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النشر الإلكتروني

196

CHRIST'S BAPTISM.

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heavenly inheritance, that we seemed in a peculiar sense to be standing on the confines of a better land above.

“Here the children of Israel, following the ark of God, passed over on dry ground. The waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap, and those that came down toward the sea of the plain (even the Salt Sea) failed and were cut off; and the people passed over right against Jericho.' Here Elijah and Elisha came and stood beside Jordan. And the prophet took his mantle and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.' And just beyond, Elijah was caught up with 'a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and ascended by a whirlwind unto heaven. Here also came Jesus to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 'And Jesus when he was baptized went up straightway out of the water; and lo the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him, and lo a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.' As we stood thus on the banks of Jordan, at the hour of sunset, these scenes all passed vividly before the mind, and we realized as never before their divine reality and power.

" Then two men came down to cross the river.

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One passed firmly over, but the other, an aged man, trembled in the centre of the current, and his companion returned to his assistance and conducted him safely to the opposite shore. This also reminded us of the angel coming to strengthen the trembling pilgrim, as he crosses the dark river, and guide him triumphantly to the gates of the celestial city.

“We bathed in the rapid flowing waters, gathered a few mementos from the shore, and then unwillingly departed for our tents near the site of the ancient Jericho. I shall long remember that hallowed hour on the banks of the river Jordan.

“We rode from the Jordan across the plains of Jericho, at the hour of sunset and twilight. The valley is well watered, covered with wild flowers in full bloom, and, uncultivated by the hand of man, is still the garden of the Lord. Behind us, rising above the other peaks, is Mount Nebo, at the top of Pisgah,' where Moses, just before his death, went up from the plains of Moab. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, and all the land of Judah, and the South, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.' This view of the promised land, spread out like a Paradise before him, must have been lovely beyond description to the inspired lawgiver, whose eye was un

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198

OVERTAKEN BY NIGHT.

dimmed and his natural force unabated.'

How beautiful an emblem, too, is it of the last hours of the faithful Christian, who is summoned to die upon the earthly mount of vision, with the heavenly world full in view; and angel messengers are waiting around, as for Elijah of old, to bear his triumphant spirit swift to the glories of the New Jerusalem.

“As we are thus enjoying the landscape and contemplating these scenes, we suddenly find that we have wandered from our path. And it becomes a matter of no slight anxiety, as we are unguarded among these hostile tribes. Evening came on apace, darkness gathered around us, and the lights from the Bedouin watchfires gleamed out from the mountain side.

“Our dragoman shouts and sounds his whistle, but no answer is returned. At length we fired a signal gun, and were rejoiced to hear the echo come back from our tents in the distance. We hastened thither, and found them pitched near the ruins of the ancient Jericho. As we drew near we were met by a company of women from a neighboring village, who had seen the American flag floating from the tents, and hearing that a Sultana would arrive, had come to greet the lady of our party (Mrs. Prime) with a welcome song. It was truly a remarkable specimen of native melody. They also demanded a backshish,

FOUNTAIN OF ELISHA.

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and at the same time insisted upon being admitted to the tent that they might see the unveiled face of their fair sister. Thus gratified, they retired and left us undisturbed for the night.

"In the morning we walked out to search for traces of ancient Jericho, and discovered the remains of an old fountain and finely wrought mosaic pavement, indicating that a city of some magnificence had formerly occupied this site. An old dilapidated ruin is also pointed out as the house of Zaccheus where our Saviour abode with him and brought salvation to his house, when he passed through Jericho. We then set out to visit the fountain of Elisha, a half hour distant. It bursts forth from underneath a large mound at the base of the mountain, and is a beautiful fountain of sweet and pleasant water. Its stream produces vegetation and flowers in luxuriant abundance as it flows over the plain. Originally the water was quite unfit for domestic purposes or irrigation, causing death and sterility, until the fountain was miraculously healed by the prophet Elisha, who 'went forth unto the spring of the waters and cast salt there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters: there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.'

“Thus according to the word of the Lord, it possesses peculiar virtue in producing vegetation,

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MOUNT OF TEMPTATION.

and spreads fertility and verdure over the plain, well nigh as far as the eye can reach. Indeed as the waters were bubbling forth, the birds singing in the trees, and many wild flowers were in bloom around, it seemed quite like an earthly paradise. We were then viewing the scene of a perpetual miracle, reaching from the days of Elisha to the present, and yielding to these deadly waters a life-giving power to make the barren land bloom with beauty and rejoice as the garden of the Lord. I could not but feel that it was greatly fitted to confirm and strengthen our faith in the miracles of Scripture history.

"Then we rode along the base of Mount Quarantana, a bold and precipitous peak that rises twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the plain. This is described as the point where `Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil,' and when he had successfully resisted the assaults of the Evil One, "behold angels came and ministered unto him.' The mountain side is filled with grottoes and caves cut in the rock, the dwelling-places of pious monks who formerly fled here from the temptations of the world. They found, however, that the old tempter was in this wilderness, still seeking whom he might destroy, and that we must escape the world before we can escape the wiles of the adversary

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