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opening of the valley of Ajalon, once a stronghold of the Amorites (Judges i. 35), and the place invoked by Joshua to remain beneath the beams of the arrested moon in the great miracle recorded in Joshua x. 12. At Ramleh we halted for lunch, a considerable place, interesting as being at the present day the chief town of the great plain which was once Philistia. It has a population of about 3000 Greek Christians, and stands upon a slight eminence, upon which is a tower, the view from which is fine. From it we could see Lydda, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, and to the north the plain of Sharon and the long range of Carmel. After an hour's rest we once more mounted, and making our way through a dismal throng of wretched lepers at the gate, we set out for Jaffa. But now the scene became greatly changed, and the road was enlivened with plenty of company. Arabs in families on donkeys, rude carts, and strings of camels became numerous; and during the last hour of our journey I estimated that we passed no less than ninety camels. As we neared the city, the aspect of the road became exceedingly beautiful, from the gardens and orange-groves among which we passed. These increased in number and luxuriance until, soon after four P.M., we entered the gates of Jaffa and proceeded to the Jerusalem Hotel.
Jaffa, the ancient Joppa, was an important port, if not the only one on these coasts, south of Tyre; not that there is any harbour worth mentioning, but the roads are so far free from rocks as to make it convenient for anchorage as well as for embarkation. Whether in ancient times there were any ships which on occasion touched at Joppa may be exceedingly doubtful. Rafts conveyed merchandise, as we read (2 Chron. ii. 16), "And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem." It is curious that the modern name, Jaffa, approaches even more nearly to its most ancient name, Japho (Joshua xix. 46), than the Scriptural and New Testament name does. Of course we visited the interesting locality with which the name of Joppa is ever associated, viz. Simon the tanner's house, by the seaside (Acts x. 6), the scene of the singular vision of Peter which taught him that he should call no man common or unclean (Acts x.). This house, although modern, is built upon the very old traditional site of this event, and is held sacred by the Mahometans, in whose possession it is at the present day, as the place where they say (by a curious confusion of ideas) "the Lord Jesus asked God for a meal, and the table came down at once."
This was our last Bible association in Palestine, and the pleasant
situation of Joppa, its fine sea-breezes, and clear sea-water, in which we were glad to have a swim or two before leaving, were the chief attractions for the remaining few hours which we had to stay upon the shores of the Holy Land. Next day at noon the Austrian Lloyd's steamer "Achille" hove in sight, and we embarked for new scenes, being now bound for the "land of Egypt."
It was not however without regret that we quitted a country through which we had made such a pleasant journey, with so many interesting experiences of travel on horseback and in camp; and to which we might always look back with satisfaction, and with thankfulness that we had all been preserved in safety through so many dangers, both seen and unseen, as we had doubtless encountered. The time since we had first set foot upon it seemed much longer than it really was, so vast a fund of experimental information had we acquired in passing through scenes of such transcendent interest as those we now left behind. Our minds seemed to be recast, as it were,-to be framed anew, upon true and definite lines, so to speak; and we felt refreshed in spirit and increased in understanding by the daily food which eye and mind had united to afford us. I, for one, shall never in anywise regret the expenditure and labour which had realized a wish of my life; and in thus reviewing the scenes of travel associated with so many Scriptural events familiar from our earliest youth, I have but given myself a sincere pleasure, and a gratification which I trust is not altogether unshared by those who have followed me through these papers, which I now bring to a conclusion.
THE DIVINE LAW OF HONOURING FATHER AND
"Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."-Exodus xx. 12.
AMONG those principles of life and conduct which go towards making a man truly virtuous-truly religious, which help to ennoble his character and raise him to a position of true moral dignity and worth, the principle of honour holds a by no means unimportant place. To make any pretensions indeed of being religious without being honourablewithout having a thorough reverence and respect for all the rules of duty and all the maxims of spiritual wisdom which form the very mainstay and support of the religious life-is to give direct utterance to a gross untruth, to profess with the lips what is denied in the heart.
