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THE JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM.
covenant Bethlehem indispensable enemies retinue artisan
miraculous dependants solicitude fulfilment anticipated fatiguing prophecy
gratifications pilgrimage manifestation A little group is seen to advance slowly, from the mean and obscure village of Nazareth, on its way to Bethlehem, the regal city. None of the pride and circumstance of oriental travelling distinguishes its progress: no swelling retinue of menials and dependants surrounds it, to anticipate the wants and minister to the gratifications of their masters; no well-appointed train of camels follow, to convey the provisions and conveniencies, almost indispensable in such a journey. A poor artisan, with affectionate solicitude, alone guides the steps of the humble beast, whereon rides a tender female, apparently unfit, by her situation, to undertake so long and fatiguing a pilgrimage. Where they arrive for the night's repose, no greeting hails them, no curiosity gazes on them ; when they depart to renew their toil, no good wishes are heard to cheer and encourage them on their way. Humble, meek, and unpretending, they are passed unsaluted at every step, by the crowds, who, boasting the same descent, scorn to acknowledge them as members of the regal stock, and hasten forward to secure every accommodation, till they leave this tender maid, and her coming offspring, no roof but a stable, and no cradle but a manger.
And yet, not even the ark of the covenant, when it marched forth to victory over the enemies of God, escorted by the array of Levites, and greeted by the plaudits of the assembled nation; not even it moved with half that interest to heaven, or half that promise to earth, with which this humble virgin advances, bearing within her bosom, in silence and neglect, the richest work which the Almighty had yet made, and the most miraculous benefit which his wisdom had yet devised. Upon this little group the angels attended, with care more tender than they have for the ordinary just, lest they should dash their foot against a stone: for on its safety depend the fulfilment of prophecy, the consummation of the law, the manifestation of God's truth, and the redemption of the world. In it are centred all the counsels of heaven, since the creation of man; for it the whole land has been put into movement; and the Roman emperor issued his mandate from the throne of the world, solely, that this maid might be brought to Bethlehem of Juda, in order that from it might come forth, in fulfilment of prophecy, the Ruler who should govern the people of God.
HYMN OF THE CITY.
Not in the solitude
Only in savage wood
Or only hear his voice
Even here do I behold
Thro' the great city roll'd
Choking the ways that wind
Thy golden sunshine comes From the round heavens, and on their dwelling lies,
And lights their inner homes;
And givest them the stores
Thy spirit is around, Quickening the restless mass that sweeps along;
And this eternal sound-
Like the resounding sea,
And when the hours of rest
Hushing its billowy breast;
It breathes of him who keeps
Esquimaux corresponding erected habitations inclination
aperture constructed rectangular construction comfortable conical
translucency commenced requiring transmitted
tenacious facilitating superior The winter habitations of the Esquimaux are built of snow, and, judging from one that I saw constructed the other day, they are very comfortable dwellings. The Esquimaux having selected a spot on the river where the snow was about two feet deep, and sufficiently compact, commenced by tracing out a circle, twelve feet in diameter. The snow in the interior of the circle was next divided with a broad knife, which had a long handle, into slabs three feet long, six inches thick, and two deep. These slabs were tenacious enough to admit of being moved about without breaking, or even losing the sharpness of their angles, and they had a slight degree of curvature, corresponding with that of the circle from which they were cut. They were piled upon each other exactly like courses of hewn stone, around the circle which had been traced out; and care was taken to smooth the beds of the different courses with the knife, and to cut them, so as to give the wall a slight inclination inwards. The dome was closed somewhat suddenly and flatly, by cutting the upper slabs in a wedge-form, instead of the more rectangular shape of those below. The roof was about eight feet high, and the last aperture was shut up by a small conical piece. The whole was built from within, and each slab was cut so, that it retained its position without requiring support, until another was placed beside it; the lightness of the slabs greatly facilitating the operation. When the building was covered in, a little loose snow was thrown over it, to close up every chink, and a low door was cut through the wall with the knife. A bed place was next formed, and neatly faced up with slabs of snow, which were then covered with a thin layer of fine branches, to prevent them from being melted by the heat of the body. At each end of the bed, a pillar of snow was erected, to place a lamp upon; and lastly, a porch was built before the door, and a piece of clear ice was placed in an aperture cut in the wall, for a window. The purity of the material of which the house was framed, the elegance of its construction, and the translucency of its walls, which transmitted a very pleasant light, gave it an appearance far superior to a marble building.