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meridian glory, when there was a voice heard upon our earth proclaiming, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. And what was Abraham's faith that was counted to An answer to him for righteousness? this question will settle another that has given rise to much controversy, and perplexed some minds which were honestly seeking after truth, namely, What is it to believe in Christ? Let us review for a moment the history of the father of the faithful. When he was called to go forth from the home of his fathers, he knew not whither he was going; whether his condition would be bettered by the exchange or not; whether he should meet with friends or enemies. Why, then, did he go? I answer, first, because he had satisfactory evidence that God called him; and, secondly, because he had confidence in the ability and the willingness of God to perform his promise. His view of the character of Jehovah gave him a tranquil assurance that He would do all things well. How did This was the faith of Abraham. he give evidence of its existence? answer, in the only way in which it was possible to give this evidence, by obeying God. Let us apply the case to ourselves: we are sinners, condemned by the law of God, unhappy now, and likely to be unhappy forever. Unto us there is a voice that calls: Come unto me, and I will give Who is it that calls? It is the you rest. voice of the blessed Jesus, the same voice which Abraham heard in the plains of Chaldea. What does he require of us? Not to forsake our homes, to bid adieu to our native land, but to surrender ourselves into his hands, to give ourselves up entirely to him, and to consent to be saved by him And this is faith-that in his own way. faith which will be counted to us for right-loved eousness, when we give evidence of its existence in the only way in which that evidence can be given.


fidelity and the grace by which copies may
be made from the best modern paintings,
and their beauties, in every particular,
save that of color, presented to our read-


For most of the selections from which our artist makes his selections we are indebted to a London publication bearing our own name, THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE, but our junior by five or six years.

Our first copy is from a painting by J. Archer, on a subject which just now appeals with peculiar force to the people of England; a subject, indeed, always calculated to awaken thrilling emotions among all people, for of wars and rumors of wars the world is full. In time of war! What doleful words; how significant they are of suffering, endurance, terror, and death; Hearing them, how suggestive of sorrow, bitterness, disappointment, and anger! we must always think of a long track of agony and grief left behind, as after the passage of a fiery flood, coming as it were to clear a sullen and overladen atmosphere with a terrible purification and a burning relief. But most of us heed few of these things, rather regarding the pomp, the splendor, the glorious valor and victorious fortitude which accompany and characterize them, than giving heed to the low, still voices of bereaved ones at home; nor do we regard the sad following of all these superhuman triumphs, when men, recovering from wounds, lead lives of dull languor, passing through an existence weakened and exhausted by suffering, and sink with mournful gladness to an early grave.

The scene before us is a glimpse into a household at home, when the rumors of war and tales from distant battle-fields darken the homestead like flying winter clouds, beneath whose chilling gloom the flocks shudderingly huddle together. The painting suggests to us that the elder lady, into whose hands a letter from some beson (probably the husband of the younger, and father of the child before us) has fallen, conveying news of wounds or defeat, approaches the wife, and painfully hesitates to communicate the evil tidings. With faltering steps she has come down the long garden-paths, through the gathering gloom of the evening-gloom darkly


HE art of engraving on wood has

of perfection. unison with to

Previous numbers of this magazine bear
ample testimony to the fact, and still the
motto of the artist is Excelsior. In the
present volume we propose to exhibit the

where are the young wife and child of him whose misfortune has to be made known; a misfortune greater, perhaps, to them than to him. The child neglects its

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

toys to ask about that distant parent,
whose portrait the mother holds in her
hand. They appear unconscious of the
approach of the beloved messenger of evil,
her steps falling lightly on the path--more
lightly than will the sorrow fall upon their
hearts. Such is the subject.

Mr. Archer has contrived to invest the whole of his work with a most appropriate feeling of melancholy poetry, thereby showing how deeply he has entered into the subject, becoming so penetrated with it as to present us with all its sadness and prescient gloom. The shadow of sorrow seems upon the picture, and the melancholy luster of the twilight sky deepens and suggests the pathos of its subject; the heavy autumn leaves had fallen, and strew the grass in multitudes; the flaky bark of the pine breaks from its hold, and the lustrous white birch-stem seems half-ghastly in the evening light; behind, the heavy masses of foliage swing sadly in the wind.

In direct contrast with all this is the bright, confident expression of the child's face-confident with the joyous thoughtlessness of infancy, which, without anticipation of evil, goes on gayly as through a path in a garden of flowers.


This picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in the present year, and attracted very much attention to those qualities which we have endeavored to point out.


