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head of cattle of any kind; but the monotony of the plain is occasionally broken by groves and clumps of aged and magnificent olives, which give it quite the appearance of a well laid out English park or domain. The day was delightful: a light breeze refreshed the weary traveller, as he journeyed towards the holy city. The fields were decked with thousands of gay flowers; the scarlet anemone and a beautiful specimen of small red tulips, intermingled with the white cistus, the pink phlox, the blue iris, and with crimson and white asters, asphodels, and lilies, formed an enamelled carpet, perfuming the air, and offering a scene replete with every thing that could gratify the eye, or charm the imagination. This plain of Sharon is about fifteen miles broad, and nearly twice as many long; bordered on the one side by the blue waters of the Levant, and on the other by the rugged hill country of Judea. How writers could have represented this 'goodly land' as naturally unfertile I know not; the appearance of this plain would alone refute such a misrepresentation.
“ This vale still produces the roses whose beauty and fragrance have been described by Solomon in the sweet strains of Hebrew poetry. Around us was an atmosphere such as can only be breathed in the East; no palpable sky, no cloud traversing a canopy indefinite in extent, but an ethereal expanse about and above us, terminating only where the powers of vision fail, and creating the thought that we looked into the regions of boundless space. A handsomely conducted fountain stood by the road side, containing the clearest water ; beside it was a chained cup for the traveller's use."-Wilde's Voyage to the Levant.
SHEPHERDS IN PALESTINE. “ It is almost incredible the influence that the shepherds of Palestine have acquired over their flocks. Many of them have no dogs, but a word is quite sufficient to make the sheep understand and obey the will of their shepherd. He sleeps among them at night, and in the morning leads them forth to pasture, walking always before them. Guiding them to those places where they can enjoy the best food, and resting when he thinks they have obtained a sufficiency, or during the heat of the day, in some cool shady place, where they all immediately lie down around him. He has generally two or three favourite lambs, who do not mix with the flock, but follow close at his side, frisking and fondling about him like dogs. Indeed, the degree of intelligence and understanding that exists between the Arab and his sheep is truly astonishing. They know his voice and follow him, and he careth for the sheep.' It was probably to such shepherds as these that the angel announced the glad tidings of the Saviour's birth. We met several of them walking slowly towards Jerusalem, and at once the full force of all the beautiful imagery, and the many touching similes derived from such scenes and associations, so often alluded to in Scripture, came vividly before me. These shepherds, clad in the turbans worn by their class, and carrying a wooden crook in their hands, walked in front. The sheep have long, pendent, silken ears, and sweeping tails; their faces are more oval and longer than the species in these countries, and they have altogether a more pleasing, docile, and mild expression of countenance, Not one of them ventured before the shepherds, but stopped or quickened their pace as he did; or if a young and froward creature lagged behind, or strayed to either side, a single word from their leader, often a very look, brought it back and checked its wanderings. A few favourite lambs frisked about their master, rubbing themselves against his legs and garments. These shepherds are often to be seen about sunset, slowly approaching the city from all sides, to seek shelter for their flocks during the night in some of the deep valleys by which it is surrounded, carrying the lambs in their bosoms.”— Wilde's Travels in Palestine.
