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LETTERS FROM JERUSALEM.

JERUSALEM, Shibar 10th.

To Tamor, the Daughter of Er, Wife of Jezreel, Mother of Bethshau and Amos, as well as the unworthy Miriam, dear mother, who now sends love and greeting from this glorious city, to thee who hast been for so many years, and still art, an exile in Nyrsa of Cappadocia :

I HAVE begun my letter to you in the pompous style of one of our cousins of Jerusalem; for since I have left you, so much of mingled, strange emotion has been mine, that I feel as if I must have left my former quiet self, and gone into another body and style; but wheresoever thy child, Miriam, may wander, there will always be a cradle in her heart for the mother so dear to her. This day has been the finest ever spent by me, in the city which daily and for years I have prayed to see. Sleep must not come to me with its calm before I write to you, who have kept me in the faith of our fathers. Though we have dwelt in the land of the heathen and idolater, yet by your aid have I been preserved as one of the chosen race; and now, in this city of Jehovah, I look up to Him with unutterable gratitude, that we have Abraham for our Father, that we are not as the heathens are, idolaters and forsaken of God.

The morning I left you, when I heard your blessing, and prayed that God's love might go before me as clouds by day and fire by night,-saw the tear of joy tremble in your eye, that I was to see the land of Isaac and of Jacob, and knew the sorrow that must be in your heart, that together we might not leave the land of our exile, I felt as if I must turn from my purpose, and go back with you to our beautiful home and home occupations, and let Jerusalem be still to me a dream. Shame of so vacillating a spirit prevented me; and as day after day passed, and we gained the mountainous country, and entered Galilee, again my heart was filled with happiness and exultation. Yet being to-night humility itself, I will say, that as the camels paced on in the monotonous, lovely, though lonely way through Cappadocia, not only did I rarely speak to Laban, my guide, so wrapped up was I in thoughts of home, and a sense of loneliness and individuality which had never so oppressed me before, but other feelings sometimes visited me. Among them, one came as a small spirit of disappointment, which so possessed me, that I was even vexed with my good mother for being so careful of her daughter as to have forbade her going to Tarsus, and from thence to Sidon, by water. Surely you might have trusted me, in spite of the Euroclydon wind, in one of those great ships we hear of, which have oars as well as sails. I scold, dear mother, because I would not have you think I am so utterly changed as not to be easily recognised. Beautiful was Galilee to me, and pleasant the signs of wealth and industry everywhere to be seen. Truly our people are blessed by God, even though the hand of oppression is heavy upon them. Yet, "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up and stand against him, and the Redeemer shall come to Zion." At a forlorn little town called Nazareth, which, however, looked quite prettily from a distance, clinging to the side of a hill, we gave up our camels. Laban sold them well-bought horses and hired servants. I was glad to give the camels up with their Cappadocian kind of seat, for people, when they glanced at me, could not, at first, think me a maiden of the faith; but you can readily believe that it was my custom to answer their salutation of

"Peace be with thee," with such words as-"May the peace of Abraham be thine." On our route we passed by the larger cities, not through them, though we entered some of the villages. Here we saw no palaces, no richly dressed Jew or Jewish maiden, such as you had described them to me, but only field laborers or poor artisans. So you may imagine how much the entrance into Jerusalem impressed me. We came over the Mount of Olives, and resting under the shades of a Terebinth tree, long did I gaze, when my tears would let me, upon the city consecrated by so many memories, so many hopes the beauty of the wooded plains and hills before me, the innumerable garden houses and summer dwellings of the Jewish nobles, gleaming in all varieties of exquisite architecture, from among vineyards and deep shadings of the fir and palm tree, relieved by the lighter contrast of the syca more leaf and the white blossoms of the almond, would have alone delighted me. But the city!—the city filled my thoughts. There it lay, spreading far around on its hills, with its countless palaces, and in its majesty rose the temple like a world of white marble, while the sunlight bringing out its ornaments of jewels and plates of gold in all their brilliancy, made it painful to look upon. "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion!" I felt like singing a triumphant song when we entered the city through the great Damascus gate, and the houses, the palaces were on either side of me; the priests, the Pharisee and Sadducee swept by me; tears came to my relief, and in the prayers which then rose to the God of Jerusalem, thou wert not forgotten. May the destiny which holds thee far off be overcome.

