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AFRICAN PORTFOLIO. The article represented in the engraving bears some resemblance to the sporran, or pouch, worn by the Scotch Highlanders. It was sent by a missionary at Sierra Leone to his brother in England, as an African Portfolio. The striped part, shown in the engraving, is the flap which covers the pocket, or purse, the mouth of which is at the top, and, of course, underneath it. It is manufactured of leather of various colours-purple, blue, red, yellow, &c., arranged in the front in stripes, the seams of which are turned up of contrary colours; around the edge of the flap are arranged tassels of similar colours, also of leather cut into strips, and made somewhat like the tail of a boy's kite in England. To each lower corner of the pocket is attached a larger tassel, and at the top of the whole are loops, which hold the string by which the portfolio is carried.
GOD THE HEARER OF PRAYER. How often we pray without expecting an answer-often without wishing one. This is mockery. When people become in earnest about their souls, they call upon God as the hearer and answerer of prayer, and,“ looking up,” they often receive the answer. At the great public prayermeeting, held daily in New York, prayers are offered for individuals. A father will stand up and ask the prayers of the meeting on behalf of his son, or a son or daughter for a parent. Not long ago a sailor arose, in the back part of the lecture-room, and said the Lord had had mercy on him in answer to prayer. He was converted on board ship before reaching port. He was awakened at sea, when far from any means of grace, or communications with his friends. He did not know what to make of it, when religious anxiety first came upon him, He, however, could find no rest, till he found it in coming to Christ. He thought, at first, that he could never live religious on shipboard. But he had found that he could not keep it hid, and he hoped he had become a Christian. He told his shipmates of the great change, and boldly declared to them that hereafter he would be on the Lord's side. He found it more easy than he expected to stand up for Christ. No one ridiculed him, or opposed him, and in this he was disappointed.
But not until he came into port could he understand why the Lord sent his Spirit to convince him of sin while
He found that he had been made the subject of special and daily prayer. His brothers and sisters and the daily prayer-meetings had carried his case to the throne of grace, and now he could understand why, away at sea, he had been convinced that he was a sinner, and needed a Saviour,
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123 « Now I stand here," said he, “ to ask you, for myself, to pray for me. I am thankful that I was made the subject of prayer.
I know now that God hears and answers prayer.”
THE POOL OF SILOAM. “Passing under the rocky face of Ophel,” says the late Mr. McCheyne, we came to the Pool of Siloam. We were surprised to find it so entire, exactly resembling the common prints of it. It is in the form of a parallelogram, and the walls all around are of hewn stones. The steps that lead down into it, at the eastern end, are no doubt the same which have been there for ages. The water covered the bottom to the depth of one or two feet. At the western end, climbing a little way into the cave hewn out of a rock, we descended a few steps into the place from which the water flows into the pool. It is connected by a long subterranean passage, running quite through the hill to the Fountain of the Virgin, or, more properly, the Fountain of Siloam, the entrance to which is a considerable way farther up the valley of Jehoshaphat. Through this passage the water flows softly from the fountain till it finds its way into the pool, not, as generally represented in pictures, by pouring over the mouth of the cave, but secretly from beneath. Wild flowers, and among other plants the capertree, grow luxuriantly around its border. We are told that the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the king's garden,' was rebuilt in the days of Nehemiah. There can be no doubt that this is the very spot; and possibly the present walls and steps may be as ancient as the days of our Lord. While sitting on the margin, we could imagine the history of the blind man realised before us. We had seen, that very day, a blind man in the streets of Jerusalem as we
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passed by. Now it was to such a man that our Lord said,
Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam.' The man obeys; comes out at the gate ; descends the sloping side of Zion, gropes his way down these steps, and feels for the cool water with his hand; then laves his clay-anointed eyes, and they open! Now he sees the glory of Jerusalem, but, above all, comes back and sees the face of the Son of God, the light of the world, whose word commanded the light to shine on his dark eyeballs and his darker heart. The water of this pool flows out through a small channel cut or worn in the rock, and descends to refresh the gardens, which are planted below on terraces, illustrating the expression, ' a fountain of gardens,' for a fountain in such a situation waters many gardens. These are the remains of the king's garden,' mentioned by Nehemiah and by Josephus.
Leaving the pool, we turned northward, proceeding up the valley of Jehoshaphat, with the village of Siloam on our right, which literally hangs upon the steep brow of the Mount of Offence. Three or four hundred yards up the valley, we came to the spring or fountain-head of Siloam, beneath the rocky side of Moriah. It is commonly called the Fountain of the Virgin, from a foolish tradition of the monks. We came to a wide cavern, partly or entirely hewn out by the hands of man, and descending two flights of steps cut in the rock, worn smooth, and white like marble, we came to the water. From this point it flows through the subterranean canal already mentioned, and supplies the Pool of Siloam. But it flows in such perfect stillness, that it seemed to us to be a standing pool, until we put our hands into it, and felt the gentle current pressing them aside. Nothing could be more descriptive of the flow of these waters than the words of Isaiah, • The waters of Shiloah that go softly.' The calm, silent stream of
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grace and power which flows from under the throne of a reconciled God is, by this simple figure, finely contrasted with the loud, noisy promises of Rezin and Remaliah's
The believing soul has a secret and unfailing spring of quiet joy ever flowing from “ the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High,” which forms a complete contrast to the rude and boisterous mirth of the ungodly. We drank with joy of the cool water, which we found sweet and pleasant; all the sweeter because of the sacred recollections with which it was associated. It seemed to be a much-frequented spring ; for some came to drink, some to draw water to wash their clothes, and others were conveying it to their camels.
“It was with a full remembrance of this day's pleasant visit to the Fountain of Siloam, that the following lines occurred at an after-period, when stretched in our tent under the brow of Carmel: