« AnteriorContinuar »
half a mile. It may therefore be considered as a very populous place, considering its extent, for the number of inhabitants are estimated at about 25,000.”—RAE Wilson's Travels, vol. i. 198—202.
ASPECT OF THE COUNTRY ABOUT JERUSALEM.
When drawing near Jerusalem from the valley of Elah, Mr. Paxton observes :“ We passed a district where an immense quantity of stone had been quarried and removed; the refuse stone lay in piles, and the excavations showed that large quantities had been procured. The face of the high ridge, or kind of tableland, over which we now passed, was almost wholly destitute of vegetation. A few thistles and an occasional small thorn-bush might be seen; but a more naked district I had not seen in the Holy Land. Several miles to the right, I saw a hill or hills pretty well
covered with trees of some sort-olives, I thought from their looks; and at a greater distance on our left, I saw several patches of trees on the side of a high and long ridge, and a small village or two near them; but more immediately about me, and over the whole face of the ridge which I was passing, all was naked, all was destitute of vegetation, except a small enclosed spot. I was struck, not only with the absence of vegetation, but with the enormous quantity of rough rock that almost literally covered the face of the ground. Much of it lay in irregular patches, projecting from eighteen inches to five or six feet above the little earth that could be seen. It really appeared as if the district was given up to be occupied by rocks, to the exclusion of all other matter.”—Paxton, p. 112.
“ On reaching the rocky heights of Beer,” (writes Mr.Jowett, travelling towards Jerusalem,) " the country began to assume a more wild appearance. Uncultivated hilly tracts, in every direction, seemed to announce, that not only Jerusalem, but its vicinity for some miles round, was destined to sadden the heart of every visitor. Even the stranger that shall come from a far land,' it was predicted, (Deut. xxix. 22,) should be amazed at the plagues laid upon this country; and this became more than ever literally fulfilled in my feelings, as I drew near to the metropolis of this chosen nation. Expectation was, indeed, wrought up to a high pitch as we ascended hill after hill, and beheld others yet more distant rising after each other. Being apprehensive lest I should not reach the city gate before sun-set ... I repeatedly desired the guides to ask the Arabs whom we met, how far, or according to the language of this country, how many hours it was to Jerusalem ? The answer we received from all was,
We have been at the prayers at the mosque of Omar, and we left at noon ;' to-day being the Mahommedan sabbath. We were thus left to calculate our distance. The reply sounded very foreign to the ears of one,
who knew that formerly there were scenes of purer worship on this spot. Thither, the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.' At length, while the sun was yet two hours high, my long and intensely interesting suspense was relieved. The view of the city burst upon me as in a moment; and the truly graphic language of the Psalmist was verified, in a degree of which I could have formed no previous conception. Continually the expressions were bursting from my lips— Beautiful for situation ; the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion ! They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever !—As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth even for ever!
· Among the vast assemblage of domes which adorn the roofs of the convents, churches, and houses, and give to this forlorn city an air even of magnificence, none seemed more splendid than that which has usurped the place of Solomon's Temple . . . A more soothing part of the scenery was the lovely slope of the Mount of Olives . . . As we drew nearer and nearer to the . City of the great King,' more and more manifest were the proofs of the displeasure of that great King resting upon his city. Like many other cities of the East, the distant view of Jerusalem is inexpressibly beautiful, but the distant view is all. On entering at the Damascus gate, meanness, filth, and misery, not exceeded, if equalled, by any thing which I had before seen, soon told the tale of degradation. How is the fine gold become dim!' I went onward, pitying every thing and every body that I saw.”—Jowett's Researches, pp. 206—208.
“ Viewed from a distance, Jerusalem presents a most imposing aspect, and you are struck with its apparent grandeur and extent; but on entering it, all your expectations of magnificence are disappointed. It might
be laid in ruins by a few pieces of artillery ... Within the walls, ruins, wretchedness, desolation, narrow
streets, miserable (shops), with a few relics of sculpture, seem to constitute all the evidence of its former grandeur ; and its inhabitants are most filthy in dress and general appearance."
“ One circumstance struck me ... forcibly, viz. the husbandman being busily occupied in the operations of the plough along the hill of Zion ; thus bearing the strongest testimony to the predictions of the Sacred historians.”— Wilson's Travels, vol. i. pp. 198, 202. (Jer. xxvi. 18; Mic. iii. 12.) A portion of Mount Sion is arable land, laid out in fields; most remarkably exhibiting, at the present day, the fulfilment of the prophecy uttered first by Micah, and afterwards quoted by Jeremiah, “ Zion shall be ploughed as a field.”— JOWETT, p. 262.
“WE ascended the Mount of Olives, and, at the place where our Saviour, more than eighteen hundred years ago, wept over the city, and predicted its eternal ruin, I sat down on a rough stone to survey and muse over the favoured and fallen Jerusalem. The whole city lay extended before me like a map. I could see and distinguish the streets, and the whole interior to the inner side of the farther wall; and oh ! how different from the city of our Saviour's love! Though even then but a mere appendage of imperial Rome, it retained the magnificent wonders of its Jewish kings; and, pre-eminent even among the splendid fanes of heathen worship, rose the temple of the great King Solomon. Solomon and all his glory have departed ; centuries ago, the