Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

earth mingles with the hallelujahs of the Church in heaven, and rolls like the sound of many waters around his throne. He “ sees of the travail of his soul and is satisfied.” But the shades of the evening are approaching, clouds are gathering around the earth, and through the lurid light which issues from these I see the powers of darkness collecting for their final struggle.-Oh! earth, earth, earth, thy destiny is written in heaven, thou shalt pass away, but thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever! and the voice from that throne proclaims, “ Behold I make all things new."-And when the heavens pass away with a great noise, when the elements melt with fervent heat, may we be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord our God-Amen.

X. Y. Z.

JERUSALEM.

“ BEAUTIFUL for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge,” exclaimed the Psalmist of old ; and, gazing on the holy and beautiful city, he continued with exultation, “Walk about Zion, and go round about her, tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces ; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death.”

Or again, “ The Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.” When the royal singer is driven out as an exile from the home of his affections, how plaintive are his strains ; " My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord : my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.The same lamentations are renewed by the captives, beside the streams of Babylon, as their harps are hung upon its willows, and they weep as they remember Zion. To the prophet Jeremiah, the holy mountain had been the scene of suffering, contumely, and imprisonment; yet nothing could weaken his affection towards it. “ The joy of our heart is ceased ; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head; woe unto us that we have sinned. For this our heart is faint, for these things our eyes are dim. Be

cause of the mountain of Zion which is desolate, the foxes walk

upon

it.” When His eye, to whom all the prophets bare witness, rested upon Jerusalem, it stood in strength and beauty ; its fortresses were unscathed, the goodly stones still adorned its temple ; but the future was no mystery to him: the long ages of its desolation rose before him, and the tears of love he shed over the devoted city, have sanctioned the deepest emotionsof its sorrowing children.

Through the longest and bitterest of Judah’s captivities, Jerusalem has never been forgotten by her children. When the crusader, professing to be the soldier of Jesus of Nazareth, but more cruel than the Saracen and the Turk, forbade them the poor consolation of weeping in view of the foundation of the temple, or seeking burial in their native land ; in every land of their exile, they still remembered Zion. The following extract is a translation of an elegiac poem in Hebrew, written by a Spanish Rabbi, Judah Hallevi, who made a journey to Palestine in the year 1140, when Fulk of Anjou reigned in Jerusalem. The poem is regarded as the expression of the sentiments of despair and grief, which were inspired by his visit to the Holy Land, and which were generally entertained by the Jews of that period ; as well as of the ardent desire—the more ardent from obstruction—which was felt to visit the sacred land, and find in it a sepulchre.

“Hast thou forgotten, 0 Zion, thy captive children ? Art thou regardless of the blessings which the remnant of thy flock send to thee from the uttermost parts of the earth ? From the East, from the West, from the North, and from the South, the bondman directs towards thee the looks of hope, and sends to thee the tribute of his tears. They fall like the dews of Hermon ;

but, alas ! they may not water thy forsaken hills. When I mourn thy desolation, there is the doleful cry of the jackal; but when I dream of the return from captivity, there are the accents of the harp which once accompanied thy sacred songs. My soul is transported into the house of God; and lies there naked before its Creator. Was it not here that the gates of heaven were opened ?-here that the majesty of Jehovah eclipsed the sun, the moon, and the stars ? Oh that I were able to pour

forth my spirit there, where the Spirit of God descended

upon

his elect! Thou wert the abode of the eternal King ; and I behold slaves seated upon the throne of thy princes.

“Why, O my soul, mayest thou not pour thyself out upon these places where the Almighty revealed himself to his prophets ? Give me wings, and I will bear unto thy ruins the fragments of my broken heart. I will embrace thy mute stones, and my brow shall touch thy sacred dust. My feet shall bear me to the tombs of my forefathers :- I contemplate at Hebron the Holy Sepulchre~ I contemplate Mount Abarim and Mount Hor, which hold the dust of thy divine masters, the two lights of Israel. In thine air I shall respire the breath of life ; in thy dust, the perfume of myrrh ; in the waters of thy streams, I shall taste honey. It would be blessed to me to walk barefoot over the ruins of thy sanctuary, to the place where the earth opened and received into its bosom the ark of the covenant and its cherubim. I could rend from my head this vain attire, and curse the fate which has cast thy worshippers away upon a strange land. Oh, how can I give myself up to the joys of life, while I behold dogs dragging thy young lions triumphantly along? Mine eyes shun the light of day, which compels me to behold crows rising into

the air with the dead bodies of thine eagles. . . . . Rest, O thou cup of affliction, and let me have a single moment of repose ; for my veins are already filled with thy bitterness only one moment, that I may think upon Aholah (Samaria), and then I will finish thy bitter draught; let me have one short remembrance of Aholibamah (Jerusalem), and then I will drain it to the dregs.

· Zion, crowned with beauty, recal the tender love of thine own, whom thy prosperity once filled with gladness, and whom thy reverses bow down with grief. From their uttermost exile they open up to thee their forlorn hearts, and bow themselves towards thy gates. Thy flocks, scattered upon the mountains, have not forgotten their happy fold ; they are still attracted towards thy heights, and long to rest once more under the shadow of thy palms. Sinear and Pathros, in their vaunted greatness, can they compare with thee ? What were their lying oracles compared with thy Urim and Thummim? Where are the mortal men comparable to thy princes, thy prophets, thy Levites, thy sacred choristers ? All their empires shall return to nothingness, and thou-thou only—shall endure to everlasting; for the Lord shall yet fix his eternal abode in thee. Oh, happy shall he be who shall then dwell under the shadow of thy walls !-Happy he who shall behold that new morning break ! for he will see the blessedness of thine elect—he will join in thy high festivals—and thou shalt yet be beautiful, as in the days of thy youth.'*

To this day the same pulse beats strongly in the Jewish heart. 'I found,' says Mr. Ewald, in the last number of the Jewish Intelligence, ' in one house, twenty

* Modern Jerusalem, p. 102.

« EdellinenJatka »