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YOUTHS' MAGAZINE;

OR

Evangelical Miscellany.

JANUARY, 1830.

STREET VIEW IN THE INTERIOR OF DAMASCUS.

ON entering Damascus from the south-east quarter, I was charmed, beyond expression, with the verdant and delightful appearance of the olive grounds, fruitful gardens, and running streams, through which this city is approached. A remarkable peculiarity of the buildings in this quarter is, that almost every separate edifice appears to have a high and pointed dome of brick-work, which, being of the same light coloured earth used in the bricks of the buildings, resembles, at a distance, a number of large straw bee-hives. We entered the city through the Bab-el-Ullah, or the gate of God, so called from its leading to Jerusalem and Mecca-both holy cities, and both places of pilgrimage, the last only to the Mahommedans, but the first to all the several classes of Jews, Christians, and Moslems, by each of whom it is held in high estimation, and called by all El-Khods-el-Shereef, the Holy and the Noble.

The street through which we passed was paved in the centre, upon a raised level, forming an excellent road for beasts of burden, camels, and horses, and would easily admit the passage of six or eight abreast. VOL. III. 3d SERIES.

A

way,

dwellings, shops, and other Had the buildings been at

Below this raised road, was an unpaved space on each side, and within this again a pavement of smaller stones, nearly as broad as the central raised for foot passengers, along the fronts of the edifices that lined the street. all correspondent to the length and breadth of this fine road, the effect of the whole would have been excellent; but these were, in general, poor and mean, and totally destitute of uniformity, whether in size, style, or material.

Among the principal edifices I noticed several mosques, some of modern, and others apparently of a pretty old date. The shops were all open, and many manufactories of cotton, silk, stuff, and leather, were carried on at each side of the street, in the open air. Notwithstanding my disappointment at the general inferiority of the buildings of this fine street, to the expectation I had formed of them, I was, nevertheless, much pleased at the cleanliness of every thing we saw, and the apparent health and beauty of the people of all classes that we met in our way, as well as the richness and gaiety of apparel, among the young and old, the rich and poor, in proportion to their several ages and ranks; the oldest and the poorest among them, however, being much better dressed than the ordinary class of people in any Arab or Turkish town that I had yet seen.

There was a degree of order and tranquillity also visible in every part of the street, even that most thickly crowded with people, which was pleasing to witness, and gave a very favourable impression as to the sober and orderly habits of the inhabitants.-Buckingham's Travels among the Arab Tribes.

THE VIOLET LEAF.

WHOEVER looks back on his younger years, must observe that certain passages of those periods have left indelible impressions

on his mind, whilst other transactions of his infancy, which at first sight might have appeared of more importance, have passed away into oblivion as figures traced upon the sand.

Who is there amongst my readers who will not carry, to his dying hour, the memory of some peculiar act of kindness; of some word of love; of some precept sweetly insinuated, which seems to stand out as it were in high relief among thousands of others, shewn through the years of infancy by the friends of those early days, which are now wholly passed away from the mind.

I once knew an orphan child who traced all her religious feelings through after life to a walk taken in India, on a star-light night, with her adopted mother, at which period that tender parent had taken occasion to lead her mind to the goodness and power of God, by explaining to her the nature of the glorious heavenly bodies, scattered over the azure vault, extended above her head. This lady had given her little adopted one a thousand other lessons upon the same important subjects, but these had all passed away from her recollection, and this one only lesson had left its distinguished record.

It is hard to account for this peculiarity of the memory which seizes a lesser matter and permits a larger one to escape, unless we suppose that the peculiar circumstances which the mind retains, are those which have wrought the most permanent influence on the character, and awakened, most decidedly, the sympathetic feelings.

Since we find that a power is given to the regenerate person by God the Holy Spirit to retain those things which are true and holy, whilst the unconverted mind has a peculiar aptitude for seizing and retaining those things which are evil. When the apostles, on the day of pentecost, received the Holy Spirit, the words of their Master which had hitherto been uncongenial with their feelings, were brought with power to their recollections, whilst their former desires for worldly aggrandizement passed away.

