페이지 이미지

accustomed to hear the Scriptures; it was not as if they had been heathens, who had known nothing of them before.”

“Exactly so, my dear; and we need to search even in those parts of Scripture which we have the most frequently read, to compare one passage with another, to see whether our opinions are such as the general tenor of the Bible sanctions, or whether they are based upon isolated verses, which we may indeed quote to support a particular opinion, but which, dissevered from their connection, have a distinct meaning from the one they were intended to convey. I have observed that the history of our Lord's temptation, apart from all other considerations, was most valuable to us, as showing how fluently scripture may be wrested from its purport by our great adversary, and become one of the sources of temptation, unless we are so richly furnished with darts cut of the same quiver, that we can reply with our Saviour, • It is written,' again.

“You are all too well acquainted with the history of Athens," resumed Mrs. Walters, "for it to be necessary to say a word about it now. There the human mind had attained its highest culture; and there, if any where, natural religion would have been able to lead men to look from nature, up to nature's God.' But there, where intellect had soared to the loftiest heights ever attained, the apostle's spirit was stirred within him, for he found the city' wholly given to idolatry.' And although many of its wisest men would gladly have heard the happy tidings of immortality and of the resurrection of the dead, yet there were mockers found, although some promised him a future hearing. Whether this was afforded, or with what result, we know not. Where novelty was the great aim of existence, it is probable that Paul and his doctrine were soon forgotten. And are not we too like the Athenians ? Does not some new thing' often so engross our minds, as to leave little time or inclination for the contemplation of things of eternal moment? Yes, dear girls,” and she looked affectionately towards some of the younger ones, “how anxious you have been this spring about the seeds you have sown in your little garden. Some of them were new to you: you neither knew how long a time was likely to elapse before they would burst through the clods, nor what would be the form or color of the future flower ; but how much ardent conjecture have you expended upon the subject. And yet upon the vast amount of precious seed scattered thickly over all the surface of the earth

'Seed sown by God to ripen for the harvest,' you have perhaps hardly expended more than a passing thought, full of wonder and full of comfort as the subject is !

In Corinth, the next place visited by St. Paul, and where he remained eighteen months, we do not read much in the Acts of the Apostles, of what he taught, but in his Epistles to that church, the deficiency is well supplied. Indeed, the memory of Corinth is principally preserved by these epistles – its riches and its reputation for learned men, have passed away; its monuments of art have vanished, with the exception of a few columns; and though there is a thinly peopled town occupying its old position, yet the Corinth of old, 'the Gibraltar of Greece,' as it has been called, is no more.”

Mary Grant here made some enquiry about the apostle's occupation of tent making, to which Mrs. Walters replied, by telling her that it was the custom of the Jews to bring up their children to some trade, as they had a proverb that whosoever did not teach his son a trade, taught him to be a thief. “And most sincerely,” she added, are those to be pitied who have nothing to do. In our rank of life this cannot happen but by our own fault; for where there is a willing mind, the opportunities for active occupation are so numerous as to make the judicious selection a matter of some difficulty. But when we look at the unemployed poor, their condition is truly pitiable. Even supposing that absolute want is not staring them in the face, which, however, is generally the case, yet the mere want of occupation seems to me one of the greatest curses that can befall a nation. Often has my heart ached when I have seen an honest, sober, industrious man, in the vigour of health and strength, unable to obtain any employment whatever. His home is nearly empty, its few remaining possessions are dwindling away day by day, to contribute to the maintenance of his family; there is nothing he can make, nothing he can mend, nothing he can clean; he cannot sit still, and he wanders forth, too often to meet with companions who undermine his principles and foster discontent. Oh! wherever I have influence I would say, when you contribute to the wants of the able-bodied, do it by giving employment, even though the devising the means of doing so cost you some trouble.

“ The next place named, which has not before passed in review before us, is Ephesus; deeply interesting to us as the residence of that church to which we find two epistles addressed.”

An exclamation of surprise escaped from Julia, till she was reminded that besides the epistle addressed by Paul to that church, there was also one addressed by Him “who holdeth the seven stars in his right hand.” And how deeply affecting is the representation there given of our Saviour's unchangeable love, of his watchful vigilance over the hearts of his people: that their patience, their works, and their labors were all marked by his watchful eye. And the lapse of eighteen centuries has made no difference in this respect; but each church, each heart, is still as attentively regarded by him, as were those of Ephesus. Ephesus is no longer a city-why, that epistle tells us. The vast remains of what is supposed to have been the temple of Diana form quite a labyrinth of vaults, filled with water, but not an apartment remains entire.

