The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Those Holy Fields *
by the Rev. C.H. Chase
Being Sunday Evening Thoughts for Our Children Concerning
"Those holy fields,
* [Having had the great happiness of a ride through the Holy Land, I write these short papers with the hope that they may make some dear children happier on Sunday evenings, and help them to picture more perfectly the scenes of Holy Scripture.]
"His raiment white as snow." S. Matt. xxviii. 3.
After our first night in tents, we begin to ascend the lower spurs of Hermon. We have seen the "old white-headed man" before us since leaving Damascus, now we pass over its rocky slope. Glorious mountain, "the loft peak," as the name Hermon means, "breast-plate of ice," as it was anciently called, how lovely it looks this spring eventide, when, weary with some nine hours in the saddle, we rest at its base. Our eyes have, at last, seen the Land of Promise, our feet have at length been planted where Moses longed to stand. The view as we come near our camp is very fine--the valley of the Jordan richly green, the waters of Merom glittering from afar, the river like a thread of silver, and near us, oh, such flowers, the scarlet and violet anemones, the pink and white cyclamen, orchids, and by the roadside rich clusters of maiden-hair fern.
But what makes that mountain, not only glorious, but very sacred? Was it not here, on one of its lower heights, that the man Jesus became transfigured," His raiment white as snow?"
Many of you have seen photographs or painted copies of Raphael's great masterpiece, "Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration." When you are older, some of you will go and see the picture itself, and gaze on that marvelous upturned face of Jesus, and read in those eyes the look which tells of the pure soul within.
He was "whiter than snow." Hermon's snows were nothing as the pure whiteness of our Holy Saviour. Oh, glorious Jesus! well might the apostles fall down and hide their faces in the grass, overpowered by "the Excellent Glory."
"Whiter than snow," such is a promise for you, dear child, if washed in the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Many a naughty thing have you done. Perhaps, even to-day, your heart tells you all is not "pure within." Then come to-night, this very night, and tell Him all. Confess the sin to Him, and ask Him to make you very, very sorry, and then believe He will wash all away, and make you quite clean. Whiter even than the snows of Hermon.
"White as snow! Oh, have you watched it
"White as snow! can my transgressions,
"Yes, at once, and that completely,
VI. JORDAN'S SPRINGS
"Who hath despised the day of small things?" Zechariah iv. 10.
Banias is the name which still clings to the spot, sacred in turn to Greek, Roman, and Christian, where the river Jordan takes its rise. Under the great white Hermon, not far from the old castle of Banias, is a cave, and carved on the rock outside the case are the words: "The Priest of Pan." Here stood, many hundreds of years ago, a Temple of Pan, the god of shepherds, the god of woods and trees. Here stood afterwards a Roman temple, and in it Titus worshipped after his conquest of Jerusalem. Here, later still, stood a Christian Church, where holy men praised and honoured the Christ of God.
To this spot came the Christ Himself, when, after His glory on Hermon, he cured the poor lad indwelt by an evil spirit. On this spot St. Peter, whose name means a rock, confessed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God.
Banias is the source of Jordan with its several springs; here they trickle forth from the rocks near the cave's mouth, and flow on amid tangle and brushwood, soon mingl'ng into one stream, which flows on and on till the river becomes a lake, and the lake empties itself by a river, till at last that river forms the Dead Sea, thirty-two miles long by some four miles broad.
"Small beginning make great endings," and who shall despise the small things?
I seem to hear some little boy saying to himself:
"Oh, dear me, I am so tired of drawing these horrid lines; why should I be bored to copy that stupid shell again?"
I look on into the future and I seem to see twenty years hence a picture in the Royal Academy drawing its crowds of admirers.
