Puslapio vaizdai

One of the most wonderful features of this affair now presents itself. Without the gates of Sodom, and on their way to the neighboring mountain, Lot intercedes for the little city, Belah, on the extreme southern point of the plain. God hears his prayer, and directs him there to take refuge. I have accepted thee concerning this thing also that I will not overthrow this city for which thou hast spoken. Therefore the name of it was thenceforth called Zoar. And now the sun rises. It looks down, as of old, on the cities of the plain. The inhabitants are at their usual work. Planting and building; buying and selling; eating and drinking. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and he overthrew those cities and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities. There, where those cities stood, now flow, and shall flow on, till the end of time, the sluggish waters of the Dead Sea. Go, measure it, sail upon its bosom, fathom its depth, and if, like the sailor of whom I spoke, a skeptic, or an unbeliever, you will come back, like him, with the as

On hearing this announcement, verging as it was toward midnight, Lot sallied forth to seek his sons-in-law, and to make known to them the doleful tidings. They had refused to listen to his entreaties in former days; they had derived no benefit from his example; but now, as he comes with a message directly from Heaven, as he comes to announce the impending doom so soon to burst upon the devoted cities, as he comes with the kind offer to take them by the hand and lead them to a place of safety, surely they will heed his voice and with him escape for their lives. Where they were, or how employed, we know not. In the darkness of the night Lot found them. In few and hurried | words he informs them of what he had just learned from the celestial messengers. Up, get you out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city. He added, doubtless, words of persuasion. But they listened and laughed. He seemed unto them as one that mocked. Like those to whom Enoch preached, or the men upon whose ears fell repeatedly the warning voice of Noah, so fruitless and unavailing had been the ministry of Lot to the inhab-sured conviction that God's word is true. itants of the plain; and even as in our own day the preaching of the Gospel is to them that perish foolishness, so to his sons-inlaw did he seem as one that mocked when but a few hours intervened between them and terrible destruction. With a sad heart Lot returned to his home. The hours of the night wore rapidly away. There was little sleep in that dwelling. The angels appear to have spent the night there. The morning dawned, and now, say they, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters which are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

It is said Lot lingered. Whether because of sadness at the thought of the swift destruction coming upon his neighbors, or the regret he felt at forsaking his possessions-for, as we have seen, he loved the land-we know not. He lingered, and they laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto them, and they brought him forth and set him without the city. This done they give to the fugitives the direction, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

That men have found or fancied difficulties in the statement given by Moses is not to be wondered at, or that questions may be proposed concerning it not easily answered. Some two thousand years after this event the wisest Commentator on the Old Testament Scriptures that ever appeared upon our earth directed his attention and ours to this catastrophe. With reverence we may ask Him, who spoke as never man spoke, for information on this subject. Lord, how were the cities of the plain destroyed? In what way are we to understand the language of Moses? Is it an allegory? Is it fiction, or is it fact? Listen to Christ's answer, an answer strangely overlooked by many who profess to interpret the Scriptures as philosophers, and as men of science.

They tell us of the bituminous nature of the soil of the cities of the plain; they talk wisely, according to the wisdom of this world, about electricity, and hunt up derivations for the word rendered brimstone in the account given by Moses. They are too religious to convert the whole narrative into an ingenious deception. We should say, perhaps, too sagacious; for there, as we have said, roll on, from age to age, the sluggish waters of

the Dead Sea. One generation after another has gazed upon it awe-stricken, and from father to son has descended the tradition.

Here once were situated Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim. Hence, while admitting the fact of their overthrow, they seek to account for it by secondary or natural causes, and what is most wonderful, at the same time profess great reverence for the authority of Christ. He says, and I believe him; he says, and let him be true and every man a liar: The same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

Jesus Christ also, as you may remember, adverts to the terrible doom of Lot's wife. By Moses the account is given in few words. She looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Scarcely any passage of sacred writ has given occasion for more fanciful speculations. Into them I enter not. The simple fact stands forth upon the sacred page. She heeded not the direction given, Escape for thy life. She looked back, probably with a longing desire, even then, for the home she was leaving, and she perished in the general doom of the ungodly. A timely admonition to all who like her have heard God's warning voice, and are striving to shun the wrath to come, to forget the things that are behind, and to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Remember Lot's wife.

