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some of them broken. We attempted a des-
cent with some little misgivings, but, by keep-
ing each hand and foot on a difierent round,
with an occasional crash and slide, we all
reached the foot of the ladder; that is, our
own party, our Indians, and some three or
four of our escort, the rest having disap-
peared.

Looking up, the view of its broken sides,



obliged to feel our way
in the dark, or with onl)' such light as could
reach us from the torches above and below.
At the foot of this ladder was a large caver-
nous chamber, from which irregular passages
led ofl" in difierent directions to deposites or
sources of water. Dr. Cabot, and myself,
attended by Albino, took one of the passes
indicated by the Indians.

Moving on by a slight ascent over the rocks,
at the distance of about seventy-five feet, we
came to the foot of a third ladder nine feet
long, two or three steps beyond, another, five
feet high, both which we had to go up, and six
paces further, a fifth, descending, and eigh-
teen feet in length. A little beyond we des-
cended another ladder eleven feet long, and
yet a little further on we came to one, the
seventh, the length and general appearance of



which induced us to pause and consider. By
this time Albino was the only attendant lell.
'1 his long ladder was laid on a narrow, sloping
face of rock, protected on one side by a per-
pendicular w all, but at the other open and pre-
cipitous. Its aspect was unpropilious, but we
determined to go on. Holding by the side of
the ladder next the rock, we descended, crash-
ing and carrying down the loose rounds, so
that vvhen we got to the bottom, we had cut
off all communication with Albino: he could
not descend, and, what was quite as inconve-
nient, we could not get back. It was now too
late to reflect. We told Albino to throw down
our torches, and go back for Indians and rope
to haul us out. In the meantime we moved
on by a broken, winding passage, and at the I

distance of about two hundred feet, came to I

the top of a ladder eight feet long, at the foot
of which we entered a low and stifling pas-
sage ; and crawling along this on our hands
and feet, at the distance of about three hun-
dred feet, we came to a. rocky basin full of
water.

Before reaching it, one of our torches had
gone out, and Ihe other was then expiring.
From the best calculation I can make, which
is not tar out of the way, we were then four-
teen hundred feet from the mouth of the cave,
and at a perpendicular depth of four hundred
and fifty feet. As may be supposed from w hat
the reader already knows of these wells, we
were black with smoke, grimed with dirt, and
dripping with perspiration. Water was the
most pleasant spectacle that could greet our
eyes ; but it did not satisfy us to drink it only,
we wanted a more thorough benefit. Our
expiring torch warned us to forbear, for in
the dark we might never be able to find our
way back to the upper earth ; but, trusting
that if we did not re-appear in the course of

the week, Catherwood would come to the

rescue, we whipped off our scanty covering,
and stepped into the pool. It was just large
enough to prevent us from interfering with
each other, and we then and there achieved
a bath which perhaps no white man ever be-
fore took at that depth under ground.

The Indians call this basin Chacka, which
means agua Colorado, or red water; but this
we did not know at the time, and we did not
discover it, for to economise our torch we
avoided flaring it, and it lay on the rock like
an expiring brand, admonishing us that it was
belter not to rely wholly upon our friends in
Ihe world above, and that it would be safer to
look out for ourselves. Hurrying out, we
made a rapid toilet, and, groping our way
back, with our torch just bidding us farewell,
we reached the foot of the broken ladder, and
could go no further. Albino returned with
Indians and ropes. We hauled ourselves up,
and got back to the open chamber from which
the passage diverged ; and here the Indians
pointed out another, which we followed, till it
became lower than any we had yet explored ;
and, according to Doctor Cabot's measure-
ment, at the distance of four hundred and one
paces, by mine, three hundred and ninety-
seven, we came to another basin of water.

This, as we afterwards learned, is called
Pucuelha, meaning that it ebbs and flows like



the sea. The Indians say that it recedesi
with the south wind, and increases with the'
north-west ; and they add, tliat when they go!
to it silently they find water; but wlien theyj
talk or make a noise, the water disappears.
Perhaps it is not so capricious with white men,
for we found water, and did not approach it
with sealed lips. The Indians say, besides,
that forty women once fainted in this passage,
and that now they do not allow the women to
go to it alone. In returning, we turned ott'
twice by branching passages, and reached two
other basins of water; and when we got back
to the foot of the great staircase, exhausted,
. and almost worn out, we had the satisfaction
of learning, from friends who were wailing to
hear our report, that there were seven in all,
and we had missed three. All have names
given them by the Indians, two of which I
have already mentioned.

The third is called Sallah, which means a
spring; the fourth Akahba, on account of it:
darkness; the fifth Chocoha, from thecircum
stance of its being always warm ; the sixth
Ociha, from being of a milky colour; and the
seventh Chimaisha, because it has insects
called ais.

It was a matter of some regret that we
were not able to mark such peculiarities or
differences as might exist in these waters, and
particularly that we were not provided with
barometer and thermometer to ascertain the
relative heights and temperatures. If we had
been at all advised beforehand, we should at
least have carried the latter with us, but
always in utter ignorance of what we were to
encounter, our great object was to be as free
as possible from all incumbrances; besides
which, to tell the truth, we did some things in
that country, among which was the exploring
of these caves, for our own satisfaction, and
without much regard to the claims of science.
The surface of the country is of transition or
mountain limestone; and though almost inva
riably the case in this formation, perhaps here
to a greater extent than any where else, i
abounds in fissures and caverns, in whici
springs burst forth suddenly, and streams pur
sue a subterranean course. But the sources
of the water, and the geological formation of
the country were, at the moment, matters of
secondary interest to us.

The great point was the fiict, that from the
moment when the wells in the plaza fail, the
whole village turns to this cave, and four or
five months in the year derives from this
source its only supply. It was not, as at
Xcoch, the resort of a straggling Indian, nor,
as at Chack, of a small and inconsiderable
rancho. It was the sole and only watering
place of one of the most thriving villages in
Yucatan, containing a population of several
thousand souls; and perhaps even this was
surpassed in wonder by the fact that, though
for an unknown length of time, and through a
great portion of the year, files of Indians, men
and women, are going out every day with
cantars on their backs, and returning with
water; and though (he fame of the Cueva of
Bolonchen extends throughout YtJcalan, from
the best information we could procure, not a
white maa in the village had ever explored it.



THE FRIEND.



For " The Friend.'
REFl,ECTIONS

I my Mother's beilside, occasioned by hearing h
speak of feeling as in the Wilderness.

The VVildernesa— the Wilderness,

Is not a dreary place!
Amid its countless sands, we still

God's mercies ever trace !
The desert rock, the desert plain,

May seem bolli lileak and bare,
Tlie descrt-lieatli stem void oi'lile.

Yet God is even there i

The slorm may come, the winds may howl.

The lightning rend the sky,
The thunder roar from pole to pole,

Yet God is ever nigh '.
Where through creation can we turn

To what wild savage spot,
By sea or land, i'rom clime to clime.

And find where He is not?
In every leaf, and flow'ret wild,

In insect, beast, and bird,
In ev'ry pebble stone, and shell,

His holy voice is heard I
Then why in human hearts alone

Is felt a dreary void ?
And why, when all around

Is man alone alloy'd ?
Why, in the temple, where His love

Most wondrously is shown.
Is found the only taint of sin.

The want of fUith alone?
The bird that leaves the chilling clime,

And seeks a warmer home.
Doubts not — the spring will bloom again,

And brighter days will come —
Returning then in "trustful laith,

She builds her little nest.
Fulfils the duties of her kind.

And leaves to God the rest.
But we, with reas'ning powers endued.

And I'uvoured far auovc
All nature round, yet sometimes doubt

His wisdom — goodness — love !
We know that rain and storms but give

To verdant beauty birth.
And streams that oveiflow their banks

Enrich the drinking earth : —
Thus is it with our inward man.

Yet feeble, weak and (rail,
We cannot see the hand of love

That guides each swelling gale.
When chilling winds, and wintry storms

Around our path prevail.
How oft the sinking spirit feels

Its trustful courage fail.



253



1 goo<



Impatient nature ever longs

'i'o draw the veil aside.
Dispel the clouds that shroud the sun.

And all its glories hide—
Oh ! could our spirits always feci,

Tho' darkness reigns around.
That God is with us through the night,

And in the cloud is found ! —

Oh ! could the heart in trusting faith

Calmly await the day,
Nor think the night dews linger long

Upon our weary way !
Lord ! give us patience, faith, and hope.

And lead us, as thou led
Israel, through the Wilderness,

And over Jordan's bed —
And make us feel the Wilderness

Is as a garden fiir,
The desert with thy glory fill'd,

Thy presence, every where — -
The storm, the cloud, the barren heath.

Alike thy wisdom show;
Thy finger rules the worlds above.

Thy love the world below !



THE POOL OF SILOAM.

From the " Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry
to the Jews from the Chtirch of Scotland in
1839."— By Andrkw A. Bonak, and Ro-

BERT M. M'ChEYNE.

Passing under the rocky face of Ophel, we
came to the Pool of Siloam. M'e were sur-
prised to find it so entire, exactly resembling
the common prints of it. It is in the form of
a parallelogram, and the walls all round are
of hewn slones. The steps that lead down
into it, at the eastern end, are no doubt the
same which have been there for ages. The
water covered the bottom to the depth of one
or two feet. At the western end, climbing a
ttle way into a cave hewn out of a rock, we
descended a few steps into the place from
hich the water flows into the pool. It is
connected by a long subterranean passage,
running quite through the hill to the Fountain
of the Virgin, or more properly the Fountain
of Siloam, the entrance to which is a consider-
ible way farther up the valley of Jehosaphat.
Through this passage the water flows softly
from the fountain, till it finds its way into the
pool, not as generally represented in pictures,
by pouring over the mouth of the cave, but
secretly from beneath. Wild flowers, and
among other plants the caper-tree, grow luxu-
riantly around its border.

We are told that " the wall of the Pool of
Siloah by the king's garden,"* was rebuilt in
the day s of Nehemiah. There can be no doubt
that this is the very spot; and possibly the
present walls and steps may be as ancient as
the days of our Lord. While silting on the
margin, we could imagine the history of the
blind manf realized before us. We had seen
that very day a blind man in the streets of
Jerusalem as we passed by. Now it was to
such a man that our Lord said, " Go wash in
the Pool of Siloam." The man obeys — comes
out at the gate — descends the sloping side of
Zion, gropes his way down these steps, and
feels fur the cool water with his hand ; then
laves his clay-anointed eyes, and they open !
Now ho sees the glory of Jerusalem ; but above
all, comes back to see the face of the Son of
God, the light of the world, whose word com-
manded the light to shine on his dark eye-
balls and his darker heart! The water of this
pool flows out through a small channel cut or
worn in the rock, and descends to refresh the
gardens which are planted below on terraces,
illustrating the expression, " a fountain of
gardens,"! for a fountain in such a situation
waters many gardens. These are the remains
of" the king's garden,"§ mentioned by Nehe-
miah and by Josephus.||

Leaving the pool, we turned northward,
proceeding up the valley of Jehosaphat, with
the village of Siloam on our right, which lite-
rally hangs upon the sleep brow of the Mount
of Offence. Three or four hundred yards up
the valley, we came to the spring or fountain-
head of Siloam, beneath the rocky side of
Moriah. It is commonly called the Fountaia



• Neh. iii. 15.
I Song, iv. IS.
I Ant. 7. c. 14.



t John 9.

§ Neh. iii. IS.



254

of the Viroiii, from a foolish Iraihlion of the
Monks. VVe came to a wide ca\ein, partly or
entirely hewn out by the hands of man ; and
descending two Hights of steps cut in the rock,
worn smooth and while like niarhle, we came
to the water. From this point it liows through
the subterranean canal already mentioned, and
supplies the Pool of Siloani. 15ut it Hows in
such perfect stillness, that it seemed to us to
be a standing pool, until we put our hands
into it, and felt the gentle current pressing
them aside. Nothing could be more descrij)-
tive of the flow of these waters than the words
of Isaiah, " The waters of tshiiouh that go
softly."* The calm, silent stream of grace
and power which flows from under the throne
of a reconciled God, is by this simple figure
finely contrasted with the loud noisy promises
of Reziii and Remaliah's son. The believing
soul has a secret and unfailing spring of quiet
joy overflowing from " the holy place of the
tabernacles of the Most High," which forms
a complete contrast to the rude and boister-
ous mirth of the ungodly soul. We driink
with joy of the cool water, which we found
sweet and pleasant, all the sweeter hei.-ause of
the sacred recollections with which it was
associated. It seemed to be a much frequent-
ed spring: for some came to driidi — some to
draw water to wash their clothes, and others
were conveying it to their camels.

