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we did pronounce it, no sense of benefit derived from Him, or dependence on Him for salvation, accompanied the word. But in my conversation with Paul I have learned things which constitute my deepest joy.'
"In your intercourse with Paul you have learned new things! and, pray, what are they?'
"Listen,' said she. 'Some little time ago, as I was one day trying to prop up the poor boy, in one of his sad fits of suffocation, a little book fell out from beneath his pillow; I afterwards picked it up from the floor, and saw it was a New Testament; of which I had indeed heard, but had never before seen one. The following day I mentioned my discovery to Paul. He then related to me that a soldier, who had been mortally wounded close beside him, had given him this book, and expired immediately afterwards, that the dying man had bade him read it,-that he had done so, and that this legacy had proved to him the treasure of all treasures, the source of his change of character, his peace and his joy.
'Every day since, when he and I have been alone, Paul has looked out passages of the Testament for me to read to him; and he has given me such plain and simple explanations of what I did not understand, that I soon began to believe and to love the great good news;-that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Paul is anxious to speak to you also of these things, but he is afraid; and, indeed, the poor boy blames himself much for this coward fear, which he calls treachery towards his Saviour, and is constantly praying that he may be strengthened to confess HIM, not only before you, but before the whole world.'
"This communication of my wife's," said the landlord, with deep feeling, "made a great impression on me. I went oftener than before to my nephew's sick-bed, and, blessed be God, he soon began to tell me also of the Gospel of Christ; and God, who is rich in mercy, bestowed His effectual blessing on Paul's instructions, so that not only my wife, my son and daughter, but my own hardened self, received the truth, and are able to testify, as the Samaritans did of old: 'Now we believe, not because of his saying; for we ourselves know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
"Paul is no longer among us," continued the host, with a trembling voice; "the Lord has called him home. But," said he, as he laid his hand on the New Testament, which
had first attracted the traveller's attention, "this is the dumb, and yet most eloquent witness of the immeasurable goodness of God, and the instrument of conveying that goodness to us. From this precious volume, read with attention and prayer, we have learned the testimony of God concerning His Son; and the written Word being engraven in our hearts by the power of the Spirit, has become to us the source of unvarying peace, and of a calm happiness, for which we have cause to bless God both in time and eternity."-Tract Magazine.
PEEPS AT FOREIGN LANDS.
CONSTANTINOPLE; OR, THE CITY OF THE SULTAN. "UNCLE," said Percy, as the young people seated themselves around a cheerful fire to hear from him some further account of his travels, "when you left us yesterday, you promised to tell us something about Constantinople the next time we met."
"I did, my boy; and I am now quite prepared to fulfil that promise. Were we all at this moment seated in a boat on the Bosphorus,* we should have the city of Constantinople before us, with its high and beautiful mosques and pointed minarets, its walls, towers, and houses; some stretching along the shores, and reflecting their shapes on the bosom of the glassy deep; others creeping up the hills upon which the city is built, rising higher and higher from the silvery waters till they seem almost to reach the sky. On both sides of us we should have the green and fruitful shores of Europe and Asia. On our right would be the harbour of the Golden Horn, full of large ships at anchor, and swarming with small vessels sailing about in all directions; and behind us would be the porpoises tumbling about in the water. The whole scene forms one of the most delightful pictures I ever beheld."
"Indeed it must be a picture!" said Mary. "You have given us such a nice account of it, that I seem to see it."
"Yes," added Richard, "and I think I could make a drawing of it:" and, taking a piece of paper, he began to make a number of lines. "I should put the Bosphorus here, and the hills of Europe and Asia on each side of us, and the Golden Horn on that side of the city, with the sea
• A channel leading from Constantinople into the Black Sea.
on the other side; and"- Richard hesitated, and then asked: "But, uncle, what shall I put on the other two sides ?"
Constantinople has only three sides. The city comes to a point opposite the Bosphorus. On the side which joins the continent of Europe, it is bounded by three walls, with towers for its defence. There are also some towards the harbour. But, before we enter the city, I must tell you, or, perhaps, you can tell me, what was its name before it was called Constantinople?"
Mary shook her head; and Percy doubted whether even Richard, who was now reading ancient history, could answer the question. Richard, however, after thinking a moment or two, remembered that he had been told that some Greek emigrants formed a settlement there, and called it Byzantium; but that it was taken from them by the Romans, who destroyed it some hundreds of years afterwards.
"Very true," observed their uncle. "It was rebuilt, however, by Constantine the Great, who gave it the name of New Rome; but it was afterwards called Constantinople, or the City of Constantine, in honour of its founder."
"But," inquired Mary, "how came the Turks to live there?"
"About the middle of the fifteenth century they besieged it, under their leader, Mohammed the Second, and took it. The gap in the wall through which the Turks entered the city has never been repaired, and is now full of trees and shrubs.
"Could we now enter the city, we should find the streets very badly paved, narrow, dark, and steep; there are no names to them, and no lamps, for the people are generally in doors after sunset; and those who want to go anywhere at night must take a lantern with them, to prevent their stumbling over the dogs which prowl about the city without masters. The houses are built chiefly of wood."
"Then Constantinople, after all, is not such a fine place inside as it looks outside," said Percy, who had been hoping to hear of beautiful houses, and splendid streets, and fine squares.
"Most persons are a little disappointed on entering the city; yet there are, in all parts, handsome, and even splendid buildings; and the houses of the rich, though there is nothing very attractive about them outside, are nevertheless very tastefully and comfortably fitted up within. They do not have fire-places like ours; but they are warmed in winter by hot pans placed under a kind of table. These are some
times upset, and the house set on fire; and, if a high wind be blowing at the time, it will spread very rapidly."
"I am sure I should not like to live there," said Richard; "for I like to have a good blazing fire to warm myself by. There seems no comfort in the way the Turks warm their rooms."
"In no country," observed their uncle, "are there so many comforts as are enjoyed in our native land; and we should be thankful for them to the Giver of every good gift. But we must peep at the sultan's palace. It is quite a city in itself, and is said to contain more than 6000 inhabitants. The walls enclose a space of about nine miles, and include a cluster of houses, mosques, baths, fountains, palaces, and gardens. In the middle of the palace is the hall of the divan, or court of justice, where the grand vizier, or governor of Constantinople, sits as a judge, assisted by his counsellors, seated on a beautiful carpet. There is, likewise, the hall where the throne stands; and no one is allowed to go into the presence-chamber who has not been invited by the sultan. In the outer court are the arsenal, mint, and palace of the grand vizier."
"Does it not cost a great deal," inquired Richard, "to keep all the people that live here ?"
"The expenses are very great; and I am told that besides a very large number of oxen yearly, the person who buys its provisions has to procure daily 200 sheep, 100 lambs or goats, according to the season, 10 calves, 200 hens, 200 pairs of pullets, 100 pairs of pigeons, and 50 green geese; and the fuel burned every year is said to be 40,000 cartloads, each cart-load being as much as two buffaloes can draw.
"The appearance of the palace from the sea is very beautiful. The walls have, at intervals, watch-towers, and several gates opening towards the sea, or towards the city. The chief entrance is called the Sublime Porte, and is guarded by about fifty of the sultan's body guard. This name is the common title of the Turkish court; but is now frequently used to denote the whole empire.
"A new palace has been built for the sultan lately; painted brown outside, ornamented with white and gilding. I am told that it contains mirrors, carpets, hangings, and all that is rich and rare from east and west."
"Uncle, will you tell us about the mosques ?"
66 Cheerfully; and since the mosque of St. Sophia is so celebrated, we will take a peep into that. It is a very finelooking building. It was built by the Christian emperor
Justinian, in the sixth century, who was so highly pleased with it when finished, that he exclaimed: 'O Solomón! I have outdone thee!' His vanity, however, would be a little humbled, could he now see the alterations made, and the use to which it is put. The walls, pillars, arches, and floor, are lined with porphyry and precious marbles. There are upwards of a hundred columns, of different marbles, in the mosque. During their Ramazan, or fasting month, which is held at Christmas, these are hung with thousands of coloured lamps, together with flowers, coloured ostrich eggs and ostrich feathers, and the floor is covered with the richest carpet. The sultan's pew is surrounded by gilt railings, and beautifully carpeted; while on the spot where the altar stood when this mosque was a Christian church, is a niche ornamented with gold, and a large chandelier on each side, called the Mihrabe, or repository of the Koran." "What is the Koran?" inquired Mary.
"A book which contains the laws of the Mohammedan religion, and which those who profess this religion value as much as we do our Bible,-though it is not to be compared with it. The Bible is God's book: the Koran is a false book." "The sultan," continued their uncle, “ goes to mosque every Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sabbath. Sometimes he goes by water, at others by land. When he goes by water, there are two boats neatly covered outside with rich gilding, and having golden figures of eagles sitting on their bows. Each is rowed by a large number of men, neatly dressed in white silk shirts, who ply their oars so quickly and altogether that it is quite a pleasure to see them. At the stern, or back, of one of the boats is the sultan. His seat is very handsome. It consists of cushions covered with damask, and ornamented with gold trimmings and precious stones. Over his head is a scarlet canopy, supported by gilded pillars, and covered with gold ornaments, the largest of which, in the middle of the canopy, represents the sun, with golden beams shooting out in every direction, proclaiming the glory of the sultan. When he lands, a horse is waiting to carry him to the mosque. It has a saddle-cloth of rich velvet, a gold bit, a bridle set with pearls, and stirrups of solid gold. The sultan's turban is adorned with diamonds, his collar with flowers composed of rubies, emeralds, &c.; and his robes are of velvet and satin."
"But, uncle, may we not see the shops? Mary, smiling, "that we are in Constantinople, we ought to go shopping."