Just here, had the pen of inspiration been guided by the hand of partiality, the history of Lot had ended. But it is still continued. He who alone was deemed righteous among all the inhabitants of the cities of the plain, for whom angelic messengers are sent, to warn and save, is presented unto us as having fallen, fallen foully into most abominable sin. Is this he who maintained his integrity, his upright walk even among the men of Sodom, whose righteous soul was vexed from day to day by their ungodly deeds? It is even he; but ah, how fallen! how loudly he speaks to us from the solitary cave in the mountain, Let him that thinkest he standeth take heed lest he fall. It seems to us, too, that had Moses intended to have taught the doctrine, once in grace always in grace, or, that though God's children may fall foully they should not VOL. XII.-32

fall finally, it seems to us that he would have carried his history a little further; he would not have ended it, as he does, with the drunkenness and incest of the man who, beyond a peradventure, was once high in the favor of God. We cannot help thinking that were the doctrine to which we have referred true, there would have been somewhere in the Bible, in the writings of Moses, or the prophets, or the apostles, a ray of light thrown upon the darkness that now envelops the lamentable end of the once righteous Lot.

We advert a moment to the great Teacher's practical improvement of this terrible catastrophe. Thus shall it be, he says, when the Son of man is revealed. He refers, primarily, to his coming at the destruction of Jerusalem, but connects with it, as on other occasions, that second advent when He shall come with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Like the destruction that fell upon the cities of the plain, that also will be at an unexpected hour. They were thoughtlessly engaged; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded, when sudden destruction overtook them. Even thus shall it be when the Son of Man is revealed. As it was then with the beautiful vale of the Jordan, so at that day with the entire earth, it shall be wrapped in one universal mass of flame from heaven, and the earth and all things that are therein shall be burned up. So hath God himself decreed; so runs the record of his will; while, in his providence, he has left there in the Holy Land, the waters of the Dead Sea to chant forth, in their low murmurings, an unceasing requiem for those who perished in their guilt, while the same waters cry aloud to generation after generation, echoing the words of him, the Saviour once, but then the Judge of quick and dead, Thus shall it be when the Son of Man is revealed.

IN the Island of Goa there is a vegetable called the "sorrowful tree," because it only flourishes in the night. At sunset no flowers are to be seen, and yet after half an hour it is full of them. They yield a sweet smell, but the sun no sooner begins to shine upon them than some of them fall off, others close up, others continue flowering in the night the whole year.

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N the year of bur Lord 1607, the memorable year in which forty-seven learned men began the English version of the Bible, Henry Hudson sailed in search of a northeast passage to India. For two seasons he strove in vain to penetrate the ice barriers, and then turned homeward. His patrons abandoned their enterprise, and the "bold Englishman," in his time

"The greatest sailor since the world began," went over to Holland, and entered the service of the Dutch East India Company, whose awkward argosies then vexed the waters of almost every sea.

Two years later, in a yacht called the Half Moon, the intrepid navigator again ventured among the arctic ices. Voyaging north and south along our coast, he anchored, September 3rd, 1609, inside of Sandy Hook.

While Hudson lay there at anchor the natives from the western shore came on board, seeming to be highly pleased with the arrival of the Europeans. They were dressed in ornamented deer skins and mantles of feathers. The pipes for the enjoyment of the Indian weed were especially curious to the English. The natives brought green tobacco to exchange for knives and trinkets.

The next day a boat was sent to explore the bay visible through the Narrows. Sounding as they went, they saw "a narrow river at the westward, between two islands," supposed to be Staten Island and Bergen Neck. The country was well wooded with lofty oaks, and a delightful odor of grass and flowers was wafted over the river. The party proceeded up the bay about six miles, and were on the point of returning, when the boat was suddenly attacked by two canoes containing twentysix Indians. John Colman, an Englishman who had accompanied Hudson in his northern voyages, was killed by an arrow penetrating his neck, and two others of the crew were wounded. After the friendly behavior of the Indians this sudden act of hostility on their part can be explained only on the supposition of some indiscretion committed by the boat's crew. It is certain, however, that the northern Indians did not regard the European strangers with the same degree of wonder and veneration as the natives of Mexico.