WONDERFUL ESCAPE FROM DROWNING. On Friday, (Aug. 25th, 1843,) a party of young men set off from Nottingham in a pleasure-boat, to river and enjoy a day's fishing, &c. They sailed merrily and quickly down to Stoke, a village on the left bank of the river Trent, eight miles from Nottingham. Here they anchored, and went to the Boat Inn to procure some refreshment. The party then dispersed; some went a little farther down the river to fish, and three of them took the boat and crossed the river, intending to wander amongst the fields and woods on the opposite bank. They had not been absent more than half an hour, when they were startled by a loud cry of distress on the Stoke side of the river: they directly looked towards the quarter from whence it proceeded, and they saw a horse and cart rolling and tossing about in the water, with a man and a boy in it. These poor creatures were crying out loudly, for they were in the greatest danger of being washed away, as the current was very strong. Mr. W. was the only one of the three friends that could swim; he plunged into the river, and, swimming with all his might, he crossed it; the horse was struggling fearfully; it had nearly reached the centre of the stream, and endeavoured to keep its nostrils above the water. Mr. W. caught hold of the horse's head with his left hand, and swam with his right hand towards the bank from which the cart had started. At many places in the Trent long walls or weirs are raised, as far in the river as possible, to make it navigable at low-water mark. One of these lay a few yards before them. Mr. W. mounted upon it, and, lifting up the animal's head, enabled him to place his forefeet firmly on this embankment: it was too narrow to allow him to do more. He then took the boy from his dangerous position in the cart, and placed him safely on the weir. The current was dreadfully rapid, the cart dragged heavily at the heels of the horse, and though the good and sagacious animal struggled hard to keep his footing, the torrent proved too much for him, and he rolled back into the stream. The
poor boy, when he saw the cart roll over, screamed out with agony, "My father, my father, oh! save him! save him!” For a short time the old man managed to keep hold of the cart, and as it rolled over, he still contrived to climb to the top; but the stream drew them into the depth of the river, and then the old man was washed off. He sank apparently for ever! Mr. W. dashed into the water to endeavour to save him; he swam to the spot where he had sunk, then diving for a moment, he brought him again to the surface; he placed his left hand under the right arm of the drowning man, and struck on for the side of the river, when he again gained a footing on the weir; for a moment the old man retained his foothold, but then, too much exhausted by his previous struggles, he fell into the fearful stream! Mr. W. with desperate courage again plunged after him; but this time seizing hold of the struggling man without proper caution, he was grasped by him round the neck with death-like agony, and they both sank below the surface of the water. Fortunately Mr. W. did not lose his presence of mind; finding that his strength was failing rapidly, he was compelled to leave the poor man to his fate : after a desperate struggle he succeeded in disengaging himself from the poor fellow, and he rose to the surface. Meanwhile his companions had succeeded with some difficulty in bringing their boat close to this spot. Mr. W. made towards it, and was taken on board by his two friends, in a state of much exhaustion. At the same instant the drowning man, whose struggles had again brought him to the top of the water, was rescued by the ferryman, who had also brought a boat to their assist
He was immediately taken to the Boat Inn, where the necessary restoratives were used, and he gradually recovered his strength. The boat now proceeded up the river, to rescue the poor boy from the dangerous position in which he had been left all this time, standing on the weir in the middle of the stream. He cried out that he was every minute becoming weaker, and that the stream was taking him off his legs: he was taken into the boat, and thus happily both were saved.
The account that the man gave of the beginning of the accident was this: he had seen a horse and cart cross the river some days previously, when the water was very low, and he determined to do the same, but unfortunately he did not observe that the river was now much swollen, and almost bank-full. The consequence was, that the horse was taken off his legs the moment that he plunged into the river, and they must all have perished had not Mr. W. and his companions seen them.
By what a curious arrangement of circumstances were
the lives of these two persons saved! Can we doubt that all was ordered by a gracious Providence ?
Let any of us who have been interested in reading this story, learn these two lessons from it. First, when we are in danger, let us never despair, but trust in God with full confidence that if He sees fit to deliver us out of that danger, He will readily find means to do so. “The angel of the Lord tarrieth round about them that fear him; and delivereth them."
And secondly, we may learn that we should stand prepared, like good labourers, to work in whatever part of God's vineyard He shall call us to. In the words of one of the beautiful collects of our Church, we should be ready, both in body and soul, cheerfully to accomplish those things that God would have done. We must gain the habit of giving up our own comfort and pleasure when a fellow-creature stands in need of our assistance, and of being ready to brave danger when duty requires us to be exposed to it. There may be as much courage shown in nursing a sick relation in an infectious disease, as in plunging into the foaming torrent to rescue a drowning man ;
and as much mercy in soothing the cries of a sick infant, as in rescuing the poor boy from the dangerous weir on which he stood. Let us carefully cultivate the right spirit in our hearts, and be sure that we shall not lack opportunities of exercising it: “Be merciful after thy power: if thou hast much, give plenteously; if thou hast little, do thy diligence gladly to give of that little: for so gatherest thou thyself a good reward in the day of necessity.”
E. A. DOMESTIC ECONOMY OF THE LABOURING CLASSES. The following extract may be of use to some of our village readers. It gives but a sad picture of the state of our cottagers : we are happy, however, to know that though, in some cases, the description may be true, yet the cottages of many of the poor present a very different appearance from this. Some cottagers do understand domestic management, and know well how to make their earnings go the farthest; they are able to have every
1 Ps. xxxiv. 7.