« EdellinenJatka »
sparkled in their countenances, when they heard the sound of the trumpet which announced that the caravan was to begin its march. Their father came near.
He was a venerable man, considerably older than his brother Selumiel, and like him, too, a Christian. Laying his hands upon the heads of his sons, as was the custom of the Jews, he blessed them, and repeated over them the words of the hundred and twenty-first psalm:
“He that keepeth Israel neither slumbereth nor sleepeth; May Jehovah be your keeper, your shade, and your right
hand! May Jehovah preserve your going out and coming in From this time forth and for ever more.”
" The angel of the covenant, Jehovah-Jesus, keep you, my boys, and preserve you safe in the city of my fathers, from the blind guides and false teachers with which it is filled.” The servants listed the boys upon one of the camels, Selumiel mounted another, and a servant mounting another with the baggage, they hastened to join the caravan which was just ready to leave the gates of the city.
The pilgrims had all assembled, ready to set out with the earliest dawn. All was har
mony and good will ; mutual greetings were exchanged; friends and relations sought each other out, and associated themselves together for the journey, and all faces beamed with joy. “It is time to set out,” said some of the elders to the leader of the caravan. “ Already has the priest asked the watchman on the temple, does it begin to be light towards Hebron ?" The priests and elders led the procession; the people followed, and the servants with the camels were placed in the midst of them : the Levites had distributed themselves with their instruments among the multitude, and as they set forward they sung this psalm :
“How am I glad when they say unto me,
I cannot describe to you the effect which this psalm produced on old and young. The voices echoed through the valleys, and came back in long-repeated echoes from the hills. Music was much cultivated among the Hebrews. A triumphal song was sung at the passage of the Red sea, by the whole host. Samuel early introduced the harp and the flute into the schools of the prophets ;* David did not forget them, even when seated on his throne, but appointed Levites for the cultivation of music, and himself often laid down his sceptre to take up the harp. There is no poetry so sweet as the odes of the Hebrews. You would not think perhaps from reading the Psalms, that they are poetry. But in the original they are written in poetry. They have no rhyme as we have in English. Hebrew poetry is of a different kind, consisting of short, pithy sentences, every two of which, usually, correspond in sense. The psalm
* 1 Sam. x. 5; xix. 20.
which I just repeated to you, I have translated from the Hebrew, and written out, so that you may see the mode in which the Hebrew poetry is constructed.
George. I thought, Mr. Anderson, I never had heard that psalm before just as you repeated it: and it never seemed half so much like poetry before. I thought I could almost hear the notes of the Levites.
William. And I never knew before, sir, that the psalms had any particular meaning or use. Did they always sing this psalm as they went up to Jerusalem ?
Mr. Anderson. Yes ; and almost all the psalms were written for special occasions, and were sung in reference to them, just as in these days hymns are composed for particular occasions, ordinations, anniversaries, &c. We lose a great deal of the beauty of the psalms from not understanding this, or from not keeping it in mind. There are fifteen psalms beginning with the hundred and twentieth, which are called “songs of degrees,” or as it should be translated, “ songs of the ascent," or going up to Jerusalem. I cannot tell you with what enthusiasm and joy the Jews used to unite in
singing these songs. Here was a whole
people united in the bonds of a common faith, going up to appear before the altar of Jehovah, to commemorate the wonders of love and mercy which God had shown to Israel.
They had all bidden adieu for a season to the business and occupations of ordinary life. They had come to give thanks and to pray, and no sounds but those of thankfulness and prayer were heard among them. The circumstances in which they were assembled made them feel like brethren, and all private feelings of hostility and unkindness were for the time banished.
The descendants of the same father, the people of the same God, going up to the same temple, and for the same purpose, to appear before Jehovah ; every thing tended to draw them to each other, and make yet closer the bonds of union. On these pilgrimages, they seemed as free from care as the people of old when, rescued from Egyptian bondage, they were fed by manna from heaven, on their way to the land that flowed with milk and honey. The promise of Jehovah that he would protect the land from all its enemies, while