The little restless lad is now the famous artist. The straight lines, the beautiful curves, the graceful outlines, copied again and again were small beginnings; now they have resulted in this masterpiece of beauty. Persevere, press on, day by day, boys and girls, who read this. Do a little more, and then a little more; do that little well, as well as you can, then some day your "small beginnings," if they do not result in "the great endings" of success and renown, will have the really great endings of work well done, and your character, strong and patient, will help others, perhaps unknown to yourself.
"The lesson learnt in patience then
VII. THE WEEPING MOTHER
"I am the Resurrection and the Life." St. John xi. 25.
A Sunday at Banias (the old Caesarea Philippi) had been a very happy day--a Sunday in tents under a grove of olive trees close to Jordan's bank. Next morning, at 7.45, we mount our horses, and leave behind us a group of children, little Arabs in their bright dresses, who give us a cheer as we go on our way.
We pass the miserable mud huts of the village with their flat roads, built in among the ruins of the old city of Herod's days. We soon reach a grove of fine trees, and a Moslem burial-ground. What is that noise--a low wailing sound? It is a poor woman in great grief. What is she doing sitting there swaying to and fro? She is by the newly-made grave of her only boy. Here she comes morning by morning, knowing no comfort and no comforter. Now, contrast this poor Moslem mother with one whose life is written--one who died many years ago in Christian England. Five of her children had gone home to be with Jesus years before; one son lived to grow up to be a man, and to be a comfort and joy, when he, too, was called home. The mother stood for the sixth time at a child's grave side, and as the service was read which tells of Life and Hope, she was heard very quietly to say to herself: "I believe in the Resurrection of the Dead."
Children, "He is risen," such is the greeting in Russia on Easter morn. He is the Resurrection and the Life. Let us live as those who believe this. Let us rise to higher things, higher thoughts, higher aims, higher deeds. Then when sorrows come, when any dear ones pass out of sight, we shall have a joy the poor Moslem mother knew not of, we shall have hope which will live on in Him, the comforter at Nain and Bethany--in Him who said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life."
"Jesus lives! no longer now
"Jesus lives! for us He died;
"The tents of Kedar." Ps. cxx. 5.
Kedar was one of Ishmael's sons (Genesis xxv. 13). His Arab descendants to-day are the Bedouin. These Bedouin are the tent dwellers in Palestine, while the Fellahin are the dwellers in the villages.
We have left the site of Dan behind us, that northern city where the calf was set up by Jeroboam. We have passed a heard of buffaloes grazing, and now, not far from the Waters of Merom, we see a large Bedouin encampment. It is something like a camp of gypsies, but the tents are black, made of a dark cloth of woven camel or goat's hair. This is the cilicium at which St. Paul worked as a tent-maker. What miserable dwellings these tents of Kedar must be in winter--how cold and damp! They are lined with a matting of straw, but are dirty, and smell horribly.
The faces of men, women, and even children, are sad to look into--so wretched, so depraved. Oh, that some dear lad's heart might say, "God sparing me, I will some day go and tell these forsaken Moslem wanderers of Him who came to seek and to save those that were lost." How a good, loving young doctor, with his heart full of sympathy, might win for Christ these tent-dwelling Arabs, who know not of any hope beyond their life of lying and stealing, and moving from place to place for pasture for their cattle.
Dear children, as you lie down in your comfortable beds to-night, surrounded by the love of fond ones, with all the comforts of a happy English home, think of the poor Bedouin out in their far-off, unhealthy, marshy camping grounds; think of them, with their black bread to eat, their abbas alone to cover them, their straw beds upon the ground. Above all, think of their ignorance, their terrible ignorance, of all that can ennoble and make happy. First thank God your Father very much for His love to you, for His kind care of you, for all the comforts He has given you. Then ask Him to send some one to teach the Bedouin, who, as well as you, are His children, that they, too, may have a hope beyond this life, that they, too, may know of that love which lights up the path here, and leads on to the brighter path by-and-by:
"For peaceful homes and healthful days,
"Thou didst not spare Thine only Son,
Proofread by LNL, Sept. 2023
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