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Conrad Mathias, "the last of the Ridge Hermits," died in the year 1745. So passed away this strange religious dream, as many had done before, and have done since. To fly to the desert is not to escape from sin, but to fly to Christ delivers us from its power. The hermit finds his own evil nature and the seductions of evil spirits with him in his cave, even as in the noisy busy world. He cannot fly from himself. Change of nature is needed, not change of place. He that finds Christ alone escapes from himself, from the world, and from the power of Satan. He is the best and wisest hermit who makes the wounds of Christ, opened for our sin, his hiding-place and covert from the storms. Fly, earnest reader, not to the wilderness, but rather to the church, "the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." There you will find a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down, a refuge and a rest to your soul forever.
MILDLY JUDGE YE OF EACH OTHER.
MILDLY judge ye of each other,
Think not those whom mortals honor
Forth the deeds which God rewards.
Good as ever from it came,
Something good the worst can show,
Speaks correctly twice a day.
THE MOUNT OF ASCENSION.
BY REV. B. BAUSMAN.
OLIVET has four summits or elevations on its long ridge. The one opposite the temple and rising above Gethsemane, is called the Mount of Ascension, from which tradition says our Lord ascended to heaven. The nearest road between Bethany and Jerusalem, leads directly over this summit, while another one, more generally used, winds around its southern shoulder. We read that Bethany was fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, and along this road I found that it took me thirty-five minutes to walk there, which would correspond with the Bible distance.
The Mount of Olives is not often mentioned in the Old Testament. When Absalom rebelled, "David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, and wept as he went up; and he went bare-foot and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up weeping as they went up." (2 Sam. 15.) When he was come to the top of the mount he worshipped God, where Hushai the Archite came to meet him. "A little past the top of the hill, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth met him with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruit, and a bottle of wine." And as he went down on the other side, "Shimei went along on the hill-side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him and cast dust." (2 Sam. 16)
This melancholy flight of David, weeping over his ungrateful Absalom, reminds us of the tears which the "Son of David " shed over Jerusalem from the same mount. What a spectacle! David hurrying up this road, away from his own city, and Christ borne back to it with an applauding stream, both shedding tears of wounded kindness and pity, over ungrateful and deceptive friends!
On a certain morning in the pleasant month of April-a Jerusalem April-when turtles were cooing from the gray olive branches, and the fig tree was putting forth its leaves, on Olivet, and flowers and fresh dewy grass diffused a pleasant odor through the air, our Saviour came up from Bethany towards Jerusalem. He came with a great caravan of Jews from Galilee, who were coming to the feast of the Passover. Doubtless many joined the caravan at Bethany, to escort the great Prophet whom they had seen raising Lazarus, their townsman, from the dead. The numerous Jews already at Jerusalem, having heard of this miracle, came out to meet Him. Going along the road, some cut down palm branches (a tree no longer found on Olivet.) Perhaps the two tides met somewhere near the summit, where all fell in with the large triumphal procession, some going before and casting their palm branches in his way, others carpeting the road with their loose outer garments or blankets.
Just where the road crosses the top, it turns around a projecting bluff, and suddenly mount Zion comes into view. Though a part of it is a
ploughed field, and the building wears a gloomy aspect, this sudden surprise is even now peculiarly imposing. It is crowned with the castle of Herod, where then the palace of David stood. On Mount Zion was that part of Jerusalem called "the city of David," and its strongly fortified position gave it the name of the "stronghold of David." Palaces and costly buildings graced the mount to its base in the valley of Jehoshaphat. It was a grand sight to behold this regal citadel from any direction; but it became enrapturing to the pious Jew, coming to the annual feasts, when he got his first grand view from the summit of Olivet. Next to the temple, "the city of David" was the pride of the Hebrew nation, the monument of their former glory and power, associated with the king whose son or descendant was to be the Messiah. When the "very great multitude" reached this turning point in the road "at the descent of the mount of Olives," this city of David burst upon their view, and perhaps here first the shout triumphant rose from the vast long train, as they crowded around David's greater son : "Hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Blessed be the king that cometh in the name of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had When the Pharisees wished him to rebuke His noisy and enthusiastic disciples, he replied, pointing to the loose stones scattered along the way: "If these should hold their peace the stones would immediately cry out."
Hosannas were still ringing in the rear as they caught the first enchanting sight, and the advance procession came to another ridge partly obstructing the view. As the caravan drew its long line over it, the whole city unrolled before their view like a panorama. The morning sun was just shining on the golden front of the temple, reflecting a dazzling splendor painful to look at; its walls of snowy white rose out of the city with unheard of beauty; towers, walls, gates, pools, palaces, and every feature useful and ornamental, which gave Jerusalem renown among all nations, stood out to view with charming distinctness. Perhaps when our Lord stood on the elevation, with all this costly and enchanting glory of the city in full view, and with a knowledge of her impending destruction-"He beheld the city and wept over it." On another occasion "He sat upon the Mount of Olives over against the temple" with four of his disciples, looking at the city, and telling them of its coming ruin. (Mark 13.)
