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Title: Palestine, or, the Holy Land: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time
Author: Russell, Michael
Language: English
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[Illustration: Map of Palestine]


PALESTINE
OR
THE HOLY LAND.

From the Earliest Period to the Present Time.


BY THE REV. MICHAEL RUSSELL, LL.D.



PREFACE.

In giving an account of the Holy Land, an author, upon examining his
materials, finds himself presented with the choice either of simple
history on the one hand, or of mere local description on the other; and
the character of his book is of course determined by, the selection which
he makes of the first or the second of these departments. The volumes on
Palestine hitherto laid before the public will accordingly be found to
contain either a bare abridgment of the annals of the Jewish people, or a
topographical delineation of the country, the cities, and the towns which
they inhabited, from the date of the conquest under Joshua, down to the
period of their dispersion by Titus and Adrian. Several able works have
recently appeared on each of these subjects, and have been, almost without
exception, rewarded with the popularity which is seldom refused to
learning, and eloquence. But it occurred to the writer of the following
pages, that the expectations of the general reader would be more fully
answered were the two plans to be united, and the constitution, the
antiquities, the religion, the literature, and even the statistics of,
the Hebrews combined with the narrative of their rise and fall in the
sacred land bestowed upon their fathers.

In following out this scheme, he has made it his study to leave no
source of information unexplored which might supply the means of
illustrating the political condition of the Twelve Tribes immediately
after they settled on the banks of the Jordan. The principles which
entered into the constitution of their commonwealth are extremely
interesting, both as they afford a fine example of the progress of
society in one of its earliest stages, when the migratory shepherd
gradually assumes the habits of the agriculturalist; and also as they
confirm the results of experience, in other cases, in regard to the
change which usually follows in the form of civil government, and in
the concentration of power in the hands of an individual.

The chapter on the Literature and Religion of the Ancient Hebrews cannot
boast of a great variety of materials, because what of the subject is not
known to the youngest reader of the Bible must be sought for, in the
writings of Rabbinical authors, who have unfortunately directed the
largest share of their attention to the minutest parts of their Law, and
expended the labour of elucidation on those points which are least
interesting to the rest of the world. It is to be deeply regretted,
that so little is known respecting the Schools of the Prophets--those
seminaries which sent forth, not only the ordinary ministers of the Temple
and the Synagogue, but also that more distinguished order of men who were
employed as instruments for revealing the future intentions of Providence.
But the Author hesitates not to say, that he has availed himself of all
the materials which the research of modern times has brought to light,
while he has carefully rejected all such speculations or conjectures as
might gratify the curiosity of learning without tending to edify the
youthful mind. The account which is given of the Feasts and Fasts of the
Jews, both before and after the Babylonian Captivity, will, it is hoped,
prove useful to the reader, more especially by pointing out to him
appropriate subjects of reflection while perusing the Sacred Records.

The history of Palestine, prior to the Fall of Jerusalem, rests upon the
authority of the inspired writers, or of those annalists, such as Josephus
and Tacitus, who flourished at the period of the events which they
describe. The narrative, which brings down the fortunes of that remarkable
country to the present day, is much more various both in its subject and
references; more especially where it embraces the exploits of the
Crusaders, those renowned devotees of religion, romance, and chivalry. The
reader will find in a narrow compass the substance of the extensive works
of Fuller, Wilken, Michaud, and Mills. In the more modern part of this
historical outline, in which the affairs of Palestine are intimately
connected with those of Egypt, it was thought unnecessary to repeat facts
mentioned at some length in the volume already published on the latter
country.[1]

The topographical description of the holy Land is drawn from the works of
the long series of travellers and pilgrims, who, since the time of the
faithful Doubdan, have visited the interesting scenes where the Christian
Faith had its origin and completion. On this subject Maundrell is still a
principal authority; for, while we have the best reason to believe that he
recorded nothing but what he saw, we can trust implicitly to the accuracy
of his details in describing every thing which fell under his observation.
The same high character is due to Pococke and Sandys, writers whose
simplicity of style and thought afford a voucher for the truth of their
narratives. Nor are Thevenot, Paul Lucas, and Careri, though less
frequently consulted, at all unworthy of confidence as depositaries of
historical fact. In more modern times we meet with equal fidelity,
recommended by an exalted tone of feeling, in the volumes of Chateaubriand
and Dr. Richardson. Clarke, Burckhardt, Buckingham, Legh, Henniker,
Jowett, Light, Macworth, Irby and Mangles, Carne, and Wilson, have not
only contributed valuable materials, but also lent the aid of their names
to correct or to conform the statements of some of the more apocryphal
among their predecessors.

The chapter on Natural History has no pretensions to scientific
arrangement or technical precision in its delineations. On the contrary,
it is calculated solely for the common reader, who would soon be disgusted
with the formal notation of the botanist, and could not understand the
learned terms in which the student of zoology too often finds the
knowledge of animal nature concealed. Its main object is to illustrate the
Scriptures, by giving an account of the quadrupeds, birds, serpents,
plants, and fruits which are mentioned from time to time by the inspired
writers of either Testament.

Edinburgh, _September_, 1831.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.

Interest attached to the History of Palestine; Remarkable Character of
the Hebrew People; Their small Beginning and astonishing Increases; The
Variety of Fortune they underwent; Their constant Attachment to the
Promised Land; The Subject presents an interesting Problem to the
Historian and Politician; The Connexion with Christianity; Effect of this
Religion on the Progress of Society; Importance of the Subject to the
pious Reader; Holy Places; Pilgrims; Grounds for Believing the Ancient
Traditions on this Head; Constantine and the Empress Helena; Relics;
Natural Scenery; Extent of Canaan; Fertility; Geographical Distribution;
Countries Eastward of the Jordan; Galilee; Samaria; Bethlehem; Jericho;
The Dead Sea; Table representing the Possessions of the Twelve Tribes.


CHAPTER II.

HISTORY OF THE HEBREW COMMONWEALTH.

Form of Government after the Death of Joshua; In Egypt; In the Wilderness;
Princes of Tribes and Heads of Families; Impatience to take Possession
of Promised Land; The Effects of it; Renewal of War; Extent of Holy
Land; Opinions of Fleury, Spanheim, Reland, and Lowman; Principle of
Distribution; Each Tribe confined to a separate Locality; Property
unalienable; Conditions of Tenure; Population of the Tribes; Number of
Principal Families; A General Government or National Council; The Judges;
Nature of their Authority; Not ordinary Magistrates; Different from Kings,
Consuls, and Dictators; Judicial Establishments; Judges and Officers;
Described by Josephus; Equality of Condition among the Hebrews; Their
Inclination for a Pastoral Life; Freebooters, like the Arabs; Abimelech,
Jephthah, and David; Simplicity of the Times; Boaz and Ruth; Tribe of
Levi; Object of their Separation; The learned Professions hereditary,
after the manner of the Egyptians; The Levitical Cities; Their Number and
Uses; Opinion of Michaelis; Summary View of the Times and Character of the
Hebrew Judges.


CHAPTER III.

HISTORICAL OUTLINE FROM THE ACCESSION OF SAUL TO THE DESTRUCTION OF
JERUSALEM.

Weakness of Republican Government; Jealousy of the several Tribes;
Resolution to have a King; Rules for regal Government; Character of
Saul; Of David; Troubles of his Reign; Accession of Solomon; Erection
of the Temple; Commerce; Murmurs of the People; Rehoboam; Division
of the Tribes; Kings of Israel; Kingdom of Judah; Siege of Jerusalem;
Captivity; Kings of Judah; Return from Babylon; Second Temple; Canon of
Scripture; Struggles between Egypt and Syria; Conquest of Palestine by
Antiochus; Persecution of Jews; Resistance by the Family of Maccabaeus;
Victories of Judas; He courts the Alliance of the Romans; Succeeded by
Jonathan; Origin of the Asmonean Princes; John Hyrcanus; Aristobulus;
Alexander Jannaeus; Appeal to Pompey; Jerusalem taken by Romans; Herod
created King by the Romans; He repairs to the Temple; Archelaus succeeds
him, and Antipas is nominated to Galilee; Quirinius Prefect of Syria;
Pontius Pilate; Elevation of Herod Agrippa; Disgrace of Herod Philip;
Judea again a Province; Troubles; Accession of Young Agrippa; Felix;
Festus; Floris; Command given to Vespasian; War; Siege of Jerusalem by
Titus.


CHAPTER IV.

ON THE LITERATURE AND RELIGIOUS USAGES OF THE ANCIENT HEBREWS.

Obscurity of the Subject; Learning issued from the Levitical Colleges;
Schools of the Prophets; Music and Poetry; Meaning of the term Prophecy;
Illustrated by References to the Old Testament and to the New; The power
of Prediction not confined to those bred in the Schools; Race of false
Prophets; Their Malignity and Deceit; Micaiah and Ahab; Charge against
Jeremiah the Prophet; Criterion to distinguish True from False Prophets;
The Canonical Writings of the Prophets; Literature of Prophets; Sublime
Nature of their Compositions; Examples from Psalms and Prophetical
Writings; Humane and liberal Spirit; Care used to keep alive the Knowledge
of the Law; Evils arising from the Division of Israel and Judah; Ezra
collects the Ancient Books; Schools of Prophets similar to Convents;
Sciences; Astronomy; Division of Time, Days, Months, and Years;
Sabbaths and New Moons; Jewish Festivals; Passover; Pentecost; Feast
of Tabernacles; Of Trumpets; Jubilee; Daughters of Zelophedad; Feast
of Dedication; Minor Anniversaries; Solemn Character of Hebrew Learning;
Its easy Adaptation to Christianity; Superior to the Literature of all
other ancient Nations.


CHAPTER V.

DESCRIPTION OF JERUSALEM.

Pilgrimages to the Holy Land; Arculfus; Willibald; Bernard; Effect of
Crusades; William de Bouldessell; Bertrandon de la Broquiere; State of
Damascus; Breidenbach; Baumgarten; Bartholemeo Georgewitz; Aldersey;
Sandys; Doubdan; Cheron; Thevenot; Gonzales; Morison; Maundrell; Pococke;
Road from Jaffa to Jerusalem; Plain of Sharon; Rama or Ramla; Condition of
the Peasantry; Vale of Jeremiah; Jerusalem; Remark of Chateaubriand;
Impressions of different Travellers; Dr. Clarke; Tasso; Volney; Henniker;
Mosque of Omar described; Mysterious Stone; Church of Holy Sepulchre;
Ceremonies of Good Friday; Easter; The Sacred Fire; Grounds for
Skepticism; Folly of the Priests; Emotion upon entering the Holy Tomb;
Description of Chateaubriand; Holy Places in the City; On Mount Zion;
Pool of Siloam; Fountain of the Virgin; Valley of Jehoshaphat; Mount of
Offence; The Tombs of Zechariah, of Jehoshaphat, and of Absalom; Jewish
Architecture; Dr. Clarke's Opinion on the Topography of Ancient Jerusalem;
Opposed by other Writers; The Inexpedience of such Discussions.


CHAPTER VI.

DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY SOUTH AND EAST OF JERUSALEM.

Garden of Gethsemane; Tomb of Virgin Mary; Grottoes on Mount of Olives;
View of the City; Extent and Boundaries; View of Bethany and Dead Sea;
Bethlehem; Convent; Church of the Nativity described; Paintings; Music;
Population of Bethlehem; Pools of Solomon; Dwelling of Simon the Leper; Of
Mary Magdalene; Tower of Simeon; Tomb of Rachel; Convent of St. John; Fine
Church; Tekoa Bethulia; Hebron; Sepulchre of Patriarchs; Albaid; Kerek;
Extremity of Dead Sea; Discoveries of Bankes, Legh, and Irby and Mangles;
Convent of St. Saba; Valley of Jordan; Mountains; Description of Lake
Asphaltites; Remains of Ancient Cities in its Basin; Quality of its
Waters; Apples of Sodom; Tacitus, Seetzen, Hasselquist, Chateaubriand;
Width of River Jordan; Jericho; Village of Rihhah; Balsam; Fountain of
Elisha; Mount of Temptation; Place of Blood; Anecdote of Sir F. Henniker;
Fountain of the Apostles; Return to Jerusalem; Markets; Costume; Science;
Arts; Language; Jews; Present Condition of that People.


CHAPTER VII.

DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY NORTHWARD OF JERUSALEM.

Grotto of Jeremiah; Sepulchres of the Kings; Singular Doors; Village of
Leban; Jacob's Well; Valley of Shechem; Nablous; Samaritans; Sebaste;
Jennin; Gilead; Geraza or Djerash; Description of Ruins; Gergasha of the
Hebrews; Rich Scenery of Gilead; River Jabbok; Souf; Ruins of Gamala;
Magnificent Theatre; Gadara; Capernaum, or Talhewm; Sea of Galilee;
Bethsaida and Chorazin; Tarrachea; Sumuk; Tiberias; Description of modern
Town; House Of St. Peter; Baths; University; Mount Tor, or Tabor;
Description by Pococke, Maundrell, Burckhardt, and Doubdan; View from the
Top; Great Plain; Nazareth; Church of Annunciation; Workshop of Joseph;
Mount of Precipitation; Table of Christ; Cana, or Kefer Kenna; Waterpots
of Stone; Saphet, or Szaffad; University; French; Sidney Smith; Dan;
Sepphoris; Church of St. Anne; Description by Dr. Clarke; Vale of Zabulon;
Vicinity of Acre.


CHAPTER VIII.

THE HISTORY OF PALESTINE FROM THE FALL OF JERUSALEM, TO THE PRESENT TIME.

State of Judea after the Fall of Jerusalem; Revolt under Trajan;
Barcochab; Adrian repairs Jerusalem; Schools at Babylon and Tiberias;
Attempt of Julian to rebuild the Temple; Invasion of Chosroes; Sack of
Jerusalem; Rise of Islamism; Wars of the Califs; First Crusade; Jerusalem
delivered; Policy of Crusades; Victory at Ascalon; Baldwin King; Second
Crusade; Saladin; His Success at Tiberias; He recovers Jerusalem; The
Third Crusade; Richard Coeur de Lion; Siege and Capture of Acre; Plans of
Richard; His Return to Europe; Death of Saladin; Fourth Crusade; Battle of
Jaffa; Fifth Crusade; Fall of Constantinople; Sixth Crusade; Damietta
taken; Reverses; Frederick the Second made King of Jerusalem; Seventh
Crusade; Christians admitted into the Holy City; Inroad of Karismians;
Eighth Crusade under Louis IX.; He takes Damietta; His Losses and Return
to Europe; Ninth Crusade; Louis IX. and Edward I; Death of Louis;
Successes of Edward; Treaty with Sultan; Final Discomfiture of the Franks
in Palestine, and Loss of Acre; State of Palestine under the Turks;
Increased Toleration; Bonaparte invades Syria; Siege of Acre and Defeat
of French; Actual State of the Holy Land; Number, Condition, and Character
of the Jews.


CHAPTER IX.

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF PALESTINE.

Travellers too much neglect Natural History--Maundrell; Hasselquist,
Clarke. GEOLOGY--Syrian Chain; Libanus; Calcareous Rocks; Granite;
Trap; Volcanic Remains; Chalk; Marine Exuviae; Precious Stones.
METEOROLOGY--Climate of Palestine; Winds; Thunder; Clouds; Waterspouts;
Ignis Fatuus. ZOOLOGY--Scripture Animals; The Hart; The Roebuck;
Fallow-Deer; Wild Goat; Pygarg; Wild Ox; Chamois; Unicorn; Wild Ass; Wild
Goats of the Rock; Saphan, or Coney; Mouse; Porcupine; Jerboa; Mole; Bat.
BIRDS--Eagle; Ossifrage; Ospray; Vulture; Kite; Raven; Owl; Nighthawk;
Cuckoo; Hawk; Little Owl; Cormorant; Great Owl; Swan; Pelican; Gier Eagle;
Stork; Heron; Lapwing; Hoopoe. AMPHIBIA AND REPTILES--Serpents known to the
Hebrews; Ephe; Chephir; Acshub; Pethen; Tzeboa; Tzimmaon; Tzepho; Kippos;
Shephiphon; Shachal; Seraph, the Flying Serpent; Cockatrice' Eggs; The
Scorpion; Sea-monsters, or Seals. FRUITS AND PLANTS--Vegetable Productions
of Palestine; The Fig-tree; Palm; Olive; Cedars of Libanus; Wild Grapes;
Balsam of Aaron; Thorn of Christ.


ENGRAVINGS.

Map of Palestine
Vignette--Part of Jerusalem, with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
Fountain of Siloam
Tomb of Absalom
Village of Bethany, and Dead Sea
Subterranean Church of Bethlehem
River Jabbok, and Hilts of Bashan
Sea of Galilee, Town of Tiberias, and Baths of Emmaus
Mount Tabor



CHAPTER I.


_Introductory Observations_.

Interest attached to the History of Palestine; Remarkable Character of the
Hebrew People; Their small Beginning and astonishing Increase; The Variety
of Fortune they underwent; Their constant Attachment to the Promised Land;
The Subject presents an interesting Problem to the Historian and
Politician; The Connexion with Christianity; Effect of this Religion on
the Progress of Society; Importance of the Subject to the pious Reader;
Holy Places; Pilgrims; Grounds for believing the ancient Traditions on
this Head; Constantine and the Empress Helena; Relics; Natural Scenery;
Extent of Canaan; Fertility; Geographical Distribution; Countries eastward
of the Jordan; Galilee; Bethlehem; Samaria; Jericho; The Dead Sea; Table
representing the Possessions of the Twelve Tribes.

The country to which the name of Palestine is given by moderns is that
portion of the Turkish empire in Asia which is comprehended within the
31st and 34th degrees north latitude, and extends from the Mediterranean
to the Syrian Desert, eastward of the river Jordan and the Dead Sea.
Whether viewed as the source of our religions faith; or as the most
ancient fountain of our historical knowledge, this singular spot of earth
has at all times been regarded with feelings of the deepest interest and
curiosity. Inhabited for many ages by a people entitled above all others
to the distinction of peculiar, it presents a record of events such as
have not come to pass in any other land, monuments of a belief denied to
all other nations, hopes not elsewhere cherished, but which, nevertheless,
are connected with the destiny of the whole human race, and stretch
forward to the consummation of all terrestrial things.

To the eye of mere philosophy nothing can appear more striking than the
events produced upon the world at large by the opinions and events which
originated among the Jewish people. A pastoral family, neither so
numerous, so warlike, nor so well instructed in the arts of civilized life
as many others in the same quarter of the globe, gradually increased into
a powerful community, became distinguished by a system of doctrines and
usages different from those of all the surrounding tribes; retaining it,
too, amid the numerous changes of fortune to which they were subjected,
and finally impressing its leading principles upon the most enlightened
nations of Asia and of Europe. At a remote era Abraham crosses the
Euphrates, a solitary traveller, not knowing whither he went, but obeying
a divine voice, which called him from among idolaters to become the father
of a new people and of a purer faith, at a distance from his native
country. His grandson Jacob, a "Syrian ready to perish," goes down into
Egypt with a few individuals, where his descendants, although evil
entreated and afflicted, became a "nation, great, mighty, and populous,"
and whence they were delivered by the special interposition of Heaven. In
prosperity and adversity they are still the objects of the same vigilant
Providence which reserved them for a great purpose to be accomplished in
the latter days; while the Israelites themselves, as if conscious that
their election was to be crowned with momentous results, still kept their
thoughts fixed on Palestine, as the theatre of their glory, not less than
as the possession of their tribes.

We accordingly see them at one period in bondage, the victims of a
relentless tyranny, and menaced with complete extirpation; but the hope
of enjoying the land promised to their fathers never ceased to animate
their hearts, for they trusted that God would surely visit them in the
house of their affliction, and, in his appointed time, carry them into
the inheritance of peace and rest. At a later epoch we behold them swept
away as captives by the hands of idolaters, who used all the motives which
spring from fear and from interest to secure their compliance with a
foreign worship; but rejecting all such inducements, they still continued
a separate people, steadily resisting the operation of those causes which,
in almost every other instance, have been found sufficient to melt down a
vanquished horde into the population and habits of their masters. At
length they appear as the instruments of a dispensation which embraces
the dearest interests of all the sons of Adam; and which, in happier
circumstances than ever fell to their own lot, has already modified and
greatly exalted the character, the institutions, and the prospects of the
most improved portion of mankind in both hemispheres of the globe.

Connected with Christianity, indeed, the history of the Hebrews rises
before the reflecting mind in a very singular point of view; for, in
opposition to their own wishes they laid the foundations of a religion
which has not only superseded their peculiar rites, but is rapidly
advancing towards that universal acceptation which they were wont to
anticipate in favour of their own ancient law. In spite of themselves they
have acted as the little leaven which was destined to leaven the whole
lump; and in performing this office, they have proceeded with nearly the
same absence of intention and consciousness as the latent principle of
fermentation to which the metaphor bears allusion. They aimed at one
thing, and have accomplished another; but while we compare the means with
the ends; whether in their physical or moral relations, it must be
admitted that we therein examine one of the most remarkable events
recorded in the annals of the human race.

Abstracting his thoughts from all the considerations of supernatural
agency which are suggested by the inspired narrative, a candid man will
nevertheless feel himself compelled to acknowledge that the course of
events which constitutes the history of ancient Palestine has no parallel
in any other part of the world. Fixing his eyes on the small district of
Judea, he calls to mind that eighteen hundred years ago there dwelt in
that little region a singular and rather retired people, who, however,
differed from the rest of mankind in the very important circumstance of
not being idolaters. He looks around upon every other country of the
earth, where he discovers superstitions of the most hateful and degrading
kind, darkening all the prospects of the human being, and corrupting his
moral nature in its very source. He observes that some of these nations
are far advanced in many intellectual accomplishments, yet, being unable
to shake off the tremendous load of error by which they are pressed down,
are extremely irregular and capricious, both in the management of their
reason and in the application of their affections. He learns, moreover,
that this little spot called Palestine is despised and scorned by those
proud kingdoms, whose wise men would not for a moment allow themselves to
imagine, that any speculation or tenet arising from so ignoble a quarter
could have the slightest influence upon their belief, or affect, in the
most minute degree, the general character of their social condition.

But, behold, while he yet muses over this interesting scene, a Teacher
springs up from among the lower orders of the Hebrew people,--himself not
less contemned by his countrymen than they were by the warlike Romans
and the Philosophic Greeks,--whose doctrines, notwithstanding, continue
to gain ground on every hand, till at last the proud monuments of pagan
superstition, consecrated by the worship of a thousand years, and
supported by the authority of the most powerful monarchies in the world,
fall one after another at the approach of his disciples, and before the
prevailing efficacy of the new faith. A little stone becomes a mountain,
and fills the whole earth. Judea swells in its dimensions till it covers
half the globe, carrying captivity captive, not by force of arms, but by
the progress of opinion and the power of truth, all the nations of Europe
in successive ages,--Greek, Roman, Barbarian,--glory in the name of the
humble Galilean; armies, greater than those which Persia in the pride of
her ambition led forth to conquest, are seen swarming into Asia, with the
sole view of getting possession of his sepulchre; while the East and the
West combine to adorn with their treasures the stable in which he was
born, and the sacred mount on which he surrendered his precious life.[2]

On these grounds, there is presented to the historian and politician a
problem of the most interesting nature, and which is not to be solved by
any reference to the ordinary principles whence mankind are induced to
act or to suffer. The effects, too, produced on society, exceed all
calculation. It is in vain that we attempt to compare them to those more
common revolutions which have changed for a time the face of nations, or
given a new dynasty to ancient empires. The impression made by such events
soon passes away: the troubled surface quickly resumes its equilibrium,
and displays its wonted tranquility; and hence we may assert, that the
present condition of the world is not much different from what it would
have been, though Alexander had never been born and Julius Caesar had
died in his cradle. But the occurrences that enter into the history of
Palestine possess an influence on human affairs which has no other limits
than the existence of the species, and which will be everywhere more
deeply felt in proportion as society advances in knowledge and refinement.
The greatest nations upon earth trace their happiness and civilization to
its benign principles and lofty sanctions. Science, freedom, and security,
attend its progress among all conditions of men; raising the low,
befriending the unfortunate, giving strength to the arm of law, and
breaking the rod of the oppressor.

Nor is the subject of less interest to the pious Christian, who confines
his thoughts to the momentous facts which illustrate the early annals of
his religion. His affections are bound to Palestine by the strongest
associations; and every portion of its varied territory, its mountains,
its lakes, and even its deserts are consecrated in his eyes as the scene
of some mighty occurrence. His fancy clothes with qualities almost
celestial that holy land,

  Over whose acres walked those blessed feet,
  Which eighteen hundred years ago were nailed
  For our advantage to the bitter cross.[3]

In a former age, when devotional feelings were wont to assume a more
poetical form than suits the taste of the present times, an undue
importance, perhaps, was placed on the mere localities of Judea, viewed
as the theatre on which the great events of Christianity were realized,
and more especially on those relics which were considered as identifying
particular spots, honoured by the sufferings or triumph of its Divine
author. The zealous pilgrim, who had travelled many thousand miles
amid the most appalling dangers, required a solace to his faith in the
contemplation of the cross, or in being permitted to kiss the threshold of
the tomb in which the body of his Redeemer was laid. To such a character
no description could be too minute, no details could be too particular.
Forgetful of the ravages inflicted on Jerusalem by the hand of the Romans,
and by the more furious anger of her own children within her,--fulfilling
unintentionally that tremendous doom which was pronounced from the Mount
of Olives,--the simple worshipper expected to see the hall of judgment,
the house of Pilate, and the palace of the high-priest, and to be able to
trace through the streets and lanes of the holy city the path which led
his Saviour to Calvary. This natural desire to awaken piety through the
medium of the senses, and to banish all unbelief by touching with the
hand, and seeing with the eye, the memorials of the crucifixion, has,
there is reason to apprehend, been sometimes abused by fraud as well as
by ignorance.

But it is nevertheless worthy of remark, that from the very situation of
Jerusalem, so well defined by natural limits which it cannot have passed,
there is less difficulty in determining places with a certain degree of
precision than would be experienced in any other ancient town. Nor can it
be justly questioned, that the primitive Christians marked with peculiar
care the principal localities distinguished by the deeds or by the
afflictions of their Divine Master. It is natural to suppose, as M.
Chateaubriand well observes, that the apostles and relatives of our
Saviour, who composed his first church upon earth, were perfectly
acquainted with all the circumstances attending his life, his ministry,
and his death; and as Golgotha and the Mount of Olives were not enclosed
within the walls of the city, they would encounter less restraint in
performing their devotions to the places which were sanctified by his more
frequent presence and miracles. Besides, the knowledge of these scenes was
soon extended to a very wide circle. The triumph of Pentecost increased
vastly the number of believers; and hence a regular congregation appears
to have been formed in Jerusalem before the expiry of the third year from
that memorable epoch. If it be admitted that the early Christians were
allowed to erect monuments to their religious worship, or even to select
houses for their periodical assemblies, the probability will not be
questioned that they fixed upon those interesting spots which had been
distinguished by the wonders of their faith.

At the commencement of the troubles in Judea, during the reign of
Vespasian, the Christians of Jerusalem withdrew to Pella, and as soon as
their metropolis was demolished they returned to dwell among its ruins.
In the space of a few months they could not have forgotten the position
of their sanctuaries, which, generally speaking, being situated outside
the walls, could not have suffered so much from the siege as the more
lofty edifices within. That the holy places were known to all men in the
time of Adrian is demonstrated by an undeniable fact. This emperor, when
he rebuilt the city, erected a statue of Venus on Mount Calvary, and
another of Jupiter on the sacred sepulchre. The grotto of Bethlehem was
given up to the rites of Adonis, the jealousy of the idolaters thus
publishing by their abominable profanations, the sublime doctrines of
the Cross, which it was their object to conceal or calumniate.

But Adrian, although actuated by an ardent zeal in behalf of his own
deities, did not persecute the Christians at large. His resentment seems
to have been confined to the Nazarenes in Jerusalem, whom he could not
help regarding as a portion of the Jewish nation,--the irreconcilable
enemies of Rome. We accordingly perceive, that he had no sooner dispersed
the church of the Circumcision established in the holy city, than he
permitted within its walls the formation of a Christian community,
composed of Gentile converts, whose political principles, he imagined,
were less inimical to the sovereignty of the empire. At the same time he
wrote to the governors of his Asiatic provinces, instructing them not to
molest the believers in Christ, merely on account of their creed, but to
reserve all punishment for crimes committed against the laws and the
public tranquillity. It has therefore been very generally admitted; that
during this period of repose, and even down to the reign of Dioclesian,
the faithful at Jerusalem, now called Aelia, celebrated the mysteries of
their religion in public, and consequently had altars consecrated to their
worship. If, indeed, they were not allowed the possession of Calvary, the
Holy Sepulchre, and of Bethlehem, where they might solemnize their sacred
rites, it is not to be imagined that the memory of these holy sanctuaries
could be effaced from their affectionate recollection. The very idols
served to mark the places where the Christian redemption was begun and
completed. Nay, the pagans themselves cherished the expectation that the
temple of Venus, erected on the summit of Calvary, would not prevent the
Christians from visiting that holy mount; rejoicing in the idea, as the
historian Sozomen expresses it, that the Nazarenes, when they repaired to
Golgotha to pray, would appear to the public eye to be offering up their
adoration to the daughter of Jupiter. This is a striking proof that a
perfect knowledge of the sacred places was retained by the church of
Jerusalem in the middle of the second century. At a somewhat later period,
when exposed to persecution, if they were not allowed to build their
altars at the Sepulchre, or proceed without apprehension to the scene of
the Nativity, they enjoyed at least the consolation of keeping alive the
remembrance of the great events connected with these interesting monuments
of their faith; anticipating, at the same time, the approaching ruin of
that proud superstition by which they had been so long oppressed.

The conversion of Constantine gave a new vigour to these local
reminiscences of the evangelical history. That celebrated ruler wrote to
Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem, to cover the tomb of Jesus Christ with a
magnificent church; while his mother, the Empress Helena, repaired in
person to Palestine, in order to glue a proper efficacy to the zeal which
animated the throne, and to assist in searching for the venerable remains
of the first age of the gospel. To this illustrious female is ascribed the
glory of restoring to religion some of its most valued memorials. Not
satisfied with the splendid temple erected at the Holy Sepulchre, she
ordered two similar edifices to be reared under her own auspices; one over
the manger of the Messiah at Bethlehem, and the other on the Mount of
Olives, to commemorate his ascension into heaven. Chapels, altars, and
houses of prayer gradually marked all the places consecrated by the acts
of the Son of Man; the oral traditions were forthwith committed to
writing, and thereby secured for ever from the treachery of individual
recollection.[4]

These considerations gave great probability to the conjectures of those
pious persons who, in the fourth century of our era, assisted the mother
of Constantine in fixing the locality of holy scenes. From that period
down to the present day, the devotion of the Christian and the avarice of
the Mohammedan have sufficiently secured the remembrance both of the
places and of the events with which they are associated. But no length of
time can wear out the impression of deep reverence and respect which are
excited by an actual examination of those interesting spots that witnessed
the stupendous occurrences recorded in the inspired volume. Or, if there
be in existence any cause which could effectually counteract such natural
and laudable feelings, it is the excessive minuteness of detail and
fanciful description usually found to accompany the exhibition of sacred
relics. The Christian traveller is delighted when he obtains the first
glance of Carmel, of Tabor, of Libanus, and of Olivet; his heart opens to
many touching recollections at the moment when the Jordan, the Lake of
Tiberias, and even the waters of the Dead Sea spread themselves out before
his eyes; but neither his piety nor his belief is strengthened when he has
presented to him a portion of the cross whereon our Saviour was suspended,
the nails that pierced his hands and feet, the linen in which his body was
wrapped, the stone on which his corpse reposed in the sepulchre, as well
as that occupied by the ministering angel on the morning of the
resurrection. The skepticism with which such doubtful remains cannot fail
to be examined is turned into positive disgust when, the guardians of the
grotto at Bethlehem undertake to show the water wherein the infant Messiah
was washed, the milk of the blessed Virgin his mother, the
swaddling-clothes, the manger, and other particulars neither less minute
nor less improbable.

But such abuses, the fruit of many ages of credulity and ignorance, do not
materially diminish the force of the impression produced by scenes which
no art can change, and hardly any description can disguise. The hills
still stand round about Jerusalem, as they stood in the days of David and
of Solomon. The dew falls on Hermon, the cedars grow on Libanus, and
Kishon, that ancient river, draws its stream from Tabor as in the times of
old. The Sea of Galilee still presents the same natural accompaniments,
the fig-tree springs up by the wayside, the sycamore spreads its branches,
and the vines and olives still climb the sides of the mountains. The
desolation which covered the Cities of the Plain is not less striking at
the present hour than when Moses with an inspired pen recorded the
judgment of God; the swellings of Jordan are not less regular in their
rise than when the Hebrews first approached its banks; and he who goes
down from Jerusalem to Jericho still incurs the greatest hazard of falling
among thieves. There is, in fact, in the scenery and manners of Palestine,
a perpetuity that accords well with the everlasting import of its
historical records, and which enables us to identify with the utmost
readiness the local imagery of every great transaction.

The extent of this remarkable country has varied at different times,
according to the nature of the government which it has either enjoyed or
been compelled to acknowledge. When it was first occupied by the
Israelites, the land of Canaan, properly so called, was confined between
the shores of the Mediterranean and the western bank of the Jordan; the
breadth at no part exceeding fifty miles, while the length hardly amounted
to three times that space. At a later period, the arms of David and of his
immediate successor carried the boundaries of the kingdom to the Euphrates
and Orontes on the one hand, an in an opposite direction to the remotest
confines of Edom and Moab. The population, as might be expected, has
undergone a similar variation. It is true that no particular in ancient
history is liable to a better-founded suspicion than the numerical
statements which respect nations and armies; for pride and fear have, in
their turn, contributed not a little to exaggerate, in rival countries,
the amount of the persons capable of taking a share in the field of
battle. Proceeding on the usual grounds of calculation, we must infer,
from the number of warriors whom Moses conducted through the desert, that
the Hebrew people, when they crossed the Jordan, did not fall short of two
millions; while, from facts recorded in the book of Samuel, we may
conclude with greater confidence that the enrolment made under the
direction of Joab must have returned a gross population of five millions
and a half.

The present aspect of Palestine, under an administration where every thing
decays and nothing is renewed, can afford no just criterion of the
accuracy of such statements. Hasty observers have indeed pronounced that a
hilly country destitute of great rivers, could not, even under the most
skilful management, supply food for so many mouths. But this precipitate
conclusion has been vigorously combated by the most competent judges, who
have taken pains to estimate the produce of a soil under the fertilizing
influence of a sun which may be regarded as almost tropical, and of a
well-regulated irrigation which the Syrians knew how to practise with the
greatest success. Canaan, it must be admitted, could not be compared to
Egypt in respect to corn. There is no Nile to scatter the riches of an
inexhaustible fecundity over its valleys and plains. Still it was not
without reason that Moses described it as "a good land, a land of brooks
of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates; a
land of oil-olive and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without
scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are
iron, and out of whose hills thou mayst dig brass."[5]

The reports of the latest travellers confirm the accuracy of the picture
drawn by this divine legislator. Near Jericho the wild olives continue to
bear berries of a large size, which give the finest oil. In places
subjected to irrigation, the same field, after a crop of wheat in May,
produces pulse in autumn. Several of the trees are continually bearing
flowers and fruit at the same time, in all their stages. The mulberry,
planted in straight rows in the open field, is festooned by the tendrils
of the vine. If this vegetation seems to languish or become extinct during
the extreme heats,--if in the mountains it is at all seasons detached and
interrupted,--such exceptions to the general luxuriance are not to be
ascribed simply to the general character of all hot climates, but also to
the state of barbarism in which the great mass of the present population
is immersed.

Even in our day, some remains are to be found of the walls which the
ancient cultivators built to support the soil on the declivities of the
mountains; the form of the cisterns in which they collected the
rain-water; and traces of the canals by which this water was distributed
over the fields. These labours necessarily created a prodigious fertility
under an ardent sun, where a little moisture was the only requisite to
revive the vegetable world. The accounts given by native writers
respecting the productive qualities of Judea are not in any degree opposed
even by the present aspect of the country. The case is exactly the same
with some islands in the Archipelago; a tract, from which a hundred
individuals can hardly draw a scanty subsistence, formerly maintained
thousands in affluence. Moses might justly say that Canaan abounded in
milk and honey. The flocks of the Arabs still find in it a luxuriant
pasture, while the bees deposite in the holes of the rocks their delicious
stores, which are sometimes seen flowing down the surface.

The opinions just stated in regard to the fertility of ancient Palestine
receive an ample confirmation from the Roman historians, to whom, as a
part of their extensive empire, it was intimately known. Tacitus,
especially, in language which he appears to have formed for his own use,
describes its natural qualities with the utmost precision, and, as is his
manner, suggests rather than specifies a catalogue of productions, the
accuracy of which is verified by the latest observations. The soil is
rich, and the atmosphere dry; the country yields all the fruits which are
known in Italy, besides balm and dates.[6]

But it has never been denied that there is a remarkable difference between
the two sides of the ridge which forms the central chain of Judea. On the
western acclivity, the soil rises from the sea towards the elevated ground
in four distinct terraces, which are covered with an unfading verdure. The
shore is lined with mastic-trees; palms, and prickly pears. Higher up, the
vines, the olives, and the sycamores amply repay the labour of the
cultivator; natural groves arise, consisting of evergreen oaks, cypresses,
andrachnés, and turpentines. The face of the earth is embellished with the
rosemary, the cytisus, and the hyacinth. In a word, the vegetation of
these mountains has been compared to that of Crete. European visitors have
dined under the shade of a lemon-tree as large as one of our strongest
oaks, and have seen sycamores, the foliage of which was sufficient to
cover thirty persons along with their horses and camels.

On the eastern side, however, the scanty coating of mould yields a less
magnificent crop. From the summit of the hills a desert stretches along to
the Lake Asphaltites, presenting nothing but stones and ashes, and a few
thorny shrubs. The sides of the mountains enlarge, and assume an aspect
at once more grand and more barren. By little and little the scanty
vegetation languishes and dies; even mosses disappear, and a red burning
hue succeeds to the whiteness of the rocks. In the centre of this
amphitheatre there is an arid basin, enclosed on all sides with summits
scattered over with a yellow-coloured pebble, and affording a single
aperture to the east through which the surface of the Dead Sea and the
distant hills of Arabia present themselves to the eye. In the midst of this
country of stones, encircled by a wall, we perceive extensive ruins;
stunted cypresses, bushes of the aloe and prickly pear, while some huts of
the meanest order, resembling whitewashed sepulchres, are spread over the
desolated mass. This spot is Jerusalem.[7]

This melancholy delineation, which was suggested by the state of the
Jewish metropolis in the third century, is not quite inapplicable at the
present hour. The scenery of external nature is the same, and the general
aspect of the venerable city is very little changed. But as beauty is
strictly a relative term, and is everywhere greatly affected by
association, we must not be surprised when we read in the works of eastern
authors the high encomiums which are lavished upon the vicinity of the
holy capital. Abulfeda, for example, maintains, not only that Palestine is
the most fertile part of Syria, but also that the neighbourhood of
Jerusalem is one of the most fertile districts of Palestine. In his eye,
the vines, the fig-trees, and the olive-groves, with which the limestone
cliffs of Judea were once covered, identified themselves with the richest
returns of agricultural wealth, and more than compensated for the absence
of those spreading fields waving with corn which are necessary to convey
to the mind of a European the ideas of fruitfulness, comfort, and
abundance.

Following the enlightened narrative of Malte Brun, the reader will find
that southward of Damascus, the point where the modern Palestine may be
said to begin, are the countries called by the Romans Auranitis and
Gaulonitis, consisting of one extensive and noble plain, bounded on the
north by Hermon or Djibel-el-Sheik, on the south-west by Djibel-Edjlan,
and on the east by Haouran. In all these countries there is not a single
stream which retains its water in summer. The most of the villages have
their pond or reservoir, which they fill from one of the wadi, or brooks,
during the rainy season. Of all these districts, Haouran is the most
celebrated for the culture of wheat. Nothing can exceed in grandeur the
extensive undulations of their fields, moving like the waves of the ocean
in the wind. Bothin or Batanea, on the other hand, contains nothing except
calcareous mountains, where there are vast caverns, in which the Arabian
shepherds live like the ancient Troglodytes. Here a modern traveller, Dr.
Seetzen, discovered, in the year 1816, the magnificent ruins of Gerasa,
now called Djerash, where three temples, two superb amphitheatres of
marble, and hundreds of columns still remain among other monuments of
Roman power. But by far the finest thing that he saw was a long street,
bordered on each side with a splendid colonnade of Corinthian
architecture, and terminating in an open space of a semicircular form,
surrounded with sixty Ionic pillars. In the same neighbourhood the ancient
Gilead is distinguished by a forest of stately oaks, which supply wealth
and employment to the inhabitants. Peraea presents on its numerous
terraces a mixture of vines, olives, and pomegranates. Karak-Moab, the
capital of a district corresponding to that of the primitive Moabites,
still meets the eye, but is not to be confounded with another town of a
similar name in the Stony Arabia.[8]

The countries now described lie on the eastern side of the river Jordan.
But the same stream, in the upper part of its course, forms the boundary
between Gaulonitis and the fertile Galilee, which is identical with the
modern district of Szaffad. This town, which is remarkable for the beauty
of its situation amid groves of myrtle, is supposed to be the ancient
Bethulia, which was besieged by Holofernes. Tabara, an insignificant
place, occupies the site of Tiberias, which gave its name to the lake more
generally known by that of Genesareth, or the Sea of Galilee; but industry
has now deserted its borders, and the fisherman with his skiff and his
nets no longer animates the surface of its waters. Nazareth still retains
some portion of its former consequence. Six miles farther south stands the
hill of Tabor, sometimes denominated Itabyrius, presenting a pyramid of
verdure crowned with olives and sycamores. From the top of this mountain,
the modern Tor and scene of the transfiguration, we look down on the river
Jordan, the Lake of Genesareth, and the Mediterranean Sea.[9]

Galilee, says a learned writer, would be a paradise were it inhabited by
an industrious people under an enlightened government. Vine stocks are to
be seen here a foot and a half in diameter, forming, by their twining
branches, vast arches and extensive ceilings of verdure. A cluster of
grapes, two or three feet in length, will give an abundant supper to a
whole family. The plains of Esdraelon are occupied by Arab tribes, around
whose brown tents the sheep and lambs gambol to the sound of the reed,
which at nightfall calls them home.[10]

For some years this fine country has groaned and bled under the malignant
genius of Turkish despotism. The fields are left without cultivation, and
the towns and villages are reduced to beggary; but the latest accounts
from the holy Land encourage us to entertain the hope, that a milder
administration will soon change the aspect of affairs, and bestow upon the
Syrian provinces at large some of the benefits which the more liberal
policy of Mohammed Ali has conferred upon the pashalic of Egypt.

Proceeding from Galilee towards the metropolis, we enter the land of
Samaria, comprehending the modern districts of Areta and Nablous. In the
former we find the remains of Cesarea; and on the Gulf of St. Jean d'Acre
stands the town of Caypha, where there is a good anchorage for ships. On
the south-west of this gulf extends a chain of mountains, which terminates
in the promontory of Carmel, a name famous in the annals of our religion.
There Elijah proved by miracles the divinity of his mission; and there, in
the middle ages of the church, resided thousands of Christian devotees,
who sought a refuge for their piety in the caves of the rocks. Then the
mountain was wholly covered with chapels and gardens, whereas at the
present day nothing is to be seen but scattered ruins amid forests of oak
and olives, the bright verdure being only relieved by the whiteness of the
calcareous cliffs over which they are suspended. The heights of Carmel, it
has been frequently remarked, enjoy a pure and enlivening atmosphere,
while the lower grounds of Samaria and Galileo are obscured by the densest
fogs.

The Shechem of the Scriptures, successively known by the names of Neapolis
and Nablous, still contains a considerable population, although its
dwellings are mean and its inhabitants poor. The ruins of Samaria itself
are now covered with orchards; and the people of the district, who have
forgotten their native dialect, as well perhaps as their angry disputes
with the Jews, continue to worship the Deity on the verdant slopes of
Gerizim.

Palestine, agreeably to the modern acceptation of the term, embraces the
country of the ancient Philistines, the most formidable enemies of the
Hebrew tribes prior to the reign of David. Besides Gaza, the chief town,
we recognise the celebrated port of Jaffa or Yaffa, corresponding to
the Joppa mentioned in the Sacred Writings. Repeatedly fortified and
dismantled, this famous harbour has presented such a variety of
appearances, that the description given of it in one age has hardly
ever been found to apply to its condition in the very next.

Bethlehem, where the divine Messias was born, is a large village inhabited
promiscuously by Christians and Mussulmans, who agree in nothing but their
detestation of the tyranny by which they are both unmercifully oppressed.
The locality of the sacred manger is occupied by an elegant church,
ornamented by the pious offerings of all the nations of Europe. It is
not our intention to enter into a more minute discussion of those old
traditions, by which the particular places rendered sacred by the
Redeemer's presence are still marked out for the veneration of the
faithful. They present much vagueness, mingled with no small portion of
unquestionable truth. At all events, we must not regard them in the same
light in which we are compelled to view the story that claims for Hebron
the possession of Abraham's tomb, and attracts on this account the
veneration both of Nazarenes and Moslems.

To the north-east of Jerusalem, in the large and fertile valley called
El-Gaur, and watered by the Jordan, we find the village of Rah, the
ancient Jericho, denominated by Moses the City of Palms. This is a name
to which it is still entitled; but the groves of opobalsamum, or balm
of Moses, have long disappeared; nor is the neighbourhood any longer
adorned with those singular flowers known among the Crusaders by the
familiar appellation of Jericho roses. A little farther south two rough
and barren chains of hills encompass with their dark steeps a long basin
formed in a clay soil mixed with bitumen and rock-salt. The water
contained in this hollow is impregnated with a solution of different
saline substances, having lime, magnesia, and soda for their base,
partially neutralized with muriatic and sulfuric acid. The salt which it
yields by evaporation is about one-fourth, of its weight. The bituminous
matter rises from time to time from the bottom of the lake, floats on
the surface, and is thrown out on the shores, where it is gathered for
various economical purposes. It is to be regretted that this inland sea
has not yet been examined with the attention which it deserves. We
are told, indeed, by the greater number of those who have visited it,
that neither fish nor shells are to be found in its waters; that an
unwholesome vapour is constantly emitted from its bosom; and that its
banks, hideous and desolate in the extreme, are never cheered by the
note of any bird. But it is admitted by the same travellers, that
the inhabitants are not sensible of any noxious qualities in its
exhalations; while the accounts formerly believed, that the winged
tribes in attempting to fly over it fell down dead, are now generally
regarded as fabulous. Tradition supports the narrative of Sacred
Scripture so far as to teach that the channel of the Dead Sea was once a
fertile valley, partly resting on a mass of subterranean water, and
partly composed of a stratum of bitumen; and that a fire from heaven
kindling these combustible materials, the rich soil sunk into the abyss
beneath, and Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed in the tremendous
conflagration.

This brief outline of the geographical limits and physical characters of
the Holy Land may prove sufficient as an introduction to its ancient
history. Details much more ample are to be found in numerous works, whose
authors, fascinated by the interesting recollections which almost every
object in Palestine is fitted to suggest, have endeavoured to transfer to
the minds of their readers the profound impressions which they themselves
experienced from a personal review of ancient scenes and monuments. But
we purposely refrain at present from the minute description to which
the subject so naturally invites us, because, in a subsequent part of
our undertaking, we shall be unavoidably led into a train of local
particularities, while setting forth the actual condition of the country
and of its venerable remains. Meantime, we supply, in the following table,
the means of comparing the division or distribution of Canaan among the
Twelve Tribes, with that which was afterward adopted by the Romans.

Ancient Canaanitish    Israelitish                    Roman
Division.              Division.                      Division.

Sidonians,             Tribe of Asher (in Libanus)   ]
Unknown,              [Naphtali (north-west of the   ]Upper Galilee.
                      [  Lake of Genesareth)         ]

Perizzites,            Zebulun (west of that lake)   ]
The same,             [Issachar (Valley of Esdraelon,]Lower Galilee.
                      [  Mount Tabor)                ]

Hivites,              [Half-tribe of Manasseh (Dora  ]
                      [  and Cesarea)                ]Samaria.
The same,              Ephraim (Shechem, Samaria)    ]

Jebusites,             Benjamin (Jericho, Jerusalem) ]
Amorites, Hittites,    Judah (Hebron, Judea proper)  ]
Philistines,          [Simeon (south-west of Judah)  ]Judea.
                      [Dan (Joppa)                   ]

Moabites,              Reuben (Peraea, Heshbon)      ]
Ammonites, Gilead,     Gad (Decapolis, Ammonites)    ]
Kingdom of Bashan,    [Half-tribe of Manasseh,       ]Peraea.
                      [  Gaulonitis, Batanea         ]

In a pastoral country, such as that beyond the river Jordan especially,
where the desert in most parts bordered upon the cultivated soil, the
limits of the several possessions could not at all times be distinctly
marked. It is well known, besides, that the native inhabitants were never
entirely expelled by the victorious Hebrews, but that they retained, in
some instances by force, and in others by treaty, a considerable portion
of land within the borders of all the tribes,--a fact which is connected
with many of the defections and troubles into which the Israelites
subsequently fell.



CHAPTER II.


_History of the Hebrew Commonwealth_.

Form of Government after the Death of Joshua; In Egypt; In the Wilderness;
Princes of Tribes and Heads of Families; Impatience to take Possession
of Promised Land; The Effects of it; Renewal of War; Extent of Holy
Land; Opinions of Fleury, Spanheim, Reland, and Lowman; Principle of
Distribution; Each Tribe confined to a separate Locality; Property
unalienable; Conditions of Tenure; Population of the Tribes; Number of
Principal Families; A General Government or National Council; The Judges;
Nature of their Authority; Not ordinary Magistrates; Different from Kings,
onsuls, and Dictators; Judicial Establishments; Judges and Officers;
Described by Josephus; Equality of Condition among the Hebrews; Their
Inclination for a Pastoral Life; Freebooters, like the Arabs; Abimelech,
Jephthah, and David; Simplicity of the Times; Boaz and Ruth; Tribe of
Levi; Object of their Separation; The learned Professions hereditary,
after the manner of the Egyptians; The Levitical Cities; Their Number
and Uses; Opinion of Michaelis; Summary View of the Times and Character
of the Hebrew Judges.

Learned men have long exercised their ingenuity with the view of
determining the precise form of the social condition which was assumed by
the Israelites when they took possession of the Promised Land. The sacred
writer contents himself with stating, that "it came to pass a long time
after the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round
about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age; and he called for all
Israel, for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and
for their officers." The purport of the address he delivered on this
occasion, and which is given at length in the twenty-third chapter of the
book which bears his name, was solely to remind them of their religious
obligations as the chosen people of Jehovah, and of the labors that they
had yet to undergo in subduing the remainder of Canaan. Neither in this
speech, nor in the exhortation with which he afterward at Shechem
endeavoured to animate the zeal and constancy of his followers, did he
make any allusion to the form of government that it behoved them to adopt;
declining even to direct their choice in the appointment of a chief, who
might conduct their armies in the field, and preside in the deliberations
of the national council.

The first events which occurred after the demise of Joshua appear to
establish the fact, that to every tribe was committed the management of
its own affairs, even to the extent of being entitled to wage war and make
peace without the advice or sanction of the general senate. The only
government to which the sons of Jacob had hitherto been accustomed, was
that most ancient and universal system of rule which gives to the head of
every family the direction and control of all its members. We find traces
of this natural subordination among them, even under the pressure of
Egyptian bondage. During the negotiations which preceded their deliverance
under the ministry of Moses, the applications and messages were all
addressed to the patriarchal rulers of the people. "Go gather the elders
of Israel together," was the command of Jehovah to the son of Amram, when
the latter received authority to rescue the descendants of Isaac from the
tyranny of Pharaoh.

But during the pilgrimage in the wilderness, and more particularly when
the tribes approached the confines of the devoted nations of Canaan, the
original jurisdiction of the family chiefs was rendered subordinate to the
military power of their inspired leader, who, as the commander of the
armies of Israel, was esteemed and obeyed by his followers as the
lieutenant of the Lord of Hosts. In truth, the martial labours to which
his office called him, placed the successor of Moses at the head of his
countrymen in quality of a general, guiding them on their march or forming
their array in the field of battle, rather than as a teacher of wisdom or
the guardian of a peculiar faith and worship. Until the conquered lands
were divided among the victorious tribes, Joshua was a soldier and nothing
more; while, on the other hand, the congregation of the Hebrews, who
seconded so well his military plans, appear at that juncture on the page
of history in no other light than that of veteran troops, rendered hardy
by long service in a parching climate, and formidable by the arts of
discipline under a skilful and warlike leader.

From the exode, in short, till towards the end of Joshua's administration,
we lose sight of that simple scheme of domestic superintendence which
Jacob established among his sons. The princes of tribes, and the heads of
families, were converted into captains of thousands, of hundreds, and of
fifties; regulating their movements by the sound of the trumpet, and
passing their days of rest amid the vigilance and formality of a regular
encampment. But no sooner did they convert the sword into a ploughshare,
and the spear into a pruning-hook, than they unanimously returned to their
more ancient form of society. As soon as there appeared a sufficient
quantity of land wrested from the Canaanites to afford to the tribes on
the western side of the Jordan a competent inheritance, Joshua "sent the
people away, and they departed;" and from this moment the military aspect
that their community had assumed gave way to the patriarchal model, to
which in fact all their institutions bore an immediate reference, and to
the restoration of which their strongest hopes and wishes were constantly
directed.

Actuated by such views, it cannot be denied that the Hebrews manifested
an undue impatience to enjoy the fruits of their successful invasion.
They had fought, it should seem, to obtain an inheritance in a rich and
pleasant country, rather than to avenge the cause of pure religion, or
to punish the idolatrous practices of the children of Moab and Ammon. As
soon, therefore, as the fear of their name and the power of their arms
had scattered the inhabitants of the open countries, the Israelites
began to sow and to plant; being more willing to make a covenant with
the residue of the enemy, than to purchase the blessings of a permanent
peace by enduring a little longer the fatigue and privations of war.
Their eagerness to get possession of the land flowing with milk and
honey seems to have compelled Joshua to adopt a measure, which led at no
distant period to much guilt and suffering on the part of his people. He
consented that they should occupy the vacant fields before the nations
which they had been commissioned to displace were finally subdued; that
that they should cast lots for provinces which were still in the hands
of the native Gentiles; and that they should distribute, by the line and
the measuring-rod, many extensive hills and fair valleys which had not
yet submitted to the dominion of their swords.

The effects of this injudicious policy soon rendered themselves apparent;
and all the evils which were foreseen by the aged servant of God, when he
addressed the congregation at Shechem, were realized in a little time to
their fullest extent. The Hebrews did indeed find the remnant of the
nations among whom they consented to dwell proving scourges in their
sides and thorns in their eyes, and still able to dispute with them the
possession of the good land which they had been taught to regard as a
sacred inheritance conferred upon them in virtue of a divine promise made
to their fathers. For example, the author of the book of Judges relates,
"the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains;" for, he
adds, "they would not suffer them to come down to the valley." Hence arose
the fact, that the Israelites did not for several hundred years complete
their conquest of Palestine. The Canaanites, recovering from the terror
which had fallen upon them in the commencement of the Hebrew invasion,
attempted, not only to regain possession of their ancient territory,
but even to obliterate all traces of their defeat and subjection. What
movements were made by the petty sovereigns of the country, in order to
effect their object, we are nowhere expressly told; but we find, from a
consultation held by the southern tribes of Israel, soon after the death
of Joshua, that the necessity of renewing military operations against the
natives could no longer be postponed. It was resolved, accordingly, that
Judah and Simeon should unite their arms, and take the field, to prevent,
in the first place, an inroad with which their borders were threatened,
and, subsequently, to reduce to a state of entire subjection the cities
and towns that stood within the limits of their respective districts. "And
Judah said unto Simeon his brother, come up with me into my lot, that we
may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into
thy lot."[11]

But, leaving these preliminary matters, we shall proceed to take a survey
of the Hebrew commonwealth, as it appeared upon its first settlement under
the successors of Joshua; endeavouring to ascertain the grounds upon which
the federal union of the tribes was established; their relations towards
one another in peace and in war; the resources of which they were
possessed for conquest or self-defence; their civil rights and privileges
as independent states; their laws and judicatories; and, above all, the
nature and extent of their property, as well as the tenure on which it
was held by families and individuals. Closely connected with this subject
is a consideration of that agrarian law which was sanctioned by Moses
and acted upon by Joshua, and which will be found, not only to have
determined, but also to have secured, the inheritance of every Israelite
who entered the Promised Land.

The extent of that portion of Syria which was granted to the Hebrew nation
has been variously estimated. On the authority of Hecataeus, a native
of Abdera, who is quoted by Josephus, the limits of the territory
possessed by the Jews are fixed at three millions of acres, supposing
the _aroura_ of the Greeks to correspond to the denomination of English
measure just specified. Proceeding on this ground, the Abbé Fleury and
other writers have undertaken to prove that the quantity of land mentioned
by Hecataeus would maintain only three millions three hundred and
seventy-five thousand men,--a computation which is liable to many
objections, and has not therefore been generally received. It is obvious,
for instance, that the Abderite, who lived in the reign of Alexander the
Great, and is said to have afterward attached himself to the person of the
first Grecian king of Egypt, described the country of the Jews as he saw
it, under the dominion of the Syrian princes of the Macedonian line. He
accordingly beheld only the inheritance of the two tribes which had
returned from the Babylonian captivity, and of consequence confined his
estimates to the provinces that they were permitted to enjoy; taking no
account of those extensive districts that formerly belonged to the Ten
Tribes of Israel, and which, in his days, were in the hands of that mixed
race of men who were descended from the Assyrian colonists whom
Shalmaneser placed in their room.[12]

Confiding in the greater accuracy of Spanheim, Reland, and Lowman, we are
inclined to compute the Hebrew territory at about fifteen millions of
acres; assuming, with these writers, that the true boundaries of the
Promised Land were, Mount Libanus on the north, the Wilderness of Arabia
on the south, and the Syrian Desert on the east. On the west some of the
tribes extended their possessions to the very waters of the Great Sea,
though on other parts they found their boundary restricted by the lands of
the Philistines, whose rich domains comprehended the low lands and strong
cities which stretched along the shore. It has been calculated by
Spanheim, that the remotest points of the Holy Land, as possessed by King
David, were situated at the distance of three degrees of latitude, and as
many degrees of longitude, including in all about twenty-six thousand
square miles.[13]

If this computation be correct, there was in the possession of the Hebrew
chiefs land sufficient to allow to every Israelite capable of bearing arms
a lot of about twenty acres; reserving for public uses, as also for the
cities of the Levites, about one-tenth of the whole. It is probable,
however, that if we make a suitable allowance for lakes, mountains, and
unproductive tracts of ground, the portion to every householder would not
be so large as the estimate now stated. But within the limits of one-half
of this quantity of land there were ample means for plenty and frugal
enjoyment. The Roman people under Romulus and long after could afford only
two acres to every legionary soldier; and in the most flourishing days of
the commonwealth the allowance did not exceed four. Hence the _quatuor
jugera_, or four acres, is an expression which proverbially indicated
plebeian affluence and contentment,--a full remuneration for the toils of
war, and a sufficient inducement at all times to take up arms in defence
of the republic.

The territory of the Hebrews was ordered to be equally divided among their
tribes and families according to their respective numbers; and the persons
selected to superintend this national work were Eleazar, the high-priest,
Joshua, who acted in the character of judge, and the twelve princes or
heads of Israel. The rule which they followed is expressed in these
words,--"And ye shall divide the land by lot, for an inheritance among
your families; and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance; and to
the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man's inheritance
shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of
your fathers ye shall inherit."

Every tribe was thus put in possession of a separate district or province,
in which all the occupiers of the land were not only Israelites, but
more particularly sprung from the same stock, and descendants of the
same patriarch. The several families, again, were placed in the same
neighbourhood, receiving their inheritance in the same part or subdivision
of the tribe; or, to use the language of Lowman, each tribe may be said to
have lived together in one and the same country, and each family in one
and the same hundred; so that every neighbourhood were relations to each
other and of the same families, as well as inhabitants of the same place.

To secure the permanence and independence of every separate tribe, a law
was enacted by the authority of Heaven, providing that the landed property
of every Israelite should be unalienable. Whatever encumbrances might
befall the owner of a field, and whatever might be the obligations under
which he placed himself to his creditor, he was released from all claims
at the year of jubilee. "Ye shall hallow," said the inspired legislator,
"the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all
the inhabitants thereof. It shall be a jubilee unto you, and ye shall
return every man to his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his
family. And the land shall not be sold for ever; for the land is mine,
saith the Lord; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me."[14]

The attentive reader of the Mosaical law will observe, that though a
Hebrew could not divest himself of his land in perpetuity, he could
dispose of it so far as to put another person in possession of it during a
certain number of years; reserving to himself and his relations the right
of redeeming it, should they ever possess the means; and having at all
events the sure prospect of a reversion at the period of the jubilee. In
the eye of the lawgiver this transaction was not regarded as a sale of the
land, but merely of the crops for a stated number of seasons. It might
indeed have been considered simply as a lease, had not the owner, as well
as his nearest kinsman, enjoyed the privilege of resuming occupation
whenever they could repay the sum for which the temporary use of the land
had been purchased.[15]

The houses which were built in fields or villages were, in regard to
the principle of alienation, placed on the same footing as the lands
themselves; being redeemable at all times, and destined to return to their
original owners in the year of jubilee. But, on the contrary, houses in
cities and large towns were, when sold, redeemable only during one year;
after which the sale was held binding forever. There was indeed an
exception in this case in favour of the Levites, who could at any time
redeem "the houses of the cities of their possession," and who, moreover,
enjoyed the full advantage of the fiftieth year.

The Hebrews, like most other nations in a similar state of society, held
their lands on the condition of military service. The grounds of exemption
allowed by Moses prove clearly that every man of competent age was bound
to bear arms in defence of his country,--a conclusion which is at once
strikingly illustrated and confirmed by the conduct of the Senate or Heads
of Tribes, in the melancholy war undertaken by them against the children
of Benjamin. Upon a muster of the confederated army at Mizpeh, it was
discovered that no man had been sent from Jabesh-gilead to join the camp;
whereupon it was immediately resolved that twelve thousand soldiers should
be despatched to put all the inhabitants of that town to military
execution. And the congregation commanded them, saying, Go and smite
Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and children; and
the only reason assigned for this severe order was, that "when the people
were numbered, there were none of the men of Jabesh-gilead there."[16]

The reader will now be prepared to accompany us while we make a few
remarks on the civil constitution of the Hebrews, both as it respected
the government of the several tribes viewed as separate bodies, and as
it applied to that of the whole nation as a confederated republic.

The tribes of Israel, strictly speaking, amounted only to twelve,
descended from the twelve sons of Jacob. But as the posterity of Joseph
was divided into two tribes, it follows that the host which entered the
land of Canaan under Joshua comprehended thirteen of these distinct
genealogies. Viewed in reference to merely secular rights and duties,
however, the offspring of Levi having no part nor lot with their brethren,
are not usually reckoned in the number; while on other grounds, and
chiefly an invincible propensity to idolatrous usages, the tribe of Dan at
a later period was sometimes excluded from the list. In the twenty-sixth
chapter of the book of Numbers, we have an account of the enrolment which
was made on the plains of Moab; from which the numerical strength of the
eleven secular tribes may be exhibited as follows:--

Joseph (including Ephraim and Manasseh) 85,200
Judah                                   76,500
Issachar                                64,300
Zebulun                                 60,500
Asher                                   53,400
Dan                                     46,400
Benjamin                                45,600
Naphtali                                45,400
Reuben                                  43,730
Gad                                     40,500
Simeon                                  22,200

This catalogue comprehended all the men above twenty years of age, to
which may be added 23,000 of the tribe of Levi, "all males from a month
old and upward: for they were not numbered among the children of Israel,
because there was no inheritance given them among the children of Israel."
The whole amounted to six hundred and six thousand seven hundred.[17]

In every tribe there was a chief called the Prince of the Tribe, or
the Head of Thousands; and under him were the Princes of Families, or
Commanders of Hundreds. For example, we find that at the muster which
was made of the Hebrews in the Wilderness of Sinai, Nahshon, the son of
Amminadab, was Prince of the Tribe of Judah. This tribe, again, like all
the others, was divided into several families; the term being used here
not in its ordinary acceptation, to signify a mere household, but rather
in the heraldic sense, to denote a lineage or kindred descended from a
common ancestor, and constituting the main branches of an original stock.
In this respect the Israelites were guided by the same principle which
regulates precedency among the Arabs, as well as among our own countrymen
in the Highlands of Scotland.

It appears, moreover, that a record of these families, of the households
in each, and even of the individuals belonging to every household,
was placed in the hands of the chief ruler; for it is related that,
on the suspicion excited with regard to the spoils of Jericho and the
discomfiture at Ai, "Joshua brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe
of Judah was taken; and he brought the family of Judah, and he took the
family of the Zarhites; and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by
man, and Zabdi was taken; and he brought his household man by man, and
Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe
of Judah, was taken."[18]

We may collect from the twenty-sixth chapter of the book of Numbers, that
the Heads of Families, at the time the children of Israel encamped on the
eastern bank of the Jordan, were in number fifty-seven. If to these we add
the thirteen Princes, the Heads of tribes, the sum of the two numbers will
be seventy; whence there is some ground for the conjectures of those who
allege, that the council which Moses formed in the Wilderness consisted of
the patriarchal chiefs, who in right of birth were recognized as bearing
an hereditary rule over the several sections of the people.

It is probable that the first-born of the senior family of each tribe
was usually received as the prince of that tribe, and that the eldest
son of every subordinate family succeeded his father in the honours and
duties which belonged to the rank of a patriarch. But the sacred narrative
presents too few details to permit us to form with confidence any general
conclusions in regard to this point. The case of Nahshon, besides, has
been viewed as an instance quite irreconcilable with such an opinion;
and it certainly seems to prove, that if the Prince of the Tribe was
not elective, he was not always, at least, the direct descendant of
the original chief. Nahshon, as has just been stated, was the son of
Amminadab, the son of Ram, who was a younger son of Hezron the son of
Pharez who was a younger son of Judah.[19]

From the particulars now stated, we find that every tribe had a head who
presided over its affairs, administered justice in all ordinary cases, and
led the troops in time of war. He was assisted in these important duties
by the subordinate officers, the Chiefs of Families, who formed his
council in such matters of policy as affected their particular district,
supported his decisions in civil or criminal inquiries, and finally
commanded under him in the field of battle.

But the polity established by the Jewish lawgiver was not confined to
the constitution and government of the separate tribes. It likewise
extended its regulations to the common welfare of the whole, as one
kingdom under the special direction of Jehovah; and provided that on
all great occasions they should have the means of readily uniting their
counsels and their strength. Even during the less orderly period which
immediately followed the settlement of the Hebrews in the land of their
inheritance, we find traces of such a general government; a national
senate, whose deliberations guided the administration of affairs in all
cases of difficulty or hazard; a judge, who was invested with a high
degree of executive authority as the first magistrate of the commonwealth;
and lastly, the controlling voice of the congregation of Israel, whose
concurrence appears to have been at all times necessary to give vigour and
effect to the resolutions of their leaders. To these constituent parts of
the Hebrew government we may add the Oracle or voice of Jehovah, without
whose sanction, as revealed by Urim and Thummim, no measure of importance
could be adopted either by the council or by the judge.

It has been justly remarked, at the same time, that however extensive the
power might be which was committed to the supreme court of the nation, and
how much soever the authority of a military judge among the Israelites
resembled that of a Roman dictator, the privilege of making laws was at no
period intrusted to any order of the Jewish state. As long as the Hebrews
were governed by a theocracy, this essential prerogative was retained by
the Divine Head of the nation. "Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the
statutes, and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that
ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your
fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you,
neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments
of the Lord your God which I command you."[20]

It is the opinion of learned men, that the Council of Seventy, established
by Moses in the Wilderness, was only a temporary appointment, and did not
continue after the Hebrews were settled in the Land of Canaan. The only
national assembly of which we can discover any trace subsequently to that
event, is the occasional meeting of the Princes of Tribes and Chiefs of
Families to transact business of great public importance. Thus, in the
case of the war against Benjamin, of which we have a full account in the
book of Judges, we are informed that the heads "of all the tribes, even of
all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the
people of God." On that memorable occasion, the interests and character of
the whole Hebrew commonwealth were at stake; for which reason the natural
leaders of the tribes gathered themselves together at the head of their
kinsmen and followers,--even four hundred thousand men that drew the
sword,--in order to consult with one another, and to adopt such measures
as might be deemed most suitable for punishing the atrocities which had
been committed at Gibeah.

During the period to which this part of our narrative refers, the supreme
power among the Hebrews was occasionally exercised by judges,--an order of
magistrates to which nothing similar is to be found in any other country.
The Carthaginians, indeed, had a description of rulers, whose names, being
derived from the same oriental term, appear to establish some resemblance
in their office to that of the successors of Joshua. But it will be found
upon a comparison of their authority, both in its origin and the purposes
to which it was meant to be subservient, that the Hebrew judges and the
suffites of Carthage had very little in common. Nor do we find any closer
analogy in the duties of a Grecian archon or of a Roman consul. These were
ordinary magistrates, and periodically elected; whereas the judge was
never invested with power except when the exigencies of public affairs
required the aid of extraordinary talents or the weight of a supernatural
appointment. On this account the Hebrew commander has been likened to the
Roman dictator, who, when the commonwealth was in danger, was intrusted
with an authority almost unlimited; and with a jurisdiction which extended
to the lives and fortunes of nearly all his countrymen. But in one
important particular this similarity fails. The dictator laid down his
office as soon as the crisis which called for its exercise had passed
away; and in no circumstances was he entitled to retain such unwonted
supremacy beyond a limited time. The judge, on the other hand, remained
invested with his high authority during the full period of his life, and
is therefore usually described by the sacred historian as presiding to the
end of his days over the tribes of Israel, amid the peace and security
which his military skill, aided by the blessing of Heaven, had restored to
their land.[21]

The Hebrew judges, says Dupin, were not ordinary magistrates, but men
raised up by God, on whom the Israelites bestowed the chief government,
either because they had delivered them from the oppressions under which
they groaned, or because of their prudence and equity. They ruled
according to the law of Jehovah, commanded their armies, made treaties
with the neighbouring princes, declared war and peace, and administered
justice. They were different from kings,--

1. In that they were not established either by election or succession,
but elevated to power in an extraordinary manner.

2. In that they refused to take upon them the title and quality of king.

3. In that they levied no taxes upon the people for the maintenance of
government.

4. In their manner of living, which was very far from the pomp and
ostentation of the regal state.

5. In that they could make no new laws, but governed according to the
statutes contained in the Books of Moses.

6. In that the obedience paid to them by the people was voluntary and
unforced, being at most no more than consuls and magistrates of free
cities.[22]

But it is less difficult to determine what the judges were not than to
ascertain with precision the various parts of their complicated office.
In war, they led the host of Israel to meet their enemies; and in peace,
it is probable they presided in such courts of judicature as might be
found necessary for deciding upon intricate points of law, or for hearing
appeals from inferior tribunals. Those who went up to Deborah for judgment
had, we may presume, brought their causes in the first instance before the
judges of their respective cities; and it was only, perhaps, in cases
where greater knowledge and a higher authority were required to give
satisfaction to the litigants that the chief magistrate of the republic,
aided by certain members of the priesthood, was called upon to pronounce a
final decision.

It belongs to this part of the subject to mention the provision made by
Moses, and established by Joshua, for the due administration of justice
throughout the land. "Judges and officers," said the former, "shalt thou
make thee in all thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee; and they
shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment;
thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift; for a gift doth blind
the eyes of the wise and pervert the words of the righteous." To the same
purpose Josephus relates, in his account of the last address delivered by
Moses to the Hebrew people, that this great legislator gave instructions
to appoint seven judges in every city, men who had distinguished
themselves by their good conduct and impartial feelings. Let those who
judge, he adds, be permitted to determine according as they shall think
right, unless any one can show that they have taken bribes to the
perversion of justice, or can allege any other accusation against
them.[23]

Between the "judges" and the "officers" nominated by the Jewish lawgiver
there was no doubt a marked distinction; though from the remote antiquity
of the appointment and the obscure commentaries of the rabbinical writers
it has become extremely difficult to define the limits of their respective
functions. Maimonides asserts, that in every city where the number of
householders amounted to a hundred and twenty there was a court consisting
of twenty-three judges, who were empowered to determine in almost all
cases both civil and criminal. This is unquestionably the same institution
which is mentioned by Josephus in the fourth book of his Antiquities,
and described by him as being composed of seven judges and fourteen
subordinate officers, or assistants, selected from among the Levites;
for these, with the president and his deputy, make up the sum of
twenty-three specified by the Jewish writers. In smaller towns, the
administration of law was intrusted to three judges, whose authority
extended to the determination of all questions respecting debt, theft,
rights of inheritance, restitution, and compensation. Though they could
not inflict capital punishments, they had power to visit minor offences
with scourging and fines, according to the nature of the delinquency and
the amount of the injury sustained.[24]

Of the former of these judicial establishments, there were two fixed at
Jerusalem even during the period that the Sanhedrim of Seventy was
invested with the supreme authority over the lives and fortunes of their
countrymen, one of which sat in the gate of Shusan, and the other in that
of Nicanor. The place where these judges held their audience was, as
Cardinal Fleury remarks, the gate of the city; for as the Israelites were
all husbandmen who went out in the morning to their work, and did not
return till the evening, the gate of the city was the place where the most
frequently met; and we must not be astonished to find that the people
laboured in the fields and dwelt in the towns. These were not cities like
our provincial capitals, which can hardly subsist on what is supplied to
them by twenty or thirty leagues of the surrounding soil. They were the
habitations for as many labourers as were necessary to cultivate the
nearest fields; hence, as the country was very populous, the towns were
very thickly scattered. For a similar reason among the Greeks and Romans,
the scene of meeting for all matters of business was the market-place, or
forum, because they were all merchants.[25] Among the Jews, the judges
took their seats immediately after morning prayers, and continued till the
end of the sixth hour, or twelve o'clock; and their authority, though not
in capital cases, continued to be respected by the Israelites long after
Jerusalem was levelled with the ground.[26]

With the aid of the particulars stated above, the reader mad have been
enabled to form some notion of the civil and political circumstances of
the ancient Hebrews. They enjoyed the utmost degree of freedom that was
consistent with the objects of regular society, acknowledging no
authority but that of the laws as administered by the elders of their
tribes and the heads of their families. The equality of their property,
too, and the sameness of their occupations, precluded the rise of those
distinctions in social life which, whatever may be their use in older
nations, are opposed by all the habits of a people whose sole cares are
yet devoted to the culture of their fields and the safety of their
flocks. The form of government which suits best with such a distribution
of wealth and employment is unquestionably that which was established by
Moses on the basis of the ancient patriarchal rule. But it is worthy of
notice, that this model, so convenient in the earliest stage of social
existence, was imperceptibly changed by the increasing power and
intelligence of the people at large, until, as happened towards the
close of Samuel's administration, the public voice made itself be heard
recommending an entire departure from obsolete notions. They glorified
in the progress of the human race, that the simple authority of the
family-chief passes through a species of oligarchy into a practical
democracy, and ends at no very distant period in the nomination of an
hereditary sovereign.

The epoch at which we now contemplate the Hebrew community is that very
interesting one when the wandering shepherd settles down into the
stationary husbandman. The progeny of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who
themselves were pastoral chiefs, appear to have retained a decided
predilection for that ancient mode of life. Moses, even after he had
brought the twelve tribes within sight of the promised land, found it
necessary to indulge the families of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh so far as
to give them the choice of a settlement beyond the Jordan, where they
might devote themselves to the keeping of cattle. From the conduct also
of the other tribes, who showed no small reluctance to divide the land
and enter upon their several inheritances, it has been concluded, with
considerable probability, that they too would have preferred the erratic
habits of their ancestors to the more restricted pursuits which their
great law-giver had prepared for them amid cornfields, vineyards, and
plantations of olives. "And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How
long are ye slack to go to possess the land which the Lord God of your
fathers hath given you?"[27]

Among the Arabs, even at the present day, the pastoral life is accounted
more noble than that which leads to a residence in towns, or even in
villages. They think it, as Arvieux remarks, more congenial to liberty;
because the man who with his herds ranges the desert at large will be far
less likely to submit to oppression than people with houses and lands.
This mode of thinking is of great antiquity in the eastern parts of the
world. Diodorus Siculus, when speaking of the Nabathaeans, relates, that
they were by their laws prohibited from sowing, planting, drinking wine,
and building houses; every violation of the precept being punishable with
death. The reason assigned for this very singular rule is, their belief
that those who possess such things will be easily brought into subjection
by a tyrant; on which account they continue, says the historian, to
traverse the desert, feeding their flocks, which consist partly of camels
and partly of sheep.

The fact now stated receives a remarkable confirmation from the notice
contained in the book of Jeremiah respecting the Rechabites, who, though
they had for several ages been removed from Arabia into Palestine,
persevered in a sacred obedience to the command of their ancestor,
refusing to build houses, sow land, plant vineyards, or drink wine, but
resolving to dwell in tents throughout all their generations.

In regard to these points, the Hebrews, in the early age at which we are
now considering them, appear to have entertained sentiments not very
different from those of the Arabs, from whose sandy plains they had just
emerged. The life of a migratory shepherd, too, has a very close alliance
with the habits of a freebooter; and the attentive reader of the ancient
history of the Israelites will recollect many instances wherein the
descendants of Isaac gave ample proof of their relationship to the
posterity of Ishmael. The character of Abimelech, the son of Gideon, for
example, cannot be viewed in any other light than that of a captain of
marauders. The men of Shechem, whom he had hired to follow him, refused
not to obey his commands, even when he added murder to robbery. Jephthah,
in like manner, when he was thrust out by his brethren, became the chief
of a band of freebooters in the land of Tob. "And there were gathered vain
men to Jephthah, and went out with him." But the elders of Gilead did not
on that account regard their brave countryman as less worthy to assume the
direction of their affairs, and to be head over all the inhabitants of
their land,--an honour which he even hesitated to accept when compared
with the rank and emolument of the less orderly situation which they
requested him to relinquish.

Nor did David himself think it unsuitable to his high prospects to have
recourse for a time to a predatory life. When compelled to flee from the
presence of Saul, he took refuge in the cave of Adullam; "and every one
that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that
was discontented gathered themselves unto him, and he became a captain
over them." It has been suggested, indeed, that the son of the
Bethlehemite employed his arms against such persons only as were enemies
to the Hebrews. But there is no good ground for this distinction. His
conduct to Nabal, whose possessions were in Carmel, proves, that when his
camp was destitute of provisions he deemed it no violation of honour to
force a supply for the wants of his men, even from the stores of a
friendly house. We may judge, moreover, of the character of his followers,
as well from the remonstrance that was made by the parsimonious rustic to
whom he sent them, as from the effect which a refusal produced upon their
ardent tempers. "Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? There be many
servants now-a-days that break away every man from his master. Shall I
then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my
shearers, and give it unto men whom I know not whence they be?--So David's
young men turned their way, and went again, and told him all those
sayings. And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And
they girded on every man his sword, and David also girded on his sword:
and there went after David about four hundred men, and two hundred abode
by the stuff."[28]

It is manifest, that in the simple condition of society to which our
attention is now directed, the profession of a freebooter was not in any
sense accounted dishonourable. The courage and dexterity which such a life
requires stand high in the estimation of tribes who are almost constantly
in a state of war; and hence, in reading the history of the ancient
Israelites, we must form an opinion of their manners and principles, not
according to the maxims of an enlightened age, but agreeably to the
habits, pursuits, and mental cultivation which belonged to their own
times.

It is farther worthy of remark, that during the period of the Hebrew
judges there is not the slightest trace of those distinctions of rank
which spring from mere wealth, office, or profession. From the princes of
Judah down to the meanest family in Benjamin, all were agriculturists or
shepherds, driving their own oxen, or attending in person to their sheep
and their goats. The hospitable Ephraimite, who received into his house at
Gibeah the Levite and his unfortunate companion, is described as "an old
man coming from his work out of the field at even." Gideon, again, was
thrashing his corn with his own hands when the angel announced to him that
he was selected by Divine Providence to be the deliverer of his people.
Boaz was attending his reapers in the field when his benevolence was
awakened in favour of Ruth, the widow of his kinsman. When Saul received
the news of the danger which threatened the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead,
he was in the act of "coming after the herd out of the field." Sovereign
as he was, he thought it not inconsistent with his rank to drive a yoke of
oxen. Every one knows that David was employed in keeping the sheep when he
was summoned into the presence of Samuel to be anointed king over Israel;
and even when he was upon the throne, and had by his talents and bravery
extended at once the power and the reputation of his countrymen among the
neighbouring nations, the annual occupation of sheep-shearing called his
sons and his daughters into the hill country to take their share in its
toils and amusements. In point of blood and ancestry, too, every
descendant of Jacob was held on the same footing; and the only ground of
pre-eminence which one man could claim over another was connected with old
age, wisdom, strength, or courage,--the qualities most respected in the
original forms of civilized life.[29]

We have been the more careful to collect these fragments of personal
history, because it is chiefly from them that the few rays of light
are reflected which illustrate the state of society at the era of the
Hebrew commonwealth. That the times in which the judges ruled were
barbarous and unsettled is rendered manifest, not less by the general
tenor of events, than by the qualities which predominated in the public
mind during the long period that elapsed between the death of Joshua and
the reign of Solomon. These notices also convey to us some degree of
information, in regard to the political relations which subsisted among
the Syrian tribes prior to the commencement of the regal government at
Jerusalem. The wars which were carried on at that remote epoch seem not
to have been waged with any view to permanent conquest, or even to
territorial aggrandizement, but merely to revenge an insult, to exact a
ransom, or to abstract slaves and cattle. The history of the judges
supplies no facts which would lead us to infer that during any of tie
servitudes, which for their repeated transgressions were inflicted on
the Hebrews, their lands were taken from them, or their cities destroyed
by their conquerors. It was not till a later age that a more systematic
plan of conquest was formed by the powerful princes who governed beyond
the Euphrates and on the banks of the Nile, and who, not content with the
uncertain submission of tributaries, resolved to reduce the Israelites for
ever to the condition of subjects or of bondmen.

The account which has been given of the political constitution of the
ancient Jews would not be complete were we to omit all notice of the tribe
of Levi, the duties and revenues of which were fixed by peculiar laws. It
may, perhaps, be thought by some readers, that this institution rested on
a basis altogether spiritual; but, upon suitable inquiry, it will be found
that the Levitical offices comprehended a great variety of avocations,
much more closely connected with secular life than with the ministry of
the tabernacle, or with the services which were due to the priesthood.
This sacred tribe, indeed, supplied to the whole nation of the Israelites
their judges, lawyers, scribes, teachers, and physicians; for Moses, in
imitation of the Egyptians, in whose wisdom he was early and deeply
instructed, had thought proper to make the learned professions hereditary
in the several families of Levi's descendants.

We find, in the first chapter of the book of Numbers, a command issued by
the authority of Heaven to separate the tribe now mentioned from the rest
of their brethren, and not to enrol them among those who were to engage in
war. It was determined, on similar grounds, that the Levites were to have
no inheritance in the land like the other tribes, but were to receive from
their kinsmen, in name of maintenance, a tenth part of the gross produce
of their fields and vineyards. The occupations for which they were set
apart were altogether incompatible with the pursuits of agriculture or the
feeding of cattle. It was deemed expedient, therefore, that they should be
relieved from the cares and toil connected with the possession of
territorial estates, and devote their whole attention to the service of
the altar and the instruction of the people.

To effect these wise purposes, it was necessary that the members of this
learned body should not be confined to one particular district, but that
they should be distributed among all the other tribes, according to the
extent of their several inheritances and the amount of their population.
With this view the law provided that a certain number of cities should be
set apart for them, together with such a portion of soil as might seem
requisite for their comfort and more immediate wants. "Command the
children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites, of the inheritance of
their possession, cities to dwell in; and ye shall give unto the Levites
suburbs for the cities round about them. And ye shall measure from without
the city, on the east side, two thousand cubits, and on the south side two
thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the
north side two thousand cubits; and the city shall be in the midst: this
shall be to them the suburbs of the cities. So all the cities which ye
shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities; them shall ye
give with their suburbs."[30]

It was not till after the conquest and division of Canaan that the
provisions of this enactment were practically fulfilled. When the other
tribes were settled in their respective possessions, the children of Levi
reminded Joshua of the arrangement made by his predecessor, and claimed
cities to dwell in, and suburbs for their cattle. The justice of their
appeal being admitted, the Levitical stations were distributed as
follows,--

                                                 Cities
In the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin       13
In Ephraim, Dan, and the half-tribe of Manasseh    10
In the other half-tribe of Manasseh, Issachar,
  Asher, and Naphtali                              13
In Zebulun, Reuben, and Gad                        12
                                                   --
                                                   48

Every reader of the Bible is aware, that six of these cities were invested
with the special right of affording refuge and protection to a certain
class of criminals. The Jewish doctors maintain that this privilege,
somewhat limited, belonged to all the forty-eight; for, being sacred, no
act of revenge or mortal retaliation was permitted to take place within
their gates. Into the six cities of refuge, properly so called, the
manslayer could demand admittance, whether the Levites were disposed to
receive him or not; and on the same ground he was entitled to gratuitous
lodging and maintenance, until his cause should be determined by competent
judges. It is added, that they could exercise a discretionary power as to
the reception of a homicide into any other of their cities, and even in
respect to the hire which they might demand for the house used by him
during temporary residence. But the institution of Moses, afterward
completed by Joshua, affords no countenance to these rabbinical
distinctions; and we have no reason whatever to believe that the benefit
of asylum was granted to any Levitical town besides Hebron, Shechem,
Ramoth, Bezer, Kedesh, and Golan.[31]

As learning and the several professions connected with the knowledge
of letters were confined almost exclusively the tribe of Levi, the
distribution of its members throughout the whole of the Hebrew
commonwealth was attended with many advantages. Every Levitical city
became at once a school and a seat of justice. There the language, the
traditions, the history, and the laws of their nation were the constant
subjects of study, pursued with that zeal and earnestness which can only
arise from the feeling of a sacred obligation, combined with the impulse
of an ardent patriotism. Within their walls were deposited copies of their
religious, moral, and civil institutions; which it was their duty not only
to preserve, but to multiply. They kept, besides, the genealogies of the
tribes; in which they marked the lineage of every family who could trace
their descent to the father of the faithful. Being carefully instructed
in the law, and possessed of the annals of their people from the earliest
days, they were well qualified to supply the courts with magistrates and
scribes, men who were fitted not only to administer justice, but also to
frame a record of all their decisions. It is perfectly clear that, in
the reign of David and of the succeeding kings, the judges and other
legal officers were selected from among the Levites; there being in
those days not fewer than six thousand of this learned body who held
such appointments.

Michaelis represents the Levitical law among the Hebrews in the light of
a literary noblesse; enjoying such a degree of wealth and consideration
as to enable them to act as a counterpoise to the influence of the
aristocracy; while, on the other hand they prevented the adoption of
those hasty measures which were sometimes to be apprehended from the
democratical nature of the general government. They were not merely a
spiritual brotherhood, but professional members of all the different
faculties; and by birth obliged to devote themselves to those branches
of study, for the cultivation of which they were so liberally rewarded.
Like the Egyptian priesthood, they occupied the whole field of literature
and science; extending their inquiries to philosophy, theology, natural
history, mathematics, jurisprudence, civil history, and even medicine.
Perhaps, too, it was in imitation of the sages of the Nile that the
Hebrews made these pursuits hereditary in a consecrated tribe; whence
flowed this obvious advantage, that the sons of the Levites, from the
very dawn of reason, were introduced to scientific researches, and
favoured with a regulated system of tuition suited to the occupation
in which their lives were to be spent. In short, the institution bears
upon it all the marks of that wisdom for which the Mosaical economy is
so remarkably distinguished, when viewed as the basis of a government
at once civil, religious, and political.[32]

The youngest reader of the Sacred Volume cannot fail to have perceived,
that the character and government of the Hebrew judges withdraw the
attention from the ordinary course of human events, and fix it on the
marvellous or supernatural. These personages were raised up by the special
providence of god, to discharge the duties of an office which the peculiar
circumstances of a chosen people from time to time rendered necessary; and
the various gifts with which they were endowed, as they constituted the
main ground of vocation to their high employment, so were they suited to
the difficulties that they had to overcome, and to the achievements they
were called to perform. The sanctity of their manners did not, indeed, in
all cases correspond to the dignity of their station; and the miracles
which they wrought for the welfare of their country were not always
accompanied with self-restraint and the due subordination of their
passions. Their military exploits were worthy of the highest admiration;
while, in some instances, their private conduct calls forth only our
surprise and regret. For examples of heroism and bravery, we can with
confidence point to Gideon, to Samson, and to Jephthah; but there is not
in their character anything besides that a father could recommend to the
imitation of his son, or that a lover of order and pureness of living
would wish to see adopted in modern society. We observe, in the greater
number of them, uncommon and even supernatural powers of body, as well as
of mind, united with the gross manners and fierce passions of barbarians.
We applaud their patriotism, admire their courage and talent to the field,
and even share in the delight which accompanied their triumphs; yet, when
we return to their dwellings, we dare not inspect too narrowly the usages
of their domestic day, nor examine into the indulgences with which they
sometimes thought proper to remunerate the ails and cares of their public
life. Divine Wisdom, stooping to the imperfection of human nature,
employed the instruments that were best fitted for the gracious ends
which, by their means, were about to be accomplished; though it does not
appear to have been intended that mankind should ever resort to the
history of the Judges for lessons of decorum, humanity, or virtue.



CHAPTER III.


_Historical Outline from the Accession of Saul to the Destruction
of Jerusalem_.

Weakness of Republican Government; Jealousy of the several Tribes;
Resolution to have a King; Rules for regal Government; Character of
Saul; of David; Troubles of his Reign; Accession of Solomon; Erection
of the Temple; Commerce; Murmurs of the People; Rehoboam; Division of
the Tribes; Kings of Israel; Kingdom of Judah; Siege of Jerusalem;
Captivity; Kings of Judah; Return from Babylon; Second Temple; Canon of
Scripture; Struggles between Egypt and Syria; Conquest of Palestine by
Antiochus; Persecution of Jews; Resistance by the Family of Maccabaeus;
Victories of Judas; He courts the Alliance of the Romans; Succeeded by
Jonathan; Origin of the Asmonean Princes; John Hyrcanus; Aristobulus;
Alexander Jannaeus; Appeal to Pompey; Jerusalem taken by Romans; Herod
created King by the Romans; He repairs to the Temple; Archelaus succeeds
him, and Antipas is nominated to Galilee; Quirinius Prefect of Syria;
Pontius Pilate; Elevation of Herod Agrippa; Disgrace of Herod Philip;
Judea again a Province; Troubles; Accession of Young Agrippa; Felix;
Festus; Floris; Command given to Vespasian; War; Siege of Jerusalem by
Titus.

The weakness and jealousy which seem inseparable from a government
comprehending a number of Independent states, had been deeply felt
during the administration of Eli, and even under that of Samuel in
his latter days. Established in different parts of the country, the
several tribes were actuated by local interests and selfish views;
those in the north, who were exempted from the hostile inroads of the
hilistines and Ammonites, refusing to aid their brethren, the children
of Simeon and Judah, whose territory was constantly exposed to the
ravages of those warlike neighbours. In the time of the more recent
judges, the federal union on which the Hebrew commonwealth was founded
appeared practically dissolved. Nay, a spirit of rivalry and dissension
occasionally manifested itself among the kindred communities of which
it was composed;--Ephraim, stimulated by envy, vexed Judah, and Judah
vexed Ephraim.[33]

Meanwhile, several powerful kingdoms in the east, as well as the south,
threatened the independence of the Twelve Tribes, especially those on
the borders of the desert. Assyria had already turned her views towards
the fertile lands which skirt the shores of the Mediterranean; and
Egypt, in order to protect her rich valley from the aggressions of that
rising monarchy, began to open her eyes to the expediency of securing
the frontier towns in the nearest parts of Palestine. In a word, it was
fast becoming manifest that the existence of the Hebrews, as a free and
distinct people, could only be secured by reviving the union which had
originally subsisted among their leading families, under a form that
would combine their physical strength and patriotism in the support of
a common cause. An aged priest, although he might with the utmost
authority direct the solemnities of their national worship, and even
administer the laws to which they were all bound to submit, could not
command the secular obedience of rude clans, or, with any prospect of
success, lead them to battle against an enemy practised in all the
stratagems of war. The people, therefore, demanded the consent of Samuel
to a change in the structure of their government, that they might have a
king, not only to preside over their civil affairs, but also to go out
before them and fight their battles.[34]

The principal reason assigned by the elders of Israel for the innovation
which they required at the hands of their ancient prophet was, that they
might be "like all the nations;" evidently alluding to the advantages of
monarchical power, when decisive measures become necessary to defend the
interests of a state. It is remarkable that Moses had anticipated this
natural result in the progress of society, and even laid down rules for
the administration of the regal government. This wise legislator provided
that the king of the Hebrews should not be a foreigner: lest he might be
tempted to sacrifice the interest of his subjects to the policy of his
native land, and perhaps to countenance the introduction of unauthorized
rites into the worship of Jehovah. It was also stipulated that the
sovereign of the chosen people should not multiply horses to himself, lest
he should be carried by his ambition to make war in distant countries, and
neglect the welfare of the sacred inheritance promised to the fathers of
the Jewish nation.[35]

The qualities which recommended Saul to the choice of Samuel and the
approbation of the Tribes, leave no room for doubt that it was chiefly
as a military leader that the son of Kish was raised to the throne. Nor
was their expectation disappointed in the young Benjaminite, so far as
courage and zeal were required in conducting the affairs of war. But the
impetuosity of his character, and a certain indifference in regard to the
claims of the national faith, paved the way for his downfall and the
extinction of his family. The scene of Gilboa, which terminated the career
of the first Hebrew monarch, exhibits a most affecting tragedy; in which
the valour of a gallant chief, contrasted with his despair and sorrow,
throws a deceitful lustre over an event which the reader feels that he
ought to condemn.

David, to the skill of an experienced warrior, added a deep reverence for
the institutions of his country and the forms of Divine worship; whence he
procured the high distinction of being a man after God's own heart. To
this celebrated king was reserved the honour of taking from the Jebusites
a strong fortress on the borders of Judah and Benjamin, and of laying the
foundations of Jerusalem, viewed, at least, as the metropolis of Palestine
and the seat of the Hebrew government. On Mount Zion he built a suburb of
considerable beauty; and strength, which continued for many years to bear
his name, and to reflect the magnificence of his genius. Not satisfied
with this acquisition, he extended his arms on all sides, till the
borders of his kingdom touched the western bank of the Euphrates and the
neighbourhood of Damascus. He likewise defeated the Philistines, those
restless enemies of the southern tribes, and added their dominions to the
crown of Israel. The Moabites, who had provoked his resentment, were
subjected to military execution, and deprived of a large portion of their
land; an example of severity which, so far from intimidating the children
of Ammon, only provoked them to try the fortune of war against the
victorious monarch. David despatched an army under the command of the
irascible Joab, who, after worsting them in the field, inflicted a
tremendous chastisement upon the followers of Hanun, for having studiously
insulted the ambassadors of his master.[36]

But the splendour of this reign was afterward clouded by domestic guilt
and treason; and the nation, which could now have defied the power of its
bitterest enemies, was divided and rendered miserable by the foul passions
that issued from the royal palace. Still, notwithstanding the rebellion of
Absalom, and the defection of certain military leaders, David bequeathed
to his successor a flourishing kingdom; rapidly advancing in the arts
of civilized life, enjoying an advantageous commerce, the respect of
neighbouring states, and a decided preponderance among the minor
governments of Western Asia. His last years were spent in making
preparations for the building of a temple at Jerusalem,--a work that he
himself was not allowed to accomplish, because his hands were stained with
blood, which, however justly shed, rendered them unfit for erecting an
edifice to the God of mercy and peace.[37]

The success which had attended the arms of his father rendered the
accession of Solomon tranquil and secure, so far, at least, as we
consider the designs of the surrounding nations. Accordingly; finding
himself in possession of quiet as well as of an overflowing treasury, he
proceeded to realize the pious intentions of David in regard to the
house of God, and thereby to obey the last commands which had been
imposed upon him before he had received the crown. The chief glory of
Solomon's administration identified with the erection of the Temple. Nor
were the advantages arising from this great undertaking confined to the
spiritual objects to which it was principally subservient On the
contrary, the necessity of employing foreign artists, and of drawing
part of his materials from a distance, suggested to the king the
benefits of a regular trade; and as the plains of Syria produced more
corn than the natives could consume, he supplied the merchants of Tyre
and the adjoining ports with a valuable commodity, in return for the
manufactured goods which his own subjects could not fabricate. It was in
his reign that the Hebrews first became a commercial people; and
although we must admit that considerable obscurity still hangs over the
tracks of navigation which were pursued by the mariners of Solomon,
there is no reason to doubt that his ships were to be seen on the
Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf.[38]

But the popularity of his government did not keep pace with the rapidity
of his improvements or the magnificence of his works. Perhaps the vast
extent of his undertakings may have led to unusual demands upon the
industry of his people, and given occasion to those murmurs which could
hardly be repressed even within the precincts of the court. Like his
predecessor, too, he occasionally failed to illustrate, in his own
conduct, the excellent precepts that he propounded for the direction of
others; and towards the close of his life, particularly, the wisdom of
his moral lessons was strongly contrasted with the practical follies
which stand recorded against him in the inspired narrative. He totally
disregarded the leading principles of the constitution constructed by
Moses and left for the guidance of all Hebrew kings; not only multiplying
horses even to the extent of maintaining a large body of cavalry, and
marrying many wives who turned away his heart, but proceeding so far as to
give his countenance to idolatrous worship within sight of the very Temple
which he had consecrated to Jehovah, the God of all the earth.[39]

It was in this reign that the limits of Jewish power attained their
utmost reach, comprehending even the remarkable district of Palmyrene, a
spacious and fertile province in the midst of a frightful desert. There
were in it two principal towns, Thapsacus and Palmyra, from the latter
of which the whole country took its name. Solomon, it is well known,
took pleasure to adding to its beauty and strength, as being one of his
main defences on the eastern border; and hence it is spoken of in
Scripture as Tadmor in the wilderness. Josephus calls it Thadamor; the
Seventy recognise it under the name of Theodmor and Thedmor; while the
Arabs and Syrians at the present day keep alive the remembrance of its
ancient glory as Tadmor, Tadmier, and Tatmor. But of Solomon's labours
not one vestige now remains. The inhabitants having revolted from the
Emperor Aurelian, and pledged their faith to an adventurer called
Antiochus, or Achilles, who had assumed the purple, this splendid
town was attacked and razed to the ground. Repenting of his hasty
determination, the Roman prince gave orders that Palmyra should be
immediately rebuilt; but so inefficient were the measures which he
adopted, or so imperfectly was he obeyed in their execution, that the
city in the desert has ever since been remarkable only as a heap of
magnificent ruins. The first object that now presents itself to the
traveller who approaches this forlorn place, is a castle of mean
architecture and uncertain origin, about half an hour's walk from it, on
the north side. "From thence," says Mr. Maundrell, "we descry Tadmor,
enclosed on three sides, by long ridges of mountains; but to the south
is a vast plain which bounds the visible horizon. The barren soil
presents nothing green but a few palm trees. The city must have been of
large extent, if we may judge from the space now taken up by the ruins;
but as there are no traces of its walls, its real dimensions and form
remain equally unknown. It is now a deplorable spectacle, inhabited by
thirty or forty miserable families, who have built huts of mud within a
spacious court which once enclosed a magnificent heathen temple."[40]

The despotism exercised by Solomon created a strong reaction, which was
immediately felt on the accession of his son Rehoboam. This prince,
rejecting the advice of his aged counsellors, and following that of the
younger and more violent, soon had the misfortune to see the greater
part of his kingdom wrested from him. In reply to the address of his
people, who entreated an alleviation of their burdens, he declared,
that instead of requiring less at their hands he should demand more.
"My father made your yoke heavy, I will add to your yoke; my father
chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." Such
a resolution, expressed in language at once so contemptuous and severe,
alienated from his government ten tribes, who sought a more indulgent
master in Jeroboam, a declared enemy of the house of David. Hence the
origin of the kingdom of Israel, as distinguished from that of Judah;
and hence, too, the disgraceful contentions between these kindred
states, which acknowledged one religion, and professed to be guided by
the same law. Arms and negotiation proved equally unavailing, in
repeated attempts which were made to reunite the Hebrews under one
sceptre; till, at length, about two hundred and seventy years after the
death of Solomon, the younger people were subdued by Shalmaneser, the
powerful monarch of Assyria, who carried them away captive into the
remoter provinces of his vast empire.[41]

Our plan does not admit a minuter detail of the sacred history than may
be readily found in the pages of the Old Testament. Suffice it therefore
to observe, that Jerusalem soon ceased to be regarded by the Israelites
as the centre of their religion, and the bond of union among the
descendants of Abraham.

Jeroboam had erected in his kingdom the emblems of a less pure faith, to
which he confined the attention of his subjects; while the frequent wars
that ensued, and the treaties formed on either side with the Gentile
nations on their respective borders, soon completed the estrangement
which ambition had begun. Little attached to the native line of princes,
the Israelites placed on the throne of Samaria a number of adventurers,
who had no qualities to recommend them besides military courage and an
irreconcilable hatred towards the more legitimate claimants of the house
of David. The following list will give a condensed view of the names,
the order, and the length of the reigns which belong to the sovereigns
of Israel, from the demise of Solomon down to the extinction of their
kingdom by the arms of Assyria:--

                          Years    B.C.
 1. Jeroboam               22      990
 2. Nadad                   2      968
 3. Baasha                 23      966
 4. Ela                     1      943
 5. Zimri and Omri         11      942
 6. Ahab                   22      931
 7. Ahaziah                 2      909
 8. Jehoram or Joram       12      907
 9. Jehu                   28      895
10. Jehoahaz               17      867
11: Jehoash or Joash       16      850
12. Jeroboam II            41      834
    1st Interregnum        22      793
13. Zechariah and Shallum   1      771
14. Menahem                10      770
15. Pekahiah                2      760
16. Pekah                  20      758
    2d Interregnum         10      738
17. Hoshea                  9      728
                          ---      ---
Samaria taken             271      719

It appears to have escaped the notice of the greater number of
commentators, that the separation of interests, which in the days of
Rehoboam produced a permanent division of the tribes, had manifested
itself at a much earlier period. In truth, it is extremely doubtful
whether the union and co-operation between the northern and the southern
communities, which was meant to be accomplished by the institution of
monarchy, were ever cordial or efficient. There is no doubt, at least,
that the two parties differed essentially in their choice of a successor
to Saul; for, while the people of Judah invited David to the supreme power
as their annointed sovereign, the suffrages of Israel were unanimous in
favour of Ishbosheth, the son of the deceased king. We may therefore
conclude, that the exactions of Solomon were the pretext rather than the
true cause of the unfortunate dismemberment of the Hebrew confederation,
which in the end conducted both sections of it by gradual steps to defeat
and captivity.

The kingdom of Judah, less distracted by the pretensions of usurpers, and
being confirmed in the principles of patriotism by a more rigid adherance
to the law of Moses, continued during one hundred and thirty years to
resist the encroachments of the two rival powers, Egypt and Assyria, which
now began to contend in earnest for the possession of Palestine. Several
endeavours were made, even after the destruction of Samaria, to unite the
energies of the Twelve Tribes, and thereby to secure the independence of
the sacred territory a little longer. But a pitiful jealousy had succeeded
to the aversion generated by a long course of hostile aggression; while
the overwhelming hosts, which incessantly issued from the Euphrates and
the Nile to select a field of battle within the borders of Canaan, soon
left to the feeble councils of Jerusalem no other choice than that of an
Egyptian or an Assyrian master.

In the year six hundred and two before the Christian era, when Jehoiakim
was on the throne of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, who already shared with his
father the government of Assyria, advanced into Palestine at the head of a
formidable army. A timely submission saved the city as well as the life of
the pusillanimous monarch. But after a short period, finding the conqueror
engaged in more important affairs, the vanquished king made an effort to
recover his dominions by throwing off the Babylonian yoke. The siege of
Jerusalem was renewed with greater vigour on the part of the invaders, in
the course of which Jehoiakim was killed, and his son Coniah ascended the
throne. Scarcely, however, had the new sovereign taken up the reigns of
government, when he found it necessary to open the gates of his capital to
the Assyrian prince, who carried him, his principal nobility, and the most
expert of his artisans, as prisoners to the banks of the Tigris.

The nominal authority was now confided to a brother or uncle of the
captive king, whose original name, Mattaniah, was changed to Zedekiah by
his lord paramount, who considered him merely as the governor of a
province. Impatient of an office so subordinate, and instigated, it is
probable, by the emissaries of Egypt, he resolved to hazard his life and
liberty for the chance of reconquering the independence of his crown. This
imprudent step brought Nebuchadnezzar once more before the walls of
Jerusalem. A siege, which appears to have continued fifteen or sixteen
months, terminated in the final reduction of the holy city, and in the
captivity of Zedekiah, who was treated with the utmost severity. His two
sons were executed in his presence, after which his eyes were put out;
when, being loaded with fetters, he was carried to Babylon and thrown into
prison.

The work of demolition was intrusted to Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the
guard, who "burnt the house of the Lord and the king's house, and all the
houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire. And
the army of the Chaldees that were with the captain of the guard brake
down the walls of Jerusalem round about. The rest of the people that were
left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the King of Babylon,
with the remnant of the multitude, did the captain of the guard carry
away. But he left the poor of the land to be vine-dressers and
husbandmen."[42]

The kings who reigned over Judah from the demise of Solomon to the
destruction of the first temple are as follows:--

                        Years    B.C.
 1. Rhehoboam            17      990
 2. Abijah                3      973
 3. Asa                  41      970
 4. Jehoshaphat          25      929
 5. Jehoram or Joram      8      904
 6. Ahaziah               1      896
 7. Queen Athaliah        8      895
 8. Joash or Jehoash     40      889
 9. Amaziah              29      849
    Interregnum          11      820
10. Uzziah or Azariah    52      809
11. Jotham               16      757
12. Ahaz                 18      741
13. Hezekiah             29      725
14. Manasseh             55      696
15. Amor                  2      641
18. Josiah               31      639
17. Jehoahaz              3 months
18. Jehoiakim            11      608
19. Coniah or Jehoiachin  3 months
20. Zedekiah             11      597
                        ---      ---
Jerusalem taken         404      586

The desolation inflicted upon Jerusalem by the hands of her enemies
excited the deepest sorrow, and gave rise to the most gloomy apprehensions
in regard to the future. Considering themselves under the special
protection of Jehovah, the inhabitants could not by any means be induced
to believe that the throne of David would be overturned by the armies of
the heathen. It was in vain that Jeremiah, at the imminent peril of his
life announced the approaching judgment, assuring the monarch and his
princes that the King of Babylon would certainly besiege and lay waste
their holy city, unless the evil were averted by an immediate change of
manners. All his remonstrances were greeted with contempt; and at length
the prophet had to bewail the misery which thus overtook his people, and
the varied sufferings, the contumely, and the degradation, which they were
doomed to endure in the land of their conquerers. "How doth the city sit
solitary that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that
was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, is become
tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks!
Judah is gone into captivity; she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth
no rest."[43]

These sentiments, although applied to a later period, are beautifully
expressed by a modern poet, to whom was granted no small share of the
pathetic eloquence of the prophetic bard whose words have just been quoted.

  "Reft of thy sons, amid thy foes forlorn,
  Mourn, widowed Queen, forgotten Sion, mourn!
  Is this thy place, sad city, this thy throne,
  Where the wild desert rears its craggy stone,
  While suns unbless'd their angry lustre fling,
  And wayworn pilgrims seek the scanty spring?
  Where now thy pomp which kings with envy viewed,
  Where now thy might which all those kings subdued?
  No martial myriads muster in thy gate;
  No suppliant nations in thy Temple wait;
  No prophet bards, thy glittering courts among,
  Wake the full lyre, and swell the tide of song.
  But lawless Force and meager Want are there,
  And the quick-darting eye of restless Fear;
  While cold Oblivion, 'mid thy ruins laid,
  Folds his dark wing beneath thy ivy shade."[44]

The seventy years which were determined concerning Jerusalem began, not
at the demolition of the city by Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard,
but at the date of the former invasion by his master, in the reign of
Jehoiakim, when the Assyrians carried away some of the princes, and among
others Daniel and his celebrated companions, as captives, or perhaps as
hostages for the good conduct of the king. The event now alluded to took
place exactly six centuries before the Christian era; and hence the return
of the Jews to the Holy Land must have occurred about the year 530 prior
to the same great epoch. But as their migration homeward was gradually
accomplished under different leaders, and with various objects in view,
their historians have not thought it necessary to enter into particulars;
and hence has arisen a certain obscurity in the calculations of divines
respecting the commencement, the duration, and the end of the Babylonian
captivity.

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who now constituted the whole Jewish
nation, brought back with them to Palestine the ancient spirit of
hostility towards the Israelitish kingdom, the people of which they were
pleased to class under the general denomination of Samaritans; an impure
race, descended from the eastern colonists sent by Shalmaneser to replace
the Hebrew captives whom he removed to Halah and Habor and the cities of
the Medes. In this way they roused an opposition, and created difficulties
which otherwise they might not have experienced during their erection of
the second Temple. The countenance of the Persian court itself was
occasionally withdrawn from men, who appeared to acknowledge no affinity
with any other order of human beings, and who seemed determined to exclude
from their country, as well as from their religious rites and privileges,
all who could not establish an immaculate descent from the father of the
faithful. For this reason, the sympathy which is so naturally excited in
the breast of the reader in behalf of the weary exiles, who sat down and
wept by the waters of Babylon with their thoughts fixed on Zion, is very
apt to be extinguished when he contemplates the bitter enmity with which
they rejected the kind offices of their ancient brethren amid the ruins of
their metropolis.

The names of Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, and Ezra occupy the most distinguished
place among those worthies who were selected by Divine Providence
to conduct the restoration of the chosen people. After much toil,
interruption, and alarm, Jerusalem could once more boast of a temple
which, although destitute of the rich ornaments lavished upon that of
Solomon; was at least of equal dimensions, and erected on the same
consecrated ground. But the worshipper had to deplore the absence of the
Ark, the symbolical Urim and Thummim, the Shechinah or Divine Presence,
and the celestial fire which had maintained an unceasing flame upon the
altar. Their Sacred Writings, too, had been dispersed, and their ancient
language was fast becoming obsolete. To prevent the extension of so great
an evil, the more valuable manuscripts were collected and arranged,
containing the Law, the earlier Prophets, and the inspired Hymns used for
the purpose of devotion. Some compositions, however, which respected the
remotest period of their commonwealth, especially the Book of Jasher and
the Wars of the Lord, were irretrievably lost.

Under the Persian satraps, who directed the civil and military government
of Syria, the Jews were permitted to acknowledge the authority, of their
own high-priest, to whom, in all things pertaining to the law of Moses,
they rendered the obedience which was due to the head of their nation.
Their prosperity, it is true, was occasionally diminished or increased by
the personal character of the sovereigns who successively occupied the
throne of Cyrus; but no material change in their circumstances took place
until the victories of Alexander the Great had laid the foundations of the
Syro-Macedonian kingdom in Western Asia, and given a new dynasty to the
crown of Egypt. The struggles which ensued between these powerful states
frequently involved the interests of the Jews, and made new demands upon
their allegiance; although it is admitted, that as each was desirous to
conciliate a people who claimed Palestine for their unalienable heritage,
the Hebrews at large were, during two centuries, treated with much
liberality and favour. But this generosity or forbearance was interrupted
in the rein of Antiochus Epiphanes, who, alarmed by the report of
insurrections, and harassed by the events of an unsuccessful war in Egypt,
directed his angry passions against the Jews. Marching at the head of a
large force, he attacked Jerusalem so suddenly that no means of defence
could be used, and hardly any resistance attempted. Forty thousand of the
inhabitants were put to death, and an equal number condemned to slavery.
Not satisfied with this punishment, he proceeded to measures still more
appalling in the eyes of a Jew. He entered the Temple, pillaged the
treasury, seized all the sacred utensils, the golden candlestick, the
table of shew-bread, and the altar of incense. He then commanded a great
sow to be sacrificed on the altar of burnt offerings, part of the flesh to
be boiled, and the liquor from this unclean animal to be sprinkled over
every part of the sacred edifice; thus polluting with the most odious
defilement even the Holy of Holies, which no human eye, save that of the
high-priest, was ever permitted to behold.

A short time afterward, being the year 168 before the epoch of Redemption,
he issued an edict for the extermination of the whole Hebrew race, against
whom he had again conceived a furious dislike. This commission was
intrusted to Apollonius,--an instrument worthy of so sanguinary a
tyrant,--who, waiting till the Sabbath, when the people were occupied in
the peaceful duties of religion, let loose his soldiers upon the
unresisting multitude, slew all the men, whose blood deluged the streets,
and seized the women as captives. He first proceeded to plunder and then
to dismantle the city, which he set on fire in many places. He threw down
the walls, and built a strong fortress on the highest part of Mount Sion,
which commanded the Temple and all the adjoining parts of the town. From
this garrison he harassed the inhabitants of the country, who, with fond
attachment, stole in to visit the ruins, or to offer a hasty and perilous
worship in the place where their sanctuary had stood. All the public
services had ceased, and no voice of adoration was heard within the holy
gates, except that of the profane heathen calling on their idols.[45]

But the persecution did not end even with these furious expedients.
Antiochus next issued an order for uniformity of worship throughout all
his dominions, and sent officers everywhere to enforce the strictest
compliance. In the districts of Judea and Samaria, this invidious duty was
intrusted to Athenaeus, an old man, whose chief recommendation appears to
have been his intimate acquaintance with the doctrines and usages of the
Grecian religion. The Samaritans are said to have conformed without
scruple, and even to have permitted their temple on Mount Gerizim to be
regularly dedicated to Jupiter, in his character of the Stranger's Friend.
Having so far succeeded, the royal envoy turned his steps to Jerusalem,
where, at the point of the sword, he prohibited every observance connected
with the Jewish faith; compelling the people to profane the Sabbath, to
eat swine's flesh, and to abstain, under a severe penalty, from the
national rite of circumcision. The Temple was consigned by consecration to
the ceremonies of Jupiter Olympius; while the statue of that deity was
erected on the altar of burnt-offerings, and sacrifice duly performed in
his name. Two women, who had the initiatory ordinance enjoined by the
Mosaical law performed on their children, were hanged to a conspicuous
part of the city with their infants suspended round their necks; and many
other cruelties were perpetrated, the very atrocity of which precludes
them at once from popular belief and from the pages of history. Neither
age, nor sex, nor profession saved the proscribed Jew from the horrors of
a violent death. From Jerusalem, too, the persecution spread over the
whole country; in every city the same barbarities were executed and the
same profanations introduced. As a last insult, the feasts of the
Bacchanalia, the license of which, as they were celebrated in the later
ages of Greece, shocked the severe virtue of the older Romans, were
substituted for the national festival of tabernacles. The reluctant
Hebrews were forced to join in these riotous orgies, and carry the ivy,
the insignia of the god. So nearly were the Jewish nation and the worship
of Jehovah exterminated by the double weapons of superstition and
violence![46]

But this savage intolerance produced in due time a formidable opposition.
To a sincere believer death has always appeared a smaller evil than the
relinquishment of his faith; and, in this respect, no people ancient or
modern have shown more resolution than the descendants of Abraham. The
severities of Antiochus, which had inflamed the resentment of the whole
Jewish people, called forth in a hostile attitude the brave family of the
Maccabees, whose valour and perseverance enabled them to dispute with the
powerful monarch of Syria the sovereignty of Palestine. Judas, the ablest
and most gallant of five sons, put himself at the head of the insurgents,
whose zeal, more than compensating for the smallness of their numbers,
carried him to victory against large armies and experienced generals.
Making every allowance for the enthusiastic description of an admiring
countryman, who has recorded the exploits of the Maccabaean chiefs, there
will still remain the most ample evidence to satisfy every candid reader,
that in all the great battles the fortune of war followed the standard of
the Jews.

But the victorious Maccabees, who had delivered their country from the
oppression of foreigners, encountered a more formidable enemy in the
factious spirit of their own people. Alcimus, a tool of the Syrians,
assumed the title of high-priest, and in virtue of his office claimed the
obedience of all who acknowledged the institutions of Moses. In this
emergency Judas courted the alliance of the Romans, who willingly extended
their protection to confederates so likely to aid their ambitious views in
the East; but before the Republic could interpose her arms in his behalf,
the Hebrew general had fallen in the field of battle.

This distinguished patriot was succeeded by his brother Jonathan, who,
though less celebrated as a warrior, had the good fortune to restore the
drooping cause of his countrymen, and even to establish their rights on
the footing of independence. Profiting by a sanguinary competition for the
throne of Syria, he consented to employ his power in favour of Alexander
Balas, on condition that, in return for so seasonable an aid; he should be
allowed to assume the pontifical robe as ruler of Judea. Hence the origin
of the Asmonean princes, who, uniting civil with spiritual authority,
governed Palestine more than a hundred years.

But Jonathan fell the victim of that refined policy to which he was
mainly indebted for his elevation. He left the sovereign priesthood to
his brother Simon, who, wisely abstaining from all interference in the
disputes which embroiled Egypt and Syria, directed his whole attention
to the improvement of the Jewish kingdom. To secure the tranquillity
which had been so dearly purchased he cultivated a more intimate connexion
with Rome; remitting, from time to time, such valuable tokens of his
respect as could not fail to make an impression on the venal minds of
those aspiring chiefs who already contended for the empire of the world
in that celebrated capital. But a conspiracy, originating in his own house,
and fomented by the agents of Antiochus, put an end to the life of Simon
and of his eldest son, who had earned considerable reputation in the
command of armies. The duty of avenging his death and of governing a
distracted country devolved upon his younger son, afterward well known
in history by the name of John Hyrcanus.

The unhappy circumstances under which he succeeded to power compelled him
to submit for a time to the condition of vassalage; but no sooner had
Antiochus Sidetes fallen in the Parthian war, than John shook off the yoke
of Syria, and exercised the rights of an independent sovereign. He even
extended his sway beyond the Jordan, reducing several important towns to
his obedience; though the achievement which most gratified his Jewish
subjects was the capture of Shechem, followed by the demolition of the
temple on Gerizim, so long regarded as the opprobrium of the Hebrew faith.
At a later period he made himself master of Samaria and Galilee, when, to
gratify still farther the vindictive grudge which yet rankled in the
breasts of his people, he destroyed the capital of the former, and debased
it to the condition of a stagnant lake. Nor was his attention confined to
foreign conquest. He strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem, and
built the castle of Baris within the walls which surrounded the hill of
the Temple,--a stronghold, that at a future period attracted no small
degree of notice under the name of Antonia.

The government was enjoyed during a brief space by Aristobulus, the son of
Hyrcanus, whose reign was only distinguished by the most painful domestic
calamities. The throne was next occupied by Alexander Jannaeus, a man of
ignoble birth, but of a warlike and very ambitious temper. The distracted
state of the neighbouring countries induced him to take the field, with
the view of reducing several towns on the coast of the Mediterranean,--an
undertaking which finally involved him in the troubled politics of Egypt
and Cyprus. In process of time, the severity of his measures, or the
meanness of his extraction, rendered him so unpopular at Jerusalem that
the inhabitants expelled him by force of arms. A civil war of the most
sanguinary nature raged several years, during which the insurgents invited
the assistance of Demetrius Euchaerus, one of the kings of Syria. This
measure seems to have united a large party of Jews, who were equally
hostile to the dominant faction within the city, and to the ally whom they
had called to their aid. Alexander, after having repeatedly suffered the
heaviest losses, saw himself again at the head of a powerful army, with
which he resolved to march against the rebellious capital. He inflicted a
signal punishment upon such of the unfortunate citizens as fell into his
hands; ordering nearly a thousand of them to be crucified, and their wives
and children to be butchered before their eyes.

Having fully re-established his power to the remotest parts of Palestine,
the victorious high-priest, now drawing towards the close of his days,
gave instructions to his wife for the future government of the country.
Alexandria, a woman of a vigorous mind, held the reins of civil power
with great steadiness, while her eldest son, Hyrcanus the Second, was
decorated with the sacred diadem as the head of the nation. But, unhappily,
the commotions which had disturbed the reign of her husband were again
excited, and once more divided the people into two furious parties.
Aristobulus, the younger son of Jannaeus, gave his countenance to the
body who opposed his brother, and at length threw off his disguise so
completely as to aspire to supreme power in defiance of the rights of
birth and of a legal investiture. Hyrcanus, who was far inferior to his
ambitious relative in point of talent and resolution, would probably,
after the death of their mother, have been unable to keep his seat on the
throne, had he not received the powerful aid of Antipatar, a son of
Antipas, the governor of Idumea. Both sides were making preparation for an
appeal to arms, when the Romans, who had already overrun the finest parts
of Syria, advanced into the province of Palestine in the character at once
of umpires and of allies.

Pompey readily listened to the claims of the two competitors, but deferred
coming to an immediate decision; having resolved, as it afterward
appeared, that neither of the kinsmen should continue any longer to
possess the civil and military command of Judea. Aristobulus, impatient of
delay, and having no confidence in the goodness of his cause, had recourse
to arms, and at length shut himself up in Jerusalem. The Roman general
issued orders to his lieutenant Gabinius to invest the holy city; which,
after a siege of three months, was taken by assault at a great expense of
human life.

Many of the priests who were employed in the duties of their office fell
victims to the rage of the soldiers; while others, unable to witness the
desecration of their Temple by the presence of idolaters, threw themselves
from the rock on which that building stood. Induced by curiosity, the
rival of Caesar imitated the profane boldness of Antiochus, penetrating
into the Holy of Holies, and examining all the instruments of a worship
which differed so much from that of all other nations. But Pompey was more
politic, or more generous than the Syrian monarch; for although he found
much treasure in the sanctuary as well as many vessels of gold and silver,
he carried nothing away. He expressed much astonishment that, in a fane so
magnificent, and frequented by Jews from all parts of the earth, there
should be no material form, statue, nor picture to represent the Deity to
whose honour it was erected. Having, in order to satisfy the scruples of
the people, ordered a purification of the Temple, he renewed the
appointment of Hyrcanus to the high priesthood, but without any civil
power; while in respect to the more turbulent Aristobulus, he resolved to
exercise the right of a conqueror, by sending him and his two sons to
Rome, that they might swell the train of his approaching triumph.

The escape of one of these young men, and afterward of the father himself,
rekindled the flame of war in Palestine. But the Romans under Gabinius
and the celebrated Mark Antony, speedily subdued the hasty levies of
Aristobulus, and completely re-established the ascendency of the Republic
in all the revolted districts. In the civil war which ensued, Antipater,
who still directed the affairs of the weak-minded Hyrcanus, paid his court
so successfully to the dominant faction as to obtain for his master the
protection of Caesar, and for himself the procuratorship of Judea. Raised
to this commanding eminence, he named Phasael, his eldest son, governor of
Jerusalem, and confided to the younger, the artful and unscrupulous Herod,
the charge of Galilee.

But there still remained an individual belonging to the family of
Aristobulus, who, having found refuge among the Parthians, led a powerful
army of that people into Syria, and finally invested Jerusalem. The
invaders, after obtaining possession of the city, deprived Hyrcanus of the
priesthood and Phasael of his life; the barbarian soldiers, meantime,
committing pillage on all classes, both within the walls and in the
adjoining country. Herod, warned by his less fortunate relative in the
capital, had fled to Rome, with the view, it is said, of recommending the
interests of another Aristobulus, a grandson of Hyrcanus, and brother of
the beautiful Mariamne, to whom he himself was already betrothed. Octavius
and Antony, however, thought it morn expedient for their rising empire
that Herod should wear the vassal crown of Judea in his own person, rather
than see it placed on the head of an inexperienced youth; and as the son
of Antipater was about to unite himself with a descendant of the Asmonean
princes, it was considered that the claims of each family would be thereby
fully satisfied.

The reign of Herod, who, to distinguish him from others of the same name,
is usually called the Great, was no less remarkable for domestic calamity
than for public peace and happiness. Urged by suspicion, he put to death
his beloved wife,[47] her mother, brother, grandfather, uncle, and two
sons. His palace was the scene of incessant intrigue, misery, and
bloodshed; his nearest relations being even the chief instruments of his
worst sufferings and fears. It was, perhaps, to divert his apprehensions
and remorse that he employed so much of his time in the labours of
architecture. Besides a royal residence on Mount Zion, he built a number
of citadels throughout the country, and laid the foundations of several
splendid towns. Among these was Cesarea, a station well selected both for
strength and commerce, and destined to become, under a different
government, a place of considerable importance.

But the impurity of his blood as an Idumean, and his undisguised
attachment to the religion of his Gentile masters, created an obstacle to
a complete understanding with his subjects, which no degree of personal
kindness, or of wisdom and munificence in the conduct of public affairs,
could ever entirely remove. At length he determined on a measure which, he
hoped, would at the same time employ the people and ingratiate himself
with the higher classes--the rebuilding of the temple in its former
splendour and greatness. The lapse of five hundred years, and the ravage
of successive wars, had much impaired the structure of Zerubbabel. As it
was necessary to remove the dilapidated parts of the edifice before the
new building could be begun, the Jews looked on with a suspicious eye;
apprehensive lest the king, under pretence of doing honour to their faith,
should obliterate every vestige of their ancient sanctuary. But the
prudence of Herod calmed their fears; the work proceeded with the greatest
regularity, and the nation saw, with the utmost joy, a fabric of stately
architecture crowning the brow of Mount Moriah with glittering masses of
white marble and pinnacles of gold. Yet during this pious undertaking the
Jewish monarch maintained his double character; presiding at the Olympic
games, granting large donations for their support, and even allowing
himself to be nominated president of this pagan festival.[48]

As he advanced towards old age his troubles multiplied, and his
apprehensions were increased, till, at length, four years anterior to the
common era of Christianity, Herod sank under the pressure of a loathsome
disease. He was permitted by the Romans so far to exercise the privileges
of an independent prince as to distribute by will the inheritance of
sovereignty among the more favoured of his children; and in virtue of this
indulgence he assigned to Archelaus the government of Idumea, Samaria, and
Judea, while he bestowed upon Antipas a similar authority over Peraea and
Galilee.

But the young princes required the sanction of the Roman emperor, whom
they both regarded as their liege lord; and with that view repaired to the
capital of Italy. The will of the late king was acknowledged and confirmed
by Augustus, who was moreover pleased to give to Herod Philip, their elder
brother, the provinces of Auranitis, Trachonitis, Paneas, and Batanea.
Achelaus, the metropolis of whose dominions was Jerusalem, ruled in
quality of ethnarch about nine years; but so little to the satisfaction
either of his master at Rome or of the people whom he was appointed to
govern, that at the end of this period he was summoned to render an
account of his administration at the imperial tribunal, when he was
deprived of his power and wealth, and finally banished into Gaul. Judea
was now reduced to a Roman province, dependent on the prefecture of Syria,
though usually place under the inspection of a subordinate officer, called
the procurator or governor. Thus the sceptre passed away from Judah, and
the lawgiver descended from the family of Jacob ceased to enjoy power
within the confines of the Promised Land.

No reader can require to be reminded, that it was at this epoch, in the
last year of the reign of Herod, the Messias was born, and conveyed into
Egypt for security. The unjust and cruel government of Archelaus, for
which, as has just been related, he was stripped of his authority by the
head of the empire, was probably the cause why the holy family did not
again take up their residence in Judea, but preferred the milder rule of
Antipas. When Joseph "heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room
of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being
warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: and
he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth."[49]

The first thirty years of the Christian era did not pass away without
several insurrections on the part of the Jews, and repeated acts of
severity and extortion inflicted upon them by their stern conquerors.
The commotion excited by Judas, called the Gallilean, is regarded by
historians as one of the most important of those ebullitions which were
constantly breaking forth among that inflammatory people, not only on
account of its immediate consequences, but for the effects produced on
the national character, in regard to the speculative tenets connected
with tribute and submission to a heathen government.

Upon the exile of Archelaus, the prefecture of Syria was committed to
Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. This commander is mentioned in the Gospel of
St. Luke by the name of Cyrenius, and is described as the person under
whom the taxing was first made in that province. Hence we may conclude,
that the enrolment which took place at the birth of our Saviour was merely
a census, comprehending the numbers, and perhaps the wealth and station of
the several classes of the people.

It was about the twenty-sixth year of our epoch that Pontius Pilate was
nominated to the government of Judea. Ignorant or indifferent as to the
prejudices of the Jews, he roused among them a spirit of the most active
resentment, by displaying the image of the emperor in Jerusalem, and by
seizing part of their sacred treasure for the purposes of general
improvement. As the fiery temper of the inhabitants drove them, on most
occasions, to acts of violence, he did not hesitate to employ force in
return; and we find, accordingly, that his administration was dishonoured
by several acts of military execution directed against Jews and Samaritans
indiscriminately. His severity towards the latter people finally led to
his recall and disgrace about the year 36, when Vitellius, the father of
the future emperor of the same name, presided over the affairs of the
Syrian province.

The plan of our work does not permit us to do more than allude to the
great event which took place at Jerusalem under the auspices of Pilate.
We may nevertheless observe, that the narrative of the gospel is in strict
harmony with the character, not only of the time to which it refers,
but also of all the persons whose acts it describes. The expectation of
the Jews when Jesus of Nazareth first appeared,--their subsequent
disappointment and rage--their hatred and impatience of the Roman
government,--the perplexity of the military chief, and the motive which at
length induced him to sacrifice the innocent person who was listed before
him, are facts which display the most perfect accordance with the tone of
civil history at that remarkable period.

During the troubles which agitated Judea, the districts that owned the
sovereignty of Antipas and Philip, namely, Galilee and the country beyond
the Jordan, enjoyed comparative quiet. The former, who is the Herod
described by our Saviour as "that fox," was a person of a cool and rather
crafty disposition, and might have terminated his long reign in peace, had
not Herodias, whom he seduced from his brother--the second prince just
mentioned--irritated his ambition by pointing to the superior rank of his
nephew, Herod Agrippa, whom Caligula had been pleased to raise to a
provincial throne. Urged by his wife to solicit a similar elevation, he
presented himself at Rome, and obtained an audience of the emperor; but
the successor of Tiberius was so little pleased with his conduct on this
occasion, that he divested him of the tetrarchy, and banished him into
Gaul.

The death of Herod Philip and the degradation of the Galilean tetrarch
paved the way for the advancement of Agrippa to all the honour and power
which had belonged to the family of David. He was permitted to reign over
the whole of Palestine, having under his direction the usual number of
Roman troops, which experience had proved to be necessary for the peace of
a province at once so remote and so turbulent. The only event that
disturbed the tranquillity of his government was an insane resolution
expressed by Caligula to place his own statue in the temple of Jerusalem,
as an object of respect, if not of positive and direct worship to the
whole Jewish nation. The prudence of the Syrian prefect, and the influence
which Agrippa still possessed over the mind of his imperial friend,
prevented the horrors that must have arisen from the attempt to desecrate,
in this odious manner, a sanctuary deemed most holy by every descendant of
Abraham.

But no position could be more difficult to hold with safety and reputation
than that which was occupied by this Hebrew prince. He was assailed on the
one hand by the jealousy of the Roman deputies, and on the other by the
suspicion of his own countrymen, who could never divest themselves of the
fear that his foreign education had rendered him indifferent to the rites
of the Mosaical law. To satisfy the latter, he spared no expense in
conferring magnificence on the daily service of the temple, while he put
forth his hand to persecute the Christian church in the persons of St.
Peter and James the brother of John. To remove every ground of disloyalty
from the eyes of the political agents who were appointed by Claudius to
watch his conduct, he ordered a splendid festival at Cesarea in honour of
the new emperor; on which occasion, when arrayed in the moat gorgeous
attire, certain words of adulation reached his ear, not fit to be
addressed to a Jewish monarch. The result will be best described in the
words of sacred Scripture: "And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal
apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the
people gave a shout, saying, it is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God
the glory; and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost."[50] He left
a son and three daughters, of whom Agrippa, Bernice, and Drusilla make a
conspicuous figure towards the close of the book of Acts. These events
took place between the fortieth and the forty-fifth years of the Christian
faith.

The youth and inexperience of the prince dictated to the Roman government
the propriety of assuming once more the entire direction of Jewish
affairs. The prefecture of Syria was confided to Cassius Longinus, under
whom served, as procurator of Judea, Caspius Fadus, a stern though an
upright soldier. But the impatience and hatred of the people were now
inflamed to such a degree, that gentleness and severity were equally
unavailing to preserve the tranquillity of the country. Impostors appeared
on every hand, proclaiming deliverance to the oppressed children of Jacob,
and provoking the more impetuous among their brethren to take up arms
against the Romans. Various conflicts ensued, in which the discipline of
the legions hardly ever failed to disperse or destroy the tumultuary bands
who, under such unhappy auspices, attempted to restore the kingdom to
Israel. The holy city, which was from time to time beleaguered by both
parties, sustained material injury from the furious assaults of pagan
and Jew alternately. The predictions of its downfall, already circulated
among the Christians, began to mingle with the shouts of its fanatical
inhabitants; and already, even at the accession of Agrippa the Second to
his limited sovereignty, every thing portended that miserable consummation
which at no distant period closed the temporal scene of Hebrew hope and
dominion.

Every succeeding day witnessed the progress of that ferocious sect founded
on the opinions of Judas the Gaulonite, who acknowledged no sovereign but
Jehovah, and who constantly denounced as the greatest of all sins those
payments or services by means of which a heathenish government was
supported. In prosecuting their revolutionary schemes; they esteemed no
man's life dear, and set as little value upon their own. Devoted to the
principles of a frantic patriotism, they were content to sacrifice to its
claims the clearest dictates of humanity and religion; being at all times
ready to bind themselves by an oath that they would neither eat nor drink
until they had slain the enemy of their nation or of their God. This was
the school which supplied that execrable faction, who added tenfold to the
miseries of Jerusalem in the day of her visitation, and who contributed
more than all the legions of Rome to realize the bitterness of the curse
which was poured upon her devoted head.

A succession of unprincipled governors, who were sent forth to enrich
themselves on the spoils of the Syrian provinces, accelerated the crisis
of Judea. About the middle of the first century the notorious Felix was
appointed to the government, who, in the administration of affairs,
habitually combined violence with fraud, sending out his soldiers to
inflict punishment on such as had not the means or the inclination to
bribe his clemency. An equal stranger to righteousness and temperance, he
presented a fine subject for the eloquence of St. Paul, who it is
presumed, however, made the profligate governor tremble, without either
affecting his religious principles or improving his moral conduct.

The short residence of Festus procured for the unhappy Jews a respite from
oppression. He laboured successfully to put down the bands of insurgents,
whose ravages were inflicted indiscriminately upon foreigners and their
own countrymen; nor was he less active in checking the excesses of the
military, so long accustomed to rapine and free quarter. Agrippa at the
same time transferred the seat of his government to Jerusalem, where his
presence served to moderate the rage of parties, and thereby to postpone
the final rupture between the provincials and their imperial master. But
this brief interval of repose was followed by an increased degree of
irritation and fury. Florus, alike distinguished for his avarice and
cruelty, and who saw in the contentions of the people the readiest means
for filling his own coffers, connived at the mutual hostility which it was
his duty to prevent. In this nefarious policy he received the countenance
of Cestius Gallus, the prefect of Syria, who, imitating the maxims of
his lieutenant, studiously drove the natives to insurrection, in order
that their cries for justice might be drowned amid the clash of arms.

But he forgot that there are limits to endurance even among the most
humble and abject. Unable to support the weight of his tyranny, and galled
by certain insults directed against their faith, the Jewish inhabitants of
Cesarea set his power at defiance, and declared their resolution to repel
his injuries by force. The capital was soon actuated by a similar spirit,
and made preparations for defence. Cestius marched to the gates, and
demanded an entrance for the imperial cohorts, whose aid was required to
support the garrison within. The citizens, refusing to comply; anticipated
the horrors of a siege, when after a few days they saw, to their great
surprise, the Syrian prefect in full retreat carrying with him his
formidable army. Sallying from the different outlets with arms in their
hands, they pursued the fugitives with the usual fury of an incensed
multitude; and, overtaking their enemy at the narrow pass of Bethhoron,
they avenged the cause of independence by a considerable slaughter of the
legionary soldiers, and by driving the remainder to an ignominious flight.

Nero received the intelligence of this defeat while amusing himself in
Greece, and immediately sent Vespasian into Syria to assume the
government, with instructions to restore peace of the province by moderate
concessions or by the most vigorous warfare. It was in the year
sixty-seven that this great commander entered Judea, accompanied by his
son, the celebrated Titus. The result is too well known to require
details. A series of sanguinary battles deprived the Jews of their
principal towns one after another, until they were at length shut up in
Jerusalem; the siege and final reduction of which compose one of the most
affecting stories that are anywhere recorded in the annals of the human
race.



CHAPTER IV.


_On the Literature and Religious Usages of the Ancient Hebrews_.

Obscurity of the Subject; Learning issued from the Levitical Colleges;
Schools of the Prophets; Music and Poetry; Meaning of the term Prophecy;
Illustrated by References to the Old Testament and to the New; The power
of Prediction not confined to those bred in the Schools; Race of false
Prophets; Their Malignity and Deceit; Micaiah and Ahab; Charge against
Jeremiah the Prophet; Criterion to distinguish True from False Prophets;
The Canonical Writings of the Prophets; Literature of Prophets; Sublime
Nature of their Compositions; Examples from Psalms and Prophetical
Writings; Humane and liberal Spirit; Care used to keep alive the
Knowledge of the Law; Evils arising from the Division of lsrael and
Judah; Ezra collects the Ancient Books; Schools of Prophets similar to
Convents; Sciences; Astronomy; Division of Time, Days Months, and Years;
Sabbaths and New Moons; Jewish Festivals; Passover; Pentecost; Feast of
Tabernacles; Of Trumpets; Jubilee; Daughters of Zelophedad; Feast of
Dedication; Minor Anniversaries; Solemn Character of Hebrew Learning;
Its easy Adaptation to Christianity; Superior to the Literature of all
other ancient Nations.

There is no subject on which greater obscurity prevails than that of the
learning and schools of the Hebrews prior to their return from the
Babylonian Captivity. The wise institution of Moses, which provided for
the maintenance of Levitical towns in all the tribes, secured at least an
hereditary knowledge of the law, including both its civil and its
spiritual enactments. It is extremely probable, therefore, that all the
varieties of literary attainment which might he deemed necessary, either
for the discharge of professional duties or for the ornament of private
life, were derived from those seminaries, and partook largely of their
general character and spirit. An examination of the scanty remains of that
remote period will justify, to a considerable extent, the conjecture now
made. It will appear that the poetry, the ethics, the oratory, the music,
and even the physical science cultivated in the time of Samuel and David
bore a close relation to the original object of the Levitical colleges,
and were meant to promote the principles of religion and morality, no less
than of that singular patriotism which made the Hebrew delight in his
separation from all other nations of the earth.

Our attention is first attracted by the several allusions which are
scattered over the earlier books of the Old Testament to the schools of
the prophets. These were establishments obviously intended to prepare
young men for certain offices analogous to those which are discharged in
our days by the different orders of the clergy; maintained in some degree
at the public expense; and placed under the superintendence of persons who
were distinguished for their gravity and high endowments. The principal
studies pursued in these convents appear to have been poetry and music,
the elements of which were necessary to the young prophet when he was
called to take a part in the worship of Jehovah. In the book of Samuel we
find the pupils performing on psalteries, tabrets, and harps; and in the
first section of the Chronicles it is said that the sons of Asaph, of
Heman, and of Jeduthan prophesied with harps, with psalteries, and with
cymbals. For the same reason Miriam the sister of Moses is called a
prophetess. When preparing to chant her song of triumph, upon the
destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, "she took a timbrel in her
hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances."

On a similar ground is the expression to be interpreted when used by St.
Paul in the eleventh chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians.
"Every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishononreth
her head;" that is, every female who takes a part in the devotions of the
Christian Church,--the supplications and the praises,--ought, according to
the practice of eastern nations, to have her face concealed in a veil, as
becoming the modesty of her sex in a mixed congregation. The term
prophesy, in this instance, must be restricted to the use of psalmody,
because exposition or exhortation in public was not permitted to the
women, who were not allowed to speak or even to ask a question in a place
of worship. Nay, the same apostle applies the title of prophet to those
persons among the heathen who composed or uttered songs in praise of their
gods. In his Epistle to Titus he alludes to the people of Crete in these
words, "one of themselves, even a prophet of their own, has said, the
Cretans were always liars." And every classical scholar is perfectly aware
that in the language of pagan antiquity a poet and a prophet were
synonymous appellations.

But the function of the prophet was not confined to the duty of praise and
thanksgiving; it also implied the ability to expound and enforce the
principles of the Mosaical Law. He was entitled to exhort and entreat; and
we accordingly find that the greater portion of the prophetical writings
consist of remonstrances, rebukes, threatenings, and expostulations. In
order to be a prophet, in the Hebrew sense of the expression, it was not
necessary to be endowed with the power of foreseeing future events. It is
true that the holy men through whom the Almighty thought meet to reveal
his intentions relative to the church, were usually selected from the
order of persons now described. But there were several exceptions, among
whom stood preeminent the eloquent Daniel and the pathetic Amos. To
prophesy, therefore, in the later times of the Hebrew commonwealth meant
most generally the explication and enforcement of Divine truth--an import
of the term which was extended into the era of the New Testament, when the
more recondite sense of the phrase was almost entirely laid aside.

In truth, it should seem that even before the days of Samuel the opinions,
or rather perhaps the popular notions connected with the name and offices
of a prophet, had undergone some change, and began to point to higher
objects. Saul, when employed in seeking his father's asses, had journeyed
so far from home that he despaired of finding his way thither; and when he
was come to the land of Zuph he said to his servant, "Come, and let us
return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for
us. And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God,
and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now
let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go.
Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold; if we go, what shall we bring
the man; for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present
to bring to the man of God; what have we? And the servant answered Saul
again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel
of silver; that will I give to the man of God to tell us our way.
(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake,
Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a prophet was
beforetime called a seer.) Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come,
let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was."[51]

The description of soothsayer whom Saul and his servant had resolved to
consult is very common in all lands at a certain stage of knowledge and
civilization,--a personage who, without much reliance on Divine aid, could
amuse the curiosity of a rustic and perplex his ignorance with an
ambiguous answer. But the age of Samuel required more solid qualifications
in the prophets, and hence the term seer had already given way to that of
expounder or master of eloquence and wisdom. The expedient suggested by
the attendant of the son of Kish was very natural, and quite consistent
with his rank and habits; while the easy acquiescence which he obtained
from his master denotes the simplicity of ancient times, not less than the
untutored state of mind in which the future King of Israel had left his
parent's dwelling. Before he mounted the throne, however, he was sent to
acquire the elements of learning among the sons of the prophets; whom, in
a short time, he accompanied in their pious exercises in a manner so
elevated as to astonish every one who had formerly known the young
Benjamite; till then remarkable only for a mild disposition and great
bodily strength.

The mental bias towards prediction, which is almost unavoidably acquired
by the practice of elucidation and commentary on a dark text, soon showed
itself in the schools of the prophets. Many of them, trusting to their own
ingenuity rather than to the suggestion of the Spirit of Truth, ventured
to foretel the issue of events, and to delineate the future fortunes of
nations, as well as of individuals. Hence the race of false prophets, who
brought so much obloquy upon the whole order, and not unfrequently barred
against the approach of godly admonition the ears of those who were
actually addressed by an inspired messenger. Nay, it appears that some of
them arrogated the power of realizing the good or the evil which they were
pleased to foretel; allowing the people to believe that they were
possessed with demons, who enabled them, not only to foresee, but to
influence in no small measure the course of Providence. The impression on
the mind of Ahab in regard to Micaiah leaves no room for doubt that the
king imagined the prophet to be actuated by a malignant feeling towards
him. "I hate him," he exclaimed, "for he doth not prophesy good concerning
me, but evil." Nor was the conviction that this ungracious soothsayer
spoke from his own wishes rather than from a divine impulse confined to
the Israelitish monarch. The messenger who was sent to call Micaiah spake
unto him, saying, "Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto
the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of
one of them, and speak that which is good."[52]

When we consider the uncertainty which must have attended all predictions,
where the wishes or feelings of the prophet could give a different
expression to the purposes of God, we cannot any longer be surprised at
the neglect with which such announcements were frequently treated by those
to whom they were addressed. It is remarkable, too, that one prophet did
not possess the gift of ascertaining the truth or sincerity of another who
might declare that he spoke in the name of God; and hence there were no
means of determining the good faith of this order of men, except the
general evidence of a pious character, or the test of a successful
experience. For example, when Jeremish proclaimed the approaching fall of
Jerusalem, the other prophets were among the first to oppose him, saying,
"Thou shalt surely die: why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord
that this house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate
without an inhabitant?" The princes of Judah assembled in the Temple to
hear the charge repeated against this fearless minister; when again,
"spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes, and to all the
people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against
this city, as ye have heard with your ears."

