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spiration, meets her advancing steps, places her hand upon the dark locks of the agitated maiden, whose turban and veil have fallen disregarded to the floor, and cries aloud,
“Blessed art thou among women! and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And whence is this to me, that the mother of my LORD should come to me? For lo! as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy! And blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord !
But as she speaks thus, with holy fervor inspiring her noble countenance, Mary appears herself to become partaker in her inspiration ; no longer a timid, shrinking maiden, she stands erect, with flashing eye, and the dignity of conscious royalty; her doubts all removed, her fears forgotten, and a full tide of hope and joy springing out of the deep fountains of her soul; and thus, in the untaught numbers of the national poetry, she exclaims, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior ! For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth all nations shall call me blessed! For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name ;
And his mercy is on them that fear him,
THE VISIT. WHO would not feel a pleasure in contemplating the life of these happy individuals during the time of Mary's visit ? a three months doubtless as joyful as ever were known on earth, where joy is known rarely but in anticipation; a period during which the interior of that humble cottage presents scenes to the reflecting mind of matchless interest.
There, an Oriental imagination, at once enriched and chastened by devotion, kindling with maternal anticipation, broods upon the future in a thousand wondrous visions ; for, although truly devout and spiritual, yet the words of her song reveal a keen sense of the honor bestowed upon her, and of the exaltation, personal and national, it implies.
On the part of Elizabeth, there is the affection naturally felt for a kinswoman so young and lovely as Mary, and whose destiny is so highly blended with supernatural interests. On the other hand, Mary finds in her that sympathy, support, and counsel, which, in so extraordinary a crisis, must seem inexpressibly grateful. Happy hours of holy conversation, humble worshipping, and patient thought, how peaceful is your flight! while they witness the coming down of the latter rains, behold the ripening corn wave beneath a cloudless April sky, watch the budding vine, pluck the almond and the luscious orange, descry the lowland vales, parched by the increasing heats of May, which serve only to render their mountainous abodes the scene of Spring's warm glory. Around them echo the song of the reapers, and the rustic sports of the youths and gleaning maidens, while new harvests are sowing, and June leads on the scorching heats of midsummer.
Happy hours! sacred to the mighty past, the mysterious present, the all-absorbing future ! Never were such communings on earth before, nor shall be again.
Here, in this cottage, the crisis of a world is come, yea, of a universe. On them, obscure and feeble as they are, the fates of ages are now revolving. Of them prophets have spoken, and bards sung since the world began. Their personal history has been foreshown in solemn oracles centuries ago! In the archives of the oldest nation in the world they may find their own humble selves, their opening fortunes.
Amazing! to see that trembling maiden, as
she bends anxiously over the prophetic scroll, and traces in its mystic characters all but her very name, and clearly the name, and birthplace, and fortunes of her illustrious offspring. What mind was ever charmed to the study of a record by a fascination like to this?
What scrutiny ever concentrated to such intensity of ardor? Let the universal craving of the human heart to lift the veil of future realities, united to the stronger instincts of maternal solicitude, give answer. Can it be conceived that they would forego one line, one word of those God. given prophecies? Zacharias, long trained in exposition, by office a teacher; Mary, of a still, and deep, but pondering heart; Elizabeth, experienced, sedate, mature ?
And yet, awe-struck and humbled, methinks they find those solemn writings inexorable to many of their most earnest interrogations. Somber shades of darkest gloom here and there belt the bright glories of the future. Plaintive notes of deepest pathos wail commingled with the mightiest movings of that melodious lyre.
Yea, from out some unknown abysses of those mysterious words, seem ever and anon to burst harsh howlings of demoniac spite, venting all its rage on some sad sufferer; and from every attempt fully to resolve these discordant