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thereby made holy, for God is ever there to hear. We know it—not by a voice that answers us from heaven; not by an angel form of light; but by the relief afforded to a burdened heart—the joy that succeeds our heaviness. Some can tell of a solitary spot "far from the busy haunts of men ” where they have held communion with God. They can remember when the heart was drawn out in prayer, which has been more fully answered than they asked or thought, and is not that place dear? So was that place by the oaks of Mamre to Abraham. For prayer lightens life's footsteps ; it sheds a divine influence on our path, and whilst it makes the very spot dear to the heart, it makes heaven itself far more precious than before. The more we pray, the more we must love Him to whom we offer it, and by Whom prayer is answered.
Just outside the modern city of Hebron, there stands a remarkable building (which we see so plainly in our picture) looking down upon the houses which seem to cling to it, and to nestle beneath its shadow. It is on the upper slope of the hill, and it is formed of that wonderful masonry, called cyclopean. Some of the huge blocks of marble of which it is built are enormous, measuring from 28 to 38 feet in length, and from 31 to 4 or even 5 feet in diameter. The shape is oblong, and it is ornamented with rows of pilasters. At the opposite corners it is adorned with two tall minarets of more modern date, from whence, five times a day, the Murezzin proclaim their creed, and bid the followers of Mahomet, the false prophet, repeat their form of prayer. At the northern end are two doors almost concealed from view. It is 200 feet long by 150 feet wide, and the height of the walls is 48 feet, and they are 64 feet thick. They appear to have been built in the time of David, certainly not later than the reign of Solomon.
The building, grand in simplicity of design, and in its commanding position, covers that cave of Machpelah (the resting-place of Abraham and Sarah); at least there seems no reasonable doubt that it is really there, but the jealous guardianship of the Mussulman, who venerates the memory of the patriarch as much as Jew or Christian can do, will permit no search into its darkness.*
With very great difficulty, permission was obtained for the Prince of Wales to enter this remarkable building, for himself and the few who were in immediate attendance upon him; but so much afraid was the Governor of Jerusalem lest some disturbance should take place among the bigoted inhabitants of Hebron, and the Prince's life be in risk, that the approach to the city was lined on each side of the road by soldiers for a full mile before they entered it.
The ascent to the mosque, for such it now is, is from the south-east, by a long flight of steps at the end. It turns at the north-east, and continues some distance to the door. On entering there is a vestibule, and on the left hand some double cloisters, through which you pass to
* Dean Stanley and others.
what has evidently once been a Christian Church. On the floor in the right-hand and left-hand corners, stand two shrines with silver gates. These shrines, or marble chests, contain no bodies, neither do the other four that stand there, but they represent according to Mahommeden custom, the burying-places of those who lie beneath, that of Abraham in the right-hand corner, that of Sarah in the left; the others representing Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.
The royal party were requested not to enter the chapel of Sarah's shrine, because she was a woman, and the Orientals permit no man to enter the apartments of their women, a custom which, in this instance, extends to the dead. When the silver gates of Abraham's chapel were opened, the attendants groaned aloud, and asked pardon of “the Friend of God” for the intrusion, whilst the chief guardian exclaimed : “The prince of any other nation should have passed over my dead body sooner than enter, but to the eldest son of the Queen of England we are willing to accord even this privilege.” The chamber in which this tomb is placed is cased with marble, and at one corner is a small round hole, guarded by strong masonry, which rises about one foot above the masonry of the floor, and about eight inches across. Below is the living rock, opening into the cavern beneath, which is believed to extend the whole length and breadth of the platform on which the building stands. No living man has penetrated that deep cavern, and very likely since the day when Joseph laid his father Jacob there with tender care, no man has ever placed his foot within. Piety has sealed the patriarch's grave, and few would wish to break the hallowed stillness of those who sleep their last sleep with him within the cave of Machpelah.
There lies Abraham near to his Sarab, waiting the shout of the Archangel and the blast of God's waiting trump, which shall be heard by the dead in the day of Christ's return. There he lies who saw the day of His humiliation (John viii. 56) and the redemption which He wrought. There he lies who foresaw the brighter day of His coming in glory, who is the Seed that was promised, who shall reign for ever, King of kings, and Lord of lords. There he lies who “being dead yet speaketh,” the grand exemplar of faith, bearing a constant testimony not only to the love of God who called him out of Ur, and blessed and kept him even to Macbpelah, but also to the truth of that inspired Book handed down to us, in which we have God's own pledge that they who walk in the steps of Abraham's faith shall share with Abraham the possession in yon better land, the Heavenly Canaan, redeemed for us with the same redemption, by the blood of Jesus, Abraham's Seed, the Lamb slain before the world's foundation, the sacrifice set forth by Jehovah-Jireh, even by Him who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,"
UR many readers who have so earnestly and lovingly cheered
many a sad and sick one in Hospital or Workhouse, and who
have conveyed them many a message from God's Word, by means of the flowers which they have sent to London to Miss Ellis, will praise God for the way in which He does use His flowers as His messengers, as we see by the following incidents which are recorded in the most interesting report of the Bible Flower Mission for this past year. They are specially connected with the work of the Central Depôt, 110, Cannon-street, and we hear with joy that over 1,000 messages from God's Word, attached to bouquets, etc., were sent out daily.