It was the sixth hour when we reached Benaiah's dwelling. He received me with the kindness of a kinsman, and many were the inquiries made about his sister; the cousin, Sarai, pleased me very much.

I had always thought our house and furniture was particularly elegant, mother; but its court, I used to think so spacious, would dwindle, indeed, beside that of Benaiah's palace; the silken hangings, the gold, silver, and fine brass ornaments of the house, the number and order of the slaves, nay, the wealth, elegance and taste everywhere exhibited, and in everything, surpasses even my dream of splendor. It is but a few years since Benaiah visited us; I think that since then the change in him has only been, that his hair has become more silvered, but his bearing is as proud as ever, and he still speaks as one should whose words are always listened to with respect, even in the Sanhedrim. My old fear of him gave way somewhat when he greeted me so warmly; perhaps my childhood's great awe for him may vanish; however, it is a doubtful question with me if my voice will not falter when I speak in his presence, if his eye should, perchance, be bent on me at the time; still, Sarai's example may be of use to me, for though she evidently almost worships him, she speaks with dignity and freedom. This Sarai, whom you have never seen, they say, you know, that she looks like her mother Rachel; and you had told me so much of your sister's beauty and talents, that somewhat of the old tremor, I have felt in the presence of the father, came over me when she came to meet me; but when she put aside her veil, and smiled, as if she really already loved me-and nay, even would remove my sandals herself, and bathe my feet-I felt my fear die away; and, as she knelt before the travel-soiled pilgrim, putting my arms around her neck, I said, “Sarai, daughter of Benaiah, thou shalt be my slave and I shall be thine, for life; even the year of Jubilee shall not free us." Our laugh at the idea of the double slaveship, was the bond of compact between us; and it seemed as if I had always known her, and that, possibly, I might find in her, that other, nobler self, we all seek for.

With true kindness, but which I would fain have rebelled against, after

the first flush of meeting was over, and I had eaten of a cake of pressed grapes, making me promise I would sleep, if I could, she left me to myself. It was long before I slept, and late when I awakened. I had but time to make a hurried bath and toilet, before Sarai came in for me, as the supper hour was at hand. That custom of giving dresses to friends, on important occasions, was carried so far, and so kindly, as for me to find, when the bondwomen came to dress me, that my garments for the evening were to be presents from my kinsfolk; and in my room was a glass so large I could see in it my whole form; very different, indeed, from the small one I have been accustomed to carry about with me- -as its brass surface was rubbed very brightly. I really enjoyed looking in it, for I did not know before how tall I appeared.

To please your woman taste, let me describe my dress-gift: the long silken tunic was of the color of the most beautiful blush of Shirah's rose, and its embroidery around the hem of the lotus flower was so perfect, that you felt as if the bud and flower really rested there with their rich green leaves; the girdle, which fastened it, was of leather, embroidered with the lotus bud and leaf alternately; around the neck and sleeves was the same rich embroidery, and it was fastened in front by a brooch of pearl; the outer garment was a festive mantle, of pure white fine linen, so fine it might have occupied but a small space, though, as Lina, the slave, draped it about me, it seemed as if it would be too large at first-the embroidery of this was of linen, and exquisite it was as well as the Persian web which edged it; the girdle was white silk, and instead of the lotus flower there was wrought upon it the tiniest roses imaginable, with a pink topaz for the heart of each; Lina gathered that about me in perfect folds, and upon the knob she clasped an ornament of sardonyx; the veil was of Persian web, and with my chains of gold and precious stones interwoven in the braids of my hair, the heavy necklaces and bracelets clasped, behold me decked for my first supper in Jerusalem.