It is worthy of notice, too, that the prediction which gave so much
offence was conditional and contingent, and that Jeremiah, accordingly,
incurred the hazard of suffering the severe punishment due to a false
prophet; because if the people had turned from their sins the fate of
their capital and nation would have been protracted. "The Lord sent me to
prophesy against this house, and against this city, all the words that ye
have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the
voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent him of the evil that
he hath pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hand; do
with me as seemeth good and meet unto you: but know ye for certain, that,
if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon
yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof; for of a
truth the Lord hath sent me unto you, to speak all these words in your
ears."[53]

The decision of the princes was more equitable than the accusation adduced
by the priests and prophets; for according to the law of Moses no man
could be punished for predicting the most calamitous events, provided he
persevered in the assertion that he spoke in the name of Jehovah. The
divine legislator denounced the penalty of death against every prophet who
should speak in the name of any false god, or who should speak in the name
of Jehovah that which he was not commanded to speak; but, in regard to the
latter offence, the guilt could only be substantiated by the failure of
the prophecy. "And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word
which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the
Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which
the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it
presumptuously."[54]

It is obvious, however, that in all cases where a condition was implied,
the fulfilment of the prediction could not be regarded as essential to the
establishment of the prophetic character. The capture of Jerusalem
produced the most undeniable testimony to the inspiration of Jeremiah, as
well as to the sincerity of his expostulation; yet it is well known that
his motives did not escape suspicion, and that his memory was loaded by
many of his countrymen with the charge of having favoured the Chaldeans.

It may not appear out of place to inform the young reader that the
prophets whose writings are contained in the Old Testament are in number
sixteen, and usually divided into two classes, the greater and the minor,
according to the extent of their works and the importance of their
subject. Of the former, Isaiah, who may be regarded as the chief, began to
prophesy under Uzziah, and continued till the first year of Manasseh.
Jeremiah flourished a few years before the great captivity, and lived to
witness the fulfilment of his own predictions. Ezekiel, who had been
carried into the Babylonian territory some time before the ruin of his
native country in the days of Zedekiah, began to perform his office among
the Jewish captives in the land of the Chaldees, in the fifth year after
Jehoiakim was made prisoner. Daniel, the youngest of the four, was only
twelve years of age when he was involved in the miseries of conquest, and
reduced to the condition of a dependent at a foreign court.

Among the twelve minor prophets, Jonas, Hosea, Amos, and Micah preceded
the destruction of the kingdom of Israel. Nahum and Joel appeared between
that catastrophe and the captivity of Judah. Habakkuk, Obadiah, and
Zephaniah lived at the time when Jerusalem was taken, and during part of
the captivity. Haggai, Zecharias, and Malachi, the last of the whole,
prophesied after the return from Babylon.

But our business is rather with the literature of the prophets at large
than with the special functions of the few individuals of their body who
were commissioned by Heaven to reveal the secrets of future time. Of the
fruits of their professional study we have fine examples preserved in the
Psalms of David and the Proverbs of Solomon; the former, a collection of
sacred lyrics composed for the worship of Jehovah; the latter, a compend
of practical wisdom, suggested by an enlightened experience, and expressed
in language equally striking for its divine truth and rare simplicity.

In early times the dictates of moral philosophy are enounced in short
sentences, the result of much thought, and of which the effect is usually
heightened by the introduction of a judicious antithesis both in the
sentiment and the expression. The apothegms ascribed to the wise men of
Greece belong to this kind of composition; being extremely valuable to a
rude people who can profit by the fruits of reasoning without being able
to attend to its forms, and deposite in their minds a useful precept,
unencumbered with the arguments by means of which its soundness might be
proved. The books which bear the name of Solomon are distinguished above
all others for the sage views that they exhibit of human life, and for the
sensible maxims addressed to all conditions of men who have to encounter
its manifold perils--proving a guide unto the feet and a lamp unto the
path.

In no respect does the Hebrew nation appear to greater advantage than when
viewed in the light of their sublime compositions. Nor is this remark
confined simply to the style or mechanism of their writings, which is
nevertheless allowed by the best judges to possess many merits; but may be
extended more especially to the exalted nature of their subjects,--the
works, the attributes, and the purposes of Jehovah. The poets of pagan
antiquity, on the other hand, excite by their descriptions of divine
things our ridicule or disgust. Even the most approved of their order
exhibit repulsive images of their deities, and suggest the grossest ideas
in connexion with the principles and enjoyments which prevail among the
inhabitants of Olympus. But the contemporaries of David, inferior in many
things to the ingenious people who listened to the strains of Homer and of
Virgil, are remarkable for their elevated conceptions of the Supreme Being
as the Creator and Governor of the world, not less than for the suitable
terms in which they give utterance to their exalted thoughts.

In no other country but Judea, at that early period, were such sentiments
as the following either expressed or felt. "O Jehovah, our Lord, how
excellent is thy name in all the earth, thou that hast set thy glory above
the heavens! When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the
moon and the stars which thou has ordained; what is man, that thou art
mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Bless Jehovah,
O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great, and art clothed with honour
and majesty! Thou coverest thyself with light as with a garment, and
stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: who layeth the beams of his
chambers in the waters, who maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh
upon the wings of the wind! Bless Jehovah, O my soul, and all that is
within me, bless his holy name. Bless Jehovah, O my soul, and forget not
all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy
diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with
loving-kindness and tender mercies. Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow
to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He hath not dealt with us after our
sins, neither rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven
is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
For he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust."--"O Lord, thou
hast searched me and known me: thou knowest my downsitting and mine
uprising, thou understandest my thoughts long before. Thou art about my
bed and about my path, and art acquainted with all my ways. Whither shall
I go from thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I
ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I go down to the dwelling of the
departed, thou art there also. If I take the wings of the morning and
abide in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead
me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall
cover me, even the night shall be turned into day. Yea, the darkness is no
darkness with thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the
light are both alike to thee."

A similar train of lofty conception pervades the writings of the prophets.
"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out the
heavens with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure,
and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Behold,
the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust
of the balance; be taketh up the isles as a very little thing. It is he
that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are
as grass-hoppers. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created
these things, who bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all
by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power,
no one faileth. Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that the
everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth; fainteth
not, neither is weary! There is no searching of his understanding."

The following quotation from the same inspired author is very striking,
inasmuch as the truth contained in it is founded upon an enlarged view of
the Divine government, and directly pointed against that insidious
Manicheism, which, originating in the East, has gradually infected the
religious opinions of a large portion of mankind. Light was imagined to
proceed from one source, add darkness from another; all good was traced do
one being, and all evil was ascribed to a hostile and antagonist
principle. Spirit, pure and happy, arose from the former; while matter,
with its foul propensities and jarring elements, took its rise from the
latter. But Isaiah, guided by an impulse which supersedes the inferences
of the profoundest philosophy, thus speaks concerning the God of the
Hebrews:--"I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no God besides
me: I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace and create evil;
I, the Lord, do all these things."

But it is not only in such sublimity of language and exalted imagery that
the literature of the Hebrews surpasses the writings of the most learned
and ingenious portion of the heathen world. A distinction not less
remarkable is to be found in the humane and compassionate spirit which
animates even the earliest parts of the sacred volume; composed at a time
when the manners of all nations were still unrefined, and the softer
emotions were not held in honour. "Blessed is he who considereth the poor
and needy; the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble. The Lord will
preserve him and keep him alive; he shall be blessed upon earth, and thou
wilt not deliver him into the will of his enemies. The Lord will
strengthen him upon the bed of languishing; thou wilt make all his bed in
his sickness."

We shall in vain seek for instances of such a benign and liberal feeling
in the volumes of the most enlightened of pagan writers, whether poets or
orators. How beautifully does the following observation made by Solomon
contrast with the contempt expressed by Horace for the great body of his
countrymen:--"He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth; but he that bath
mercy on the poor happy is he. He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his
Maker."

Among the Israelites there was no distinction as to literary privilege or
philosophical sectarianism. There was no profane vulgar in the chosen
people. The stores of Divine knowledge were open to all alike. The
descendant of Jacob beheld in every member of his tribe a brother, and not
a master; one who in all the respects which give to man dignity and
self-esteem was his equal in the strictest sense of the term. Hence the
noble flame of patriotism which glowed in all the Hebrew institutions
before the people became corrupted by idolatry and a too frequent
intercourse with the surrounding tribes; and hence, too, the still more
noble spirit of fraternal affection which breathed in their ancient law,
their devotional writers, and their prophets.

It is worthy of remark, that in order to prevent any part of the sacred
oracles from becoming obsolete or falling into oblivion, the inspired
lawgiver left an injunction to read the books which bear his name, in the
hearing of all the people, at the end of every seven years at farthest.
"And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests, the sons of
Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the
elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every
seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of
tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in
the place which he shall choose, thou shaft read this law before all
Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and
children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear,
and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all
the words of this law: and that their children which have not known any
thing may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in
the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it."[55]

The value of the Levitical institution, whence originated the schools of
the prophets, will be the moat highly appreciated by those readers who
have noted the evils which arose from its suppression among the ten
tribes, and finally, in the kingdom of Judah itself. The separation of the
Israelites under Jeroboam led, in the first instance, to a defection from
the Mosaic ritual, and, in the end, to the establishment of a rival
worship,--a revolution which compelled all the Levites who remained
attached to the primitive faith to desert such of their cities as belonged
to the revolted tribes, and to seek an asylum among their brethren who
acknowledged the successor of Solomon. Hence the reign of idolatry and
that total neglect of the law which disgraced the government of the new
dynasty; though it must be granted, that with a view to perpetuate their
relationship to the father of the faithful, the people preserved certain
copies of the Pentateuch, even after the desolation of their land and the
complete extinction of their political independence.

It is more surprising to find, that even among the orthodox Hebrews at
Jerusalem the law sank into a gradual oblivion; insomuch that in the days
of Jehosophat, the fifth from David, it was found necessary to appoint a
special commission of Levites and priests to revive the knowledge of its
holy sanctions in all parts of the country. "And they taught in Judah, and
had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout
all the cities of Judah, and taught the people."[56]

At a later period, after a succession of idolatrous princes, the neglect
of the Mosaical writings became still more general, till at length the
very manuscript, or book of the law, which used to be read in the ears of
the congregation, could nowhere be found. Josiah, famed for his piety and
attention to the ceremonies of the national religion, gave orders to
repair the Temple for the worship of Jehovah; on which occasion, Hilkiah,
the high-priest, found the precious record in the house of the Lord, and
sent it to the king.[57] A momentary zeal bound the people once more to
the belief and usages of their ancestors; but the example of the profane
or careless sovereigns who afterward filled the throne of Josiah plunged
the country once more into guilt, obliterating all recollection of the
divine statutes, at least as a code of public law. The captivity throws a
temporary cloud over the Hebrew annals, and prevents us from tracing
beyond that point the progress of opinion on this interesting subject. But
upon the return from Babylon a new era commences; and we now observe the
same people, who in their prosperity were constantly deviating into the
grossest superstitions and most contemptible idolatry, remarkable for a
rigid adherence to the ritual of Moses, and for a severe intolerance
towards all who questioned its heavenly origin or its universal
obligation. Ezra is understood to have charged himself with the duty of
collecting and arranging the manuscripts which had survived the desolation
inflicted upon his country by the arms of Assyria, at the same time
substituting for the more ancient characters usually known as the
Samaritan the Chaldean alphabet, to which his followers had now become
accustomed. From these notices, however, which respect a later period, we
return to the more primitive times immediately succeeding the era of the
commonwealth.

We have ascribed the cultivation of sacred knowledge to the schools of the
prophets, without having been able to trace very distinctly the
institution of these seminaries to the Levitical colleges, the proper
fountains of the national literature. In the days of Samuel, it would
appear that the necessity of certain subordinate establishments had been
admitted, in order to supply a class of persons qualified to instruct such
of the people as lived at a distance from the cities of the Levites. The
rule of the prophetical schools seems to have borne some resemblance to
that of the better description of Christian convents in the primitive
ages, enjoining abstinence and labour, together with an implicit obedience
to the authority of their superiors. The clothing, also, it may be
presumed, was humble, and somewhat peculiar. A rough garment fastened with
a girdle round the loins is alluded to by Zechariah; while the impression
made on the courtiers at Ramoth-gilead by the appearance of one of the
sons of the prophets sent thither by Elisha would lead us to the same
conclusion. "Wherefore," said they, "came this mad fellow to thee?" Nor is
it without reason that some authors have attributed the conduct of the
children who mocked Elieha to the uncouthness of his dress and to the want
of a covering for his head. Be this as it may, there is no doubt that from
the societies now mentioned sprang the most distinguished men who adorned
the happiest era of the Jewish church.

Were we allowed to form a judgment from the few incidents recorded in the
books of the Kings, we should conclude that the accomplishment of writing
was not very general among the subjects of David and Solomon. It is
ingeniously conjectured by Michaelis, that Joab, the captain of the host,
and sister's son of the inspired monarch himself, could not handle the
pen; else he would not, for the purpose of concealing from the bearer the
real object for which he was sent, have found it necessary to tax his
ingenuity by putting the very suspicious detail of Uriah's death into the
mouth of a messenger to be delivered verbally to the king. He would at
once have written to him that the devoted man was killed.[58]

As to science in its higher branches, we can not expect any proofs of
eminence among a secluded people, devoted, as the Hebrews were, to the
pursuits of agriculture and the feeding of cattle. Solomon, indeed, is
said to have been acquainted with all the productions of nature, from the
cedar of Libanus to the hyssop on the wall; and we may readily believe,
that the curiosity which distinguished his temper would find some
gratification in the researches of natural history,--the first study of
the opening mind in the earliest stage of social life. But astronomy had
not advanced farther than to present an interesting subject of
contemplation to the pious mind, which could only regard the firmament as
a smooth surface spread out like a curtain, or bearing some resemblance to
the canopy of a spacious tent. The schools of the prophets, we may
presume, were still strangers to those profound calculations which
determine the distance, the magnitude, and the periodical revolutions of
the heavenly bodies. Even the sages of Chaldea, who boast a more ancient
civilization than is claimed by the Hebrews, satisfied themselves with a
few facts which they had not learned to generalize, and sometimes with
conjectures which had hardy any relation to a fixed principle or a
scientific object. Long after the reign of David, these wise men had not
distinguished the study of the stars from the dreams of astrology.

The first application of astronomical principle is to the division of
time, as marked out by the periodical movements of the heavenly bodies.
The Hebrews combined in their calculations a reference to the sun and to
the moon, so as to avail themselves of the natural measure supplied by
each. Their year accordingly was lunisolar, consisting of twelve lunar
months, with an intercalation to make the whole agree with the annual
course of the sun. The year was further distinguished as being either
common or ecclesiastical. The former began at the autumnal equinox, the
season at which they imagined the world was created; while the latter, by
Divine appointment, commenced about six months earlier, the period when
their fathers were delivered from the thraldom of Egypt. Their months
always began with the new moon; and before the captivity they were merely
named according to their order, the first, second, third, and so on down
to the twelfth. But upon their return they used the terms which they found
employed in Babylon, according to the following series:--

Nisan[59]              March.
Zif, or Ijar           April.
Sivan                  May.
Tamuz                  June.
Ab                     July.
Elul                   August.
Ethanim, or Tisri      September.
Bul, or Mareshuan      October.
Chisleu                November.
Tebeth                 December.
Sebat                  January.
Adar                   February.

One-half of these months consisted of thirty days, the other of
twenty-nine, alternately making in all three hundred and fifty-four. To
supply the eleven days and six hours which were deficient, they introduced
every second year an additional month of twenty-two days, and every fourth
year one of twenty-three days; by which means they approached as nearly to
the true measure as any other nation had attained till the establishment
of the Gregorian calendar.

The Hebrews divided the space from sunrise to sunset into twelve equal
parts, and hence the hours of their day varied in length according to the
season of the year. For example, when the sun rose at five and set at
seven, an hour contained seventy minutes; but when it rose at seven and
set at five, the hour was reduced to fifty minutes, and so on in
proportion to the duration of the time that the sun was above the horizon.
A similar rule applied to the night, which was likewise divided into
twelve equal portions.

It must be acknowledged, however, that the observations now made apply
rather to the acquirements of the Jews after their return from the East,
than to the more simple condition in which they appear under their judges
and prophets.

Next to the learning of this early period, the reader of the sacred
history will have his curiosity excited in regard to the time, the place,
and the manner of religious worship. When the Israelites had obtained
possession of the Holy Land, and distributed the territory among their
tribes, the tabernacle, or ambulatory temple, was placed at Shiloh, a town
in the possession of Ephraim. To that sacred retreat the Hebrews were wont
to travel at the three great festivals, to accomplish the service enjoined
by their law.

But it appears that a more ordinary kind of religious duty was performed
at certain stations within the several tribes, in the intervals between
the stated feasts appointed fur the whole nation; having some reference,
it is probable, to the periodical return of the Sabbath and new moons. For
this purpose the people seem to have repaired to high places, where they
might more readily perceive the lunar crescent, and give utterance to
their customary expression of gratitude and joy. This species of adoration
was connived at rather than authorized by the priests and Levites, who
found it impossible to check altogether the propensity of the multitude to
perform their worship on the high hill and under the green tree. Samuel,
the prophet and judge, saw the expediency on one occasion of building an
altar unto the Lord on Ramah, which is called the High Place; and in the
reign of Solomon the same practice was confirmed, "because there was no
house built unto the name of the Lord until those days."[60]

It is difficult to determine with precision at what epoch the Hebrews
first formed those meetings or congregations which are called
synagogues,--a name afterward more frequently applied to the buildings in
which they convened. The earliest allusion to them is found in the
seventy-fourth Psalm, where the writer, describing the havoc committed by
the Assyrians, remarks, "they have burnt up all the synagogues of God in
the land." We might infer, from this statement alone, that such edifices
were common before the Babylonian captivity; but we are supplied with a
more direct proof in the words of St. James, who informs us that "Moses of
old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the
synagogues every Sabbath-day."[61]

The duty in these places, which was confined to prayer and exposition, was
performed by that section of the Levites who are usually denominated
scribes; the higher office of sacrifice, the scene of which was first the
tabernacle and afterward the temple, being confined to the priests, the
sons of Aaron. Perhaps in remote places, where the population was small,
the inhabitants met in the house of the Levite, a conjecture which derives
some plausibility from an affecting incident mentioned in the second book
of the Kings. When the son of the woman of Shunem died, "she called unto
her husband and said, send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one
of the asses, that I may run to the man of God. And he said, wherefore
wilt thou go? it is neither new moon nor Sabbath." It is reasonable to
conclude, that on these days it was customary to repair to the dwelling of
the holy man for religious purposes.

We have already alluded to the fact, that at the first settlement of the
Promised Land the tabernacle was established in Shiloh, a village in
Ephraim, at that time the most numerous and powerful of all the tribes.
The profanity or, disobedience of the people in this district led to the
removal of the Divine presence, the symbols of which were commanded to be
deposited in Jerusalem. "Go ye," says the prophet Jeremiah, "unto my place
which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first; and see what I did
to it for the wickedness of my people Israel." Hence the origin of the
feud which subsisted so long between Ephraim and Judah, and afterward
between the Jews and Samaritans, in regard to the spot where Jehovah ought
to be worshipped. Each laid claim to a Divine appointment; neither would
yield to the other or hold the slightest intercourse in their adoration of
the same great Being; and the question remained as far as ever from being
determined when the Romans finally cut down all distinctions by their
victorious arms.

Our limits will not permit us to indulge in a minute account of the Jewish
festivals. Still the three great institutions at which all the males of
the Hebrew nation were commanded to appear before Jehovah are so
frequently mentioned in the history of the Holy Land, that we must take
leave to specify their general objects. The feast of the Passover,
comprehending that of unleavened bread, commemorated the signal
deliverance of this wonderful people from the tyranny of Pharaoh. It was
to be kept upon the fifteenth day of the first month, to last seven days,
and to begin, as all their festivals began, the evening before at the
going down of the sun.

The reader will attend to the distinction just stated--the beginning and
end of their sacred days. The celebration of the ordinary Sabbath, indeed,
commenced on the evening of Friday, and terminated at the going down of
the sun on Saturday. "From even unto even shall ye celebrate your
Sabbaths." But the Jews, in the concluding period of their government, had
innovated so far on the Mosaical institution as to prohibit the passover
from being observed on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, and to appoint the
celebration of it on the following day. The year in which our Lord
suffered death this great annual feast fell on a Friday--beginning, as
already stated, at sunset on Thursday evening--and the Redeemer
accordingly, who came to fulfil all righteousness, ate the paschal supper
with his disciples on the evening of Thursday. Yet the Jews, we find from
the evangelical narrative, were not to observe that rite till the
following evening; and hence, the early part of Friday being the
preparation, they would not go into the judgment hall "lest they should be
defiled, but that they might eat the passover" after the going down of the
sun. For the same reason they besought Pilate that the bodies might be
removed; intimating that the day which was to begin at sunset was to them
a high day, being in fact not only the Sabbath, but also the paschal
feast, both extremely solemn in the estimation of every true Israelite.

On the ground now stated is easily explained the apparent discrepancy
between the account given by St. John and that of the other Evangelists.
They tell us that our Lord celebrated the passover on Thursday evening the
first day of the yearly festival; whereas the beloved disciple relates,
that the neat morning was still the preparation of that ordinance which
was to be observed by the whole nation the ensuing night. Both statements
are perfectly correct; only our Saviour adhered to the day fixed by the
original institution, while the priests and lawyers followed the rule
established by the Sanhedrim, which threw the festival a day after its
proper time.

The proper preparation indeed of every festival began only at three
o'clock, called by the Hebrews the ninth hour, and continued till the
close of the day, or the disappearance of the sun. It was at that hour,
accordingly, that the Jews entreated the governor to take down the bodies
from the cross; holding it extremely improper that any token of a curse or
capital punishment should meet their eyes while making ready to kill the
paschal lamb.

The Feast of Pentecost was an annual offering of gratitude to Jehovah for
having blessed the land with increase. It took place fifty days after the
passover, and hence the origin of its name in the Greek version of our
Scriptures. Another appellation was applied to it--the Feast of Weeks--for
the reason assigned by the inspired lawgiver. "Seven weeks shall thou
number unto thee; beginning to number the seven weeks from such time as
thou puttest the sickle to the corn. And thou shalt keep the feast of
weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a free-will offering of
thine hand, in the place which Jehovah shall choose to place his name
there: And thou shall remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt."[62]

This was a very suitable celebration in an agricultural society, where joy
is always experienced upon the gathering in of the fruits of the earth.
The Hebrews were especially desired on that happy occasion to contrast
their improved condition, as freemen reaping their own lands, with the
miserable state from which they had been rescued by the good providence of
Jehovah. The month of May witnessed the harvest-home of all Palestine in
the days of Moses, as well as in the present times; and no sooner was the
pleasant toil of filling their barns completed, than all the males
repaired to the holy city with the appointed tribute is their hands, and
the song of praise in their mouths. Jewish antiquaries inform us, that
there was combined with this eucharistical service a commemoration of the
wonders which took place at Mount Sinai, when the Lord condescended to
pronounce his law in the ears of his people. The history of our own
religion has supplied a greater event, which at once supersedes the pious
recollections of the Hebrew, and touches the heart of the Christian
worshipper with the feeling of a more enlightened gratitude.

The termination of the vintage was marked with a similar expression of
thanksgiving, uttered by the assembled tribes in the place which had
received the "Name of Jehovah;" the visible manifestation of his presence
and power. The precept for this observance is given in the following
terms:--"On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered
in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days.
And ye shall take unto you, on the first day, the boughs of goodly trees,
branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees and willows of the
brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. Ye shall
dwell in booths seven days, that your generations may know that I made the
children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land
of Egypt."

This festival was of the most lively and animated description, celebrated
with a joyous heart, and under the canopy of heaven, in a most delightful
season of the year. If more exquisite music and more graceful dances
accompanied the gathering in of the grapes on the banks of the Cephisus,
the tabret and the viol and the harp, which sounded around the walls of
the sacred metropolis, were not wanting in sweetness and gayety; and,
instead of the frantic riot of satyrs and bacchanals, the rejoicing was
chastened by the solemn religious recollections with which it was
associated, in a manner, remarkably pleasing and picturesque.[63]

The feast of Trumpets had a reference to the mode practised by many of the
ancients for announcing the commencements of seasons and epochs. The
beginning of every month was made known to the inhabitants of Jerusalem by
the sound of musical instruments. "Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in
the time appointed, on our solemn feast-day: for this was a statute for
Israel, a law of the God of Jacob." As the first day of the moon in
September was the beginning of the civil year, the festivity was greater
and more solemn than on other occasions. The voice of the trumpets waxed
louder than usual, and the public mind was instructed by a grave assurance
from the mouth of the proper officer, that another year was added to the
age of the world. "In the seventh month, in the first day of the month,
shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy
convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein; but ye shall offer an
offering made by fire unto the Lord."[64]

We have already alluded to the jubilee which occurred periodically after
the lapse of forty-nine years, or, as the Jews were wont to express it,
after a week of Sabbaths. The benevolent uses of this most generous
institution are known to every reader, more especially as they respected
personal freedom and the restoration of lands and houses. Great care was
taken by the Jewish legislator to prevent an accumulation of property in
one individual, or even in one tribe. Nor was his anxiety less to prevent
the alienation of land, either by sale, mortgage, or marriage. With this
view we find him enacting a rule, suggested by the case of the daughters
of Zelophedad, who had been allowed to become heirs to their father, of
which the object was to perpetuate the possession of landed estates within
the limits of each particular tribe. The heads of the chief families of
Manasseh, to which community the young women belonged, came before Moses
and the Princes of Israel, when, after reminding these dignitaries of the
fact just mentioned, they said, "If they be married to any of the sons
of the other tribes, then shall their inheritance be taken from the
inheritance of our fathers, and shall be put to the inheritance of the
tribe whereunto they are received; so shall it be taken from the lot of
our inheritance. And when the jubilee of the children of Israel shall be,
then shall their inheritance be put unto the inheritance of the tribe
whereunto they are received: so shall their inheritance be taken away from
the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers."

To this judicious remonstrance Moses gave the following answer:--"This
is the thing which the Lord doth command concerning the daughters of
Zelophedad; let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family
of the tribe of heir father shall they marry. And every daughter that
possesseth an inheritance shall be wife unto one of the family, of the
tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the
inheritance of his fathers. Neither shall the inheritance remove from one
tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of
Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance."[65]

Besides the anniversaries enjoined by Divine authority, the Hebrews
observed several which were meant to keep alive the remembrance of certain
great events recorded in their history. Of these was the Feast of
Dedication mentioned by St. John, referring, it has been thought, to the
purification of the altar by Judas Maccabaeus, after it had been profaned
by Antiochus, the king of Syria. When the ceremony was performed, "Judas
and his brethren, with the whole congregation of Israel, ordained that the
days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season, from
year to year, by the space of eight days, from the five-and-twentieth day
of the ninth month (November), with mirth and gladness."[66]

The restoration of the heavenly fire in the temple, after the return from
Babylon, was likewise commemorated every year. This sacred flame, which
had been long extinct, was revived on the altar the day that Nehemiah
performed sacrifice in the new building. For this reason the Jews of
Palestine wrote to those in Egypt, recommending an annual festival in
remembrance of an event so important to their national worship. They
thought it necessary to certify them of the fact, that their brethren also
might celebrate the "feast of the fire which was given us when Neemias
offered sacrifice after that he had builded the Temple and the altar."[67]

It was likewise a custom among this singular people, that the young women
"went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah, the Gileadite, four days
in a year." A more joyous ceremony, on the fourteenth and fifteenth days
of the month Adar, reminded the faithful Hebrew of the triumph gained by
his kindred over the cruel and perfidious Haman, who had intended to
extirpate their whole race. Besides these, we find in the book of
Zecharias the prophet an allusion to the "fast of the fourth month, and
the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the
tenth;" days of humiliation which probably recalled certain national
calamities, such as the destruction of their city and Temple, and the era
of their long captivity.

In concluding this chapter on the literature and religion of the ancient
Hebrews, we may remark, in regard to the system bequeathed to them by
Moses, that it contains the only complete body of law which was ever given
to a people at one time,--that it is the only entire body of law which has
come down to our days,--that it is the only body of ancient law which
still governs an existing people,--that, the nation which it respects
being scattered over the face of the whole earth, it is the only body of
law that is equally observed in the four quarters of the globe,--and,
finally, that all the other codes of law of which history has preserved
any recollection, were given to communities who already had written
statutes, but who wished to change their form or modify their application;
whereas, in this case, we behold a new society under the hands of a
legislator who proceeds to lay its very foundations.[68]

It may be said of the Hebrews, that they had no profane literature, no
works devoted to mere amusement or relaxation. As they admitted no image
of any thing in heaven or in earth, they consequently rejected the use of
all those arts called imitative, and which supply so large a portion of
the more refined enjoyment characteristic of civilized nations. In like
manner, they seem to have viewed in the light of sacrilege every attempt
to bring down the sublime language in which they praised Jehovah and
recorded his mighty works, to the more common and less hallowed purposes
of fictitious narrative, or of amatory, dramatic, and lyrical composition.
The Jews have no epic poem to throw a lustre on the early annals of their
literature. Even the Song of Songs is allowed to have a spiritual import,
pointing to much higher themes than Solomon and his Egyptian bride. A
solemn gravity pervades all their writings, befitting a people who were
charged with the religious history of the world and with the oracles of
Divine truth. No smile appears to have ever brightened the countenance of
a Jewish author,--no trifling thought to have passed through his mind,--no
ludicrous association to have been formed in his fancy. In describing the
flood of Deucalion, the Roman poet laughs at the grotesque misery which he
himself exhibits, and purposely groups together objects with the intention
of exerting to his readers the feeling of ridicule. But in no instance can
we detect the faintest symptom of levity in the Hebrew penmen; their
style, like their subject, is uniformly exalted, chaste, and severe; they
wrote to men concerning the things of God, in a manner suitable to such a
momentous communication; and they never ceased to remember that, in all
their records, whether historical or prophetic, they were employed in
propagating those glad tidings by which all the families of the earth were
to be blessed.

There can be no stronger proof of the pure and sublime nature of Hebrew
poetry than is supplied by the remarkable fact, that it has been
introduced into the service of the Christian church, and found suitable
for expressing those lofty sentiments with which the gospel inspires the
heart of every true worshipper. No other nation of the ancient world has
produced a single poem which could be used by an enlightened people in
these days for the purposes of devotion.[69] Hesiod, although much
esteemed for the moral tone of his compositions, presents very few ideas
indeed capable of being accommodated to the theology of an improved age.
In perusing the works of the greatest writers of paganism, we are struck
with a monstrous incongruity in all their conceptions of the Supreme
Being. The majesty with which the Hebrews surrounded Jehovah is entirely
wanting; the attributes belonging to the great Sovereign of the universe
are not appreciated; the providence of the Divine mind, united with
benevolence, compassion, and mercy, is never found to enter into their
descriptions of the eternal First Cause; while their incessant deviations
into polytheism outrage our religious feelings, and carry us back to the
verb rudest periods of human history.

In these respects the literature of the Jews is far exalted above that of
every other nation of which history has preserved any traces. It must be
acknowledged, that we remain ignorant of the learning and theological
opinions cultivated among the Persians at the time when the Jews were
under their dominion, and cannot therefore determine the precise extent to
which the dogmas of the captive tribes were affected by their intercourse
with a race of men who certainly taught the doctrine of the Divine unity,
and abstained from idolatrous usages. But confining our judgment even to
the oldest compositions of the Hebrews, those, for example, which may be
traced to the days of Moses, of Samuel, and of David, we cannot hesitate
to pronounce that they are distinguished by a remarkable peculiarity,
indicating by the most unambiguous tokens, that, in all things pertaining
to religious belief, the descendants of Jacob were placed under a special
superintendence and direction.



CHAPTER V.


_Description of Jerusalem_.

Pilgrimages to the Holy Land; Arculfus; Willibald; Bernard; Effect of
Crusades; William de Bouldessell; Bertrandon de la Broquiere; State of
Damascus; Breidenbach; Baumgarten; Bartholemeo Georgewitz; Aldersey;
Sandys; Doubdan; Cheron; Thevenot; Gonzales; Morison; Maundrell; Pococke;
Road from Jaffa to Jerusalem; Plain of Sharon; Rama or Ramla; Condition
of the Peasantry; Vale of Jeremiah; Jerusalem; Remark of Chateaubriand;
Impressions of different Travellers; Dr. Clarke; Tasso; Volney; Henniker;
Mosque of Omar described; Mysterious Stone; Church of Holy Sepulchre;
Ceremonies of Good Friday; Easter; The Sacred Fire; Grounds for Skepticism;
Folly of the Priests; Emotion upon entering the Holy Tomb; Description of
Chateaubriand; Holy Places in the City; On Mount Zion; Pool of Siloam;
Fountain of the Virgin; Valley of Jehoshaphat; Mount of Offence; The Tombs
of Zechariah, of Jehoshaphat, and of Absalom; Jewish Architecture; Dr.
Clarke's Opinion on the Topography of Ancient Jerusalem; Opposed by other
Writers; The Inexpediency of such Discussions.

Having described, as fully as the plan of our undertaking will admit, the
constitution, history, learning, and religion of the ancient Hebrews, we
now proceed to give an account of the present condition of the country
which they inhabited nearly 1500 years, interrupted only by short
intervals of captivity or oppression. The connexion which Christianity
acknowledges with the people and soil of Judea has, from the earliest
times, given a deep interest to travels in the Holy Land. The curiosity
natural to man in respect to things which have obtained celebrity, joined
to the conviction, hardly leas natural, that there is a certain merit in
enduring privation and fatigue for the sake of religion, has in every age
induced pilgrims to visit the scenes where our Divine Faith was originally
established, and to communicate to their contemporaries the result of
their investigations. It is to be regretted, indeed, that some of them
from ignorance, and others from a feeling of the weakest bigotry, have
omitted to notice those very objects which are esteemed the most
interesting to the general reader; thinking it their duty, as one of them
expresses it, to "quench all spirit of vain curiosity, lest they should
return without any benefit to their souls."

About the year 705, Jerusalem and its holy places were visited by
Arculfus, from whose report Adamnan composed a narrative, which was
received with considerable approbation. He describes the Temple on Mount
Calvary with some minuteness, mentioning its twelve pillars and eight
gates. But his attention was more particularly attracted by relics, those
objects which all Jerusalem flocked to handle and to kiss with the
greatest reverence. He saw the cup used at the last supper,--the sponge on
which the vinegar was poured,--the lance which pierced the side of our
Lord,--the cloth in which he was wrapped,--also another cloth woven by the
Virgin Mary, whereon were represented the figures of the Saviour and of
the Twelve Apostles.

Eighty years later, Willibald, a Saxon, undertook the same journey,
influenced by similar motives. From his infancy he had been distinguished
by a sage and pious disposition; and, on emerging from boyhood, he was
seized with an anxious desire to "try the unknown ways of
peregrination--to pass over the huge wastes of ocean to the ends of the
earth." To this erratic propensity he owed all the fame which a place in
the Romish calendar and the authorship of an indifferent book can confer.
In Jerusalem he saw all that Arculfus saw, and nothing more; but he had
previously visited the Tomb of the Seven Sleepers, and the cave in which
St. John wrote the Apocalypse.

Bernard proceeded to Palestine in the year 878. He travelled first in
Egypt, and from thence made his way across the Desert, the heat of which
called vividly to his imagination the sloping hills of Campania when
covered with snow. At Alexandria he was subjected to tribute by the
avaricious governor, who paid no regard to the written orders of the
sultan. The treatment which he received at Cairo was still more
distressing. He was thrown into prison, and in this extremity he asked
counsel of God; whereupon it was miraculously revealed to him, that
thirteen denari, such as he had presented to the other Mussulman, would
produce here an equally favourable result. The celestial origin of this
advice was proved by its complete success. The pilgrim was not only
liberated, but obtained letters from the propitiated ruler which saved him
from all farther exaction.

The Crusades threw open the holy places to the eyes of all Europe; and
accordingly, so long as a Christian king swayed the sceptre in the capital
of Judea, the merit of individual pilgrimage was greatly diminished. But
no sooner had the warlike Saracens recovered possession of Jerusalem than
the wonted difficulty and danger returned; and, as might be expected, the
interest attached to the sacred buildings, which the "infidel dogs" were
no longer worthy to behold, revived in greater vigour than formerly. In
1331, William de Bouldesell adventured on an expedition into Arabia and
Palestine, of which some account has been published. In the monastery of
St. Catharine, at the base of Mount Sinai, he was hospitably received by
the monks, who showed him the bones of their patron reposing in a tomb,
which, however, they appear not to have treated with much respect. By
means of hard beating, we are told, they brought out from these remains of
mortality a small portion of blood, which they presented to the pilgrim as
a gift of singular value. A circumstance which particularly astonished him
would probably have produced no surprise in a less believing mind; the
blood, it seems, "had not the appearance of real blood, but rather of some
thick oily substance;" nevertheless, the miracle was regarded by him as
one of the greatest that had ever been witnessed in this world.

A hundred years afterward Bertrandon de la Broquiere sailed from Venice to
Jaffa, where, according to the statistics of contrite pilgrims, the
"pardons of the Holy Land begin." At Jerusalem he found the Christians
reduced to a state of the most cruel thraldom. Such of them as engaged in
trade were locked up in their shops every night by the Saracens, who
opened the doors in the morning at such an hour as seemed to them most
proper or convenient. At Damascus they were treated with equal severity.
The first two persons whom he met in this city knocked him down,--an
injury which he dared not resent for fear of immediately losing his life.
About thirty years before the period of his visit, the destroying arms of
Timur had laid a large portion of the Syrian capital in ruins, though the
population had again increased to nearly one hundred thousand. During his
stay he witnessed the arrival of a caravan consisting of more than three
thousand camels. Its entry employed two days and two nights; the Koran
wrapped in silk being carried in front on the back of a camel richly
adorned with the same costly material. This part of the procession was
surrounded by a number of persons brandishing naked swords, and playing on
all sorts of musical instruments. The governor, with all the inhabitants,
went out to meet the holy cavalcade, and to do homage to the sacred
ensign, which at once proclaimed their faith, and announced the object of
the pious mission thus successfully concluded. Broquiere found the
greatest respect paid to every one who had performed the pilgrimage to
Mecca, and was gravely assured by an eminent Moulah, that no such person
could ever incur the hazard of everlasting damnation.

We merely mention the names of Breidenbach of Mentz, and of Martin
Baumgarten, who in the beginning of the sixteenth century achieved a
journey into the Holy Land. The latter of these, while passing through
Egypt, was most barbarously treated by the Saracen boys, who pelted him
with dirt, brickbats, stones, and rotten fruit. At Hebron he was shown the
field "were it is said, or at least guessed, that Adam was made;" but the
reddish earth of which it is composed is now used in the manufacture of
prayer-beads.

The work of Bartholemeo Georgewitz, who travelled in the same century,
gives a melancholy account of the miseries endured by such Christians as
were carried into slavery by the Turks in those evil days. The armies of
that nation were followed by slave-dealers supplied with chains, by means
of which fifty or sixty were bound in a row together, leaving only two
feet between to enable them to walk. The hands were manacled during the
day, and at night the feet also. The sufferings inflicted upon men of
rank, and those belonging to the learned professions, were almost beyond
description; extending not only to the lowest labours of the field, but
even to the work of oxen, being sometimes yoked like these animals in the
plough. Owing to the great rivers and arms of the sea, it was extremely
difficult for those who were sent into Asia to effect their escape;
whence, in many cases, the horrors of captivity had no other limits than
those of the natural life. No wonder that Bartholemeo recommends to every
one visiting those parts to make his will, "like one going not to the
earthly, but to the heavenly Jerusalem."

Laurence Aldersey, who set out from London in 1581, was the first
Protestant who encountered the perils of a voyage to Syria. In the Levant
a Turkish galley hove in sight, and caused great alarm. The master, "being
a wise fellow, began to devise how to escape the danger; but, while both
he and all of us were in our dumps, God sent us a merrie gale of wind." As
they approached Candia a violent storm came on, and the mariners began to
reproach the Englishman as the cause, "and saide I was no good Christian,
and wished I were in the middest of the sea, saying that they and the
shippe were the worse for me." He replied, "I think myself the worst
creature in the worlde, and do you consider yourselves also." These
remonstrances were followed by a long sermon, the tenor of which was,
"that they were not all good Christians, else it were not possible for
them to have such weather." A gentleman on board informed Aldersey, that
the suspicions respecting him originated in his refusal to join in the
prayers to the Virgin Mary,--a charge which he parried by remarking that
"they who praied to so many goe a wrong way to worke." The friars,
resolving to bring the matter to an issue, sent round the image of Our
Lady to kiss. On its approach the good Protestant endeavoured to avoid it
by going another way; but the bearer "fetched his course about," and
presented it. The proffered salutation being then positively rejected, the
affair might have become serious, had not two of the more respectable
monks interceded in his behalf, and enforced a more charitable procedure.

Of the people of Cyprus he remarks, that they "be very rude, and like
beasts, and no better: they eat their meat sitting upon the ground, with
their legs acrosse like tailors." On the 8th of August they arrived at
Joppa, but did not till the next day receive permission to land from the
great pasha, "who sate upon a hill to see us sent away." Aldersey had
mounted before the rest, which greatly displeased his highness, who sent a
servant to pull him from the saddle and beat him; "whereupon I made a long
legge, saying, Grand mercye, seignor." This timely submission seems to
have secured forgiveness; and accordingly, "being horsed upon little
asses," they commenced their journey towards Jerusalem. Rama he describes
as so "ruinated, that he took it to be rather a heape of stones than a
towne;" finding no house to receive them but such a one as they were
compelled to enter by creeping on their knees. The party were exposed to
the usual violence and extortion of the Arabs; "they that should have
rescued us stood still, and durst doe nothing, which was to our cost." On
reaching the holy city they knelt down and gave thanks; after which they
were obliged to enter the gate on foot, no Christian at that period being
allowed to appear within the walls mounted. The superior of the convent
received the pilgrims courteously into his humble establishment, where
Aldersey tells us, "they were dieted of free cost, and fared reasonable
well."[70]

The beginning of the seventeenth century witnessed a higher order of
travellers, who, from such a mixture of motives as might actuate either a
pilgrim or an antiquary, undertook the perilous tour of the Holy Land.
Among these, one of the most distinguished was George Sandys, who
commenced his peregrinations in the year 1610. He was succeeded by
Doubdan, Cheron, Thevenot, Gonzales, Morison, Maundrell, and Pococke, all
of whom have contributed many valuable materials towards a complete
knowledge of the localities, government, and actual condition of modern
Palestine. In our own days the number of works on these important subjects
has increased greatly, presenting to the historian of the Turkish
provinces in Asia a nearer and more minute view of society than could be
obtained by the earlier travellers, who, instead of yielding to the
characteristic bigotry of Moslem, usually opposed to it a prejudice not
less determined and uncharitable. We must not hazard a catalogue of the
enterprising authors to whom the European public are indebted for the
information: now enjoyed by every class of readers, in regard to the most
interesting of all ancient kingdoms,--the country inhabited by Israel and
Judah. In the description which we are about to give of the principal
towns, the buildings, the antiquities, the manners, the opinions, and the
religious forms which meet the observation of the intelligent tourist in
the Land of Canaan, we shall select the most striking facts from writers
of all nations and sects, making no distinction but such as shall be
dictated by a respect for the learning, the candour, and the opportunities
which are recorded in their several volumes.

Palestine is usually approached, either from the sea at the port of Jaffa
(the ancient Joppa), or from Egypt, by way of the intervening desert. In
both cases, the principal object is to obtain a safe and easy route to the
capital, which, even at the present hour, cannot be reached without much
danger, unless under the special protection of the native authorities. The
power of Mohammed Ali, it is true, extends almost to the very walls of
Gaza; and wherever his government is acknowledged no violence can be
committed with impunity on European travellers. But the Syrian pashas,
equally deficient in inclination and vigour, still permit the grossest
extortion, and sometimes connive at the most savage atrocities. Besides,
there is a class of lawless Arabs who scour the borders of the wilderness,
holding at defiance all the restrictions which a civilized people impose
or respect. Sir Frederick Henniker, who followed the unwonted track which
leads from Mount Sinai to the southern shore of the Dead Sea, narrowly
escaped with his life, after having been severely wounded and repeatedly
robbed by one of the most savage hordes of Bedouins.

The history of the crusades will draw our attention to Jaffa more minutely
than would be suitable at the present stage of our narrative; we shall
therefore proceed on the usual route to Jerusalem, collecting as we go
along such notices as may prove interesting to the reader. At a short
distance from this celebrated port the pilgrim enters the plain of Sharon,
celebrated in Scripture for its beautiful roses. The monk Neret informs
us, that in his time it was covered with tulips, the variety of whose
colours formed a lovely parterre. At present, the eye of the traveller is
delighted with a profusion of roses white and red, the narcissus, the
white and orange lily, the carnation, and a highly-fragrant species of
everlasting-flower. This plain stretches along the coast from Gaza in the
south to Mount Carmel on the north, being bounded towards the east by the
hills of Judea and Samaria. The whole of it is not upon the same level; it
consists of four platforms separated from each other by a wall of naked
stones. The soil is composed of a very fine sand, which, though mixed with
ravel, appears extremely fertile; but owing to the desolating spirit of
Mohammedan despotism, nothing is seen in some of the richest fields except
thistles and withered grass. Here and there, indeed, are scanty
plantations of cotton, with a few patches of doura, barley, and wheat. The
villages, which are commonly surrounded with olive-trees and sycamores,
are for the most part in ruins; exhibiting a melancholy proof that under a
bad government even the bounty of Heaven ceases to be a blessing.

The path by which the billy barrier is penetrated is difficult, and in
some places dangerous. But before you reach it, turning towards the east,
you perceive Rama, or Ramla, the ancient Arimathea, distinguished by its
charming situation, and well known as the residence of a Christian
community. The convent, it is true, had been plundered five years before
it was visited by Chateaubriand; and it was not without the most urgent
solicitation that the friars were permitted to repair their building, as
if it were a maxim among the Turks, who by their domination continue to
afflict and disgrace the finest parts of Palestine, that the progress of
ruin and decay should never be arrested. Volney tells us, that when he was
at Ramla a commander resided there in a serai, the walls and floors of
which were on the point of tumbling down. He asked one of the inferior
officers why his master did not at least pay some attention to his own
apartment. The reply was, "If another shall obtain his place next year,
who will repay the expense?"

In those days the aga maintained about one hundred horsemen and as many
African soldiers, who were lodged in an old Christian church, the nave of
which was converted into a stable, as also in an ancient khan, which was
disputed with them by the scorpions. The adjacent country is planted with
lofty olives, the greatest part of which are as large as the walnut-trees
of France, though they are daily perishing through age and the ravages of
contending factions. When a peasant is disposed to take revenge on his
enemy, he goes by night and outs his trees close to the ground, when the
wound, which he carefully covers from the sight, drains off the sap like
an issue. Amid these plantations are seen at every step dry wells,
cisterns fallen in, and immense vaulted reservoirs, which prove that in
ancient times this town must have been upwards of four miles in
circumference. At present it does not contain more than a hundred
miserable families. The houses are only so many huts, sometimes detached,
and sometimes ranged in the form of cells round a court, enclosed by a mud
wall. In winter, the inhabitants and their cattle may be said to live
together; the part of the building allotted to themselves being raised
only two feet above that in which they lodge their beasts. The peasants
are by this means kept warm without burning wood,--a species of economy
indispensable in a country absolutely destitute of fuel. As to the fire
necessary for culinary purposes, they make it, as was the practice in the
days of Ezekiel the prophet, of dung kneaded into cakes, which they dry in
the sun, exposing them to its rays on the walls of their huts. In summer,
their lodging is more airy; but all their furniture consists of a single
mat and a pitcher for carrying water. The immediate neighborhood of the
village is sown at the proper season with grain and watermelons; all the
rest is a desert, and abandoned to the Bedouin Arabs, who feed their
flocks on it. There are frequent remains of towers, dungeons, and even of
castles with ramparts and ditches, in some of which are a few Barbary
soldiers with nothing but a shirt and a musket. These ruins, however, are
more commonly inhabited by owls, jackals, and scorpions.[71]

The only remarkable antiquity at Ramla is the minaret of a decayed mosque,
which, by an Arabic inscription, appears to have been built by the Sultan
of Egypt. From the summit, which is very lofty, the eye follows the whole
chain of mountains, beginning at Nablous, and skirting the extremity of
the plain till it loses itself in the south.

A ride of two hours brings the traveller to the verge of the mountains,
where the road opens through a rugged ravine, and is formed in the dry
channel of a torrent. A scene of marked solitude and desolation surrounds
his steps as he pursues his journey in what is so simply described in the
gospel as the "hill country of Judea." He finds himself amid a labyrinth
of mountains, of a conical figure, all nearly alike, and connected with
each other at their base. A naked rock presents strata or beds resembling
the seats of a Roman amphitheatre, or the walls which support the
vineyards in the valleys of Savoy. Every recess is filled with dwarf oaks,
box, and rose-laurels. From the bottom of the ravines olive-trees rear
their heads, sometimes forming continuous woods on the sides of the hills.
On reaching the most elevated summit of this chain, he looks down towards
the south-west on the beautiful valley of Sharon, bounded by the Great
Sea; before him opens the Vale of St. Jeremiah; and in the same direction,
on the top of a rock, appears in the distance an ancient fortress called
the Castle of the Maccabees. It is conjectured that the author of the
Lamentations came into the world in the village which has retained his
name amid these mountains; so much is certain, at least, that the
melancholy of this desolate scene appears to pervade the compositions of
the prophet of sorrows.

The unvarying manners of the East exhibit to the view of the stranger, at
the present day, the same picture of rural innocence and simplicity which
might have met the eye of the mother of the Redeemer when she came into
this pastoral country to salute her cousin Elizabeth. Herds of goats, with
pendent ears, sheep with large tails, and asses which remind you, by their
beauty, of the onagra of Scripture, issue from the villages at the dawn of
day. Arab women are seen bringing grapes to dry in the vineyards; others
with their faces veiled, carrying pitchers of water on their heads, like
the daughters of Midian.

From the Valley of Jeremiah the traveller towards Zion descends into that
which bears the name of Turpentine, and is deeper and narrower than the
other. Here are observed some vineyards, and a few patches of doura. He
next arrives at the brook where the youthful David picked up the five
smooth stones, with one of which he slew the gigantic Goliath. Having
crossed the stream, he perceives the village of Heriet-Lefta on the bank
of another dry channel, which resembles a dusty road. El Bir_ appears in
the distance on the summit of a lofty hill on the way to Nablous, the
Shechem of the Israelites and the Neapolis of the Herods. He now pursues
his course through a desert, where wild fig-trees thinly scattered wave
their embrowned leaves in the southern breeze. The ground, which had
hitherto exhibited some verdure, becomes altogether bare; the sides of the
mountains, expanding themselves, assume at once an appearance of greater
grandeur and sterility. Presently all vegetation ceases; even the very
mosses disappear. The confused amphitheatre of the mountains is tinged
with a red and vivid colour. In this dreary region he keeps ascending a
whole hour to gain an elevated hill which he sees before him; after which
he proceeds during an equal space across a naked plain strewed with loose
stones. All at once, at the extremity of this plain, he perceives a line
of Gothic walls flanked with square towers, and the tops of a few
buildings peeping above them;--he beholds Jerusalem, once the joy of the
whole earth!

"I can now account," says M. Chateaubriand, "for the surprise expressed by
the crusaders and pilgrims at the first sight of Jerusalem, according to
the reports of historians and travellers. I can affirm that whoever has,
like me, had the patience to read nearly two hundred modern accounts of
the Holy Land; the Rabbinical compilations, and the passages in the
ancient writers respecting Judea, still knows nothing at all about it. I
paused with my eyes fixed on Jerusalem, measuring the height of its walls,
reviewing at once all the recollections of history from the patriarch
Abraham to Godfrey of Bouillon, reflecting on the total change
accomplished to the world by the mission of the Son of Man, and in vain
seeking that Temple, not one stone of which is left upon another. Were I
to live a thousand years, never should I forget that desert, which yet
seems to be pervaded by the greatness of Jehovah and the terrors of
death."[72]

On this occasion a camp of Turkish horse, with all the accompaniments of
oriental pomp, was pitched under the walls. The tents in general were
covered with black lambskins, while those belonging to persons of
distinction were formed of striped cloth. The horses, saddled and bridled,
were fastened to stakes. There were four pieces of horse-artillery, well
mounted on carriages, which appeared to be of English manufacture. These
fierce soldiers are stationed near the capital, as well for the purpose of
checking the savage Bedouins, who acknowledge no master, as for enforcing
the tribute demanded from all strangers who enter the holy city. The
recollections of the Mussulman, no less than those of the Christian,
inspire a reverential feeling for the town in which David dwelt; and
hence, although the European pilgrim be oppressed by the present laws of
Palestine, his motives are usually respected, and even praised.

The reader who has perused with attention some of the more recent works on
Palestine must have been struck with the diversity, and even the apparent
contradiction, which prevail in their descriptions of Jerusalem. According
to one, the magnificence of its buildings rivals the most splendid
edifices of modern times, while another could perceive nothing but filth
and ruins, surmounted by a gaudy mosque and a few glittering minarets. The
greater number, it must be acknowledged, have drawn from their own
imagination the tints in which they have been pleased to exhibit the
metropolis of Judea; trusting more to the impressions conveyed by the
brilliant delineations of poetry, than to a minute inspection of what they
might have seen with their own eyes.

Dr. Clarke, for example, has allowed his pen to be guided by the ardent
muse of Tasso, rather than by the cool observation of an unbiassed
traveller. "No sensation of fatigue or heat," says he, "could
counterbalance the eagerness and zeal which animated all our party in the
approach to Jerusalem; every individual pressed forward, hoping first to
announce the joyful intelligence of its appearance. We passed some
insignificant ruins, either of ancient buildings or of modern villages;
but had they been of more importance they would have excited little notice
at the time, so earnestly bent was every mind towards the main object of
interest and curiosity. At length, after about two hours had been passed
in this state of anxiety and suspense, ascending a hill towards the
south--Hagiopolis! exclaimed a Greek in the van of our cavalcade; and,
instantly throwing himself from his horse, was seen upon his knees,
bare-headed, facing the prospect he surveyed. Suddenly the sight burst
upon us all. The effect produced was that of total silence throughout the
whole company. Many of our party, by an immediate impulse, took off their
hats as if entering a church, without being sensible of so doing. The
Greeks and Catholics shed torrents of tears; and, presently beginning to
cross themselves with unfeigned devotion, asked if they might be permitted
to take off the covering from their feet, and proceed, barefooted to the
Holy Sepulchre. We had not been prepared for the grandeur of the spectacle
which the city alone exhibited. Instead of a wretched and ruined town, by
some described as the desolated remnant of Jerusalem, we beheld, as it
were, a flourishing and stately metropolis, presenting a magnificent
assemblage of domes, towers, palaces, churches, and monasteries; all of
which, glittering in the sun's rays, shone with inconceivable splendour.
As we drew nearer, our whole attention was engrossed by its noble and
interesting appearance."[73]

The effect produced upon the Christian army when they obtained the first
view of the holy city is beautifully described by the Italian poet,
thereby supplying, it may be suspected, the model which has been so
faithfully copied by the English tourist. We avail ourselves of the
translation of Hoole.

  "Now from the golden East the zephyrs borne,
  Proclaimed with balmy gales the approach of morn;
  And fair Aurora decked her radiant head
  With roses cropp'd from Eden's flowery bed;
  When from the sounding camp was heard afar
  The noise of troops preparing for the war:
  To this succeed the trumpet's loud alarms,
  And rouse, with shriller notes, the host to arms.

  "With holy zeal their swelling hearts abound,
  And their wing'd footsteps scarcely print the ground.
  When now the sun ascends the ethereal way,
  And strikes the dusty field with warmer ray;
  Behold, Jerusalem in prospect lies!
  Behold, Jerusalem salutes their eyes!
  At once a thousand tongues repeat the name,
  And hail Jerusalem with loud acclaim!

  "At first, transported with the pleasing sight,
  Each Christian bosom glowed with full delight;
  But deep contrition soon their joy suppressed,
  And holy sorrow saddened every breast;
  Scarce dare their eyes the city walls survey,
  Where clothed in flesh their dear Redeemer lay,
  Whose sacred earth did once their Lord enclose,
  And when triumphant from the grave he rose!

  "Each faltering tongue imperfect speech supplies;
  Each labouring bosom heaves with frequent sighs.
  Each took the example as their chieftains led,
  With naked feet the hallowed soil they tread.
  Each throws his martial ornaments aside,
  The crested helmets with their plumy pride;
  To humble thoughts their lofty hearts they bend,
  And down their cheeks the pious tears descend."[74]

No city assuredly presents a more striking example of the vicissitude of
human affairs than the capital of the Jews. When we behold its walls
levelled, its ditches filled up, and all its buildings embarrassed with
ruins, we scarcely can believe we view that celebrated metropolis which
formerly withstood the efforts of the most powerful empires, and for a
time resisted the arms of Rome itself; though, by a whimsical change of
fortune, its mouldering edifices now receive her homage and reverence. "In
a word," says Volney, "we with difficulty recognize Jerusalem." Still more
are we astonished at its ancient greatness, when we consider its
situation, amid a rugged soil, destitute of water, and surrounded by the
dry channels of torrents and steep hills. Remote from every great road, it
seems not to have been calculated either for a considerable mart of
commerce, or for the centre of a great consumption. It overcame, however,
every obstacle, and may be adduced as a proof of what patriotism and
religion may effect in the hands of a good government, or when favoured by
happy circumstances from without. The same principles, in some degree
modified, still preserve to this city its feeble existence. The renown of
its miracles, perpetuated in the East, invites and retains a considerable
number of inhabitants within its walls.[75]

As a contrast to the description of Dr. Clarke, the reader may not be
displeased to peruse the notes of Sir Frederick Henniker on the same
subject:--"Jerusalem is called, even by the Mohammedans, the Blessed
City,--the streets of it are narrow and deserted,--the houses dirty and
ragged,--the shops few and forsaken,--and throughout the whole there is
not one symptom of either commerce, comfort, or happiness. Is this the
city that men call the Perfection of Beauty, the Joy of the whole
Earth?--The town, which appears to me not worth possession, even without
the trouble of conquest, is walled entirely round, is about a mile in
length and half a mile in width, so that its circumference may be
estimated at three miles. In three quarters of an hour I performed the
circuit. It would be difficult to conceive how it could ever have been
larger than it now is; for, independent of the ravines, the four outsides
of the city are marked by the brook of Siloam, by a burial-plate at either
end, and by the Hill of Calvary; and the Hill of Calvary is now within the
town, so that it was formerly smaller than it is at present. The best view
of it is from the Mount of Olives; it commands the exact shape, and nearly
every particular, namely, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Armenian
Convent, the Mosque of Omar, St. Stephen's Gate, the round-topped houses,
and the barren vacancies of the city. The Mosque of Omar is the St.
Peter's of Turkey. The building itself has a light, pagoda appearance; the
garden in which it stands occupies a considerable part of the city, and
contrasted with the surrounding desert is beautiful; but it is forbidden
ground, and Jew or Christian entering within its precincts must, if
discovered, forfeit either his religion or his life."[76]

The observation made by Sir Frederick, in regard to the difficulty and
danger of entering the Mosque of Omar, has been verified on more than one
occasion. But the obstacles, apparently insurmountable, were overcome by
Dr. Richardson, who, in return for the successful exercise of his
professional skill, was rewarded by a clandestine visit to the shrine of
the Mussulman saint. It will appear, from the few details which we are
about to select from his volume, that the veil of mystery does not conceal
anything really worth seeing. Like Pompey in the Temple, the Christian
visiter, whose presence, in like manner, profanes the holy place, feels no
other surprise than is occasioned by the fact, that men have agreed to
excite curiosity by prohibiting an imaginary gratification.

"On our arrival at the door, a gentle knock brought up the sacristan, who,
apprized of our intention, was within waiting to receive us. He demanded,
rather sternly, who we were, and was answered by my black conductor in
tones no less consequential than his own. The door immediately edged up,
to prevent as much as possible the light from shining out, and we squeezed
ourselves in with a gentle and noiseless step, although there was no
person near who could be alarmed by the loudest sound of our bare feet
upon the marble floor. The door was no sooner shut than the sacristan,
taking a couple of candles in his hand, showed us all over the interior of
the building, pointing, in the pride of his heart, to the elegant marble
walls, the beautifully-gilded ceiling, the well where the true worshippers
drink and wash,--with which we also blessed our palates and moistened our
beards,--the paltry reading-desk with the ancient Koran, the handsome
columns, and the green stone with the wonderful nails. As soon as we had
completed this circuit, pulling a key from his girdle, he unlocked the
door of the railing that separates the outer from the inner part of the
mosque, which, with an elevation of two or three steps, let us into the
sacred recess. Here he pointed out the patches of mosaic in the floor, the
round flat stone which the Prophet carried on his arm in battle, directed
us to introduce our hand through the hole in the wooden box, to feel the
print of the Prophet's foot, and, through the posts of the wooden rail, to
feel as well as to see the marks of the angel Gabriel's fingers (into
which I carefully put my own) in the sacred stone that occupies the centre
of the mosque, and from which it derives the name of Sakhara or Locked-up,
and over which is suspended a fine cloth of green and red satin. It was so
covered with dust that, but for the information of my guide, I should not
have been able to tell the composing colours. Finally, he pointed to the
door that leads into the small cavern below, of which he had not the key.

"I looked up to the interior of the dome; but, there being few lamps
burning, the light was not sufficient to show me any of its beauty farther
than a general glance. The columns and curiosities were counted over again
and again, the arches were specially examined and enumerated, to be sure
that I had not missed nor forgotten any of them. Writing would have been
an ungracious behaviour, calculated to excite a thousand suspicions, that
next day would have gone to swell the current of the city gossip, to the
prejudice both of myself and of my friend. Having examined the adytum, we
once more touched the footstep of the Prophet and the finger-prints of the
angel Gabriel, and descended the steps, over which the door was
immediately secured."[77]

Dr. Richardson was afterward permitted to visit this splendid mosque
during the day, when he found that the dimensions of the enclosure in
which it stands is about fifteen hundred feet in length, and a thousand in
breadth. In the sacred retirement of this charming spot, the followers of
the Prophet delight to saunter, or repose, as in the elysium of their
devotions; and, arrayed in the gorgeous costume of the East, add much to
the interest, the beauty, and solemn stillness of the scene, from which
they seem loath to retire. The Sakhara itself is a regular octagon of
about sixty feet a side, and is entered by four spacious doors, each of
which is adorned with a porch projecting from the line of the building and
rising considerably on the wall. All the sides of it are paneled. The
centre stone of one panel is square, of another it is octagonal, and thus
they alternate all round; the sides of each running down the angles like a
plain pilaster, and giving an appearance as if the whole were set in a
frame. The marble is white, with a considerable tinge of blue; square
pieces of the latter colour being introduced in different places, so as to
confer upon the exterior a very pleasing effect. The upper story is faced
with small tiles painted of different colours, white, yellow, green, and
blue; some of them are also covered with sentences from the Koran. At this
height there are seven elegant windows on each side, except where the
porches interfere, and then there are only six; the general appearance of
the edifice being extremely light and beautiful, more especially from the
mixture of the soft colours above and the delicate tints of the marble in
the main body of the structure.

The interior fully corresponds to the magnificence and beauty just
described. There are twenty-four marble columns, placed parallel to the
eight sides of the building, three opposite to each side, so as still to
preserve the octagonal form. Eight of them are large plain pillars
belonging to no particular order of architecture, and all standing
opposite to the eight entering angles of the edifice, and deeply indented
on the inner side; so that they furnish an acute termination to the
octagonal lines within. Between every two of the square columns there are
two of a round figure, well proportioned, and resting on a base. They are
from eighteen to twenty feet high, with a sort of Corinthian capital. A
large square plinth of marble extends from the top of the one column to
the other, and above it there is constructed a number of arches all round,
which support the inner end of the roof or ceiling, the outer end resting
upon the walls of the building. This is composed of wood, or plaster,
highly ornamented with a species of carving, and richly gilt.

But this gorgeous temple owes both its name and existence to a large
irregular mass of stone, having an oblong shape, which still occupies the
centre of the mosque. It is a portion of the calcareous rock on which the
city is built, and which prevails in the other mountains in the
neighbourhood of Jerusalem, having very much the appearance of being a
part of the bed that might have been left when the foundation of the
building was levelled. It rises highest towards the south-west corner, and
falls abruptly at the end, where are the prints of the Prophet's foot. It
is irregular on the upper surface, the same as when it was broken from the
quarry. It is enclosed all round with a wooden rail about four feet high,
and which in every place is nearly in contact with the stone. We have
already mentioned that there is a cover or canopy of variously-coloured
silk suspended over it; and nothing, we are assured can be held in higher
veneration than the Hadjr-el-sakhara, the Locked-up Stone.[78]

But this fragment of limestone has more weighty pretensions to the
veneration of the Moslem than the mere print of the angel Gabriel's
fingers or of the Prophet's foot; for, like the Palladium of ancient Troy,
it is said to have fallen from heaven on this very spot, at the time when
prophecy commenced in Jerusalem. It was employed as a seat by the
venerable men to whom that gift was communicated; and, as long as the
spirit of vaticination continued to enlighten their minds, the slab
remained steady for their accommodation. But no sooner was the power of
prophecy withdrawn, and the persecuted seers compelled to flee for safety
to other lands, than the stone is declared to have manifested the
profoundest sympathy in their fate, and even to have resolved to accompany
them in their flight. On this occasion Gabriel the archangel interposed
his authority, and prevented the departure of the prophetical chair. He
grasped it with his mighty hand, and nailed it to its rocky bed till the
arrival of Mohammed, who, horsed on the lightning's wing, flew thither
from Mecca, joined the society of seventy thousand ministering spirits,
and, having offered up his devotions to the throne of God, fixed the stone
immovably in this holy site, around which the Caliph Omar erected his
magnificent mosque.

Within the same enclosure there is another house of prayer called El Aksa,
which, though a fine building, is greatly inferior to El Sakhara. Between
the two there is a beautiful fountain, which takes its name from a clump
of orange-trees overshadowing its water. The mosque is composed of seven
naves supported by pillars and columns, and at the head of the centre nave
is a fine cupola. Two others branch off at right angles to the principal
body of the edifice. Before it is a portico of seven arches in front and
one in depth, supported by square pillars. Ali Bey, who in his character
of Mussulman was permitted to examine the holy fane at leisure, describes
the great central nave of the Aksa as about 162 feet long and 32 broad. It
is supported on each side by seven arches lightly pointed, resting upon
cylindrical pillars, in the form of columns, but without any architectural
proportion, with foliaged capitals which do not belong to any order. The
fourth pillar to the right of the entrance is octangular, and enormously
thick. It is called the pillar of Sidi Omar. The walls rise 13 feet above
the tops of the arches, and contain two rows of twenty-one windows each.
The roof is of timber, without being vaulted. The cupola is supported by
four large arches resting upon four square pillars. It is spherical, with
two rows of windows, and is ornamented with arabesque paintings and
gilding of exquisite beauty. Its diameter is equal to that of the central
nave.

M. Burckhardt describes the Holy House in Jerusalem as a union of several
buildings erected at different periods of Islamism, bearing upon them
demonstrative proofs of the prevailing taste of the various ages in which
they were successively constructed. It is not precisely one mosque, but a
group of mosques. Its name in Arabic, El Haram, strictly signifies a
temple or place consecrated by the peculiar presence of the Divinity. The
profane and the infidel are forbidden to enter it. The Mussulman religion
acknowledges but two temples, those, namely, of Mecca and of Jerusalem;
both are called El Haram; both are equally prohibited by law to
Christians, Jews, and every other person who is not a believer in the
Prophet. The mosques, on the other hand, are considered merely as places
of meeting for certain acts of worship, and are not held so especially
consecrated as to demand the total exclusion of all who do not profess the
true faith. Entrance into them is not denied to the unbeliever by any
statute of the Mohammedan law; and hence it is not uncommon for Christians
at Constantinople to receive from the government a written order to visit
even the Mosque of St. Sophia. But the sultan himself could not grant
permission to an infidel either to pass into the territory of Mecca, or to
enter the Temple of Jerusalem. A firman granting such privileges would be
regarded as a most horrid sacrilege: it would not be respected by the
people; and the favoured object would inevitably become the victim of his
own imprudent boldness.[79]

In the interior of the rock whereon the Sakhara stands there is a cave,
into which Dr. Richardson could not obtain admittance. He was four times
in the mosque, and went twice thither under the express assurance that its
doors should be thrown open to him. But when he arrived the key was always
wanting, and when the keeper of it was sought he could never be found. Ali
Bey, who encountered no obstacle, reveals all the mystery of this
subterranean mansion. It is a room forming an irregular square of about
eighteen feet surface, and eight feet high in the middle. The roof is that
of a natural vault, quite irregular. In descending the staircase, there is
upon the right-hand, near the bottom, a little tablet of marble, bearing
the name of El Makam Souleman, the Place of Solomon. A similar one upon
the left is named El Makam Daoud, the Place of David. A cavity or niche on
the south-west side of the rock is called El Makam Ibrahim, the Place of
Abraham. A similar concave step at the north-west angle is described as El
Makam Djibrila, the Place of Gabriel; and a sort of stone table at the
north-east angle is denominated El Makam el Hoder, the Place of Elias. In
the roof of the apartment, exactly in the middle, there is an aperture
almost cylindrical through the whole thickness of the rock, about three
feet in diameter. This is the Place of the Prophet.

M. Burckhardt observed a copy of the Koran, the leaves of which were four
feet long, and more than two feet and a half broad. Tradition reports that
it belonged to the Caliph Omar; but he saw a similar one in the grand
mosque at Cairo, and another at Mecca, to both of which the same origin is
assigned. The drawings supplied by this enterprising traveller give a very
distinct notion of the extent and magnificence of the great Mussulman
temple,--the most prominent object in the modern Jerusalem, and occupying
the site of the still more interesting edifice erected by Solomon in the
proudest period of Jewish history.