I have been led to these reflections by the consideration of certain transactions of my early years, which are as fresh to me at this moment, as they were at the time when they first occurred; and not only do I remember them in their bare outlines, but with such a variety of small particulars as would render them lectures in their relation, were I to tell my story, in all its bearings,

precisely as I remember it. Forty years or more are passed since that violet leaf, which gives the title to my story, was plucked from the parent stem, and the sod is thick over the graves of all those who then were the objects of my infant tenderness. Ah! what is human life, a vapour, a meteor, a passing cloud. Job xiv. 11, 12. As the waters fall from the sea and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down and riseth not till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep. How bitter must this reflection be to those who have no hope beyond this present being, to such as have not been enabled to receive by faith the evidence of things not seen; but I must not digress too far from my object, which is to tell a simple tale of my early life.

My father was a gentleman, residing on his own estate; our habitation was far from any towered city, or even village. We were shut out from our nearest neighbours by thick woods, which, from time immemorial, had flourished undisturbed on my father's lands, and which added to the charms derived from those deep shades by which our grounds were diversified. Hill and dale, orchard and sheep walk, with deep dark dingles, through which pure streams of water poured their secret course, a region, in short, of such singular beauty that it has ever afforded my mind the prototype of every imaginary scene of natural perfection.

My parents never had more than two children, my beloved brother and myself. My brother's name was Adolphus, and mine Rosamond, or more commonly Rosa, a name which particularly suited me, as I was remarkable in infancy for my blooming health. On the contrary, my dear brother, who was a year older than myself, was from babyhood of a peculiarly tender constitution, neither did he ever enjoy that health which should have enabled him to associate generally with boys of his own age, or to enjoy their sports; and this circumstance, no doubt, made him more fond of me and of his parents, and his home. In consequence of which, when it was thought advisable to send him to school, his absence from us was extremely painful to him, and the letters which he wrote to me always caused me some floods of tears. I was as much as nine years old when my Adolphus was removed to school-he was sent to a considerable distance, and was absent a year, not returning at the Christmas holidays. I counted the

months of his absence, and numbered the days which were to bring him to me again. At length the happy time arrived, and my brother came; it was the beginning of June, and the country was most gloriously beautiful, decked in all her fairest robes of summer.

During the absence of my Adolphus, a serious change had taken place in his heart, a change of which even my parents were not then aware, and indeed had they been so, I imagine that they were not then in a condition to be sensible of its infinite importance. But the fact was, that my brother's preceptor was a truly pious man, and as such, laboured above all things to inspire his children with feelings of piety, and, as in many other instances which had occurred among his pupils, his lessons had been particularly blessed to my brother. Whereas he had formerly been only a boy of a mild and amiable temper, he was then become a child of a changed heart, notwithstanding which he mourned for home, and the more so because the larger number of his companions were different to himself. It was however according to the feelings of his renewed nature, when he did return home, to endeavour to make me a participator of his sentiments, and I well remember many efforts which he made to engage my attention to heavenly things, yet all, for awhile, without success. At length, however, he bethought himself of a little stratagem, and on the morning of my birth-day, on the 10th of June, 1789, for it is forty years ago, I found, when I awoke, a bunch of violets laid on my pillow, and within the posy a small billet, in which was written these words: "The company of Rosa is requested at the root-house, near the violet bank, at five o'clock this afternoon." My birth-day was, of course, to be a holiday, and there was no doubt that I determined to accept the invitation. I had no difficulty in guessing the person from whence it came, but Adolphus would not answer any of my questions respecting it, recommending me to wait quietly till the appointed hour for the satisfaction of my curiosity. In those days people dined early, neither was I required to sit long after dinner, I had, therefore, some time to wait after I had dined before I thought it right to repair to the root-house, and during that time I missed Adolphus, and therefore well knew that he was gone to prepare for my reception.

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