True honour and true religion must always go together-there can be no divorcing them. There is a species of honour, I am well aware, which evil men sometimes boast that they possess-a species of honour which leads them to observe with fidelity any particular pledge or promise they may happen to have made, or causes them to abstain from committing some enormity which they have it in their power to commit. In novels and in biographical sketches this characteristic is often pointed out as forming a great redeeming feature in the history of the lives of bad men and women, and we are sometimes asked to overlook the dark part of their career because of the keen sense of honour they possessed; but, alas! such honour is but pseudo honour after all. It is just a specious covering donned for the purposes of allurement and deceit; it is not that manly determination to abide by all that the conscience declares itself in favour of, which springs from a willing antagonism to all known forms of evil, that ready earnestness on the side of truth and of right, which the man who has for long years been struggling against sin has incorporated into his character, but it is in reality nothing better than a cowardly device to prevent the hidden subtlety of the heart from openly manifesting itself; it is an imposition and a pretence, a means slyly adopted for the purpose of winning the confidence of those whom it is proposed to dupe and mislead; it is a species of honour worth nothing; and although it may serve as a germ from which real goodness may afterwards be developed, yet whilst the heart clings to its old selfish loves, and there is an evident pandering after the delights of the world and the flesh to the exclusion of the higher delights of charity and use, its possession reflects no merit whatsoever upon him who boasts concerning it, and confers upon him no real title by which he can claim any esteem of the slightest kind from his fellow-men. Honour is valuable only when it is an active principle, influencing us not at this time or at that time just according to our pleasure, but at all times; a principle governing our whole life, conspicuously shining through all our demeanour. It consists, to sum up the matter in brief, in a steady and unfeigned allegiance to truth for truth's own sake, in an unswerving resolve never to yield in any way to anything mean, selfish, or cowardly, but to go forward bravely and earnestly in the path of duty wheresoever that path may lead. That man shows himself to be truly honourable who acts, when unconscious that any one sees him, as he would act if the eyes of the world were always fastened upon him; who lets his honesty, his candour, his readiness to serve others, follow him wheresoever he goes; who retains these noble qualities in adverse circumstances with as much tenacity as he seemed to cling to them in the hour of prosperity. Such an one
will shun making any compromise with evil under any shape or form; he will strive to avoid being ensnared by any vicious thoughts which may be suggested to him; he will endeavour to walk blameless with a clear conscience every hour of his life, and will seek continually that strength from above which alone can enable him to overcome and keep those laws which God has given for his guidance.
Did it ever occur to you that you would find such an explanation of the word "honour" in this commandment as that which has just been given? It is so, although at first sight it may not seem so. But the Divine Word, even in its most minute particular, is wonderfully comprehensive. It is so of necessity, for whatsoever is Divine must have the stamp of the Infinite upon it, and therefore must disclose more the further it is examined. This commandment seems to speak only about our earthly parents-the father and mother who watched over and cared for us in our infancy, who made provision for our wants, and whom it is incumbent upon us now to reverence and love. And certainly it does speak about our earthly parents, and that very authoritatively and distinctly, but not about them alone. It discloses to us the obligations we are under of reverencing and loving a father and a mother higher than those through whose instrumentality we were, as to our physical nature, brought into existence, and by whose kindness and love we have been housed, and fed, and clothed through all the years of our infancy, childhood, and youth. It bids us revere and esteem a father and a mother through whose efforts, through whose tender and fostering care the development of the higher part of our being is effected, through whose agency all our secret powers of mind and soul are gradually brought out into perfection and maturity. It is the Lord Himself whom we are to honour as our Father; and His Church, His Bride and Wife, we are to honour as our mother.
The Lord is undoubtedly our Father; in other words, we are the offspring of Infinite Love. Infinite Love has gifted us with glorious capacities; endowed us with faculties by means of which we may rise into the experience of true life and blessedness; furnished us with those resources which will aid in the formation within us of a noble character, a perfect manhood, which will lift us nearer to God and make us as much as possible like God. We have not been brought into existence with nothing to satisfy us but mere animal appetites and cravings; our capability of receiving delight through the outward senses is but the lowest way in which the Lord manifests His love towards The Lord has made us spiritual beings, gifted each of us with a spiritual body, furnished with spiritual senses, and through this spiritual body He is able to delight us with those things in which He rejoices
supremely; through it He can make us glad with the things of heaven, causing us to find the fullest and the richest satisfaction in them.
It may not be generally known that the word for "father" in the Hebrew language is "derived from a root which signifies to will or desire." Hence He whose will is the strongest and the purest, whose desires are of the loftiest and most exalted kind, whose purpose it is to achieve the grandest results by bringing into existence beings who shall to all eternity receive a constantly increasing measure of blessedness from Him, He is Father in the highest sense, and the tokens of true Fatherhood belong to Him.
We all have evidence, strong evidence, that the rudiments or germs of a higher life than that which is merely sensual exist within us. There is not an individual anywhere who has not felt this earth to be far too small for him. Men experience longings which all the pleasures of this world can never satisfy, aspirations after something higher, something better—a life richer, fuller, freer than the mere animal life so many lead here. Some there are who try to shut out all thoughts of God as having anything to do with the aspirations and longings they feel; and, persuading themselves that these wonderful influences are nothing more than the result of natural causes, come at last into a state of spiritual darkness and deadness, render themselves wholly insensitive to motives of unselfishness and purity, but become at last quite brutalized as to their tastes and pursuits. The wise course to follow, however, is to regard these ardent desires and hopes of which we are continually conscious as evidences of God-given faculties within us, which only want watching and nursing and carefully training in order for the higher life for which we long to burst upon us, and for true satisfaction and delight to be granted us. If we do follow such a course, recognising in all our deeper emotions and in all our thoughts concerning higher things proofs that we have a real Father whose infinite love yearns to bless us to the fullest extent, then, doubtless, we shall be led to seek after the things He desires to bestow upon us, and put forth all our efforts to obtain them; and the inevitable result will be that we shall come at last into possession of that higher life we longed for, and shall have every void in our souls filled up.
Seeing, then, that the Lord is our Father in the strictest sense of the term, His sole object in our creation being to bless us eternally by making us as much as possible like Himself, how essential for our true welfare is the commandment "Honour thy father." The force of this injunction is that we are to reverence, esteem, and love the Lord our
1 Noble's "Plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures Asserted," 4th edition, p. 193 (note).