But the Christian pilgrim, who walks about the holy city "to tell her
towers and mark her bulwarks," is more readily attracted by less splendid
objects, the memorials of his own more humble faith. Among these the most
remarkable is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is built on the
lower part of the sloping hill distinguished by the name of Acre, near the
place where it is joined to Mount Moriah. The Turkish government, aware of
the veneration which all Christians entertain for relics in any way
connected with the sufferings of the great Author of their religion, have
converted this feeling into a source of revenue; every person not subject
to the Sublime Porte, who visits the shrine of Jesus Christ, being
compelled to pay a certain sum of money for admittance. But the church,
nevertheless, is opened only on particular days of the week, and cannot be
seen at any other time without an order from the two convents, the Latin
and the Greek, with the sanction of the governor of the city. On such
occasions the pressure at the doors is very great; the zeal of the
pilgrims checked by the insolence of the Turks, who delight to insult and
disappoint their anxiety, leading sometimes to scenes of tumult not quite
in harmony with their pious motives. We shall give an account of the
effect produced by the local and historical associations of the place on a
sober spirit, in the words of a traveller to whom we have been already
indebted:--

"The mind is not withdrawn from the important concerns of this hallowed
spot by any tasteful decorations or dignified display of architecture in
its plan or in its walls; but having cleared the throng, the religion of
the place is allowed to take full possession of the soul, and the visiter
feels as if he were passing into the presence of the great and immaculate
Jehovah, and summoned to give an account of the most silent and secret
thoughts of his heart. Having passed within these sacred walls, the
attention is first directed to a large flat stone in the floor, a little
within the door; it is surrounded by a rail, and several lamps hang
suspended over it. The pilgrims approach it on their knees; touch and kiss
it, and prostrating themselves before it, offer up their prayers in holy
adoration. This is the stone on which the body of our Lord was washed and
anointed and prepared for the tomb. Turning to the left and proceeding a
little forward, we came into a round space immediately under the dome,
surrounded with sixteen large columns which support the gallery above. In
the centre of this space stands the Holy Sepulchre; it is enclosed in an
oblong house, rounded at one end with small arcades or chapels for prayer,
on the outside of it. These are for the Copts, the Abyssinians, the Syrian
Mareonites, and other Christians, who are not, like the Roman Catholics,
the Greeks, and Armenians, provided with large chapels in the body of the
church. At the other end it is squared off and furnished with a platform
in front, which is ascended by a flight of steps, having a small
parapet-wall of marble on each hand, and floored with the same material.
In the middle of this small platform stands a block of polished marble
about a foot and a half square; on this stone sat the angel who announced
the blessed tidings of the resurrection to Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and
Mary the mother of James. Advancing, and taking off our shoes and turbans
at the desire of the keeper, he drew aside the curtain, and stepping down,
and bending almost to the ground, we entered by a low narrow door into
this mansion of victory, where Christ triumphed over the grave, and
disarmed Death of all his terrors. Here the mind looks on Him who, though
he knew no sin, yet entered the mansions of the dead to redeem us from
death, and the prayers of a grateful heart ascend with a risen Saviour to
the presence of God in heaven."[80]

The tomb exhibited is a sarcophagus of white marble, slightly tinged with
blue, being fully six feet long, three feet broad, and two feet two inches
deep. It is but indifferently polished, and seems as if it had at one time
been exposed to the action of the atmosphere, by which it has been
considerably affected. It is without any ornament, made in the Greek
fashion, and not like the more ancient tombs of the Jews, which we see cut
in the rock for the reception of the dead. There are seven lamps
constantly burning over it, the gifts of different sovereigns in a
succession of ages. It occupies about one-half of the sepulchral chamber,
and extends from one end of it to the other. A space about three feet wide
in front of it is all that remains for the accommodation of visiters, so
that not more than three or four can be conveniently admitted at a time.

Leaving this hallowed spot, the pilgrim is conducted to the place where
our Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene, and next to the Chapel of Apparition,
where he presented himself to the Blessed Virgin. The Greeks have an
oratory opposite to the Holy Sepulchre, in which they have set up a globe,
representing, as they are pleased to imagine, the centre of the earth;
thus transferring from Delphi to Jerusalem the absurd notions of the pagan
priests of antiquity relative to the figure of the habitable world. After
this he enters a dark narrow staircase, which, by about twenty steps,
carries him to Mount Calvary. "This," exclaims Dr. Richardson, "is the
centre, the grand magnet of the Christian church: from this proceed life
and salvation; thither all hearts tend and all eyes are directed; here
kings and queens cast down their crowns, and great men and women part with
their ornaments; at the foot of the cross all are on a level, equally
needy and equally welcome."[81]

On Calvary is shown the spot where the Redeemer was nailed to the cross,
the hole into which the end of it was fixed, and the rent in the rock. All
these are covered with marble, perforated in the proper places, so that
they may be seen and touched. Near at hand a cross is erected on an
elevated part of the ground, and a wooden body stretched upon it in the
attitude of suffering. Descending from the Mount, the traveller enters the
chapel of St. Helens, the mother of Constantine, in which is the vault
where the true cross is said to have been found,--an event that continues
to be celebrated every year on the third of May by an appropriate mass.
The place is large enough to contain about thirty or forty individuals,
and on that annual solemnity it is usually crowded to the door.

The spirit in which these commemorations are sometimes performed is by no
means honourable to the Christian character. An ancient rivalry between
the members of the Greek and those of the Roman communion continues to
imbitter their disputes in regard to their respective privileges and
procedure. Maundrell informs us that in his time each fraternity had their
own altar and sanctuary, at which they had a peculiar right to celebrate
divine services and to exclude all other nations. But, says he, that which
has always been the great prize contended for by the several sects, is the
command and appropriation of the holy Sepulchre; a privilege contested
with so much unchristian fury and animosity, especially between the Greeks
and Latins that, in disputing which party should go in to celebrate their
mass, they have sometimes proceeded to blows and wounds, even at the very
door of the sepulchre, mingling their own blood with their sacrifices. The
King of Franca interposed about the end of the seventeenth century, and
obtained an order for the grand vizier to put that holy place into the
possession of the Western Church; an arrangement which was accomplished in
the year 1690, and secured to the Latins the exclusive privilege of saying
mass in it. "And though it be permitted to Christians of all nations to go
into it for their private devotions, yet none other may solemnize any
public office of religion there."[82]

The daily employment of these recluses is to trim the lamps, and to make
devotional visits and processions to the several sanctuaries in the
church. Thus they spend their time, many of them for four or six years
together; nay, so far are some transported with the pleasing contemplation
in which they here entertain themselves, that they will never come out to
their dying day; burying themselves, as it were, alive in our Lord's
grave.

It was at the holy season of Easter that Mr. Maundrell visited Jerusalem,
when he witnessed the annual service performed by the monks; rather too
minutely descriptive, perhaps, of the great event to which it refers.
"Their ceremony begins on Good Friday night, which is called by them the
_Nox Tenebrosa_, and is observed with such an extraordinary solemnity that
I cannot omit to give a particular description of it:--As soon as it grew
dark, all the friars and pilgrims were convened in the chapel of the
Apparition, in order to go in a procession round the church. But before
they set out one of the friars preached a sermon in Italian: He began his
discourse thus:--_In questa notte tenebrosa_,--at which words all the
candles were instantly put out, to yield a livelier image of the occasion:
and so we were held the preacher for nearly half an hour very much in the
dark. Sermon being ended, every person present had a large lighted taper
put into his hand, as if it were to make amends for the former darkness;
and the crucifixes and other utensils were disposed in order for beginning
the procession. Among the other crucifixes there was one of a very large
size, which bore upon it the image of our Lord as big as the life. The
image was fastened to it with great nails, crowned with thorns, and
besmeared with blood; and so exquisitely was it formed, that it
represented, in a very lively manner, the lamentable spectacle of our
Lord's body as it hung upon the cross. This figure was carried all along
in the head of the procession; after which the company followed to all the
sanctuaries in the church, singing their appointed hymn at every one.

"The first place they visited was that of the pillar of Flagellation, a
large piece of which is kept in a little cell just at the door of the
chapel of the Apparition. There they sang their proper hymn; and another
friar entertained the company with a sermon in Spanish, touching the
scourging of our Lord. From hence they proceeded in solemn order to the
prison of Christ, where they pretend he was secured while the soldiers
made things ready for his crucifixion; here likewise they sang their hymn,
and a third friar preached in French. From the prison they went to the
altar of the Division of our Lord's garments, where they only sang their
hymn without adding any sermon. Having done here, they advanced to the
chapel of the Division; at which, after their hymn, they had a fourth
sermon, as I remember, in French.

"From this place they went up to Calvary, leaving their shoes at the
bottom of the stairs. Here are two altars to be visited; one where our
Lord is supposed to have been nailed to the cross, another where his cross
was erected. At the former of these they laid down the great crucifix upon
the floor, and acted a kind of resemblance of Christ's being nailed to the
cross; and after the hymn another friar preached a sermon in Spanish upon
the crucifixion. From hence they removed to the adjoining altar, where the
cross is supposed to have been erected, bearing the image of our Lord's
body. At this altar is a hole in the natural rock, said to be the very
same individual one in which the foot of our Lord's cross stood. Here they
set up their cross with the bloody crucified image upon it; and leaving it
in that posture, they first sang their hymn, and then the father guardian,
sitting in a chair before it, preached a passion sermon in Italian.

"At about one yard and a half distant from the hole in which the foot of
the cross was fixed is seen that memorable cleft in the rock, said to have
been made by the earthquake which happened at the suffering of the God of
nature; when, as St. Matthew witnesseth, the rocks rent and the very
graves were opened. This cleft, or what now appears of it, is about a span
wide at its upper part, and two deep; after which it closes. But it opens
again below, as you may see in another chapel contiguous to the side of
Calvary, and runs down to an unknown depth in the earth. That this rent
was made by the earthquake that happened at our Lord's passion there is
only tradition to prove; but that it is a natural and genuine breach, and
not counterfeited by any art, the sense and reason of every one that sees
it may convince him; for the sides of it fit like two tallies to each
other, and yet it runs in such intricate windings as could not well be
counterfeited by art, nor arrived at by any instruments.

"The ceremony of the passion being over, and the guardian's sermon ended,
two friars, personating, the one Joseph of Arimathea, the other Nicodemus,
approached the cross, and with a most solemn, concerned air, both of
aspect and behaviour, drew out the great nails, and took down the feigned
body from the cross. It was an _effigies_ so contrived that its limbs were
soft and flexible, as if they had been real flesh; and nothing could be
more surprising that to see the two pretended mourners bend down the arms
which were before extended, and dispose them upon the trunk in such a
manner as is usual in corpses. The body being taken down from the cross
was received in a fair large winding-sheet, and carried down from Calvary;
the whole company attending as before to the stone of Unction. This is
taken for the very place where the precious body of our Lord was annointed
and prepared for the burial. Here they laid down their imaginary corpse;
and casting over it several sweet powders and spices, wrapped it up in the
winding-sheet. While this was doing they sang their proper hymn, and
afterward one of the friars preached in Arabic a funeral-sermon. These
obsequies being finished, they carried off their fancied corpse and laid
it in the Sepulchre, shutting up the door till Easter morning. And now,
after so many sermons, and so long, not to say tedious, a ceremony, it may
well be imagined that the weariness of the congregation, as well as the
hour of the night, made it needful to go to rest."[83]

Easter-eve passed without any remarkable observance,--a period of leisure
which was employed by many of the pilgrims in having their arms marked
with the usual ensigns of Jerusalem. "The artists who undertake the
operation do it in this manner; they have stamps of wood of any figure
that you desire, which they first print off upon your arm with powder of
charcoal, then taking two very fine needles tied close together, and
dipping them often, like a pen, in certain ink compounded, as I was
informed, of gun-powder and ox-gall, they make with them small punctures
all along the lines of the figure which they have printed; and then,
washing the part in wine, conclude the work. The punctures they make with
great quickness and dexterity, and with scarce any smart, seldom piercing
so deep as to draw blood. In the afternoon of this day the congregation
was assembled in the area before the holy grave; where the friars spent
some hours in singing over the Lamentations of Jeremiah; which function,
with the usual procession to the holy places, was all the ceremony
required by the ritual of the place."

On Easter-day the scene was changed from gloom to the most lively
congratulation. "The clouds of the former morning were cleared up; and the
friars put on a face of joy and serenity, as if it had been the real
juncture of our Lord's resurrection. Nor doubtless was this joy feigned,
whatever their mourning might be; this being the day on which their Lenten
disciplines expired, and they were now come to a full belly again. The
mass was celebrated this morning just before the Holy Sepulchre, being the
most eminent place in the church; where the father guardian had a throne
erected, and being arrayed in episcopal robes, with a mitre on his head,
in the sight of the Turks he gave the Host to all that were disposed to
receive it; not refusing it to children of seven or eight years old. This
office being ended, we made our exit out of the Sepulchre, and returning
to the convent, dined with the friars."[84]

The latest travellers in Palestine witnessed similar observances on the
same solemn occasion, none of which were in the least calculated to edify
an enlightened mind, and many of them such as could not be contemplated
without feelings of just indignation, mingled with contempt.

There is no greater obstacle to the propagation of Christianity among the
Syrian tribes, and more especially among the Turks and Jews, than the
foolish exhibitions which disgrace the return of the principal festivals
in the Holy Land. The mummeries already described could not fail to be
sufficiently revolting to a people who permit not any image or
representation of created things, even in the uses of ordinary life.
Still, the sincerity and apparent devotion with which the ceremony of the
crucifixion was performed might, in some degree, atone for the unseemly
method adopted by the monks to commemorate an event at once so solemn and
important. But what shall be said in defence of the manifest fraud which
is annually practised in Jerusalem on Easter-eve by the Greek church, when
the credulous multitude are taught to believe that fire descends from
heaven into the Holy Sepulchre to kindle their lamps and torches?

Upon comparing the description given by Maundrell with the accounts of the
latest travellers, we perceive that nearly a century and a half has passed
away without producing any improvement, and that the friars of the present
age are probably not less ignorant or dishonest than their predecessors
five hundred years ago. "They began their disorders by running round the
Holy Sepulchre with all their might and swiftness, crying out as they went
_huia_, which signifies _this is he_, or _this is it_,--an expression by
which they assert the verity of the Christian religion. After they had by
these religious circulations and clamours turned their heads and inflamed
their madness, they began to act the moat antic tricks and postures in a
thousand shapes of distraction. Sometimes they dragged one another along
the floor all round the Sepulchre; sometimes they set one man upright upon
another's shoulders, and in this posture marched round; sometimes they
tumbled round the Sepulchre after the manner of tumblers on the stage. In
a word, nothing can be imagined more rude or extravagant than what was
acted upon this occasion."[85]

"The Greeks first set out in a procession round the Holy Sepulchre, and
immediately at their heels followed the Armenians. In this order they
compassed the Holy Sepulchre thrice, having produced all their gallantry
of standards, streamers, crucifixes, and embroidered habits. Towards the
end of this procession there was a pigeon came fluttering into the cupola
over the Sepulchre, at sight of which there was a greater shout and
clamour than before. This bird, the Latins told us, was purposely let fly
by the Greeks to deceive the people into an opinion that it was a visible
descent of the Holy Ghost. The procession being over, the suffragan of the
Greek patriarch and the principal Armenian bishop approached to the door
of the Sepulchre, and, cutting the string with which it is fastened and
sealed, entered in, shutting the door after them, all the candles and
lamps within having been before extinguished in the presence of the Turks
and other witnesses. The exclamations were doubled as the miracle drew
nearer to its accomplishment; and the people pressed with such vehemence
towards the door of the Sepulchre that it was not in the power of the
Turks to keep them off. The cause of their pressing in this manner is, the
great desire they have to light their candles at the holy flame as soon as
it is first brought out of the Sepulchre, it being esteemed the most
sacred and pure as coming immediately from heaven. The two miracle-mongers
had not been above a minute in the Holy Sepulchre when the glimmering of
the holy fire was seen, or imagined to appear, through some chinks in the
door; and, certainly, Bedlam itself never saw such an unruly transport as
was produced in the mob at this sight.

"Immediately after, out came two priests with blazing torches in their
hands, which they held up at the door of the Sepulchre; while the people
thronged about with inexpressible ardour, every one striving to obtain a
part of the first and purest flame. The Turks, in the mean time, with huge
clubs laid on without mercy; but all this could not repel them, the excess
of their fury making them insensible of pain. Those that got the fire
applied it immediately to their beards, faces, and bosoms, pretending that
it would not burn like an earthly flame. But I plainly saw none of them
could endure this experiment long enough to make good that pretension. So
many hands being employed, you may be sure it could not be long before
innumerable tapers were lighted. The whole church, galleries, and every
place seemed instantly to be in a flame; and with this illumination the
ceremony ended.

"It must be owned that those two within the Sepulchre performed their part
with great quickness and dexterity; but the behaviour of the rabble
without very much discredited the miracle. The Latins take a great deal of
pains to expose this ceremony as a most shameful imposture and a scandal
to the Christian religion,--perhaps out of envy that others should be
masters of so gainful a business. But the Greeks and Armenians pin their
faith upon it; such is the deplorable unhappiness of their priests, that
having acted the cheat so long already, they are forced now to stand to it
for fear of endangering the apostacy of their people. Going out of church
after the rant was over, we saw several people gathered about the Stone of
Unction, who, having got a good store of candles lighted with the holy
fire, were employed in daubing pieces of linen with the wicks of them and
the melting wax, which pieces of linen were designed for winding-sheets.
And it is the opinion of these poor people, that if they can but have the
happiness to be buried in a shroud smutted with this celestial fire, it
will certainly secure them from the flames of hell."[86]

Dr. Richardson, who witnessed the same pitiful ceremony, is not inclined
to give much honour to the performers in respect to skill or dexterous
manipulation. On the contrary, he is of opinion that there is not a
pyrotechnist in London who could not have improved the exhibition. From
the station which he occupied in the church, being the organ-loft of the
Roman Catholic division, he distinctly saw the flame issuing from a
burning substance placed within the tomb, and which was raised and lowered
according to circumstances. The priests meant to be very artful, but were
in reality very ignorant. Like the Druids of old, no one, under the pain
of excommunication, dared to light his torch at that of another; every
individual was bound to derive his flame from the miraculous spark that
descended from above, and which could only be conveyed by the hands of the
chief priest.[87]

Having seen the exhibition of this vile and infamous delusion, the
traveller naturally inquires what credit he ought to give to the
historical statements and local descriptions derived from the Christians
who now occupy Jerusalem. Are the honoured spots within these walls really
what the guardians of the metropolitan church declare them to be? Is the
Mount Calvary shown at this day in the holy city the actual place where
Christ expired upon the cross to redeem the human race? Is the Sepulchre
there exhibited really that of the just man Joseph of Arimathea, in which
the body of the blessed Jesus was laid? Or are all these merely convenient
spots, fixed on at random, and consecrated to serve the interested views
of a crafty priesthood?[88]

We agree in the conclusion, that it is of no consequence to the Christian
faith in what way these questions shall be determined. The great facts on
which the history of the gospel is founded are not so closely connected
with particular spots of earth or sacred buildings as to be rendered
doubtful by any mistake in the choice of a locality. Nor is there any
material discrepancy between the opinions of Chateaubriand, which we are
inclined to adopt, and those of Dr. Clarke, who treats with contempt all
the traditions respecting holy places; for the outline may be correct,
although the minuter details are open to a just suspicion. For example, it
is now extremely difficult to trace the boundaries of Calvary; the effects
of time and the operations of the siege under the Roman prince have
obliterated some of the features by which that remarkable scene was
distinguished; it has even ceased to present the appearance of a mount--an
appellation, by-the-way, which is nowhere given to it in Scripture. But it
does not follow that the Christians who returned from Pella to inhabit the
ruins of the sacred metropolis should have been equally ignorant of its
extent and situation; nor is it at all probable that places so interesting
to the affections of the infant church would be allowed to fall into a
speedy oblivion.

The main error of the modern priests at Jerusalem arises from an anxiety
to exhibit every thing to which any allusion is made by the evangelical
historians; not remembering that the lapse of ages and the devastation of
successive wars have destroyed much, and disguised more, which the early
disciples could most readily identify. The mere circumstance that almost
all the events which attended the close of our Saviour's ministry are
crowded into one scene, covered by the roof of a single church, might
excite a very justifiable doubt as to the exactness of the topography
maintained by the friars of Mount Moriah. "This edifice," says Mr.
Maundrell, "is less than one hundred paces long, and not more than sixty
wide; and yet it is so contrived, that it is supposed to contain under its
roof twelve or thirteen sanctuaries, or places consecrated to a more than
ordinary veneration, by being reputed to have some particular actions done
in them relating to the death and resurrection of Christ."[89]

All that can now be affirmed, observes Dr. Clarke, with any show of
reason, is this, "that if Helena had reason to believe she could identify
the spot where the Sepulchre was, she took especial care to remove every
trace of it, in order to introduce the fanciful and modern work which now
remains. The place may be the same pointed out to her; but not a remnant
of the original Sepulchre can now be ascertained. Yet, with our skeptical
feelings thus awakened, it may prove how powerful the effect of sympathy
is, if we confess, that when we entered into the supposed Sepulchre, and
beheld, by the light of lamps there continually burning, the venerable
figure of an aged monk, with streaming eyes and a long white beard,
pointing to 'the place where the Lord lay,' and calling upon us to kneel
and experience pardon for our sins,--we did kneel, and we participated in
the feelings of more credulous pilgrims. Captain Culverhouse, in whose
mind the ideas of religion and of patriotism were inseparable, with firmer
emotion, drew from its scabbard the sword he had so often wielded in the
defence of his country, and placed it upon the tomb. Humbler comers heaped
the memorials of an accomplished pilgrimage; and while their sighs alone
interrupted the silence of the sanctuary a solemn service was begun."[90]

It is observed by the author of the Itinéraire, that the ancient
travellers were extremely fortunate in not being obliged to enter into all
these critical disquisitions; in the first place, because they found in
their readers that religion which never contends against truth; and,
secondly, because every mind was convinced that the only way of seeing a
country as it is must be to see it with all its traditions and
recollections. It is, in fact, with the Bible as his guide that a
traveller ought to visit the Holy Land. If we are determined to carry with
us a spirit of cavil and contradiction, Judea is not worth our going so
far to examine it. What should we say to a man who, in traversing Greece
and Italy, should think of nothing but contradicting Homer and Virgil?
Such, however, is the course adopted by too many modern travellers;
evidently the effect of our vanity, which would excite a high idea of our
own abilities, and at the same time fill us with disdain for those of
other people.[91]

A short time after M. Chateaubriand visited Jerusalem, the church of the
Holy Sepulchre was destroyed by fire; and although it has been since
repaired, it is admitted that both the architecture and the internal
decorations are much inferior to those of the original edifice. The
general plan of the whole building, however, as well as the arrangement of
the holy stations, are so exactly preserved, that the descriptions of the
earliest writers apply as correctly to its present as to its former state.
It is true, that the tombs of Godfrey de Bouillon and of Baldwin his
brother, which called forth the enthusiastic admiration of the French
author just named, have been annihilated by the malignant Greeks, so that
not a vestige remains to mark the spot whereon they stood. The Corinthian
columns of fine marble which formerly adorned the interior being rendered
useless by the fire, the dome is now supported by tall slender pillars of
masonry, plastered on the outside, and so closely grouped together as to
produce the worst effect. We are told, indeed, that the meanness of every
thing about the architecture of the central dome, and of the whole rotunda
which surrounds the Sepulchre itself, can only be exceeded by the wretched
taste of its painted decorations.[92]

It was of the older building that the Vicomte made the following
remarks:--"The church of the Holy Sepulchre, composed of several churches
erected upon an unequal surface, illumined by a multitude of lamps, is
singularly mysterious; a sombre light pervades it, favourable to piety and
profound devotion. Christian priests of various sects inhabit different
parts of the edifice. From the arches above, where they nestle like
pigeons, from the chapels below and subterraneous vaults, their songs are
heard at all hours both of the day and night. The organ of the Latin
monks, the cymbals of the Abyssinian priest, the voice of the Greek
caloyer, the prayer of the solitary Armenian, the plaintive accents of the
Coptic friar, alternately, or all at once, assail your ear. You know not
whence these accents of praise proceed; you inhale the perfume of incense
without perceiving the hand that burns it: you merely observe the pontiff,
who is going to celebrate the most awful of mysteries on the very spot
where they were accomplished, pass quickly by, glide behind the columns,
and vanish in the gloom of the temple.

"Christian readers will perhaps inquire what were my feelings upon
entering this sacred place. I really cannot tell. So many reflections
rushed at once upon my mind, that I was unable to dwell upon any
particular idea. I continued nearly half an hour upon my knees in the
little chamber of the Holy Sepulchre, with my eyes riveted upon the stone,
from which I had not the power to turn them. One of the two monks who
accompanied me remained prostrate on the marble by my side, while the
other, with the Testament in his hand, read to me by the light of the
lamps the passages relating to the sacred tomb. All I can say is that when
I beheld this triumphant Sepulchre, I felt nothing but my own weakness;
and that when my guide exclaimed with St. Paul, O death, where is thy
sting? O grave, where is thy victory? I listened, as if death were about
to reply that he was conquered and enchained in this monument. Where shall
we look in antiquity for anything so impressive, so wonderful, as the last
scenes described by the Evangelists? These are not the absurd adventures
of a deity foreign to human nature: it is a most pathetic history,--a
history which not only extorts tears by its beauty, but whose
consequences, applied to the universe, have changed the face of the earth.
I had just beheld the monuments of Greece, and my mind was still
profoundly impressed with their grandeur; but how far inferior were the
sentiments which they excited to those I felt at the sight of the places
commemorated in the gospel!"[93]

We must not presume to follow the ardent pilgrim along the _Via Dolorosa_,
the name given to the way which the Saviour passed from the house of
Pilate to the Mount of Calvary, nor can we stop to revere the arch, called
_Ecce Homo_, where, we are told, the window may still be seen from which
the Roman judge exclaimed to the vindictive Jews, "Behold the Man!" We
cannot resign our belief to the minute description which recognises the
house of Simon the Pharisee, where Mary Magdalene confessed her sins; the
prison of St. Peter, and the dwelling of Mary the mother of Mark, in which
the same apostle took refuge when he was set at liberty by the angel; and
the mansion of Dives, the rich man at whose gate the mendicant Lazarus was
laid, full of sores.

On crossing the small ravine which divides the modern city from Mount
Zion, the attention of the traveller is drawn to three ancient monuments,
or more properly ruins. Covered with buildings comparatively modern,--the
house of Caiaphas,--the place where Christ held his Last Supper,--and the
tomb or palace of David. The first of these is now a church, the duty of
which is performed by the Armenians; the second, consecrated by the
affecting solemnity, with the memory of which it is still associated,
presents a mosque and a Turkish hospital; while the third, a small vaulted
apartment, contains only three sepulchres formed of dark-coloured atone.
This holy hill is equally celebrated in the Old Testament and in the New.
Here the successor of Saul built a city and a royal dwelling,--here he
kept for three months the Ark of the Covenant;--here the Redeemer
instituted the sacrament which commemorates his death,--here he appeared
to his disciples on the day of his resurrection,--and here the Holy Ghost
descended on the apostles. The place hallowed by the Last Supper, if we
may believe the early Fathers, was transformed into the first Christian
temple the world ever saw, where St. James the Less was consecrated the
first bishop of Jerusalem, and where he presided in the first council of
the church. Finally, it was from this spot that the apostles, in
compliance with the injunction to go and teach all nations, departed,
without purse and without scrip, to seat their religion upon all the
thrones of the earth.

Descending Mount Zion on the east side, you perceive in the valley the
Fountain and Pool of Siloam, so celebrated in the history of our Saviour's
miracles. The brook itself is ill supplied with water, and, compared with
the ideas formed in the mind by the fine invocation of the poet, usually
creates disappointment. Going a few paces to the northward, you come to
the source of the scanty rivulet, which is called by some the Fountain of
the Virgin, from an opinion that she frequently came hither to drink. It
appears in a recess about twenty feet lower than the surface, and under an
arched vault of masonry tolerably well executed. The rock had been
originally hewn down to reach this pool; and a small crooked passage, of
which only the beginning is seen, is said to convey the water out of the
Valley of Siloam, and to supply the means of irrigating the little gardens
still cultivated in that spot. Notwithstanding the dirty state of the
water, and its harsh and brackish taste, it is still used by devout
pilgrims for diseases of the eye.[94]

It is said to have a kind of ebb and flow, sometimes discharging its
current like the Fountain of Vaucluse, at others retaining and scarcely
suffering it to run at all. The Levites, we are likewise told, used to
sprinkle the water of Siloam on the altar at the Feast of Tabernacles,
saying, "Ye shall draw water with joy from the wells of salvation." The
reader will find on the opposite page a representation of the Fountain or
Pool of Siloam, as it appeared to the eye of an able traveller; a
considerable part of the arch having fallen down, or been destroyed by the
barbarians who continue to hold Jerusalem in subjection.

The Valley of Jehoshaphat stretches between the eastern walls of the city
and the Mount of Olives, containing a great variety of objects, to which
allusion is made in the Sacred Writings. It was sometimes called the
King's Dale, from a reference to an event recorded in the history of
Abraham, and was afterward distinguished by the name of Jehoshaphat,
because that sovereign erected in it a magnificent tomb. This narrow vale
seems to have always served as a burying-place for the inhabitants of the
holy city: there you meet with monuments of the most remote ages, as well
as of the most modern times: thither the descendants of Jacob resort from
the four quarters of the globe, to yield up their last breath; and a
foreigner sells to them, for its weight in gold, a scanty spot of earth to
cover their remains in the land of their forefathers. Observing many Jews,
whom I could easily recognise by their yellow turbans, quick dark eyes,
black eyebrows, and bushy beards, walking about the place, and reposing
along the Brook Kedron in a pensive mood, the pathetic language of the
Psalmist occurred to me, as expressing the subject of their
meditation--'By the rivers we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.'
Upon frequently inquiring the motive that prompted them in attempting to
go to Jerusalem, the answer was, 'To die in the land of our fathers.'[95]

This valley or dale still exhibits a very desolate appearance. The western
side is a high chalk-cliff supporting the walls of the city; above which
you perceive Jerusalem itself; while the eastern acclivity is formed by
the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Offence, so called from the idolatry
which oppresses the fame of Solomon. These two hills are nearly naked, and
of a dull red colour. On their slopes are seen, here and there, a few
bleak and parched vines, some groves of wild olive-trees, wastes covered
with hyssop, chapels, oratories, and mosques in ruins. At the bottom of
the valley you discover a bridge of a single arch, thrown across the
channel of the Brook Kedron. The stones in the Jewish cemetery look like a
heap of rubbish at the foot of the Mount of Offence, below the Arab
village of Siloane, the paltry houses of which are scarcely to be
distinguished from the surrounding sepulchres. From the stillness of
Jerusalem, whence no smoke arises and no noise proceeds,--from the
solitude of these hills, where no living creature is to be seen,--from the
ruinous state of all these tombs, overthrown, broken, and half-open, you
would imagine that the last trumpet had already sounded, and that the
Valley of Jehoshaphat was about to render up its dead.

Amid this scene of desolation three monuments arrest the eyes of the
intelligent pilgrim,--the tombs of Zachariah, of Absalom, and of the king
whose name still distinguishes the valley. The first-mentioned of these is
a square mass of rock, hewn down into form, and isolated from the quarry
out of which it is cut by a passage of twelve or fifteen feet wide on
three of its sides; the fourth or western front being open towards the
valley and to Mount Moriah, the foot of which is only a few yards distant.
This huge stone is eight paces in length on each side, and about twenty
feet high in the front, and ten feet high at the back; the hill on which
it stands having a steep ascent. It has four semicolumns cut out of the
same rock on each of its faces, with a pilaster at each angle, all of a
mixed Ionic order, and ornamented in bad taste. The architraves, the full
moulding, and the deep overhanging cornice which finishes the square, are
all perfectly after the Egyptian manner; and the whole is surmounted by a
pyramid, the sloping aides of which rise from the very edges of the square
below, and terminate in a finished point.

The body of this monument, we have already stated, is one solid mass of
rock, as well as its semicolumns on each face; but the surmounting pyramid
appears to be of masonry. Its sides, however, are perfectly smooth, like
the coated pyramids of Sahara and Dashour, and not graduated by stages
like those of Dijzeh in lower Egypt.

Inconsiderable in size and paltry in its ornaments, this monument, as Mr.
Buckingham observes, is eminently curious. There is no appearance of an
entrance into any part of it; so that it seems; if a tomb, to have been as
firmly closed as the Egyptian pyramids, and, perhaps, for the same respect
for the repose of the dead. It is probable, indeed, that the original
style and plan of the building are derived from the country of the
Pharaohs; while the Grecian columns and pilasters may be the work of a
much later period, when the Jews had learned to combine with the massy
piles of their more ancient architecture the elegant lightness which
distinguished the times of the Seleucidae.[96]

In the immediate vicinity is the tomb of Jehoshaphat,--a cavern which is
more commonly called the Grotto of the Disciples, from an idea that they
went frequently thither to be taught by their Divine Master. The front of
this excavation has two Doric pillars of small size, but of just
proportions. In the interior are three chambers, all of them rude and
irregular in their form, in one of which were several gravestones,
removed, we may suppose, from the open ground for greater security. Like
all the rest, they were flat slabs of an oblong shape, from three to six
inches in thickness, and evidently a portion of the limestone rock which
composes the adjoining hills.

Opposite to this, on the east, is the reputed tomb of Absalom, resembling
nearly in the size, form, and decoration of its square base that of
Zachariah already described; except that it is sculptured with the metopes
and triglyphs of the Doric order. This is surmounted by a sharp conical
dome, having large mouldings running round its base, and on the summit
something like an imitation of flame. There is here again so strange a
mixture of style and ornament, that one knows not to what age to attribute
the monument as a whole. The square mass below is solid, and the Ionic
columns which are seen on each of its faces are half-indented in the rock
itself. The dome is of masonry, and on the eastern side there is a square
aperture in it. Generally speaking, the sight of this monument rather
confirms the idea suggested by the tomb of Zachariah, that the hewn mass
of solid rock, the surmounting pyramid and dome of masonry, and the
sculptured frieze and Ionic columns wrought on the faces of the square
below were works of different periods; being probably ancient sepulchres,
the primitive character of which had been changed by the subsequent
addition of foreign ornaments. There is, besides, every reason to believe
that this monument, represented below, really occupies the site of the one
which was set up by him whose name it bears. "Now Absalom in his lifetime
had reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the King's Dale: for he
said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance; and he called the
pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day Absalom's
Place."[97]

Chateaubriand is of opinion, that except the Pool of Bethesda at
Jerusalem, we have no remains of the primitive architecture of its
inhabitants. This reservoir, a hundred and fifty feet long and forty
broad, is still to be seen near St. Stephen's Gate, where it bounded the
Temple on the north. The sides are walled by means of large stones joined
together by iron cramps, and covered with flints imbedded in a substance
resembling plaster. Here the lambs destined for sacrifice were washed; and
it was on the brink of this pool that Christ said to the paralytic man,
"Arise, take up thy bed and walk." It receives a melancholy interest from
the fact that it is probably the last remnant of Jerusalem as it appeared
in the days of Solomon and of his immediate successors.

It cannot be denied that the tombs in the Valley of Jehoshaphat display an
alliance of Egyptian and Grecian taste; and, in naturalizing in their
capital the architecture of Memphis and of Athens, it is equally certain
that the Jews mixed with it the forms of their own peculiar style. From
this combination resulted a heterogeneous kind of structure, forming, as
it were, the link between the Pyramids and the Parthenon,--monuments in
which you discover a sombre, yet bold and elevated genius, associated with
a pleasing and cultivated imagination.

Our limits forbid us to follow the footsteps of the pilgrim in his minute
survey of the "Sepulchres of the Kings," which, it is acknowledged, cannot
be traced back to a remoter era than that of the Grecian dynasty at
Antioch and Damascus. There are several other tombs and grottoes, to which
tradition has attached venerable names, and even consecrated them as the
scene of important events; but as they are not remarkable on any other
account, we shall not extend to an undue length our description of the
holy places under the walls of Jerusalem.

We shall simply remark, that a difference of opinion exists among modern
travellers in regard to the extent of the ancient city, the ground which
it actually covered, the changes that it has since undergone in point of
locality, and hence, in respect to the position of some of the more
prominent objects which attract the attention of the inquisitive tourist
in our own days. Dr. Clarke has distinguished himself by some bold
speculations on this head, the effect of which is to derange all the
received notions relative to the scene of the crucifixion and the place of
the Holy Sepulchre. It will indeed be readily granted, that it is a matter
of very small importance to the faith of a Christian to determine whether
the decease which was accomplished at Jerusalem took place on the
north-western or the south-eastern extremity of that metropolis. But as
the history and tradition of many ages have fixed the spot where the cross
was erected and where the new tomb in the rock had its situation, it is
requisite that the arguments of a writer who himself pays so little
respect to authority should be examined with attention. In this case, it
is obvious, an inspection of the ground candidly and distinctly reported
is of much more weight than the most ingenious reasoning if destitute of
facts; on which account, we are happy to have it in our power to refer to
the journal of a learned gentleman hitherto unpublished, who about three
years ago travelled in Syria and Palestine.

"We passed by the place of St. Stephen's martyrdom down into the Valley of
Jehoshaphat. This valley, independently of associations, is highly
picturesque. It is deep and narrow; the lower part is green with scattered
olives. The slope up towards the city is also smooth and green, and
crowned by the towers and battlements. On ascending the Mount of Olives,
which we did towards the south, we had a splendid view of Jerusalem. The
chief ornaments are the two domes of the Holy Sepulchre, the mosque of
Omar, and another large mosque with a smaller dome; but the white houses
make a good show, and the walls are picturesque. On looking at Jerusalem
from this place, the great features seemed to me to agree entirely with
the established maps, and Dr. Clarke's theory appeared quite untenable.
The only difficulty is, that there is no valley which _runs up all the
way_ so as to divide entirely Mount Zion from Mount Moriah. A ravine does
run far enough to cut off the Temple, but no more. The extent of this
difficulty must depend on the description left us of the Tyropaeum and
Millo. Was there a deep valley such as time and change might not have
obliterated? The people of the convent gave the name of the Mount of
Offence to a low hill on the south of the Mount of Olives; but Clarke
seems to think that the real Mount of Offence is that divided by Jehinnom
from Zion, and called by our guide Monte de Mal Consiglio. We visited the
Mohammedan chapel over the place of the Ascension, and saw the alleged
print of Christ's foot. We next went to the place called Viri Galilaei (ye
men of Galilee), and, after looking in vain for Dr. Clarke's pagan
remains, descended towards the Cave of the Prophets. We saw the well where
Nehemiah found the fire of the altar, and then went up the Valley of
Hinnom; first to the tomb called the Crypt of the Apostles, close to the
Aceldama, or Field of Blood. We saw many other grottoes; one had [Greek:
taes hagias Sion] inscribed upon it, as had another much farther up. Near
this last was that which Clarke maintained to be the Holy Sepulchre. We
saw one which would do very well for it; but so would many others. This
one was a cave, with a place for a body cut out in the back part of it,
but raised like a stone trough, not sunk in the floor. There is, of
course, not a shadow of reason for thinking Clarke's cave to be the real
one, and very little that I can see for doubting that the nominal Holy
Sepulchre is so in fact, or, rather, that it is _on the site_ of the real
one, which must have been destroyed when Adrian erected his temple to
Venus on the spot. From these caves we went by the Pool of Bathsheba to
the Bethlehem Gate, and so along the west side of the town to the Tombs of
the Judges and Kings, which lie north or north-west of the city. I
observed large foundations of ancient walls and heaps of rubbish west of
the modern town, where Clarke seems to assume that there was anciently no
part of the city. There and on the north I also observed wells opening
into large covered reservoirs for water. We entered only one of the Tombs
of the Judges, the rest being insignificant. That one was large, with a
pediment which had dentiles and other Greek ornaments. Inside there were
at least three chambers, surrounded by receptacles for bodies. In
returning we went to the Tombs of the Kings, which, like the others, are
cut out of the rock, and, like them too, have Grecian ornaments. There is
one large cave; the front has a handsome entablature, the upper part
ornamented with alternate circular garlands, bunches of grapes, and an
ornament of acanthus leaves; the lower with a rich band of foliage
disposed with much elegance."[98]

Hence, it appears that the weight of evidence preponderates decidedly in
favour of the common opinions in regard to the form of the ancient city
and the places which are usually denominated holy. Why, then, should any
one attempt to disturb the belief or acquiescence of the Christian world
on a subject concerning which all nations have hitherto found reason to
agree? The members of the primitive church had better means than we have
of being fully informed respecting the scenes of the evangelical history;
and it is manifest that amid all the changes which ensued in Jerusalem,
either from conquest or superstition, nothing was more unlikely than that
the faithful should forget the sacred spot where their redemption was
completed, or that they should consent to transfer their veneration to any
other.[99]



CHAPTER VI.


_Description of the Country South and East of Jerusalem_.

Garden of Gethsemane; Tomb of Virgin Mary; Grottoes on Mount of Olives;
View of the City; Extent and Boundaries; View of Bethany and Dead Sea;
Bethlehem; Convent; Church of the Nativity described; Paintings; Music;
Population of Bethlehem; Pools of Solomon; Dwelling of Simon the Leper; Of
Mary Magdalene; Tower of Simeon; Tomb of Rachel; Convent of John; Fine
Church; Tekoa; Bethulia; Hebron; Sepulchre of Patriarchs; Albaid; Kerek;
Extremity of Dead Sea; Discoveries of Bankes, Legh, and Irby and Mangles;
Convent of St. Saba; Valley of Jordan; Mountains; Description of Lake
Asphaltites; Remains of Ancient Cities in its Basin; Quality of its
Waters; Apples of Sodom; Tacitus, Seetzen, Hasselquist, Chateaubriand;
Width of River Jordan; Jericho-Village of Rihhah; Balsam; Fountain of
Elisha; Mount of Temptation; Place of Blood; Anecdote of Sir F. Henniker;
Fountain of the Apostles; Return to Jerusalem; Markets; Costume; Science;
Arts; Language; Jews; Present Condition of that People.

In proceeding from Jerusalem towards Bethany, the traveller skirts the
Mount of Olives; or, if he wishes to enjoy the magnificent view which it
presents, both of the city and of the extensive tract watered by the
Jordan, he ascends its heights, and at the same time inspects the remains
of sacred architecture still to be seen on its summit. As he passes from
the eastern gate, the Garden of Gethsemane meets his eyes, as well as the
tomb which bears the name of the Blessed Virgin. This has a building over
it with a pretty front, although the Grecian ornaments sculptured in
marble are not in harmony with the pointed arch at the entrance. It is
approached by a paved court, now a raised way, leading from the Mount of
Olives over the Brook Kedron. The descent into it is formed by a handsome
flight of steps composed of marble, being about fifty in number and of a
noble breadth. About midway down are two arched recesses in the sides,
said to contain the ashes of St. Anne, the mother of Mary, and of Joseph
her husband. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, the visiter is shown the
tomb of the holy Virgin herself, which is in the form of a simple bench
coated with marble. Here the Greeks and Armenians say mass by turns, and
near it there is an humble altar for the Syrian Christians; while opposite
to it is one for the Copts, consisting of earth, and entirely destitute of
lamps, pictures, covering, and every other species of ornament.
Chateaubriand tells us that the Turks had a portion of this grotto:
Buckingham asserts that they have no right to enter it, nor could he
"learn from the keepers of the place that they ever had!" whereas the
author of the Anonymous Journal, from which we have already quoted, states
distinctly that "there is a place reserved for the Mussulmans to pray,
which at the Virgin's Tomb one would not expect to be much in request." So
much for the clashing of authorities on the part of writers who could have
no wish to deceive!

There are various other grottoes on the acclivity of the hill, meant to
keep alive the remembrance of certain occurrences which are either
mentioned in the gospel, or have been transmitted to the present age by
oral tradition. Among these is one which is supposed to be the scene of
the agony and the bloody sweat; a second, that marks the place where St.
Peter and the two sons of Zebedee fell asleep when their Master retired to
pray; and a third, indicating the spot whereon Judas betrayed the Son of
Man with a kiss. Here also is pointed out the rock from which our Saviour
predicted the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple,--that
dreadful visitation, of which the traces are still most visible both
within and around the walls. The curious pilgrim is further edified by the
sight of a cavern where the apostles were taught the Lord's Prayer; and of
another where the same individuals at a later period met together to
compose their Creed. On the principal top of the Mount of Olives,--for the
elevated ground presents three separate summits,--are a mosque and the
remains of a church. The former is distinguished by a lofty minaret which
commands an extensive prospect; but the latter is esteemed more
remarkable, as containing the piece of rock imprinted with the mark of our
Saviour's foot while in the act of ascension.

But the view of the venerable metropolis itself, which stretches out its
lance and sacred enclosures under the eye of the traveller, is still more
interesting than the recapitulation of ambiguous relics. It occupies an
irregular square of about two miles and a half in circumference. Eusebius
gave a measurement of twenty-seven stadia, amounting to nearly a mile more
than its present dimensions; a difference which can easily be explained,
by adverting to the alterations made on the line of fortifications by the
Saracens and Turks, especially on the north-west and western extremities
of the town. Its shortest apparent side is that which faces the east, and
in this is the supposed gate of the ancient Temple, shut up by the
Mussulmans from a superstitious motive, and the small projecting stone on
which their prophet is to sit when he shall judge the world assembled in
the vale below. The southern side is exceedingly irregular, taking quite a
zigzag direction; the south-western entrance being terminated by a mosque
built over the supposed sepulchre of David, on the elevation of Mount
Zion. The form and exact direction of the western and northern walls are
not distinctly seen from the position now assumed; but every part of them
appears to be a modern work, and executed at the same time. They are
flanked at certain distances by square towers, and have battlements all
along their summits, with loopholes for arrows or musketry close to the
top. Their height is about fifty feet, but they are not surrounded by a
ditch. The northern wall runs over ground which declines slightly outward;
the eastern wall passes straight along the brow of Mount Moriah, with the
deep valley of Jehoshaphat below; the southern wall crosses Mount Zion,
with the vale of Hinnom at its feet; and the western wall is carried over
a more uniform level, near the summit of the bare hills which terminate at
the Jaffa gate.[100]

Turning towards the east, the traveller sees at the foot of the hill the
little village of Bethany, so often mentioned in the history of our Lord
and of his personal followers; and at a greater distance, a little more on
the left, he beholds the magnificent scenery of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea.

There are two roads from Jerusalem to Bethany; the one passing over the
Mount of Olives; the other, the shorter and easier, winding round the
eastern side of it. This village is now both small and poor, the
cultivation of the soil around it being very much neglected by the
indolent Arabs into whose hands it has fallen. Here are shown the ruins of
a house, said to have belonged to Lazarus whom our Saviour raised from the
dead; and, in the immediate neighbourhood, the faithful pilgrim is invited
to devotion in a grotto, which is represented as the actual tomb wherein
the miracle was performed. The dwellings of Simon the Leper, of Mary
Magdalene, and of Martha are pointed out by the Mussulmans, who traffic on
the credulity of ignorant Christians. Nay, they undertake to identify the
spot where the barren fig tree withered under the curse, and the place
where Judas put an end to his life, oppressed by a more dreadful
malediction.

There is no traveller of any nation, whatever may be his creed or his
impressions in regard to the gospel, who does not make the usual journey
from the Jewish capital to Bethlehem the place of our Lord's nativity. The
road, as we find related, passes over ground extremely rocky and barren,
diversified only by some cultivated patches bearing a scanty crop of
grain, and by banks of wild-flowers which grow in great profusion. On the
way the practised guide points out the ruined tower of Simeon, who upon
beholding the infant Messiah expressed his readiness to leave this world;
the Monastery of Elias, now in possession of the Greeks; and the tomb of
Rachel, rising in a rounded top like the whitened sepulchre of an Arab
sheik. "This," says the honest Maundrell, "may probably be the true place
of her interment; but the present sepulchral monument can be none of that
which Jacob erected, for it appears plainly to be a modern and Turkish
structure." Farther on is the well of which David longed to drink, and of
which his mighty men, at the risk of their lives, procured him a supply;
and here opens to view, in a great valley, that most interesting of all
pastoral scenes, where the angel of the Omnipotent appeared by night to
the shepherds, to announce the glad tidings that Christ was born in
Bethlehem.[101]

As there was another town of the same name in the tribe of Zebulon, the
Bethlehem that we now approach was usually distinguished by the addition
of Ephrata, or by a reference to the district in which it was situated.
The convent which marks the place of the Redeemer's birth was built by
Helena, after removing the idolatrous structure said to have been erected
by Adrian from a feeling of contempt or jealousy towards the Christians.
At present it is divided among the monks of the Greek, Roman, and Armenian
sects, who have assigned to them separate portions, as well for lodging as
for places of worship; though, on certain days, they may all celebrate the
rites of their common faith on altars which none of them have been
hitherto allowed to appropriate. There are two churches, an upper and a
lower, under the same roof. The former contains nothing remarkable, if we
except a star inlaid in the floor, immediately under the spot in the
heavens where the supernatural sign became visible to the wise men, and,
like it, directly above the place of the Nativity in the church below.

This last is an excavation in the rock, elegantly fitted up and floored
with marble, and to which there is a descent by a flight of steps through
a long narrow passage. Here are shown a great number of tombs, and among
them one in which were said to be buried all the babes of Bethlehem
murdered by the barbarous Herod. From hence the pilgrim is conducted into
a handsome chapel, of which the floors and walls are composed of beautiful
marble, having on each side five oratories, or recesses for prayer,
corresponding to the ten stalls supposed to have been in the stable
wherein our blessed Saviour was born. This sacred crypt is irregular in
shape, because it occupies the site of the stable and the manger. It is
thirty-seven feet six inches long, eleven feet three inches broad, and
nine feet in height. As it receives no light from without, it is illumined
by thirty-two lamps, sent by different princes of Christendom; the other
embellishments are ascribed to the munificent Helena. At the farther
extremity of this small church there is an altar placed in an arcade, and
hollowed out below in the form of an arch, to embrace the sacred spot
where Emmanuel, having laid aside his glory, first appeared in the garb of
human nature. A circle in the floor composed of marble and jasper,
surrounded with silver, and having rays like those with which the sun is
represented, marks the precise situation wherein that stupendous event was
realized. An inscription, denoting that "here Jesus Christ was born of the
Virgin Mary," meets the eye of the faithful worshipper.

  Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est.

Adjoining the Altar of the Nativity is the Manger in which the Infant
Messiah was laid. It is also formed of marble, and is raised about
eighteen inches above the floor, bearing a resemblance to the humble bed
which alone the furniture of a stable could supply. Before it is the Altar
of the Wise Men,--a memorial of their adoration and praise at the moment
when they saw the young child and Mary his mother.

This edifice, says the Vicomte de Chateaubriand, is certainly of high
antiquity, and, often destroyed and as often repaired, it still retains
marks of its Grecian origin. It is built in the form of a cross, the nave
being adorned with forty-eight columns of the Corinthian order in four
rows, which are at least two feet six inches in diameter at the base, and
eighteen feet high, including the base and capital. As the roof of the
nave is wanting, these pillars support nothing but a frieze of wood, which
occupies the place of the architrave and of the whole entablature. The
windows are large, and were formerly adorned with Mosaic paintings and
passages from the Bible in Greek and Latin characters, the traces of which
are still visible.

The top of the church affords a fine prospect into the surrounding
country, extending to Tekoa on the south and Engedi on the east. In the
latter place is the grotto where David, a native of Bethlehem, cut off the
skirt of Saul's garment. There is also the convent of Elias, in which is
said to-be a large stone still retaining an impression of his body.
Between this point and Jerusalem Mr. Buckingham was struck with the
appearance of several small detached towers of a square form built in the
midst of vine-lands. These, he learned, were for the accommodation of
watchmen appointed to guard the produce from thieves and wild beasts;
hence explaining a passage which occurs in the Gospel according to St.
Mark:--"A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and
digged a place for the wine-fat, and built a _tower_, and let it out to
husbandmen."[102]

It is painful to find that the same animosity which attends the claims of
the several sects of Christians at Jerusalem for the possession of the
Holy Sepulchre disgraces their contentions at Bethlehem for the Grotto of
the Nativity. A few years ago, during the celebration of the Christmas
festival, at which Mr. Bankes was present, a battle took place, in which
some of the combatants were wounded, and others severely beaten; and in
the preceding season the privilege of saying mass at the altar on that
particular day had been fought for at the door of the sanctuary itself
with drawn swords.

Dr. Clarke, whose skepticism in regard to the holy places in the capital
has been already mentioned, grants that the tradition respecting the Cave
of the Nativity is so well authenticated as hardly to admit of dispute.
Having been always held in veneration, the oratory established there by
the first Christians attracted the notice and indignation of the heathens
so early as the time of Adrian, who, as is elsewhere stated, ordered it to
be demolished, and the place to be set apart for the rites of Adonis. This
happened in the second century, and at a period in the emperor's life when
the Grotto of the Nativity was as well known in Bethlehem as the
circumstance to which it owed its celebrity. In the fourth age,
accordingly, we find this fact appealed to by St. Jerome as an
indisputable testimony by which the cave itself had been identified. Upon
this subject there does not seem to be the slightest ground for
skepticism; and the evidence afforded by such a writer will be deemed
sufficient for believing that the monastery erected over the spot, and
where he himself resided, does at this day point out the place of our
Saviour's birth.[103]

Nothing, observes a late traveller, can be more pleasing, or better
calculated to excite sentiments of devotion, than this subterranean
church. It is adorned with pictures of the Italian and Spanish schools,
representing the mysteries peculiar to the place,--the Virgin and Child,
after Raphael; the Annunciation; the Adoration of the Wise Men; the Coming
of the Shepherds; and all those miracles of mingled grandeur and
innocence. The usual ornaments of the manger are of blue satin,
embroidered with silver. Incense is continually smoking before the cradle
of the Saviour. "I have heard an organ, touched by no ordinary hand,
playing during mass the sweetest and most tender tunes of the best Italian
composers. These concerts charm the Christian Arab, who, leaving his
camels to feed, repairs, like the shepherds of old, to Bethlehem, to adore
the King of Kings in his manger. I have seen this inhabitant of the desert
communicate at the altar of the Magi with a fervour, a piety, a devotion
unknown among the Christians of the West." No place in the world, says
Father Neret, excites more profound devotion. The continual arrival of
caravans from all the Nations of Christendom--the public prayers--the
prostrations--nay, even the richness of the presents sent thither by the
Christian princes--altogether produce feelings in the soul which it is
much easier to conceive than to describe.[104]

It may be added, that the effect of all this is heightened by an
extraordinary contrast; for, on quitting the grotto where you have met
with the riches, the arts, the religion of civilized nations, you find
yourself in a profound solitude, amid wretched Arab huts, among half-naked
savages and faithless Mussulmans. This place is nevertheless the same
where so many miracles were displayed; but this sacred land dares no more
express its joy, and locks within its bosom the recollections of its
glory.

Bethlehem has usually shared the vicissitudes of Jerusalem, being, both
from its situation and the nature of the relics which it contains, exposed
to the rage or cupidity of barbarian conquerors. It fell under the power
of the Saracens when led by their victorious calif; but for seven
centuries it has been guarded by a succession of religious persons who, it
has been said, suffer a perpetual martyrdom. In the time of Volney, they
reckoned about six hundred men in this village capable of bearing arms, of
whom about one hundred were Latin Christians. The necessity of uniting for
their common defence against the Bedouins, and the still morn relentless
agents of despotism, has in many instances prevailed over points of faith,
and induced the monks to live on good terms with the Mohammedans. Mr.
Buckingham assures us, that at present the town is equal to Nazareth in
extent, and contains from 1000 to 1500 inhabitants, who are almost wholly
Christians. Dr. Richardson gives the number at 300, an estimate, we should
imagine, considerably below the actual population. The men are robust and
well made, and the women are among the fairest and most handsome, that are
to be seen in Palestine.

The neighbourhood of Bethlehem presents a variety of objects too important
to be passed without a slight notice. The Pools of Solomon, connected, it
is probable, with a scheme for supplying Jerusalem with water; are usually
visited by the more enlightened class of travellers, who combine in their
researches a regard to the arts as well as to the religion of Judea. These
reservoirs are four, in number, being so disposed, says Maundrell, that
the water of the uppermost may descend into the second, and that of the
second into the third. Their figure is quadrangular; the breadth is the
same in all, amounting to about ninety paces. In their length there is
some difference; the first being one hundred and sixty paces long, the
second two hundred and the third two hundred and twenty. They are all
lined with masonry and plastered. The springs whence the pools are
supplied seem to have been secured with great care, having, says the
author of the Journey from Aleppo, "no avenue to them but by a little
hole like to the mouth of a narrow well." Through this hole you descend
directly about four yards, when you come to a chamber forty-five feet long
and twenty-four broad, adjoining to which there is another apartment of
the same kind, but not quite so large. Both these rooms are neatly arched,
and have an air of great antiquity. The water, which rises from four
separate sources, is partly conveyed by a subterranean passage into the
ponds; the remainder being received into an aqueduct of brick pipes, and
carried by many turnings and windings among the mountains to the walls of
Jerusalem. The monks of Bethlehem are perfectly convinced that it was in
allusion to this guarded treasure, so valuable in Palestine, that Solomon
called his beloved spouse a "sealed fountain."

Of the aqueduct here mentioned some traces are still to be detected in the
intermediate space, and denote an acquaintance with the principles of
hydraulics which we could not have expected among Hebrew architects. It
was constructed all along upon the surface of the ground, and framed of
perforated stones let into one another, with a fillet round the cavity, so
contrived as to prevent leakage, and united together with so firm a cement
that they will sometimes sooner break than endure a separation. These
pipes were covered with an arch, or layer of flags, strengthened by the
application of a peculiarly strong mortar; the whole "being endued with
such absolute firmness as if it had been designed for eternity. But the
Turks have demonstrated in this instance, that nothing can be so well
wrought but they are able to destroy it; fur of this strong aqueduct,
which was carried formerly five or six leagues with so vast expense and
labour, you see now only here and there a fragment remaining."[105]

In a valley contiguous to Bethlehem are the remains of a church and
convent which were erected by the pious empress over the place where the
angels appeared to the shepherds. Nothing has survived the desolation to
which every edifice in Palestine has been repeatedly subjected but a small
grotto wherein the heavenly communication was vouchsafed to the simple
keepers of the flock.

On the way back to Jerusalem the traveller is induced to leave the more
direct route, that he may visit the Convent of St. John in the Desert.
This monastery is built over the dwelling where the Baptist is supposed to
have first seen the light; and accordingly, under the altar, the spot on
which he was brought forth is marked by a star of marble bearing this
inscription:--

  "Hic precursor Domini Christi natus est."
  Here the forerunner of the Lord Christ was born.

The church belonging to this establishment has been described as one of
the best in the Holy Land, having an elegant cupola and a pavement of
Mosaic, with some paintings. But the appearance, nevertheless, is poor and
deserted, as if its votaries were few, and but little concerned in
preserving its ancient grandeur. The account given of it by Sandys will
amuse the reader by the simplicity of the narrative as well as by the deep
interest the good man felt in the various scenes which passed before
him:--"Having travelled about a mile and a halfe farther, we came to the
cave where the baptist is said to have lived from the age of seven until
such time as he went into the wilderness by Jordan, sequestered from the
abode of man, and feeding on such wilde nourishment as these uninhabited
places afforded. This cave is seated on the northern side of a desert
mountaine,--only beholden to the locust-tree,--hewne out of the
precipitating rock, so as difficultly to be ascended or descended to,
entered at the east corner, and receiving light from a window in the side.
At the upper end there is a bench of the selfesame, whereon, they say, he
accustomed to sleeps; of which whoso breaks a piece off stands forthwith
excommunicate. Over this, on a little flat stand the ruins of a monastery,
on the south aide, naturally walled with the steepe of a mountain; from
whence there gusheth a living spring which entereth the rock, and again
bursteth forth beneathe the mouth of the cave,--a place that would make
solitarinesse delightful, and stand in comparison with the turbulent pompe
of cities. This overlooketh a profound valley, on the far side hemmed with
aspiring mountains, whereof some are cut (or naturally so) in degrees like
allies, which would be else unaccessibly fruitlesse; whose levels yet bear
the stumps of decayed vines, shadowed not rarely with olives and locusts.
And surely I think that all or most of those mountains have bin so
husbanded, else could this little country have never sustained such a
multitude of people. After we had fed of such provision as was brought us
from the city by other of the fraternitie that there met us, we turned
towards Jerusalem, leaving the way of Bethlehem on the right-hand, and
that of Emmaus on the left. The first place of note that we met with was
there where once stood the dwelling of Zachary, seated on the side of a
fruitful hill, well stored with olives and vineyards. Hither came the
blessed Virgin to visit her cousin Elisabeth. Here died Elisabeth, and
here, in a grot, on the aide of a vault or chapell, lies buried; over
which a goodly church war erected, together with a monastery, whereof now
little standeth but a part of the walls, which offer to the view some
fragments of painting, which show that the rest have been exquisit. Beyond
and lower is Our Lady's Fountaine (so called of the inhabitants), which
maintaineth a little current thorow the neighbouring valley. Near this, in
the bottome and uttermost extent thereof, there standeth a temple, once
sumptuous, now desolate, built by Helena, and dedicated to St. John
Baptist, in the place where Zachary had another house, possest, as the
rest, by the beastly Arabians, who defile it with their cattell, and
employ to the basest of uses."[106]

It is a point still unsettled, whether the food of him who was sent to
prepare the way consisted of fruit or of insects; the name locust being
indiscriminately applied to either, and both being used by the inhabitants
of Palestine. There is less doubt in regard to the opinions of the early
Christians, who were unanimous in the belief that the Baptist lived on the
produce of a particular tree which still abounds in the desert. Nay, the
friars at the present day assert, that the very plants which yielded
sustenance to the holy recluse continue to flourish in their ancient
vigour; and the popish pilgrims, says Mr. Maundrell, who dare not be wiser
than such blind guides, gather the fruit of them, and carry it away with
much devotion.

But we must not permit the interesting associations of Bethlehem to detain
us any longer in its vicinity. We proceed now towards the extremity of the
Dead Sea; whence, after having visited the most remarkable scenes on its
western shore,--the mouth of the Jordan and the position of Jericho,--we
shall return to the capital by a different route.

After having satisfied his curiosity in church and convent, the traveller
turns his face southward to Tekoa and Hebron, those remoter villages of
the Holy Land. The former, which was built by Rehoboam, and is
distinguished as the birthplace of Amos the prophet, presents considerable
ruins, and even some remains of architecture. It appears to have stood
upon a hill, which Pococke describes as being about half a mile in length
and a furlong broad. On the north-eastern corner there are fragments of an
old building, supposed to have been a fortress, while about half-way up
the accent there are similar indications of a church now in a state of
complete dilapidation. There is preserved, however, a large font of an
octagon form, composed of red and white marble; as also pieces of broken
pillars consisting of the same material.

Farther towards the south, various manifestations present themselves of
ancient civilization, the traces of which are most distinctly marked by
places of worship and numerous strongholds. The traveler just named
mentions a ruined castle called Creightoun, situated on the side of a
steep hill, and a church dedicated to St. Pantaleone. At a little distance
there is an immense grotto, which is said on one occasion to have
contained 30,000 men; and hence it is conjectured to be one of those
retreats in the fastnesses of Engedi to which David fled from the pursuit
of Saul. About two miles farther, in a south-eastern direction, is the
Mount of Bethulia, near a village of the same name; a position which is
thought to agree with that of Beth-haccerem, specified by Jeremiah as a
proper place for a beacon, where the children of Benjamin were to sound
the trumpet in Tekoa.[107]

There is a tradition that the knights of Jerusalem, during the Holy War,
held this strong post forty years after the capital had fallen. It is a
single hill, and very high; and the top of it appears like a large mount
formed by art, being defended by a double line of fortifications and
several towers, which in a rude state of warfare might be pronounced
almost impregnable. At the foot of an eminence towards the north there are
the remains of a magnificent church as well as of other buildings. On a
slope a little farther west there is a cistern connected with a pond,
which appears to have had an island in it, and probably some structure
suited to the supply of water. These works were also encompassed with a
double wall; and it is said that two aqueducts may still be perceived
terminating in the basin, one from the Sealed Fountain of Solomon, and
another from the hilly district which stretches between Bethlehem and
Tekoa.

In reference to the tradition that the knights of Jerusalem held the
garrison of Bethulia forty years, Captain Mangles remarks, that the place
is too small to have contained even half the number of men which would
have been requisite to make any stand in such a country; and the ruins,
though they may be those of a place once defended by Franks, appear to
have had an earlier origin, as the architecture seems to be decidedly
Roman. There can be little doubt, indeed, that it is one of the works of
Herod the Great; and its distance does not differ much from that of
Herodium, which is described by Josephus as being about sixty furlongs
from the metropolis. The delineation of the hill, too, by the same
historian, corresponds with the Mount of the Franks; and when he adds that
water was conveyed to it at a great expense, we cannot permit ourselves to
question the identity of Herodium and the fortress of Bethulia.[108]

Hebron, Habroun, or, according to the Arabic orthography followed by the
moderns, El Hhalil, is considerably removed from the usual track of
pilgrims and tourists. An accident or quarrel once excited the indignation
of the inhabitants against the Franks, who during a long course of time
were dissuaded by the Monks at Jerusalem from extending their researches
beyond Bethlehem. Sandys could only report, apparently on the information
of others, that Hebron was reduced to ruins; but he adds, there is a
little village seated in the field of Machpelah, "where standeth a goodly
temple, erected over the burying-cave of the patriarchs by Helena, the
mother of Constantine, converted now into a mosque." Without minutely
analyzing the topography of this rather credulous author, we may repeat
the assurance which he gives relative to the existence of the imperial
monument dedicated to the memory of Abraham and his immediate descendants.
M. Burckhardt, who saw it in 1807, bears testimony to the fact that the
sepulchre, once a Greek church, is now appropriated to the worship of
Mohammed. The ascent to it is by a large and fine staircase that leads to
a long gallery, the entrance to which is by a small court. Towards the
left is a portico resting upon square pillars The vestibule of the temple
contains two rooms; the one being the tomb of Abraham, the other that of
Sarah. In the body of the church, between two large pillars on the right,
is seen a small recess, in which is the sepulchre of Isaac, and in a
similar one upon the left is that of his wife. On the opposite side of the
court is another vestibule, which has also two rooms, being respectively
the tomb of Jacob and of his spouse. At the extremity of the portico, upon
the right-hand, is a door which leads to a sort of long gallery that still
serves for a mosque; and passing from thence is observed another room
containing the ashes of Joseph, which are said to have been carried
thither by the people of Israel. All the sepulchres of the patriarchs are
covered with rich carpets of green silk, magnificently embroidered with
gold; those of their wives are red, embroidered in like manner. The
sultans of Constantinople furnish these carpets, which are renewed from
time to time. M. Burckhardt counted nine, one over another, upon the
sepulchre of Abraham. The rooms also which contain the tombs are covered
with rich carpets; the entrance to them is guarded by iron gates, and
wooden doors plated with silver, having halts and padlocks of the same
metal. More than a hundred persons are employed in the service of this
temple; affording, with the decorations and wealth lavished upon the
structure, a remarkable contrast to the simple life of the venerable man
to whose memory it is meant to do honour.

If the description given by Sandys in the seventeenth century was correct,
we must conclude that Hebron has subsequently enjoyed a period of
improvement. According to the traveller whom we have just quoted, it
contains about four hundred families, of which about a fourth part are
Jews. It is situated on the slope of a mountain; has a strong castle; can
boast abundance of provisions, a considerable number of shops, and some
neat houses. The whole of the country between Tekoa and Hebron is finer
and better cultivated than in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem; while the
sides of the hills, instead of being naked and dreary, are richly studded
with the oak, the arbutus, the Scottish fir, and a variety of
flowering-shrubs.

Beyond this point the information of Europeans ceased until about twelve
years ago, when the desert which stretches between the Sepulchre of
Abraham and the Dead Sea was entered by Mr. Bankes, Mr. Legh, and Captains
Irby and Mangles. After a journey of three days from Hebron towards the
south, the travellers were informed of extensive ruins at Abdi in the
Wilderness. On turning their faces to Kerek, the object of their search,
the road led in the direction of the Lake Asphaltites, through a country
which, although well cultivated, was extremely uninteresting. They
observed a variety of ruins, with some subterranean tombs in the
neighbourhood, denoting the existence of an ancient town; when, after
having advanced eight or nine miles farther, they found themselves on the
borders of an extensive desert, entirely abandoned to the wandering
Bedouins. Near the point at which this change of aspect begins is a place
called by the natives Al-baid, where there is a fountain in the rock and a
pool of greenish water.

The travellers, at some distance from this halting-place, arrived at a
camp of Jellaheen Arabs, who told them that in years of scarcity they were
accustomed to retire into Egypt,--a practice which seems to have been
handed down from the days of the patriarchs, or dictated by the same
necessity that compelled the family of Jacob to adopt a similar expedient.
At the distance of eight hours from Al-baid, in a deep barren valley, are
the ruins of an old Turkish fort, standing on a solitary rock to the left
of the track. Farther on the cliff is excavated, at a considerable height,
into loopholes; where it is probable a barrier was formerly established
for levying a certain duty on goods and travellers. The place is called El
Zowar, or El Ghor. From hence a gravelly ravine, studded with bushes of
acacia and other shrubs, conducts to the great plain at the southern
extremity of the Dead Sea; bounded at the distance of eight or nine miles
by a sandy cliff at least seventy feet high, which forms a barrier to the
lake when at its greatest elevation. The existence of that long valley
which extends from Asphaltites to the AElanitic Gulf was first ascertained
by Burckhardt; and the prolongation of it, as connected with the hollow of
the Jordan, has been considered as a proof that the river at one time
discharged its waters into the eastern branch of the Red Sea. The change
is attributed to that great volcanic convulsion mentioned in the
nineteenth chapter of Genesis, which, interrupting the course of the
river, converted into a lake the fertile plain occupied by the cities of
Adma, Zeboim, Sodom, and Gomorrah, and reduced all the valley southward to
the condition of a sandy waste.[109]

But, having reached the shores of the Dead Sea by an unfrequented path, we
have no guide to the examination of the wild country which rises on either
side of it; we therefore prefer the more wonted route which leads to its
northern border, near the mouth of the Jordan and the site of the ancient
Jericho. Avoiding, at the same time, the track of the caravan from
Jerusalem through the hilly desert which intervenes, we shall accompany
the Vicomte de Chateaubriand from Bethlehem through the interesting Valley
of Santa Saba.

On leaving the Church of the Nativity the traveller pursues his course
eastward, through a vale where Abraham is said to have fed his flocks.
This pastoral tract, however, is soon succeeded by a range of hilly
ground, so extremely barren that not even a root of moss is to be seen
upon it. Descending the farther side of this meager platform two lofty
towers are perceived, rising from a deep valley, marking the site of the
Convent of Santa Saba. Nothing can be more dreary than the situation of
this religious house. It is erected in a ravine, sunk to the depth of
several hundred feet, where the brook Kedron has formed a channel, which
is dry the greater part of the year. The church is on a little eminence at
the bottom of the dell; Whence the buildings of the monastery rise by
perpendicular flights of steps and passages hewn out of the rock, and thus
ascend to the ridge of the hill, where they terminate is the two square
towers already mentioned. From hence you descry the sterile summits of the
mountains both towards the east and west; the course of the stream from
Jerusalem; and the numerous grottoes formerly occupied by Christian
anchorites.

In advancing, the aspect of the country still continues the same, white
and dusty, without tree, herbage, or even moss. At length the road seeks a
lower level, and approaches the rocky border which bounds the Valley of
the Jordan; when, after a toilsome journey of ten or twelve hours, the
traveller sees stretching out before his eyes the Dead Sea and the line of
the river. But the landscape, however grand, admits of no comparison to
the scenery of Europe. No fields waving with corn,--no plains covered with
rich pasture present themselves from the mountains of Lower Palestine.
Figure to yourself two long chains of mountains, running in a parallel
direction from north to south, without breaks and without undulations. The
eastern or Arabian chain is the highest; and, when seen at the distance of
eight or ten leagues, you would take it to be a prodigious perpendicular
wall, resembling Mount Jura in its form and azure colour. Not one summit,
not the smallest peak can be distinguished; you merely perceive slight
inflections here and there, "as if the hand of the painter who drew this
horizontal line along the sky had trembled in some places."

The mountains of Judea form the range on which the observer stands as he
looks down on the Lake Asphaltites. Less lofty and more unequal than the
eastern chain, it differs from the other in its nature also; exhibiting
heaps of chalk and sand, whose form, it is said, bears some resemblance to
piles of arms, waving standards, or the tents of a camp pitched on the
border of a plain. The Arabian side, on the contrary, presents nothing but
black precipitous rocks, which throw their lengthened shadow over waters
of the Dead Sea. The smallest bird of heaven would not find among these
crags a single blade of grass for its sustenance; every thing announces
the country of a reprobate people, and well fitted to perpetuate the
punishment denounced against Ammon and Moab.

