The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Those Holy Fields *

by the Rev. C.H. Chase
Volume 3, 1892/93, pgs. 610-618

Being Sunday Evening Thoughts for Our Children Concerning

                     "Those holy fields,
       Over whose acres walked those blessed feet
       Which eighteen hundred years ago were nailed,
       For our advantage, to the bitter cross."--Henry IV

* [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.]


       "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." Ps. cxxii. 2

We make an early start, for all our party are eager to enter the Holy City. We leave Mizpeh, the watch tower, on our left, pass the sites of Ramah and Gibeon, and come to the hill Scopus, the most northerly spur of the Mount of Olives. As we cross it we have our first view of Jerusalem. This was the spot where the Crusaders, under King Richard, lept from their horses and knelt in prayer. It is, indeed, with strange feelings we gaze on this city of holy memories.

There is Mount Moriah, where the Temple once stood; and beyond it Zion, David's city. Just below us is the Valley of the Kedron, its bed now dry; away on the south is the awful Valley of Hinnom, with Bethlehem in the far distance. To our left rises Olivet, with the Garden of Gethsemane at its base, and on its slope the beautiful new Greek Church, built by the Emperor of Russia.

Jerusalem has already lept its walls, and is rapidly spreading along the Jaffa Road to the north-west. After luncheon in our tent, which is pitched near the Damascus gate, we enter within the walls. We meet a great many members of the Greek Church on their way to a service, for it is a festal day. We notice a stone in the wall much worn which these Christians stop to kiss. It is said to be the spot where our Lord fell on his way to Calvary. It is not easy to believe in all these so-called holy sites in the city, but at least we are within sight of the very hills which witnessed the awful scenes of His agony and death. The streets of Jerusalem are narrow; some are up steps, so no carriages are taken within the walls. Some of the streets are arched, and look very quaint and eastern.

The wish of years is now accomplished, and our feet stand within the gates of Jerusalem.

What must have been the joy of the Holy Child Jesus when He first entered within those walls?

What will it be, dear child, to you or me when we enter within the pearly gates, and walls of jasper in the Heavenly City?

Who are they that shall enter in there? "Who are these, and whence came they," asked one who saw that city in a vision? Those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; they, and they only, enter in.

The defiled enter not. The unjust, the liars, the impure, the unbelieving are shut out.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

"Blessed are they who do His commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gate into the city."

       "A city richer far than words can tell,
              In memories that set the soul on fire;
       No other spot on earth has such a spell
              To thrill the heart and satisfy desire.

       Christ! I would know Thee only by Thy grace,
             Thine infinite and all-embracing love;
       O, lift on me the shinings of Thy face,
              And give me foretaste of Thy heaven above!"


       "The mountain which is on the east side of the city." Ezek. xi. 23.

Memories of Olivet, oh sacred memories!

As we wake on Palm Sunday morning, with the church bells on Olivet ringing in our ears, we find it almost impossible to believe we are really on this holy mountain.

The mount of David's flight, of Solomon's high place. The mount to which Jesus so often resorted; the mount of the triumphant entry; the mount of the agony and ascension.

We go and stand at our tent door and look forth. There is no mistake; there lies the holy city spread out like a map at our feet, the beautiful city, the city of the Great King.

In the afternoon we ascend the mount to almost the highest point. Oh, what a view is spread before us! What is that glittering to the west? It is, it must be, the Dead Sea; and Pisgah. From these Moses looked forth longingly to the spot on which we stand, and away to goodly Hermon, as we now see it with its snows.

We descend towards Bethany. How the road, as it winds, helps us to picture that scene on the first Palm Sunday. The crowd with Him, meeting the pilgrims from the city just where we now stand. The disciples sent to the village, Bethpage, in the valley below, by a short path, while the Master goes round the winding road under the mount. Then the ass and colt meeting Him at yonder corner. The two crowds mingling, some before, some behind Him, shouting "Hosannah! Hosanna!"--"Save now! Save now!"--as David's Son rides on. At last, there is the sudden burst of the view, Zion's towers, the snow-white temple, then the whole city. Here, where the road turns the corner of the mount and begins to descend, we sit down, open our Bible, and read, "When He was come nigh, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives . . . He beheld the city, and wept over it." Yes, it was here, just here, that the King had His only royal triumph, and it was here the King burst into a torrent of weeping.

I like to think that the children joined in the King's progress, that they with their treble voices chanted His praise.

"Young men and maidens, old men and children praise the name of the Lord." So wrote the old Hebrew poet.

Praise. It is happy work for children; and happy does it make our King, the children's King.

You thank Him for what He does for you, for what He gives you--you must praise Him for what He is, and what He is to you.

Think for a moment or two of each person of the Blessed Trinity.

The Father in all His glory and love.

The Saviour in all His justice and tenderness.

The Holy Spirit in all His strength and patience. Then say, very slowly,

       "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
       We praise Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee."

Now go, and try to praise Him in your life by a cheerful, contented, loving service; serving Him in holiness and truth.

       "All glory, laud and honour,
              To Thee, Redeemer, King;
       To whom the lips of children
              Made sweet Hosannas ring.

       To Thee before Thy Passion
              They sang their hymns of praise;
       To Thee now high exalted
              Our melody we raise."


       "The Lord Jehovah is the Rock of Ages." Isa. xxvi. 4, margin.

We pass within the gates of the Sacred Mosque Omar. English gold is a key which opens many a gate in the East--only the last few years have Christians been allowed to stand on this ground, so dear to the Moslem. What is this so carefully enclosed? It is the top of Mount Moriah. Turn to your Bible and read in Genesis xxii.2, "Get thee into the land of Moriah." Then pass on some 850 years, and turn to 2 Chron. iii. 1, "Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Mount Moriah." The scene of Abraham's offering, the threshing-floor of Ornan, the site of the great Temple--such is the spot on which we stand.

The dome of the rock, or Mosque of Omar, is a magnificent building of marble and alabaster; the windows are of beautiful glass, the walls a mass of colour; but all else forgotten, beside that which is the centre of the whole. A huge rock juts up and nearly fills the space beneath the dome--it is 57 feet long by 43 feet wide--this rock is hollow, and we enter its cave by a winding stair.

What is the Rock? With very little doubt it is the place where Ornan was threshing wheat (1 Chron. xxi. 20.) It is the site of the altar of sacrifice, and through the hole (some 2 feet across) which pierces it, flowed the blood of all the sacrifices offered daily by the priests. This hole passed through the floor of the cave, but now it is filled up. Probably that was an outlet in the valley of the Kedron.

That rock in the old Temple Court, how it tells of one concerning whom it is written, "the Lord Jehovah is the Rock of Ages."

There is a shelter, a hiding place, in that cave within the Rock.

In the Eternal Rock, Christ, we are safe.

To be parted from Him is death, to be one with Him is life.

"It is Christ in the child which makes it speak the truth; Christ in the child which makes it shrink from whatever it has been told is wrong. It is Christ in the young lad which fills him with lofty desires; hopes of bettering the world around him; hopes of training his soul to be all that it can be, and of putting forth all his powers in the service of Christ." [Charles Kingsley]

Take Christ then, dear child, as your Rock on which to build up a noble, honourable life. Flee to Him in every difficulty. Trust Him in every perplexity. From Christ, believe me, comes all that is good in man or angel. As you live in His strength, as you grow in His likeness, purity, self-control, experience, knowledge, love, charity, will all become yours, and, then humility, too, will be yours, and you will say, "The good which I do, I do not, but Christ Who dwelleth in me."

       "Rock of Ages cleft for me,
       Let me hide myself in Thee;
       Let the water and the blood
       From Thy riven side which flowed,
       Be of sin the double cure,
       Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

       Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
              More than all in Thee I find;
       Raise me, fallen; cheer me, faint;
              Heal me, sick; and lead me, blind.
       Thou of life the fountain art,
              Freely let me take of Thee,
       Spring Thou up within my heart,
              Rise to all eternity."


       "Our daughters may be as corner-stones, hewn." Ps. cxliv. 12, (New Version).

What vast stones there are in the wall of the old Temple enclosure! Here is one more than 37 feet long.

Some few years ago explorers dug down deep below the present wall, and strange have been the secrets thus revealed. At the south-east corner of the city it is found that the wall must formerly have risen to a height of no less than 156 feet from its foundation. The stones show that they were hewn and cut with the greatest care and skill. On one stone there are still to be seen painted marks of the Syrian workmen (similar marks having been found on the tomb of a King of Sidon, 600 B.C.). The paint of these numerals is still fresh, and has run upwards, revealing that the stone was moved after the workmen had painted on it their marks, thus: = 20 - 5.20.

What is, however, more remarkable than all, close to the corner-stone, or foundation-stone, which is a binding stone facing south and east, a hole 3 feet across and 1 foot deep was discovered in the rock, and in it was found a pot containing a substance which is thought to be oil.