THE DESERT OF SINAI. THE Desert of Sinai is commonly understood as embracing the triangle formed by the Gulf of Suez on the west, and the Gulf of Akabah on the east-the two limbs of the maritime fork, known in ancient as well as modern times by the name of the Red Sea. If the region between the Euphrates took the name of Mesopotamia from its position; if the sea between Europe and Africa is called the Mediterranean from its boundaries; the Sinaitic Desert, were it large enough to take so dignified a name, might be designated the Mesoceanic Highlands of Arabia. But, perhaps, "the Sinaitic Peninsula" is sufficient for it; unless, from its curious resemblance to the Pyramids of Egypt, it may be called the desert or Arabian Pyramid, having as its apex the Ras Mohammed, and its base the mountains and desert of El-Tih. Though the vast tract between these two seas is properly one great VOL, XII.-20

region of barrenness and unpeopled desolation, extending from the promontory above named to the southern slopes of Palestine, yet it has, from the earliest times, been subdivided into smaller deserts, each with its own district name. From the southwestern border of Palestine to the Gulf of Suez, and beyond it a little, it was called the wilderness of Shur; then came the wilderness of Sin; then the wilderness of Sinai; then, turning north by the Gulf of Akabah, came the different deserts of Paran, Zin, and Kadesh, while in the center lay the desert of Beersheba. All these names have perished; but others have come in their place, and in several cases the new names have not altered the old limits of the provinces. The Terâbin, the Tawarah, the Tiyahah, the Haiwât, the Sawalihah, the Aleikât, are the designations of the desert tribes, taken from the names of the districts which they specially haunt. For though they are thorough nomads, they have their own independent domains, ruled by separate sheikhs. That domain may be small and barren-the poorest that ever owned a ruler; yet it is their birth-place and their burying-place. Though wanderers over a hundred hills, they count this their home. Here they were born; here they have known what life's affections are; here they hope to die and be buried.

It is of some importance to get a correct general view of the desert in some of its broader features; and it is worth while to correct one or two false, or at least onesided ideas, in common currency regarding it. Few take the trouble to inquire what the desert really is. They are content to think of it merely as a sand-waste, a region of waterless desolation.

The desert is not one vast level area, stretching over an immense region, like a yellow sea, in unrelieved, unbroken monotony of plain. It not merely swells and undulates, but it heaves into wide tablelands, nay, bursts up in all directions into the magnificence of cliff, and ridge, and mountain. Though none of its hills reach the nobility either of Libanus or AntiLibanus, yet they have a fierce grandeur peculiarly their own; and the eight thousand feet of Jabel Katherin fall but little short of the ten thousand feet of Jebel-eshSheikh. There is far more of the mountain than of the plain in the desert; and for one broad plain or strath, such as Debbet Ram

leh, there are at least a hundred hills, cairns, which appear at a distance like most of them truly Alpine. The hills of artificial mounds; sometimes rolled and the African waste are low and rounded, pounded, as if some iceberg had once but those of the Sinaitic highlands exhibit passed along, grinding the rocks to fragsome of the grandest specimens of mount-ments, and spreading them out in fields ain scenery which earth contains. of stone, to be afterward sifted by the winds and caked together by the rainfloods, so as to form a smooth, broad highway, extending for miles, and to present a vast plain or area of cyclopean mosaic, or a stripe of tesselated pavement, relieving the monotony of the waste by breaking up into variegated stripes the vast tracts of gray or yellow sand.

The peninsular desert is not a land without rain; and speaking generally of the East, we may say, that there seems to be much more rain than we usually give it credit for. In Upper Egypt, certainly, there is hardly such a thing as rain. That region—the region where the wondrous ruins of a hundred temples crowd together, embalmed, and so preserved by the hot, dry air, as effectually as their tenants are by spice and odors-may be called rainless. It is wholly at the mercy of the Nile. Middle Egypt has more rain, though little to boast of. Lower Egypt has considerably more; and in some places might do battle with the droughts on its own resources. But the desert has more than all Egypt together-only so regulated as to be useless, save for maintaining the thin-strewn dusky shrubs which so timidly sprinkle its wadys. It has its rainy seasons, during which the clouds pour down a deluge; but there is no such regular supply of water as to tell even upon its lowest hollows or most sheltered plains, save in the way of scooping out watercourses, or tearing up tamarisks, or cutting away the half gravelly, half sandy soil, into what the Bedouins call Jurfs, or abrading the more impressible parts of the sandstone steeps, or still more rarely helping (along with local springs, sometimes hot, sometimes cold) to rear up an oasis of palms and tarfas, such as that of Feiran, hard by Mount Serbâl, whose praises so many travelers have sung, and as many more likely to sing again. For, by all accounts, it is quite a gem of desert-verdure, a genuine "Palmyra," though without a city and without a queen. The rain meant for Egypt seems to be swept aside from that level region by the stormy west wind; and attracted by the mountains of the peninsula, it turns aside and pours itself

The desert is not a region of mere scorching calm, without a breeze or a tempest. Even at noon, and in the heart of some valley, there comes a quiet breeze; not certainly "stealing and giving odors," as in the Shûbra gardens or the vale of Nablus, but still bringing coolness to the hot air and the parched Arab, as it passes on its way. The storm, too, wakes up and tries its strength against the sharp peaks of El-Benât, or rushes through Nukb-Howai," the pass of the winds," or loses itself in the mountain network of Esh-Shubeikeh; and while, in the plain below, the sand-drift is pouring along, like yellow hail, the snow-blast is sweeping over the hill-top, and reminds the traveler of Skiddaw, or Schreck-Horn, or SneeHatten. Yet the sand-storms of the penin sula, though they make the camels halt and the Arabs cower, and the traveler stop his ears and eyes, are not destructive like those of Eastern Arabia or Africa. The sand is not fine enough to admit of its being raised by the blast in sufficient quantities at a time to overwhelm its vietims. A whirlwind in the Ghôr of the Jordan would be a more unpleasant assailant than any tempest that ever brushed along the white bluffs of Et-Tih, and lifted the clouds of sand from its base to deposit them on the steeps of Jebel Wûtah, or amid the slag-debris and scoriæ of Surâbit.