The valley confined by these two chains of mountains displays a soil
resembling the bottom of a sea which has long retired from its bed, a
beach covered with salt, dry mud, and moving sands, furrowed, as it were,
by the waves. Here and there stunted shrubs vegetate with difficulty upon
this inanimate tract; their leaves are covered with salt, and their bark
has a smoky smell and taste. Instead of villages you perceive the ruins of
a few towers. In the middle of this valley flows a discoloured river,
which reluctantly throws itself into the pestilential lake by which it is
engulfed. Its course amid the sands can be distinguished only by the
willows and the reeds that border it; among which the Arab lies in ambush
to attack the traveller and to murder the pilgrim.[110]

M. Chateaubriand remarks, that when you travel in Judea the heart is at
first filled with profound melancholy. But when, passing from solitude to
solitude, boundless space opens before you, this feeling wears off by
degrees, and you experience a secret awe, which, so far from depressing
the soul, imparts life and elevates the genius. Extraordinary appearances
everywhere proclaim a land teeming with miracles. The burning sun, the
towering eagle, the barren fig-tree, all the poetry, all the pictures of
Scripture are here. Every name commemorates a mystery,--every grotto
announces a prediction,--every hill reechoes the accents of a prophet. God
himself has spoken in these regions, dried up rivers, rent the rocks, and
opened the grave. "The desert still appears mute with terror; and you
would imagine that it had never presumed to interrupt the silence since it
heard the awful voice of the Eternal."

The celebrated lake which occupies the site of Sodom and Gomorrah is
called in Scripture the Dead Sea. Among the Greeks and Latins it is known
by the name of Asphaltites; the Arabs denominate it Bahar Loth, or Sea of
Lot. M. de Chateaubriand does not agree with those who conclude it to be
the crater of a volcano; for, having seen Vesuvius, Solfatara, the Peak of
the Azores, and the extinguished volcanoes of Auvergne, he remarked in all
of them the same characters; that is to say, mountains excavated in the
form of a tunnel, lava, and ashes, which exhibited incontestable proof of
the agency of fire. The Salt Sea, on the contrary, is a lake of great
length, curved like a bow, placed between two ranges of mountains, which
have no mutual coherence of form, no similarity of composition. They do
not meet at the two extremities of the lake; but while the one continues
to bound the valley of Jordan, and to run northward as far as Tiberias,
the other stretches away to the south till it loses itself in the sands of
Yemen. There are, it is true, hot springs, quantities of bitumen, sulphur,
and asphaltos; but these of themselves are not sufficient to attest the
previous existence of a volcano. With respect, indeed, to the ingulfed
cities, if we adopt the idea of Michaelis and of Büsching, physics may be
admitted to explain the catastrophe without offence to religion. According
to their views, Sodom was built upon a mine of bitumen,--a fact which is
ascertained by the testimony of Moses and Josephus, who speak of wells of
naphtha in the Valley of Siddim. Lightning kindled the combustible mass,
and the guilty cities sank in the subterraneous conflagration. Malte Brun
ingeniously suggests that Sodom and Gomorrah themselves may have been
built of bituminous stones, and thus have been set in flames by the fire
from heaven.

According to Strabo, there were thirteen towns swallowed up in the Lake
Asphaltites; Stephen of Byzantium reckons eight; the book of Genesis,
while it names five as situated in the Vale of Siddim, relates the
destruction of two only: four are mentioned in Deuteronomy, and five are
noticed by the author of Ecclesiasticus. Several travellers, and among
others Troilo and D'Arvieux, assure us, that they observed fragments of
walls and palaces in the Dead Sea. Maundrell himself was not so fortunate,
owing, he supposes, to the height of the water; but he relates that the
Father Guardian and Procurator of Jerusalem, both men of sense and
probity, declared that they had once actually seen one of these ruins;
that it was so near the shore, and the lake so shallow, that they,
together with some Frenchmen, went to it, and found there several pillars
and other fragments of buildings. The ancients speak more positively on
this subject. Josephus, who employs a poetical expression, says, that he
perceived on the shores of the Dead Sea the shades of the overwhelmed
cities. Strabo gives a circumference of sixty stadia to the ruins of
Sodom, which are also mentioned by Tacitus.[111]

It is surprising that no pains have been taken by recent travellers to
throw light upon this interesting point, or even to learn whether the
periodical rise and fall of the lake affords any means for determining the
accuracy of the ancient historians and geographers. Should the Turks ever
give permission, and should it be found practicable, to convey a vessel
from Jaffa to this inland sea, some curious discoveries would certainly be
made. Is it not amazing that, notwithstanding the enterprise of modern
science, the ancients were better acquainted with the properties, and even
the dimensions of the Lake Asphaltites, than the most learned nations of
Europe in our own times? It is described by Aristotle, Strabo, Diodorus
Siculus, Pliny, Tacitus, Solinus, Josephus, Galen, and Dioscorides. The
Abbot of Santa Saba is the only person for many centuries who has made the
tour of the Dead Sea. From his account we learn, through the medium of
Father Nau, that at its extremity it is separated, as it were, into two
parts, and that there is a way by which you may walk across it, being only
mid-leg deep, at least in summer; that there the land rises, and bounds
another small lake of a circular or rather an oval figure, surrounded with
plains and hills of salt; and that the neighbouring country is peopled by
innumerable Arabs.[112]

It is known that seven considerable streams fall into this basin, and
hence it was long supposed that it must discharge its superfluous stores
by subterranean channels into the Mediteranean or the Red Sea. This
opinion is now everywhere relinquished, in consequence of the learned
remarks on the effect of evaporation in a hot climate, published by Dr.
Halley many years ago; the justness of which were admitted by Dr. Shaw,
though he calculated that the Jordan alone threw into the lake every day
more than six million tuns of water. It is deserving of notice, that the
Arabian philosophers, if we may believe Mariti, had anticipated Halley in
his conclusions in regard to the absorbent power of a dry atmosphere.[113]

The marvellous properties usually assigned to the Dead Sea by the earlier
travellers have vanished upon a more rigid investigation. It is now known
that bodies sink or float upon it, in proportion to their specific
gravity; and that, although the water is so dense as to be favourable to
swimmers, no security is found against the common accident of drowning.
Josephus indeed asserts that Vespasian, in order to ascertain the fact now
mentioned, commanded a number of his slaves to be bound hand and foot and
thrown into the deepest part of the lake; and that, so far from any of
them sinking, they all maintained their place on the surface until it
pleased the emperor to have them taken out. But this anecdote, although
perfectly consistent with truth, does not justify all the inferences which
have been drawn from it. "Being willing to make an experiment," says
Maundrell, "I went into it, and found that it bore up my body in swimming
with an uncommon force; but as for that relation of some authors, that men
wading into it were buoyed up to the top as soon as they got as deep as
the middle, I found it, upon trial, not true."[114]

The water of this sea has been frequently analyzed both in France and
England. The specific gravity of it, according to Malte Brun, is 1.211,
that of fresh water being 1.000. It is perfectly transparent. The
applications of tests, or reagents, prove that it contains the muriatic
and sulphuric acids. There is no alumina in it, nor does it appear that it
is saturated with marine salt or muriate of soda. It holds in solution the
following substances, and in the proportions here stated:

Muriate of lime    3.920
Magnesia          10.246
Soda              10.360
Sulphate of lime    .054

We need not add that such a liquid must be equally salt and bitter. As
might be expected, too, it is found to deposit its salts in copious
incrustations, and to prove a ready agent in all processes of
petrifaction. Clothes, boots, and hats, if dipped in the lake, or
accidentally wetted with its water, are found, when dried, to be covered
with a thick coating of these minerals. Hence, we cannot be surprised to
hear that the Lake Asphaltites does not present any variety of fish.
Mariti asserts that it produces none, and even that those which are
carried into it by the rapidity of the Jordan perish almost immediately
upon being immerged in its acrid waves. A few shell-snails constitute the
sole tenants of its dreary shores, unmixed either with the helix or the
muscle.

It was formerly believed that the approach to Asphaltites was fatal to
birds, and that, like another lake of antiquity, it had the power of
drawing them down from the wing into its poisonous waters. This dream,
propagated by certain visionary travellers, is now completely discredited.
Flocks of swallows may be seen skimming along its surface with the utmost
impunity, while the absence of all other species is easily explained by a
glance at the naked hills and barren plains, which supply no vegetable
food.

The historian Josephus, who measured the Dead Sea, found that in length it
extended about five hundred and eighty stadia, and in breadth one hundred
and fifty,--according to our standard, somewhat more than seventy miles by
nineteen. A recent traveller, to whose unpublished journal we have
repeatedly alluded, remarks that the lake, when he visited it, was sunk or
hollow, and that the banks had been recently under water, being still very
miry and difficult to pass. The shores were covered with dry wood, some of
it good timber, which they say is brought by the Jordan from the country
of the Druses. "The water is pungently salt, like oxymuriate of soda. It
is incredibly buoyant. G---- bathed in it, and when he lay still on his
back or belly, he floated with one-fourth at least of his whole body above
the water. He described the sensation as extraordinary, and more like
lying on a feather-bed than floating on water. On the other hand, he found
the greatest resistance in attempting to move through it: it smarted his
eyes excessively. I put a piece of stick in: it required a good deal of
pressure to make it sink, and when let go it bounded out again like a
blown bladder. The water was clear, and of a yellowish tinge, which might
be from the colour of the stones at bottom, or from the hazy atmosphere.
There were green shrubs down to the water's edge in one place, and nothing
to give an idea of any thing blasting in the neighbourhood of the sea; the
desert character of the soil extending far beyond the possibility of being
affected by its influence."[115]

The bitumen supplied by this singular basin affords the means of a
comfortable livelihood to a considerable number of Arabs who frequent its
shores. The Pasha of Damascus, who finds it a valuable article of
commerce, purchases at a small price the fruit of their labours, or
supplies them with food, clothing, and a few ornaments in return for it.
In ancient times it found a ready market in Egypt, where it was used in
large quantities for embalming the dead: it was also occasionally employed
as a substitute for stone, and appeared in the walls of houses and even of
temples.

Associated with the Dead Sea, every reader has heard of the apples of
Sodom, a species of fruit which, extremely beautiful to the eye, is bitter
to the taste, and full of dust. Tacitus, in the fifth book of his history,
alludes to this singular fact, but, as usual, in language so brief and
ambiguous, that no light can be derived from his description, _atra et
inania velut in cinerem vanescunt_. Some travellers, unable to discover
this singular production, have considered it merely as a figure of speech,
depicting the deceitful nature of all vicious enjoyments. Hasselquist
regards it as the production of a small plant called _Solanum melongena_,
a species of nightshade, which is to be found abundantly in the
neighbourhood of Jericho. He admits that the apples are sometimes full of
dust; but this, he maintains, appears only when the fruit is attacked by a
certain insect, which converts the whole of the inside into a kind of
powder, leaving the rind wholly entire, and in possession of its beautiful
colour.

M. Seetzen, again, holds the novel opinion, that this mysterious apple
contains a sort of cotton resembling silk; and, having no pulp or flesh in
the inside, might naturally enough, when sought for as food, be denounced
by the hungry Bedouin as pleasing to the eye and deceitful to the palate.
Chateaubriand has fixed on a shrub different from any of the others. It
grows two or three leagues from the mouth of the Jordan, and is of a
thorny appearance, with small tapering leaves. Its fruit is exactly like
that of the Egyptian lemon, both in size and colour. Before it is ripe it
is filled with a corrosive and saline juice; when dried, it yields a
blackish seed that may be compared to ashes, and which in taste resembles
bitter pepper. There can be little doubt that this is the true apple of
Sodom, which flatters the sight while it mocks the appetite.[116]

In ascending the western shore, the traveller at length reaches the point
where the Jordan mixes its muddy waters with those of the lake.
Hasselquist, the only modern author who describes the mouth of that
celebrated river, tells us that the plain which extends from thence to
Jericho, a distance of more than three leagues, is, generally speaking,
level, but uncultivated and barren. The soil is a grayish sandy clay, so
loose that the horses often sank up to the knees in it. The whole surface
of the earth is covered with salt in the same manner as on the banks of
the Nile, and would, it is probable, prove no less fruitful were it
irrigated with equal care. The stones on the beach, it is added, were all
quartz, but of various colours; some specimens of which, having a slaty
structure, emitted, when exposed to fire, a strong smell of bitumen,
thereby denoting, perhaps, its volcanic origin.

There is a great want of unanimity among authors in respect to the width
of the Jordan. The Swede whom we have just quoted relates, that opposite
to Jericho it was eight paces over, the banks perpendicular, six feet in
height, the water deep, muddy, warm rather than cold, and much inferior in
quality to that of the Nile. Chateaubriand, again, who measured it in
several places, reports that it was about fifty feet in breadth, and six
feet deep close to the shore,--a discrepancy which must arise from the
period of the year when it was seen by these distinguished writers.[117]

The Old Testament abounds with allusions to the swellings of Jordan; but
at present, whether the current has deepened its channel, or whether the
climate is less moist than in former days, this occurrence is seldom
witnessed,--the river has forgotten its ancient greatness. Maundrell could
discern no sign or probability of such overflowings; for although he was
there on the 30th of March,--the proper season of the inundation,--the
river was running two yards at least under the level of its banks. The
margin of the stream, however, continues as of old to be closely covered
with a natural forest of tamarisk, willows, oleanders, and similar trees,
and to afford a retreat to several species of wild beasts. Hence the fine
metaphor of the prophet Jeremiah, who assimilates an enraged enemy to a
lion coming up "from the swellings of Jordan," driven from his lair by the
annual flood, and compelled to seek shelter in the surrounding desert.

Jericho, which is at present a miserable village inhabited by half-naked
Arabs, derives all its importance from history. It was the first city
which the Israelites reduced upon entering the Holy Land. Five hundred and
thirty years afterward it was rebuilt by Heliel of Bethel, who succeeded
in restoring its population, its splendour, and its commerce; in which
flourishing condition it appears to have continued during several
centuries. Mark Antony, in the pride of power, presented to Cleopatra the
whole territory of Jericho. Vespasian, in the course of the sanguinary war
which he prosecuted in Judea, sacked its walls, and put its inhabitants to
the sword. Re-established by Adrian in the 138th year of our faith, it was
doomed at no distant era to experience new disasters. It was again
repaired by the Christians, who made it the seat of a bishop; but in the
twelfth century it was overthrown by the infidels, and has not since
emerged from its ruins. Of all its magnificent buildings there remain only
the part of one tower, supposed to be the dwelling of Zaccheus the
publican, and a quantity of rubbish, which is understood to mark the line
of its ancient walls.

Mr. Buckingham saw reason to believe that the true site of Jericho, as
described by Josephus, was at a greater distance from the river than the
village of Rahhah, commonly supposed to represent the City of Palms.
Descending from the mountains which bound the valley on the western side,
he observed the ruins of a large settlement, covering at least a square
mile, whence, as well as from the remains of aqueducts and fountains, he
was led to conclude that it must have been a place of considerable
consequence. Some of the more striking objects among the wrecks of this
ancient city were large tumuli, evidently the work of art, and resembling
those of the Greek and Trojan heroes on the plains of Ilium. There were,
besides, portions of ruined buildings, shafts of columns, and a capital of
the Corinthian order; tokens not at all ambiguous of former grandeur and
of civilized life.

Josephus fixes the position of Jericho at the distance of one hundred and
fifty furlongs from Jerusalem, and sixty from the river Jordan; stating
that the country, as far as the capital, is desert and hilly, while to the
shores of the Lake Asphaltites it is low, though equally waste and
unfruitful. Nothing can apply more accurately, in all its particulars,
than this description does to the ruins just mentioned. The spot lies at
the very foot of the sterile mountains of Judea, which may be said
literally to overhang it on the west; and these ridges are still as
barren, as rugged, and as destitute of inhabitants as formerly, throughout
their whole extent, from the Lake of Tiberias to the Dead Sea. The
distance, by the computation in time, amounted to six hours, or nearly
twenty miles, from Jerusalem; the space between the supposed city and the
river being little more than one-third of that amount, the precise
proportion indicated by the Jewish historian.

The soil round Jericho was long celebrated for a precious balsam, which
used to be sold for double its weight of silver. The historian Justin
relates, that the trees from which it exudes bear a resemblance to firs,
though they are lower, and are cultivated after the manner of vines. He
adds, that the wealth of the Jewish nation arises from their produce, as
they grow in no other part of Syria. At present, however, there is not a
tree of any description, either palm or balsam, to be seen near the site
of this deserted town; but it is admitted, that the complete desolation
with which its ruins are invested ought to be attributed to the cessation
of industry rather than to any perceptible change either in the climate or
the soil.

Rahhah stands about four miles nearer the river, or about half-way between
the assumed position of Jericho and the bank of the current. It consists
of about fifty dwellings, all very mean in their appearance, and every one
fenced in front with thorny bushes; one of the most effectual defences
that could be raised against the incursions of the Bedouins, whose horses
will not approach these formidable thickets. The inhabitants, without
exception, are professed believers in the creed of Islamism. Their habits
are those of shepherds rather than of cultivators of the soil; this last
duty, indeed, when performed at all, being done chiefly by the women and
children, as the men roam the plain on horseback, and derive the principal
means of subsistence from robbery and plunder. They are governed by a
sheik, whose influence among them is more like the authority of a father
over his children than that of a magistrate; and who is, moreover, checked
in the exercise of his power, by the knowledge that he would instantly be
deprived of life and station were he to exceed the bounds which, in all
rude countries, are opposed even to the caprices of despotism. It is
remarkable that the name of this village corresponds to Rahab, the name of
the hostess who received into her house the Hebrew spies, and signifies
odour or perfume; the slight change on the form of the Arabic term
implying no difference in the import of the root whence they are both
originally derived.

The mountains on the eastern side of the Jordan are more lofty than those
which skirt the Vale of Jericho, being not less than 2000 feet in height.
From the summit of a towering peak, which the traveller still delights to
recognise, Moses was permitted to behold the promised inheritance,
stretching towards the west, the south, and the north,--"All the land of
Gilead unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh,
and all the land of Judah unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the
plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm-trees, unto Zoar. And the
Lord said unto him, this is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto
Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused
thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So
Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there, in the land of Moab, according
to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of
Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto
this day."[118]

The road from Jericho to Jerusalem presents some historical reminiscences
of the most interesting nature. When entering the mountains which protect
the western side of the plain, the attention of the traveller is invited
to the Fountain of Elisha, the waters of which were sweetened by the power
of the prophet. The men of Jericho represented to him that though the
situation of the town was pleasant, "the water was naught, and the ground
barren. And he said, bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein: and they
brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and
cast the salt in there, and said, thus with the Lord, I have healed these
waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So
the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha
which he spake."[119]

Its waters are at present received in a basin about nine or ten paces
long, and five or six broad; and from thence, issuing out in good plenty,
divide themselves into several small streams, dispersing their refreshment
to all the land as far as Jericho, and rendering it exceedingly fruitful.
Advancing into the savage country through which the usual road to the
capital is formed, the tourist soon finds himself at the foot of the
mountain called Quarantina, from being the supposed scene of the
temptation and fast of forty days endured by our Saviour, who,

  --"looking round on every aide, beheld
  A pathless desert dusk with horrid shades:
  The way he came not having marked, return
  Was difficult, by human steps untrod;
  And he still on was led, but with such thoughts
  Accompanied of things past and to come
  Lodg'd in his breast, as well might recommend
  Such solitude before choicest society."[120]

The neighbourhood of this lofty eminence is, according to Mr. Maundrell,
a dry, miserable, barren place, consisting of high rocky mountains, so
torn and disordered, "as if the earth had here suffered some great
convulsion, in which its very bowels had been turned outward." In a deep
valley are seen the ruins of small cells and cottages, thought to be the
remains of those sequestered habitations to which hermits were wont to
retire for the uses of penance and mortification; and it is remarked
that, in the whole earth, a more comfortless and desert place could not
have been selected for so pious a purpose. From these hills of desolation,
however, there is obtained a magnificent prospect of the Plain of Jericho,
the Dead Sea, and of the distant summits of Arabia; for which reason the
highest of the group has been assigned by tradition as the very spot
whence all the kingdoms of the world were seen in a moment of time. It
is, as St. Matthew styles it, an exceeding high mountain, and in its
ascent not only difficult but dangerous. It has a small chapel at the
top, and another about half-way down, founded upon a projecting part of
the rock. Near the latter are observed several caves and holes, excavated
by the solitaries, who thought it the most suitable place for undergoing
the austerities of Lent,--a practice which has not even at the present
day fallen altogether into disuse. Hasselquist describes the path as
"dangerous beyond imagination. I went as far up on this terrible mountain
of Temptation as prudence would admit, but ventured not to go to the top;
whither I sent my servant to bring what natural curiosities he could
find, while I gathered what plants and insects I could find below."[121]

Mariti, whose religious zeal was fanned into a temporary flame, ascended
the formidable steep as far as the grottoes, which he delineates with much
minuteness. He pronounces the chapel inaccessible from the side on which
he stood, and is very doubtful whether it could now be approached on any
quarter, the ancient road being so much neglected. But it should seem that
most travellers are smitten with the feeling which seized the breast of
Maundrell, although they all have not the candour to acknowledge it.
Alluding to the Arabs, who demanded a sum of money for liberty to ascend,
he says, "we departed without further trouble, not a little glad to have
so good an excuse for not climbing so dangerous a precipice."[122]

The imagination of Milton has thrown a captivating splendour around this
scene, which, at the same time, he appears to have transferred to the
mountain-range beyond the Jordan in the country of the Moabites.

  "Thus wore out night; and now the herald lark
  Left his ground-nest, high towering to descry
  The morn's approach, and greet her with his song,
  As lightly from his grassy couch up rose
  Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream;
  Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting waked.
  Up to a hill anon his steps he reared,
  From whose high top to ken the prospect round,
  If cottage were in view, sheepcote, or herd;
  But cottage, herd, or sheepcote, none he saw;
  Only in a bottom saw a pleasant grove,
  With chant of tuneful birds resounding loud;
  Thither he bent his way; determined there
  To rest at noon, and entered soon the shade
  High roofed, and walks beneath, and alleys brown,
  That opened in the midst a woody scene."[123]

Leaving the Quarantina with its dreary scenes and solemn recollections,
the pilgrim returning from the Jordan finds himself off a beaten path
which, since the days of Moses, it is probable has connected the rocks of
Salem with the banks of the sacred river. Chateaubriand informs us that it
is broad, and in some parts paved; having undergone, as he conjectures,
several improvements while the country was in possession of the Romans. On
the top of a mountain there is the appearance of a castle, which, we may
conclude, was meant to protect and command the road; and at a little
distance, in the bottom of a deep gloomy valley is the Place of Blood,
called in the Hebrew tongue Abdomim, where once stood a small town
belonging to the tribe of Judah, and where the good Samaritan is imagined
to have succoured the wounded traveller who had fallen into the hands of
thieves. That sombre dell is still entitled to its horrible distinction;
it is still the place of blood, of robbery, and of murder; the most
dangerous pass for him who undertakes to go down from Jerusalem to
Jericho.

As a proof of this, we may shortly mention an assault which was made upon
Sir F. Henniker, who a few years ago resolved to accomplish that perilous
journey. "The route is over hills, rocky, barren, and uninteresting. We
arrived at a fountain, and here my two attendants paused to refresh
themselves; the day was so hot that I was anxious to finish the journey
and hasten forwards. A ruined building, situated on the summit of a hill,
was now within sight, and I urged my horse towards it; the janizary
galloped by me, and making signs for me not to precede him, he himself
rode into and round the building, and then motioned me to advance. We next
came to a hill, through the very apex of which has been cut a passage, the
rocks overhanging it on either side. I was in the act of passing through
this ditch when a bullet whizzed by close to my head. I saw no one, and
had scarcely time to think when another was fired, some short distance in
advance. I could yet see no one, the janizary was beneath the brow of the
hill in his descent. I looked back, but my servant was not yet within
sight. I looked up, and within a few inches of my head were three muskets,
and three men taking aim at me. Escape or resistance was alike impossible.
I got off my horse. Eight men jumped down from the rocks and commenced a
scramble for me.--As he (the janizary) passed, I caught at a rope hanging
from his saddle; I had hoped to leap upon his horse, but found myself
unable; my feet were dreadfully lacerated by the honeycombed rocks; nature
would support me no longer; I fell, but still clung to the rope; in this
manner I was drawn some few yards, till, bleeding from my ankle to my
shoulder, I resigned myself to my fate. As soon as I stood up one of my
pursuers took aim at me; but the other, casually advancing between us,
prevented his firing. He then ran up, and with his sword aimed such a blow
as would not have required a second: his companion prevented its full
effect, so that it merely cut my ear in halves, and laid open one aide of
my face: they then stripped me naked."[124]

It is impossible not to suspect that the depraved government at Jerusalem
connives at such instances of violence in order to give some value to the
protection which they sell at a very dear rate to Christian travellers.
The administration of Mohammed Ali would be a blessing to Palestine,
inasmuch as it would soon render the intercourse between the capital and
the Dead Sea as safe as that between Alexandria and Grand Cairo.

Refreshing himself at the fountain where our Lord and his apostles,
according to a venerable tradition, were wont to rest on their journey to
the holy city, the tourist sets his heart on revisiting the sacred remains
of that decayed metropolis. When at the summit of the Mount of Olives, he
is again struck with the mixture of magnificence and ruin which marks the
queen of nations in her widowed estate. Owing to the clear atmosphere and
the absence of smoke, the view is so distinct that one might count the
separate houses. The streets are tolerably regular, straight, and well
paved; but they are narrow and dull, and almost all on a declivity. The
fronts of the houses, which are generally two or three stories high, are
quite plain, simply constructed of stone, without the least ornament; so
that in walking past them a stranger might fancy himself in the galleries
of a vast prison. The windows are very few and extremely small; and, by a
singular whim, the doors are so low that it is commonly requisite to bend
the body nearly double in order to enter them. Some families have gardens
of moderate dimensions; but, upon the whole, the ground within the walls
is fully occupied with buildings, if we except the vast enclosures in
which are placed the mosques and churches.

There is not observed at Jerusalem any square, properly so called; the
shops and markets are universally opened in the public streets. Provisions
are said to be abundant and cheap, including excellent meat, vegetables,
and fruit. Water is supplied by the atmosphere; and preserved in capacious
cisterns; nor is it necessary, except when a long drought has exhausted
the usual stock, that the inhabitants should have recourse to the spring
near the brook Kedron. Rice is much used for food; but as the country is
quite unsuited to the production of that aquatic grain, it is imported
from Egypt in return for oil, the staple of Palestine.

There is a great diversity of costume, everybody adopting that which he
likes best, whether Arab, Syrian, or Turk; but the lower order of people
generally wear a shirt fastened round the waist with a girdle, after the
example of their neighbours in the desert. Ali Bey remarks, that he saw
very few handsome females in the metropolis; on the contrary, they had in
general that bilious appearance so common in the East,--a pale citron
colour, or a dead yellow, like paper or plaster, and, wearing a white
fillet round the circumference of their faces, they have not unfrequently
the appearance of walking corpses. The children, however, are much
healthier and prettier than those of Arabia and Egypt.

The Christians and Jews wear, as a mark of distinction, a blue turban. The
villagers and shepherds use white ones, or striped like those of the
Moslem. The Christian women appear in public with their faces uncovered,
as they do in Europe.

The arts are cultivated to a certain extent, but the sciences have
entirely disappeared. There existed formerly large schools belonging to
the harem; but there are hardly any traces of them left, if their place be
not supplied by a few small seminaries where children of every form of
worship learn to read and write the code of their respective religion. The
grossest ignorance prevails even among persons of high rank, who, on the
first interview, appear to have received a liberal education.[125]

The Arabic language is generally spoken at Jerusalem, though the Turkish
is much used among the better class. The inhabitants are composed of
people of different nations and different religions, who inwardly despise
one another on account of their varying opinions; but as the Christians
are very numerous, there reigns among the whole no small degree of
complaisance, as well as an unrestrained intercourse in matters of
business, amusement, and even of religion.[126]

It is well remarked by Chateaubriand, who had travelled among the native
tribes of North America as extensively as among the Arabs of the Syrian
wilderness, that amid the rudeness of the latter you still perceive a
certain degree of delicacy in their manners; you see that they are natives
of that East which is the cradle of all the arts, all the sciences, all
the religions. Buried at the extremity of the West, the Canadian inhabits
valleys shaded by eternal forests and watered by immense rivers; the Arab,
cast, as it were, upon the high road of the world between Africa and Asia,
roves in the brilliant regions of Aurora over a soil without trees and
without water.

The Jews--the children of the kingdom--have been cast out, and many have
come from the east and the west to occupy their place in the desolate land
promised to their fathers. They usually take up their abode in the narrow
space between the Temple and the foot of Mount Zion, defended from the
tyranny of their Turkish masters by their indigence and misery. Here they
appear covered with rags, and sitting in the dust, with their eyes fixed
on the ruins of their ancient sanctuary. It has been observed that those
descendants of Abraham who come from foreign countries to fix their
residence at Jerusalem live but a short time; while such as are natives of
Palestine are so wretchedly poor as to be obliged to send every year to
raise contributions among their brethren of Egypt and Barbary.[127]

The picture given by Dr. Richardson is much more flattering. He assures
his readers that many of the Jews are rich and in comfortable
circumstances; but that they are careful to conceal their wealth, and even
their comfort, from the jealous eye of their rulers, lest, by awakening
their cupidity, some plot of robbery or murder should be devised. The
whole population has been estimated by different travellers as amounting
to from fifteen to thirty thousand, consisting of Mohammedans, Jews, and
the various sects of Christians.



CHAPTER VII.


_Description of the Country Northward of Jerusalem_.

Grotto of Jeremiah; Sepulchres of the Kings; Singular Doors; Village of
Leban; Jacob's Well; Valley of Shechem; Nablous; Samaritans; Sebaste;
Jennin; Gilead; Geraza, or Djerash; Description of Ruins; Gergasha of the
Hebrews; Rich Scenery of Gilead; River Jabbok; Souf; Ruins of Gamala;
Magnificent Theatre; Gadara; Capernaum, or Talhewm; Sea of Galilee;
Bethsaida and Chorazin; Tarrachea; Sumuk; Tiberias; Description of modern
Town; House of Peter; Baths; University; Mount Tor, or Tabor; Description
by Pococke, Maundrell, Burckhardt, and Doubdan; View from the Top; Great
Plain; Nazareth; Church of Annunciation; Workshop of Joseph; Mount of
Precipitation; Table of Christ; Cana, or Kefer Kenna; Waterpots of Stone;
Saphet, or Szaffad; University; French; Sidney Smith; Dan; Sepphoris;
Church of St. Anne; Description by Dr. Clarke; Vale of Zabulon; Vicinity
of Acre.

Upon leaving the northern gate of Jerusalem, on the road which leads to
Damascus, there is seen a large grotto much venerated by Christians,
Turks, and Jews, said to have been for some time the residence, or rather
the prison, of the prophet Jeremiah. The bed of the holy man is shown, in
the form of a rocky shelf, about eight feet from the ground; and the spot
is likewise pointed out on which he is understood to have written his book
of Lamentations. In the days of Maundrell, this excavation was occupied by
a college of dervises.

We have already alluded to the Sepulchres of the Kings as very singular
remains of ancient architecture, and standing at a little distance from
the city. There still prevails some obscurity in regard to the origin and
intention of these places of burial, occasioned chiefly by the fact
recorded in Holy Scripture, that the tombs of the kings of Judah were on
Mount Zion. Pococke held the opinion, that they derived their name from
Helena, the queen of Adiabene, whose body was deposited in a cave outside
the northern wall of Jerusalem; a conclusion which derives some
countenance from the language of Josephus, and has been adopted by Dr.
Clarke. M. de Chateaubriand, on the contrary, supposes these grottoes to
have been appropriated to the family of Herod; and in support of his views
quotes a passage from the Jewish historian, who, speaking of the wall
which Titus erected to press Jerusalem still more closely than before,
says, that "this wall, returning towards the north, enclosed the sepulchre
of Herod." Now this, adds the Frenchman, is the situation of the royal
caverns.

But whoever was buried here, this is certain, to use the words of the
accurate Maundrell, that the place itself discovers so great an expense
both of labour and treasure, that we may well suppose it to have been the
work of kings. You approach it on the east side through an entrance cut
out of the rock, which admits you into an open court of about forty paces
square. On the south side is a portico nine paces long and four broad,
likewise hewn out of the natural rock, and having an architrave running
along its front adorned with sculpture of fruits and flowers. The passage
into the sepulchre is now so greatly obstructed with stones and rubbish
that it is no easy matter to creep through; but having overcome this
difficulty you arrive at a large room, seven or eight yards square,
excavated in the solid body of the hill. It sides and ceiling are so
exactly square, and its angles so just, that no architect could form a
more regular apartment; while the whole is so firm and entire, that it
resembles a chamber hollowed out of one piece of marble. From this room
you pass into six others, all of the same construction; the two innermost
being somewhat deeper than the rest, and are descended to by a certain
number of steps.

In every one of these, except the first, were coffins of stone placed in
niches formed in the sides of the chamber. They had at first been covered
with handsome lids; but the most of them have been long broken to pieces,
and either scattered about the apartment, or entirely removed. One of
white marble was observed by Dr. Clarke, adorned all over with the richest
and most beautiful carving; though, like all the other sculptured work in
the tombs, it represented nothing of the human figure, nor of any living
thing, but consisted entirely of foliage and flowers, and principally of
the leaves and branches of the vine. The receptacles for the dead bodies
are not much larger than European coffins; but, having the more regular
form of parallelograms, they thereby differ from the usual appearance
presented in the sepulchral crypts of the country, where the soros is of
considerable size, and generally resembles a cistern. The taste manifested
in the interior of these chambers seems also to denote a later period in
the history of the arts; the skill and neatness visible in the carving is
admirable, and there is much of ornament displayed in several parts of the
work.

But the most surprising thing belonging to these subterranean chambers is
their doors; of which, when Mr. Maundrell visited Jerusalem, there was
still one remaining. "It consisted," says he, "of a plank of stone of
about six inches in thickness, and in its other dimensions equalling the
size of an ordinary door, or somewhat less. It was carved in such a manner
as to resemble a piece of wainscot: the stone of which it was made was
visibly of the same kind with the whole rock; and it turned upon two
hinges in the nature of axles. These hinges were of the same entire piece
of stone with the door, and were contained in two holes of the immoveable
rock, one at the top and another at the bottom."[128]

We are informed by Dr. Clarke, that the same sort of contrivance is to be
found among the sepulchres at Telmessus; and, moreover, that the ancients
had the art of being able to close these doors in such a manner that no
one could have access to the tomb who was not acquainted with the secret
method of opening them, unless by violating the abode of the dead, and
forcing a passage through the stone. This has been done in several
instances at the place just named; but the doors, though broken, still
remain closed with their hinges unimpaired.[129]

In pursuing the road to Nablous, the ancient Shechem, the first village
which meets the eye of the traveller is Beer, so named from the well or
spring where the wayfaring man stops to quench his thirst. The
inhabitants, who appear to be chiefly Arabs, are in the greatest poverty,
oppressed and alarmed by the incessant demands of their Turkish rulers. It
is the Michmash of Scripture, celebrated as the place whither Jotham fled
from the anger of his brother Abimelech. It presents, too, the remains of
an old church, created, as tradition reports, by the pious Helena, on tho
spot where the Virgin sat down to bewail the absence of her son, who had
tarried behind in Jerusalem to commune with the doctors in the Temple.

Beyond this interesting hamlet, at the distance of about four hours, is
Leban, called Lebonah in the Bible, a village situated on the eastern side
of a delicious vale. The road between these two places is carried through
a wild and very hilly country, destitute of trees or other marks of
cultivation, and rendered almost totally unproductive by the barbarism of
the government. In a narrow dell, formed by two lofty precipices, are the
ruins of a monastery, being in the neighborhood of that mystic Bethel
where Jacob enjoyed his vision of heavenly things, and had his stony couch
made easy by the beautiful picture of ministering angels ascending and
descending from the presence of the Eternal.

The next object of interest is connected with the name of the same
patriarch. It is Jacob's Well,--the scene of the memorable conference
between our Saviour and the woman of Samaria. Such a locality was too
important to be omitted by Helena while selecting sites for Christian
churches. Over it, accordingly, was erected a large edifice; of which,
however, the "voracity of time, aided by the Turks," has left nothing but
a few foundations remaining. Maundrell tells us that "the well is covered
at present with an old stone vault, into which you are let down through a
very straight hole; and then removing a broad flat stone you discover the
mouth of the well itself. It is dug in a firm rock, and extends about
three yards in diameter and thirty-five in depth; five of which we found
full of water. This confutes a story commonly told to travellers who do
not take the pains to examine the well, namely, that it is dry all the
year round except on the anniversary of that day on which our Blessed Lord
sat upon it; but then bubbles up with abundance of water."[130]

At this point the traveller enters the narrow valley of Shechem, or
Sychar, as it is termed in the New Testament, overhung on either side by
the two mountains Gerizim and Ebal. These eminences, it is well known,
have obtained much celebrity as the theatre on which was pronounced the
sanction of the Divine law--the blessings which attend obedience, and the
curses which follow the violation of the heavenly statutes. "And it shall
come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land
whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon
Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal. Are they not on the other
side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the
Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the
plains of Moreh?"[131]

Every reader is aware that the Samaritans, whose principal residence since
the captivity has been at Shechem, have a place of worship on Mount
Gerizim, to which they repair at certain seasons to perform the rites of
their religion. It was upon the same hill, according to the reading in
their version of the Pentateuch, that the Almighty commanded the children
of Israel to set up great stones covered with plaster, on which to
inscribe the body of their law; to erect an altar; to offer
peace-offerings; and to rejoice before the Lord their God. In the Hebrew
edition of the same inspired books, Mount Ebal is selected as the scene of
these pious services;--a variation which the Samaritans openly ascribe to
the hatred and malignity of the Jews, who, they assert, have in this
passage corrupted the sacred oracles. In the immediate vicinity of the
town is seen a small mosque, which is said to cover the sepulchre of
Joseph, and to be situated in the field bought by Jacob from Hamor, the
father of Shechem, as is related in the book of Genesis, and alluded to by
St. John in the fourth chapter of his gospel.[132]

The road from Leban to Nablous, or Naplosa, is described by Dr. Clarke as
being mountainous, rocky, and full of loose stones. Yet, he adds, the
cultivation is everywhere marvellous; affording one of the most striking
pictures of human industry that it is possible to behold. The limestone
rocks and shingly valleys of Judea are entirely covered with plantations
of figs, vines, and olive-trees; not a single spot seemed to be neglected.
The hills, from their bases to their upmost summits, are overspread with
gardens; all of them free from weeds, and in the highest state of
improvement. Even the sides of the most barren mountains have been
rendered fertile, by being divided into terraces, like steps rising one
above another, upon which soil has been accumulated with astonishing
labour. A sight of this territory can alone convey any adequate idea of
its surprising produce; it is truly the Eden of the East, rejoicing in the
abundance of its wealth. The effect of this upon the people was strikingly
portrayed in their countenances. Instead of the depressed and gloomy looks
seen on the desolated plains belonging to the Pasha of Damascus, health
and hilarity everywhere prevailed. Under a wise and beneficent government,
the produce of the Holy Land, it is asserted, would exceed all
calculation. Its perennial harvests, the salubrity of its air, its limpid
springs, its rivers, lakes, plains, hills, and vales, added to the
serenity of its climate, prove this land to be indeed a "field which the
Lord hath blessed."[133]

The ancient Shechem is one of the most prosperous towns in the Holy Land,
being still the metropolis of a rich and extensive country, and abounding
in agricultural wealth. Nor is there any thing finer than its appearance
when viewed from the heights by which it is surrounded. It strikes the eye
of the traveller who advances from the north, as being imbosomed in the
most delightful and fragrant bowers, half-concealed by rich gardens and
stately trees, collected into groves all round the beautiful valley in
which it stands. There is a considerable trade, as well as a flourishing
manufacture of soap; and the population has been reckoned as high as ten
thousand, an estimate, however, which Mr. Buckingham thinks somewhat
overrated. Within the town are six mosques, five baths, one Christian
church, an excellent covered bazaar for fine goods, and an open one for
provisions, besides numerous cotton-cloth manufactories, and shops of
every description. The inhabitants are chiefly Mohammedans. The Jews,
inheriting their ancient enmity towards the Samaritans, avoid the country
which the latter formerly possessed; while the Christians, alienated by
the suspicion of heresy among their brethren at Nablous, prefer the more
orthodox assemblies at Jerusalem and Nazareth.

The Samaritans themselves do not exceed forty in number. They have a
synagogue in the town, where they perform divine service every Saturday.
Four times a year they go in solemn procession to the old temple on Mount
Gerizim; on which occasion they meet before sunrise, and continue reading
the Law till noon. On one of these days they kill six or seven rams. They
have but one school in Nablous where their language is taught, though they
take much pride in preserving ancient manuscripts of their Pentateuch in
the original character. Mr. Connor saw a copy which is reported to be
three thousand five hundred years old, but was not allowed to examine, nor
even to touch it.

If any thing connected with the memory of past ages be calculated to
awaken local enthusiasm, the land around this city is eminently entitled
to that distinction. The sacred record of events transacted in the fields
of Shechem is from our earliest years remembered with delight. "Along the
valley," observes a late traveller, "we beheld a company of Ishmaelites
coming from Gilead, as in the days of Reuben and Judah, with their camels,
bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh; who would gladly have purchased
another Joseph of his brethren, and-conveyed Him as a slave to some
Potiphar in Egypt. Upon the hills around flocks and herds were feeding as
of old; nor in the simple garb of the shepherds of Samaria was there any
thing to contradict the notions we may entertain of the appearance
formerly exhibited by the sons of Jacob."[134]

It has been remarked in reference to Jacob's Well, where our Lord held his
conversation with the woman of Samaria, that no Christian scholar ever
read the fourth chapter of St. John's Gospel without being struck with the
numerous internal evidences of truth which crowd upon the mind in its
perusal. Within so small a compass it is impossible to find, in other
writings, so many sources of reflection and of interest. Independently of
its importance as a theological document, it concentrates so much
information that a volume might be filled with its singular illustration
of the history of the Jews and the geography of the country. All that can
be collected upon these subjects from Josephus seems to be but a comment
on this chapter. The journey of our Lord from Judea into Galilee--the
cause of it--his passage through Samaria--his approach to the metropolis
of that country--its name--his arrival at the Amorite field which
terminates the narrow Valley of Schechem--the ancient custom of stopping
at a well--the female employment of drawing water--the disciples sent into
the city for food, by which the situation of the well and of the town is
so obviously implied--the question of the woman referring to existing
prejudices which separated the Jews from the Samaritans--the depth of the
well--the oriental allusion contained in the expression "living
water"--the history of the well itself, and the customs thereby
illustrated--the worship upon Mount Gerizim--all these occur within a few
verses, and supply a species of evidence for the truth of the narrative in
which they are embodied that no candid mind has ever been able to
resist.[135]

The ancient Samaria presents itself to the traveller in these days under
the name of Sebaste, or the Venerable,--an appellation conferred upon it
by Herod in honour of his patron Augustus. The Jewish historian describes
at length the buildings erected by the Idumean prince, especially a
citadel, and a noble temple which he intended to exhibit to future
generations as a specimen of his taste and munificence. He adds, that the
town was twenty furlongs in circumference, and distant one day's journey
from Jerusalem. It is computed by modern tourists to be more than forty
miles. The situation is extremely beautiful as well as naturally strong,
being placed on a large hill encompassed all round by a broad deep valley,
and therefore capable of an easy and complete fortification. But the
splendid city of Herod is now reduced to a village, small and poor,
exhibiting only the remains of its former greatness. In one place,
according to Dr. Richardson, there are sixty columns of the Ionic order
extended in a single row, marking the site of some gorgeous structure
erected by the vassal of Augustus. Mr. Buckingham counted eighty-three of
these pillars, and alludes to a tradition current among the natives, that
they formed part of Herod's own palace. This may be the edifice mentioned
by Josephus, who says that the king just named built a sacred place of a
furlong and a half in circuit, and adorned it with all sorts of
decorations; and therein constructed a temple remarkable both for its
largeness and its beauty.

Mr. Maundrell relates, that in his time the place where the city had stood
was entirely converted into gardens; and all the tokens that remain to
testify that there ever was such a metropolis are only a large square
piazza surrounded with pillars, and some poor ruins of a church, said to
have been built by the Empress Helena over the place where St. John the
Baptist was both imprisoned and beheaded. In the body of this temple you
go down a staircase into the very dungeon where that holy blood was shed.
The Turks hold the prison in great veneration, and over it have erected a
small mosque; but for a little piece of money they suffer you to go in and
satisfy your curiosity at pleasure.

A hundred and thirty years, aided by the destructive habits of
Mohammedans, seem to have made a deep impression upon the remains of
Sebaste; for when Dr. Clarke passed through it, he could not discover even
the relics of a great city, and was, therefore, disposed to question the
existence of the splendid ruins mentioned by Maundrell, and more minutely
described by Richardson and Buckingham. He is inclined to identify the
site of the ancient Samaria with the high ground on which stands the
castle of Santorri; but his reasoning is not sufficiently cogent to
satisfy the mind even of the least reflecting among his readers.

At this point we leave the territory of Ephraim, and pass into that of the
half-tribe of Manasseh. Pursuing his course northwards, the traveller
reaches a small hamlet called Bethamareen; and afterward, at the distance
of three or four miles, he finds himself at Gibba, a village surrounded
with trees bearing olives and pomegranates, and occupying a lofty station
over a narrow valley. This place is succeeded by Sannour, which appears to
be nothing more than a castle erected on an insular hill, and is more
commonly known by the name of Fort Giurali. Another village, called Abati,
presents itself on the right-hand, imbosomed in a grove of fruit trees;
but the stranger, desirous to proceed, advances along the valley until,
after having ascended a rising ground, he beholds stretched out at his
feet the fine plain of Esdraëlon covered with the richest pasture.[136]

On the slope of the hill which bounds the southern extremity of this
fertile valley stands the town of Jennin, a place, like most of the cities
of Palestine, more remarkable for decayed grandeur than for actual wealth,
beauty, or power. Its ancient name was Ginoa, and it is found recorded in
the works of some of the older writers as a frontier place between Samaria
and Galilee. The population at present is said to amount to about eight
hundred; but the ruins of a palace and a mosque prove that it once
possessed a greater importance than now belongs to it. Marble pillars,
fountains, and even piazzas still remain in a very perfect state; an
Arabic inscription over one of which induces the reader to believe that it
was erected by a commander named Selim.

Instead of pursuing our course towards Nazareth and the Lake of Tiberias,
we shall now cross the Jordan into the Land of Gilead, and lay before our
readers a brief outline of the discoveries which have been recently made
in that section of Palestine, the inheritance of Reuben and of Gad. We
have already remarked, that to the indefatigable exertions of Dr. Seetzen
the world are indebted for much of the knowledge they possess relative to
the ancient city of Geraza, the ruins of which are pointed out by the
Arabs under the name of Djarash.

Approaching it from the south, the traveller first observes a triumphal
gateway, nearly entire, bearing a striking resemblance in point of
workmanship to the remains of Antinoë in Upper Egypt. The front presents
four columns of a small diameter, and constructed of many separate pieces
of stone; their pedestals are of a square form, but tall and slender. On
each of these is placed a design of leaves, very like a Corinthian capital
without the volutes; and on this again rises the shaft, which is plain,
and composed of many small portions. As all the columns were broken near
the top, the crowning capitals are not seen. The pediment and frieze are
also destroyed; but enough remains to give an accurate idea of the
original design, and to prove that the order of the architecture was
Corinthian. The building appears to have been a detached triumphal arch,
erected for the entrance of some victorious hero passing into the city.

Just within this gateway is perceived an extensive naumachia, or theatre
for the exhibition of sea-fights, constructed of fine masonry, and
finished on the top with a large moulding wrought in the stone. The
channels for filling it with water are still visible. Passing onward there
is seen a second gateway, exactly similar in design to the one already
mentioned, but connected here on both sides with the walls of the city, to
which it seems to have formed the proper entrance. Turning to the left the
stranger advances into a large and beautiful colonnade arrange in a
circular form, all of the Ionic order, and surmounted by an architrave. He
next perceives beyond this point a long avenue of columns in a straight
line, supposed to mark the direction of some principal street that led
through the whole length of the town. These columns are all of the
Corinthian order, and the range on each side is ascended to by a flight of
steps.

Making his way along this imaginary street over masses of ruins, his
attention is attracted by four magnificent pillars of greater height and
larger diameter than the rest; but, like all the others, supporting only a
entablature, and probably standing before the front of some principal
edifice now destroyed. He next arrives at a square formed by the first
intersection of the main street by one crossing it at right angles, and,
like it also, apparently once lined on both sides by an avenue of columns.
At the point of intersection are four masses of building resembling
pedestals; on the top of which there probably stood small Corinthian
columns, as shafts and capitals of that order are now scattered below.
Passing the fragments of a solid wall on the left, which appears to have
constituted the front of a large edifice, the tourist next comes to the
ruins of a temple of a semicircular form, with four columns in front, and
facing the principal street in a right line. The spring of its half-dome
is still remaining, as well as several columns of yellow marble and of red
granite. The whole seems to have been executed with peculiar care,
especially the sculpture of the friezes, cornices, pediments, and
capitals, which are all of the Corinthian order, and considered not less
rich and chaste than the works of the best ages. On a broken altar near
this ruin is observed an inscription, containing the name of Marcus
Aurelius. "Beyond this, again," says Mr. Buckingham, "we had temples,
colonnades, theatres, arched buildings with domes, detached groups of
Ionic and Corinthian columns, bridges, aqueducts, and portions of large
buildings scattered here and there in our way; none of which we could
examine with any degree of attention, from the restraint under which our
guides had placed us."[137]

The author of the unpublished journal from which we have already drawn
some rich materials, inspected the remains of Geraza three years ago. "We
set out for the ruins, and reached them before sunrise. Having seen them
only partially by a faint light and from a distance the previous evening,
I had not formed a high opinion of them, and wondered that they should
ever have been brought into comparison with Palmyra. A full examination
now altered my decision, and left me and all the party full of admiration
at the grandeur and the elegance of the ruins. We were struck with the
view down the main street of the city. Close to us was a temple, a fine
mass of building, surrounded by innumerable fallen columns and ruined
cornices. Beneath was the great street, commencing in an elegant circular
or rather oval colonnade of fifty-seven pillars, and containing a
succession of straight colonnades on each side, crossed at right angles by
another line of columns with an entablature. On one side was a splendid
temple with columns, on a height; and on the other a bridge crossing the
stream on which the ruins stand. Close to this temple is a theatre in
remarkably high repair; almost all the seats are quite entire. The
proscenium is still sufficiently so to give a complete idea of the plan;
and it is easy to sit on one of the benches and fancy a Greek play
performing to a Gerazan audience as it was seventeen hundred years ago.
Proceeding northward along the great street, we soon came to a building
which seemed to me one of the finest things in Jerash. It was a sort of
semicircular temple, in front of which had been a portico of Corinthian
columns, composing part of the grand colonnade. I do not think they can be
under fifty feet in height, and their form is very elegant. The
semicircular building itself is covered with a half-dome, and ornamented
with particular richness and beauty. It is remarkable throughout these
ruins, how admirably the columns and buildings are disposed for producing
effect in combination. Of two bridges, a good deal of the one to the east
remains, and the arches reach across the river, though it is not passable,
owing to the destruction of the upper part. There is a paved road between
the colonnades leading from the bridge."

The ground occupied by this city, which was nearly in the form of a
square, might have been, enclosed by a line of four English miles in
length; the distance from the ruined gateway on the south to the small
temple on the north being about five thousand feet. It stood on the
corresponding sloes of two opposite hills, with a narrow but not a deep
valley between them, through which ran a clear stream of water, springing
from fountains near the centre of the town, and bending its way thence to
the southward. But so complete is the desolation of this once magnificent
place, that Bedouin Arabs now encamp among its ruins for the sake of the
rivulet by which they are washed, as they would collect near a well in the
midst of their native desert. Such portions of the soil as are still
cultivated, are ploughed by men who have no property in it; and the same
spot accordingly is occupied by different persons every succeeding year,
as time and chance may happen to direct.

Mr. Buckingham thinks that the similarity of situation, as well as of
name, would lead to the conclusion that this Jerash of the Arabs is the
same with the Gergasha of the Hebrews. Reland gives a variety of
derivations, quoted from Pliny, Jamblichus, Epiphanius, and Origen; all of
which are much more satisfactory as they regard the position of a certain
town in the Land of Gilead, than as they convey any precise ideas as to
its etymological import. After the Romans conquered Judea, the country
beyond the Jordan became one of their favourite colonies; to which, from
the circumstance of its containing ten cities, they gave the name of
Decapolis, an appellation recognised by St. Mark in the seventh chapter of
his Gospel. Geraza, it is presumed, was one of those cities; and although
its history is darkened with more than the usual doubt which attaches to
the Jewish annals after the fall of Jerusalem, there is reason to believe
that in the time of Vespasian it suffered the penalty of rebellion, and
was finally destroyed by the Saracens when they attacked the eastern
boundaries of the empire.

We must satisfy ourselves with a mere glance at the hills of Gilead; the
rich pasture-lands of the tribe of Reuben, and formerly the kingdom of the
gigantic Og, the monarch of Bashan. It is well known that the Valley of
the Jordan is bounded on the east by a range of mountains still more lofty
than those which skirt its western limits; but it was not suspected till
lately that the former concealed in their recesses some of the richest
scenery and most valuable land anywhere to be found in Palestine. Rising
gradually from the bed of the river, the traveller soon finds himself on a
platform seven or eight hundred feet above its level; forming a district
of extraordinary fertility, abounding with the most beautiful prospects,
clothed with thick forests, diversified with verdant slopes, and
possessing extensive plains of a fine soil, yielding in nothing to the
most prolific parts of Galilee and Samaria. "We continued our way," says
Mr. Buckingham, "to the north-east, through a country, the beauty of which
so surprised us, that we often asked each other what were our sensations;
as if to ascertain the reality of what we saw, and persuade each other by
mutual confessions of our delight, that the picture before us was not an
optical illusion. The landscape alone, which varied at every turn, and
gave us new beauties from any point of view, was of itself worth all the
pains of an excursion to the eastward of the Jordan; and the park-like
scenes that sometimes softened the romantic wildness of the general
character as a whole, reminded us of similar spots in less neglected
lands."[138]

The scenery continues of the same fascinating description till the
traveller reaches the Nahr el Zerkah, or river Jabbok, the ancient
boundary between the Amorites and the Children of Ammon. The banks are
thickly clothed with the oleander and plane-tree, the wild olive and
almond, and many flowering-shrubs of great variety and elegance. The
stream is about thirty feet broad, deeper than the Jordan, and nearly as
rapid, rushing downwards over a rocky channel. On the northern side begins
the kingdom of Bashan, celebrated for its oaks, its cattle, and the bodily
strength of its inhabitants. The opposite plate exhibits a view of the
Jabbok, and of the bold Alpine range which fenced the territory of one of
the most formidable enemies of Israel; verifying in its fullest extent the
description of Moses, who says, "The border of the children of Ammon was
strong."[139]

The curious reader will find in the Travels of Mr. Buckingham some
ingenious reasoning employed by him to fix the locality of Bozor, Ramoth,
Jabesh, and other towns situated in Gilead, and which were rendered
important by the various events recorded in the sacred volume.

About six miles from Djerash towards the north stands the village of Souf,
on the brow of a lofty hill, and flanked by a deep ravine. It retains
several marks of having been the site of some more ancient and
considerable town, presenting large blocks of stone with mouldings and
sculpture wrought into the modern buildings. In the neighbourhood are seen
the walls of an edifice apparently Roman, as also the ruins of two small
towers which may with equal certainty be traced to the age of Saracenic
domination. Souf can boast of nearly five hundred inhabitants, all rigid
Mohammedans, and remarkable for a surly and suspicious character.

Leaving this rather inhospitable village, the traveller who wishes to
visit the remains of Gamala proceeds in a north-westerly direction,
descending into a fine valley, and again rising on a gentle ascent, the
whole being profusely and beautifully wooded with evergreen oaks below,
and pines upon the ridge of the hill above. "Mr. Bankes, who had seen the
whole of England, the greater part of Italy and France, and almost every
province of Spain and Portugal, frequently remarked, that in all his
travels he had met with nothing equal to it, excepting only in some parts
of the latter country,--Entre Minho and Douro,--to which alone he could
compare it."[140]

Several hamlets and some obscure indications of ancient buildings meet the
eye in course of the journey to Om Keis. Before reaching this town, the
road emerges into a hilly district, bleak, rocky, and ill-cultivated. The
view is as monotonous as that from Jerusalem, forming a striking contrast
to the rich, verdant, and beautiful scenery which distinguishes Bashan and
Gilead.

Gamala, for under that name the ruins of the Roman station are most
familiarly known, must have covered a site nearly square; its greatest
length, from east to west, being seventeen hundred short paces, and its
breadth about one-fourth less. A considerable portion of it seems to have
stood on the summit of a hill, well fortified all round; the traces of
towers and other works of defence being still visible even on its steepest
parts. The portals of the eastern gate remain, from whence a noble street
appears to have run through the whole length of the city, lined by a
handsome colonnade of Ionic and Corinthian pillars. The pavement is formed
of square blocks of black volcanic stone, and is still so perfect, that
the ruts of wheel-carriages are to be seen in it, of different breadths
and about an inch in depth, as at the ruins of Pompeii and
Herculaneum.[141]

The first edifice which presents itself on entering the eastern gate is a
theatre, the scene and front of which are entirely destroyed, but the
benches are preserved. Still farther on are appearances of an Ionic
temple, the colonnade of the street being continued; and about half-way
along is a range of Corinthian pillars on pedestals, marking the position
of some grand edifice. Not a column, indeed, continues erect, but the plan
can be distinctly traced. This supposed temple must have been a hundred
paces in depth from north to south; and its façade, which fronted the
street and came in a line with the grand colonnade already mentioned,
cannot have been less than a hundred and eighty feet in breadth. The chief
peculiarity of this structure, however, consists in its having been built
on a range of fine arches, so that its foundations were higher than the
general level of the town; and hence, as the pedestals of the columns were
elevated considerably above the street, it must have presented a very
striking object.

There are the remains of numerous other edifices, theatres, and temples,
but they are all too indistinct to enable even a professional eye to
pronounce with confidence on their plan and particular purpose. The
prevalent orders of architecture are Ionic and Corinthian, though some few
capitals decidedly Doric are discovered among the ruins. The stone
generally used throughout the city is that of the neighbouring
mountains,--a species of gray rock approaching to a carbonate of lime; but
the shafts of some of the pillars are formed of a black substance,
supposed to have a volcanic origin, and most commonly preferred for the
internal decorations of funereal vaults and sarcophagi.[142]

As the ruins here described are not immediately on the position usually
assigned to Gamala on the maps, and as Dr. Seetzen, the only person
besides Mr. Buckingham who has published any account of them, thinks that
they are those of Gadara, the latter enters into a lengthened discussion
in support of his own views, calling in the authority of several ancient
writers to establish his position. The reader will find that much of the
ambiguity which prevails on this point arises from the fact of there being
in different parts of Canaan several towns of the same name. For example,
there was unquestionably a place called Gadara on the eastern shore of the
Lake of Tiberias; while from the testimony of Josephus, it is equally
certain that the same appellation was given to the capital of Perea. In
the New Testament, the country of the Gadarenes is described as being on
the other side of the sea, over-against Galilee, a notice which removes
all doubt from the opinion of those who maintain the existence of a town
or village, named Gadara; situated to the northward of the site generally
claimed for Gamala, and nearer the body of the lake.

Mr. Buckingham tells us, that the account given in the gospel of the
habitation of the demoniac, out of whom the legion of devils was cast,
struck him very forcibly while wandering among savage mountains and
surrounded by tombs, still used as houses by individuals and even by,
whole families. A finer occasion for expressing the passions of madness in
all their violence, contrasted with the serene virtue and benevolence of
Him who went about continually doing good, could hardly be chosen for the
pencil of an artist; and a faithful delineation of the rugged and wild
majesty of the mountain scenery on the one hand, with the still calm of
the lake on the other, would give an additional charm to the picture.[143]

Amid the interesting ruins of Gamala, situated in a barren district, alike
unfavourable for agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, it is impossible
not to be surprised at the indications of wealth and luxury which must
have centred within its walls. The opulence cannot but have been
considerable which erected such splendid temples and colonnades, and
supported two large theatres; erecting, at the same time, such massive
tombs and splendid sarcophagi for all classes of the population. Its
desolation may be traced to the rebellious spirit of the inhabitants, and
the sanguinary wars to which it led under successive emperors. Vespasian,
whose name is so closely associated with the history of Palestine for good
and for evil, directed against it on more than one occasion the fury of
the Roman legions, and finally levelled its walls, that they might not
again be defended by such desperate insurgents. At a later period, its
remote situation withdrew it from the attention of Europeans; and, in
truth, its very existence had ceased to be remembered, until its ruins
were once more visited by travellers in the course of the present century.

Passing along the eastern border of the hike, and advancing towards its
northern extremity, the traveller easily recognises that desert place
where the multitude was fed upon the miraculous loaves and fishes. Here,
too, was the scene of the remarkable punishment inflicted upon the
Gadarenes for their insensibility to Divine instruction, as well, perhaps,
as for their unhallowed pursuit in feeding animals forbidden by the law of
Moses. The brink of the water presents many steep places where such a
catastrophe might be easily realized.

At the upper end of the lake are the remains of Capernaum, now called
Talhewm, or Tel Hoom, situated about ten miles from Tiberias, in a
north-easterly direction. This village, although at present nothing more
than a station of Bedouins, appears to have been occupied in former times
by a settlement of some importance, as the ruins of stately buildings are
found scattered over a wide space in the neighbourhood. The foundations of
a magnificent edifice can still be traced; but the structure itself is so
much dilapidated that it is no longer possible to determine whether it was
a temple or a palace. The northern end is sixty-five paces in length, and,
as the eastern wall seems to have extended to the edge of the water, its
length could not be less than five hundred feet. Within this space are
seen large blocks of sculptured stone, in friezes, cornices, and
mouldings.

The appearance of the Sea of Galilee, as seen from this point of view at
Capernaum, is very grand. Its greatest length runs nearly north and south,
from fifteen to eighteen miles, while its breadth averages from five to
six. The barren aspect of the mountains on each side, and the total
absence of wood, give, however, a cast of dulness to the picture; and this
is increased even to a feeling of melancholy by the dead calm of its
surface, and the silence which reigns throughout its whole extent, where
not a boat or vessel of any kind is to be found. No fisherman any longer
plies his laborious craft on the bosom of the lake, nor seeks to vary his
scanty meal by letting down his net for a draught. Mr. Buckingham
observed, from the heights above, shoals of fish darting through the
water, and the shore in some places covered with storks and diving-birds,
which repair hither in search of food; but when, on one occasion, he
suggested that a supper might be procured for his party by exercising a
little skill with the rod or net, he discovered that the ignorant
barbarians whom he addressed had not yet taken a lesson from the fowls of
the air.

A circumstance deserving of notice is mentioned by Hasselquist, in regard
to the tenants of this lake. He thought it remarkable that the same kind
of fish should be here met with as in the Nile,--charmuth, silurus,
baenni, mulsil, and sparus Galilaeus. This explains the observations of
certain travellers, who speak of the Sea of Tiberias as possessing fish
peculiar to itself; not being acquainted perhaps with the produce of the
Egyptian river. Josephus was of the same opinion; and yet it is worthy of
remark, that in describing the fountain of Capernaum his conjectures tend
to confirm the conclusions of the Swedish naturalist:--

"Some consider it," says the Jewish historian, "as a vein of the Nile,
because it brings forth fishes resembling the coracinus of the Alexandrian
lake."[144]

That Capernaum was a place of some wealth and consequence in the time of
our Saviour may be inferred from the expostulation addressed to it, when
he upbraided the other cities wherein most of his mighty works were
done:--"Wo unto thee, Chorazin! Wo unto thee, Bethsaida! And thou,
Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell."
But the history of all the towns on the lake of Genesareth has been
covered with a cloud which it is now impossible to penetrate; and nothing,
accordingly, is more difficult than to determine the situations occupied,
even during the latter period of the Roman ascendency, by some of the
principal places on which the emperors lavished their wealth and taste.
Bethsaida was converted by Herod from an insignificant village into the
dignity and grandeur of a city, named Julias, in compliment to the
daughter of Augustus. At the present moment, however, no traces remain to
point out the line of its walls or the foundations of its palaces.
Genesareth has in like manner disappeared; or if there be any relics of
the town which once gave its name to the inland sea whose shore it
adorned, they are so indistinct and ambiguous as not to merit the notice
of the traveller. Tarachea is represented by the hamlet of Sumuk, and the
ruins of Chorazin are imagined to meet the eye somewhere on the opposite
coast; but, upon the whole, the denunciation uttered against the
unbelieving cities of Galilee has been literally fulfilled, as they are
now brought down to the lowest pitch of obscurity and oblivion.[145]

Tiberias is the only place on the Sea of Galilee which retains any marks
of its ancient importance. It is understood to cover the ground formerly
occupied by a town of a much remoter age, and of which some traces can
still be distinguished on the beach, a little to the southward of the
present walls. History relates that it was built by Herod the Tetrarch,
and dedicated to the Emperor Tiberius, his patron, although there
prevails, at the same time, an obscure tradition, that the new city owed
its foundation entirely to the imperial pleasure, and was named by him who
commanded it to be erected. Josephus notices the additional circumstance,
which of itself gives great probability to the opinion of its being
established on the ruins of an older town, that, as many sepulchres were
removed in order to make room for the Roman structures, the Jews could
hardly be induced to occupy houses which, according to their notions, were
legally impure. Adrichomius considers Tiberias to be the Chinneroth of the
Hebrews; and says, that it was captured by Benhadad, king of Syria, who
destroyed it, and was in after-ages restored by Herod; who surrounded it
with walls, and adorned it with magnificent buildings. The old Jewish
city, whatever was its name, probably owed its existence to the fame of
its hot baths,--an origin to which many temples, and even the cities
belonging to them, may be traced.

The present town of Tabaria, as it is now called, is in the form of an
irregular crescent, and is enclosed towards the land by a wall flanked
with circular towers. It lies nearly north and south along the edge of the
lake, and has its eastern front so close to the water, on the brink of
which it stands, that some of the houses are washed by the sea: The whole
does not appear more than a mile in circuit, and cannot, from the manner
in which they are placed, contain above 500 separate dwellings. There are
two gates visible from without, one near the southern and the other in the
western wall; there are appearances also of the town having been
surrounded by a ditch, but this is now filled up and used for gardens.

The interior presents but few subjects of interest, among which are a
mosque with a dome and minaret, and two Jewish synagogues. There is a
Christian place of worship called the House of Peter, which is thought by
some to be the oldest building used for that purpose in any part of
Palestine. It is a vaulted room, thirty feet long by fifteen broad, and
perhaps fifteen in height, standing nearly east and west, with its door of
entrance at the western front, and its altar immediately opposite in a
shallow recess. Over the door is one small window, and on each side four
others, all arched and open. The structure is of a very ordinary kind,
both in workmanship and material; the pavement within is similar to that
used for streets in this country; and the walls are entirely devoid of
sculpture or any other architectural ornament. But it derives no small
interest from the popular belief that it is the very house which Peter
inhabited at the time of his being called from his boat to follow the
Messias. It is manifest, notwithstanding, that it must have been
originally constructed for a place of divine worship, and probably at a
period much later than the days of the apostle whose name it bears,
although there is no good ground for questioning the tradition which
places it on the very spot long venerated as the site of his more humble
habitation. Here too it was, say the dwellers in Tiberias, that he pushed
off his boat into the lake when about to have his faith rewarded by the
miraculous draught of fishes.[146]

Besides the public buildings already specified are the house of the aga,
on the rising ground near the northern quarter of the town, a small
bazaar, and two or three coffee sheds; the ordinary dwellings of the
inhabitants are such as are commonly seen in eastern villages, but are
marked by a peculiarity which Mr. Buckingham witnessed there for the first
time. On the terrace of almost every house stands a small square enclosure
of reeds, loosely covered with leaves; to which, he learned, heads of
families are wont to resort during the summer months, when, from the low
situation of the town and the absence of cooling breezes, the heat of the
nights is literally intolerable.[147]

According to the opinion of the best informed among the inhabitants, the
population of Tiberias (or Tabareeah, as they pronounce it) does not
exceed two thousand. Of these about one-half are Jews, many of whom are
from Europe, particularly from Germany, Russia, and Poland; the rest are
Mohammedans, with the exception of twenty or thirty Christian families who
profess the tenets of the Latin church.

The warm baths, which have given celebrity to that neighbourhood, are
still found at the distance of between two and three miles southward from
the town. The building erected on the spring is small and mean, and
altogether the work of the present rulers of Palestine. The bath itself is
a square room of eighteen or twenty feet, covered with a low dome, and
having seats or benches on each side. The cistern for containing the hot
water is in the centre of this room, and sunk below the pavement. It is a
square of eight or nine feet only, and the spring rises to supply it
through a small head of some animal but this is so badly executed that it
is difficult to know for what it was intended. Mr. Buckingham states, that
his thermometer, when immersed in the water, instantly rose to 130°, which
was the utmost limit of the instrument. He is satisfied, however, that the
heat was much greater, because is was painful to the hand as it issued
from the spout, and could only be borne by those who had bathed in the
cistern.[148]

Tiberias makes a conspicuous figure in the Jewish annals, and was the
scene of some of the most remarkable events which are recorded by
Josephus. After the downfall of Jerusalem, it continued until the fifth
century to be the residence of Jewish patriarchs, rabbis, and learned
men. A university was established within its boundaries; and as the
patriarchate was allowed to be hereditary, the remnant of the Hebrew
people enjoyed a certain degree of weight and consequence during the
greater part of four centuries. In the sixth age, if we may confide in the
accuracy of Procopius, the Emperor Justinian rebuilt the walls; but in the
following century, the seventh of the Christian era, the city was taken by
the Saracens, under Calif Omar, who stripped it of its privileges, and
demolished some of its finest edifices. It must not be concealed, however,
that in the Itinerary of Willibald, who performed his journey into the
Holy Land towards the close of the eighth century, mention is made of many
churches and synagogues which the conquerors had either not destroyed or
allowed to be repaired.[149]

From Tiberias to Nazareth the traveller has to encounter an almost
uninterrupted ascent. The village of Caber Sabet first attracts his
attention by its architectural remains, indicating the existence of an
ancient building, which must have had marble columns and a magnificent
portico. He soon afterwards reaches Soak el Khan,--a place chiefly
celebrated for a weekly market, where every description of commodity in
use among the people is collected for sale. It also presents the ruins of
a Saracenic fort of a square shape, with circular towers at the angles and
in the centre of each wall.

In pursuing this route we have Mount Tor, or Tabor, on the left-hand,
rising in solitary majesty from the Plain of Esdraëlon. Its appearance has
been described by some authors as that of a half-sphere, while to others
it suggests the idea of a cone with its point struck off. According to Mr.
Maundrell, the height is such as to require the labour of an hour to reach
the summit; where is seen a level area of an oval figure, extending about
two furlongs in length and one in breadth. It is enclosed with trees on
all sides except the south, and is most fertile and delicious. Having been
anciently surrounded with walls and trenches, there are remains of
considerable fortifications at the present day. Burckhardt says, a thick
wall, constructed of large stones, may be traced quite round the summit,
close to the edge of the precipice; on several parts of which are relics
of bastions. The area too is overspread with the ruins of private
dwellings, built of stone with great solidity.

Pococke assures us that it is one of the finest hills he ever beheld,
being a rich soil that produces excellent herbage, and most beautifully
adorned with groves and clumps of trees. The height he calculates to be
about two miles, making allowance for the winding ascent; but he adds,
that others have imagined the same path to be not less than four miles.
Hasselquist conjectures that it is a league to the top, the whole of which
may be accomplished without dismounting,--a statement amply confirmed by
the experience of Van Egmont and Heyman. These travellers relate that
"this mountain, though somewhat rugged and difficult, we ascended on
horseback, making several circuits round it, which took up about
three-quarters of an hour. It is one of the highest in the whole country,
being thirty stadia, or about four English miles. And it is the most
beautiful we ever saw with regard to verdure, being everywhere decorated
with small oak-trees, and the ground universally enamelled with a variety
of plants and flowers. There are great number of red partridges, and some
wild boars; and we were so fortunate as to see the Arabs hunting them. We
left, but not without reluctance, this delightful place, and found at the
bottom of it a mean village, called Deboura, or Tabour,--a name said to be
derived from the celebrated Deborah mentioned in the book of Judges."

But this mountain derives the largest share of its celebrity from the
opinion entertained among Christians since the days of Jerome, that it was
the scene of a memorable event in the history of our Lord. On the eastern
part of the hill are the remains of a strong castle; and within the
precincts of it is the grotto in which are three altars in memory of the
three tabernacles that St. Peter proposed to build, and where the Latin
friars always perform mass on the anniversary of the Transfiguration. It
is said there was a magnificent church built here by Helena, which was a
cathedral when this town was made a bishop's see. On the side of the hill
they show a church in a grot, were they say Christ charged his disciples
not to tell what things they had seen till he should be glorified.