The guests this evening were Jehoram and two other Pharisees, an Herodian, a scribe, a learned lawyer, and a priest, mostly elderly men. We found them in the library, looking at a new manuscript. The room was lined with cedar, as indeed the most of the rooms are; around it were ranged houses of ivory and cedar, ivory and cedar ones alternately; these were richly ornamented with arabesque ornaments, and in them were collected curiosities from all parts of the world, beside the books. His collection of volumes, a very large one, and each is rolled in a case of fine goat's hair cloth, embroidered with silk and fine brass or crystals. The room was very lofty and spacious; in the centre was a porphyry table, upon which were silver lamps and perfumed cups surrounding the golden ark, in which rested a copy of the Holy Scriptures. All these things made me long to be alone, and examine the wonders the room contained; but that was not to be-I had to attend to those about me; but with joy I saw that this must be the usual sitting-room of the family, for upon a table, near a window, were indubitable signs that that corner was the sanctum of a woman; for on the table were writing materials, books, paintings, sewing materials, pieces of small statuary, and near by an embroidery-frame and a magnificent harp.

At first I was uninterested in the conversation, but the young lawyer pleased me; he had lately been at Rome and at Ephesus. Benaiah promised to show me a model of the temple of Diana, this young lawyer, whose name is Azariah, spoke of. The model is wrought by Demetrius, and he said he had other miracles of his handicraft. Azariah was beginning to tell me of an interview he had with Cæsar Augustus, and I anticipated asking him many questions, when supper was served; and as he did not sit near me at

table, I had to content myself by listening to others. As Benaiah led the way to the supper, Sarai whispered to me that he had fancies like other mortals, and that as the banqueting hall was too large and cheerless, without much company, he chose to use the guest room; and as of course it had the only windows which looked away from the court and commanded a fine view, he wished to enjoy it with his friends. We went across the court to the room where were the steps that led up to the second floor; these were of light stone, as is the house and porticoes. The court is paved with white marble; the guest chamber would contain possibly some six of our supper rooms, and the windows were concealed by purple curtains, wrought with crimson and gold flowers; the walls were ornamented by a coarse diamond netting of brass chain-work, and within each diamond, fastened to the cedar, were small brass mirrors, upon which were engraven in figures, the history of our race; the floor was of cedar, and many Persian woollen mats were thrown upon it; the room was lit by hanging, silver lamps. The service of plate was massive and full, and I must believe that cookery has become a science in Jerusalem as well as at Rome, because of the number and variety of dishes; the confections were exquisite; until they appeared, I had no inclination to eat. For a prelude to the supper, called an antecænium, sisting of preparations of pickles and spices, to induce appetite, quite deadened my hunger; but the fruit, cooled in the snow of Lebanon, inspired me. The fruit and confections were almost buried in the profusion of flowers with which the table was decked. At their appearance, during the whole of the feast, slaves, from time to time, bathed our feet with perfumed water; and when one kind of aromatic gum died out upon the perfume cups, they were replenished by a new fragrance.

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Toward the latter end of the supper, Benaiah asked Sarai, who was next to him, where Helon was; she said she did not know what had detained him, and that, mother, was the first mention I heard made of the bridegroom when I saw him, and thought of the soon coming marriage. I felt, had I been Sarai, I should have talked or thought of nothing else, instead of hearing as she did, and understanding all things, having interest enough often to be eloquent in matters unconnected with him, and when he was absent. Yet this evening suffices to show me there is a proper worship, one of the other; for though when he came in, the conversation continued general, yet his glance sought her eye; and in replying to any remark of hers, he appeared especially animated.

He accounted for his absence by saying a friend needed his presence.

