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"They wandered in deferts."-HEB. xi. 38. "For here we have no continuing city, but feek one to come."-HEB. xiii. 14.


Amid the arid defert's burning fands,
The Caravan proceeds, in various bands;

Jew, Frank, and Muffulman, in search of gain,
Unite to traverse the deftructive plain.
The defert drear, more terrible to brave,
Than furious tempeft on the ocean wave :
The sky a molten dome of quiv’ring heat;
The earth a furnace, glows beneath the feet;
The wild wafte echoes as they move along,
With laugh of humorous tale, or voice of song.
Armed, and united, they no danger fear

From lion prowling, nor from robber's spear;
But other foes oft-times 'gainft them advance,
More to be dreaded than the Arab's lance :
The fandy column, and firocco's blast,
Laden with certain death, come rushing past.
Down straight they fall, flat on their faces lie,
While the destroying angel paffes by;

Through varied dangers thus their way they wend,
Until at length they reach their journey's end.

HERE is represented the paffage of a caravan through the great and terrible defert of Africa. Merchants being defirous of visiting the interior parts of Africa, for the fake of trading with the natives, form themselves into companies for this purpose. Here may be seen Arabs, Jews, Franks, and others, uniting for a common end, regardless of the differences of country and of creed; they hire a certain number of camels, with their drivers they lay in their stock of goods, provifions, &c.; they furnish themselves with a compass, and with arms for defence. When all is prepared, the signal for departure is given, and the caravan moves onward; by degrees they leave all traces of the living world behind them -foon they come in fight of the defert-evening

now cafts its shadows round them-they find a ftopping place; here they reft for the night. In the morning they commence the perilous route; in a short time, nothing is beheld by the travellers but one vaft ocean of fand, bounded only by the horizon; as they move on, the heat becomes intense the sky appears like a dome of molten fire-the earth glows like a furnace beneath thei feet; a momentary gloom overfpreads the faces of the travellers as they fee scattered here and there upon the fand, fkeletons, the remains of former travellers. They fhorten the distance by rehearsing tales of wit and humour.

Sometimes the desert rings with the found of their merry fongs, they truft to the guides for direction, and to the guards for fafety; being well armed they fear nothing. Sometimes, while yet on the border, the lion of the defert appears; he fees them united and watchful-he dares not attack them-he lashes his fides with his furious tail, and with a dreadful roar he bounds out of fight. Sometimes the Arab robbers, who think they have an hereditary right to plunder travellers, attack the caravan-they meet with a tout refiftance, and finding themselves worsted, they quickly disappear amid clouds of duft and fand.

Other enemies, however, frequently appear, that laugh to scorn their might of union, and hold in derifion the fhaking of the glittering fpear; the peftilential fimoom, with the speed of thought, comes rushing on towards them, and unless they fall instantly upon their faces and hold their br

they are all dead men. Sometimes they behold huge pillars of fand before them, the fun gleaming through them, giving them the appearance of pyramids on fire-each one is large enough to bury the caravan; now they move towards them with fearful rapidity-now they take another direction. The wind fhifts, and dashing against each other, they vanish in a storm of fand. Sometimes the caravan is refreshed by meeting with a fertile spot called an oasis-here is seen the graffy plain, the flowing fountain ;-here is heard the voice of finging birds; here the palm, the vine, and the olive tree abound. New spirited, the caravan refumes its journey, and in good time reaches the place of its destination.

The paffage through the defert may be confidered as an allegorical representation of the paffage of the church of Christ through the moral defert of this world. The church is in queft of eternal gain. She feeks a city which is out of fight; "the New Jerufalem.” The way thereto is through a moral desert, which is destitute of every heavenly plant. No living stream flows through the midst thereof. No food for the foul is there; no provifion for immortality. Above, around, beneath, the elements are, in themselves confidered, unfriendly to fpiritual life and spiritual progrefs. Hence the church furnishes herself with provifions,-Chrift, and the word of Chrift; her compass, the law of Jehovah; her weapons, the whole armour of God; her watchmen and guides, the ministers of Jesus.

The caravan was exposed to danger and death from the lion-the robber-the moving fands, and the fell fimoom. The church, too, has her dangers to contend against. No fooner does fhe commence her march, than Abaddon, the destroyer, comes out against her. If he sees her united, moving on firmly, and watchful withal, she is safe, and he knows it. He gnashes his teeth with rage, and looks about for more defenceless prey. Woe, woe to the straggler he may meet with in his wrath,-to him who through indolence has lingered behind, or through pride thinks he can take care of himself, -he falls a victim to his temerity. His fate becomes a monument of warning unto others. Next she is affailed by the difciples of ancient herefies. These come forth against her with their rights of prescription and of profcription. They advance damnable doctrines," and feek to plunder her of her heaven-born treasures. But the church is armed, thoroughly armed. The efficient panoply, "the whole armour of God" is round about her. The fword of the Lord and of Gideon prevails, and the spoilers, vanquished, retire amid the dust of their own confufion. But other foes fometimes appear, more dangerous than Satan undisguised. Splendid images of idolatry prefent themselves, glittering with the gilded pageantry of pompous ceremonies; impofitions of unrighteous prerogative. Their tops reach the very heavens. They move to and fro, threatening to overwhelm the church

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