It is very doubtful, however, whether this tradition be well founded, or
whether it has not, as Mr. Maundrell and other writers suspect, originated
in the misinterpretation of a very common Greek phrase. Our Saviour is
said to have taken with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them into
a high mountain "apart;" from which it has been rather hastily inferred
that the description must apply to Tabor, the only insulated and solitary
hill in the neighbourhood. We may remark, with the traveller just named,
that the conclusion may possibly be true, but that the argument used to
prove it seems incompetent; because the term "apart" most likely relates
to the withdrawing and retirement of the persons here spoken of, and not
to the situation of the mountain. In fact, it means nothing more than that
our Lord and his three disciples betook themselves to a private place for
the purpose of devotion.

The view from Mount Tabor is extolled by every traveller. "It is
impossible," says Maundrell, "for man's eyes to behold a higher
gratification of this nature." On the north-west you discern in the
distance the noble expanse of the Mediterranean, while all around you see
the spacious and beautiful plains of Esdraëlon and Galilee. Turning a
little southward, you have in view the high mountains of Gilboa, so fatal
to Saul and his sons. Due east you discover the Sea of Tiberias, distant
about one day's journey. A few points to the north appears the Mount of
Beatitudes, the place where Christ delivered his sermon to his disciples
and the multitude. Not far from this little hill is the city of Saphet, or
Szaffad, standing upon elevated and very conspicuous ground. Still
farther, in the same direction, is seen a lofty peak covered with snow, a
part of the chain of Anti-Libanus. To the south-west is Carmel, and in the
south the hills of Samaria.[150]

The plain around, the most fertile part of the Land of Canaan, being one
vast meadow covered with the richest pasture, is the inheritance where the
tribe of Issachar "rejoiced in their tents." Here it was that Barak,
descending with his ten thousand men from Tabor, discomfited Sisera and
all his chariots. In the same neighbourhood Josiah, king of Judah, fought
in disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, and fell by the arrows of his
antagonist, deeply lamented. The great mourning in Jerusalem, foretold
by Zechariah, is said to be as the lamentations in the Plain of Esdraëlon,
as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddon. Vespasian
reviewed his army in the same great plain. It has been a chosen place for
encampments in every contest carried on in this country, from the days of
Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, down to the disastrous invasion of
Napoleon Bonaparte. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Egyptians, Persians, Druses,
Turks, Arabs, Christian Crusaders, and Antichristian Frenchmen,--warriors
out of every nation under heaven,--have pitched their tents upon the Plain
of Esdraëlon, and have beheld their various banners wet with the dews of
Tabor and of Hermon. And shall we not add that here too is to be fought
the great battle of Armageddon, so well known to all interpreters of
prophecy, which is expected to change the aspect of the eastern world?
When the French invaded Syria in 1799, General Kleber was attacked near a
village called Fouleh, in the Great Plain, by an army of 25,000 Turks. At
the head of twelve or fifteen hundred men, whom he formed into a square,
he continued fighting from sunrise till midday, when he had expended all
his ammunition. Bonaparte, at length, informed of his perilous situation,
advanced to his support with six hundred soldiers; at the sight of whom
the enemy, after having lost several thousands in killed and wounded,
commenced a hurried retreat, in the course of which many of them were
drowned in the River Daboury, at that time, like another Kishon,
overflowing its banks. In a word, the champaign country which stretches
north-west from Tabor has been the theatre of real or of mimic warfare in
all ages. "We had the pleasure," says Doubdan, "to view from the top of
that mountain Arabs encamped by thousands; tents and pavilions of all
colours, green, red, and yellow; with so great a number of horses and
camels, that it seemed like a vast army, or a city besieged."[151]

But we now proceed towards Nazareth, the modern Naszera or Nassera, a
journey of about two hours from the foot of the mountain which we have
just examined. It seems, says one writer, as if fifteen mountains met to
form an enclosure for this delightful spot; they rise round it like the
edge of a shell to guard it from intrusion. It is a rich and beautiful
field in the midst of barren hills. The church stands in a cave supposed
to be the place where the Blessed Virgin received the joyful message of
the angel, recorded in the first chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. It
resembles the figure of a cross. That part of it which stands for the tree
of the cross is fourteen paces long and six broad, and runs directly into
the grot, having no other arch over it at top but that of the natural
rock. The transverse part is nine paces in length and four in width, and
is built athwart the mouth of the cave. Just at the section of these
divisions are erected two granite pillars, two feet in diameter, and about
three feet distant from each other. They are supposed by the faithful to
stand on the very places where the angel and the Blessed Virgin
respectively stood at the time of the Annunciation.[152]

When Dr. Clarke visited this sanctuary, the friars pointed out the kitchen
and the fireplace of the Virgin Mary; and as all consecrated places in the
Holy Land contain some supposed miracle for exhibition, the monks, he
informs us, have taken care not to be altogether deficient in supernatural
rarities. Accordingly, the first things they show to strangers who descend
into the cave are two stone pillars in the front of it; one of which,
separated from its base, is said to sustain its capital and a part of its
shaft miraculously in the air. The fact is, that the capital and a piece
of the shaft of a pillar of gray granite have been fastened to the roof of
the grotto; and "so clumsily is the rest of the _hocus pocus_ contrived,
that what is shown for the lower fragment of the same pillar resting upon
the earth is not of the same substance, but of Cipolino marble."[153]

A variety of stories are circulated about the fracture of this miraculous
pillar. The more ancient travellers were told that it was broken by a
pasha in search of hidden treasure, who was struck with blindness for his
impiety; at present it is said that it separated into two parts, in the
manner in which it still appears, when the angel announced to Mary the
glad tidings with which he was commissioned. Maundrell was not less
observant than the author just quoted, although he does not so openly
expose the deception. "It touches the roof above, and is probably hanged
upon that; unless you had rather take the friars' account of it, namely,
that it is supported by a miracle."

Pococke has proved that the tradition concerning the dwelling-place of the
parents of Jesus Christ existed at a very early period; because the church
built over it is mentioned by writers of the seventh century. Nor is there
in the circumstance that their abode was fixed in a grotto or natural
cave, any thing repugnant to the notions usually entertained either of the
ancient customs of the country or of the class of society to which Joseph
and his espoused wife belonged. But when we are called upon to surrender
our belief to the legends invented by men whose ignorance is the best
apology we can urge for their superstition, a certain degree of disgust
and indignation is perfectly justifiable.

In such a case we are disposed to question the good effects ascribed by
some authors to the pious zeal of the Empress Helena, who, although she
did not in fact erect one-half of the buildings ascribed to her
munificence, most undoubtedly laboured, by her architectural designs, to
obliterate every trace of those simple scenes which might have been
regarded with reasonable veneration in all ages of the church. Dr. Clarke,
in a fit of spleen with which we cannot altogether refuse to sympathize,
remarks, that had the Sea of Tiberias been capable of annihilation by her
means, it would have been dried up, paved, covered with churches and
altars, or converted into monasteries and markets of indulgences, until
every feature of the original had disappeared; and all this by way of
rendering it more particularly holy.[154]

Of the original edifice, said to have been erected by the mother of
Constantine, some remains may still be observed in the form of subverted
columns, which, with the fragments of their capitals and bases, lie near
the modern building. The present church and convent are of a comparatively
recent date, at least so far as the outward structure and internal
decorations are concerned; the former being filled with pictures supplied
by the modern school, all of which are said to be below mediocrity.

Besides the antiquities already mentioned having a reference to the early
history of our Lord, the traveller is conducted to the "workshop of
Joseph," which is near the convent, and was formerly included within its
walls. It is now a small chapel, perfectly modern, and whitewashed like a
Turkish sepulchre. After this is shown the synagogue where the Redeemer is
said to have read the Scriptures to the Jews; and also the precipice from
which the monks aver he leaped down to escape the rage of his townsmen,
who were offended at his application of the sacred text "And all they in
the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and
rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the
hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way."[155]

The Mount of Precipitation, as it is now called, is, according to Mr.
Buckingham, about two miles distant from Nazareth; is almost inaccessible,
from the steep and rocky nature of the road; and is decidedly not upon the
hill where the town could ever have been built. Dr. Clarke, on the other
hand, maintains that the words of the evangelist are most explicit, and
prove the situation of the ancient city to have been precisely that which
is now occupied by the modern town. In a recess there is an altar hewn out
of the rock, said to be the very spot where Christ dined with his
disciples. Close by are two large cisterns for preserving rain-water, and
several portions of buildings, all described as the remains of a religious
establishment founded by the pious and indefatigable Helena. Immediately
over this scene, and on the edge of a precipice about thirty feet in
height, are two flat stones set up on their edges. In the centre, and
scattered over different parts of one of them, are several round marks
like the deep imprint of fingers on wax; and it is insisted that these are
the impression of our Saviour's hand when he clung to the stone, and
thereby escaped being thrown headlong down.[156]

One celebrated relic still remains to be noticed, which, although it is
not alluded to in the New Testament, is regularly authenticated by the
pope; who, besides, grants a plenary indulgence to every pilgrim visiting
the place where it is exhibited. This is nothing more than a large stone,
on which it is affirmed that Christ did eat with his disciples both before
and after his resurrection from the dead. A chapel has been built over it,
on the walls of which are several copies of a printed certificate, stating
the grounds of its claim to veneration. Dr. Clarke transcribed this
curious document, which we give in a note below, accompanied with a
translation for the use of such readers as have not formed an acquaintance
with the Latin tongue.[157]

There is not an object in all Nazareth so much the resort of
pilgrims,--Greeks, Catholics, Arabs, and even Turks,--as this stone: the
former classes on account of the seven years' indulgence granted to those
who visit it; the two latter, because they believe some virtue must reside
in a slab before which all comers are so eager to prostrate themselves.

In a valley near the town is a fountain which bears the name of the
Virgin, and where the women are seen passing to and fro with pitchers on
their heads, as in the days of old. It is justly remarked, that, if there
be a spot throughout the Holy Land which was more particularly honoured by
the presence of Mary, we may consider this to be the place; because the
situation of a copious spring is not liable to change, and because the
custom of repairing thither to draw water has been continued among the
female inhabitants of Nazareth from the earliest period of its history.

As another memorial of primitive times, we may mention that it is still
common in Nazareth to see "two women grinding at the mill;" illustrating
the remarkable saying of our Lord in reference to the destruction of
Jerusalem. The two females, seated on the ground opposite to each other,
hold between them two round flat stones, such as are seen in Lapland, and
which in Scotland are usually called querns. In the centre of the upper
stone is a cavity for pouring in the corn; and by the side of this an
upright wooden handle for moving it. To begin the operation, one of the
women with her right hand pushes this handle to her companion, who in her
turn sends it back to the first,--thus communicating a rotatory and very
rapid motion to the upper stone; their left hands being all the while
employed in supplying fresh corn, as fast as the bran and flour escape
from the sides of the machine.[158]

It is not without pleasure that the traveller contemplates these unaltered
tokens of the simple life which prevailed in Palestine at the time when
our Saviour abode in the house of Mary his mother; and more especially, as
he cannot fail to contrast them with the pernicious mummery which
continues to disgrace the more artificial monuments of Christian
antiquity. From the extravagances chargeable upon the priesthood at all
the holy places in Canaan, there has resulted this most melancholy fact,
that devout but weak men, unable to distinguish between monkish fraud and
simple truth, have considered the whole series of topographical evidence
as one tissue of imposture, and have left the Holy Land worse Christians
than when they entered it. Credulity and skepticism are extremes too often
found to approximate; and the man, accordingly, who suddenly relinquishes
the one, is almost sure to adopt the other.

Burckhardt remarks that the church of Nazareth, next to the one over the
Holy Sepulchre, is the finest in Syria, and possesses two tolerably good
organs. Within the walls of the convent are several gardens and a small
burying-ground; the building is very strong, and serves occasionally as a
fortress to all the Christians in the town. There are eleven friars on the
establishment, the yearly expenses of which, amounting to about 900l., are
defrayed by the rent of a few houses and the produce of a small portion of
land, the property of the good fathers.

Before quitting this interesting place,--the scene where our Lord passed
the days of his childhood and youth,--we may observe, that there is a
great variation in the accounts given by different travellers as to the
number of its inhabitants. Dr. Richardson restricts it to six or seven
hundred; Mr. Buckingham raises it to two thousand; while others assert
that it does not fall short of half as many more. There are five hundred
Turks, and the remainder are Christians,--the later described as a civil
and very industrious class of people.

At about an hour and a half towards the north-east, situated on the slope
of a hill, stands Kefer Kenna, or Cana of Galilee, the village where the
Redeemer performed his first miracle. Here, in a small church belonging to
the Greek communion, is shown an old stone pot made of the common rock of
the country, and which is said to be one of the original vessels that
contained the water afterward converted into wine. It is worthy of note,
says Dr. Clarke, that in walking among the ruins of Cana one sees large
massy pots of stone answering to the description given by the evangelist;
not preserved nor exhibited as relics, but lying about disregarded by the
present inhabitants, as antiquities with the original use of which they
are altogether unacquainted. From their appearance, and the number of
them, it is quite evident that the practice of keeping water in large
stone pots, each holding from eighteen to twenty-seven gallons, was once
common in the country.

The remains of the house in which the marriage was celebrated are likewise
pointed out to the traveller, who, at the present day, is permitted to
examine curiosities with greater deliberation than was allowed to honest
Doubdan.[159] This pious confessor, whose zeal prompted him to leave
nothing unexplored, found an old church in the village, ascribed as usual
to the inexhaustible beneficence of St. Helena; but his attention was more
pleasantly engaged in tracing the course of the stream which issues from
the sacred fountain whence the water was drawn for the marriage-feast.
There is still a limpid spring near the village; which affords to the
inhabitants their daily supply of a delicious beverage. Pilgrims repair to
it moved by feelings of piety, or, as Doubdan expresses it, to satisfy at
once their devotion and their thirst. A few olive-trees being near the
spot, travellers alight, spread their carpets, and having filled their
pipes, generally smoke tobacco and take some coffee; always preferring
repose in these places to any accommodations which can be obtained in the
village. Such has been the custom of the country from time immemorial,
extending, not only to the wayfaring man, but also to the shepherds on the
surrounding hills, and to the companies of merchantmen whose trade carries
them through the neighbouring deserts.[160]

As we must now leave the interior of Palestine, and return to the shore of
the Mediterranean, we cannot do more at this advanced stage of our
progress than take a distant view of the landscape which stretches from
the lake of Tiberias to the sources of the Jordan. The mountains that
terminate the prospect are extremely magnificent, some of them being
covered with perpetual snow. The intervening country, too, is in many
parts uncommonly fine, presenting luxuriant crops, thriving villages, and
other tokens of security and comfort. The Jordan issues from Lake Hoole,
or Julias, which in its turn is fed by so many streams, that it becomes
very difficult to determine the true fountain of the sacred river.

The only town of consequence between the ruins of Capernaum and the alpine
range of Hermon and Djibbel el Sheik is Saphet, already mentioned, being
one of the four cities consecrated by the religious veneration of the
Hebrews. According to Burckhardt, it stands upon several low hills that
divide it into quarters, the largest of which is occupied by Jews. The
whole may contain six hundred houses, of which one hundred and fifty
belong to the people just named, and nearly as many to the Christians. The
summit of the principal eminence is crowned with an ancient castle, part
of which is regarded by the descendants of Israel as being contemporary
with their earliest kings.

Saphet is still a sort of university for the education of the Jewish
rabbis, of whom there are usually twenty of thirty resident, collected
from different countries of Europe, Africa, and Asia. They have no fewer
than seven synagogues. Their attachment to this place arises from various
motives, and especially from the traditionary belief that the Messias is
to reign here forty years before he assumes the government at Jerusalem.
To the north of the hill on which the castle stands there are several
wells, which, it is said, were dug by the patriarch Isaac, and became the
cause of contention between his herdsmen and those of Gerar; but, says
Pococke, they have much mistaken the place, the Valley of Gerar being at a
great distance on the other side of Jerusalem. This town, which is only
mentioned in the book of Tobit as belonging to the tribe of Naphtali,
became famous during the Crusades; it was occupied also by a detachment of
French troops during the invasion of the country by Bonaparte.

It is worthy of notice, that when the celebrated chief now named retreated
from before Acre, the tyrant Djezzar Pasha, to avenge himself on the
Franks, inflicted a severe punishment on the Jewish and Christian
inhabitants of Saphet. It is said that he had resolved to massacre all the
believers in Moses and Jesus Christ who might be found in any part of his
dominions, and had actually sent orders to Nazareth and Jerusalem to
accomplish his barbarous design. But Sir Sidney Smith, on being apprised
of his intention, conveyed to him the assurance, that if a single
Christian head should fall, he would bombard Acre, and set it on fire. The
interposition of the British Admiral is still remembered with heartfelt
gratitude by all the inhabitants, who looked upon him as their deliverer.
"His word," says Burckhardt, "I have often heard both Turks and Christians
exclaim, was like God's word,--it never failed."

It is to no purpose that we endeavour to ascertain the position of Dan,
the extreme point of the ancient Hebrew territory. Its proximity to the
fountains of Jordan might be supposed to prove a sufficient guide to the
geographer in his local researches; but, as has been already mentioned,
the rivulets which contribute to form the main stream of this celebrated
river are so numerous, and apparently so equally entitled to the honour of
being accounted the principal source, that the precise situation of the
temple where Jeroboam set up one of his golden calves is still open to
conjecture.

The road from Nazareth to Acre proceeds for some time ever a barren, rocky
tract of country, which Hasselquist informs us is a continuation of a
species of territory peculiar to the same meridian, and stretching through
several parallels of latitude. At length the traveller reaches Sephouri,
or Sepphoris, the Zippor of the Hebrews, and the Diocesarea of the Romans,
once the chief town and bulwark of Galilee. The remains of its
fortifications exhibit one of the works of Herod, who, after its
destruction by Varus, not only rebuilt and fortified it, but made it the
principal city of his tetrarchy. Its inhabitants often revolted against
the Romans, relying, on the advantages for defence supplied by its natural
position. It is mentioned in the Talmud as the seat of a Jewish
university, and was long famous for the learning of its rabbis. Here also
was held one of the five sanhedrims authorized by the spiritual governors
of Palestine; the others being established at Jerusalem, Jericho, Gadara,
and Amathus. But its chief celebrity is connected with the tradition, that
it was the residence of Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Virgin Mary.
The house of St. Anne, observes Dr. Clarke, is the "commencement of that
superstitious trumpery which for a long time has constituted the chief
object of devotion and of pilgrimage in the Holy Land." No sooner was the
spot discovered where the pious couple had lived than Constantine issued
instructions to build upon it a magnificent church, the remains of which
have been minutely described by the enterprising traveller to whom we have
just alluded.

"We are conducted to the ruins of a stately Gothic edifice, which seems to
have been one of the finest structures in the Holy Land. Here we entered
beneath lofty massive arches of stone. The roof of the building was of the
same materials. The arches are placed at the intersection of a Greek
cross, and originally supported a dome or a tower; their appearance is
highly picturesque, and they exhibit the grandeur of a noble style of
architecture. Broken columns of granite and marble lie scattered among the
walls, and these prove how richly it was decorated. We measured the
capital of a pillar of the order commonly called Tuscan, which we found
lying against one of granite. The top of this formed a square of, three
feet. One aisle of this building is still entire; at the eastern extremity
a small temporary altar had been recently constructed by the piety of
pilgrims; it consisted of loose materials, and was of very modern date.
Some fragments of the original decorations of the church had been gathered
from the ruins and laid upon this altar; and although they had remained
open to every approach, even the Moslems had respected the votive
offerings."[161]

The date of this building is incidently mentioned by Epiphanius, who
relates that one Joseph, a native of Tiberias, was authorized by
Constantine to erect a, number of such edifices in the Holy Land, and that
he fulfilled the intention of his sovereign at Tiberias, Capernaum, and
Diocesarea. Reland, upon the authority of Theophanes, places its
destruction in the year 339 of the Christian era, when the town was
demolished on account of the seditious conduct of its inhabitants.

It is perhaps worthy of notice, that Dr. Clarke examined some pictures
which had been recently discovered among these ruins. One appears to
represent the interview between our Saviour and the two disciples at
Emmaus, when in the set of making himself known to them by the breaking of
bread. Another exhibits the Virgin bearing in swaddling-clothes the infant
Jesus; and a third seems to illustrate the same subject in circumstances
somewhat different. They are said to bear a great resemblance to those
used in the churches of Russia, being executed upon a square piece of wood
about half an inch in thickness. As they were not valued highly by the
person into whose hands they had accidently fallen, the Englishman
bestowed a trifle on the ignorant Mohammedan, and "took them into safer
custody."[163]

The vale of Zabulon divides the village just described from the ridge of
hills which look down on Acre and the shores of the Great Sea. This
delightful plain appears everywhere covered with spontaneous vegetation,
flourishing in the wildest exuberance. The scenery is described by Dr.
Clarke as not less beautiful than that of the rich valleys upon the south
of the Crimea. It reminded him of the nest parts of Kent and Surrey. The
prickly-pear, which grows to a prodigious size in the Holy Land, sprouts
luxuriantly among the rocks, displaying its gaudy yellow blossoms, and
promising abundance of a delicious cooling fruit. Off either side of the
road the ruins of fortified places exercise the ingenuity of the
antiquarian traveller, who endeavours, through the mist of tradition and
the perplexing obscurity of modern names, to identify towns which make a
figure in Jewish and Roman history. All remains of the strong city of
Zabulon, called by Josephus the "city of men," have disappeared; and its
"admirable beauty," rivalling that of Tyre, Sidon, and Berytus, is now
sought for in vain among Arab huts and scattered stones.

The plain, which skirts the Mediterranean from Jaffa to Cape Blanco,
presents many interesting memorials of Hebrew antiquity and of European
warfare. Every town along the coast has been the scene of contention
between the armies of Christendom and those of Islamism; whence arises the
motive which has determined us to incorporate the history of these cities
with the narrative of the exploits whereon their fortunes have chiefly
depended. Suffice it to mention as we go along, that the vicinity of Acre
invites the attention of the naturalist, on account of certain facts
recorded by Pliny, and repeated by subsequent historians. It is said by
this writer, that it was at the mouth of the river Belus the art of making
glass was first discovered. A party of sailors, who had occasion to visit
the shore in that neighbourhood, propped up the kettle in which they were
about to cook their provisions with sand and pieces of nitre; when to
their surprise they found produced by the action of the fire on these
ingredients, a new substance, which has added immensely to the comforts of
life and to the progress of science. The sand of this remarkable stream
confirmed for ages to supply, not only the manufactories of Sidon, but all
other places, with materials for that beautiful production. Vessels from
Italy were employed to remove it for the glass-houses of Venice and Genoa
so late as the middle of the seventeenth century.

There is another circumstance connected with the same river, which, in the
mythological writings of antiquity, makes a still greater figure than the
discovery just described. Lucian relates that the Belus, at certain
seasons of the year, especially about the feast of Adonis, is of a bloody
colour,--a fact which the heathens looked upon as proceeding from a kind
of sympathy for the death of this favourite of Venus, who was killed by a
wild boar in the mountains whence the stream takes its rise. "Something
like this," says Maundrell, "we saw actually come to pass; for the water
was stained to a surprising redness, and, as we had observed in
travelling, had discoloured the sea a great way into a reddish hue,
occasioned doubtless by a sort of minium, or red earth, washed into the
river by the violence of the rain, and not by any stain from Adonis's
blood."[163]

The excellence of Carmel, which here rises into view, has in a great
measure passed away. The curse denounced by Amos has fallen upon it,--"The
top of Carmel shall wither;"--for it is now chiefly remarkable as a mass
of barren and desolate rocks. Its sides are indeed graced by some native
cedars, and even the brambles are still intermingled with wild vines and
olives, denoting its ancient fertility, or more careful cultivation; but
there are no longer any rich pastures to render it the "habitation of
shepherds," or to recall to the fancy the beauty of Carmel and of Sharon,
and to justify the comparison of it to the glory of Libanus. It owes to
its name and to its prominent situation on the coast, as a sentinel of the
Holy Land, all the interest which can now be claimed for the mountain on
which Elias vindicated the worship of Jehovah, and where thousands of holy
Christians have spent their lives in meditation and prayer.

The monastery which stands on the summit of the hill, near the spot were
the prophet offered up his sacrifice, was long the principal residence of
the Carmelite friars. It appears never to have been a fine building, and
is now entirely abandoned. During the campaign of the French in Syria, it
was made an hospital for their sick, for which it was well adapted by its
healthy and retired situation. It has been since ravaged by the Turks, who
have stripped its shrines and destroyed its roof; though there still
remains, for the solace of devout visiters, a small stone altar in a
grotto dedicated to Saint Elias, over which is a coarse painting
representing the holy man leaning on a wheel, with fire and other
instruments of sacrifice at his side.[164]



CHAPTER VIII.


_The History of Palestine from the Fall of Jerusalem to
the Present Time_.

State of Judea after the Fall of Jerusalem; Revolt under Trajan; Barcochab;
Adrian repairs Jerusalem; Schools at Babylon and Tiberias; The Attempt
of Julian to rebuild the Temple; Invasion of Chosroes; Sack of Jerusalem;
Rise of Islamism; Wars of the Califs; First Crusade; Jerusalem delivered;
Policy of Crusades; Victory at Ascalon; Baldwin King; Second Crusade;
Saladin; His Success at Tiberias; He recovers Jerusalem; The Third
Crusade; Richard Coeur de Lion; Siege and Capture of Acre; Plans of
Richard; His Return to Europe; Death of Saladin; Fourth Crusade; Battle of
Jaffa; Fifth Crusade; Fall of Constantinople; Sixth Crusade; Damietta
taken; Reverses; Frederick the Second made King of Jerusalem; Seventh
Crusade; Christians admitted into the Holy City; Inroad of Karismians;
Eighth Crusade under Louis IX.; He takes Damietta; His Losses and Return
to Europe; Ninth Crusade; Louis IX. and Edward I.; Death of Louis;
Successes of Edward; Treaty with Sultan; Final Discomfiture of the Franks
in Palestine, and Loss of Acre; State of Palestine under the Turks;
Increased Toleration; Bonaparte invades Syria; Siege of Acre and Defeat
of French; Actual State of the Holy Land; Number, Condition, and Character
of the Jews.

The destruction of Jerusalem, though it put an end to the polity of the
Hebrew nation as an independent people, did not entirely disperse the
remains of their miserable tribes, nor denude the Holy Land of its proper
inhabitants. The number of the slain was indeed immense, and the multitude
of captives carried away by Titus glutted the slave-markets of the Roman
empire; but it is true, nevertheless, that many fair portions of Palestine
were uninjured by the war, and continued to enjoy an enviable degree of
prosperity under the government of their conquerors. The towns on the
coast generally submitted to the legions without incurring the chance of a
battle or the horrors of a siege; while the provinces beyond the Jordan,
which formed the kingdom of Agrippa, maintained their allegiance to Rome
throughout the whole period of the insurrection elsewhere so fatal, and
especially to the inheritance of Judah and of Benjamin.

It has been already suggested that soon after the Roman army was
withdrawn, many of the Jewish families, Christians as well as followers
of the Mosaical Law, returned to their sacred capital, and sought a
precarious dwelling among its ruins. To prevent the rebuilding of the
city, Vespasian found it necessary to establish on Mount Zion a garrison
of eight hundred men. The same emperor, it is related, commanded strict
search to be made for all who claimed descent from the house of David, in
order to cut off, if possible, all hope of the restoration of that royal
race, and more especially of the advent of the Messiah, the confidence in
whose speedy coming still burned with feverish excitement in the heart of
every faithful Israelite. A similar jealousy, which dictated a similar
inquisition, was continued in the subsequent reign,--a fact strongly
illustrative of the spirit which prevailed at that period among the
descendants of Abraham, and explanatory also of their successive revolts
against the Roman power.

Under the mild sway of Trajan, the Jews in Egypt, Cyprus, and even in
Mesopotamia, flew to arms, to avenge the insults to which they had been
subjected, or to realize the hopes that they have never ceased to
cherish. After a war remarkable for the waste of blood with which it was
accompanied, the unhappy insurgents were everywhere suppressed; having
lost, according to their own confession, more than half a million of men
in the field of battle, or the sack of towns. The skill and fortune of
Adrian, who soon afterward occupied the imperial throne, were displayed in
the island of Cyprus, from which the Jews were expelled with tremendous
slaughter, and prohibited from ever again touching its shores.

To check the mutinous disposition, or to weaken the influence of the
vanquished tribes, an edict was promulgated by their Roman masters,
forbidding circumcision, the reading of the Law, and the observance of the
weekly Sabbath. Still further to defeat their favourite schemes, and to
blast all hopes of a restoration to civil power in Jerusalem under their
Messiah, it was resolved by the government at Rome to repair to a certain
extent the city of the Jews, and to establish in it a regular colony of
Greeks and Latins. At this crisis appeared the notorious Barcochab, whose
name, denoting the "son of a star," made him be instantly hailed by a
large majority of the nation as that predicted light which was to arise
out of Jacob in the latter days. Recommended by Akiba, one of the most
popular of the Rabbim, to the confidence of Israel, this impostor soon saw
himself at the head of a powerful army; amounting, say the Jewish
annalists, to more than two hundred thousand men. In the absence of the
legions now called to other parts of the East, he found little difficulty
in taking possession of Jerusalem; and before a competent force, under the
renowned Julius Severus, could arrive in Palestine, the false Messias had
seized fifty of the strongest castles, and a great number of open towns.

The details of the sanguinary campaigns which followed are given by the
vanquished Jews with more minuteness than probability. Severus, who had
learned all the arts of desultory warfare when employed against the
barbarians of Britain, used a similar policy on the banks of the Jordan;
choosing to cut off the supplies of the enemy, and attack their posts with
overwhelming numbers, rather than encounter their furious fanaticism in a
general engagement. Bither, a strong city, and defended by Barcochab in
person, was the last to yield to the Romans. At length it was taken by
storm, at the expense of much human life on either side; but as the leader
of the rebellion was among the slain, the victors did not consider their
success too dearly bought, as with the star whose light was extinguished
in the carnage of Bither the hope of Israel fell to the earth. Dio Cassius
relates, that during this war no fewer than 580,000 fell by the sword,
besides those who perished by famine and disease. The whole of Judea was
converted into a desert,--wolves and hyenas howled in the streets of the
desolate cities,--and all the villages were consumed with fire.

It was after these events that Adrian, to annihilate for ever all hopes
of the restoration of the Jewish kingdom, accomplished his plan of
founding a new city on the waste places of Jerusalem, to be peopled by
a colony of foreigners. This town, as we have elsewhere observed, was
called AElia Capitolina; the former epithet alluding to AElius, the
praenomen of the emperor,--the latter denoting that it was dedicated
to Jupiter Capitolinus, the tutelar deity of Rome. An edict was issued,
interdicting every Jew from entering the new city on pain of death, or
even approaching so near it as to be able to contemplate its towers and
the venerable heights on which it stood. The more effectually to keep
them away, the image of a cow was placed over the gate which leads to
Bethlehem. But the more peaceful Christians, meanwhile, were permitted
to establish themselves within the walls; and AElia, it is well known,
soon became the seat of a flourishing church and of a bishopric.[165]

From this period the history of the Holy Land is less connected with the
Jews than with the policy of the different governments by which their
country has been occupied. More attached to their ancient faith than when
it was established at Jerusalem, we find them, both in the East and West,
labouring with the most indefatigable zeal to revive its principles and
extend its authority. Hence their celebrated schools at Babylon and
Tiberias,--the source of all legislation, and the seat of judgment in all
cases of doubtful opinion. Hence, too, those mixed titles, so long
recognised in their tribes, the Patriarch of Tiberias and the Prince of
the Captivity,--appointments which, during a long period, constituted a
bond of union, partly spiritual and partly political, among all the
descendants of Jacob. The numerous remains of that people, though still
excluded from the precincts of Jerusalem, were nevertheless permitted to
form and to maintain considerable establishments both in Italy and in the
provinces; to acquire the freedom of Rome; to enjoy municipal honours;
and to obtain, at the same time, an exemption from the burdensome and
expensive offices of society. The moderation or the contempt of the
Romans gave a legal sanction to the form of ecclesiastical police, which
was instituted by the vanquished sect. The Patriarch was empowered to
appoint his subordinate ministers, to exercise a domestic jurisdiction,
and to receive from his brethren an annual contribution. New synagogues
were frequently erected in the principal cities of the empire; and the
Sabbaths, the fasts, and the festivals, which were either commanded by
the Mosaic Law or enjoined by the traditions of the Rabbim, were
celebrated in the most solemn and public manner. They were, in like
manner, restored to the privilege of circumcising their children, on the
easy condition that they should never confer on any foreign proselyte the
distinguishing mark of the Hebrew race. Such gentle treatment insensibly
assuaged the stern temper of the Jews. Awakened from their dream of
prophecy and conquest, they assumed the behaviour of peaceable and
industrious subjects. Their hatred of mankind, instead of flaming out in
acts of blood and violence, evaporated in less dangerous gratifications.
They embraced every opportunity of overreaching the idolaters in trade;
and they pronounced secret and ambiguous imprecations against the haughty
kingdom of Edom, the name under which they were pleased to denounce the
Roman empire.[166]

The glories which were shed upon Palestine by the munificent zeal of
Constantine and his mother have already been repeatedly mentioned. The
splendid buildings which arose in every part of the Holy Land announced
the triumph of the new faith in the country where it had its origin;
exciting at once the pride of the Christian, and the jealousy, resentment,
and despair of the Jew. The government of Constantius was not more
favourable to the children of Israel; nor was it till the accession of
Julian that they were encouraged to look for revenge upon their enemies,
if not for protection to their despised countrymen. The edict to rebuild
the Temple on Mount Moriah, and to establish once more at Jerusalem the
worship enjoined by Moses, called forth their utmost exertions in behalf
of a prince who at least abandoned a rival religion, destined, as they
apprehended, to supplant their own more ancient ritual.

The issue of this attempt to reinstate the ceremonies of the Jewish Law in
the capital of Palestine is known to every reader. The workmen employed in
digging the foundation of the new Temple were terrified by flames of fire
darting forth from the ground, and accompanied with the most frightful
explosions. No inducement could prevail on them to persevere in labours
which appeared to excite the anger of Heaven. The enterprise was
relinquished, as at once hopeless and impious; and there is no doubt that,
whatever additions may have been made to the circumstances by ignorance
and a too easy belief, the views of Julian were frustrated by the
occurrence of some very extraordinary event, which still finds a place
even in Roman history. The skeptic may smile when he reads in the pages of
a Christian Father, that flakes of fire which assumed the form of a cross
settled on the dresses of the artisans and spectators; that a horseman was
seen careering amid the flames; and that, when the affrighted labourers
fled to a neighbouring church, its doors, fastened by some preternatural
force within, refused to admit them into the sacred building. In such
details the imagination is consulted more than the reason; and it cannot
be denied that certain authors, who wrote long after the reign of Julian;
have admitted traditionary anecdotes into the narrative of a grave event.
It is deserving of notice, however, that the mark of the cross, said to
have been impressed upon the bystanders, is not the most incredible of the
circumstances recorded. Many instances have been known of persons touched
by the electric fluid, whose bodies exhibited similar traces of its
operation,--straight lines cutting one another at right angles--and hence
that part of the description which appears the least entitled to belief
will be found to be strictly within the limits of nature.[167]

The policy of the emperors continued to depress the Jews in Palestine,
while it granted to them the enjoyment of considerable privileges in all
the other provinces where their presence and peculiar views were less
hazardous to the public peace. During the same period, the Christian
church possessed the countenance of the civil power, and gradually
extended its doctrines into Armenia, as well as into the more important
region of the Lower Mesopotamia. It was not till the beginning of the
seventh century that the course of events was materially disturbed by an
invasion of the Persians, under Chosroes, who had resolved to humble the
government of Constantinople, and to check its pretensions in the East.
The part of the army appointed to serve against Palestine was entrusted
to Carnsia, an experienced general, who invited the Jews to join his
standard. This people, ever ready to aid the cause of revolt, assembled,
it is said, to the number of 24,000 men, and made preparations for an
attack on Jerusalem. A sanguinary warfare had ensued, even before the
arrival of their allies from beyond the Euphrates; and both sides,
accordingly, were exasperated to the highest degree of fury, and
importuning Heaven to hasten the moment of revenge. The Christians within
the walls massacred their enemies in cold blood, while the assailants
without carried destruction to every point which their arms could reach.
At length, the advance of the Persians secured to the Jews the hour of
triumph and retaliation, when they fully quenched their thirst for
vengeance in the blood of the Nazarenes. The victors are said to have
sold the miserable captives for money. But the rage of the Jews was
stronger than their avarice; for not only did they not scruple to
sacrifice their treasures in the purchase of these devoted bondsmen at a
lavish price, but they put to death without remorse all whom they bought.
It was rumoured that no fewer than 90,000 Christians perished. Every
church was demolished, including that of the Holy Sepulchre,--the
greatest object of Jewish hatred. The stately building of Helena and
Constantine was abandoned to the flames, and the devout offerings of
three hundred years were rifled in one sacrilegious day.

But the arms of Persia did not long support the persecuting spirit of the
Jews. The Emperor Heraclius, who had spent some inglorious years on the
throne, was alarmed into activity by the progress of the enemy, who had
threatened even the walls of Constantinople itself. The discipline of
ancient Rome, which was not yet quite extinct among the legionary
soldiers, maintained its wonted superiority over the less martial troops
of Chosroes, and recovered in the course of a few campaigns all the
provinces that the invaders had overrun. Heraclius visited Jerusalem as a
pilgrim, when the wood of the true cross, which, it was rumoured, had
been carried away to Persia, was reinstated with due solemnity. Several
Christian churches, too, were restored to their former magnificence; and
the law of Adrian was again put in force, which prohibited the Jews from
approaching within three miles of the holy city.[168]

Palestine continued to acknowledge the power of the emperor until the
rise of Islamism changed the face of Western Asia. The armies of the
califs, which wrested from Persia the dominion of the surrounding
nations, conquered in succession the provinces of Arabia, Syria, and
Egypt, and at length planted the crescent on the walls of Jerusalem. The
victories of Omar in 636 decided the fate of the venerable city, and laid
the foundations of a mosque on the sacred hill where the Temple of
Solomon had stood. This conqueror was assassinated at Jerusalem in 643;
after which, the establishment of several califates in Arabia and Syria,
the fall of the Ommiades, and the elevation of the Abassides involved
Judea in trouble for more than two hundred years. In 868, Achmet, a Turk,
who from being governor had made himself sovereign of Egypt, conquered
the capital of Palestine; but his son having been defeated by the califs
of Bagdad; the holy city again returned under their dominion in the year
905 of our era. Mohammed Ikschid, another Turk, about thirty years after,
having in his turn seized the throne of the Pharaohs, carried his arms
into Palestine, and reduced the capital. The Fatimites, again, issuing
from the sands of Cyrene, expelled the Ikschidites from Egypt in 968, and
conquered several towns in Judea. Ortok, towards the end of the tenth
century, made himself master of the holy city, whence his children were
for a time driven out by Mostali, Calif of Egypt. In 1076, Meleschah, the
third of the Turkish race, took Jerusalem, and ravaged the whole country.
The Ortokides, who, as we have just related, were dispossessed by
Mostali, returned thither, and maintained themselves in it against
Redouan, Prince of Aleppo. They were expelled once more by the Fatimites,
who were masters of the place when the crusaders first appeared on the
confines of Syria.

Several generations passed away, during which the affairs of the Holy Land
created no interest in Europe, and when Christians and Jews, who could
hardly obtain the most limited toleration from their Mohammedan masters,
sought an asylum among the states of Europe. In the Travels of Benjamin of
Tudela are to be found some incidental notices which leave no doubt as to
the fact that his countrymen, unable to bear the persecution directed
against them, had gradually abandoned the birthplace of their fathers.
Jerusalem, in the twelfth century, did not contain more than two hundred
descendants of Abraham, poor, depressed, and calumniated; while at
Tiberias, the seat of learning and of their sovereign patriarch, the
number did not exceed fifty,--the victims of suspicion and jealousy, not
less on the part of the Christians than of the Moslem, who had already
begun to contend with each other for the sepulchre of Christ.

It has often been observed, that pilgrimage to the holy places of
Palestine was from a very early period regarded as at once a wholesome
discipline and an acceptable reverence on the part of Christian
worshippers. The Arabian califs were, on various accounts, inclined to
favour the resort of Europeans to these shrines of their faith. They saw
in it a fruitful source of revenue; while, as the progeny of Abraham,
they were not disposed to take offence at the veneration lavished upon
the prophetic son of David, whose tomb the fortune of war had placed in
their hands. But the Seljukian Turks, those irreclaimable barbarians, who
had no sympathy with the believers in Christ, laid on them such burdens
and vexatious restraints as were altogether intolerable. The cries of the
unhappy pilgrims had long resounded throughout all Christendom; and the
indignation which was universally felt against the bigoted Mussulmans was
inflamed in no slight degree by the eloquence of Peter the Hermit, who
had witnessed in foreign lands the afflictions of his brethren. Yielding
to the impulse of the age, Pope Urban the Second convoked a general
council at Clermont, in Auvergne, to whom he addressed an oration well
fitted to confirm the enthusiasm which he found already kindled. He
encouraged them to attack the enemies of God, and in that holy warfare to
earn the reward of eternal life promised to all the faithful servants of
the Redeemer; suggesting, that as a mark of their profession as well as
of their Saviour's love, they should wear red crosses on their garments
when fighting the battles of Christianity.

The warlike spirit of the time was roused by every motive which can touch
the heart of man in a rude state of society,--the love of glory, religion,
revenge, and enterprise. Many of the most illustrious princes of the
Christian world took up the cross, and were followed by persons of both
sexes, and of all ages, classes, and professions. A vast army poured in
from every country, under the most distinguished leaders, of whom the
principal were, Godfrey, Duke of Brabant and Bouillon; Robert of France,
the brother of King Philip; and Robert, Duke of Normandy, the son of the
English monarch. Bohemond, too, the chief of the Normans of Apulia, and
Raymond, Count of Toulouse, led many renowned warriors to Syria.

The tumultuary bands who marched under the standard of the Hermit
suffered hardships altogether unknown to modern war. In passing through
the countries watered by the Danube, and the hilly countries which lie
between that river and the Mediterranean, more than half their number
fell victims to disease, famine, and the rage of the barbarians whose
lands they infested. But, in spite of these misfortunes, Bohemond, one of
the leaders, laid siege to Antioch in 1097; and on the 15th July, two
years after, the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem was taken by assault,
with a prodigious slaughter of the garrison. Ten thousand Mohammedans
were slain on the site of the Temple of Solomon; a greater number was
thrown from the tops of houses; and a fearful carnage was committed after
all resistance had ceased.

The siege had lasted two months with various success, and a considerable
loss of life on either aide; and hence arose the savage ferocity which
disgraced, on the part of the victors, the last scene of this miserable
tragedy. The assailants having endured much from drought, as well as from
the sword of the enemy, betook themselves to pious exercises in order to
avert the anger of Heaven. The soldiers, completely armed, made a holy
procession round the walls. The clergy, with naked feet, and bearing
images of the cross, led them in the sacred way. Cries of _Deus id
vult_,--God commands it,--rent the air; and the people marched to the
melody of hymns and psalms, and not to the sound of drums and trumpets. On
Mount Olivet and Mount Zion they prayed for assistance in the approaching
conflict. The Saracens mocked these expressions of religious feeling, by
throwing mud upon crucifixes which they raised for the purpose; but these
insults had only the effect of producing louder shouts of sacred joy from
the Christians. The next morning every thing was prepared for battle; and
there was no one who was not ready either to die for Christ, or restore
his city to liberty. The night was spent in watching an alarm by both
armies. At dawn of day the conflict began which was to determine the fate
of the great European expedition, and when noon arrived the issue was
still in suspense, or seemed rather to incline in favour of the
Mohammedans. The cause of the Western World appeared to totter on the
brink of destruction, and the most valiant among the crusaders allowed
themselves to fear that Heaven had deserted its own cause and people.[169]

At the moment when all was considered lost, a knight was seen on Mount
Olivet, waving his glittering shield as a sign to the soldiers that they
should rally and return to the charge. Godfrey and Eustace cried aloud to
the army, that St. George was come to their succour. The spirit of
enthusiasm instantly revived, fatigue and pain were no longer felt, the
princes led their columns to the breach, and even the women insisted upon
sharing the honours of the fight. In the space of an hour the barbacan was
broken down, and Godfrey's tower rested against the inner wall. Exchanging
the duties of a general for those of a soldier, the Duke of Lorraine
fought with his bow: "The Lord guided his hand, and all his arrows pierced
the enemy through and through." Near him were Eustace and Baldwin, "like
two lions beside another lion." At three o'clock, the hour when the
Saviour of the world was crucified, a soldier, named Letoldus of Tourney,
leaped upon the fortifications; his brother, Engelbert, followed, and
Godfrey was the third Christian who stood as a conqueror upon the ramparts
of Jerusalem. The glorious ensign of the Cross streamed from the walls,
and the whole city was soon at the mercy of the besiegers. The Mussulmans
fought for a while, then fled to their temples, and submitted their necks
to the sword. The victors, in a document which is still preserved,
boasted, that in the mosque of Omar, whither they pursued the fugitives,
they rode in the blood of Saracens up to the knees of their horses.

After the slaughter had terminated, and the soldiers had soothed their
minds by certain acts of devotion, the expediency of forming a regular
government became manifest to all parties. Godfrey, a hero whose name can
not be too highly honoured, was chosen by the unanimous suffrages of rival
warriors to be the first Christian king of Jerusalem. Bohemond, the son of
Robert Guiscard, reigned at Antioch; Baldwin, the brother of Godfrey, at
Edessa; and the Count of Toulouse, at Tripoli. The dominion of the
crusaders extended from the confines of Egypt to the Euphrates on the
east, and to the acclivities of Mount Taurus on the north; and several of
their principalities lasted nearly two hundred years.

Many attempts have been made to defend the policy and excuse the
enormities of the Christian warriors in their enterprise against the
Moslem occupants of the Holy Land. These two points ought to be more
carefully distinguished than they usually are, whether in the pages of
friends or enemies; for while the general expediency of a combination of
the Christian powers may be supported on good grounds, the cruelty of some
of their measures deserves the severest censure. It is remarked by Mr.
Mills, that the massacre of the Saracens on the capture of the holy city
did not proceed alone from the inflamed passions of victorious soldiers,
but from remorseless fanaticism. Benevolence to Turks, Jews, infidels, and
heretics made no part of Christian ethics in those rude times; and as the
Moslem in their consciences believed it was the will of Heaven that the
religion of their prophet should be propagated by the sword, so their
antagonists laboured under the mental delusion that they themselves were
the ministers of God's wrath on a disobedient and stiff-necked people. The
Latins, on the day after the victory, massacred three hundred men, to whom
Tancred and Gaston de Bearn had promised protection, and even given a
standard as a pledge of safety. But every engagement was broken, in
consequence of the resolution that no pity should be shown to the
Mohammedans,--an expedient which was justified by the opinion now
prevalent among the invaders, that in conjunction with the Saracens of
Egypt they might again reduce the city and recover all the ground they had
lost. It was for this reason that the inhabitants of Jerusalem, armed and
unarmed, were dragged forth into the public squares, and slain like
cattle. Women with children at the breast, boys, and even girls were
slaughtered indiscriminately, and in such numbers that the streets were
covered with dead bodies and mangled limbs. No heart melted into
compassion or expanded into benevolence. The stones of the city were
ordered to be washed, and the melancholy task was performed by some Moslem
slaves. The Count of Toulouse, whose avarice prevailed over his
superstition, was loudly condemned for accepting a ransom from a few of
the devoted prisoners, whom he sent in safety to Ascalon. So unrelenting,
in short, was the passion of revenge among the crusaders, that they set
fire to the synagogues of the Jews, many of whom perished in the
flames.[170]

Such conduct merits the deepest execration that moralist or statesman may
be pleased to pour upon it. We are nevertheless convinced that, in the
peculiar circumstances of the Christian world when Peter the Hermit called
its chiefs to arms, a united war against the Mohammedan states of Syria
was dictated by the soundest political wisdom. The subjects of Omar had
already conquered an establishment in Sicily and Spain, and attempted the
subjugation of France. Their views were directed towards universal
dominion in the West, as well as in the East; they hoped to witness the
triumph of the crescent in Europe not less certainly than in Asia, and to
be able to impose a tribute on the worshippers of Christ, or compel them
to relinquish their creed on the remotest shores of the Atlantic. Those,
therefore, who perceive in the Crusades nothing but a mob of armed
pilgrims running to rescue a tomb in Palestine must take a very limited
view of history. The point in question was not merely the recovery of that
sacred building from the hands of infidels, but rather to decide which of
the two religions, the Christian or Mohammedan, should predominate in the
world; the one hostile to civilization, and only favourable to ignorance,
despotism, and slavery; the other friendly to improvement, learning, and
freedom in all ranks and conditions of society.

It is asserted by Chateaubriand, that whoever reads the address of Pope
Urban to the council of Clermont must be convinced that the leaders in
these military enterprises were not actuated by the petty views which have
been ascribed to them; but, on the contrary, that they aspired to save the
Western World from a new inundation of barbarians. The spirit of Islamism
is conquest and persecution; the gospel, on the contrary, inculcates only
toleration and peace. The Christians, moreover, had endured for several
centuries all the oppressions which the fanaticism of the Saracens
impelled them to exercise. They had merely endeavoured to interest
Charlemagne in their favour; for neither the conquest of Spain, the
invasion of France, the pillage of Greece and the Two Sicilies, nor the
entire subjugation of Africa, could for nearly six hundred years rouse the
Christians to arms. If at last the cries of numberless victims slaughtered
in the East, if the progress of the barbarians, who had already reached
the gates of Constantinople, awakened Christendom, and impelled it to rise
in its own defence, who can say that the cause of the Holy Wars was
unjust? Contemplate Greece, if you would know the fate of a people
subjected to the Mussulman yoke. Would those who at this day so loudly
exult in the progress of knowledge wish to live under a religion that
burned the Alexandrian library, which makes a merit of trampling mankind
under foot, and holding literature and the arts in sovereign contempt? The
Crusades, by weakening the Moslem hordes in the very centre of Asia,
prevented Europe from falling a prey to the Turks and Arabs; they did
more, they saved her from revolutions at home, with which she was
threatened; they suspended intestine wars by which she was ever and anon
desolated; and, finally, they opened an outlet to that excess of
population which sooner or later occasions the ruin of nations.[171]

The administration of Godfrey was gentle and prosperous. He gained a
decisive victory over the Vizier of Egypt, who had encamped on the plains
of Ascalon with the view of assisting his Syrian allies to recover
Jerusalem from the hands of the Christians. According to the spirit of the
age, he joined to the qualities of a brave soldier the profession of an
ardent faith and the utmost reverence for the authority of the church. He
refused a precious diadem offered to him by his companions in arms,
declaring that he would never wear a crown of gold in the city where the
Saviour of the world had worn a crown of thorns. In the same feeling he
was disposed to reject the title of king and to exercise his office under
the name of Defender and Baron of the Holy Sepulchre.

Upon the demise of this distinguished commander, which is supposed to have
taken place at Jaffa, the government devolved upon his brother Baldwin,
who sustained its glory and interests with a steady hand. About the year
1118, he was succeeded on his throne by his nephew, who bore the same
name, and who, although sometimes unfortunate, did not tarnish the honour
of his family. Melisandra, his eldest daughter, married Foulques of Anjou,
and conveyed the kingdom of Jerusalem into the hand of her husband, who
enjoyed it ten or twelve years, when he lost his life by a fall from a
horse. His son, Baldwin the Third, a youth of a rash temper and destitute
of experience, assumed the sceptre of Jerusalem, which he held twenty
years,--a period rendered remarkable by the events of the second Crusade,
and the rise of various orders of knighthood,--the Hospitallers, Templars,
and Cavaliers.

The news from Palestine, that certain reverses had been sustained by the
Christians, acted so powerfully on the pious spirit of St. Bernard and the
troubled conscience of Louis the Seventh, the king of France, as to
suggest a second confederation among the European princes for the security
of the Holy Land. This new apostle of a sacred war was, on many accounts,
greatly superior to Peter the Hermit. He was a man of noble birth;
possessed learning sufficient to rival the attainments of Abelard, his
contemporary; and could speak with a degree of eloquence to which no
orator of his age had the boldness to aspire. The French monarch, who had
assembled around him a powerful and most splendid army, was joined by the
Emperor of Germany, Conrade the Third, whose thousands equalled those of
his warlike brother, and whose zeal in the cause of Christendom was not
less active.

But the experience of their predecessors, fifty years before, was lost
upon these fearless soldiers of the Cross. Without suitable preparation,
they encountered the dangers of a long march through hostile countries and
sickly climates, the effects of which appeared in the rapid diminution of
their numbers, in mutual invectives, and in increasing despair. Not more
than a tenth part of the Germans reached the coast of Syria. The French,
who had suffered less than their allies, were sooner ready to take the
field against the Saracens; and after proving their arms in a few
unimportant skirmishes, they resolved to lay siege to Damascus in concert
with the battalions of Conrade. But the evil genius of intrigue defeated
their designs. After a fruitless display of force more than sufficient to
have reduced the place, the Christian chiefs withdrew from before the
ramparts of the Syrian capital, and fell back upon Jerusalem in sorrow and
shame. Conrade soon returned to Europe with the shattered remains of his
gallant host; and about a year afterward his example was imitated by the
French king and the greater number of his generals, who were disgusted
with the narrow policy on which the war had been conducted.

Baldwin the Third, dying without male issue, transmitted the precarious
throne of Jerusalem to his brother Amaury, or Almeric; who, after of a
reign of eleven years, was succeeded by his son, Baldwin the Fourth. The
young sovereign, being incapable of the duties of government, passed his
minority under the wise counsels of Raymond, Count of Tripoli, who
endeavoured to sustain the weight of kingly power in the midst of very
formidable enemies. The name of Noureddin was long terrible to the
Christians of Palestine, who had gradually lost their warlike virtues; but
they were now about to encounter a still more able, and much more
celebrated antagonist, in the person of Saladin, the hero of the Crescent,
and one of the most distinguished leaders of that very romantic age.

Baldwin had given his sister Sybilla, widow of William, surnamed
Longue-Epée, or the Long-sword, in marriage to Guy of Lusignan. The
grandees of the kingdom, dissatisfied with the choice, divided into
parties. The king, dying in 1184, left for his heir Baldwin the Fifth, the
son of Sybilla and William just mentioned, a child not more than eight
years of age, and who soon afterward sunk under a constitutional
distemper. His mother caused the crown to be conferred on her husband, the
ambitious Guy,--a measure which did not allay the jealousy of the nobles
who had opposed their union. An alarming dissension prevailed among the
barons, some of whom refused to take the oath of allegiance to the new
sovereign, and even offered the diadem to Humphrey de Thoron. But the
intrigues of Sybilla and the terror of Saladin prevented an open rupture,
while events of a more important nature were about to occupy the attention
of either party.

The sultan had received from several of the Christian warriors just ground
of offence, and failing to obtain redress from the feeble government of
Jerusalem, he took the field in order to chastise with his own hand the
more guilty of the aggressors. He encamped near the Lake of Tiberias,
where Guy, listening to counsellors who saw not the danger of placing the
fortunes of the kingdom on the issue of a single battle, resolved to
attack him. For a whole day the engagement was in suspense, and at night
the Latins retired to some rocks in the neighbourhood, hoping that they
might find a little water to quench their thirst. At the approach of dawn
the two armies stood for a while gazing upon each other, as if conscious
that the fate of the Moslem and the Christian worlds was in their hands.
But no sooner did the sun appear than the Crusaders raised their war-cry,
and the Turks sounded their trumpets and atabals,--a mutual challenge to
renew the sanguinary conflict. Thi bishops and clergy ran through the
ranks cheering the soldiers of the church. A fragment of the true cross,
intrusted to the knights of the Holy Sepulchre, was placed on a hillock,
around which the broken squadrons repeatedly rallied, and recovered
strength for the combat whereon the interests of their faith were
suspended. But the Crescent, supported by more numerous and stronger
hands, triumphed on the plain of Tiberias. The Christians were defeated
with great loss; the king, the Master of the Templars, and the Marquis of
Montferrat were taken prisoners, and the piece of holy wood, in which they
had put their trust, was snatched from the grasp of the Bishop of Acre.

This victory placed the greater part of Palestine in the power of
Saladin, who, upon the whole, used his success with moderation and
clemency. The fugitives from every quarter fled to Jerusalem, hoping to
escape in that asylum the swords and fetters of the Turks. One hundred
thousand persons are said to have been crowded within the walls; but so
few were the soldiers, and so feeble was the government of the queen,
that the holy city presented no serious obstacle to the progress of the
Moslem arms. Saladin declared his unwillingness to stain with human blood
a place which even the followers of the Prophet held in reverence, as
having been sanctified by the presence of many inspired individuals. He
therefore promised to the people, on condition that they would quietly
surrender the city, a supply of money, and lands in the most fertile
provinces of Syria.

This offer was rejected, as implying a sacrilegious contract to yield
into the hands of infidels the sacred spot where the Saviour of mankind
had died. He therefore swore that he would enter their streets sword in
hand, and retaliate upon them the dreadful carnage which the Franks had
committed in the days of Godfrey. Two weeks were spent in almost
incessant fighting, during which the advantage was generally on the side
of the assailants. Finding resistance vain, the besieged at length
appealed to the clemency of the conqueror. It was, stipulated that the
military and the nobles should be escorted to Tyre, and that the
inhabitants should become slaves, if not ransomed at certain rates fixed
by Saladin. Thus, to use the words of the historian, "after four days had
been consumed by the miserable inhabitants, in weeping over and embracing
the Holy Sepulchre and other sacred places, the Latins left the city and
passed through the enemy's camp. Children of all ages clung round their
mothers, and the strength of the fathers was used in bearing away some
little part of their household furniture. In solemn procession, the
clergy, the queen, and her retinue of ladies followed. Saladin advanced
to meet them, and his heart melted with compassion when he saw them
approach in the attitude of suppliants." The softened warrior uttered
some expressions of pity; and the women, encouraged by his tenderness,
declared, that by pronouncing one word he might remove their distress.
"Our fortunes and possessions," said they, "you may freely enjoy; but
restore to us our fathers, our husbands, and our brothers. With these
dear objects we cannot be entirely miserable. They will take care of us;
and that God whom we reverence, and who provides for the birds of the
air, will not forget our children." Saladin was a barbarian in nothing
but the name. With the most courteous generosity, he released all the
prisoners whom the women requested, and loaded them with presents. Nor
was this action, so worthy of a gentle and chivalrous knight, the
consequence of a merely transient feeling of humanity; for when he had
entered the city of Jerusalem, and heard of the tender care with which
the military friars of St. John treated their sick countrymen, he allowed
ten of their order to remain in the hospital till they could fully
complete their work of charity.[172]

The Mohammedans, being once more in possession of the holy walls, took
down the great cross from the Church of the Sepulchre, and soiled it with
the mire of the streets. They also melted the bells which had summoned the
Christians to devotion, and at the same time purified the Mosque of Omar
by a copious sprinkling of rose-water. Ascalon, Laodicea, Gabala, Sidon,
Nazareth, and Bethlehem opened their gates to the victorious Saladin, who,
indeed, found no town of consequence able to resist his arms except Tyre,
garrisoned by a body of excellent soldiers under the gallant Conrade. All
the inhabitants took arms, and even the women shot arrows from the walls,
or assisted in strengthening the fortifications. The Saracens cast immense
stones into the place, and attacked it with all the other means in their
power; but the spirit of freedom triumphed over the thirst of revenge, and
the conqueror of Tiberias was finally compelled to relinquish the siege.

The intelligence that Jerusalem had fallen under the dominion of the
unbelievers created in all parts of Europe a profound sensation of grief
and disappointment. The clergy, as on former occasions, preached to all
classes the duty and honour of assuming the Cross, and even of dying is
the service of the Redeemer, should the sacrifice of life be required at
their hands. But the enthusiasm of the eleventh century had now very
generally passed away. Every family had to lament the loss of kindred in
the field of battle or in the bonds of a hopeless captivity; and hence,
the inducements which had crowded the ranks of Godfrey and Conrade were
at this time listened to both in France and England with comparative
indifference.

At length, however, about the year 1190, Philip Augustus, the French King,
the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, and the celebrated Richard
Coeur de Lion succeeded in raising forces, with the view of wresting once
more the Holy Land from the thraldom of the Saracens. Philip received the
staff and scrip at St. Denys, and Richard at Tours. They joined their
armies at Vezelay, the gross amount of which was computed at one hundred
thousand, and marched to Lyons in company. There the royal commanders
separated; the former pursued the road to Genoa, the latter to
Marseilles,--the island of Sicily being named as the place of their nest
meeting.

Among the other fruits of the victory of Tiberias reaped by the brave
Saladin was the possession of Acre, or Ptolemais, one of the moat valuable
ports on the coast of Syria. The Crusaders, aware that they could not
maintain their ground in the East without a constant communication with
Europe, resolved to recover this city at whatever expense of life or
treasure; and with this view they had invested it more than twenty-two
months before Richard could carry his reinforcements into Palestine. Upon
his arrival, an unhappy jealousy arose between him and the King of France,
which divided the Christians into two great parties; nor was it until each
had attempted with his separate force to ascend the ramparts of Ptolemais,
and had even been repulsed with great loss, that they consented to unite
their squadrons, and act in unison. A reconciliation being effected, it
was determined that the one should attack the walls, while the other
guarded the camp from the approaches of Saladin. But the town had already
suffered so dreadfully from the length of the siege, now extended to about
two years, that the garrison were disposed to sue for terms The sultan
endeavoured to infuse his own invincible spirit into the minds of his
people, and to revive for a moment their languid courage, by turning their
hopes to Egypt, whence succour was expected. As no aid appeared, the
citizens wrung from him permission to capitulate. They were accordingly
allowed to purchase their safety by consenting to deliver the city into
the hands of the two kings, together with five hundred Christian prisoners
who were confined in it. The true cross also was to be restored, with one
thousand such captives as might be selected by the allies; it being
covenanted, at the same time, that unless the Mussulmans within forty days
paid to Richard and Philip the sum of two hundred thousand pieces of gold,
the inhabitants of Acre should be at the mercy of the conquerors.

It was on the 12th of July, 1191, that Ptolemais was recovered by the
Europeans; and in the following month, Richard (for the King of France had
already turned his face homewards) gained an important victory over
Saladin at Azotus. The progress of Coeur de Lion being no longer disputed,
he quickly arrived at Jaffa. That city was now without fortifications; for
when the tide of conquest ebbed from the Moslem, their commander gave
orders to dismantle all the fortresses in Palestine. It was his policy to
keep the invaders constantly in the field, and to exhaust them by
incessant marching and sudden attacks. Some time was accordingly lost in
restoring the works of this ancient town,--a period which was employed by
the enemy in recruiting their ranks, and preparing to contest once more
the laurels gained by the conquerors of Azotus.

Richard, still full of confidence, declared to the Saracens that the only
way of averting his wrath was to surrender the kingdom of Jerusalem as it
existed in the reign of Baldwin the Fourth. Saladin did not reject this
proposal with the disdain which he felt, but made a modification of the
terms, by offering to yield all of Palestine that lay between the river
Jordan and the Mediterranean. The negotiation lasted some time without
farther concession on either side, when at length it became manifest that
the enemy were not in earnest, but merely sought to derive advantage from
the delay which they had the ingenuity to create. Hence the meditated
attack on Jerusalem was postponed, and dissension began to prevail in the
ranks of Plantagenet. The winter was passed amid privations of every
description, which, as they were partly owing to the negligence of the
king, gave rise to numerous desertions. The inactive season of the year
was occupied in rebuilding the walls of Ascalon,--a task in which the
proudest nobles and the most dignified clergy laboured like the meanest of
the people. On the return of spring both armies appeared in the field; but
as political disturbances in England demanded the presence of Richard, be
manifested for the first time a greater disposition to negotiate than to
fight. He made known to Saladin that he would be satisfied with the
possession of the holy city and of the true cross. But the latter replied,
that Jerusalem was as dear to the Moslem as to the Christian world; and,
moreover, that he would never be guilty of conniving at idolatry by
permitting the worship of a piece of wood. Thwarted by the religious
prejudices of his enemies, the English commander attempted a different
expedient. He proposed a consolidation of the Christian and Mohammedan
interests, the establishment of a government at Jerusalem, partly European
and partly Asiatic; and this scheme of policy was to be carried into
effect by the marriage of Saphadin, the brother of the sultan, with the
widow of William, King of Sicily. The Moslem princes would have acceded to
these terms; but the union was thought to be so scandalous to religion,
that the imans and priests raised a storm of clamour against it; and
Richard and Saladin, accordingly, though the most powerful and determined
men of their age, were compelled to submit to popular opinion.

In the month of May, therefore, Coeur de Lion began his march towards
Jerusalem, with the firm resolution of accomplishing the main object of
his armament. The generals and soldiers vowed that they would not leave
Palestine until they should have redeemed the Holy Sepulchre. Everything
wore the face of joy when this resolution was announced. Hymns and
thanksgivings gave utterance to the general exultation. Terror seized the
Mussulmans who were appointed to defend the sacred walls, and even Saladin
himself gave way to apprehension for their safety. The Crusaders arrive at
Bethlehem; and here the stout mind of Plantagenet began to vacillate. He
avowed his doubts as to the policy of a siege, as his force was not
adequate to such a measure, and also to the regular maintenance of his
communications with the coast, whence his supplies must be derived. He
submitted his difficulties to the barons of Syria, the Templars, and
Hospitallers, declaring his readiness to abide by their decision, whether
it should be to advance or to retreat. These officers received information
that the Turks had destroyed all the cisterns which were within two miles
of the city, and they felt that the intolerable heats of summer had begun;
for which reason, it was resolved that the attack on Jerusalem should be
deferred, and that the army, meantime, should proceed to some other
conquest.

Saladin, aware of the hesitation which had chilled the wonted ardour of
his foe, resolved to profit by this turn of affairs, so little to be
expected under such a leader. He advanced by forced marches to Jaffa, with
the view of reducing it before Richard could send relief. Attacking it
with his usual vigour, he succeeded in breaking down one of the gates; and
such of the inhabitants as could not defend themselves in the great tower
or escape by sea were put to the sword. Already were the battering-rams
prepared to demolish that fortress, when the patriarch and some French and
English knights agreed to become the prisoners of the sultan, fixing, at
the same time, a heavy sum for the ransom of the citizens, if succour did
not arrive during the next day. Before the morning, however, the brave
Plantagenet reached Jaffa; and so furious was his onset, that the Turks
immediately deserted the town; while their army, which was encamped at a
little distance, no sooner saw the standard of Richard on the walls, than
they retreated some miles into the interior.

But the English chieftain, harassed by unfavourable tidings from home, and
perplexed by dissensions in his camp, became heartily desirous of peace.
Nor was Saladin less willing to grant repose to his country, now exhausted
by protracted wars. The two heroes exchanged expressions of mutual esteem;
but as Richard had often avowed his contempt for the vulgar obligation of
oaths, they only grasped each other's hands in token of fidelity. A truce
was agreed upon for three years and eight months; the fort of Ascalon was
dismantled; but Jaffa and Tyre, with the intervening territory, were
surrendered to the Europeans. It was provided, also, that the Christians
should be at liberty to perform their pilgrimages to Jerusalem, exempted
from the taxes which the Moslem princes were wont to impose.[173]

Towards the end of the year 1192, Richard the Lion-hearted withdrew from
the Holy Land on his way to England,--a journey beset with many perils
and adventures, which it is no part of our task to describe. We are told
that his valour struck such terror into his enemies, that long after his
death, when a horse trembled without any visible cause, the Saracens were
accustomed to say that he had seen the ghost of the English prince. In a
familiar conversation which Saladin held with the warlike Bishop of
Salisbury, he expressed his admiration of the bravery of his rival, but
added, that he thought "the skill of the general did not equal the valour
of the knight." The courteous prelate replied to this remark, the justice
of which, perhaps, he could not question, by assuring the sultan that
there were not two such warriors in the world as the English and the
Syrian monarchs. Without entering minutely into the comparison of two
characters which presented little in common, it must be acknowledged,
that the courage of Richard at the head of his gallant troops prevented
many of the evils which had been anticipated from the defeat at Tiberias.
Palestine did not, as was apprehended, become a Moslem colony. A portion
of the seacoast, too, was preserved for the Christians; while their great
enemy was so enfeebled by repeated discomfitures, that fresh hostilities
could be safely commenced whenever Europe should again find it expedient
to send into the East a renewed host of military adventurers. Richard,
besides, gained more honour in Syria than any of the German emperors or
French kings who had sought renown in foreign war; and although a rigid
wisdom might censure his conduct as unprofitable to his country, it must
be admitted that his actions were in unison with the spirit of the times
in which he lived, when valour was held more important than the
acquisition of wealth, and achievements in the field were esteemed more
highly than the most beneficial results of victory.

Saladin did not long survive the departure of his distinguished rival. He
died in the year 1193; leaving directions, that on the day of his funeral
a shroud should be borne on the point of a spear, and a herald proclaim in
a loud voice, "Saladin, the conqueror of Asia, out of all the fruits of
his victories, carries with him only this piece of linen." The soldiers of
this distinguished sultan rallied round his brother Saphadin, whom they
raised to the throne. Nor did the new monarch disappoint the expectations
that were entertained of his wisdom and valour; for by the exertions of
military skill, as well as by a sagacious policy, he strengthened the
government which was committed to his hands, and was found, at the
expiration of the truce, ready to meet the armies of the combined powers
of Christendom.

The fourth Crusade was called into existence by the active zeal of Pope
Celestine the Third, and of Henry the Sixth, the German emperor, who was
joined by many of the subordinate princes of Northern Europe. The term of
peace fixed by Richard and Saladin had indeed expired; but both Christians
and Moslem, exhausted by war and famine, were disposed to lengthen the
period of repose, and at all events to abstain from a renewal of their
sanguinary conflicts. Nevertheless, when the new champions of the Cross
arrived at Acre, all remonstrances against fresh aggression were
disregarded. Saphadin, who was informed of their hostile intentions,
anticipated them in the field, and before they could advance to Jaffa, he
had battered down the fortifications, and put thousands of the inhabitants
to the sword. A general action, it is true, took place soon afterward, in
which the strength and discipline of the Germans secured the victory; but,
when advancing to Jerusalem, the conquerors allowed themselves to be
turned aside in order to reduce the insignificant fortress of Thoron,
where they met with a repulse so serious as to defeat the main object of
the campaign. Factious contentions now disturbed the councils of the
Latins; vice and insubordination raged in the camp; and, to crown their
miseries, the Crusaders were informed that the Sultans of Egypt and Syria
were concentrating their troops with the view of attacking them. Alarmed
at this intelligence, the German princes deserted their posts in the
night, and fled to Tyre; the road to which was soon filled with soldiers
and baggage in indiscriminate confusion; the feeble relinquishing their
property, and the cowardly casting away their arms.

Another battle took place in the neighbourhood of Jaffa, which terminated,
as before, to the advantage of the Christians. But the death of the
Emperor Henry, the patron of the expedition, again disconcerted their
measures. Many returned to Europe to assist at the election of his
successor; while the residue of the army, thrown into a fatal confidence
by their late triumphs, were destroyed by a body of Turkish auxiliaries,
who surprised them during the revels in which they commemorated the
virtues and abstinence of St. Martin.

The crown of Palestine meantime, greatly shorn of its lustre, had devolved
upon Isabella, daughter of Baldwin and sister to Sybilla. Her third
husband, Henry, Count of Champagne, was acknowledged as king; and upon his
death she was advised to give her hand to Almeric of Lusignan, the brother
of Guy, who had formerly swayed the sceptre. This union being approved by
the clergy and barons, the marriage was celebrated at Acre, where Almeric
and Isabella were proclaimed the sovereigns of Cyprus and Jerusalem.

