To provide for the chance that the dogs, without human help, may succeed in discovering the unfortunate traveller, one of them has a flask of spirits round his neck, to which the fainting man may apply for support; and another has a cloak to cover him. Their wonderful exertions are often successful; and even where they fail of restoring him who has perished, the dogs discover the body, so that it may be secured for the recognition of friends; and such is the effect of the cold, that the dead features generally preserve their firmness for the space of two years. One of these noble creatures was decorated with a medal, in commemoration of his having saved the lives of twenty-two persons, who, but for his sagacity, must have perished. Many travellers, who have crossed the pass of St. Bernard, have seen this dog, and have heard, around the blazing fire of the monks, the story of his extraordinary career. He perished about the year 1816, in an attempt to convey a poor traveller to his anxious family.
[Illustration: Head of st. Bernard dog.]
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Joppa is the principal sea-port town of Palestine and it is very often mentioned in Scripture.
Hiram, King of Tyre, is said to have sent cedars of Lebanon by sea to Joppa, for the building of Solomon’s Temple; and from Joppa the disobedient Jonah embarked, when ordered by God to go and preach to the people of Nineveh.
It was at Joppa that the apostle Peter lived, for some time, with one Simon, a tanner, whose house was by the sea-shore; and it was on the flat roof of this dwelling that he saw the wonderful vision, which taught him not to call any man common or unclean.
Tabitha or Dorcas, the pious woman who spent all her life in working for the poor, and in giving alms to those who needed relief, lived in Joppa; and here it pleased God that she should be taken ill and die, and her body was laid out in the usual manner before burial, in an upper chamber of the house where she lived. The apostle Peter, to whom this pious woman had been well known, was then at Lydda, not far from Joppa, and the disciples sent to tell him of the heavy loss the Church had met with in the death of Dorcas, and begged that he would come and comfort them. The apostle directly left Lydda and went over to Joppa. He was, by his own desire, taken to the room where the corpse lay, and was much moved when he saw the tears of the poor women who had been fed and clothed by the charity of Dorcas, and who were telling each other how much good she had been the means of doing them.
Peter desired to be left alone with the body, and then he knelt down and prayed, and, receiving strength from God, he turned to the body and cried, “Tabitha, arise!” She then, like one awaking from sleep, opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. He then took her by the hand, and she arose and was presented alive to those who, thinking she was dead, had so lately been mourning for her loss. This was the first miracle performed by the apostles, and it greatly surprised the people of Joppa, who began one and all to believe that Peter was really a preacher sent by God.