servants are expecting us. With our wanderings and explorations, the ride from Tyre has taken three hours, but it can easily be done in two. Though it is early in the afternoon, we shall spend the night here, for there is no suitable place to encamp between this and Tibnîn.
Owing to the wild wadies covered with dense forests of oak and underwood, the country above us has ever been a favorite range for sheep and goats. Those low, flat buildings out on the sheltered side of the valley are sheepfolds. They are called mârâh, and, when the nights are cold, the flocks are shut up in them, but in ordinary weather they are merely kept within the yard. This, you observe, is defended by a wide stone wall, crowned all around with sharp thorns, which the prowling wolf will rarely attempt to scale. The nimer, however, and fahed—the leopard and panther of this country-when pressed with hunger, will overleap this thorny hedge, and with one tremendous bound land among the frightened fold. Then is the time to try the nerve and heart of the faithful shepherd. These humble types of Him who leadeth Joseph like a flock' never leave their helpless charge alone, but accompany them by day, and abide with them at night. As spring advances, they will move higher up to other mârâhs and greener ranges; and in the hot months of summer they sleep with their flocks on the cool heights of the mountains, with no other protection than a stout palisade of tangled thorn-bushes. Nothing can be more romantic, Oriental, and even Biblical than this shepherd life far away among the sublime solitudes of goodly
Ps. Ixxx. 1.
SHEPHERD'S DOG-GOOD SHEPHERD.
the rear. These Oriental shepherd-dogs, by the way, are not, like those in other lands, fine faithful fellows, the friend and companion of their masters, and fit to figure in poetry. This would not suit Job's disparaging comparison. They are a mean, sinister, ill-conditioned generation, kept at a distance, kicked about, and half starved, with nothing noble or attractive about them. Still, they lag lazily behind the flocks, make a furious barking at any intruder among their charge, and thus give warning of approaching danger.
As you mentioned at the Damûr the other day, I notice that some of the flock keep near the shepherd, and follow whithersoever he goes without the least hesitation, while others stray about on either side, or loiter far behind; and he often turns round and scolds them in a sharp, stern cry, or sends a stone after them. I saw him lame one just now.
Not altogether unlike the good shepherd. Indeed, I never ride over these hills, clothed with flocks, without meditating upon this delightful theme. Our Saviour says that the good shepherd, when he putteth forth his own sheep, goeth before them, and they follow. This is true to the letter. They are so tame and so trained that they follow their keeper with the utmost docility. He leads them forth from the fold, or from their houses in the villages, just where he pleases. As there are many flocks in such a place as this, each one takes a different path, and it is his business to find pasture for them. It is necessary, therefore, that they should be taught to follow, and not to stray away into the unfenced fields of corn which lie so temptingly on either side. Any one that thus wanders is sure to get into trouble. The shepherd calls sharply from time to time to remind them of his presence. They know his voice, and follow on; but, if a stranger call, they stop short, lift up their heads in alarm, and, if it is repeated, they turn and flee, because they know not the voice of a stranger. This is not the fanciful costume of a parable; it is simple fact. I have made the experiment repeatedly. The shepherd goes before, not merely to point out the way, but to see that it is practicable and safe. He 1 Job xxx. 1.
? John x. 4.