Colman's was the first European blood shed in the peaceful waters of the Hudson. His companions buried him at Sandy Hook, and the spot still appropriately bears the name of Colman's Point. Additional precautions were taken against the Indians, but, singularly enough, they came off to the Half Moon on the follow

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ing day without exhibiting any hostile intentions, and manifesting indeed no knowledge of the fatal affray. Only two of them were allowed to go on board the vessel. These Hudson forcibly retained and caused to be dressed in red coats, at the sight of which the other Indians returned to the shore. In a short time a canoe came off with two men, one of whom was also detained, doubtless as a hostage, but not being closely guarded managed to jump overboard and swim to the shore.

Eight days after his arrival Hudson sailed through the Narrows into the "most beautiful bay of New York," and turned his prow toward the River of the Mountains, whose perpetual inundation washes the shores garlanded by our fair metropolis and her daughter cities. And as his eye drank in the soft charm of the magnificent autumnal landscape, he doubted not that the broad Mohicamnittuck flowed down from the India for which he had been so long in search.

misty, but when the sun rose, the light clouds dispersed, revealing to the voyagers the grandeur of the overhanging mountains. While the Half Moon was getting under weigh the two savages who had been detained at Sandy Hook, watching their opportunity, leaped out of a port-hole and swam ashore, scornfully deriding the crew as the vessel sailed away. Toward night the summits of the distant Catskills loomed up in the distance. Here they found a very loving people and a very old man." Much of the following day was consumed in taking in fresh water and the purchase of vegetables from the Indians. Five miles further up the River, Hudson landed in a canoe. The old man who accompanied him was a "governor of the country," and conducting the stranger to his cabin provided for him with Indian hospitality. In his "Journal," Hudson says:

The tribe consisted of forty men and seven teen women. There I saw three, in a house well constructed of oak bark and circular in

shape, so that it had the appearance of being built with an arched roof. It contained a great quantity of maize, or Indian corn, and beans of the last year's growth; and there lay near the

three ships, besides what was growing in the

fields. On our coming into the house two mats were spread out to sit upon, and some food was immediately served in well made red wooden bowls. Two men were also dispatched with bows and arrows in quest of game, who soon brought in a pair of pigeons which they had shot. They likewise killed a fat dog, and skinned it in haste with shells which they had got out of the water. They supposed that I would remain with them for the night, but I returned on board the ship.

After cautiously sounding his way through the Narrows, the Half Moon first "went into the river," and anchored near the Kills, "in a very good harbor for all winds." The Indians came off to them with-house, for the purpose of drying, enough to load out hesitation, even making a show of love, but Hudson, having in remembrance the fate of Colman durst not trust them. On the following morning twenty-eight canoes, made of" single hollowed trees," and filled with men, women, and children, visited the vessel. The oysters and beans which they offered for sale were gladly purchased, but not one of them was allowed to go on board. In the afternoon the Half Moon ran six miles further up. The strangers were delighted with the loveliness of the surrounding country. "It is as beautiful a land as one can tread upon," said Hudson," and abounds in all kinds of excellent ship timber."

After ascending the river as far as the site of Albany, Hudson retraced his way to Manhattan, and at once sailed for Europe.

The Half Moon returned with a number of adventurers, and in time the trading establishment on the southern point of Manhattan expanded into a prosperous Dutch

Trading posts sprang up in the interior, and, for the greater security of the colony, the Hollanders entered into a treaty with the chiefs of the Iroquois under the tall oaks of Tawasentha. In 1619 the first English vessel entered the bay of New York. The captain ordered the Dutchmen away, but they smoked on in silence unmindful of the impudent stranger.

Joyfully on the following day they entered the "River of the Mountains," seem-village. ing to them the portals of a new world. The light wind permitted them to sail but a few leagues, and at nightfall the Half Moon anchored just above Yonkers, in sight of a high point of land which showed out five leagues off to the north." The next day a favorable wind carried them rapidly up Tappan and Haverstraw bays into the magnificent region of the Highlands. At night Hudson anchored near West Point. The following morning was

The Dutch East India Company was formed in 1623, and in that year the colony of New Amsterdam received an accession

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