Eothen By A. W. Kingslake

 -   These last
are the favourite tokens which the pilgrims carry off with them.
The shell is graven, or rather scratched - Page 170
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These Last Are The Favourite Tokens Which The Pilgrims Carry Off With Them. The Shell Is Graven, Or Rather Scratched, On The White Side With A Rude Drawing Of The Blessed Virgin Or Of The Crucifixion Or Some Other Scriptural Subject.

Having passed this stage it goes into the hands of a priest.

By him it is subjected to some process for rendering it efficacious against the schemes of our ghostly enemy. The manufacture is then complete, and is deemed to be fit for use.

The village of Bethlehem lies prettily couched on the slope of a hill. The sanctuary is a subterranean grotto, and is committed to the joint-guardianship of the Romans, Greeks, and Armenians, who vie with each other in adorning it. Beneath an altar gorgeously decorated, and lit with everlasting fires, there stands the low slab of stone which marks the holy site of the Nativity; and near to this is a hollow scooped out of the living rock. Here the infant Jesus was laid. Near the spot of the Nativity is the rock against which the Blessed Virgin was leaning when she presented her babe to the adoring shepherds.

Many of those Protestants who are accustomed to despise tradition consider that this sanctuary is altogether unscriptural, that a grotto is not a stable, and that mangers are made of wood. It is perfectly true, however, that the many grottos and caves which are found among the rocks of Judea were formerly used for the reception of cattle.

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