The desert is no mere sand-field, or series of sand-fields. You find sand in abundance certainly; on the hill-slopes, in the beds of the wadys, and in the broad plains that intersperse in all directions their yellow reaches or gray stripes. But there seems to be an immense amount of stone and rock overspreading the land, extending for miles between the hills, and in some places hiding the sand. Sometimes these are found in isolated blocks, (a large stone, having shot down from the cliffs into the valley,) as in the case of the Hajir-er-Rukkab, or Stone of the Rider, near the Ain Howârah; sometimes they are found in level patches, the debris of the hills having spread itself out, and bedded itself in the sand or clay; sometimes in rugged heaps, like Highland

down in water-spouts upon the Sinaitic wastes. But it comes in such rushes that it brings no blessing to the soil, and is so unequally distributed, as to time, that even the spring gets no refres ent from the winter floods; nay, hardly can remember that they have been. If the traveler is bold enough to penetrate the peninsula during the summer months, from April on to August or September, he may with certainty count upon rainless skies; and he may pitch his tent anywhere, even in the low bed of the torrent; nor will he find a drier or safer place of encampment than any one of the hundred tarfa-groves that cover the bed of el-Arish, from the spot where it leaves the slopes of Et-Tih, to the place where it spreads itself out over the sands of Rhinocolura. But if he is bent on a winter tour, or travels even so early as January or February, he must be on the outlook, not for showers merely, but for floods. He dare not choose for his encampment that sandy hollow where the tarfa and the rittem are so invitingly waving; for though it should be in Wady Taiybeh, "the good," or in Wady elMarkhâh, the "Valley of Rest," he will find himself reckoning without his host. If the wind shift to the west during the night, bright as the sunset might be over the blue of Bahr Suweis, or above the brow of Abû Daraj beyond, he may find himself, tents, turbans, baggage, provisions, camels, fowls, and all, hurrying down a swollen river, which, ere the next evening's shadows have come down upon these sands, will have passed into the sea, or wholly vanished in the thirsty porous ground, leaving no trace of its exuberant flow save a few pools in the deeper hollows, or a few drops in a hole of yon flat stone, which the thirsty Arab or his camel stoops to drink up.

Travelers tell us, too, that the desert is not so absolutely bare and verdureless as we sometimes imagine. One traveler, indeed, speaks of a thin clothing of vegetation, which is seldom withdrawn from the hill-sides and valleys; but the others do not concur in this, and while not refusing to do justice to its excellences, think that a "thin sprinkling" of vegetation would be nearer the truth than a "thin clothing." For certainly it would seem that, according to our northern notions at least, the desert may well be called unclothed, if not totally bare. Yet it has

verdure of its own-fitful, coarse, and dingy as that may be. There are few parts where the Bedouin may not find shrubs sufficient, in quantity and size, to feed his camel for a night. In some places, no doubt, the region is so absolutely waste, that he has to carry provision for his camel as well as for himself, and he produces at night his bag of beans, as the drayman or cabman of our streets does his bag of oats for his horse upon a journey; but this is rather unfrequent; generally he finds a sufficiency of desert-herbage for his camel, and here and there (in some moister place) something less coarse for a small flock of sheep or goats. Musing over such passages as these: "I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah-tree, the myrtle, and the oil-tree; I will set in the desert the fir-tree, and the pine, and the box-tree together," the traveler wonders at the marvelous picture thus sketched in the unfailing word, and asks, "Has this ever been ?" "When is all this to be?" Totally unlike to so fair a portrait do the terrific features of the desert at present seem. What forest does he see anywhere here, or what stream to water even the stray tree that might be planted? Is it conceivable that the savage ruggedness of El-Amârah can smile with verdure, or the wild but barren bends of Esh-Sheikh throw up the cedar or the myrtle? But there are some spots where not only the shrub struggles up out of the sand, but where trees show themselves, some of low stature, some of considerable size. There is the tamarisk or tarfa, with its thin wiry foliage; the wide-branching acacia or seyaleh, which is the shittim-wood of Scripture, and the tree from which gum arabic exudes; the rittem or broom, under the sade of which, in the wilderness of Beersheba, Elijah sat down in his desponding weariness; there is the fruitful nubk, which, with its tiny apples, feeds the dwellers in some richer wady till the date appears; then there is the palm-tree, with its shaggy stem in Ghurundel, or its well-pruned tapering stem in Feirân, towering above all the rest, and casting the shadow of its feathery crown, in sunshine or moonlight, upon the passive sand. So scanty, however, is this forest-verdure, that it can hardly be said to relieve the brown or yellow sterility of these cheerless wastes.

Besides, everything like grass seems to

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