« ÖncekiDevam »
fillment of the prophecy shall begin to come to pass. What will avail to him and to others her story of a vision, and of miraculous interposition, against the damning evidence of her infidelity to her vow? She will not only be disgraced-disowned by those she loves, but her life itself, she shudders to think, will be forfeit to the stern Mosaic code. She can not anticipate any revelation to Joseph which shall corroborate her statement; and thus a sense of despair, the natural reverse of her just now exalted mood, sinks like night upon her soul, and in this palpable darkness she only rouses herself gradually, so far as to engage in prayer to the God of Israel. She retires to her apartment, and it is while there on her knees, in earnest supplication for guidance in this difficult crisis, that the following reflections suddenly occur to her.
“There is one test,” she thinks," which can satisfy him, and, peradventure, satisfy my kindred, that I have seen this vision, and received this prediction. I will arise, and will hasten to Hebron to my cousin Elizabeth, and mine eye shall witness the truth of the word spoken concerning her. - Moreover, I will declare beforehand to my husband what things are foretold of her, if so be that when I return, and he shall accuse me, I may say unto him, The same angel which foretold the birth of the son of Zacharias, also foretold this concerning thine handmaid! peradventure he will believe !" And with these natural reflections, this simple plan, she retires to rest, and is soon wrapped in peaceful slumber.
THE JOURNEY. IT is early morning, and the sun has not yet risen on the heights of Nazareth.
A thick mist fills the valley, out of which the hill tops, peering, form a twilight archipelago, whereon the morning star looks down in fixed amaze.
A shaggy, panniered mule, surmounted by the martial form of the veteran servant Eliezer, leads the way from the court-yard of old Heli. Another, diminutive in size, and of a beautiful white color, follows, rejoicing in his lovely burden, the close-veiled daughter of David.
Descending the hill, they enter the shrouding mist, and thread the narrow streets, where not an object is yet visible, until they reach, at length, the southern outlet of the valley through a deep chasm.
Emerging from this, they strike southward upon the great plain, carefully following the narrow bridle-path, but unable to see in any direction beyond a few paces distance. An hour they move in silence, when, at some distance in the direction they are pursuing, they
hear the hollow tramp of camels and horses, the jingle of bells, and the confused hum of voices.
“Now, if the sun were risen,” exclaims the veteran, "we might behold yon goodly caravan
, of the Nile—a pleasant sight!" And, as if obedient to his wish, a sudden ray of glory pours across the plain, disturbing the hitherto so placid lake of mist. It wavers, tosses, and swells in billows, surging, breaking, rising; it rolls гир the mountain sides, and floats on high in brilliant wreaths, and heavy masses of gorgeous emblazonry. At the same moment a peal of martial music steals faintly from the northeast, where Tabor lifts his sunlit fortress high above the level plain.
Casting aside her veil, the gentle maiden gazes with mingled sadness and admiration, now in the direction of the Roman garrison, now after the lengthening files of the receding caravan, as they hold their true southwestern way.
“Ah, daughter !” exclaims the trusty steward, himself not all insensible to the associations of the scene, "prouder days hath Tabor seen, when, unprofaned by heathen tower, he raised his beautiful cone of oaks on high, and Barak pitched beneath their shade, and Deborah too, a mother then in Israel, with their hardy warriors! And lo! how well those camels, moving
yonder on the plain below, might stand for Ja. bin's ancient host! There, too, lay Sisera, with nine hundred chariots of iron, and his thousands all abroad upon the land !"
“And what stream is yonder," asks Mary, following the direction he points out, “whose winding course is marked by the silvery mist yet lingering above the fringing willows ?”
“That," replies her guide,"is ancient Ki. shon, into whose swollen waters the discomfited Gentiles were driven before the armies of the Lord ! Methinks I see them now; methinks I hear the current rushing and roaring, and the cries of the flying, and the tide of battle louder than all! Methinks I see the mad. dening waters dyed deep with blood, and whelming together the living and the dead in promisouous ruin !
Ah! that was an hour of ample vengeance! An hour,” he mutters, in a lower tone, and glancing toward Tabor, " that may, perchance, arrive again !"
Mary listens shuddering; yet, absorbed in revery, she seems repeating an olden lay of victory :
“They fought from heaven;