I wish I might describe Helon to you; but one must see him, and hear his heart and mind speak their eloquent words--have them tell one of his high birth, wealth, power and position in Jerusalem, before one can imagine him. He realises my young girl's dream, and I rejoice that he is Sarai's true and happy captive.

When supper was at its close, at a sign from Benaiah, a slave drew back the curtains, and then all bent silently forward, gazing eagerly upon the temple, as it stood with its millions of lights upon its mountain, and the temple itself cased in plates of gold, while its crown of lofty spear heads, of gold, gleamed from its midst like an eye of light. Benaiah broke the silence with "now for the temple." We all were obedient, and then came the binding on of frontlets and phylacteries.

Mother, mother, what can I say of the temple? You have known all I felt when I bowed my head upon its marble pavement in utter adoration and awe. The kneeling multitude was almost like a congregation of death, for as we entered the courts the evening victim was being offered, and the priest had gone in before the holy of holies. Presently a wail was heard, chanted by a few of the Levite singers in a subdued voice; sad and

low rose that wail from the court of the priests" Have mercy upon us, O God, according to thy loving kindness." One after another, and at length the whole people, joined in the chant; and at the words, "Forsake us not, O Lord, O my God, be not far from us"-it seemed as if the heart of the people would break, because of the sighing of their supplication. The hush that followed was oppressive; then cometh the shout of joy, "Hosannah, hosannah," when the priest made his appearance from before the holy of holies, living, as a sign that the sacrifice was accepted-that God yet looked kindly upon his people, and would not cut us off from his favor-that we could still lift up our heads in pride--that the God of Abraham and Isaac was our God, and He would yet deliver us from all our afflictions. Ere the cry of joy had died away, the magnificent singers of Israel, the four thousand for the day, took up the hosannah, and, accompanied with harp, organ and flute, their wild, exulting chant was that psalm, "O, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, because his mercy endureth forever; let Israel now say his mercy endureth forever." When the last hosannah had ceased, the people bowed their heads for a few moments in prayer; the multitude swayed to and fro; and as they wended their way home, from over the hills and from the vallies could be heard groups repeating parts of their song of joy. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacle of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly." Truly, in Jerusalem, the connection of heaven and earth seems nearer and clearer than with us among the heathen.

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The guests bade us farewell at the porch of Benaiah's house, and Benaiah, Sarai and myself found ourselves alone in the library. Benaiah walked up and down the room, while Helon, sitting with us girls, kindly talked to me, and asked many questions about you, dear mother, and about Cappadocia. He told Sarai some local news of the day; then turning to Benaiah, said, that he had had no wish to tell him before his guests the cause of his tardy appearance, for he was requested to be present at the questioning of a man who calls himself Christ, and those interested had thought it not best at present to speak of him to the world, as it might excite the people to rash things; that they waited to see what signs of power he had, to hear more of

Helon himself evidently doubted his divine authority-had scarcely any hopes in him. He suspected he was but a political dreamer, and one who had not courage sufficient to carry out his plans; that he seemed to require assistance and advice of others, while the Christ would do naught but command. Nathan and Keziah, two Pharisees, believe he is the Saviour, and have already sent sums of money into Ammon and Moab for hired soldiers, to be gathered and kept there till needed.

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"Ah," sighed Helon, "how often have our hopes been excited but to be disappointed. When shall we break our chains and be free? shall Jerusalem be clad in her rightful garments of liberty and glory, and be decorated with the spoils of the haughty Cæsars, and thousands of conquered nations? Again and again, some strange, marvellous or talented man tells us he is the Christ; and again and again we find him to be but a mere man. There are so many impostors, that one almost fears that when he comes, we may not, at the first instant, have faith. Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall rise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen by thee, and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising,' saith the prophet; and Christ shall come!" he exclaimed; "and it must be that the first glance of his eye which meets our longing search, will proclaim his sovereignty, and as it falls upon us, almost involuntarily, we shall raise the war-cry, and feel the fever, the madness of the battle, the might, the enthu

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