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would pause, and be at the trouble of such an occurrence, in the heart and pith of his progress: a piece of bread, and a couple of cold eggs, boiled before starting, furnish an excellent meal, and may be taken en route, or by the side of a clear mountain stream, and occasion no delay or preparation: this was our almost daily repast at noon through Syria. On the height to the left, a fire was kindled by a party of wandering mountaineers, whom it might not have been perfectly pleasant to have encountered at night: yet the glare of their fire falling on the ridges of the mountain, would then have been more picturesque: it was now miserably blended with the sun. On the edge of the descent on the left, was a convent, perched like an eagle's nest, looking down into the gloomy depths of the ravine: and were the shadows of evening falling around, the traveller would there have gladly sought a home, the strange and fantastic home of a night. How wild and lone would be the peal of its bell over the abysses, the call to prayer, to meditation—where the only associations were the torrent, the cavern, the dizzy precipice, and the midnight hymn mingling with the blast Is this a place for religious joy and consolation, for hope, breaking through the veil of time into the splendours of eternity? To a sanguine temperament and stern intellect, this convent may be as dear and beneficial as a home among the loved scenes and friends of our earlier life: but the majority of monks are not of this character. A life in this monastery is, as an old writer expresses, "like the twilight going before the darkness of the grave: like a solitary shepherd's tent with no pasture around it, in a fading world." There was scarcely any room in this nook for the industry of the fathers, who have often vineyards and mulberry plantations, the produce of which is sold: they have always well-cultivated gardens; perhaps even here may reside one of the numerous bishops of the mountain, who are often wise, polite, and patriarchal men, of simple habits and tastes, exhibiting in many instances a more edifying and interesting copy of apostolic spirit and manners, than is to be found in the wealthier churches of Europe. Poverty, or rather a decent competency, is their safeguard from luxury and pride, and their mountain barriers keep out the temptations and seductions of the world: the rolling of carriage wheels, of titled or distinguished acquaintance and connexions, is never heard at their doors: no train of clerical expectants, or lovers of episcopal power and influence, is in their hall or at their table. The nobility of Lebanon is that of the spirit, shown by the faithful discharge of duties often very monotonous, and by seeking its excitements and pleasures in its sacred calling alone, for Lebanon has few others to offer; the care of the convent-land and revenue, visits to the scattered flocks and their pastors, and the cultivation of letters in the prelate's ancient library.
Is not such a condition fortunate, if contentment, a peaceful conscience, and a serene and exalted piety, be the ambition of its possessor? With few worldly cares, responsibilities or anxieties, and a life sufficiently active and influential for the exercise of the mind and the trial of faith and patience, such a man may look from his mountain walls with a smile of thankfulness, that his resting-place is free from the wave and the storm. He is not always deprived of the affections and endearments of domestic life; the Maronite bishops are permitted to marry, though they by no means always avail themselves of this privilege. A few