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have slept more sweetly than ever I did in my life? Who would have imagined that men who expect felicity only from indulgence, from gold, from power, from voluptuousness, should take upon them the task of depriving other men of the felicity of lying hard, of cultivating the ground with the sweat of their brow, of nourishing their bodies with a little bread, or pulse moistened with a few drops of water !” And my eyes filled with tears, and sighs burst from my oppressed bosom, and I found myself on the point of murmuring.
But, amidse tears and these lamentations, wrung from me by the pain of being separated from an order to which I was bound by my love still more than by my vows, all at once an inward voice stopped me and softly asked if, among all the rules to which I had bound myself by my vows, the holy will of God is not the first and the most sacred ; if this holy will of God is not the characteristic sign of the faithful Trappist !
And my tears and my sighs ceased; and, with a heart subdued by an ineffable charm to the will of my Jesus, I began to comprehend that there is more mercy, more kindness than tongue can express, in his severest dispensations towards those who love him; I comprehended how blind, how unjust one must be, not to look beyond human injustice, in order to consider both the justice of Him who makes it subservient to his purposes, and the justice of the things which he does.
And methought at that moment my blessed Saviour addressed me in particular, and said to me: “If I had not permitted that which it has pleased my wisdom to permit, shouldst thou ever have had the happiness to
SPRING OF ST. SABA.
come and visit me, and to worship me on the very spot where I was born, where I suffered, where I died for thee? to touch with thy hands and thy lips both the stone of my manger and the stone of my tomb, which my body has touched ? to see, to contemplate closely, to what a degree I abased myself to save thee, to save sinners? And doth not my grace tell thee that thou wilt carry back with thee more faith, more hope, more love?"
And fresh tears, different from the former, tears this time of peace and charity, trickled from my eyes, and I blessed the Lord; and, till the last moment of my life, I shall treasure the remembrance of the happy night spent at St. Saba.
At eight in the morning, I went down to the brook Cedron, to see, at the extremity of a cavern, a spring which is named after the saint; and which, according to a very ancient tradition, God granted in compliance with his prayer. This spring, I was assured, has never been dry since that time; and hither it is that the pilgrims usually come for water.
I was preparing to return to Jerusalem, when lamentable cries, which we heard outside the monastery, and the affrighted looks of the good monks, from whom I was about to part, made me apprehend, for a moment, that some new misfortune had happened.
A very numerous body of Arabs had possessed themselves of all the outlets, and would not suffer one of our pilgrims to go out till he had given them a bakschisch. I, nevertheless, mounted my horse. The moment I appeared, the yells were redoubled, and the mob thronged around me. However, it was by no means my intention,
EXTORTIONS OF THE ARABS.
still less was it consistent with my character, to comply with their requisition. I desired the janissary, who had accompanied the pilgrims, to declare to the Arabs that I was a Frank, a subject of the mighty emperor of Austria, and that I would not degrade myself by paying them the very smallest piece of money, which they had no right to demand.
My resolute air overawed them. While the janissary and the warden, both greatly embarrassed, interpreted my words to them, I passed through their midst, without their daring to seize the bridle and to stop me.
The prior hastened to join me, and to express the pain he felt at what had just happened. He assured me that, hitherto, the Arabs had never laid the pilgrims under contribution when leaving St. Saba, and charitably placed the violence of those unfortunate creatures to the account of the famine. I left him, full of gratitude for the kind hospitality which I had received at his hands.
The conduct of the Arabs was not calculated to excite in the pilgrims a feeling of security. Most of them drew back, expecting fresh extortions; some appeared to be afraid lest they should not get off by merely suffering in their purse. This was an additional motive for us to observe the same order, the same precautions, on our return, as at our departure; at least, till we should be beyond the mountains, amidst which, attacks or ambushes were most to be feared. Four hours afterwards, we had all entered the holy city without molestation. Farewell!
ROAD TO BETHANY-GROUND WHERE GREW THE FIG-TREE STRUCK WITH BETHANY SEPULCHRE OP LAZARUS
HOUSE OP MARTHA AND MARY — STONE, on which Christ IS SAID TO HAVE RESTED HIMEELP-BethphaGE-PLACE WHERE JUDAS HANGED HIMSELP--IMPRUDENCE.
Jerusalem, March 20th, 1832. Early yesterday morning, my dear Charles, I was with my dragoman on the road to Bethany. As we approached the Mount of Olives, we met some women going to Jerusalem, with goats' milk, to sel). They offered me some; but I did not take any : I have sometimes tasted that milk, which I dislike much. The Turks are very fond of it, and use it, almost habitually, at their meals.
Having proceeded about half a league, we halted for a few minutes before the ground, where, according to tradition, grew the fig-tree which was struck with barrenness by Jesus Christ. 66 And on the morrow, when they were
come from Bethany,” says St. Mark, (xi. 12 et seq.) “he was hungry. And seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon : and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.”
We proceeded a few paces farther, and arrived at Bethany. This was once a small town, belonging to the tribe of Benjamin. In the early ages of the Church, it was frequently visited by the Christians. It is now but a mean village, inhabited by a few Turkish families.
Its name signifies, according to some, house of obedience, or of affliction ; according to others, house of gratification. The Turks call it, at the present day, Lazari, in memory of Lazarus, for whom they testify great veneration.
The houses are very low and flat-roofed, like all those in Judea. The first thing that struck me, on entering, was to see sheep and goats on several of these platforms; I had not, as yet, observed any thing of the kind in the villages of Palestine.
I halted on the right, at the spot where the sepulchre of Lazarus is situated. As you must descend about thirty very dark steps to arrive at this tomb, I had two torches lighted; then, falling on my knees at the threshold, I read, with deep devotion, the eleventh chapter of the gospel of St. John, which contains the affecting account of the death and resurrection of the friend of Jesus.
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.”
And, when I came to this passage
“When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit and was troubled, and he said: Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him” when, I
en, I say, I came to this place, I found it impossible to repress the emotions of my heart. It seemed as if the great miracles of that kind, that compassionate, that tender Jesus, were about to be performed before my face; and my tears trickled down,