Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

which they had in those days ? It must have cost a great deal to write them out by hand.”

Mr. Anderson. Manuscripts on parchment and the bark of certain trees, particularly the papyrus, were the only books then known. Hence books then were so dear, that none but the rich were able to own them. I suppose a copy of the Bible written out legibly on parchment, would cost as much as one thousand Bibles do now.

But to proceed with my narrative. Selumiel brake the seals (for it was entirely new and tied up and sealed as packets are with us) and turning to the twenty-seventh chapter, read the first ten verses of it. They contained the account of the remorse and tragical end of the traitor Judas. Then closing the book, and looking up to heaven, he said, “so shall all thine enemies perish, blessed Emmanuel. Let the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing ; let the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take council together against the Lord, and against his Christ; He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh at them, yea, Jehovah will have them in derision. Thy throne, O God, is for ever, and

thy dominion is throughout all ages. Yes, that same Jesus (and his manner became more earnest as he proceeded), that same Jesus whom Judas betrayed, and whom our chiefpriests and our rulers took, and by wicked hards crucified and slew, is now exalted on the right hand of God, a prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins."

“ Alas,” said Helah, “ these words pierce me to the heart. I have been the chief of sinners. But blessed be God, I, who was once a blasphemer and a persecutor, have obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. O, that my dear family were all of the household of faith.” The tear stood in the eye of Sarah, and Helah hailed it with joy, as a token that the Spirit had touched her heart.

Selumiel then knelt down, and in a fervent and earnest prayer sought the blessing of God. When they rose from their knees, Simon went up to Selumiel, and said to him, “ Can we not visit Aceldama to day, uncle? Is it not near the city ?”

* Yes,” said Selumiel, “it is to that part

of Jerusalem that I intend to take you to-day; but you must not expect to see there such pleasant prospects as you saw yesterday. Aceldama and . Gehenna (for they are not very far from each other) are

mournful scenes.'

The necessary preparations were speedily made, and a pleasant walk of half a mile brought them to the valley of Hinnom, which runs along south of Mount Zion. On the northern side of the valley, just at the foot of the mountain, in the rainy season, flow the waters of the fountain Gihon. In the dry months, it is entirely dry. Now it was a copious stream, and dashed along its desolate and rocky channel with considerable noise and foam, till it was lost in the larger torrent Kidron, just above the potter's field. The valley of Hinnom had in ancient times been exceedingly verdant and delightfully shaded with trees. But the trees had long ago perished, and the grass had withered, and nothing but a few stinted and sickly shrubs remained of all its verdure and beauty.

• What a barren and desolate place !” said Jonathan ; " how oppressive the air ! I can

[ocr errors]

hardly breathe it; it is loaded with offensive smells."

They now came in sight of the fires which were kept continually burning in this valley to consume the filth of the city.

All along the southern part of the valley the smoke was rising in pitchy volumes, and the loathsome odours from the burning rubbish filled the whole atmosphere.

• What are these fires, uncle ?” said Jonathan; “ I saw them yesterday from Mount Olivet, and meant to have asked you about them.'

“ These, Jonathan, are the fires of Tophet, of which the prophet has said, . For Tophet is ordained of old ; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large ; the pile thereof is fire and much wood ; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.'"*

Why was it called Tophet?” said Simon, “ and for what purpose were these fires kindled ?"

“The history of this valley, my dear boys," said Selumiel, “ is a history of abominations.

Is. XXX. 33.

Q

Here our fathers, seduced by Solomon, set up the worship of Moloch. On these highplaces, which you see just beyond the fires, they erected his temples. They raised her

[graphic]

in the valley a huge brazen image of this god, represented as sitting on a throne of brass, adorned with a royal crown, having lie head of a calf, and his huge arms extended as if to

« EdellinenJatka »