These incidents will become additionally interesting, when we bear in mind that there was no place around Jerusalem from which Christ could have obtained such a view but from the Mount of Olives. Thither every traveler now repairs who wishes to get a good view of the Holy City.
On the top of the Mount of Ascension a few Arab huts cluster around the traditional spot from which our Lord ascended to heaven. The Mohammedans must always have a mosque or temple over every reputed sacred place. Whether it be the grave of a Saint or a place connected with his history, they must have a small edifice in which to say their prayers over this hallowed ground. Among the few humble dwellings on Olivet is one of these small buildings, and in the pavement
of its chapel a bare rock with an impression somewhat resembling a foot-print, which a credulous piety ascribes to Christ. From here he is said to have ascended. Luke says "He led them out as far as Bethany," and while blessing them He ascended to Heaven. In the Acts we are told that the disciples "returned unto Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet," after His ascension. As Bethany is on the eastern slope of the Mount, persons coming from there to Jerusalem must necessarily cross its summit. Thus His ascension from Bethany would still correspond with the narrative, and have for its theatre the Mount of Olives.
I ascended the minaret of the mosque, a column not unlike a furnace chimney, whose view embraces the most interesting localities in the world. The Holy City rose from the Kedron like an amphitheatre. It was on Friday, the Mahommedan Sabbath. A large crowd of women, all dressed, or rather folded, in snow-white linen, were strolling over the grassy court and among the tall cypress trees of the Mosque of Omar (where Solomon's temple once stood.) The men crowded the gates of the mosque to worship within. Many women, like persons wrapped in spectral sheets, came to the graves outside the wall to weep over buried friends and children. This is still a custom as it was among the ancient Jews; (John 11: 31) Mohammedans usually perform the sad duty on their Sabbath
The view was very extensive. Eastward from Bethany the bleak desolate wilderness of Judea rolled in rough wave-like undulations toward Jericho and the Jordan. A green tortuous line of jungle marked its serpentine-course, through the sandy barren plain, towards the Dead Sea. The blue, sluggish waters of this curse-blighted region without soil or human habitation near it, never loses the impress of malediction. Beyond rose the long, lofty chain of Moab, with just grass enough to give it a faint tinge of verdure in the distance. In the distant north I saw the mountains of Ephraim, with Ebal and Gerezim, where Joshua had the blessings and curses proclaimed (Joshua 8.) To the southwest were the hills of Judea. And to the west, more than two hundred feet below me, was Jerusalem, with the houses, mosques, streets, walls and valleys in and around it, most distinctly mapped out to view. The rubbish and ruins melted away in the distance. The houses looked whiter than before, the pilgrims seemed more tidily clad, and the rough cliffs in the neighboring ravines were little noticed amid the soft sprinkling vegetation.
This Mount of Ascension furnishes the highest accessible point of view for seeing Jerusalem. Seen from here, the weeds of her widowhood appear fair as a bridal robe, and the sun sheds upon her lorn and sad condition, the soft, pleasant light of mercy and hope. 'Tis so with the believers of Ascension-mount. A clearer sun shines on objects as seen from its summit. Viewed with the ken of the Saviour's charity, the soils and imperfections of others vanish like spots on the sun when seen at noon-day. While we dwell in the earthly Jerusalem, sharing her sorrows and tribulations, her ruins and decay always appear with humilitating prominence. But from our Ascension-mount these will shrink from view, and our "abode of peace" will appear without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.
FROM THE GERMAN BY THE EDITOR.
XXXVI.-THE HUNTER AND HIS DOG.
A hunter spied a rabbit, and hissed his dog after it. "Catch it! catch it!" cried the hunter, and the dog darted after the rabbit with all speed, chased it all round the field, and having caught it at last he held it fast with his teeth. Then the hunter caught the rabbit by the ears, and said to the dog: "Let it go, let it go !" The dog at last let it go, and the hunter put the rabbit into his bag.
Many of the villagers had looked on; and an old farmer among them said: "Like this hunter is the miser. Covetousness calls to the miser: 'Catch it, catch it!' The blinded man obeys, and follows earthly gain with all his powers. At last comes death and says: 'Let it go, let it go!' and the poor man must let go unenjoyed the riches which with much pains he had gathered."
Earthly gain the heart bewitches;
XXXVII. THE PROUD WOMAN.
Young Gertrude lived in a beautiful house, and prided herself not a little on her high estate
One day Maria, the daughter of a poor stone-mason, came to her and said: " My father, who is very sick, begs you to call and see him; he has something important to tell you!"
The young woman answered mockingly: "It is no doubt something very important which such a poor man as your father has to communicate to me! Go, I have nothing to do in your poor hut."
In a short time Maria returned in haste, and, nearly out of breath, said: "O my dear young lady, come quickly. During the war, your sainted mother had a large sum of money walled into the house; and she advised my father to tell no man where it is but yourself, when you shall be twenty years of age. But now he is nigh unto death and cannot delay till you are of the given age
Now Gertrude hastened as quickly as possible to the old mason; but when she entered his room he had already died.
Through fear and chagrin, young Gertrude now nearly ran wild. She caused the walls of the magnificent house to be opened in various places, but found not the least trace of the treasure..