The repeated failure of the Christian armaments impressed upon the people
of Europe a belief, either that the real difficulties of the enterprise
had been concealed from them, or that the time fixed in the counsels of
Providence for the deliverance of the Holy Land had not yet arrived. In
such circumstances, it required the authority of the church and the power
of eloquence, seconded by the performance of numerous miracles, to rouse
the slumbering zeal of those who had money to give or arms to use in the
service of the Cross. Fulk, the preacher, who equalled Peter the Hermit in
the ardour of his address, and Bernard in oratorical talents, co-operated
with the pope, Innocent the Third, in convincing the several kingdoms
under his spiritual dominion of the necessity of a fifth combined effort,
in order to expel the infidels from the sacred inheritance.

The voice of religion was again listened to with pious obedience, and a
large force was mustered in France and the Low Countries. As, however, the
arms of the Christian chiefs on this occasion were not employed against
the Saracens, but against their own brethren of the Grecian empire, the
object of our work does not require that we should do more than follow
their steps to the shores of the Bosphorus. In April, 1204, Constantinople
fell into their hands, and was subjected to all the horrors and indignity
which usually punish the resistance of a strong city. The remains of the
fine arts, which the Eastern Church had preserved as consecrated memorials
of her triumph over paganism, were destroyed with peculiar industry by the
less polished Latins, who were pleased to view with contempt the superior
taste of their rivals. The establishment of the Crusaders in the capital
of the Lower Empire, where they elected a sovereign and formed an
administration, was the only result of the fifth expedition against the
Moslem. Their dominion lasted fifty-seven years, at the end of which
Manuel Paleologus, descendant of Lascaris, and son-in-law of the Emperor
Alexis, recovered the throne of the Cesars, and finally expelled the
usurpers from the city of Constantine.

The successes of the French, against the Greeks had, however, an indirect
influence in promoting the welfare of the Christians in Palestine. The
Mussulmans were alarmed, and Saphadin gladly concluded a truce for six
years. But the country was doomed to be soon deprived of the tranquillity
afforded by a cessation of arms. Almeric and his wife being dead, Mary,
the daughter of Isabella by Conrade of Tyre, was acknowledged Queen of
Jerusalem; while Hugh de Lusignan, son of Almeric by his first wife, was
proclaimed King of Cyprus. There was not at that time in Palestine any
powerful nobleman capable of governing the state; on which account the
civil and ecclesiastical potentates resolved that Philip Augustus of
France should be requested to provide a husband for Mary. The French
monarch fixed his eyes on John de Brienne who was esteemed among the
knights of Europe as equally wise in council and experienced in war.

The hopes inspired by this union raised the pretensions of the Christian
community so high, that they refused to prolong the truce which still
subsisted between them and the sultan. The latter, therefore, marched an
army to the neighbourhood of Tripoli, and threatened hostilities. The
young king took the field at the head of a respectable force and
displayed his valour in many a fierce encounter; and though he did not
succeed in concerning his foes, he saved his states from the utter
annihilation with which they were threatened. He foresaw, however, the
approaching ruin of the sacred cause; for he could not fail to observe
that, while the Saracens were constantly acquiring new advantages, the
Latin barons were embracing every opportunity of returning home. He
accordingly wrote to the pope, that the kingdom of Jerusalem consisted
only of two or three towns, and that its fate must already have been
determined but for the civil wars which had raged among the sons of
Saladin.

His holiness was not deaf to a remonstrance so just and important. In
a circular letter to the sovereigns of Europe, he reminded them that
the time was now come when a successful effort might be made to secure
possession of Palestine, and that, while those who should fight
faithfully for God would obtain a crown of glory, such as refused to
serve him would be punished everlastingly. He employed, among other
arguments, a consideration which has since been often urged by Protestant
writers against his own church; stating, that "the Mohammedan heresy, the
beast foretold by the Spirit, will not live for ever--its age is 666." He
concluded with the assurance, that Jesus Christ would condemn them for
gross ingratitude and infidelity, if they neglected to march to his
succour at a time when he was in danger of being driven from a kingdom he
had acquired by his own blood.

The preacher of the next Crusade was Robert de Courçon, a man inferior in
talents and rank to St. Bernard, but whose fanaticism was as fervent as
that of the Hermit and Fulk. He invited all to assume the Cross, and
enrolled in the sacred militia women, children, the old, the blind, the
lame, and even the distempered. The multitude of Crusaders, as might be
expected, was very great, and the voluntary offerings of money were
immense. A council was held in the church of the Lateran, in which the
Emperor of Constantinople, the Kings of France, England, Hungary,
Jerusalem, Arragon, and other countries, were represented. War against the
Saracens was unanimously declared to be the most sacred duty of the
Christian world. The usual privileges, dispensations, and indulgences were
granted to the pilgrims; and the pope, besides other expenses, contributed
thirty thousand pounds.

It was in the year 1216 that the sixth Crusade, consisting chiefly of
Hungarians and the soldiers of Lower Germany, landed at Acre. The sons of
Saphadin were now at the head of affairs in Syria, their father having
retired from the fatigues of royalty; and, although unprepared to oppose
so large a host with any prospect of success, they mustered what forces
they could collect and advanced to Naplosa, the modern Nablous. But the
insubordination of the invaders made victory more easy than was
anticipated. Destitute of provisions, they wandered over the country,
committing the greatest enormities, and suffering from time to time very
severe losses from the just indignation of the inhabitants. At length the
sovereign of Hungary, disgusted with the campaign, refused to remain any
longer in Palestine,--a defection which compelled the King of Jerusalem,
the Duke of Austria, and the Master of the Hospitallers to take up a
defensive position on the Plain of Cesarea. The knights of the other
military orders, the Templar and Teutonic, seized upon Mount Carmel, which
they fortified for the occasion. But their fears were relieved in the
spring of the following year by the arrival of a large body of new and
most zealous Crusaders from the upper parts of Germany. Nearly three
hundred vessels sailed from the Rhine, which, after having sustained more
than the usual casualties of a voyage in the North Sea, landed on the
shores of Syria those martial bands who had assembled in the neighbourhood
of the Elbe and the Weser.

For reasons which are not very clearly assigned, but having some
reference, it may be conjectured, to the exhausted state of the country,
the chiefs of the Crusade came to the resolution of withdrawing their
troops from Palestine, and of carrying the war into Egypt. Damietta, not
unjustly regarded as the key of that kingdom on the line of the coast, was
made the first object of attack; and so vigorous were the approaches of
the assailants, that the castle or fortress, which was supposed to command
the town, fell into their hands. Meantime a reinforcement from Europe
appeared at the mouth of the Nile. Italy sent forth her choicest soldiers,
headed by Pelagius and De Courçon, as legates of the pope. The Counts of
Nevers and La Marche, the Archbishop of Bourdeaux, the Bishops of Meaux,
Autun, and Paris, led the youth of France; while the English troops were
conducted by the Earls of Chester, Arundel, and Salisbury, men celebrated
for their heroism and experience in the field.

The tide of success flowed for some time so strongly in favour of the
Christians, that the Saracen leaders were desirous to conclude a peace
very advantageous to their invaders. When the loss of Damietta appeared
inevitable, the Sultan of Syria, Khamel, the son of Saphadin, apprehensive
that the Crusaders would immediately advance against Jerusalem, issued
orders to destroy the fortifications, to prevent its being held by them as
a place of defence. But in the negotiation which was opened between the
contending powers, the Mussulmans consented to rebuild the walls of the
sacred city, to return the portion of the true cross, and to liberate all
the prisoners in Syria and Egypt. Of the whole kingdom of Palestine, they
proposed to retain only the castles of Karac and Montereale, as necessary
for the safe passage of pilgrims and merchants in their intercourse with
Mecca. As an equivalent for these important concessions, they required
nothing more than the instant evacuation of Egypt, and a complete
relinquishment of the conquests which had been recently made in it by the
arms of the Crusaders.

The Christian chiefs, after a stormy discussion, determined to reject the
terms offered by the allied sultans, and to prosecute the siege of
Damietta. This devoted town, having been invested more than a year and a
half, was at length carried by assault; but so resolute and persevering
had been the defence, that of seventy thousand inhabitants, who were shut
up by the Crusaders, only three thousand remained to witness their
triumph.

The Saracens, fatigued with the horrors of war, once more proposed a
treaty on terms similar to those which were offered before the fall of
Damietta. But the victors, whose wisdom in council was never equal to
their valour in the field of battle, again refused to conclude a peace.
The prevailing party recommended an immediate attack upon Grand Cairo;
anticipating the reduction of the whole of Egypt, and the final subjection
of all the Mahommedan states on the shores of the Mediterranean. This
vision of greatness, however, soon vanished before the real difficulties
of a campaign on the banks of the Nile. In a few months the leaders of the
expedition found themselves reduced to the necessity of soliciting
permission to return into Palestine; consenting to purchase safety by
giving up all the acquisitions they had made since the first day that they
opened their trenches before Damietta. The barons of Syria and the
military orders retired to Acre, where they held themselves in readiness
to sustain an attack from the indignant Moslems; the mass of the
volunteers and pilgrims soon afterward procuring the means of returning
into Europe.

Frederick the Second of Germany, who had engaged to lead a strong force
into Syria, was so long prevented by domestic cares from fulfilling his
promise, that he incurred the resentment of the pope, who actually
pronounced against him a sentence of excommunication.[174] The emperor, at
length, was induced to marry Violante, the daughter of John de Brienne,
and accept as her dowry the kingdom of Jerusalem. In the year 1228 he
arrived at Acre, with the view of making good his pretensions to the
sacred diadem,--an object which he finally attained, not less by the
connivance of the sultan than by the exertions of his military companions.
The son of Saphadin felt his throne rendered insecure by the ambition or
treachery of his own kindred, and was therefore much inclined to cultivate
an amicable feeling with so powerful a prince as the sovereign of Germany.
In pursuance of these views a treaty was signed, providing that for ten
years the Christians and Mussulmans were to live on a footing of
brotherhood; that Jerusalem, Jaffa, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and their
dependencies, were to be restored to the former; that the Holy Sepulchre
was likewise to be given up to them; and that the people of both religions
might offer up their devotions in that house of prayer, which the one
called the Temple of Solomon, and the other the Mosque of Omar. Thus the
address or good fortune of Frederick more effectually promoted the object
of the Holy Wars than the heroic phrensy of Richard Coeur de Lion; many of
the disasters consequent on the battle of Tiberias were wiped away; and
the hopes of Europe for a permanent settlement in Asia appeared to be
realized.

But the emperor had performed all these services while the stain of
excommunication was yet unremoved from his character. The fidelity of the
knights, accordingly, whose oaths had a reference to the supremacy of the
church, and the attachment of the clergy, could not be relied upon. Hence,
when he went to Jerusalem to be crowned, the patriarch would not discharge
his office; the places of worship were closed; and no religious duties
were observed in public during his stay. Frederick repaired to the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre, surrounded by his courtiers, and boldly taking the
crown from the altar, placed it on his own head. He then issued orders for
rebuilding the fortifications of his eastern capital; after which he
returned to Acre, whence he almost immediately set sail for Europe.[175]

The peace established between Frederick and the Saracen rulers was not
faithfully observed by the latter, some of whom did not consider
themselves as bound by its stipulations. The sufferings endured by the
Christians of Palestine accordingly called their brethren in Europe once
more to arms. A council, held under the auspices of the pope at Spoleto,
decreed that fresh levies should be sent into Asia so soon as the truce
with Khamel, the sultan of Damascus, should have expired. Many of the
English nobility, inflamed by the love of warlike fame, took the cross,
and prepared to follow the standard of the Earl of Chester, and of
Richard, earl of Cornwall, brother to King Henry the Third.

In this pious movement the lords of England were anticipated by those of
France, who, in the year 1239, landed in Syria, and prepared to measure
lances with the Moslems. News of these warlike proceedings having reached
the nephew of Saladin, he forthwith drove the Christians out of Jerusalem,
and demolished the Tower of David,--a monument which till that time had
been regarded as sacred by both parties. The combats which followed,
although fought with great bravery on the side of the invaders, terminated
generally in favour of the Saracens; and the French accordingly, after
losing a great number of their best warriors, were glad to have recourse
to terms of peace. The Templars entered into treaty with the Emir of
Karac, while the Hospitallers, actuated by jealousy or revenge, preferred
the friendship of the Sultan of Egypt.

The following year Richard, the earl of Cornwall, arrived with his levy,
hoping to find his allies in possession of all the towns which had been
ceded to the Emperor of Germany, and enjoying security in the exercise of
their religious rites. His surprise was therefore very great, when he
discovered that the principal leaders of the French had already fled from
the plains of Syria; that the knights of the two great orders had sought
refuge in negotiation; and, finally, that the conquests of the former
Crusaders were once more limited to a few fortresses and a strip of
territory on the coast. He marched in the first instance to Jaffa, with
the view of concentrating the scattered forces of Europe; but receiving
notice, as soon as he arrived, that the Sultan of Egypt, who was then at
war with his brother of Damascus, was desirous to cultivate friendly
relations, he lent a ready ear to the terms proposed. The Mussulman
consented to relinquish Jerusalem, Beritus, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Mount
Tabor, and a large portion of the Holy Land, provided the English earl
would withdraw his troops and preserve a strict neutrality.

The conditions being ratified by the Egyptian sovereign, the Earl of
Cornwall had the satisfaction to see the great object of the Crusaders
once more accomplished. Palestine again belonged to the Christians. The
Hospitallers opened their treasury to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
while the patriarch and clergy entered the holy city to reconsecrate the
churches. For two years the gospel was the only religion administered in
the sacred capital, and the faithful had begun to exult in the permanent
subjection of their rivals, when a new enemy arose, more formidable to
them than even the Saracens.

The victories of Zingis Khan had displaced several nations belonging to
the great Tartar family, and among others the Karismians, who continued
their retreat southward till they reached the confines of Egypt. The
sultan, who perhaps had repented the liberality of his terms to the
soldiers of Richard, advised the expatriated barbarians to take possession
of Palestine. He even sent one of his principal officers and a large body
of troops to serve as them guides; upon which, Barbacan, the Karismian
general, at the head of twenty thousand cavalry, advanced into the Holy
Land. The garrison of Jerusalem, being quite inadequate to its defence,
retired, and were followed by many of the inhabitants. The invaders
entered it without opposition, sparing neither life nor property, and
respecting nothing, whether sacred or profane. At length the Templars and
Hospitallers, forgetting their mutual animosities, united their bands to
rescue the country from the grasp of such savages. A battle took place,
which, after continuing two whole days, ended in the total defeat of the
Christians; the Grand Masters of St. John and of the Temple being among
the slain. Only thirty-three individuals of the latter order, and sixteen
of the former, with three Teutonic cavaliers, remained alive, and
succeeded in making their way to Acre, the last refuge of the vanquished
knights. The Karismians, with their Egyptian allies, after having razed
the fortifications of Ascalon and Tiberias, encamped on the seacoast, laid
waste the surrounding territory, and slew or carried into bondage every
Frank who fell into their hands. Nor was it till the year 1247 that the
Syrians and Mamlouks, insulted by this northern horde, attacked them near
Damascus, slew Barbacan their chief, and compelled the remainder to
retrace their steps to the borders of the Caspian Lake.

The intelligence did not fail to reach Europe that the members of the
Church in Palestine had been put to death or dispersed by the exiles of
Karism. Pope Innocent the Fourth suggested the expediency of another
Crusade, and even summoned all his faithful children to take arms. He
wrote to Henry the Third, king of England, urging him to press on his
subjects the necessity of punishing the Karismians. But the spirit of
crusading was more active in France than in any other country of the West
and it revived in all the vigour of its chivalrous piety in the reign of
Louis the Ninth. Agreeably to the superstition of the times, he had vowed,
while afflicted by a severe illness, that in case of recovery he would
travel to the Holy Land. The Cross was likewise taken by the three royal
brothers, the Counts of Artois, Poictiers, and Anjou, by the Duke of
Burgundy, the Countess of Flanders and her two sons, together with many
knights of high degree.

But it was not till 1249 that the soldiers of Louis were mustered, and his
ships prepared for sea; the former amounting to fifty thousand, while his
vessels of all descriptions exceeded eighteen hundred. They set sail for
Egypt; a storm separated the fleet; but the royal division, in which were
nearly three thousand knights and their men-at-arms, arrived in the
neighbourhood of Damietta. On the second day the king ordered the
disembarkation; he himself leaped into the water; his warriors followed
him to the shore; upon which the Saracens, panic-struck at their boldness
and determination, made but a slight show of defence, and fled into the
interior. Although Damietta was better prepared for a siege than at that
period when it defied the arms of the Crusaders during eighteen months,
yet the garrison were pleased to seek safety in the fleetness of their
horses. Louis fixed his residence in the city; a Christian government was
established; and the clergy, as they were wont on such occasions,
proceeded to purify the mosques.

Towards the close of the year, after being joined by a body of English
volunteers, the French monarch resolved to march to Cairo and attack the
sultan in the heart of his kingdom. But the floods of the Nile, and the
intersection of the country by numerous canals, occasioned a second time
the loss of a brave army. Famine and disease, too, aided the sword of the
enemy, till at length the victors of Damietta were compelled to sue for a
peace which they could no longer obtain. A retreat was ordered; but those
who attempted to escape by the river were taken prisoners, and the fate of
such as proceeded by land was equally disastrous. While they were occupied
in constructing a bridge over a canal, the Saracens entered the camp and
murdered the sick. The valiant king, though oppressed with the general
calamity of disease, sustained boldly the shock of the enemy, throwing
himself into the midst of them, resolved to perish rather than desert his
troops. One of his attendants succeeded at length in drawing him from the
presence of the foe, and conducted him to a village, where he sunk under
his wounds and fatigue into a state of utter insensibility. In this
miserable condition he was overtaken by the Moslems, who announced to him
that he was their captive. One of his brothers, the gallant Artois, had
already fallen in battle, but the two others, Anjou and Poictiers, with
all the nobility, fell into the hands of the enemy.

The sultan did not abuse his victory, nor seek to impose upon Louis terms
which a sovereign could not grant without forfeiting his honour. He agreed
to accept a sum equivalent to five hundred thousand livres for the
deliverance of the army, and the town of Damietta as a ransom for the
royal person. Peace was to continue ten years between the Mussulmans and
the Christians; while the Franks were to be restored to those privileges
in the kingdom of Jerusalem which they had enjoyed previous to the recent
invasion of the French. The repose which succeeded this treaty was
interrupted by the murder of the sultan, who fell a victim to the
jealousy, of the Mamlouks; but after a few acts of hostility too
insignificant to be recorded, the emirs renewed, with a few modifications,
the basis of the agreement on which the peace was established. Louis
himself made a narrow escape from the sanguinary intrigues of those
military slaves who had imbrued their hands in the blood of their own
master. They declared that, as they had committed a sin by destroying
their sultan, whom, by their law, they ought to have guarded as the apple
of their eye, their religion would be violated if they suffered a
Christian king to live. But the other chiefs, more honourable than the
Mamlouks, disdained to commit a crime under any such pretext; and the
French monarch, accordingly, was allowed to accompany the poor remains of
his army to the citadel of Acre.

It has been remarked that the expedition of St. Louis into Egypt resembles
in many respects the war carried on in that country thirty years before.
In both cases the Christian armies were encamped near the entrance of the
Ashmoun canal, beyond which they could not advance; and the surrender of
Damietta in each instance was the price of safety. The errors of the
Cardinal Pelagius seem not to have been recollected by the French king,
who, in fact, trod in his steps with a fatal blindness, and ended by
paying a still severer penalty.

A gleam of hope arose in the minds of the Crusaders from finding the
rulers of Egypt and of Syria engaged in a furious war. The Mamlouks even
condescended to solicit the cooperation of Louis, and agreed to purchase
it by remitting one-half of the ransom which still remained unpaid. They
further consented to deliver up Jerusalem itself, and also the youthful
captives taken on the banks of the Nile, whom they had compelled to
embrace the Mussulman faith. But before the Franks could appear in the
field, the interposition of the calif had restored peace to the contending
parties, both of whom immediately resumed their wonted dislike to the
European invaders.

The infidels, however, at this period did not pursue their schemes of
conquest with the vigour and ability which distinguished the movements of
Noureddin, and more especially of Saladin, his renowned successor. They
might have swept the feeble and exhausted Christians from the shores of
Palestine; but they merely ravaged the country round Acre, and then
proceeded to Sidon, in the strong castle of which Louis and his army had
taken refuge. The blood and property of the citizens satisfied the
barbarians, who departed without trying the valour of the soldiers who
occupied the garrison.

The death of Queen Blanche, the mother of the king, and regent during his
absence, afforded him a good apology for leaving the country, of which he
had long been tired. The patriarch and barons of the Holy Land offered him
their humble thanks for the honour he had bestowed upon their cause, and
for the benefits which he had conferred upon themselves individually.
Louis, sensible that he had gathered no laurels in Palestine, and that the
interests of the church were even in a more hopeless condition than when
he landed at Damietta, listened to their address with mingled emotions of
shame and regret, and forthwith prepared himself for his voyage
homewards.[176]

Thus terminated that expedition, of which, says a French author, the
commencement filled all Christian states with joy, and which, in the end,
plunged all the West into mourning. The king arrived at Vincennes on the
5th of September, 1254, accompanied by a crowd collected from all
quarters. The more they forgot his reverses, the more bitterly he called
to mind the fate of his brave companions, whom he had left in the mud of
Egypt or on the sands of Palestine; and the melancholy which he showed in
his countenance formed a striking contrast to the public congratulation on
the return of a beloved prince. His first care, says the historian, was to
go to St. Denys, to prostrate himself at the feet of the apostles of
France; the next day he made his entrance into the capital, preceded by
the clergy, the nobility, and the people. He still wore the cross upon his
shoulder; the sight of which, by recalling the motives of his long
absence, inspired the fear that he had not abandoned the enterprise of the
Crusade.[177]

The misfortunes sustained in the field were greatly increased by the
dissensions which prevailed among the military orders after the departure
of Louis. The Templars and Hospitallers, especially, never forgot their
jealousies except when engaged in battle with the Mussulmans; for, in
every interval of peace, they mutually gratified their arrogance and
contempt by wrangling on points of precedency and professional reputation.
At length an appeal to arms was made, with the view of determining which
of these kindred associations should stand highest as soldiers in the
estimation of Europe. The Knights of St. John gained the victory; and so
bloody was the conflict that no quarter was granted, and hardly a single
Templar escaped alive.

But these unseemly disputes were soon drowned amid the shouts of a more
formidable warfare waged against Palestine by the Mamlouk sovereign of
Egypt, the sanguinary and bigoted Bibars. His troops demolished the
churches of Nazareth and Mount Tabor; after which they advanced to the
gates of Acre, inflicting the most horrid cruelties upon the unprotected
Christians. Sephouri and Azotus were taken by storm, or yielded upon
terms. At the reduction of the former, it was agreed that the knights and
garrison, amounting in all to six hundred men, should be conducted to the
nearest Christian town. But no sooner was the sultan put in possession of
the fortress than he violated the conditions of surrender, and left the
knights only a few hours to determine on the alternative of death or
conversion to Islamism. The prior and two Franciscan monks succeeded by
their exhortations in fixing the faith of the religious cavaliers; and
hence, at the time appointed for the declaration of their choice, they
unanimously avowed their resolution to die rather than incur the dishonour
of apostacy. The decree for the slaughter of the Templars was pronounced
and executed; while the three preachers of martyrdom, as if responsible
for the conduct of their countrymen, were flayed alive.

A large Christian state had been formed at Antioch, in alliance with the
kingdom of Jerusalem. Bibars, after reducing Jaffa and the castle of
Beaufort, marched his fierce soldiers against the capital of Syria, and
soon added it to the number of his conquests. Forty thousand believers is
Christ were on this occasion put to the sword, and not fewer than one
hundred thousand were led into captivity. The barbarian, indeed, avowed
the fell purpose of exterminating the whole Christian community in the
East, extending the terror of death or the ascendency of the Koran from
the Nile to the mountains of Armenia. But his progress was stopped by the
intelligence which reached him in Palestine, that the King of Cyprus had
resolved to interpose his arms in behalf of the Holy Land, and was about
to make a descent on the coast at the head of a large force collected from
various nations. Bibara returned to Cairo, fitted out a fleet for the
conquest of that island, and intended, during the absence of its
sovereign, to annex it permanently to the dominions of Egypt. But his
ships were lost in a tempest; his military character suffered from the
failure of the enterprise; his power was weakened; and he ceased to be any
longer the scourge and dread of the Christian world.

Before the atrocities of this Mamlouk chief were made known in Europe, the
people of the West had made preparations for the ninth Crusade. Louis was
not able to conceal from himself that his first expedition to the Holy
Land had brought more shame on France than benefit to the Christian cause.
Nay, he was not without fear, that his personal reputation was in some
degree tarnished by the fatal result of his attack on Egypt, so unwisely
and rashly conducted. The Pope favoured his inclination for a new attempt;
and accordingly, in a general meeting of the higher clergy and nobles,
held at Paris in 1268, the king exhorted his people to avenge the wrongs
which Christ had so long suffered at the hands of the unbelieving Moslems.

In England a similar spirit had long prevailed among the priesthood and
the great body of the commons; but Henry the Third, taught by experience
that the late Crusades had only weakened the friends and strengthened the
enemies of Christianity, refused to countenance this popular folly at the
time when Louis first assumed the cross. On the present occasion, however,
he permitted his son Edward, with the Earls of Warwick and Pembroke, to
receive the holy ensign, and to join the sovereign of France in his
renewed attempt to plant the emblem of his faith on the walls of
Jerusalem.

It was not till the spring of 1270 that St. Louis spread his sails the
second time for the Holy Land. The feelings of religious and military
ardour which animated the heart of this pious monarch were diffused
through the sixty thousand soldiers who followed his banners. He could
count, too, among his leaders, the descendants of those gallant chiefs,
the lords of Brittany, of Flanders, and Champagne, who in former
generations had distinguished themselves in fighting the battles of the
church. But notwithstanding such promising appearances, this proud
armament took the sea under an evil omen. The fleet was driven into
Sardinia; and there a great and unfortunate change was made in the plan of
operations. Instead of proceeding to Palestine, it was resolved that the
troops should be landed in the neighbourhood of Tunis, to assist the
Christians in extending their faith in opposition to the disciples of the
Koran. Success, indeed, crowned the first efforts of the invaders;
Carthage fell into their hands; and more splendid conquests seemed to
invite their progress into the heart of the Mohammedan nations of Northern
Africa. But a pestilential disease, the scourge of those burning shores,
soon spread its ravages among the ranks of the Christians. Louis, the
great stay of the Crusaders, was stricken with the fatal sickness, and
died, leaving his army, which had accomplished nothing, to prosecute the
war, or to return with sullied standards into their native country.[178]

Prince Edward, who condemned the vacillating conduct of his allies, had
already passed from Africa into Sicily, where he spent the following
winter. In the early part of the year 1271, he set sail for Acre, where he
landed at the head of only one thousand men; but so high was his
reputation among the Latins of Palestine, that he soon found his army
increased sevenfold, and eager to be employed in the redemption of the
sacred territory. He led them, in the first place against Nazareth, which
did not long resist the vigour of his attack; and, almost immediately
afterward, he surprised a large Turkish force, whom he cut in pieces The
Moslems imagined that another Coeur de Lion had been sent from England to
scourge them into discipline, or to shake the foundation of their power in
Syria. Edward was brave and skilful as a warrior, and owed his success not
less to his able dispositions than to his personal courage. But he was
cruel and lavish of human blood. The barbarities which disgraced the
triumphs of the first Crusade were repeated on a smaller scale at
Nazareth, where the prince put the whole garrison to death, and subjected
the inhabitants to unnecessary suffering.

The resentment of the governor of Jaffa is said to have pointed the dagger
which was aimed at the heart of the English prince by the hand of an
assassin. The wretch, as the bearer of letters, was admitted into the
chamber of Edward, who, not suspecting treachery, received several severe
wounds before he could dash the assailant to the floor and despatch him
with his sword. But as the weapon used by the Saracen had been steeped in
poison, the life of his intended victim was for some hours in imminent
danger. The chivalrous fiction of that romantic age has ascribed his
recovery to the kind offices of one of that sex whose generous affections
are seldom chilled by the calculations of selfishness. His wife, Eleanora,
is said to have sucked the poison from his wound, at the hazard of instant
death to herself,--a story which, having received the sanction of the
learned Camden, has not unfrequently been held as an indisputable fact.
The more authentic edition of the narrative attributes the restoration of
Edward's health to the usual means employed by surgical skill, aided by
the resources of a strong mind and a vigorous constitution.[179]

It soon became manifest that the valour and ability of Edward, unsupported
by an adequate force, could make no lasting impression upon the Moslem
power in Syria. Accordingly, after having spent fourteen months in Acre,
he listened to proposals for peace made by the Sultan of Egypt, who, being
engaged in war with the Saracens whom he had displaced, was eager to
terminate hostilities with the English. A suspension of arms, to continue
ten years, was formally signed by the two chiefs; whereupon the Mamlook
withdrew his troops from Palestine, and Edward embarked for his native
country.

The loan and discomfiture which for more than a hundred years had
concluded every attempt to regain the Holy Land did not yet extirpate the
hope of final success in the hearts of the clergy and sovereigns of the
West. Gregory the Ninth, who himself had served in the Christian armies of
Syria, exerted all the means in his power to equip another expedition
against the enemies of the faith. The small republics of Italy, which
found a ready employment for their shipping in transporting troops to
Palestine, were the first to embrace the cause recommended by their
spiritual ruler. The King of France seemed to favour the enterprise, and
advanced money on the mortgage of certain estates within his dominions
belonging to the Templars; Charles of Anjou followed the example of his
royal relation; and Michael Paleologus, the Emperor of the East, announced
his willingness to take arms against the ambitious sultan, who already
threatened the independence of Greece. A council held at Lyons in 1274
sanctioned the obligations of a crusade, and imposed upon the church and
other estates such taxes as appeared sufficient to carry it to a
successful issue. But the death of the pope dissolved the coalition, and
all preparations for renewing the war were immediately laid aside,--never
to be resumed.

The Franks in Palestine, now left to their own resources, ought to have
cultivated peace, and more especially to have abstained from positive and
direct aggression. Their conduct, however, was not marked by such
abstinence or wisdom. On the contrary, by attacking certain Mohammedan
merchants, they provoked the anger of the sultan, who swore by God and the
Prophet that he would avenge the wrong. A war fatal to the Christian
interests was the immediate consequence. Their fortresses were rapidly
demolished; and at length, in the year 1289, the city of Tripoli, the
principal appanage of the kingdom of Jerusalem, was taken, its houses were
consumed by fire, its works dismantled, and its inhabitants massacred, or
sold into slavery.

Acre now remained the sole possession of the Latins, in the country where
their sovereignty had been acknowledged during the lapse of nearly two
centuries. A short peace granted to Henry the Second of Cyprus, the
nominal king of the Holy Land, postponed its fate, and the utter abolition
of Christian authority in Syria, a few years longer. Within its walls were
crowded the wretched remains of those principalities which had been won by
the valour of European soldiers. A reinforcement of unprincipled Italians
only added to the disorder which already prevailed in the town, and
increased the number of offences by which they were daily accumulating
upon their heads the vengeance of the fanatical Mamlouks, who longed for
an opportunity to attack them.

At length, in the month of April, 1291, a force which has been estimated
at more than 200,000 men, issued from Egypt, and encamped on the Plain of
Acre. Most of the inhabitants made their escape by sea from the horrors of
the impending siege; the defence of the place being intrusted to about
12,000 good soldiers, belonging chiefly to the several orders of religious
knighthood. The command was offered to the Grand Master of the Templars,
who, being prevailed upon to accept, discharged its duties with firmness
and military skill. But the Mamlouks were not inferior in valour, and
their numbers were irresistible. Prodigies of bravery were displayed on
both sides: the assailants threw themselves, with desperate resolution,
into the breach, from whence they were repeatedly driven back at the point
of the sword, or hurled headlong into the ditch. But the sultan was
prodigal of blood, and had vowed to humble the Nazarenes who dared to
dispute his authority. The walls, accordingly, after having been several
times lost and won, were at length finally occupied by the Tartars and
Mamlouks, who obeyed the sovereign of Egypt, and the crescent was at that
moment elevated to a place which it has continued to occupy during the
greater part of five centuries. Struck with terror, the few small towns
which till this period had been allotted to the Christians surrendered at
the first summons, and saw their inhabitants doomed either to death or to
a hopeless captivity. In one word, the Holy Land, which since the days of
Godfrey had cost to Christendom so much anxiety, blood, and treasure, was
now lost; the sacred walls of Jerusalem were abandoned to infidels; and
henceforth the disciple of Christ was doomed to purchase permission to
visit the interesting scenes consecrated by the events recorded in the
gospel.

The titular crown of Palestine was worn for the last time by Hugh the
Great, the descendant of Hugh, king of Cyprus, and Alice, who was the
daughter of Mary and John de Brienne. At a later period, this empty honour
was claimed by the house of Sicily, in right of Charles, count of Anjou
and brother of Louis IX, who was thought to unite in his own person the
issue of the King of Cyprus and of the Princess Mary, the daughter of
Frederick, sovereign of Antioch. The knights of St. John of Jerusalem,
since denominated knights of Rhodes and Malta, and the Teutonic knights,
the conquerors of the north of Europe and founders of the kingdom of
Prussia, are now the only remains of those Crusaders who struck terror
into Africa and Asia, and seized the thrones of Jerusalem, Cyprus, and
Constantinople.

Although no expedition from the Christian states reached the Holy Land
after the close of the thirteenth century, the fire which had so long
warmed the hearts of the Crusaders was not entirely extinguished in
several parts of Europe. Edward the First of England, for example, still
cherished the hope of opening the gates of Jerusalem, or of leaving his
bones in the sacred dust of Palestine. A similar feeling animated the
monarch of France; while the pope, who derived manifold advantages from
the prosecution of such wars, summoned councils, issued pastoral letters,
and employed preachers, as in the days that were past. But dissensions at
home during the first half of the fourteenth century, and the general
conviction of hopelessness which had seized the public mind respecting all
armaments against the Moslems, occasioned the failure of every attempt to
unite once more the powers of Chistendom in the common cause.

In the following century, the ascendency of the Turks, not only in the
East, but on the banks of the Danube and the northern shores of the
Mediterranean, compelled the people of Europe to act on the defensive. The
fall of the Grecian empire, too, rendered the intercourse with Syria at
once more difficult and dangerous. Egypt in like manner was shut against
the Christians, being subjected to the same yoke which pressed so heavily
on the western parts of Asia. Hence, during more than two centuries a
cloud hung over the affairs of Palestine, which we in vain attempt to
penetrate. Suffice it to remark, that it remained subject to the Mamlouk
sultans of Egypt till the year 1382, when they were dispossessed by a body
of Circassians, who invaded and overran the country. Upon the expulsion of
these barbarians, it acknowledged again the government of Cairo, under
which it continued until the period of the more formidable irruption of
the Mogul Tartars, led by the celebrated Tamerlane. At his death the Holy
Land was once more annexed to Egypt as a province; but in 1516, Selim the
Ninth, emperor of the Othman Turks, carried his victorious arms from the
Euphrates to the Libyan Desert, involving in one general conquest all the
intervening states. More than three hundred years have that people
exercised a dominion over the land of Judea, varied only by intervals of
rebellion on the part of governors who wished to assert their
independence, or by wars among the different pashas, who, in defiance of
the supreme authority, have from time to time quarrelled about its spoils.

From the period at which the Crusaders were expelled from Syria down to
the middle of the last century, we are chiefly indebted for our knowledge
of the Holy Land to the pilgrims whom religious motives induced to brave
all the perils and extortions to which Franks were exposed under the
Turkish government. The faith of the Christians survived their arms at
Jerusalem, and was found within the sacred walls long after every European
soldier had disappeared. The Jacobite, Armenian, and Abyssinian believers
were allowed to cling to those memorials of redemption which have at all
times given so great an interest to the localities of Palestine; and
occasionally a member of the Latin Church had the good fortune to enter
the gates of the city in disguise, and was permitted to offer up his
prayers at the side of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1432, when La Broquiere
undertook his pilgrimage into the East, there were only two French monks
in Jerusalem, who were held in the most cruel thraldom.

The increasing intercourse between the Turks at Constantinople and the
governments of Europe gradually produced a more tolerant spirit among the
former, and paved the way for a lasting accommodation in favour of the
Christians in Palestine. We find, accordingly, that in the year 1507, when
Baumgarten travelled in Syria, there was at Jerusalem a monastery of
Franciscans, who possessed influence sufficient to secure his personal
safety, and even to provide for his comfort under their own roof. At a
somewhat later period, the Moslem rulers began to consider the reception
of pilgrims as a regular source of revenue; selling their protection at a
high price, and even creating dangers in order to render that protection
indispensable. The Christians, meantime, rose by degrees from the state of
depression and contumely into which they were sunk by the conquerors of
the Grecian empire. They were allowed to nominate patriarchs for the due
administration of ecclesiastical affairs, and to practise all the rites of
their religion, provided they did not insult the established faith,--a
condition of things which, with such changes as have been occasioned by
foreign war or the temper of individual governors, has been perpetuated to
the present day.

As the civil history of Palestine for three centuries is nothing more than
a relation of the broils, the insurrections, the massacres, and changes of
dynasty which have periodically shaken the Turkish empire in Europe as
well as in Asia, we willingly pass over it, as we thereby only refrain
from a mere recapitulation of names and dates which could not have the
slightest interest for any class of readers. At the close of the
eighteenth century, however, its affairs assumed a new importance.
Napoleon Bonaparte, whose views of dominion were limited only by the
bounds of the civilized world, imagined that, by the conquest of Egypt and
Syria, he should open for himself a path into the remoter provinces of the
Asiatic continent, and perhaps establish his power on either bank of the
Ganges.

It was in the spring of 1799 that the French general, who had been
informed of certain preparations against him in the pashalic of Acre,
resolved to cross the desert which divides Egypt from Palestine at the
head of ten thousand chosen men. El Arish soon fell into his hands, the
garrison of which were permitted to retire on condition that they should
not serve again during the war. Gaza likewise yielded without much
opposition to the overwhelming force by which it was attacked. Jaffa set
the first example of a vigorous resistance; the slaughter was tremendous;
and Bonaparte, to intimidate other towns from showing a similar spirit,
gave it up to plunder and the other excesses of an enraged soldiery. A
more melancholy scene followed--the massacre of nearly four thousand
prisoners who had laid down their arms. Napoleon alleged, that these were
the very individuals who had given their parole at El Arish, and had
violated their faith by appearing against him in the fortress which had
just fallen. On this pretext he commanded them all to be put to death, and
thereby brought a stain upon his reputation which no casuistry on the part
of his admirers, and no considerations of expediency, military or
political, will ever succeed in removing.[180]

Acre, so frequently mentioned in the History of the Crusades, was again
doomed to receive a fatal celebrity from a most sanguinary and protracted
siege. Achmet Djezzar, the pasha of that division of Palestine which
stretches from the borders of Egypt to the Gulf of Sidon, had thrown
himself into this fortress with a considerable army, determined to defend
it to the last extremity. After failing in an attempt to bribe the
Mussulman chief, Bonaparte made preparations for the attack, with his
usual skill and activity; resolving to carry the place by assault before
the Turkish government could send certain supplies of food and ammunition,
which he knew were expected by the besieged. But his design was frustrated
by the presence of a British squadron under Sir Sidney Smith, who, in the
first instance, captured a convoy of guns and stores forwarded from Egypt,
and then employed them against him, by erecting batteries on shore.
Notwithstanding these inauspicious circumstances, Napoleon opened his
trenches on the 18th of March, in the firm conviction that the Turkish
garrison could not long resist the fury of his onset and the skill of his
engineers. "On that little town," said he, to one of his generals, as they
were standing together on an eminence which still bears the name of
Richard Coeur de Lion, "on that little town depends the fate of the East.
Behold the key of Constantinople or of India!"

At the end of ten days a breach was effected, by which the French made
their first attempt to reduce the towers of Acre. Their assault was
conducted with so much firmness and spirit, that for a moment the garrison
was overpowered, and the town seemed lost. The pasha, renowned for his
personal courage, threw himself into the thickest body of the combatants,
and at length, by strength of hand and the most heroic example, rallied
his troops and drove the enemy from the walls. The loss of the French was
great, and the disappointment of their leader extreme. Napoleon was deeply
mortified when he saw his finest regiments pursued to their lines by
English sailors and undisciplined Turks, who even proceeded to destroy
their intrenchments.

Bourrienne relates, that during the assault of the 8th of May more than
two hundred men penetrated into the city. Already the shout of victory was
raised; but the breach, taken in flank by the Turks, could not be entered
with sufficient promptitude, and the party was left without support. The
streets were barricaded; the very women were running about throwing dust
into the air, and exciting the inhabitants by cries and howling; all
contributed to render unavailing this short occupation by a handful of
men, who, finding themselves alone, regained the breach by a retrograde
movement; but not before many had fallen.

The want of proper means for forming a siege, and perhaps the contempt
which he entertained for barbarians, occasioned a great deficiency in the
works raised before Acre. Bonaparte was not ignorant of the disadvantages
under which his men laboured from the cause now assigned; and was
principally for this reason that he trusted more to the bayonet than to
the mortar or cannon. He repeated his assaults day after day, till the
ditch was filled with dead and wounded soldiers. His grenadiers at length
felt greater horror at walking over the bodies of their comrades than at
encountering the tremendous discharges of large and small shot to which
the latter had fallen victims.

On the 21st of May, after sixty days of ineffectual labor under a burning
sun, Napoleon ordered a last assault on the obstinate garrison of
Ptolemais, which had barred his path to the accomplishment of the most
splendid conquests. This attempt was not less fruitless than those which
had preceded it, and was attended with the loss of many brave warriors. A
fleet was at hand to reinforce Djezzar with men and arms; the French, on
the contrary, were perishing under the plague, which had already found its
way into their ranks, and were, besides, constantly threatened by swarms
of Arabs and Mamlouks, who had assembled in the neighbouring mountains.
His failure in this effort, accordingly, dictated the necessity of a
speedy retreat towards Egypt, where his affairs continued to enjoy some
degree of prosperity, and in the magazines of which he might still find
the means of restoring the health and vigour of his troops.

The siege of Acre, says the biographer of Bonaparte, cost nearly three
thousand men in killed, and of such as died of the plague and their
wounds. Had there been less precipitation in the attack, and had the
advances been conducted according to the rules of art, the town, says he,
could not have held out three days; and one assault such as that of the
8th of May would have sufficed. But he admits that it would have been
wiser in their situation, destitute as they were of heavy artillery and
provisions, while the place was plentifully supplied and in active
communication with the English and Ottoman fleets, not to have undertaken
the siege at all. In the bulletins, he adds, always so veracious, the lose
of the French is estimated at five hundred killed and a thousand wounded;
while that of the enemy is augmented to fifteen thousand. These documents
are doubtless curious pieces for history,--certainly not because they are
true. Bonaparte, however, attached the greatest importance to these
relations, which were always drawn up or corrected by himself.[181]

The reader may not be displeased to consider the motives which induced
Napoleon to persevere so long in the siege of Acre. "I see that this
paltry town has cost me many men, and occupies much time; but things have
gone too far not to risk a last effort. If we succeed, it is to be hoped
we shall find in that place the treasures of the pasha, and arms for three
hundred thousand men. I will raise and arm the whole of Syria, which is
already greatly exasperated by the cruelty of Djezzar, for whose fall you
have seen the people supplicate Heaven at every assault. I advance upon
Damascus and Aleppo; I recruit my army by marching into every country
where discontent prevails; I announce to the people the abolition of
slavery, and of the tyrannical government of the pashas; I arrive at
Constantinople with armed messes; I overturn the dominion of the
Mussulman; I found in the East a new and mighty empire which shall fix my
position with posterity; and perhaps I return to Paris by Adrianople or
Vienna, having annihilated the house of Austria."[182]

Whatever accuracy there may be in these reminiscences, there is no doubt
that Napoleon frequently remarked, in reference to Acre, "The fate of the
East is in that place." Nor was this observation made at random; for had
the French subdued Djezzar, and buried his army in the ruins of the
fortress, the whole of Palestine and Syria would have submitted to their
dominion. He expected, besides, a cordial reception from the Druses, those
warlike and semi-barbarous tribes who inhabit the valleys of Libanus, and
who, like all the other subjects of the Ottoman government, had felt the
pressure of the pasha's tyranny. His eyes were likewise turned towards the
Jews, who, in every commotion which affects Syria, are accustomed to look
for the indication of that happy change destined, in the eye of their
faith, to restore the kingdom to Israel in the latter days. It was not,
indeed, till a somewhat later period that he openly extended his
protection to the descendants of Abraham; but it is not improbable that
the notion had occurred to him during his Eastern campaigns of employing
them for the purpose of establishing an independent sovereignty in
Palestine, devoted to his ulterior views in the countries beyond the
Euphrates.

During the siege of Acre, the several detachments of the French army
stationed in Galilee were attacked by a powerful Mussulman force, which
had assembled in the adjoining mountains. Junot, who was induced to risk
an engagement near Nazareth, would have been cut in pieces by the Mamlouk
cavalry, had not Bonaparte hastened to his assistance We have already
alluded to the masterly conduct of Kleber, who, at the head of a few
hundred men, kept the field a whole day against an overwhelming mass of
horsemen that attacked his party near Mount Tabor. On this occasion, too,
the speedy aid of Napoleon secured a victory, and scattered the enemy's
troops over the face of the desert. But he found, upon his return to the
trenches, that the same men whose columns dissipated like smoke before his
battalions on the plain were extremely formidable behind an armed wall,
and that all the skill of his engineers and the bravery of his veterans
were of no avail when opposed by the savage courage of Turks directed by
European officers and supported by English seamen.

The sufferings which the French endured in their retreat across the desert
were very great, and afforded constant exercise for the self-possession
and equanimity of their leader. "A fearful journey," says one of their
number, "was yet before us. Some of the wounded were carried in litters,
and the rest on camels and mules. A devouring thirst, the total want of
water, an excessive heat, a fatiguing march among scorching sand-hills,
demoralized the men; a most cruel selfishness, the most unfeeling
indifference, took place of every generous or humane sentiment. I have
seen thrown from the litters officers with amputated limbs, whose
conveyance had been ordered, and who had themselves given money as a
recompense for the fatigue. I have beheld abandoned among the wheatfields
soldiers who had lost their legs or arms, wounded men, and patients
supposed to be affected with the plague. Our march was lighted up by
torches kindled for the purpose of setting on fire towns, hamlets, and the
rich crops with which the earth was covered. The whole country was in
flames. It seemed as if we found a solace in this extent of mischief for
our own reverses and sufferings. We were surrounded only by the dying, by
plunderers, by incendiaries. Wretched beings at the point of death, thrown
by the wayside, continued to call with feeble voice, 'I have not the
plague, I am but wounded;' and, to convince those that passed, they might
be seen tearing open their real wounds, or inflicting new ones. Nobody
believed them. It was the interest of all not to believe. Comrades would
say, 'He is done for now; his march is over;' then pass on, look to
themselves, and feel satisfied. The sun, in all his splendour under that
beautiful sky, was obscured by the smoke of continual conflagration. We
had the sea on our right; on our left and behind us lay the desert which
we had made; before were the sufferings and privations that awaited
us."[183]

Since the departure of the French no event has occurred to give any
interest to the history of Palestine. The Mussulman instantly resumed his
power, which for a time he appeared determined to exercise with a strong
arm and with little forbearance towards the Franks, from the terror of
whose might he had just escaped. But the ascendency of Europe, as a great
assemblage of Christian states, checks the intolerance of the Turk, and
imposes upon him the obligations of a more liberal policy. Hence we may
confidently assert, that although the members of the Greek and Latin
churches in Syria are severely taxed, they are not persecuted. They are
compelled to pay heavily for the privilege of exercising the rights of
their worship, and of enjoying that freedom of conscience which is the
natural inheritance of every human being; but their property is held
sacred, and their personal security is not endangered, provided they have
the prudence to rest satisfied with a simple connivance or bare permission
in things relating to their faith.

The actual state of the Holy Land may be known with sufficient accuracy
from the topographical description which we have given in a former
chapter. With regard, again, to the civil government of the country, it
has been remarked that the pashas are so frequently changed, or so often
at war with each other, that the jurisdiction of the magistrates in cities
is so undefined, and the hereditary or assumed rights of the sheiks of
particular districts are so various, that it is extremely difficult to
discover any settled rule by which the administration is conducted. The
whole Turkish empire, indeed, has the appearance of being so precariously
balanced, that the slightest movement within or from without seems likely
to overturn it. Everywhere is absolute power seen stretched beyond the
limits of all apparent control, but finding, nevertheless, a counteracting
principle in that extreme degree of acuteness to which the instinct of
self-preservation is sharpened by the constant apprehension of injury.
Hence springs that conflict between force and fraud, not always visible,
but always operating, which characterizes society in all despotic
countries.

In the minute subdivision of power, which in all cases partakes of the
absolute nature of the supreme government, the traveller is often reminded
of patriarchal times, when there were found judges, and even kings,
exercising a separate dominion at the distance of a short journey from one
another. As an instance of this, we may mention, that on the road from
Jerusalem to Sannour, by way of Nablous, there are no fewer than three
governors of cities, all of whom claim the honours of independent
sovereigns; for, although they acknowledge a nominal superiority in the
Pasha of Damascus, they exclude his jurisdiction in all cases where he
does not enforce his authority at the head of his troops: The same
affectation of independence descends to the sheiks of villages, who, aware
of the precarious tenure by which their masters remain in office, are
disposed to treat their orders with contempt. Like them, too, they turn to
their personal advantage the power of imposition and extortion which
belongs to every one who is clothed with official rank in Syria. They sell
justice and protection; and in this market, as in all others, he who
offers the best price is certain to obtain the largest share of the
commodity.[184]

This chapter would not be complete were we to omit all allusion to the
Jews, the ancient inhabitants of Palestine. Their number, according to a
statement lately published in Germany, amounts to between three and four
millions, scattered over the face of the whole earth, but still
maintaining the same laws which their ancestors received from their
inspired legislator more than three thousand years ago. In Europe there
are nearly two millions, enjoying different privileges according to the
spirit of the several governments; in Asia, the estimate exceeds seven
hundred thousand; in Africa, more than half a million; and in America,
about ten thousand. It is supposed, however, on good grounds, that the
Jewish population on both sides of Mount Taurus is considerably greater
than is here given, and that their gross number does not fall much short
of five millions.[185]

In Palestine of late years they have greatly increased. It is said that
not fewer than ten thousand inhabit Saphet and Jerusalem, and that in
their worship they still sing those pathetic hymns which their manifold
tribulations have inspired; bewailing, amid the ruins of their ancient
capital, the fallen city and the desolate tribes. In Persia, one of them
addressed a Christian missionary in these affecting words:--"I have
travelled far; the Jews are everywhere princes in comparison with those in
the land of Iran. Heavy is our captivity, heavy is our burden, heavy is
our slavery; anxiously we wait for redemption."

History, says an eloquent writer, is the record of the past; it presumes
not to raise the mysterious veil which the Almighty has spread over the
future. The destinies of this wonderful people, as of all mankind, are in
the hands of the all-wise Ruler of the universe; his decrees will
certainly be accomplished; his truth, his goodness, and his wisdom will be
clearly vindicated. This, however, we may venture to assert, that true
religion will advance with the dissemination of sound and useful
knowledge. The more enlightened the Jew becomes, the more incredible will
it appear to him that the gracious Father of the whole human race intended
an exclusive faith, a creed confined to one family, to be permanent; and
the more evident also will it appear to him, that a religion which
embraces within the sphere of its benevolence all the kindreds and
languages of the earth is alone adapted to an improved and civilized
age.[186]

We presume not to expound the signs of the times, nor to see farther than
we are necessarily led by the course of events; but it is impossible not
to be struck with the aspect of that grandest of all moral phenomena which
is suspended upon the history and actual condition of the sons of Jacob.
At this moment they are nearly as numerous as when David swayed the
sceptre of the Twelve Tribes; their expectations are the same, their
longings are the same; and on whatever part of the earth's surface they
have their abode, their eyes and their faith are all pointed in the same
direction--to the land of their fathers and the holy city where they
worshipped. Though rejected by God and persecuted by man, they have not
once, during eighteen hundred long years, ceased to repose confidence in
the promises made by Jehovah to the founders of their nation; and although
the heart has often been sick and the spirit faint, they have never
relinquished the hope of that bright reversion in the latter days which is
once more to establish the Lord's house on the top of the mountains, and
to make Jerusalem the glory of the whole world.



CHAPTER IX.


_The Natural History of Palestine_.

Travellers too much neglect Natural History; Maundrell, Hasselquist,
Clarke. GEOLOGY--Syrian Chain; Libanus; Calcareous Rocks; Granite;
Trap; Volcanic Remains; Chalk; Marine Exuviae; Precious Stones.
METEOROLOGY--Climate of Palestine; Winds; Thunder; Clouds; Waterspouts;
Ignis Fatuus. ZOOLOGY--Scripture Animals; The Hart; The Roebuck;
Fallow-Deer; Wild Goat; Pygarg; Wild Ox; Chamois; Unicorn; Wild Ass; Wild
Goats of the Rock; Saphan, or Coney; Mouse; Porcupine; Jerboa; Mole; Bat.
BIRDS--Eagle; Ossifrage; Ospray; Vulture; Kite; Raven; Owl; Nighthawk;
Cuckoo; Hawk; Little Owl; Cormorant; Great Owl; Swan; Pelican; Gier Eagle;
Stork; Heron; Lapwing; Hoopoe. AMPHIBIA AND REPTILES--Serpents known to the
Hebrews; Ephe; Chephir; Acshub; Pethen; Tzeboa; Tzimmaon; Tzepho; Kippos;
Shephiphon; Shachal; Saraph, the Flying Serpent; Cockatrice Eggs; The
Scorpion; Sea-monsters, or Seals. FRUITS AND PLANTS--Vegetable Productions
of Palestine; The Fig-tree; Palm; Olive; Cedars of Libanus; Wild Grapes;
Balsam of Aaron; Thorn of Christ.

Every one who writes on the Holy Land has occasion to regret that
travellers in general have paid so little attention to its geological
structure and natural productions. Maundrell, it is true, was not
entirely destitute of physical science; but the few remarks which he
makes are extremely vague and unconnected, and, not being expressed in
the language of system, throw very little light on the researches of the
natural philosopher or the geologist. Hasselquist had more professional
learning, and has accordingly contributed more than any of his
predecessors to our acquaintance with Palestine, viewed in its relations
to the animal, the vegetable, and the mineral kingdoms. Still the reader
of his Voyages and Travels in the Levant cannot fail to perceive, that
some of the branches of natural knowledge, which are now cultivated with
the greatest care, were in his day very little improved; and more
especially, that they were deficient in accuracy of description and
distinctness of arrangement. Dr. Clarke's observations are perhaps more
scientific than those of the Swedish naturalist just named, and
particularly in the departments of mineralogy and geology to which he had
devoted a large share of his attention. But even in his works we look in
vain for a satisfactory treatise on the mountain-rocks of Palestine, on
the geognostic formation of that interesting part of Western Asia, or on
the fossil treasures which its strata are understood to envelop. We are
therefore reduced to the necessity of collecting from various authors,
belonging to different countries and successive ages, the scattered
notices which appear in their works, and of arranging them according to a
plan most likely to suit the comprehension of the common reader.

SECTION I.--GEOLOGY.

At first view it would appear that the ridges of Palestine are all a
ramification of Mount Taurus. But the proper Syrian chain begins on the
south of Antioch, at the huge peak of Casius, which shoots up to the
heavens its tapering summit, covered with thick forests. The same chain,
under various names, follows the direction of the eastern shore of the
Mediterranean, at no greater distance, generally speaking, than
twenty-four miles from its waters. Mount Libanus forms its most elevated
summit. At length it is divided into two branches, of which the one looks
westward to the sea, the other, which bounds the Plain of Damascus,
verges in the direction of the desert and the banks of the Euphrates.
Hermon, whose lofty top condenses the moisture of the atmosphere, and
gives rise to the dews so much celebrated in the Sacred Writings, stands
between Heliopolis and the capital of Syria. The latter ridge received
from the Greeks the denomination of Anti-Libanus,--a name unknown among
the natives, and which, being employed somewhat arbitrarily by historians
and topographers, has occasioned considerable obscurity in their
writings.

The hills in this part of Syria are composed of a calcareous rock having
a whitish colour, is extremely hard, and which rings in the ear when
smartly struck with a hammer. The same description applies to the masses
that surround Jerusalem, which on the one hand stretch to the River
Jordan, and on the other extend to the Plain of Acre and Jaffa. Like all
limestone strata, they present a great number of caverns, to which, as
places of retreat, frequent allusion is made in the books of Samuel and
of the Kings. There is one near Damascus, capable of containing four
thousand men; and it must have been in a similar recess that David and
his men encountered the ill-fated Saul when pursued by him on the hills
of the wild goats.

The mountains that skirt the Valley of the Dead Sea present granite and
those other rocks which, according to the system of Werner, characterize
the oldest or primitive formation. Mount Sinai is a member of the same
group, and exhibits mineral qualities of a similar nature, extending to a
certain distance on both sides of the Arabian Gulf. It is probable that
this region, at a remote epoch, was the theatre of immense volcanoes, the
effects of which may still be traced along the banks of the Lower Jordan,
and more especially in the lake itself. The warm baths at Tabaria show
that the same cause still exists, although much restricted in its
operation,--an inference which is amply confirmed by the lavas, the
bitumen, and pumice which continue to be thrown ashore by the waves of
Asphaltites.

Dr. Clarke remarks, that in the neighborhood of Cana there are several
basaltic appearances. The extremities of columns, prismatically formed,
penetrated the surface of the soil, so as to render the path very rough
and unpleasant. These marks of regular or of irregular crystallization
generally denote, according to his opinion, the vicinity of water lying
beneath their level. The traveller, having passed over a series of
successive plains, resembling in their gradation the order of a
staircase, observes, as he descends to the inferior stratum upon which
the water rests, that where rocks are disclosed the symptoms of
crystallization have taken place, and then the prismatic configuration is
commonly denoted basaltic. Such an appearance, therefore, in the approach
to the Lake of Tiberias is only a parallel to similar phenomena exhibited
by rocks near the Lakes of Locarno and Bolsenna in Italy, by those of the
Wenner Lake in Sweden, by the bed of the Rhine near Cologne in Germany,
by the Valley of Ronca in the territory of Verona, by the Pont de Bridon
in the state of Venice, and by numerous other examples in the same
country. A corresponding effect is produced on a small scale on the
southern declivity, of Arthur Seat, near Edinburgh, where the hill
overhangs the Lake of Duddingstone; and numerous other instances are
known to occur in the islands which lie between the coast of Ireland and
Norway, as well as Spain, Portugal, Arabia, and India.

When these crystals have obtained a certain regularity of structure, the
form is often hexagonal, or six-sided, resembling particular kinds of
spar, and the emerald. Patrin, during his travels in the deserts of
Oriental Tartary, discovered when breaking the Asiatic emerald, if fresh
taken from the matrix, not only the same alternate concave and convex
fractures which sometimes characterize the horizontal fissures of
basaltic pillars, but also the concentric layers which denote
concretionary formation: It is hardly possible to have a more striking
proof of coincidence, resulting from similarity of structure, in two
substances otherwise remarkably distinguished from each other. In this
state science remains at present, concerning an appearance in nature
which exhibits nothing more than the common process of crystallization
upon a larger scale than has usually excited attention. Suffice it to
remark, that such a phenomenon is very frequent in the vicinity of very
ancient lakes, in the bed of all considerable rivers, or by the borders
of the ocean.[187]

In a country where there are so many traces of volcanic action, the rocks
of the lower levels cannot fail to bear marks of their origin.
Hasselquist relates, that the Hill of Tiberias, out of which issues the
fountain whence the baths are supplied, consists of a black and brittle
sulphurous stone, which is only to be found in large masses in the
neighborhood, though it is commonly met with in rolled specimens on the
shores of the Dead Sea, and in other parts of the valley. The sediment
deposited by the water is also black, as thick as paste, smells strongly
of sulphur, and is covered with two skins or cuticles, of which the lower
is of a fine dark-green, and the uppermost of a light rusty colour. At
the mouth of the outlet, where the stream formed little cascades over the
stones, the first cuticle alone was found, and so much resembled a
conferva, that one might have taken it for a vegetable production; but
nearer the river, where the current became stagnant, both skins were
visible, the yellow on the surface, and under it the green.[188]

There are observed, in the same hollow, small portions of quartz
incrusted with an impure salt, and nodules of clay extremely compact.
Near the edge of the valley there lie scattered on the sand considerable
portions of flinty slate; and amid the common clay, which forms the basis
of the soil, are perpendicular layers of a lamellated brown argil,
assuming, as it were, the slaty structure. Dr. Clarke noticed among the
pebbles near the Lake of Tiberias pieces of a porous rock resembling the
substance called toadstone in England; its cavities were filled with
zeolite. Native gold was likewise found there, but the quantity was so
small as not to draw from the travellers a suitable degree of attention.

The Vale of the Asphaltites is further remarkable for a species of
limestone called the fetid, the smell of which, as its name imports, is
extremely offensive. It is still manufactured in the East into amulets,
and worn as a specific against the plague; and that a similar
superstition existed in regard to this stone in very early ages is
rendered manifest by the circumstance, that charms made of the same
substance were found in the subterranean chambers under the pyramids of
Sakhara in Upper Egypt. The cause of the fetid effluvia emitted from this
rock, when partially decomposed by means of friction, is now known to be
connected with the presence of sulphuretted hydrogen. All bituminous
limestone, however, does not possess this property. It is not uncommon in
the calcareous beds called in England black marble, but it is by no means
their characteristic. The fragments obtained in the valley of the Jordan
have this savour in a high degree; and it is admitted that the oriental
limestone is more highly impregnated with hydrosulphuret than any
hitherto found in Europe.[189]

According to Dr. Shaw, the upper strata of rocks on the hills along the
coast are composed of a soft chalky substance, including a great variety
of corals, shells, and other marine exuviae. Upon the Castravan
mountains, near Beirout, there is a singular bed, consisting likewise of
a whitish stone, but of the slate-kind, which unfolds in every flake of
it a great number and variety of fishes. These, for the most part, lie
exceedingly flat and compressed, like the fossil specimens of fern; yet
are, at the same time, so well preserved, that the smallest lineaments
and fibres of their fins, scales, and other specific properties of
structure are easily distinguished. Among these were some individuals of
the squilla tribe, which, though one of the tenderest of the crustaceous
family, had not suffered the least injury from pressure or friction. The
heights of Carmel, too, present similar phenomena. In the chalky beds
which surround its summit are gathered numerous hollow flints, lined in
the inside with a variety of sparry matter, and having some resemblance
to petrified fruit. These are commonly bestowed upon pilgrims, not only
as curiosities, but as antidotes against several distempers. Those which
bear a likeness to the olive, usually denominated "lapides Judaici," are
looked upon, when dissolved in the juice of lemons, as an approved
medicine for curing the stone and gravel,--a specific, we may presume;
which, after the fashion of many others, operates upon the body through
the power of the imagination.[190]

The miserable condition of ignorance and neglect into which every thing
connected with industry has fallen under the Turkish government, prevents
us from obtaining any information in regard to the mineral stores of that
country, "whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayst dig
brass." Volney indeed relates, that ores of the former metal abound, in
the mountains of Kesraoun and of the Druses, in other words, in the
extensive range of which Libanus is the principal member. Every summer
the inhabitants work those mines which are simply ochreous. There is a
vague report in the district, that there was anciently a vein of copper
near Aleppo, but it must have been long since abandoned. It was also
mentioned to the traveller, when among the Druses, that a mineral was
discovered which produced both lead and silver; though, as such a
discovery would have ruined the whole district by attracting the
attention of the Turks, they made haste to destroy every vestige of it. A
similar feeling prevails respecting precious stones,--the branch of
mineralogy which first gains the attention of a rude people. From the
geological character of the Syrian mountains, there is no doubt that
Palestine might boast of the topaz, the emerald, the chryso-beryl,
several varieties of rock-crystal, and also of the finer jaspers. The
Sacred Writings prove that the Jews were acquainted with a considerable
variety of ornamental stones, as may be seen in the description of the
mystical city in the book of Revelation, of which "the twelve gates were
twelve pearls." But the present inhabitants of Canaan, regardless of the
natural wealth with which the hills and the valleys abound, trust to
violence for the means of luxury, and to the most unprincipled extortion
and robbery for their accustomed revenue. From them, therefore, neither
knowledge nor elegance can ever be expected to receive any attention.

SECTION II.--METEOROLOGY.

Under this head we include the usual properties of the atmosphere which
minister to health and vegetation, for it has been justly remarked that
Syria has three climates. The summits of Libanus, for instance, covered
with snow, diffuse a salubrious coolness in the interior; the flat
situations, on the contrary, especially those which stretch along the
line of the coast, are constantly subjected to heat, accompanied with
great humidity; while the adjoining plains of the desert are scorched by
the rays of a burning sun. The seasons and the productions, of course,
undergo a corresponding variation. In the mountains the months of spring
and summer very nearly coincide with those in the southern parts of
Europe; and the winter, which lasts from November till March, is sharp
and rigorous. No year passes without snow, which often covers the surface
of the ground to the depth of several feet during many weeks. The spring
and autumn are agreeable, and the summer by no means oppressive. But in
the plains, on the other hand, as soon as the sun has passed the equator,
a sudden transition takes place to an overpowering heat, which continues
till October. To compensate for this, however, the winter is so temperate
that orange-trees, dates, bananas, and other delicate fruits grow in the
open field. Hence, we need hardly observe that a journey of a few hours
carries the traveller through a succession of seasons, and allows him a
choice of climate, varying from the mild temperature of France to the
blood-heat of India, or the pinching cold of Russia.

The winds in Palestine, as in all countries which approach the tropics,
are periodical, and governed in no small degree by the course of the sun.
About the autumnal equinox, the north-west begins to blow with frequency
and strength. It renders the air dry, clear, and sharp; and it is
remarkable that on the seacoast it causes the headache, like the
north-east wind in Egypt. We may further observe, that it usually blows
three days successively, like the south and south-east at the other
equinox. It continues to prevail till November, that is, about fifty
days, when it is followed by the west and south-west, called by the Arabs
"the fathers of rain." In March arise the pernicious winds from the
southern quarter, with the same circumstances as in Egypt; but they
become feebler as we advance towards the north, and are much more
supportable in the mountains than in the low country. Their duration at
each return varies from twenty-four hours to three days. The easterly
winds, which come next in order, continue till June, when they are
commonly succeeded by an inconstant breeze from the north. At this season
the wind shifts through all the points every day, passing with the sun
from east to south, and from south to west, to return by the north and
recommence the same circuit. At this time, too, a local wind, called the
land-breeze, prevails along the coast during the night; it springs up
after sunset, lasts till the appearance of the solar orb in the morning,
and extends only a few leagues to sea.

Travellers have observed that thunder, in the lowlands of Palestine as
well as in Egypt, is more common during the winter than in summer; while
in the mountains, on the contrary, it is more frequent in the latter
season, and very seldom heard in the former. In both these countries it
happens oftenest in the rainy season, or about the time of the equinoxes,
especially the autumnal; and it is further remarkable that it never comes
from the land side, but always from the sea. These storms, too, generally
speaking, take place either in the evening or morning, and rarely in the
middle of the day. They are accompanied with violent showers of rain, and
sometimes of uncommonly large hail, which, soon covering the face of the
country with stagnant water, give rise to a copious evaporation.

The phenomenon alluded to by the prophet Elijah is still found to
diversify the aspect of the eastern sky. Volney remarks, that clouds are
sometimes seen to dissolve and disperse like smoke; while on other
occasions they form in an instant, and from a small speck increase to a
prodigious size. This is particularly observable at the summit of
Lebanon; and mariners have usually found that the appearance of a cloud
on this peak is an infallible presage of a westerly wind, one of the
"fathers of rain" in the climate of Judea.[191]

Waterspouts are not unfrequent along the shores of Syria, and more
especially in the neighbourhood of Mount Carmel. Those observed by Dr.
Shaw appeared to be so many cylinders of water falling down from the
clouds; though by the reflection it might be of these descending columns,
or from the actual dropping of the fluid contained in them, they would
sometimes, says he, appear at a distance to be sucked up from the sea.
The theory of waterspouts in the present day does in fact admit the
supposition here referred to; that the air, being rarefied by particular
causes, has its equilibrium restored by the elevation of the water, on
the same principle that mercury rises in the barometer, or the contents
of a well in a common pump. The opinions of the learned traveller on this
subject are extremely loose and unscientific, and are only valuable in
our times as marking a certain stage in the progress of meteorological
inquiry.

The same author has recorded a fact which we have not observed in the
pages of any other tourist. In travelling by night, in the beginning of
April, through the valleys of Mount Ephraim, he was attended for more
than an hour by an _ignis fatuus_ that displayed itself in a variety of
extraordinary appearances. It was sometimes globular, and sometimes
pointed like the flame of a candle; then it spread itself so as to
involve the whole company in its pale inoffensive light; after which it
contracted, and suddenly disappeared. But in less than a minute it would
begin again to exert itself as at other times, running along from one
place to another with great swiftness, like a train of gunpowder set on
fire; or else it would expand itself over more than two or three acres of
the adjacent mountains, discovering every shrub and tree that grew upon
them. The atmosphere from the beginning of the evening had been
remarkably thick and hazy; and the dew, as felt upon the bridles, was
unusually clammy and unctuous. In such weather similar luminous bodies
are observed skipping about the masts and yards of ships, and are called
by the mariners _corpusanse_, a corruption of the _cuerpo santo_, or
sacred body, of the Spaniards. The same were the Castor and Pollux of the
ancients. Some writers have attempted to account for these phenomena,
particularly for the _ignis fatuus_, by supposing it to be occasioned by
successive swarms of flying glowworms, or other insects of the same
nature. But, as Dr. Shaw observes, not to perceive or feel any of these
insects, even when the light which they produce spreads itself around us,
should induce us to explain both this appearance and the other on the
received principle that they are actually meteors, or a species of
natural phosphorus.[192]

SECTION III.--ZOOLOGY.

In this article we shall confine our attention to such animals as are
mentioned in Holy Scripture; our object being restricted to an
elucidation of the natural history of Palestine as it presents itself to
the common reader, and not according to the arrangement which might be
required by the rules of science.

In the fourteenth chapter of Deuteronomy, where a distinction is made
between the clean and the unclean, or those which might be eaten and
those which were prohibited, we find in the former class the ox, the
sheep, the goat, the hart, the roebuck, the fallow-deer, the wild goat,
the pygarg, the wild ox, and the chamois. As to the domesticated animals,
which are common in all countries, we shall not waste time by exhibiting
any description. The next in order, or "hart," is also quite familiar;
but every scholar knows that the Hebrew term _aïl_ is so vague in its
import, that it has been understood to signify a tree as well as a
quadruped. Thus the fine expression in the forty-ninth chapter of
Genesis, uttered by Jacob in reference to one of his children, "Naphtali
is a hind let loose; he giveth goodly words," has been translated by
Bochart, Houbigant, and others, in these terms:--"Naphtali is a spreading
tree, giving out beautiful branches." The meaning of the patriarch
unquestionably was, that the tribe about to descend from his son would be
active and powerful, enjoying at once unrestrained freedom and abundance
of food. It might be expressed thus:--Naphtali is a deer roaming at
liberty; he shooteth forth noble branches, or majestic antlers; his
residence shall be in a beautiful woodland country; and, as Moses also
predicted, "he shall be filled with the blessings of the Lord."

The _roebuck_, or tzebi of the Hebrews, is regarded by Dr. Shaw as the
gazelle, or antelope,--a beautiful creature, which is very common all
over Greece, Syria, the Holy Land, Egypt, and Barbary. It is known among
Greek naturalists by the name of _dorcas_, from an allusion to its fine
eyes, the brilliancy and liveliness of which have passed into a proverb
in all eastern countries. The damsel whose name was Tabitha, which is by
interpretation Dorcas, might be so called from this particular feature.
The antelope likewise is in great esteem among the orientals for food,
having a very sweet musky taste, which is highly agreeable to their
palates; and, therefore, the tzebi might well be received as one of the
dainties at Solomon's table.[193] If, then, says the author just quoted,
we lay all these circumstances together, they will appear to be much more
applicable to the gazelle, or antelope, which is a quadruped well known
and gregarious, than to the roe, which was either not known at all, or at
least was very rare in those countries.