“YES, I WILL TO-NIGHT, THANK YOU." An occasional visitor at one of our Hospitals writes :-"Standing at the bedside of a young man suffering with a broken arm, I read to him, "“I am the light of the world : he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" ' (John viii. 12). He listened eagerly to the words. I then said, ' Have you this light of life ?' No,' he replied ; but I should like to have it.' "Well, then, you may ; it is for you." Come to Christ, accept Him as your Saviour, then you will have the light and be able to walk in the light, instead of slumbering on in the dark as in times past. Do you know your need of a Saviour,
and feel the burden of sin ?'
I know I am a sinner,' he answered. • Then you are exactly the one that Christ calls, “For He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." After a little more conversation reminding him of the many gracious gospel invitations, and urging him to accept the Lord Jesus at once he said, "Yes, I will to night, thank you, and with an added 'May God bless you,' I left him, feeling sure that the text had proved a message of life to him, God by His Spirit having applied His Word.
“A fortnight afterwards I was privileged to see him again, and then had the joy of hearing him testify to the great change wrought in him. Now he knew he was forgiven. He told me that often before the remembrance of his sins had prevented his sleeping or resting. I reminded him that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”' He was a little uneasy about his arm, part of the bone having been removed at the elbow, and he had been told that it would be useless. Then I spoke again of Him who was able and willing to heal the body as well as the soul, and read to him his text, “ “ As many as I love I rebuke and chasten : be zealous therefore and repent' (Rev. iii. 19); and pointed out to him that God did not wish His children to continue in suffering, and would remove the chastisement when the affliction had done its work, and he must ask and expect to receive. After a few more words I passed on, leaving him peacefully resting in the finished work
of Christ, and thanking God for the great deliverance He had wrought out for him and in him."
“FLOWERS OPENING CLOSED DOORS." A City Missionary tells of a Roman Catholic who had been visited by a priest who went but to pronounce his doom. Two visitors also from other churches had failed to find any message of mercy for the dying man, and he now resolutely refused to see anyone else. The flowers had just arrived, the missionary was refused admittance, but won a smile from the wife as he presented the flowers ; she promised to take them to her husband, and returned in about ten minutes asking him to follow her. She led the way to her husband's bedside. After a short interview the missionary left, not, however, without an invitation from the sick man to come and see him again. Many visits followed. The man professed to have that peace which passeth understanding; and after about a month he departed to be with Christ, which is far better. The widow, who had been attending a Roman Catholic Church, came to the Mission Hall with three of her children, and was subsequently at the New Year's tea-meeting with her nine children. The Lord thus brought peace to this house through a bunch of flowers and a text.
In the same district a young girl of seventeen lay dying of consumption. Her father being an infidel, no Christian visitor had been allowed to see her. A bunch of flowers and text having been taken to the father, after two days the missionary was admitted. Only twice had he the opportunity of seeing her, but he found her constantly repeating, “ Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” And trusting she had come, he left her in the Lord's hands.
Another City Missionary can point to one case of decided conversion through the instrumentality of the flowers. The map referred to is now leading a changed life, and has of his own deliberate choice joined the Church of England ; and on Sunday, December 25th, he for the first time knelt at the Lord's Table. His wife also has become decided for the Lord during the past year.
The Secretary says:-*Our readers will be interested to hear that we have supplied the Small-pox Hospital-ships weekly with bouquets and texts. The following letter from the Chaplain will show the result :
“'I feel deeply indebted to the workers in the Bible Flower Mission for their regular and liberal supply of flowers for the Hospital Ships • Atlas' and 'Endymion. These quiet 'messengers have been placed week by week in the hands of from 130 to 160 small-pox patients by myself, or occasionally by my clerical colleague. It would greatly encourage the kind donors and workers could they see the eagerness of all to receive their weekly present. Owing to the great isolation which is needful in these ships, such little tokens of Christian love on the part of the Mission, and God's love as displayed in the flowers, are especially valuable.'
“ All testify to the cheering effect of the flowers which are carefully