Here then, no doubt, is the very jar used by Solomon on the day of consecration, when he laid "a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation" (Isa. xxvi. 16).

"Our daughters may be as corner-stones, hewn."

That corner-stone in the city wall for over 2000 years has bound that wall together.

What are you doing, dear child, in the home to bind? Are you by love knitting together the others around you?

By little acts of kindness, and little deeds of love, are you making your life one with that of those dear to you? so that it is said of you: "I don't know how we should get on at home without -----." Then, are you like that corner-stone, cut, hewn, polished, all the rough corners and angles sawn away?

A gentle woman is one with gentle ways, easy, loving, kindly manners.

True love is not rude or unmannerly, but considerate, thoughtful of others.

A polished life. We cannot get this out of any book of genteel behaviour. We must learn it from One who was Himself meek and lowly. We must learn it by taking up His yoke, and following His steps.

He is called "the foundation stone," and daughters who would be polished corner-stones must become like Him.

       "Many a blow and biting sculpture
              Polish'd well those stones elect,
       In their places now compacted
              By the heavenly Architect;
       Who therewith hath will'd for ever
              That His palace should be deck'd.

       Christ is made the sure Foundation,
              Christ the Head and corner-stone;
       Chosen of the Lord, and precious,
              Binding all the Church in One:
       Holy Zion's help for ever,
              And her confidence alone."


       "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee." Ps. cxxii. 6.

On Good Friday afternoon we pass without the walls of the city to visit the Jews' Wailing Place, which is in the valley between Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. This particular part of the wall is very old, and the stones are very large.

What a crowd is here! Jewish Rabbis with their long beards, Jewish maidens in their bright dresses, men with fur round their caps and robes. Strange is the scene, as, with a low hum, and bodies swayed to and fro, all join in a solemn Litany. This prayer, which is sung in a sort of monotone, is taken up line by line, first by a Rabbi, and then by the congregation. The words are said to be as old as the days of the Babylonian captivity; as we hear them to-day from this crowd of some two hundred wailers their sound is solemn and sad in the extreme. Some show evidence of real grief, for we see tears pouring down their cheeks as they breathe their petitions into the very crevices between those stones, which once formed a part of the glorious city of their father David.

Some of the pilgrims place verses in Hebrew in the chinks of the wall, believing (so we are told) that an angel will carry them away as a remembrance to the throne of God.

How our hearts ache for these children of Judah. We think of that first awful Good Friday, when the cry rang again and again through the air, "Crucify Him--Crucify Him," "His blood be on us and on our children." Awful has been the punishment. Truly God's peculiar nation is now

       "Scattered, cast out, oppressed, forlorn--
       A by-word, and a hissing, a mark for scorn."

Yet how dear to the Father's heart are these children of faithful Abraham! How He longs for them "to look on Him whom they pierced!" How He yearns for them to know their own Messiah!

Will not you, dear child, learn to love the Jew for your Saviour's sake? Will you not "pray for the peace of Jerusalem," and receive the blessing promised to those who love its poor, forsaken, cast out children? Before you lie down in bed to-night say, on behalf of these so dear to the Great Heart of love:

       "Oh Lord, save Thy people,
       And bless Thine inheritance."

Never despise, never look down upon, never be unkind to a Jew, for to a Jew you and I owe all our true happiness, in time in eternity.


       "For the palace that lies desolate,
              * (R) We sit in solitude and mourn

       For the palace that is destroyed,
              (R) We sit in solitude and mourn.

       For the walls that are overthrown,
              (R) We sit in solitude and mourn.

       For our majesty that is departed,
              (R) We sit in solitude and mourn.

       For our great men who lie dead,
              (R) We sit in solitude and mourn.

       For the precious stones that are burned,
              (R) We sit in solitude and mourn.

       For the priests who have stumbled,
              (R) We sit in solitude and mourn.

       For our kings who have despised Him,
              (R) We sit in solitude and mourn.

       We pray Thee have mercy on us,
              (R) Gather the children of Israel.

       Haste, haste, Redeemer of Zion,
              (R) Speak to the heart of Jerusalem.

       May the beauty and majesty surround Zion!
              (R) Comfort those who mourn over Jerusalem.

       May peace and joy abide with Zion!
              (R) And the Branch of Jesse spring up at Jerusalem."

* (R) Response

Proofread by LNL, Sept. 2023