The _fallow-deer_, or yachmur of the Bible, is received among
commentators as the _wild beeve_,--an animal equal in size to the stag,
or red deer, to which it bears some resemblance. It frequents the
solitary parts of Judea and the surrounding countries, and, like the
antelope, is everywhere gregarious. Its flesh is also very sweet and
nourishing, and was frequently seen at the tables of kings.

The _wild goat_, or akko, mentioned in Deuteronomy, is not held
sufficiently specific by naturalists, who imagine that it must be
identified with another animal called by the Seventy _tragelaphus_,
literally the goat-deer. The horns of this species, which are furrowed
and wrinkled as in the goat kind, are a foot or fifteen inches long, and
bend over the back; though they are shorter and more crooked than those
of the ibex or steinbuck. It is not unfrequently known by the more
familiar name of _lerwee_.

Considerable obscurity hangs over the natural history of the _pygarg_,
the characteristics of which have not hitherto been well determined. The
word itself, it has been remarked, seems to denote a creature whose
hinder parts are of a white colour. Such, says Dr. Shaw, is the _lidmee_
which is shaped exactly like the common antelope, with which it agrees in
colour and in the shape of its horns, only that in the lidmee they are of
twice the length, as the animal itself is of twice the size.

The sixth species is the _wild ox_, or thau of the Mosaical catalogue,
which has generally been rendered the _oryx_. Now this animal is
described to be of the goat-kind, with the hair growing forward, or
towards the head. It is further described to be of the size of a beeve,
and to be likewise a fierce creature, contrary to what is observed of the
goat or deer kind, which, unless they are irritated and highly provoked,
are all of them of a shy and timorous nature. The only quadruped that we
are acquainted with to which these marks will apply is the buffalo, well
known in Egypt and in various parts of Western Asia. It may be so far
reckoned of the goat kind, as the horns are not smooth and even as in the
beeve, but rough and wrinkled as in the goat. It is, besides, nearly the
same as the common beeve, and therefore agrees so far with the
description of Herodotus. It is also a sullen, spiteful animal, being
often know to pursue the unwary, especially if clad in scarlet. For these
reasons, the buffalo may not improperly be taken for the thau or oryx,
whereof we have had hitherto little account.[194]

The _chamois_, or zomer of the ancient Jews, has by different authors
been described as the camelopard or giraffe. The Syriac version renders
the original term into one which signifies the mountain-goat, and so far
coincides with our common translation of the Scriptures, though it is
extremely doubtful whether the chamois or the ibex was to be found in any
district of Palestine. Dr. Shaw holds the opinion that the zomer must
have been the giraffe; for though it was a rare animal, and not known in
Europe before the dictatorship of Julius Caesar, it might, he thinks,
have been common enough in Egypt, as it was a native of Ethiopia, the
adjoining country. It may therefore be presumed, says he, that the
Israelites, during their long residence in the land of the Pharaohs, were
not only well acquainted with it, but might at different times have
tasted its flesh.

This inference is rejected with some show of reason by the editor of
Calmet's Dictionary, who remarks, it is very unlikely that the giraffe,
being a native of the torrid zone and attached to hot countries, should
be so abundant in Judea as to be made an article of food. The same
argument applies to the chamois, which, as it inhabits the highest
mountains, and seeks the most elevated spots, where snow and ice prevail,
to shelter it from the heat of summer, was probably unknown to the people
of Israel. Hence, it still remains doubtful to what class of animals the
zomer of Moses should be attached, though, in our opinion, the balance of
authorities seem to incline in favour of a small species of goat which
browsed in the hill-country of Syria.

The _unicorn_, or réem, mentioned in the book of Job, has given similar
occasion to a variety of opinion. Parkhurst imagines that by this term is
meant the wild bull, for it is evidently an animal of great strength and
possessed of horns. Mr. Scott, in his Commentary on the Bible, adopts the
same view, and reminds his reader, that the bulls of Bashan described by
the Psalmist are by the same inspired writer denominated reems. Other
expounders of Sacred Writ maintain that the creature alluded to by the
patriarch of Uz can have been no other than the double-horned
rhinoceros.[195]

The wild _ass_, or para, celebrated by the same ancient author, is
generally understood to be the onager, an animal, which is to this day
highly prized in Persia and the deserts of Tartary, as being fitter for
the saddle than the finest breed of horses. It has nothing of the dulness
or stupidity of the common ass; is extremely beautiful; and, when
properly trained, is docile and tractable in no common degree. It was
this more valuable kind of ass that Saul was in search of when he was
chosen by the prophet to discharge the duties of royalty. "Who hath sent
out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?
whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his
dwellings. He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he
the crying of the driver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, and
he searcheth after every green thing."[196]

The "wild goats of the rock," described in the chapter just quoted, are
supposed to be the same as the ibex or bouquetin. This animal is larger
than the tame goat, but resembles it much in form. The head is small is
proportion to the body, with the muzzle thick and compressed, and a
little arced. The eyes are large and round, and have much fire and
brilliancy. The horns are so majestic, that when fully grown they
occasionally weigh sixteen or eighteen pounds. He feeds during the night
in the highest woods; but the sun no sooner begins to gild the summits,
than he quits the woody region, and mounts, feeding in his progress, till
he has reached the most considerable heights. The female shows much
attachment to her young, and even defends it against eagles, wolves, and
other enemies. She takes refuge in some cavern, and, presenting her head
at the entrance of the hole, resolutely opposes the assailants. Hence the
allusion to this affectionate creature in the book of Proverbs, "Let thy
wife be as the loving hind and the peasant roe."

The saphan of the Bible is usually translated _cony_. "The high hills are
a refuge for the wild goats, and the rocks for the conies." But it is now
believed that the ashkoko, an animal mentioned by Bruce, presents
properties which accord much better with the description of the saphan
given in different parts of the Old Testament, than the cony, hare, or
rabbit. This curious creature, we are told by that traveller, is found in
Ethiopia, in the caverns of the rocks, or under great stones. It does not
burrow or make holes like the rat or rabbit, nature having interdicted
this practice by furnishing it with feet, the toes of which are perfectly
round, and of a soft, pulpy, tender substance: the fleshy part of them
projects beyond the nails, which are rather sharp, very similar to a
man's nails ill-grown, and appear given to it rather for the defence of
its soft toes, than for any active use in digging, to which they are by
no means adapted.[197]

A living writer, who has considered this subject with great attention,
gives as the result of his inquiry, that the saphan of the ancient
Hebrews, rendered "cony" in the English Bible, is a very different
animal; that it has a nearer resemblance to the hedgehog, the bear, the
mouse, the jerboa, or the marmot, though it is not any of these. It is
the webro of the Arabians, the daman-Israel of Shaw, the ashkoko of
Bruce, and clipdass of the Dutch.[198]

The prophet Isaiah, in recording the idolatrous and profane habits of his
countrymen, mentions the "eating of swine's flesh, and the abomination,
and the _mouse_." This is supposed to be the jerboa, an animal common in
the East, about the size of a rat, and which only uses its hindlegs.
There can be little doubt that this is the creature alluded to by the
Hebrew legislator when he said, "Whatsoever goeth upon its _paws_, among
all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you."
Hasselquist tells us that the jerboa, or leaping-rat, as he calls it,
moves only by leaps and jumps. When he stops he brings his feet close
under his belly, and rests on the juncture of his leg. He uses, when
eating, his fore-paws, like other animals of his kind. He sleeps by day,
and is in motion during the night. He eats corn, and grains of sesamum.
Though he does not fear man, he is not easily tamed; for which reason he
must be kept in a cage.

The porcupine, or _kephad_, is spoken of in the writings of Isaiah under
the denomination of the bittern. "I will make Babylon a possession for
the bittern and pools of water." In another chapter, the inspired author
associates the kephad with the pelican, with the yanshaph or ardea ibis,
and with oreb, or the raven kind; and hence a considerable difficulty has
arisen in regard to the class of animals in which it ought to be ranked.
Bochart had no doubt that the porcupine was in the mind of the prophet
when he wrote the description of the Assyrian capital wasted and
abandoned. This creature is a native of the hottest climates of Africa
and India, and yet can live and multiply in milder latitudes. It is now
found in Spain, and in the Apennines near Rome. Pliny asserts that the
porcupine, like the bear, hides itself in winter. In a Memoir on Babylon,
by the late Mr. Rich, it is stated that great quantities of
porcupine-quills were found on the spot; and that in most of the cavities
are numbers of bats and owls.

The mole and the bat are reckoned among the unclean animals forbidden to
the Jews by their Divine lawgiver. The latter is distinctly included
under the following description: "Every creeping thing that flieth shall
be unclean to you; they shall not be eaten." The legs of the bat appear
to be absolutely different from those of all other animals, and indeed
they are directed, and even formed in a very particular manner. In order
to advance, he raises both his front-legs at once, and places them at a
small distance forward; at the same time the thumb of each foot points
outward, and the creature catches with the claw at any thing which it can
lay hold of; then he stretches behind him his two hind-legs, so that the
five toes of each foot are also directed backward; he supports himself on
the sole of this foot, and secures himself by means of the claws on his
toes; then he raises his body on the front-legs, and throws himself
forward by folding the upper arm on the fore-arm, which motion is
assisted by the extension of the hind-legs, which also push the body
forward This gait, though heavy, because the body falls to the ground at
every step, is yet sometimes pretty quick, when the feet can readily meet
with good holding-places; but when the claw of the front foot meets with
any thing loose, the exertion is inefficient.[199]

SECTION IV.--BIRDS.

In the writings of Moses, the winged tribes are divided into three
classes, according as they occupy the air, the land, or the water.

BIRDS OF THE AIR.

English Translation.      Probable Species.
Eagle                        Eagle.
Ossifrage                    Vulture.
Ospray                       Black Eagle.
Vulture                      Hawk.
Kite                         Kite.
Raven                        Raven.

LAND BIRDS.

Owl                          Ostrich.
Night-hawk                   Night-owl.
Cuckoo                       Suf-saf.
Hawk                         Ancient Ibis.

WATER BIRDS.

Little Owl                   Sea-gull.
Cormorant                    Cormorant.
Great Owl                    Ibis Ardea.
Swan                         Wild Goose.
Pelican                      Pelican.
Gier Eagle                   Alcyone.
Stork                        Stork.
Heron                        Long-neck.
Lapwing                      Hoopoe.

These are the unclean birds, according to the Mosaical arrangement and
the views of the English translators. But it must not be concealed, that
the attainments of the latter in ornithology were not particularly
accurate; and, as a proof of this; we may mention a fact obvious to the
youngest student of Oriental languages, that the same Hebrew words in
Leviticus and Deuteronomy are not always rendered by the same term in our
tongue. For example, the vulture of the former book is in the latter
called the glede; and there are many similar variations, in different
parts of the Old Testament, in regard to the others.

The _swan_, or tinshemet of the Hebrews, is a very doubtful bird. The
Seventy render it by _porphyrion_, which signifies a purple hen, a
water-fowl well known in the East. Dr. Geddes observes that the root or
etymon of the term _tinshemet_ denotes _breathing_ or _respiring_,--a
description which is supposed to point to a well-known quality in the
swan, that of being able to respire a long time with its bill and neck
under water, and even plunged in mud. Parkhurst thinks the conjecture of
Michaelis not improbable, namely, "that it is the goose, which every one
knows is remarkable for its manner of breathing out or hissing when
provoked." The latter writer observes, "what makes me conjecture this is,
that the Chaldee interpreters who in Leviticus render it _obija_, do not
use this word in Deuteronomy, but substitute the 'white kak,' which,
according to Buxtorf, denotes the goose." Norden mentions a goose of the
Nile whose plumage is extremely beautiful. It is of an exquisite aromatic
taste, smells of ginger, and has a great deal of flavour. Can this be the
Hebrew _tinshemet_, and the _porphyrion_ of the Seventy?

Again, it is conjectured by modern naturalists that the heron should be
included among storks. Commentators, it is true, are quite at a loss in
regard to the precise import of the original term _anapha_, and some of
them accordingly leave it altogether untranslated. It is not improbable
that the Long-neck mentioned by Dr. Shaw may be the animal alluded to by
the sacred lawgiver. This bird, we are told, is of the bittern kind,
somewhat less than the lapwing. The neck, the breast, and the belly are
of a light yellow colour, while the back and upper part of the wings are
jet-black. The tail is short; the feathers of the neck are long, and
streaked with white or a pale yellow. The bill, which is three inches
long, is green, and in form like that of the stork; and the legs, which
are short and slender, are of the same colour. In walking and searching
for food, it throws out its neck seven or eight inches; whence the Arabs
call it Boo-onk, or Long-neck.[200]

The _hoopoe_ is thought to be pretty well ascertained; yet we might
suppose that a bird which frequents water more than the European variety
does, would not have been misplaced at the close of the list given above.
The accuracy of the inspired writer, however, in treating this part of
the subject, has been generally extolled,--an accuracy which, there is no
doubt, will hereafter lead to the most satisfactory conclusions in
determining the several species he enumerates. All these birds being
fish-eaters, no distinction is afforded arising from diversity of food;
but the Hebrew naturalist begins with those which inhabit the sea and its
rocky cliffs, the gannet and the cormorant; then he proceeds to the marsh
birds, the bitterns; then to the river and lake birds, the pelican, the
kingfisher, or the shagarag; then the stork, which is a bird of passage,
lives on land as well as on water, and feeds on frogs and insects no less
than on fish; then to another, which probably is a bird of passage also,
because it is mentioned the last in the catalogue. The hoopoe is
certainly a migratory bird, feeds less on fish than any of the former
kinds, and has, in fact, no great relation to the water.

It was objected by Michaelis that the _chasidah_ of the Hebrews could not
be the stork, because the latter bird does not usually roost on trees;
and yet it is asserted in the hundred-and-fourth Psalm, that the
fir-trees are a dwelling for the stork. But Doubdan, who had no
hypothesis to maintain, relates that he saw storks resting on trees
between Cana and Nazareth; and Dr. Shaw says expressly, the storks breed
plentifully in Barbary; and that the fir-trees, and other trees when
these are wanting, are a "dwelling for the stork." It is therefore
probable that this bird conforms its manners to circumstances; that
wherever it obtains rest, security, and accommodation, there it resides,
whether in a ruin or a forest. So that on the whole we need not hesitate,
merely because the European stork seldom inhabits trees, to admit that it
is the chasidah of the Sacred Scriptures.

We purposely abstain from the description of such birds as are common to
Palestine and to the climates of Europe. The ostrich, no doubt, is
peculiar to the deserts of Syria and of Arabia, and might therefore
demand a more minute delineation than is consistent with our limits.
Suffice it to mention, that it is one of the largest and most remarkable
of the feathered tribes, and has been celebrated from the most remote
antiquity by many fabulous writers, who ascribe to it qualities more
wonderful than even those which it actually possesses. Its height is
estimated at seven or eight feet, and in swiftness it surpasses every
other animal.

That it is gregarious no naturalist any longer doubts, being generally
seen in large troops at a great distance from the habitations of man. The
egg is about three pounds in weight, and in the warmer countries of the
East is usually hatched by the rays of the sun alone; though in less
heated regions the bird is observed to practise incubation.

The same remarks might be applied to the pelican, whose solitary life as
an inhabitant of the desert is occasionally referred to in the Sacred
Writings. It appears, however, that this bird is migratory, whence we may
conclude that it is also gregarious, and does not always remain alone. In
their motion through the air, the pelicans imitate the procedure of the
wild-goose, and form their van into an acute angle. When of full age, the
male is superior in size to the swan, weighs twenty-five pounds, and from
wing to wing extends not less than fifteen feet. The upper mandible is
flat and broad, and hooked at the end; the lower mandible has appended to
it a very dilatable bag, reaching eight or nine inches down the neck, and
large enough to contain several quarts of water. Its food is fish; in
diving for which it sometimes descends from a great height. When it has
filled its pouch, it flies to some convenient point of a rock, where it
swallows its prey at leisure. The vulgar notion that the female pelican
feeds her young with blood from her breast, has arisen from the use of
the bag just described, which she opens from time to time to discharge a
supply of fish or water for their nourishment.

SECTION V.--AMPHIBIA AND REPTILES.

In the book of Deuteronomy there is an allusion made to a destructive
creature in the following terms:--"Their wine is the poison of _dragons_
and the cruel venom of asps." It is thought that the gecko is the animal
contemplated in this description, it being acknowledged by all
naturalists to contain a mortal poison. Nature, in this instance, says
Buffon, appears to act against herself: in a lizard, whose species is but
too prolific, she exalts a corrosive liquid to such a degree as to carry
death and dissolution into all living substances which it may happen to
penetrate. This deadly reptile has some resemblance to the chameleon; his
head, almost triangular, is big in proportion to his body; the eyes are
very large, the tongue is flat, covered with small scales, and the end is
rounded; the teeth are sharp, and so strong that, according to Bontius,
they are able to make an impression even on steel. The gecko is almost
entirely covered with large warts, more or less rising; the under part of
the thigh is furnished with a row of tubercles raised and grooved. The
feet are remarkable for oval scales, more or less hollowed in the middle,
as large as the under surface of the toes themselves, and regularly
disposed over one another, like slates on a roof. The usual colour of
this animal is a clear green, spotted with brilliant red. It inhabits the
crevices of half-rotten trees as well as humid places; it is sometimes
met with in houses, where it occasions great alarm, and where every
exertion is made to destroy it speedily. Bontius writes, that the bite is
so venomous that, if the part bitten be not cut away or burned, death
ensues in a few hours.

Calmet enumerates eleven kinds of serpents as known to the Hebrews, the
names of which are as follow:--

 1. Ephe, the viper.
 2. Chephir, a sort of aspic.
 3. Acshub, the aspic.
 4. Pethen, a similar reptile.
 5. Tzeboa, speckled serpent.
 6. Tzimmaon.
 7. Tzepho, or Tzephoni, a basilisk.
 8. Kippos, the acontias.
 9. Shephiphon, the cerastes.
10. Shachal, the black serpent.
11. Saraph, a flying-serpent.

The first of these is remarkable for its quick and penetrating poison; it
is about two feet long, and as thick as a man's arm, beautifully spotted
with yellow and brown, and sprinkled over with blackish specks, similar
to those of the horn-nosed snake. It has a wide mouth, by which it
inhales a great quantity of air, and, when fully inflated, ejects it with
such violence as to be heard at a considerable distance.

The _shachal_, or black serpent, is described by Forskall as being wholly
of that colour, a cubit in length, and as thick as a finger. Its bite is
not incurable, but the wound swells severely; the application of a
ligature prevents the venom from spreading; or certain plants, as the
caper, may be employed to relieve it. Mr. Jackson describes a black
serpent of much more terrific powers. It is about seven or eight feet
long, with a small head, which, when about to assail any object, it
frequently expands to four times its ordinary size. It is the only one
that will attack travellers; in doing which it coils itself up, and darts
to a great distance by the elasticity of its body and tail. The wound
inflicted by the bite is small, but the surrounding part immediately
turns black, which colour soon pervades the whole body, and the sufferer
expires.

But, viewed in connexion with Scripture, the most interesting in the list
given in the preceding page is that which stands the seventh in order.
Speaking of the happy time revealed by the prophetical spirit, Isaiah
remarks that "the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and
the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den." The editor
of Calmet's Dictionary imagines that the naja, or cobra di capello, is
the serpent here alluded to by the holy penman, and which is known to
possess the most energetic poison. We cannot indeed discover positively,
whether it lays eggs; but the evidence for that fact is presumptive,
because all serpents issue from eggs; and the only difference between the
oviparous and viviparous is, that in the former the eggs are laid before
the foetus is mature, in the latter the foetus bursts the egg while yet
in the womb of its mother.

If the egg be broken, the little serpent is found rolled up in a spiral
form. It appears motionless during some time; but if the term of its
exclusion be near, it opens its jaws, inhales at several respirations the
air of the atmosphere, its lungs fill, it stretches itself, and moved by
this impetus it begins to crawl.

The eggs of this reptile have probably given occasion to a fable, which
says that cocks can lay eggs, but that these always produce serpents; and
that though the cock does not hatch them, the warmth of the sand and
atmosphere answers the purposes of incubation. The eggs of the tzepho, of
which she lays eighteen or twenty, are equal to those of a pigeon, while
those of the great boa are not more than two or three inches in length.
As an instance, that the eggs of poisonous serpents do not always burst
in the body of the female, we may mention the cerastes, which, we are
assured, lays in the sand at least four or five, resembling in size those
of a dove.

On the grounds now explained, we may understand the language of the
prophet Isaiah, who says of the wicked that "they hatch cockatrice' eggs;
he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh
forth into a viper." The reptile here alluded to under the name of
cockatrice, is the tzepho or tzephoni; which, we find, lays eggs so
similar to those of poultry, as to be mistaken and eaten for them. Labat
farther relates that he crushed some eggs of a large serpent, and found
several young in each egg; which were no sooner freed from the shell than
they coiled themselves into the attitude of attack, and were ready to
spring on whatever came in their way.

In the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis we find the remarkable prediction
uttered by Jacob in reference to Dan, that he "shall be a serpent in the
way, an adder in the path, which biteth the horse's heels." The original
term here is shephiphon, and is understood by several authors to denote
the cerastes, a very poisonous kind of viper, distinguished by having
horns. This animal, we are informed by Mr. Bruce, moves with great
rapidity, and in all directions, forward, backward, and sideways. When he
wishes to surprise any one who is too far from him, he creeps with his
side towards the person, and his head averted, till, judging his
distance, he turns round and springs upon him. "I saw one of them at
Cairo crawl up the side of a box in which there were many, and there lie
still as if hiding himself, till one of the people who brought him to us
came near him; and though in a very disadvantageous posture, sticking as
it were perpendicularly to the side of the box, he leaped nearly the
distance of three feet, and fastened between the man's forefinger and
thumb, so as to bring the blood. The fellow showed no signs of either
pain or fear; and we kept him with us full four hours, without applying
any sort of remedy, or his seeming inclined to do so."

The Arabs name this serpent siff, siphon, or suphon, which seems not very
far distant from the root of the Hebrew word siffifon or shephiphon. It
is called by the Orientals the _lier in wait_,--an appellation which
agrees with the manners of the cerastes. Pliny says, that it hides its
whole body in the sand, leaving only its horns exposed, which, being like
grains of barley in appearance, attract birds within its reach, so as to
become an easy prey. From these circumstances we see, more distinctly,
the propriety of the allusion made by the patriarch to the insidious
policy which was to characterize the descendants of Dan in the remoter
periods of their history.

There is mention made in Holy Scripture of the fiery flying-serpent, a
creature about whose existence and qualities naturalists have entertained
a considerable difference of opinion. It is now generally admitted, that,
in Guinea, Java, and other countries, where there is at once great heat
and a marshy soil, there exists a species of these animals, which have
the power of moving in the air, or at least of passing from tree to tree.
Niebuhr relates, that at Bazra, also, "there is a sort of serpents,
called _heie sursurie_. They commonly live on dates; and as it would be
troublesome to them to come down one high tree and creep up another, they
hang by the tail to the branch of one, and, by swinging that about, take
advantage of its motion to leap to that of a second. These the modern
Arabs call flying-serpents--_heie thiâre_. I do not know whether the
ancient Arabs were acquainted with any other kind of flying-serpent."[201]

Near Batavia there are certain flying-snakes, or dragons, as they are
sometimes called. They have four legs, a long tail, and their skin
speckled with many spots; their wings are not unlike those of a bat,
which they move in flying, but otherwise keep them almost unperceived,
close to the body. They fly nimbly, but cannot hold out long; so that
they only shift from tree to tree at about twenty or thirty yards'
distance. On the outside of the throat are two bladders, which, being
extended when they fly, serve them instead of a sail.[202]

The _scorpion_, or okrab of the Hebrews, has also been invested by
Oriental naturalists with the power of flying. Lucian tells us that there
are two kinds of scorpions, one residing on the ground, large, having
claws, and many articulations at the tail; the other flies in the air,
and has inferior wings like locusts, beetles, and bats. In tropical
climates the scorpion is a foot in length. No animal in the creation
seems endowed with such an irascible nature. When caught, they exert
their utmost rage against the glass which contains them; will attempt to
sting a stick when put near them; will, without provocation, wound other
animals confined with them; and are the cruellest enemies to each other.
Maupertuis put a hundred of them together in the same glass; instantly
they vented their rage in mutual destruction, universal carnage! In a few
days only fourteen remained, which had killed and devoured all the
others. It is even asserted, that when in extremity or despair the
scorpion will destroy itself. Well might Moses mention this animal as one
of the dangers of the howling wilderness! They are still very numerous in
the desert between Syria and Egypt. Dr. Clarke tells us that one of the
privates of the British army, who had received a wound from one of them,
lost the upper joint of his forefinger before it could be healed. The
author of the Revelation considers them as emblematic of the evils which
issue from the bottomless pit. "And there came out of the smoke locusts
upon the earth; and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the
earth have power. And they had tails like unto scorpions; and there were
stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months."[203]

We ought not to be surprised that the translators of the English Bible
were occasionally at a loss to distinguish the genera and species of the
several animals mentioned in the Sacred Writings; for even at the present
day, when we possess infinitely higher advantages in point of natural
knowledge, we cannot precisely determine even the class or order to which
some of them belong. We have an example of this obscurity in the fourth
chapter of the book of Lamentations, where it is said that "even the
sea-monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones."
The original expression, tannin, appears applicable to those amphibious
animals that haunt the banks of rivers and the shores of the sea, and was
probably used by the prophet with a reference to the seal species, which
suckle their young in the manner described in his pathetic elegy.

It is true, that it is used in Genesis in connection with the epithet
large, and is therefore not improperly rendered "great whales." Hence it
has been concluded, that the word tannin may comprehend the class of
lizards from the eft to the crocodile, provided they be amphibious; also
the seal, the manati, the morse, and even the whale, if he came ashore;
but as whales remain constantly in the deep, they seem to be more
correctly ascribed to the class of fishes. Moreover, whether the people
of Syria had any knowledge of the whale kinds, strictly so called, is a
point which deserves inquiry before it be admitted as certain. At all
events, it is manifest that the tannin of the Scripture must have
indicated an animal which has many properties common to the seal, for it
not only applies the breast to its young, but has the power of exerting
its voice in a mournful tone. The prophet Micah says, "I will make a
wailing like the tanninim," a phrase which, in our translation, is
unhappily rendered "dragons." It has also the faculty of suspending
respiration, or of drawing in a quantity of breath and of emitting it
with violence. "The wild asses," says Jeremiah, "stand upon the high
places; they puff out the breath like the tanninim (here again translated
dragons); their eyes fail because there is no grass." On the whole,
remarks the editor of Calmet, we may consider the Hebrew _tahash_ as
being decidedly a seal; but tannin as including creatures resident both
on land and in water, or, in other words, the amphibia.[204]

SECTION VI.--FRUITS AND PLANTS.

It has been remarked that, if the advantages of nature were duly seconded
by the efforts of human skill, we might in the space of twenty leagues
bring together in Syria the vegetable riches of the most distant
countries. Besides wheat, rye, barley, beans, and the cotton-plant, which
are cultivated everywhere, there are several objects of utility or
pleasure, peculiar to different localities. Palestine, for example,
abounds in sesamum, which affords oil; and in dhoura, similar to that of
Egypt. Maize thrives in the light soil of Balbec, and rice is cultivated
with success along the marsh of Haoul_. Within these twenty-five years
sugar-canes have been introduced into the gardens of Saida and Beirout,
which are not inferior to those of the Delta. Indigo grows without
culture on the banks of the Jordan, and only requires a little care to
secure a good quality. The hills of Latakie produce tobacco, which
creates a commercial intercourse with Damietta and Cairo. This crop is at
present cultivated in all the mountains. The white mulberry forms the
riches of the Druses, by the beautiful silks which are obtained from it;
and the vine, raised on poles or creeping along the ground, furnishes red
and white wines equal to those of Bordeaux. Jaffa boasts of her lemons
and watermelons; Gaza possesses both the dates of Mecca and the
pomegranates of Algiers. Tripoli has oranges which might vie with those
of Malta; Beirout has figs like Marseilles, and bananas like St. Domingo.
Aleppo is unequalled for pistachio-nuts; and Damascus possesses all the
fruits of Europe; inasmuch as apples, plums, and peaches, grow with equal
facility on her rocky soil. Niebuhr is of opinion that the Arabian
coffee-shrub might be cultivated in Palestine.[205]

The _fig-tree_, the _palm_, and the _olive_, are characteristic of the
Holy Land, and therefore deserve our more particular attention. In regard
to the first, the earliest fruit produced, which is usually ripe in June,
is called the boccore; the later, or proper fig, being rarely fit to be
gathered before the month of August. The name of these last is the
kermez, or kermouse. They constitute the article which passes through the
hands of the merchant, after being either preserved in the common way or
made up into cakes. They continue a long time on the tree before they
fall off; whereas the boccore drop as soon as they are ripe, and
according to the beautiful allusion of the prophet Nahum, "fall into the
mouth of the eater upon being shaken."

The _palm_ must at one time have been common in Palestine, though at
present it fails to attract attention either on account of number or of
beauty. In several coins of Vespasian, as well as of his son Titus, the
land of Judea is typified by a disconsolate woman sitting under one of
these trees. Jericho, which was formerly distinguished as the "city of
palms," can still boast a few of them, because, besides the advantage of
a sandy soil and a warm climate, it commands a plentiful supply of water,
an element absolutely indispensable to their growth. At Jerusalem,
Shechem, and other places to the northward of the capital, not more than
two or three of them are ever seen together; and even these, as their
fruit rarely comes to maturity, are of no farther service than, like the
palm-tree of Deborah, to shade the council of the sheiks, or to supply
the branches, which, as in ancient days, may still be required for
religious processions.[206]

The _olive_ no longer holds the place which it once occupied in the
estimation of the inhabitants of Palestine. The wretched government under
which they exist has rooted out all the seeds of industry, by rendering
the absence of wealth the only security against oppression. But in those
places where it continues to be cultivated, it affords ample proof to
establish the accuracy of the inspired writer, who denominated Palestine
a land of oil-olive and honey.

The _cedars of Libanus_ still maintain their ancient reputation for
beauty and stature; while they are diversified by a thousand elegant
plants, which dispute with them the possession of the lofty summits of
the mountain. Here the astragalus tragacanthoides displays its clusters
of purple flowers; and the primrose, the amaryllis, the white and the
orange lily, mingle their brilliant hues with the verdure of the
birch-leaved cherry. Even the snow of the highest peaks is skirted by
shrubs possessing the most splendid colours. The coolness, humidity, and
good quality of the soil support an uninterrupted vegetation; and the
bounties of nature in those elevated regions are still protected by the
spirit of liberty.

Hasselquist is of opinion that the _wild-grapes_ mentioned by the prophet
Isaiah must be the hoary night-shade, or solanum incanum, because it is
common in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. The Arabs call it wolf-grapes, as,
from its shrubby stalk, it has some resemblance to a vine. But the sacred
writer could not have found a weed more opposite to the vine than this,
or more suitable to the purpose which he had in view, for it is extremely
pernicious to that plant, and is rooted out whenever it appears.
"Wherefore," exclaims the holy seer, "when I looked that my vineyard
should bring forth grapes, brought it forth poisonous night-shade?"[207]

The author just named, describes the "balsam of Aaron" as a very fine
oil, which emits no scent or smell, and is very proper for preparing
odoriferous ointments. It is obtained from a tree called behen, which
grows in Mount Sinai and Upper Egypt, and, it is presumed, in certain
parts of the Holy Land. Travellers assert that it is the very perfume
with which the ancient high-priest of the Jews, with whose name it is
connected, was wont to anoint his beard, and which the Psalmist extols so
much on account of its rich odour and mollifying qualities,--the emblem
of domestic harmony and brotherly love.

There still exists a thorn in Palestine known among botanists by the name
of the "spina Christi," or thorn of Christ, and supposed to be the shrub
which afforded the crown worn by our Saviour before his crucifixion. It
must have been very fit for the purpose, for it has many small sharp
prickles, well adapted to give pain; and as the leaves greatly resemble
those of ivy, it is not improbable that the enemies of the Messiah chose
it from its similarity to the plant with which emperors and generals were
accustomed to be crowned; and hence that there might be calumny, insult,
and derision, meditated in the very act of punishment.[208]

THE END.


[1] No. XXIII. of this Family Library.

[2] See Dialogues on Natural and Revealed Religion. By the Rev. Robert
Morehead, D.D., p. 241,--an able and interesting work.

[3] Shakspeare, Henry IV. Part I. Act I.

[4] Chateaubriand Itinéraire, tome i. p. 48, &c. Sozom. lib. iii. c. i.
Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. vi. S. Cyril, Cat. xvi.

[5] Deuteronomy viii. 7, 8, 9.

[6] Terra finesque, qua ad Orientem vergunt, Arabia terminantur; a meridie
Aegyptus objacet; ab occasu Phoenices et mare; septemtrionem a latere
Syriae longe prospectant. Corpora hominum salubria et ferentia laborom:
rari imbres, uber solum: fruges nostrum ad morem; preterque eas balsamum
et palmae. Hist. lib. v. c. 6.

[7] Belon. Observations de Singularités, p. 140. Hasselquist's Travels,
p.56. Korte's Travels in Palestine. Chateaubriand, les Martyrs, vol. iii.
p. 99. Schultze's Travels, vol. ii p. 85.

[8] Seetzen, in Annales des Voyages, i. 398; and Correspondance de M.
Zach. 425.

[9] Maundrell, p. 60.

[10] Chateaubriand Itinérarie, ii. 123. Malte Brun, vol. ii. 150-160.
Edin. Edition.

[11] Judges i. 3.

[12] Joseph. contra Apion. cap. 1. 2 Kings xvii. 24.

[13] Reland, Palestina Illustrata, lib. ii. c. 5. Spanheim, Charta terris
Israelis. Lowman on the Civil Government of the Hebrews.

[14] Lev. xxv. 23.

[15] Lev. xxv. 24-28.

[16] Judges xxi. 8-13.

[17] Numbers xxvi. 02.

[18] Joshua vii. 16, 17, 18.

[19] I Chron. ii. 10, 11.

[20] Deut. iv. 1, 2; xii. 32. "Hoc igitur argumento maximo est; juris
illius majestatis quod in legibus ferendis est positum, nihil quicquam
penes hominem fuisse."--_Conringius de Repub. Heb_.

[21] Livii. Hist. lib. xxviii. 37; lib. xxx. 7. Bochart, Geog. Sacra, part
ii. lib. ii. 24.

[22] Complete History of the Canon, book 1. c. 3.

[23] Deut. xvi. 18, 19. Josephus's Antiquities, book iv. 8.

[24] Reland. Antiq. Sac. Pars, ii. c. 7.

[25] Fleury, Moeurs des Israelites, xxv.

[26] Lewis, Orig. Heb. lib. i. 6.

[27] Michaelis's Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, art. 44; and Joshua
xviii. 3.

[28] 1 Samuel xxv. 4-14.

[29] Judges vi. 12. 2 Samuel xiii. 23, 24.

[30] Numbers xxxv. 2, 5, 7.

[31] Joshua xx. 7, 8. Numbers xxxv. 6, 15. Deut. xix. 4, 10.

[32] Michaelis's Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, vol. i. art. 52.
Jablonsky Panth. AEgypt. Prolegomena, 21, 41, 43.

[33] Isaiah xl. 13.

[34] 1 Samuel viii. 4, 21.

[35] Deut. xvii. 14-20.

[36] 2 Samuel viii. 1, 2. 1 Chron. xviii. 1, 2; xix. 1-20.

[37] 1 Chron. xxii. 8.

[38] 2 Chron. ii. and ix. throughout.

[39] 1 Kings xi. 1-8.

[40] Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem in 1697.

[41] 2 Kings xvii. 1-7.

[42] 2 Kings xxv. 4-13.

[43] Lamentations i. 1-4.

[44] Heber's Palestine.

[45] History of the Jews (Nos. 1, 2, 3, Family Library), vol. ii. p. 39.

[46] History of the Jews, vol. ii. p. 40.

[47] The effects produced upon the mind of the king by the murder of
Mariamne are powerfully described by two poetical writers, the author
of the History of the Jews, and the unfortunate Lord Byron. "All the
passions," says the former, "which filled the stormy soul of Herod were
alike without bound: from violent love and violent resentment he sank into
as violent remorse and despair. Everywhere by day he was haunted by the
image of the murdered Mariamne; he called upon her name; he perpetually
burst into passionate tears. In vain he tried every diversion,--banquets,
revels, the excitements of society. A sudden pestilence broke out, to
which many of the noblest of his court, and of his own personal friends,
fell a sacrifice; he recognized and trembled beneath the hand of the
avenging Deity. On pretence of hunting, he sought out the most melancholy
solitude, till the disorder of his mind brought on disorder of body, and
he was seized with violent inflammation and pains in the back of his head,
which led to temporary derangement."--vol. ii. p. 90.

I.

  "Oh, Mariamne! now for thee
    The heart for which thou bled'st is bleeding;
  Revenge is lost in agony,
    And wild remorse to rage succeeding.
  Oh, Mariamne! where art thou?
    Thou canst not hear my bitter pleading:
  Ah, couldst thou--thou wouldst pardon now,
    Though heaven were to my prayer unheeding.

II.

  "And is she dead?--and did they dare
    Obey my phrensy's jealous raving?
  My wrath but doomed my own despair:
    The sword that smote her's o'er me waving.
  But thou art cold, my murder'd love!
    And this dark heart is vainly craving
  For her who soars alone above,
    And leaves my soul unworthy saving.

III.

  "She's gone, who shared my diadem;
    She sunk, with her my joys entombing;
  I swept that flower from Judah's stem
    Whose leaves for me alone were blooming;
  And mine's the guilt, and mine the hell,
    This bosom's desolation dooming;
  And I have earned those tortures well,
    Which unconsumed are still consuming."

_Hebrew Melodies_.

[48] History of the Jews, vol. ii. p. 96.

[49] Matth. ii. 22, 23. "Among the atrocities which disgraced the later
days of Herod, what we called the Massacre of the Innocents (which took
place late in the year before, or early in the same year with the death of
Herod) passed away unnoticed. The murder of a few children in a village
near Jerusalem would excite little sensation among such a succession of
dreadful events, except among the immediate sufferers. The jealousy of
Herod against any one who should be Born as a _king in Judea_,--the dread
that the high religious spirit of the people might be re-excited by the
hope of a real Messiah,--as well as the summary manner in which he
endeavoured to rid himself of the object of his fears, are strictly
in accordance with the relentlessness and decision of his character."
_History of the Jews_, vol. ii. p. 106.

[50] Acts xii. 21, 22, 23.

[51] 1 Samuel, ix. 5 11.

[52] 1 Kings xxii. 8, 13.

[53] Jer. xxvi. 8, 16.

[54] Deut. xviii. 21, 22.

[55] Deut. xxxi. 9-14.

[56] 2 Chronicles xii. 9.

[57] 2 Kings xxii. 8.

[58] 2 Samuel xi. 18, 22. Commentaries on Laws of Moses, vol. i. p. 257.

[59] Nisan was sometimes called Abib, as descriptive of the state of
vegetation in that month,--the earing of the corn and the blooming of the
fruit-trees.

[60] 1 Kings iii. 2.

[61] Acts xv. 21.

[62] Deut. xvi. 9-12.

[63] History of the Jews vol. 1. p. 99.

[64] Lev. xiii. 24, 25.

[65] Numbers xxxvi. 1-10.

[66] John x. 22.

[67] Maccab. iv. 30, &c. 2 Macceb. i. 18, 19.

[68] Croxall's Scripture Politics, p. 60, 85. Histoire des Hébreux, par
Rabelleau, tom. i. p. 405. Esprit de l'Histoire, tom. i. p. 28.

[69] The sentiment contained in the text is beautifully expressed in the
following ode by Lord Byron:

I.

  "The harp the monarch minstrel swept,
    The king of men, the loved of Heaven,
  Which music hallowed while she wept,
    O'er tones her heart of hearts had given,
    Redoubled be her tears, its chords are riven!

  "It softened men of iron mould,
    It gave them virtues not their own;
  No ear so dull, no soul so cold,
    That felt not, fired not to the tone,
    Till David's lyre grew mightier than his throne."

II.

  "It told the triumphs of our king,
    It wafted glory to our God;
  It made our gladden'd valleys ring,
    The cedars bow, the mountains nod;
    Its sound aspired to heaven and there abode!
  Since then, though heard on earth no more,
    Devotion and her daughter Love
  Still bid the bursting spirit soar
    To sounds that seem as from above,
    In dreams that day's broad light cannot remove."

[70] Murray's Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in Asia, vol.
iii. p. 130.

[71] Chateaubriand, Itinéraire, tom. i. p. 380. Volney's Travels, vol. ii.
p. 335.

[72] Itinéraire, tom. ii. p. 385.

[73] Travels, vol. iv. p. 289.

[74] The original presents one of the most animated and musical passages
in the Gerusalemme Liberata:--

  "Ma quando il sol gli aridi campi fiede Con raggi assai fervente, a in
  alto sorge, Ecco apparir Gerusalem si vede! Ecco additar Gerusalem si
  scorge! Ecco da mille voci unitamente, Gerusalemme salutar si
  sente!"--_Canto_ iii. stan. v. 2.

[75] Travels in Egypt and Syria, vol. ii. p. 303.

[76] Notes on Egypt, &c. p. 274.

[77] Travels along the Mediterranean and parts adjacent, vol. ii. p. 285.

[78] Richardson's Travels, vol. ii. p. 301.

[79] Travels of Ali Bey, vol. ii, p. 214.

[80] Richardson's Travels, vol. ii. p. 321.

[81] Travels, vol. ii. p. 325.

[82] Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 71.

[83] Journey, p. 74.

[84] Journey, p. 76.

[85] Maundrell's Journey, p. 94.

[86] Journey, p. 96.

[87] "Je ne décrirai pas la suite des cérémonies réligieuses qui occupent
le reste de la semaine sainte; c'est un récit qui peut bien édifier des
ames dévotes, mais non pas plaire à quelqu'un qui lit un voyage pour
s'instruire et s'amuser.

"Il n'en est pas de méme d'une pratique superstitieuse des Grecs
schismatiques, dont la bizarrerie ne laissera pas de divertir un moment.

"Cette secte, abusée par ses prêtres, croit de bonne foi que Dieu fait
annuellement un miracle pour lui envoyer le feu sacré.

"A en croire les pretres Grecs, cette faveur divine, dont on ne peut pas
douter, est un preuve insigne de l'excellence de leur communion. Mais ne
pourrait-on pas objecter aux Grecs, que les Arméniens et les Cofes, qu'ils
traitent d'hérétiques, participent à cette même grace. Ennemis acharnés
les uns des autres, les ministres de ces trois sectes se réunissent en
apparence pour la cérémonie du feu sacré. Cette réconciliation momentanée
n'est due qu'a l'intérêt de tous; séparément ils seraient obligés de payer
au gouverneur, pour la permission de faire la miracle, une somme aussi
forte que cette qu'ils donnent ensemble.

"Ces prêtres portent la fourberie jusqu'à vouloir persuader au peuple que
le feu sacré ne brûle pas ceux qui sont en état de grace. Ils se frottent
les mains d'une certaine eau, qui les garantit de la brulure à la première
approche, et par ce moyen ne se font aucun mal en touchant leurs cierges.
Leur prosélytes sont jaloux de les imiter; mais comme ils n'ont pas leur
recette, bien souvent ils se brulent les doigts et le visage: il arrive
de là que les prêtres, paraissant jouir exclusivement de la grace de Dieu,
en sont plus respectés et mieux prayés."--_Mariti, Voyages_, &c., tom. ii.
p. 340.

[88] Richardson, vol. ii. p. 333.

[89] Journey, p. 69.

[90] Travels, vol. iv. p. 315.

[91] Vol. ii. p. 21.

[92] Buckingham's Travels, vol i. p. 384.

[93] Travels in Greece, Palestine, Egypt, &c. vol. ii. p. 22.

[94] The invocation alluded to must be familiar to the youngest reader:

  "Sing, heavenly muse, that on the secret top
  Of Oreb or of Sinai didst inspire
  That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed,
  In the beginning, how the heavens and earth
  Rose out of chaos; or, if Zion hill
  Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flowed
  Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
  Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song."

_Paradise Lost_, book i.

[95] Travels by Rae Wilson, vol. i. p. 220.

[96] Travels in Palestine, vol. i. p. 297.

[97] 2 Samuel xviii. 18. Travels in Palestine, vol. i. p. 302.

[98] See Tour of the Holy Land, by the Rev. Robert Morehead, D.D.; in the
Appendix to which are extracts from this anonymous manuscript.

[99] "Having so often mentioned Clarke, I must say, that although an
animated and interesting writer, and not incorrect in his descriptions, he
is more deficient in judgment than any traveller I am acquainted with; and
I do not recollect an instance, either here or in Egypt, where he has
attempted to speculate, without falling into some very decided error. I
mention this the more, as his enthusiasm and conviction of the truth of
his own theories led me formerly to place great faith in his
authority."--_Anonymous Journal_.

[100] Buckingham, vol. i. p. 316.--The following words, put into the mouth
of Titus by the eloquent author of the "Fall of Jerusalem," will be read
with interest in connexion with the view just given. The son of Vespasian
stands on the Mount of Olives:--

    "It must be--
  And yet it moves me, Romans! it confounds
  The counsels of my firm philosophy,
  That Ruin's merciless ploughshare must pass o'er
  And barren salt be sown on yon proud city.
  As on our olive-crowned hill we stand,
  Where Kedron at our feet its scanty waters
  Distils from stone to stone with gentle motion,
  As through a valley sacred to sweet Peace,
  How boldly doth it front us! how majestically!
  Like a luxurious vineyard, the hill-side
  Is hung with marble fabrics, line on line,
  Terrace o'er terrace, nearer still, and nearer
  To the blue heavens. Here bright and sumptuous palaces,
  With cool and verdant gardens interspersed;
  Here towers of war that frown in massy strength.
  While over all hangs the rich purple eve,
  As conscious of its being her last farewell
  Of light and glory to that fated city.
  And as our clouds of battle, dust, and smoke
  Are melted into air, behold the Temple,
  In undisturbed and lone serenity,
  Finding itself a solemn sanctuary
  In the profound of heaven! It stands before us
  A mount of snow fretted with golden pinnacles!
  The very sun, as though he worshipped there,
  Lingers upon the gilded cedar roofs;
  And down the long and branching porticoes,
  On every flowery sculptured capital
  Glitters the homage of his parting beams.
  By Hercules! the sight might almost win
  The offended majesty of Rome to mercy."

Old Sandys, a simple and amusing writer, describes Jerusalem as
follows:--"This chic, once sacred and glorious, elected by God for his
seate, and seated in the midst of nations,--like a diadem crowning the
head of the mountaines,--the theatre of mysteries and miracles,--was
founded by Melchisedek (who is said to be the son of Noah, and that
not unprobably) about the year of the world 2023, and called Salem
(by the Gentiles Solyma), which signifyeth Peace: who reigned here
fifty years.--This citie is seated on a rockie mountaine; every way
to be ascended (except a little on the north) with steep ascents and
deep valleys naturally fortified; for the most part environed with
other not far removed mountaines, as if placed in the midst of an
amphitheatre."--Lib. iii. p. 154.

[101] "Bethlehem soon after came in sight,--a fine village, surrounded
with gardens of fig-trees and olives. There is a deep valley below, and
half-way down on the top of a hill is a green plain, the only one we have
seen in Judea:--I could fancy Boaz's field forming part of it. The convent
is a very remarkable building, and well worth seeing. Without, it is a
perfect fortress, with heavy buttresses and small grated windows, on
entering, we immediately came to a magnificent church, with a double row
of ten Corinthian pillars of marble on each side,--forty pillars to all.
On the arched roof are the remains of Mosaic, of the Empress Helena's
time. One part was very distinct: it represented a city with temples, &c.,
and over it was written in Greek characters, _Laodicea_."--_Anonymous
Journal_.

[102] Richardson, Buckingham, Maundrell.

[103] Bethleem nunc nostram, et augustissimum urbis locum de quo Psalmista
canit (Ps. lxxxiv. 12). _Veritas de terra orta est_, lucus inumbrabat
Thamus, id est, Adonidis; et in specu ubi quondam Christus parvulus
vagiit, Veneris Amasius plangebatur.--_Epis. ad Paul_.

[104] Pour ce qui est des ornemens de ce saint Temple, il n'en reste que
fort peu en comparaison de ce qui y estoit. Car tous les murs estoient
autrefois magnifiquement reuestus et couvertes de belles tables de marbre
gris onde, comme on en voit encore en quelques endroits que les infidelles
n'ont poe avoir. Comme ils ont emporté tout le reste pour en orner leurs
Mosquées, et est une chose pitoyable de voir que tous les murs sont
remplis de gros clous et crampons de fer qui les tenoient attachez.
Au-dessus des colomnes de la nef est un mur tout couvert, et peint de la
plus belle et fine Mosaique qu'il est possible de voir, n'estant composée
que de petites pierres fines et transparentes comme cristal de toutes les
couleurs, qui representent grandes figures et histoires de la Vie,
Miracles Mort, et Passion de Nostre Seigneur, si narument faites des
couleurs si vives et éclatantes, et le fonds d'un or si luysant, qu'il
semble qu'elles sont faites depuis peu, encore qu'il y ait plus de treize
cens ans. Entre ces figures sont treize fenestres de chacun costé, qui
rendent un grand jour par toute l'eglise: derrière la troisième et
quatrième colomne de la main droite est un tres-beau et riche base de
marbre blanc de forme ronde à six pans de quelques trois pieds de
diametre, qui sert de fonds baptismaux.--_Doubdan_, p. 133.

[105] Maundrell, p. 90.

[106] Relation of a Journey, p. 183.

[107] O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the
midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of
fire in Beth-haccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great
destruction.--Jer. vi. 1.

[108] Modern Traveller, vol. i. p. 183. Joseph. Antiq. lib. xiv e. 13.

[109] Burckhardt's Travels in Syria, Pref, vi. Modern Traveller, vol. i.
p. 203. Doubdun, Voyage, p. 322, 326.

[110] Chateaubriand, tom. i. p. 408.

[111] "Haud procul inde campi, quos ferunt olim uberes, magnisque urbibus
habitatos, fulminum jactu, arsisse; et manere vestigia, terramque ipsam,
specie torridam, vim frugiferam perdidisse."--_Tacit. Hist._ lib. v.
cap. 7.

[112] The Abbé Mariti, who saw little himself, is not willing to allow to
others the advantage of having been more fortunate. "Quelques voyageurs
ont avancé qu'on distinguoit encore les debris de ces villes infortunées,
lorsque les eaux de la mer etoient basses et lympides. Il en est même que
disent avoir apperçu des restes de colonnes avec leurs chapitaux. Mais, il
faut que l'imagination les ait trompés, ou que depuis leur retour, cette
mer ait eprouvé de nouvelles secousses, car je n'y peux rien voir de
semblable, malgré toute ma bonne volonté. Un père capucin crut aussi
reconnoître sur ces bords les effets frappans de la malédiction celeste.
Ici, ce sont des traces de feu, là, une surface de cendres, partout des
champs arides et maudits. Il croit même respirer encore un odeur de
soufre. Pour moi je suis affecté en sens contraire: rien dans ce lieu ne
me rappelle la desolation dont parle la bible. L'air y est pure, le gazon
d'un beau vert; en plus d'un endroit mon oeil se refraichit aux eaux
argentines qui jaillissant en gerbes du sommet des monts; la sterilité
dont une partie de ces campagnes fut frappée dès la naissance du monde,
rend plus douce par le contraste l'apparence de fertilité que je remarquai
dans le sol d'Alvona. Mais d'où vient donc que deux voyageurs peuvent être
si opposés? C'est que un capucin porte partout les cinq sens de la foi, et
que moi je ne suis doué que de deux de la nature."--Tom. ii. p. 334.

[113] "On plutôt doit on admettre l'opinion des physiciens Arabes, qui
établissent, non sans quelque fondement, qu'elles se dissipent en
evaporation?".--Tom. ii. p. 334.

[114] Mr. Gordon, however, maintains, that persons who have never learned
to swim will float on its surface.--Chateaubriand, tom. i. p. 412.

[115] "Le Cardinal de Vitry la nomme la Mer du Diable, et Marinas
Sanutus dit qu'elle est tousjours couverte d'une fumée epaisse et de
vapeurs noires, comme quelque soupirail ou cheminée d'Enfer. D'autres
disent que son eau est noire, gluante, epaisse, grasse, fanguese, et de
tres mauvaise odeur; et toutefois j'ay parlé à des Religieux qui m'ont
asseuré y avoir été, et que cette eau est claire; nette, et liquide:
mais très-amère et salée. Et comme j'ay dit, je n'y ay veu, ny fumée
ny brouillards."--_Doubdan, Voyage de la Terre Sainte_, p. 317.

[116] "As for the apples of Sodom, so much talked of, I neither saw nor
heard of any hereabouts; nor was there any tree to be seen near the lake
from which one might expect such a fruit. Which induces me to believe that
there may be a greater deceit in this fruit than that which is usually
reported of it, and that its very being, as well as its beauty, is a
fiction, only kept up, as my Lord Bacon observes other false notions are,
because it serves for a good allusion and helps the poet to a similitude."
_Maundrell_, p. 85.

[117] The reading in Hasselquist must be _eighteen_ instead of eight, or
eight fathoms, instead of feet, for Mr. Maundrell remarks that the breadth
of the river "might be about twenty yards over, and in depth it far
exceeded my height."--_Journey_, p. 83.

[118] Deut. xxxiv. 1-7.

[119] 2 Kings ii. 19-23.

[120] Paradise Regained, Book I. v. 295, &c.

[121] Among these he found, with great delight, a very curious new cimex
or _bug_, p. 129.

[122] Journey, p. 80.

[123] Paradise Regained, Book II. v. 281.

[124] A Visit to Egypt, &c. p. 285.

[125] Travels of Ali Bey, vol. ii. p. 251.

[126] The Mussulmans say prayers in all the holy places consecrated to the
memory of Jesus Christ and the Virgin except the Tomb of the Holy
Sepulchre, which they do not acknowledge. They believe that Jesus Christ
did not die, but that he ascended alive into heaven, leaving the likeness
of his face to Judas, who was condemned to die for him; and that, in
consequence, Judas having been crucified, his body might have been
contained in this sepulchre, but not that of Jesus Christ. It is for this
reason that the Mussulmans do not perform any acts of devotion at this
monument, and that they ridicule the Christians who go to revere it--_Ali
Bey_, vol. ii. p. 237.

[127] Chateaubriand. Itinéraire, tom. ii. p. 169.

[128] Journey, p. 76.

[129] Pausanius, describing the Sepulchre of Helena at Jerusalem, mentions
this device: "It was so contrived that the door of the sepulchre, which
was of stone, and similar in all respects to the sepulchre itself, could
never be opened except upon the return of the same day and hour in each
succeeding year. It then opened of itself by means of the mechanism alone,
and after a short interval closed again. Such was the case at the time
stated; had you tried to open it at any other time, you would not have
succeeded, but broken it first in the attempt." Paus. in Arcad. cap.
xvi.--_Clarke's Travels_, vol. iv. p. 383.

[130] Journey, p. 63.

[131] Deut. xi. 29, 30.

[132] "Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near
to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's
Well was there."--John iv. 5, 6.

[133] Travels, vol. iv. p. 264.

[134] Clarke, vol. iv. p. 275.

[135] Clarke, vol. iv. p. 280.

[136] Richardson, vol. ii. p. 415.

[137] Travels in Palestine, &c. by J.S. Buckingham, vol. ii. p. 144.

[138] Travels in Palestine, vol. ii. p. 104.

[139] Num. xxi. 24. Deut. ii.

[140] Buckingham, vol. ii. p. 244.

[141] Travels in Palestine, p. 259.

[142] Buckingham, vol. ii. p. 261.

[143] Travels in Palestine, vol. ii. p. 261.

[144] Joseph, lib. iii. De Bell. Jud. Hasselquist, p.157. Clarke, iv.
p.227.

[145] Travels in Palestine, vol. ii. p. 359.--"Quae urbes, quod ipse
servator ils praedixerat, hodie in ruinis jacent."--Cluverius, lib. v.
cap. 20. "Capernaum was visited in the sixth century by Antoninus the
Martyr, an extract from whose Itinerary is preserved by Reland, who speaks
of a church erected upon the spot where St. Peter's dwelling once
stood."--_Clarke's Travels_, vol. iv. p. 211.

[146] Buckingham, vol. ii. p. 366.

[147] "Within two hours and a half of Tiberias, we looked down on a fine
cultivated plain, quite bare of trees; beyond which, at a much lower
level, lay the narrow Valley of the Jordan. This plain was pastured over
by horses from the town, for the keepers of which white tents were
scattered about in all directions. We now came in sight of the Sea of
Galilee: we only saw the northern half, and its size disappointed us; but
the dark blue still water, the green hills around covered with bushes, and
the high snowy ridge of Djibbel el Sheik made a very delightful landscape.
Tiberias, with its high-feudal citadel, its walls and towers, now forms a
remarkable feature in the view; and the steep hills, which descend at once
to the lake on the east, attract attention from their strangely-channelled
sides diversified with dark green bushes and white chalky soil. The lake
at the town may be six or eight miles broad. We could see no stream formed
by the Jordan through it. Before it was dark we had a very fine view of
the lake; at the southero part it is narrow, and the sides bold. The sun
threw a deep shade on this side and on the water, while it marked the
hills and valleys on the opposite side with strong light and shade. The
northern part is much wider and tamer; but the hills are still high and
green, and the lofty snowy mountain of Djibbel el Sheik rising over them
gives great dignity to the landscape. This mountain was very striking late
in the evening, as retaining the sun's rays after every thing around us
was in darkness. In all respects it is the greatest ornament of the lake,
and I am surprised that travellers have not mentioned it
more."--_Anonymous Journal_.

[148] Buckingham, vol. ii. p. 368.

[149] Dr. Clarke relates, that "the French, during the time their army
remained under Bonaparte in the Holy Land, constructed two very large
ovens in the earth at Tiberias. Two years had elapsed at the time of our
arrival since they had set fire to their granary; and it was considered as
a miracle by the inhabitants that the combustion was not yet extinguished.
We visited the place, and perceived, that whenever the ashes of the burnt
corn were stirred, by thrusting a stick among them, sparks were even seen
glowing throughout the heap; and a piece of wood left there became
charred."

[150] The following extract from the unpublished journal already so often
referred to will amuse the reader:--"We arrived at the foot of Mount
Tabor. It is, in its general outline, a round, regular-shaped hill, but is
rocky and rough enough when it is to be ascended. It has many trees,
mostly Valonia oaks. It stands on the east of the great Plain of
Esdraëlon, up a recess formed by Mount Hermon on the one side, and the
hills towards Nazareth on the other. Its height from the plain I should
guess at 1000 feet. We ascended the greater part of the way on mules. On
the top of the hill is one of those large cisterns, or granaries, so often
alluded to before. There was one also near Jennin, which we observed in
coming in. I have since seen them in numerous other places, which puts an
end to Dr. Clarke's pagan remains. The whole of the Great Plain is fully
cultivated, yet we could hardly see a single village, which adds to the
peculiarity of its appearance,--one sheet of cultivation without a rock or
tree".

[151] Clarke, vol. iv. p. 260. Doubdan, Voyage de la Terre Sainte, p. 507.
Paris, 1661.--It is remarkable that all the descriptions of the view from
Mount Tabor appear to be borrowed from this sedulous Frenchman, whose
work, in point of topography, is still unequalled.

[152] Journey, p. 112.

[153] Clarke, vol. iv. p. 170.

[154] Vol. iv. p. 174. "Up stairs, above the Chapel of the Incarnation,"
says Dr. Richardson, "we were shown another grotto, which was called the
Virgin Mary's Kitchen, and a black smoked place in the corner which was
called the Virgin Mary's Chimney. I believe none of the cinders,
fire-irons, or culinary instruments have been preserved; these probably
fled with the Santa Casa, or Holy House, to Loretto; and our only
astonishment is, that the house should have taken flight and left the
chimney and kitchen behind."--vol. ii. p. 440.

[155] Luke iv. 28, 29, 30.

[156] Travels in Palestine, vol. ii. p. 315.

[157] "Traditio continua est, et nunquam interrupta, apud omnes nationes
Orientales, hanc petram, dictam Mensa Christi, iliam ipsam esse supra quam
Dominus noster Jesus Christus cum suis comedit discipulis ante et post
suam resurrectionem a mortuis.

"Et sancta Romana ecclesia INDULGENTIAM concessit septem annorum et
totidem quadragenarum, omnibus Christi fldelibus hunc sanctum locum
visitantibus, recitando saltem ibi unum Pater, et Ave, dummodo sint in
statu gratiae."

"It is a continued and uninterrupted tradition among all the Eastern
churches, that this stone, called the Table of Christ, is that very one
upon which our Lord Jesus Christ ate with his disciples both before and
after his resurrection from the dead.

"And the holy Roman church hath granted an INDULGENCE of seven years, and
as many lents, to all the faithful in Christ visiting this sacred place,
upon reciting at least one Pater Noster and an Ave, provided they be in a
state of grace."

[158] Clarke, vol. iv. p. 167.

[159] "De là nous retournasmes sur nos pas, à l'entrée du village par où
nous avions passé, pour aller voir la Fontaine où on alla puiser l'eau qui
servit à ce miracle; mais en allant ces femmes et enfans nous penserent
accabler de pierres et d'injures, tant ils sont inhumains et enemies des
Chrêstiens."--_Le Voyage_, &c. p. 512.

[160] Clarke, iv. p. 187. "We were afterward conducted into the chapel, in
order to see the relics and sacred vestments there preserved. When the
poor priest exhibited these, he wept over them with so much sincerity, and
lamented the indignities to which the holy places were exposed in forms so
affecting, that all our pilgrims wept also. Such were the tears which
formerly excited the sympathy and roused the valour of the Crusaders. The
sailors of our party caught the kindling zeal, and nothing more was
necessary to incite in them a hostile disposition towards every Saracen
they might afterward encounter."

[161] Travels, vol. iv. p. 141.

[162] Travels vol. iv. p. 148.

[163] Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 35.

[164] Buckingham, vol. i. p. 181.

[165] History of the Jews, vol. iii.

[166] Decline and Fall, vol. ii. p. 385.

[167] The reader who wishes to examine the evidence for the miraculous
nature of the interruption sustained by the agents of Julian will find an
ample discussion in the pages of Basnage, Lardner, Warburton, Gibbon, and
of the Author of the History of the Jews.

[168] History of the Jews, vol. iii.

[169] "When the first light brought news of a morning, they on afresh;
because they had intercepted a letter tied to the leg of a dove, wherein
the Persian emperor promised present succours to the besieged. The Turks
cased the outside of their walls with bags of chaff, straw, and such like
pliable matter, which conquered the engines of the Christians by yielding
unto them. As for one sturdy engine, whose force would not be tamed, they
brought two old witches on the walls to enchant it; but the spirit thereof
was too strong for their spells, so that both of them were miserably slain
in the place.

"We must not think that the world was at a loss for war-tools before the
brood of guns was hatched: it had the battering-ramme, first found out by
Epeus at the taking of Troy; the balista to discharge great stones,
invented by the Phenicians; the catapulta, being a sling of mighty
strength, whereof the Syrians were authors; and perchance King Uzziah
first made it, for we find him very dexterous and happy in devising such
things. And although these bear-whelps were but rude and unshaped at the
first, yet art did lick them afterward, and they got more teeth and
sharper nails by degrees; so that every age set them forth in a new
edition, corrected and amended. But these and many more voluminous engines
are now virtually epitomized in the cannon. And though some say that the
finding of guns hath been the losing of many men's lives, yet it will
appear that battles now are fought with more expedition, and Victory
standeth not so long a neuter, before she express herself on one side or
other."--_Fuller's Holy Warre_, p. 41.

[170] Fuller remarks, that "this second massacre was no slip of an
extemporary passion, but a studied and premeditated act. Besides, the
execution was merciless upon sucking children whose not speaking spake for
them; and on women whose weakness is a shield to defend them against a
valiant man. To conclude, severity, hot in the fourth degree, is little
better than poison, and becometh cruelty itself; and this act seemeth to
be of the same nature."--_Fuller's Holy Warre_, p. 41.

[171] On this interesting subject we refer to the "Itinéraire" of
Chateaubriand, and his "Génie du Christianisme;" the History of England by
Sir James Mackintosh, volume first; and to Mills's History of the
Crusades, volume first, chapter sixth. We may add Dr. Robertson's
"Historical Disquisition concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had
of India."

[172] Mill's History of the Crusades, vol. ii. p. 48.

[173] Mills's History of the Crusades, vol. ii. p. 129. Michaud, Histoire
des Croisades, tom. iii. p. 187.

[174] A curé at Paris, instead of reading the bull from the pulpit in the
usual form, said to his parishioners, "You know, my friends, that I am
ordered to fulminate an excommunication against Frederick. I know not the
motive. All that I know is, that there has been a quarrel between that
prince and the pope. God alone knows who is right. I excommunicate him who
has injured the other, and I absolve the sufferer." The emperor sent a
present to the preacher, but the pope and the king blamed this sally: _le
mauvais plaisant_--the unhappy wit--was obliged to expiate his fault by a
canonical penance.--_Mills's History_, vol. ii. p. 253.

[175] The address of the Pope to the Fourth Council of Lateran, as
translated by Michaud, is not a little striking:--"O vous qui passez dans
les chemins, disait Jérusalem par la bouche du Pontife, regardez et voyez
si jamais il y eut une douleur semblable à la mienne! Accourez donc tous,
vous qui me cherissez, pour me delivrer de l'excès de mes miseres! Moi,
qui étais la reçue de toutes les nations, je suis maintenant asservie au
tribut; moi, qui étais remplie de peuple, je suis restée presque seule.
Les chemins de Sion sont en deuil, parceque personne ne vient à mes
solemnités. Mes ennemis ont écrasé ma tête; tous les lieux saints sont
profanés: le saint sépulchre, si rempli d'éclat, est couvert d'opprobre;
on adore le fils de la perdition et de l'enfer, là où naguères on adorait
le fils de Dieu. Les enfants de l'etranger m'accablent d'outrages, et
montrant la croix de Jesus, ils me disent:--'_Tu as mise toute la
confiance dans un bois vil; nous verrons si ce bois te sauvera au jour de
danger_.'"--_Histoire des Croisades_, tom. iii. p. 394.

[176] "On se rappelait alors les vertus dont il avait donné l'exemple, et
surtout sa bonté, envers les habitants de la Palestine, qu'il avait
traités comme ses propres sujets. Les uns exprimaient leur reconnaissance
par de vives acclamations, les autres par une morne silence; tout le
peuple qu'affligeait son depart, les proclamait _le père des Chrétiens_,
et conjurait le ciel de repandre ses benedictions sur la famille du
vertueux monarque et sur la royaume de France. Louis montrait sur son
visage, qu'il partageait les regrets des Chrétiens de la Terra-Sainte; il
leur addressait des paroles consolantes, leur donnait d'utiles conseils,
se reprochait de s'avoir fait assez pour leur cause, et témoignait le vif
desir qu'un jour Dieu le jugeat digne d'achever l'ouvrage de leur
delivrance."--_Michaud, Histoire des Croisades_, tom. iv. p. 299.

[177] Ibid. p. 302.

[178] It was during the siege of Tunis that Louis died. "Our Edward would
needs have had the town beaten down, and all put to the sword; thinking
the foulest quarter too fair for them. Their goods (because got by
robbery) he would have sacrificed as an anathema to God, and burnt to
ashes; his own share he execrated, and caused it to be burnt, forbidding
the English to save any thing of it; because that coals stolen out of that
fire would sooner burn their houses than warm their hands. It troubled not
the consciences of other princes to enrich themselves herewith, but they
glutted themselves with the stolen honie which they found in this hive of
drones: and, which was worse, now their bellies were full, they would goe
to bed, return home, and goe no farther. Yea, the young King of France,
called Philip the Bold, was fearful to prosecute his journey to Palestine;
whereas Prince Edward struck his breast, and swore, that though all his
friends forsook him, yet he would enter Ptolemais though but only with
Fowin his horsekeeper. By which speech he incensed the English to go on
with him."--_Fuller's Holy Warre_, p. 217.

[179] "It is storied how Eleanor, his lady, sucked all the poison out of
his wounds, without doing any harm to herself. So sovereign a remedy is a
woman's tongue anointed with the virtue of loving affection! Pity it is
that so pretty a story should not be true (with all the miracles in love's
legends), and sure he shall get himself no credit who undertaketh to
confute a passage so sounding to the honour of the sex. Yet can it not
stand with what others have written."--_Fuller's Holy Warre_, p. 220.

[180] The motives for the massacre of Jaffa are given by Bourrienne in so
impartial a manner, that we are inclined to believe he has given a true
transcript of his master's mind. "Bonaparte sent his aids-de-camp,
Beauharnais and Crosier, to appease as far as possible the fury of the
soldiery, to examine what passed, and to report. They learned that a
numerous detachment of the garrison had retired into a strong position,
where large buildings surrounded a courtyard. This court they entered,
displaying the scarfs which marked their rank. The Albanians and Arnauts,
composing nearly the entire of these refugees, cried out from the windows
that they wished to surrender, on condition their lives were spared; if
not, threatening to fire upon the officers, and to defend themselves to
the last extremity. The young men conceived they ought, and had power, to
accede to the demand, in opposition to the sentence of death pronounced
against the garrison of every place taken by assault. I was walking with
General Bonaparte before his tent when these prisoners, in two columns,
amounting to about four thousand men, were marched into the camp. When he
beheld the mass of men arrive, and before seeing the aids-de-camp, he
turned to me with an expression of consternation, 'What would they have me
to do with these? Have I provisions to feed them; ships to transport them
either to Egypt or France? How the devil could they play me this trick!'
The two aids-de-camp, on their arrival and explanations, received the
strongest reprimands. To their defence, namely, that they were alone amid
numerous enemies, and that he had recommended to them to appease the
slaughter, he replied, in the sternest tone, 'Yes, without doubt, the
slaughter of women, children, old men, the peaceable inhabitants, but not
of armed soldiers; you ought to have braved death, and not brought these
to me. What would you have me do with them?' But the evil was done. Four
thousand men were there--their fate must be determined. The prisoners were
made to sit down, huddled together before the tents, their hands being
bound behind them. A gloomy rage was depicted to every lineament. A
council was held in the general's tent," &c.

On the third day an order was issued that the prisoners should be
shot,--an order which was literally executed on four thousand men. "The
atrocious crime," says M. Bourrienne, "makes me yet shudder when I think
of it, as when it passed before me. All that can be imagined of fearful on
this day of blood would fall short of the reality!"--_Memoirs_, vol i. p.
156.

[181] Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, vol. i. p. 163.

[182] Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, vol. i. p. 165.

[183] Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, vol. i. p. 168.

[184] Jowett's Christian Researches in Syria and the Holy Land, p. 315.

[185] Weimar, Geographical Ephemerides; and History of the Jews, vol. iii.
p. 332.

[186] History of the Jews, vol. iii. p. 338.

[187] See Clarke's Travels, vol. iv. p. 191.

[188] Hasselquist's Voyages and Travels, p. 284.

[189] Clarke's Travels, vol. iv. p. 223 and 307.

[190] Travels or Observations relating to several parts of Barbary and the
Levent, vol. ii. p. 153.

[191] Travels or Observations, vol. ii. p. 135.

[192] Travels through Syria and Egypt, vol. i. p. 313.

[193] 1 Kings, iv. 23.

[194] Shaw's Travels, vol. ii. p. 280.

[195] Job xxxix. ver. 9, 10, 11, 12.

[196] Job xxxix. 5, 6, 7, 8.

[197] Appendix to Bruce's Travels, p. 139.

[198] See an article in the sixth volume of the Wernerian Memoirs, by Dr.
Scott, of Corstorphine, "On the Animal called Saphan in the Hebrew
Scriptures."

[199] Daubenton, Calmet, vol. iv. p. 645. See also Shaw, Hasselquist and
Dochart.

[200] Calmet's Dictionary, vol. iv. p. 659.

[201] See Calmet, vol. iv. p. 688.

[202] Churchill's Voyages, vol. ii, p. 296.

[203] Revelation ix. 3, 10.

[204] Calmet's Dictionary, vol. iv. p. 696.

[205] Malte Brun, vol. ii p. 130.

[206] Shaw's Travels, vol. ii p. 152.

[207] Isaiah, v. 4.

[208] Voyages and Travels in the Levant, p. 288.





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