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GAZA. (From the Church of Scotland's Mission to the Jews.) We sat down on the northern extremity of those mounds of sand which beautifully overlook the modern town of Gaza. The evening sun shone sweetly through the beautiful gardens, fine old figs and sycamores, and curious hedges of prickly pear. The minarets and other buildings rose above the trees, and we listened with delight to the soft voice of the turtle heard in the land, and the voices of the little children at play.
Whilst we gazed upon this peaceful scene, we felt it hard to think that this was a land on which God was “laying his vengeance.” (Ezek. xxv. 17.) It appeared at first as if there had been no fulfilment of those distinct predictions, “Gaza shall be forsaken ;" (Zeph. ii. 4.) and, “ Baldness is come upon Gaza." (Jer. xlvii. 5.) But when we had completed our investigation, we found that not one word had fallen to the ground.
We separated in order to obtain different views of this interesting spot. Dr. Black remained to examine more fully the hills of sand. Dr. Keith took the direction of the sea, which is about three miles distant from the modern town, starting the idea, that in all probability, these heaps of sand were covering the ruins of ancient Gaza. The ancient town occupied a site much nearer the sea. The rest of us took the direction of the most prominent hill in the landscape lying N. E., and overhanging the modern town. Crossing a wady quite dry, we climbed the hill, which is less than four hundred feet high. Wild thyme is the chief plant upon it, loading the air with fragrance, and a torrent forces its way down a ravine in winter. The top is ornamented with the white tomb of a Mahometan saint. The evening was uncommonly sweet, and the birds were singing among the olive and fig trees in the gardens that stretch from the town to the base of the mount. From this point, the town appeared much poorer and more wretched than we had supposed. The flat-roofed huts without windows appeared to be all of mud. The four mosques, the ruins of an ancient church, and other edifices among the trees, were the chief ornaments. Looking to the east, we enjoyed a pleasant view of the undulating pasture land; while to the north, gardens and olive groves were stretched
out as far as what we thought might be the valley of Eschol. As we stood among the tombs on the top of the mount, we concluded that this was the hill to the top of which Samson carried the gates of Gaza, the two posts, the bar and all. (Judges xvi. 3.) -a monument of triumph in view of the whole city, whom, as leader of Israel, he had baffled even at the time when his own sins hung heavy upon him. Although it is not high, yet from its top you may see the heights that overhang Hebron, so that it is called “ the hill that is before Hebron.” The ridge of hills lying to the east are probably, “ Ramath-lehi --the heights of Lehi.” (Judges xv. 17.)
Returning to our tents, we were prepared to verify Dr. Keith's conclusion that the hills of sand on which we had pitched our tents, really cover the ruins of ancient Gaza. Each of us had found fragments of polished marble in the flat hollows between the sand hills, the remains, no doubt of the palaces of Gaza; and also masses of fused stones proving that God had “ sent a fire on the wall of Gaza.” (Amos i. 7.) We now saw in a manner we had never done before, that God had fulfilled his own word, “ Baldness is come upon Gaza.” (Jer. xlvii. 5.) We saw that not merely mourning, such as baldness indicated in ancient times, but literally and most remarkably the appearance of baldness has come upon Gaza. No sort of verdure, not a single blade of grass did we see upon these sand-hills. One solitary tree there was, which only served to make the barenness more remarkable. This barren bare hill of sand is THE BALD-HEAD of Gaza!
CRY AND CLING.-A FRAGMENT. “NONSENSE, Mr. Wilbraham,” said Colonel Stephenson with unusual bluntness, to the parish clergyman who had but a few minutes before called upon him—“I tell you it is all nonsense : how is it possible that such a mere child as Milly, should know anything about religion. For my own part, I very much dislike your prating, hypocritical little methodists-talk-talk-talk they will, I dare say, for the hour together : but recommend me to one who would not move a finger in her father's presence: she may go to church if she please ; and I don't know, that I should
object to her learning the collect for the day. So much for my opinion-and you know,” he added, drumming on the table and laughing significantly—“You know that's worth something: eh? Mr. Shepherd.”
“My name is Wilbraham ;' returned the rector, with a chastened smile upon his countenance, that seemed to speak impressively even to his flippant host.
“Come, come,” rejoined the Colonel —“ now don't look sad about it: I ought to know your name; and so I do: but when you favor me with one of your pastoral visits, as you call them, am I not right in calling you my Shepherd " As he said this, the Colonel rubbed his hands heartily, fell back in his chair, and for several seconds chuckled over a joke which he thought uncommonly good.
