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great temple which he built, the “glory of the whole earth,” was a heap of ruins; not one stone was left upon another ;” and in the wanton spirit of triumph, a conquering general drove his plough over its site. For years
very site lay buried in ruins, till the Saracen came with his terrible war-cry—The Koran, or the sword ; and the mosque of Omar now rears its lofty dome
upon the foundations of the temple of Solomon. From the place where I sat, this mosque was the only object that relieved the general dulness of the city, and all the rest was dark, monotonous, and gloomy. The mosque is regarded with the greatest veneration by the Mohammedans, and to this day the Koran or the sword is the doom of
intruder. At its northern extremity is the golden gate, for many years closed, and flanked with a tower, in which a Mussulman soldier is constantly on guard; for the Turks believe, that, by that gate, the Christians will one day enter and obtain possession of the city-city of mystery and wonder, and still to be the scene of miracles ! “ It shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled ;” and the time shall come when the crescent shall no longer glitter over its battlements, nor the banner of the prophet wave over its walls.”—Incidents of Travel, vol. ii. pp. 212—214.
Having alighted at a small village on the Mount of Olives, Mr. Jowett thus describes the view of Jerusalem from it :-“ Sheltering ourselves beside one of the olive trees from the west wind which blew sharply, we enjoyed a fuller prospect of the city, every part of which lies plain before the view from this eminence. The whole of Jerusalem seems like one continuous hill, standing out singly from the midst of the surrounding mountains. To the north, east, and south, it is surrounded by the deep valley, which, in its various parts, has, at different times, borne the names of the Brook of Cedron, the Valley of Jehoshaphat, Tophet, and Gehinnom. On the
On the west, the ground adjacent to the
walls, is, comparatively speaking, level ground ; but these walls, on the western part, take in a considerable number of habitations which did not belong to the city,
and did not, in fact, exist in the most ancient times. They include Bezetha and Mount Calvary. Bezetha was added in the time of Herod and Pilate; and Mount Calvary, which now groans beneath the weight of monastic piles, was probably open ground, cultivated for gardens (John xix. 41), at the time when He who suffered without the gate (Heb. xiii. 12) there poured out his soul unto death. It is not difficult to conceive, observing from this spot the various undulations and slopes of the ground, that when Mount Zion, Acra, and Mount Moriah constituted the bulk of the city, with a deep and steep valley surrounding the greater part of it, it must have been considered by people of that
age as nearly impregnable. It stands beautiful for situation!' words which have perpetually burst from my lips as I have surveyed all the surrounding scenery, and this unique, crowning centre of the whole. It is indeed builded as a city, that is compact together.' (Ps. cxxii. 3.) The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.' (Lam. iv. 12, B.C. 588.) This was said nearly two thousand four hundred years ago ; and when, 650 years after, Titus besieged and took this devoted city, he exclaimed, on viewing the vast strength of the place,
We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war; and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications ; for what could the hands of men, or any machines, do towards overthrowing these towers ?”—Jowett's Christian Researches, fc. pp. 254–256.
Mr. Jowett thus relates his departure from Jerusalem. “At half-past eleven o'clock, we passed the Damascus gate of the city; and in half an hour reached the top of the hill, from which I had caught the first view of Jerusalem on my arrival, and from which I was now to see it for the last time. While the servants went on, I rode to a fair green spot, and turned my horse's head round, that I might enjoy a few moments' solitary meditation on the view before me ... I must bid farewell to Jerusalem. The noon-day sun shines strong and bright upon the city, and seems to mock its base condition. What a contrast between its aspect at this distance, and its actual state ! Here, the smaller objects not being minutely discernible, the glowing strains of David seem as true and lively as they were when they first answered to the touch of his instrument of ten strings. • Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion.' Still there seem to be her towers, her bulwarks, and her palaces, challenging our admiration. But I have now, for more than
twenty days, known that these are not the towers nor the temple of ancient times. At every step, coming forth out of the city, the heart is reminded of that prophecy, accomplished to the letter, Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles. All the streets are wretchedness; and the houses of the Jews more especially, (the people who once held a sceptre on this mountain of holiness,) are as dunghills. While I gazed, my eyes filled with tears, till I could look no longer ... 'Lord, how long !!”—JOWETT's Christian Researches, pp. 269–271.
“The morning after my arrival" (at Jerusalem), writes Mr. Carne, was a very lovely one, and, though it was in February, perfectly warm. I passed out of the gate of Bethlehem, and traversing part of the ravine beneath, ascended the mount of Judgment, on the south side of the city. How interesting was her aspect, beheld over the deep and rocky valley of Hinnom! her gloomy walls encompassing mount Zion on every side ; and as yet, there was no sound to disturb the silence of the scene. The beautiful mount of Olives was on the right, and at its feet the valley of Jehoshaphat. The only stream visible, flowed from the fountain of Siloam, on the hill of Zion opposite. It is true, the city beloved of God, has disappeared, and with it all the hallowed spots once contained within its walls. Yet the face of nature still endures ; the rocks, mountains, lakes, and valleys are unchanged, save that loneliness and wildness are now, where once were luxury and every joy; and though their glory is departed, a high and mournful beauty still rests on many of their silent
Amidst them a stranger will ever delight to
1 - The author would here add, that he has, subsequently, very often meditated on that phrase ; and he can with truth affirin, that no expression could have been invented more descriptive of the visible state of Jerusalem, than this single phrase, trodden down, furnished by the most lively and descriptive of all writings extant, the Bible."
wander, for there his imagination will seldom be at fault : the naked mountain, the untrodden plain, and the voiceless shore, will kindle into life around him, and his every step be filled with those deeds, through which guilt and sorrow passed away, and life and immortality were brought to light ... The streets of the city are very narrow and ill-paved, and the houses, in general, have a mean appearance.
The walls can with ease be walked round on the outside in forty-five minutes, as the extent is scarcely three miles.
“ On the east of the city runs the valley or glen of Jehoshaphat,—that of Hinnom, which bounds the city, on the south and south-west, and into these descend the steep sides of mount Zion, on whose surface the city stands. To the north extends the plain of Jeremiah, the only level space around ; it is covered partly with olive-trees.
“Jerusalem is on every side, except towards the north, overlooked by hills, higher than the one whereon it stands. When about mid-way up mount Olivet, you are on a level with the city walls, and the disparity towards the south is still greater. The form of the town is more like that of a square than any other, and its walls are lofty and strong.
“ The sides of the hill of Zion have a pleasing aspect, as they possess a few olive-trees and rude gardens, and a crop of corn was at this time growing there.
“ The valley of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat meet at the south-east corner of mount Zion. They are both sprinkled with olive-trees ... Over the ravine of Hinnom, and directly opposite the city, is the mount of Judgment, or of evil counsel—because there, they say, the rulers took counsel against Christ, and there the palace of Caiphas stood. It is a broad and barren hill ... On its side is pointed out the aceldama, or field where Judas hung himself; a small and rude edifice stands on it, and it is used as a burying-place. But the most interesting portion of this bill, is where its rocks