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(SEPT. going? On a mission of love, to preach the gospel to villages lying southward, who had never heard of Christ. Would our readers like to know how Quala spoke to his people? He thus pleaded with an idolater
Can the image save those that worship it? Think! How can it possibly save them? How many trees have sprung up, that the image created? How many clumps of bamboos are there, that the image has made ? How many men has it formed? Where are the animals, or even insects, that it has brought into existence? It has done nothing. Nor is the image self-existent: it was made by man. Rather than worship the image, ought we not to worship the man who made it, for his superior power? But the maker was a thief. Do you doubt it? Consider ! Earth, wood, stone, gold, silver, lead, and copper, exist because God created them. He who makes an image takes God's earth, God's wood, God's rocks, God's gold, God's silver, God's lead, God's copper. Does he ask for it? No! He takes it without leave, and says he will form an image and worship it; thus making himself a son of folly. Were we to disobey our parents and treat their commands with contempt, fol. lowing our own will in every thing, would they not be angry? Now, He who is greater than father, greater than mother, the only true God, who cannot die, nor cease to exist, commands—“Make no image, worship no image: worship me.” Against this God have we all sinned, in all our thoughts, in all our deeds. There is no part of us free from transgression. The hand has transgressed, the foot has transgressed, the eye has transgressed, the ear has transgressed, the mouth has transgressed, the mind has transgressed, the heart has transgressed. Our transgressions are greater than the hills, loftier than the mountains. It is not fitting we ascend to the presence of God. It is fitting we descend to the lowest depths of hell; and the great grace of God alone still keeps us here. These heavens so wide, this earth so great, every thing in the many waters and numerous lands, God created. He formed man holy, exempt from old age, sickness, and death; but he disobeyed God, obeying Satan; and thus brought misery on himself and all creation, Still God did not give us up. He had compassion upon us, and sent His only Son to save the slaves of Satan, who had no rest in his service. - To deliver us from the hands of Satan, and to give us rest, He bought us with His own blood. He had no compassion on His own great life, but He had compassion on men who were going down to hell. He died on the cross for us, on account of our sins; and thus drew open the gate at the foot of the road, so that man is made again acquainted with God. Surely, the children of earth ought to worship God, ought to perform His work, ought to observe His word, ought to follow His path, ought to obey His will; but man makes himself obstinate, and his ears crooked. He worships not, he serves not, he obeys not His word, follows not His path, submits not to His will. But he thus fulfils the language of the elders, who said, “ Children and grandchildren! Words good and white are scarcely received. Rottenness has many associates, sweetness few.”
Sometimes his countrymen would urge that which is very common
105 amongst the heathen-that the religion which sufficed their ances. tors would do for them. To this he would reply
Some of you object—"The tortoise dying, dies in its shell. Mother dying, occupy mother's chamber; father dying, take father's hall. The tigress striped, the cubs striped. Let not the tree depart from its shadow. If mother has gone to hell, we will go after her; if father has gone to hell, we will go after him." Let those who speak thus, think of suffering on earth, not to speak of hell. If a tiger devoured mother, dare we go out and give ourselves to be devoured by tigers ? If a crocodile killed her, or fire devoured her, or she was drowned, dare we go out and give ourselves to die by the crocodile, fire, or water? We can be very bold while the tiger is out of sight; but when we meet it face to face, we are panic-struck, and scatter, one one way, and two two ways. Our fathers and mothers did not hear what we hear, did not know what we know. It is of God's special grace that these things have come unto us. The elders of antiquity yearned to hear the word of God, but heard it not. That blessing was reserved for us. Still it is according to the saying, “ Lake pleasant, fish remain.” In a large lake where there is nothing to devour the fish, and its waters never fail, the lake is pleasant. Yet if there be no fish in it, it does not call the fish to come unwillingly. If the fish wish to dwell in it, they remain ; if not, they depart. God is the lake, and we are the fish. Unless we are in God, ere long something will come and devour us. The fire of hell will devour us. Then dwell in God.
Then some would cavil; and cavillers are not peculiar to the Karens. At home, amongst ourselves, are to be found those who object precisely the same things which the untaught Karens were wont to do. Let us hear the Karen caviller
God is possessed of infinite power, and has a perfect knowledge of all things. Why did He create Satan? Did He not know that He would come and deceive man? If He knew that he would come and destroy, why did He create him? If God compassionates man, if He loves him, why did He create the tree of temptation ? Did He not know that, if man ate of it, he would die? And if He knew, why did He create it? Why has He made men so that some come forth from the womb blind, some hump-backed, some with dead limbs, some with twisted limbs, some with crooked limbs, some white, some black? And why are some born dead ? Why do some die in infancy, some in childhood, some in youth, some in manhood, some in old age? Why are some insane, some idiots, some fools, some wise? Why are some masters and others slaves ? Some rich and others poor? Could not God make them all alike? Or is it because He loved some, and did not love others ?
Such persons Sau Quala answered thus
God is above man, above kings, above all. Kings are obeyed without asking for reasons. We ought not to reply against God. He is our father. The child understands not what the father does. The axe and the knife kill, yet without them the father could not obtain food for the child. He does not permit his child to handle them, but one with crooked ears, when unobserved by its father, takes hold of them and cuts itself. Parents give children many playthings; but, because they 106
MOSQUE OF OMAR AT JERUSALEM. SEPT. love them, they do not allow them to play with the axe and the knife. God acts according to His own will. The house-owner builds a house, and decides in relation to all its parts. He disposes of the timbers or bamboos according to their proper positions. That which is too short he lengthens ; that which is too long he shortens; that which will not answer his purpose he throws away. That which is shortened does not say to the builder, “Why hast thou shortened me?" nor that which is lengthened, “Why hast thou lengthened me?” The timbers or bamboos do not say, “Make us this way or that way: make us not that way, or this way." The materials know nothing, but the owner of the house knows, and directs every thing according to his own will. He is the owner of the house, and we ought to submit to his dispensations in silence. Then he will use us as parts of his building ; that is, we shall become his children and servants. But if we murmur and complain, and abuse God, we become like the bamboos and timber which, being unsuitable for the building, were rejected by the builder and thrown away. Some of God's judicial arrangements are in order that we may praise Him, some that we may repent of our sins, some that we may discern between good and evil, some that we may not hope in transitory things on earth, some that we may avoid hell, and go to heaven. None are made for the disadvantage, but all for the advantage, of man. To those who murmur, the holy book says "Who art thou, O man, that repliest against God ? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour ?"
We are not to suppose that the Karens at once, and without objection, received the gospel when it was made known to them. The Karen settlements to the south of Tavoy presented great difficulty: the Missionaries and their assistants were rudely treated ; nor would the people send a single child to the Mission schools. Some of the Karens had received Buddhism, and they have yielded the least fruit. But they who remained free from Burmese influence and superstition were less prejudiced, and among these the gospel of Christ has had indeed great success.
That journey on the January morning extended more than two hundred miles, and for fifteen years Sau Quala has been the constant companion of the Missionary Mason in these labours of love, until every nook in the southern provinces, where Karens were to bé found, has been visited.
MOSQUE OF OMAR AT JERUSALEM. The mosque itself stands on a raised platform, or terrace, some seven feet high, and nearly in the centre of the enclosed area ; on reaching the steps that lead up to which we exchanged our out-of-door chaussure for slippers, and mounted. As we came within near view of the main building, the extreme beauty of the bright-coloured mosaics and arabesques that adorn the whole surface of the outer walls, and the not-less
107 exquisite stained-glass windows, excited everybody's admiration; but, without stopping to give lengthened opportunity for examining these in detail, the sheikh led the way to the principal door, in front of which he halted to call attention to a little open marble-pillared structure, surmounted by a small dome, and, like its larger neighbour, ornamented inside and out with brilliant arabesques.
According to Mahommedan tradition, a stone in the centre of its marble floor covers the exact spot whereon King David used to perform his daily prayers. Having enunciated this veracious fact, which none of us could contradict, our cicerone led the way into the mosque, through whose gorgeous windows the early sun was throwing in a soft flood of many-hued light, that revealed to the eye very triumphs of chromatic art. Above the vast concave of the dome was a perfect maze of the richest and most delicately-coloured arabesque ornaments and inscriptions from the Korán, mellowed a little, it is true, by the breath of time, but still more brilliantly beautiful than I can at all describe. So, too, the portions of the wall above and between the fifty windows were everywhere covered with similar exquisite decoration. Right under the dome is the railed-in mass of rock, believed by most biblical antiquarians to be the site of the Jewish Holy of Holies. In one side of this grey limestone lump-the upper surface of which is about seven feet above the floor of the mosque-is an artificial cutting, believed to have been the altar of the high-priest; and leading from this is a hollowed tract, supposed to have carried off the blood of the victims into a deep cavity or well, partly artificial and partly natural, near the southern edge of the mass. A flight of stone steps cut out of the rock lead down from the corridor into this last, in the centre of the floor of which is a circular shaft, called by the Mahommedans “ The Well of Souls,” and believed by them to communicate with the nether world. Till within some forty years ago this was left uncovered, and the relatives of departed believers used to come hither and hold worldly intercourse with the spirits of their dead friends. About that time, however, an untrustworthy widow, who had wheedled some Avernian scandal out of the ghost of her spouse, published what she had learned ; and, as the facts were not considered complimentary to some of the chief families of the city, the loose-tongued gossip was punished, and the well covered in, to prevent further unseemly revelations. There is reason to believe that this shaft communicates at its bottom with an arched sewer, that had its outlet outside the city walls. Round the whole of this massive and time-defying relic of Israelitish glory runs, as I have said, a high wooden railing, separated from the outer main wall of the building by a narrow corridor, some twelve or fifteen feet wide, and from the centre of this last rises the row of eight square piers and sixteen Corinthian columns that support the dome. I may just add, that this mosque is not used for public religious services.
Leaving the building by the door through which we had entered it, the sheikh next led us down off the terrace on which the main edifice stands, across a paved footway, shaded by cypresses, to the mosque of El Aksa, in the south-western angle of the enclosure. This structure was originally a Christian church, built by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, and, on the capture of the city some hundred years
MOSQUE OF OMAR AT JERUSALEM. [SEPT. after, was converted by the victorious Omar into a Mahommedan place of worship. The whole building, which is crowned with a small dome at its southern end, over what was once the altar, consists of a nave and six side aisles, and, after the decorative brilliancies of its larger neighbour, strikes the eye, in point of internal ornamentation, as to the last degree puritanically plain. It has, indeed, its arabesques and Koránic inscriptions, but they exhibit but little of the delicate elaboration and gorgeous colouring of the others. The nave and aisles are hung throughout with the usual allowance of ostrich eggs and small glass oil lamps to be seen in mosques of this size everywhere.
From this former temple of our own purer faith, our guide proceeded to show us perhaps the finest of all the remains of the old Jewish architecture ? now in existence, the lofty arched double arcade that once led up from the Golden Gate into the temple. The ancient outlet of this passage upon the enclosure has been filled up, and entrance is now had to it by a flight of narrow modern steps, descending which the visitor finds himself in a wide and lofty vaulted passage, separated from another similar one by a row of open pillars. From this point down to the walled-up gateway, which was correspondingly double, the incline is gentle, and the floorway excellently paved: masonry of the most massively-solid construction meets the eye, alike in the side walls, the arched roofs, and the pillars; the stones in the first and last especially being of perfectly colossal dimensions, and throwing into the shade, in this respect, the largest I have ever seen in any European structure. The mechanical agency that could bring these monster stones from the quarry, and raise them to the places the uppermost of them now occupy, must have been such as we could not, even now-a-days, afford to despise. Through one or other of these arcades was it that the Hosanna-welcomed Christ passed up to the temple on His triumphal journey from Bethany; and the Turks have a traditional prophecy, that the opening of this gateway will be immediately followed by the termination of Mahommedan power.
From this unique monument of Herodian architecture we followed our white-turbaned guide to the top of the wall, whence a perfect view is had of the top of Moriah, the tree-sprinkled Mount of Olives, the garden of Gethsemane, and the valley of Jehoshaphat, with the rockvillage of Siloam, and the distant hill to the south-west, within a tower on whose summit the crusader garrison took its last stand when driven from the holy city. Descending thence, we strolled over every part of the enclosure, visiting in turn each and all of the minor buildings which the Turks have erected within it; and finally left this most liallowed of all Jewish ground, after a three-hours' survey of every square yard of its surface, by the same private gate through which we had entered. .
Such is the briefest descriptive outline of what is to be seen within the Sakara, whereon once stood the gorgeous structure of Solomon, of which, and its successive restorations, the only existing traces are what I have now mentioned, and a piece of its western enclosure wall, before which the down-trodden Israelites now congregate every Friday to read of, and mourn over, the departed glories of their race.
Correspondent of the “Daily News."