It has been suggested with much probabi-
lity, that this fountain may have an artificial
connection with another fountain, said to be
under the Mosque of Omar, in the heart of j
Moriah ; for the flow of water seems too large
and too calm to be the commencement of a!
spring in a limestone rock. But there does'
not appear to be any solid foundation for the!
conjecture of Dr. Robinson, that this may be j
the pool of Bethesda. It bears no resemblance
to any of the other pools around the city ; nor j
can we see where the five porclies could have
stood ; for it is a cavern five and twenty feet 1
deep in the solid rock. And most certainly |
the irregular flow sometimes observed in the |
fountain, cannot have any thing to do with the j
troubling of the water of Bethesda, for we are j
expressly told, that " an angel went down at a i
certain season into the pool and troubled the |
water."t It was a miraculous event, plainly ;
intended to typify the Lord Jesus, the true
"house of mercy;" for it is worthy of re-
mark, that this was the only occasion in which
Jesus hcoled only one out of a multitude of
sick folk. He wished to show that he was the
true pool of Bethesda. On all other occasions
" he healed them all." Probably this foun-
tain bore the same name as the Pool of
Siloam, with which it is so strongly connected,
and is to be regarded as

Shiloali's brook llial flowed

Fast by tlii; oracles of God.

It was with a full remembrance of this day's
pleasant visit to the Fountain of Siloam, that
the following lines occurred at an after period,
when stretched in our tent under the brow of
Carmel : —



• I«a. viii. 6. "That go as to be iinpcrceivcd, or cs-
cape observation." t John v. 4.



THE FKIEJfD.



Beneath Moriah's rocky side,
A gcnlle Ibuulain springs,

Silent and liort its waters glide,
Like the peace the Spirit brings.

The thirsty Arab sloops to drink
Of the cool and quid wave ;

And the thirsty spirit stops to think
Of Him who came to save.

Siloam is the fountain's name.
It means " one sent from God ;"

And thus the holy Saviour's fame.
It gently spreads abroad.

O grant that I, like this sweet well,
May Jcsus's image bear;

And spend my life — my oil
How full his mercies are



-to tell.



YEARLY MEETING.

This annual splemnity closed its sittings on
Seventh-day morning, :^:id ult. ; and it would
be ungrateful not to acknowledge that it has
been favoured with a degree of solemn quiet,
of harmonious exercise, and of unity in its
results, which has not often been surpassed.
These are things not at the command of man ;
and must be ascribed to the condescending
goodness and care of Him, who is pleased to
preside in the assemblies of those that are
truly gathered in his name. Besides the
usual business transacted every year, part of
two sittings was occupied iu reading a brief
but interesting history of the rise and progress
of our testimony against enslaving our fellow-
men; and of the labours of the Society in
clearing the hands of its members of slave-
holding. It comprises a concise account of
the various steps taken in the prosecution of
this Christian work, in New England, New
York, Philadelphia, and Virginia Yearly
Meetings. Application was also made to
Friends of Baltimore and North Carolina for
the necessary documents, to prepare a state-
ment of their labours, but the former replied,
that the separatists having carried away their
records, they were de|)rived of the ineans of
furnishing the desired information — from the
latter no reply has been received ; but as the
Meeting for Suffi;rings has liberty to insert
such additional authentic accounts as may yet
come to hand, and the regular period for its
convening is not until the Sixth mouth, we
may hope something will yet be received.
The history, above alluded to, presents a stri-
king picture of the patient, unwearied, and
affectionate labours bestowed by our forefath-
ers in endeavouring to convince their brethren
of the evils of slavery ; and adds another to
the many proofs already given, that as a sense
of religious duty, and the guidance of the
Holy Spirit form the only safe groimd for
embarking in this, or any other philanthropic
undertaking, so they only can enable us suc-
cessfully to combat the evils which abound in
the world.

Believing that the compilation would be use-
ful to our members, iu encouraging them to
keep to this ground ; and to others, whether
slaveholders, or pious persons in the free
states, who may be concerned for the removal
of this opprobrium of the Christian name, the



meeting directed it to be printed for general
distribution.