Mr. Wilbraham was a little disconcerted by the trivial, though probably not ill-meant, manner of the Colonel : he sat silent for a few moments; and then remarked with his usual mildness, “I did not come here, sir, in a spirit of levity; and whether you are right or wrong, your careless and irreverent mode of speaking upon religious subjects, seems to me, a little inconsistent with the gentlemanly feeling and courtesy for which your profession has usually obtained credit. I had just left a dying-bed : and as you had always ex pressed a kindness for your lady's godchild little Amelia Estcourt, I called upon you in the hope that you might be disposed to listen seriously to what passed between us, on my last interview with the dear little one.”
You mistake me, Wilbraham : you do indeed," said the Colonel ; “ and I am heartly grieved if I have hurt your feelings : I have no doubt that little Milly has gone to heaven-not the least - not the very least, my good sir ; and I am sure no one can think otherwise. But what I meant to say was, that I attach little importance to what you call her experience, and all that sort of thing. No, no: I never meant to doubt that she was all right—the dear little innocent! I only wish my claim to heaven was as good as her’s: but the world, sir—the world ; ah!-yes--its a sad world, friend Wilbraham ?"
“ So sad indeed,” rejoined the rector, “ that all who come into it, are under God's displeasure from the very first. “They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” But as they are
never too young for the disease, what cause have we for gratitude in the fact, that they are never too young for the remedy. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings,' says the psalmist, hast thou ordained strength because of the enemy, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
"Just so; just so ;” replied the Colonel hastily, “it's all true, quite true of course; but I cannot see, yet, that babes and sucklings as you call them”
"I beg pardon, sir,” interposed the rector, “these are not my words : but the words of the Holy Spirit speaking by the psalmist.
They are words too upon which we have the Saviour's own commentary, so that we cannot well mistake their meaning, --but I am anticipating your objections.”
“ Objections! my good sir ; oh! dear no; they are not objections; the Bible is, of course, right : but we must make allowances ; I say we must : we cannot hope to grapple successfully with its great mysteries. You may do so : it is your business ; but to me it would be little less than blasphemy to decide upon the meaning of many parts of Scripture.”
Mr. Wilbraham sat thoughtful and silent for a little while ; but a good physiognomist would have felt little difficulty in reading the alternations that passed over his features, at all times expressive ; but more than usually so when he seemed fully to realize the high functions of his station, “to magnify his office;" and feel the manifold responsibilities of his stewardship. At length he broke the silence by observing in a mild and placid tone, “ The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed unto us, and to our children.” "The Bible,” he added, “is the depository of the last; it is a revelation-a. disclosure--a manifestation of divine truth; and not a mystic code of rites, and forms, and occult or enigmatical doctrines ---"
“But," said the Colonel, somewhat hastily, “ the apostles themselves speak of it as containing mysteries ?"
" True; but the term as they use it, signifies, not inexplicable, but simply, hidden things; and here we come round again to the point from which we started, for these very mysteries are the things which God is pleased to make known to babes. You remember those words in our Saviour's prayer, 'I thank thee, O
Father ! Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes!!!
“ Exactly; but you see,” said the Colonel with a smile of triumph, “ your quotation helps my argument just as much as your own-for the good things which I suppose the text includes are hidden from the wise ?"
“Hidden;" replied the rector, with an emphasis perfectly intelligible to any but his disputant, who still looked at him with an air of self-complacency. “But,” said he, after a momentary pause “ suppose that there was treasure hidden in any part of this house, and that you were not only told of the fact, but invited to search for it? Nay, that you were assured, upon evidence the most indisputable, that you should find it, and might keep it-would you stumble at the mystery then, or turn a deaf ear on your informant ?”
“Why—perhaps not;" replied the Colonel deliberately.
“Then why should you doubt the possibility of a child evena babe, if you please-obtaining that which only requires to be asked for? The very characteristics of infancy are that it can cry, and it can cling-it can ask, and it can hold fast that which it gets by asking.”
T. T. T.
A splendid comet, which appears to have taken the astrono-. mers of London and Paris by surprise, made its appearance here on the 17th March. It had not only been observed at Rome as early as the 6th, but identified as Laugier's comet, which it was predicted would return very near that portion of the heavens where it was discovered- about the middle of Scorpio. It is also said to have been foretold in a public lecture, delivered at the Museum Rooms, Philadelphia, on the 25th January, 1842. It was seen at Oporto some days earlier than in London.
At about half-past seven o'clock on the evening of Friday, the 17th March, it was very conspicuous in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, a little to the southward of west, and had the appearance of a band of subdued light, certainly not less than thirty degrees, or about the sixth part of the hemisphere in