“Now, Fanny, will you read the next places on your list, till we meet with one that we have not considered before?"

Fanny. In Greece he remained three months; and then he embarked at Philippi for Troas, which he reached after a voyage of five days, after which he embarked at Assos. Mrs. Walters said she had not been able to find any

notice of Assos, except that it is mentioned by Strabu that the luxurious kings of Persia had the wheat, from which their bread was made, brought from Assos. Mitylene, the next place at which they touched, was in the island of Lesbos, only seven miles from the mainland, which they had just left. It is one of the largest islands of the Archipelago, and gave birth to Sappho. Chios is next to it, both in size and situation. It lies opposite Smyrna, and is about twelve miles from the continent. It was celebrated for its wines, figs, and marble. You will feel better acquainted with it by its modern name of Scio ; under which it has acquired a mournful celebrity as the scene of a fearful massacre during the last war between the Turks and Greeks; the slaughter was nearly universal ; and those who escaped, including many ladies

of high rank, were sold as slaves in the markets of Smyrna. I dare say you have many of you read Mrs. Hemans' beautiful little

poem, The Sisters of Scio,” without exactly knowing the circumstances to which it refers.

Samos, the birthplace of Pythagoras, is about five miles from the continent. The inhabitants of this island used to be famous for their skill in diving.

Jane Grant inquired if pearls were found there ; but she was told that it was in order to obtain sponge that these divers carried on their occupation.

Miletus, where the elders of Ephesus came to meet the apostle, and where the affecting interview took place, which is recorded in Acts xx, lies in Caria ; there was another town of the same name in Crete. Coos, or Cos, is one of the Cyclades, a numerous group of islands, the sail among which presents continuallychanging combinations of beautiful prospects. Thence we come to Rhodes, a name with which we are more early rendered familiar than with any of the other islands of those seas. We have lately been very much interested in the erection of the Conway Tube, which is considered a triumph of modern engineering, but I suspect the ancient Rhodians would look on it with much less surprise than we do, if we can give full credit to the statements relative to their far-famed Colossus, which was said to be two hundred and forty feet in height, and spanned the entrance to the harbour, which was about ninety feet in width. “And was it there, when St. Paul was at Rhodes?" inquired

some one.

Oh, dear no! it only maintained its position for about fifty years, when it was thrown down by an earthquake, and it is rumoured that when its fragments were asterwards removed, nine hundred camels were loaded with them. This may give you some idea of its size, when you think what a load these ships of the desert' are capable of sustaining.

“ Patara, you will see, was a sea port in Lycia on the main land: and Tyre, where they landed, you are well acquainted with from the frequent mention of it in Scripture, and the very striking and literal fulfilment of the prophecies connected with it. Navigation in those days was conducted on very different principles to what it now is : when in every mode of travelling the object is as much to save time, as if people were really influenced by a consciousness of its true value. However, the disciples who lived there must have rejoiced at the delay which was caused by the unlading of the ship, as it afforded them opportunities for edification, which they improved to the last moment.

You will, I dare say, not recognize the modern Acre, under the name of Ptolemais : Cesarea we have noticed before; and now once more the apostle reaches Jerusalem.

“We now come to the final journey of St. Paul. His brief visit to his friends at Sidon must have been singularly refreshing to his affectionate mind. You can track his course on the map till Crete arrests our attention, one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, having a circuit of about five hundred miles. It was uncommonly fertile, and was said to contain a hundred cities. You will observe that it lies at a pretty equal distance from the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Here Minos is fabled to have reigned, and here, we are told, was the celebrated labyrinth. As to the character of the inhabitants, it by no means corresponded to the beauty of the scenes by which they were surrounded. *The Cretians are alway liars ;' and here we may observe in passing, that Paul is the only sacred writer who quotes heathen authors. There was also another proverb which had reference to them as one of three nations whose names began with that letter.—“ Beware of the three K's," the Greek K, answering to our C, hard.

- The difference of character between different races of men, as well as between different individuals, offers a curious subject for reflection. That all partake alike of a fallen nature, it seems strange indeed that any reader of history should ever have called in question, but that there is an inclination in each to sin after his own way,' and that what constitute temptations to crime in one, offer no allurements to another, is no less to be doubted; and the blending of individual variety with natural uniformity is an interesting subject of thought.

Crete, you see, lies at the entrance of the Grecian Archipelago. The Fair Havens is a port on the southern side of the island, which still retains the same name.

“ Is there not considerable difference of opinion," inquired Fanny, “ whether Melita is really Malta or not?”


« 이전계속 »