In deliberating on the state of society, defi-
ciencies of several kinds occasioned much
exercise to faithful Friends, and the great
duty of regularly attending all our religious
meetings; the necessity of an increase of that
gospel love and unity which binds together the
dedicated followers of Christ; and of the reli-
gious and guarded education of children at
home, endeavouring by precept and example
to train them in the nurture and admonition of
the Lord — were all pertinently spoken to. Vio-
lations of our ancient Christian testimony
against a hireling ministry, were noticed in
most of the reports, and called forth appropri-
ate remarks. A well adapted minute of ad-
vice, embracing most of tlie points in which
defects were acknowledged, was prepared,
to be sent down to the subordinate meet-
ings.

In reading the minutes of the Meeting for
Sufferings, it appeared that it had also been
exercised on account of some departures from
the Christian standard, which in this day of
outward ease and superficial profession, some
have fallen into, — and a committee had pre-
pared an address to our members, reviving
some of our doctrines and practices, caution-
ing Friends against being turned aside Irom a
full belief and acknowledgment of them, and
inciting all to show forth the excellency of our
profession by a consistent life and conversa-
tion. This essay, having been carefully ex-
amined, and read and approved in that bodj',
was transmitted to the Yearly Meeting, where
it was again deliberalely read, and a general
expression of approbation and unity given to
it. A minute was made, directing the clerk
to sign it, and desiring the Meeting for Suf-
ferings to print a number sufficient to supply
all our members. That meeting, under a
sense of religious duty, and in conformity with
ancient practice, has been several times en-
gaged in the last fifteen years to prepare
addresses to our members, but none, we appre-
hend, has been more opportune or appropriate
than the present. \Vhen we consider the
great ettbrts made to draw our young people
away from our Society — to induce them to
disregard our principles, by going to places
whore a man-made ministry is upheld — to
bring into discredit the writings of our ancient
Friends, especially Barclay's able Apology
for our Christian Doctrines, and to invalidate
or obscure the doctrines themselves — to lead
the mind away from the spirituality of vital
religion, and settle it down in an easier and
superficial way — and when, to all these is
added the great unsettlement which prevails
in the world on the subject of religion gene-
rally, this recurrence to the ancient standard,
as held forth by our primitive worthies, and
the renewed promulgation of their Christian
faith and principles, seems especially fitting
and seasonable. It contains introductory re-
marks — of the one true God, and the three
that bear record in heaven — immediate reve-
lation — the fallen state of man — universal and
saving light — the Holy Scriptures — justifica-
tion — baptism and the supper — worship —
ministry — prayer — war — slavery — trade and



THE FRIEND.



255



manner of living — addiess to parents and chil-
dren, and concluding remarks.

The subject of the religious training and
guarded education of the children of Friends
called forth much feeling, and a very interest-
ing report was made by a Committee on Edu-
cation appointed last year, showing the des-
cription of schools to which our youth are
sent, &c. ; from which it appears, that a con-
siderable number are still placed under the
tuition of persons not members of our religious
Society, and at schools where they are exposed
to the influence of principles and examples,
the tendency of which is adverse to our Chris-
tian profession and testimonies, as well as to
a religious life. This circumstance, as well
as the fact that many among us continue to
send theii* children to the mixed district
schools, was a source of great regret to
Friends, and a minute of advice was sent
down, embracing both domestic and school
education.

The committee also proposed that a num-
ber of Friends be kept under appointment to
have charge of the subject of education — to
inquire into its condition in the several meet-
ings, and annually report it to the Yearly
Meeting ; also to afford counsel and assistance
to Friends where they may stand in need of it,
and to receive subscriptions or legacies toward
a fund to be held and applied by them, to aid
meetings, where necessary, in building school-
houses, and paying the salaries of suitable
teachers. This was united with by the meet-
ing, and a committee accordingly appointed.

The number of persons reported who occa-
sionally use spirituous liquors as a drink, was
smaller than the preceding year ; and further
earnest labour with them was enjoined, in
order to dissuade them from this reproachful
practice ; yet some Friends thought the time
not distant, when it would be the duty of the
Yearly Meeting to take a further step on this
subject.

The close of the meeting was peculiarly
solemn, and the clerk embodied the feeling of
many minds in an appropriate concluding
minute, gratefully acknowledging the condes-
cension of our Holy Head in favouring us with
his presence, and qualifying his servants to
labour for the good of the body and the honour



Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 94 of 154)