صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

prophets, was yet to come, and would appear on earth in the latter days.

In reply to this, the Christian messenger referred the Israelite to the prophet Daniel, who, according to the direction of the angel Gabriel, has left upon record this important declaration, that there should not pass above five hundred years between the publication of the edict for rebuilding the City of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. "But," added he, "above two thousand years have passed away since that period, and he whom the Israelites expect is not yet come; nor indeed can any other person ever be pointed out, except Esau Mussceh, as exhibiting a satisfactory accomplishment of that memorable prediction."

The Israelite made answer, that it was certain that this prediction had been made by the prophet Daniel, but on account of the exceeding wickedness of their nation, the fulfilment of it had been postponed.

"Do you

Then said the Christian messenger, make the Lord Jehovah a man, that he should alter his counsels? Does he not say of himself, by the mouth of his prophet Malachi, I am the Lord, I change not? (Mal. iii. 6.) And again, he saith, Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. (Isaiah li. 6.) Can you therefore suppose that the purposes of the Almighty, with respect to the glorious work of salvation, could be altered by any thing that man could do? of whom it is written, in the same prophet, The moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but the righ

teousness of God shall be for ever, and his salvation from generation to generation." (Isaiah li. 8)

I perceived, in my dream, that by this time the Israelite began to be out of patience with the Christian messenger, pouring out against him a torrent of reproachful words, and refusing to his arguments any further attention. Whereupon the Christian messenger recommending him to the mercy of God, bade him adieu; and so continued his journey with the pilgrim Nazareenee.

CHAPTER XI.

Shewing how, after awhile, the Pilgrim was brought to the Mountains of the Lord's House, where dwelt the Shepherds of the Lord's Flock.

"And ye, my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God."-Ezekiel xxxiv. 31.

Now I saw, in my dream, that the Christian messenger and the pilgrim Nazareenee went on very lovingly together, till, after some days' journey, they came in view of an immense range of mountains, piled up one above another so as to pierce the very clouds. At first, they saw them only very faintly, as at a great distance, and just at the edge of the horizon: but after a day's journey they could better distinguish the forms of them, with their various lights and shades, though they could not as yet perceive any particular objects upon them. Now the pilgrim, from the first, could not fail of remarking that some of these mountains were covered with thick darkness, as places upon which the Sun of Righteousness had not yet arisen; others were more illuminated, as by moonlight or twilight; while others enjoyed, although comparatively few, the full brightness of unclouded day. One hill towards which the

Christian messenger directed the eye of the pilgrim, lying westward, was shining so exceedingly bright, that it reflected a glory upon all the hills that were near it. This mountain, though small at the base, towered extremely high, and on the summit thereof, the travellers, as they drew nearer, could distinguish a very lofty and glorious tent or tabernacle, with an ensign, whose broad banner, floating in the air, displayed the figure of the cross wrought in bright gold. Then were the pilgrims pleased, when they discovered the cross; and the Christian messenger said, "My son, behold the root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people: to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious. And the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." (Isaiah ii. 2.)

I heard then, that the pilgrim Nazareenee asked many questions of the Christian messenger, concerning what he saw before him.

To which the other replied, "It is well known unto all who diligently peruse the Holy Scriptures, that Esau Musseeh, when on earth, appointed certain men, to be peculiarly set apart as his servants and ministers, to attend the service of God in his church, to solemnize its holy ordinances, and to preach the Gospel to all nations. On these ministers of the Lord, of whom I am one," continued the Christian messenger," is devolved the charge of the church or tabernacle of Christ, established on the mountains of the Lord; and also the keeping of that holy Book, which, through their instrumentality, is to be sent forth into all lands."

Then brake out Nazareenee, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good

tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isaiah lii. 7.) A Now I perceived, in my dream, that, about this time, the Christian messenger and Nazareenee reached certain meadows which were watered by a stream from the hills; even by that river of which it is said, The streams thereof shall make glad the city of God. (Psalm xlvi. 4.)

The meadows on each side of this river were extremely green and abundant, containing many sheep-cots provided for the flocks of the Lord. And here also were many trees of the same kind as that the leaves of which the little shepherdboy had applied to Nazareenee, trees which bear twelve manner of fruits. So the travellers rested themselves in this place, and bathed themselves in the pure stream; they drank also of the water, and ate of the fruit: after which they were refreshed, and healed, and beautified, and filled with joy. So having remained all the night in these meadows, as the morning appeared they urged on their way towards the mountains, which they were impatient to reach. And coming at length to the foot of the nearest of them, they could from thence more plainly distinguish the beautiful tabernacle on its summit, with its curtains of purple, blue, and scarlet, together with its banner floating in the air.

Now I saw, in my dream, that the whole of this mountain was extremely pleasant to look upon, abounding with fruits, and flowers, and sweet herbage. Many springs of water were there, pouring down the hill-side; and the tents of the shepherds, with the flocks feeding around them, shewed very beautifully among the green lawns and pastures. Here also were many topes of trees, affording shade for the flocks, and shelter for a great variety of singing birds. To the right and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »