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property must return to its owner in the year of Jubilee, and the contract for it was therefore rather a lease than a purchase i but a considerable price had nevertheless been set upon it, which Elisama's wealth enabled him easily to pay.

The slave showed them the way to the house which stood near the opposite gate, so that they had to traverse the whole length of the city. A slave had been waiting for some hours before the gate, and upon a signal given by him to those within, all the males of the company were in waiting to bid him welcome.

66 See," said Selumiel, "the rewards of self-denial !" "Welcome, my brother, and henceforth fellow-citizen of Jericho," said Abisuab.

Helon, with moistened eyes, threw himself into the arms of Elisama. All stood around, pouring out congratulations and blessings.

"What more do we want," said Elisama, "but that thy mother from Alexandria were here ?"

Helon looked around with inquiring eye. Selumiel took him by the hand, and led him through to the richly furnished inner-court. Her mother and sister-in-law came with Sulamith from the Armon. After their greetings had been exchanged, Holon at the command of Elisana, as now the master of the house, re-conducted them to their apartments, Bewildered with joy, he could hardly speak. After a short interval they all returned to the house of Selumiel, to the evening meal, and at night Elisama, Helon, and the Greek, and returned to the house of Helon, where they henceforth resided. Myron was in astonishment at all he saw, began to form a very different idea of Israel from that which he had entertained before.

On the following morning Helon arose early, and traversed the house which was to be the scene of his future happiness and duties. No other feeling in life resembles that with which the youth, on the point of emerging into manhood, wanders in solemn musing through the house in which he is to sustain the duties of husband and father, As he explored its courts,

its porticoes, and chambers, by turns be admired the commodious arrangement and tasteful architecture, and the costly furniture, or blessed the generous Elisama; or raised his thoughts in pious gratitude to Jehovah, and implored the continuance of his mercies. He ascended the roof, and looked westward towards the hills of Judah, and eastward to Nebo and Abarim. Entering the Alijah, he consecrated it as the future scene of his devotions by prayer to Jehovah. As he arose from his knees, turning involuntarily towards Jerusalem, he broke out in the words of the psalm:

Unless Jehovah build the house,
They labor in vain that raise it;
Unless Jehovah guard the city,
The watchman waketh but in vain.
In vain ye rise early and sit up late,
And eat the bread of care;

He giveth it to his beloved in sleep.
Lo! children are a heritage from Jehovah,

The fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows in the band of a mighty man,

So are the children of youth:

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them!

They shall not be ashamed

When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psal. cxxvii.


As he turned round, Elisama was behind him at the door, and was wiping the tears from his eyes. May Jehovah bless thee," said he. "His counsel is wonderful, and he will bring it to pass."

"God grant me," said Helon, "that I may keep his law with a perfect mind."

"May he give thee what thy psalm says,” replied Elisama. "Now that thou art a priest and a husband in the promised land, I doubt no longer. Marriage is a divine ordinance, and the divine blessing rests upon it. This I myself experienced, alas, for too short a time! God said, it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a help-meet to be with

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him.* And the Preacher says, there is one alone, and not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother, yet is there no end of all his labor, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. For whom do I labor (he should ask himself) and bereave my soul of good? This also is vanity and a fruitless travail." Elisama sighed and proceeded, "Two are better than one: they have a good reward for their labor: for if they fall the one will lift up his fellow; but wo to him that is alone! for when he falleth he hath not another to lift him up. Helon, I had once a wife and a child—and I was happy. What have I done that such bliss- ? but I will say no more. The children of my brother are my children; thou art my son; and I rejoice in thy happiness as my own. The marriage state is a service of Jehovah, and one of the most effectual means of the fulfilment of his law. By this image he has denoted the relation between himself and the people of his covenant. Remember the conclusion of the book of Proverbs; and bethink thee what is implied in this, that the great master of wisdom could devise no better termination of his precepts, than the praises of a virtuous wife.

The preparations for the nuptials were speedily made in both houses. The numerous female companions of Sulamith assembled in Selumiel's Armon. The bride, after bathing, was anointed with the choicest perfumes, and her friends brought their gifts, consisting of clothes and costly articles, most of them made by themselves. Her hair was perfumed and braided, her eyebrows deepened with a powder of brilliant black, and her nails colored red. Next, the young maidens, her companions, arrayed her in the nuptial robes, of the finest texture and most brilliant color, which flowed with ample folds to her feet. The girdle was clasped around her waist, the veil hung down from her head, and high above all her other ornaments rose a crown, from which the bride was called the crowned.

The evening was come, and stars twinkled on the court,

* Gen. x. 18.

t Eccles. iv. 8.

where all was prepared for festivity. Now appeared Helon, anointed and crowned in a similar manner, with the sons of the bride-chamber. They were the young priests and Levites of Jericho, who had been invited for this purpose; and Myron was among them. Each of them, to the number of seventy, bore a staff in his hand, on which was fixed a shallow vessel filled with burning oil and pitch. The festal train was admitted into Selumiel's inner court; the bride and the virgins came forth from the Armon, and the youths and maidens, with aduffes and guitars, sung, in alternate strophes, the praises of the bridegroom and the bride.

Now began the ceremony of conducting the bride to the bridegroom's house. The seventy youths, with their flambeaux, headed the procession; the bride was surrounded by her bride-maidens. Thus Sulamith left her father's house: arrived at the threshold, the feelings which she had struggled to suppress, the mingled emotions of hope and fear, of regret and joy, overpowered her, and she burst into a flood of tears. The mother too wept, pressed her beloved daughter to her breast, and blessing her said, "Be thou the mother of a numerous posterity, like Rachel and like Leah!" Selumiel supported his child in his strong paternal arms, and said, God, I thank thee that I have lived to see my child happy!" The sounds of joy were heard from the companions. Sulamith was placed in a litter, and her nurse beside her. All the females were closely veiled; Sulamith in a veil of flame-color. The long train moved through the streets of Jericho. A multitude of persons preceded, carrying the clothes, trinkets, and new furniture of the bride. As each carried only one thing, the procession was very long. Next came the friends of the bridegroom with Helon; then the bride in her litter, accompanied by the virgins. The rest of Helon's friends, male and female servants, and children, closed the train. All the inhabitants of Jericho hastened from their houses, or looked down from their roofs.

Thus at length they reached the house of Helon. The

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bride paused at the threshold of the dwelling, in which so much happiness or misery might await her, as if with a timid irresolution. She adorned the door-posts with woollen fillets, and anointed them with oil, and at length the virgins suddenly lifted her over the threshold, the boundary between her past and her future life. The nuptial train entered the courts, and the bride solemnly took possession of the Armon, while the male part of the company remained in the outer apartments, where a splendid feast was served up to them. When all had eaten and were satisfied, males and females assembled in the inner court; the virgins presented the bride, the youths the bridegroom, to Selumiel. In evident agitation, he said, "Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, who didst create Adam and Eve! Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, who causest Zion to rejoice in her children! Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, who makes the bride and the bridegroom be glad together!" Then taking the right hand of his daughter, he placed it in the right hand of Helon, and pronounced the benediction: " The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob be with you, and help you together, and give his blessing richly upon you! Jehovah make the wife that comes into thy house like Rachel and like Leah, who built up the house of Israel!* May thy house be as the house of Malchia, thy fathers' father, and your sons be priests to minister before Jehovah in his temple!"

Selumiel, while he pronounced this blessing, struggled with an emotion which he was unwilling to betray; and Elisama stood near him, giving freer vent to his feelings. The bride sobbed beneath her veil, and Helon was melted into tears.

Kindred and friends now approached the married pair, and bestowed on them their congratulations. The feast ended with the usual ceremonies.

*Ruth iv. 11, 12.

On the following morning the nuptial festivities began afresh, and lasted for seven days, each distinguished by some new expression of joy. Numerous presents were brought to + Judges xiv. 17, 18; Tob. xi. 19.

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