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“ One seldom sees a country overrun with hills in the manner this is.
In general, they are not in ranges, but more or less isolated, and of a picturesque form. Few of them approach to the character of mountains, save Carmel, and the Quarantina,' the shores of the lakes, and those which bound the valley of the Jordan. To account for the existence of so large a population in the promised land, the numerous hills must have been entirely cultivated ; at present, their appearance on the sides and summits is, for the most part, bare and rocky. In old time, they were probably formed into terraces, as is now seen on the few cultivated ones, where the vine, olive, and fig-tree flourish.”CARNE's Eastern Letters, p. 296.
“ The country promised to the posterity of the patriarchs was to be the glory of all lands ;' flowing with milk and honey. Under the sway of the Canaanites, amidst all their wickedness, it brought forth in such abundance, that the spies sent forward by Moses were constrained at their return to say concerning it, 'It is a good land which the Lord our God doth give us.' In the time of David the population must have amounted to several millions, as the men able to bear arms were numbered, at the lowest computation, and after an imperfect census, at 1,300,000. In the time of Jehoshaphat the men of war, in Judah alone, amounted to 1,060,000. Josephus tells us that at one celebration of the Passover, in the reign of Nero, there were present at Jerusalem, 2,700,000 persons'.
“ In authentic history, we meet with no country so happy as the promised land in the most prosperous periods of its existence ; and had the people been faithful to ... their God, there would have been realized
1 A precipitous mountain near Jericho, rising, an almost perpendicular wall of rock, twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the plain.
amongst them all that the imagination has fabled of the golden age. The spot cultivated by the husbandman (and nearly all were of this occupation,) was his own; it had belonged to his family for centuries ; he was surrounded by the homesteads of his immediate relatives; from father to son were transmitted a thousand little traditions (about) every stone and stream; and all that affection treasured up in the memory was more or less connected with the sphere of his daily occupations “ In relative situation, the Holy Land had many
advantages, as it was at no great distance from any of the kingdoms most celebrated in ancient times, and yet not so necessarily connected with them as to make its position dangerous. It had enough of mountain, and stream, and lake, and sea, to render it complete in its
It admitted of easy defence against invasion, either by sea or land. Nor must it be forgotten, that its position, almost in the centre of the three great continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, was the most desirable that could have been chosen, when the fulness of time was come, and the blessings of revelation and redemption were to be scattered among all the dwellers
earth. “ The relative appearance of the country has been most accurately described by Moses.
• The land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs; but the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven.' (Deut. xi. 10, 11.) : The valleys are composed of a deep rich soil, free from stones. The rocks are principally of grey limestone, and they contributed greatly towards the sustenance of a large population, as they were terraced in all directions with embankments built up with loose stones, on which grew melons, cucumbers, and other creeping
plants, as well as the vine, the fig, and the olive ... There are no rivers worthy of the name besides the Jordan. The towns are nearly all built upon the hills, partly for defence, and partly for the more convenient growth of the vegetables most used as food by the people .. The plains are open, not separated by hedges walls. The roads are carried through the corn-fields; and it may frequently happen, that in the sowing of grain, different portions of the same handful may fall by the way-side, and upon stony places, and among thorns, and into good ground . . (See Matt. xii. 5.)
“ It would be wrong to argue the former capabilities of the Holy Land from its present appearance, as it is now under the curse of God, and its general barrenness is in full accordance with prophetic denunciation. The Israelite in our street, whose appearance was delineated with graphic precision by Moses, in the fifteenth century before Christ, is not a surer evidence of the inspiration of the holy volume, than the land as it now exists, cursed as it is in all its products, its heaven shut up, and comparatively without rain. (Deut. xi. 17.) The prophecies concerning Canaan are numerous, and have been so literally fulfilled, that they may now be used as actual history."-HARDY's Notices of the Holy Land, pp. 275—283.
The observation of Mr. Hardy, that the prophecies concerning Canaan have been so exactly accomplished, that they may non be used as actual history, is strictly correct, and a very slight sketch (such as alone can be given in a work like this) will show its propriety, Thus the Israelites were told that their land should be desolate, enjoying its sabbaths (i.e. being untilled, and at rest) while they were in the land of their enemies ;
—that briers and thorns should come upon it, and that they that pass by should be astonished. dictions are fulfilled to the letter. We are told that the art of cultivation is in the most deplorable state ; and
that, in this desolate country, the traveller in his route every day finds fields abandoned by the plough ; the earth produces only briers and thorns in many parts, and the condition of the peasants is misery and wretchedness; so that the feebleness of the population in so excellent a country may well excite our astonishment. “ The vine languisheth,” for it goes unpruned ; new wine mourneth,” neither do they 66 drink wine with a song ;"
strong drink is bitter to them that drink it,” for to indulge in good cheer would expose the people to extortion, and wine to a corporal punishment. The wines of Jerusalem, too, are execrable.
The prophet Isaiah declares, “all the merry-hearted do sigh. Their shouting shall be no shouting. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth;—the joy of the harp ceaseth.” And we are told that the melancholy and plaintive tones of the Arab in singing, affect the listener almost to tears,—while of musical instruments the people have none, or such as are worse than none.
“ Your land, strangers devour it in your presence,” writes the same prophet; “ and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.” And Jeremiah and Ezekiel proclaim, “ Destruction upon destruction is cried mischief shall come upon mischief.” How exactly this has come to pass, ten invasions, which have introduced into Syria a succession of foreign nations, and the successive conquests of the Romans, Arabians, Turks, Europeans, Egyptians, and Tartars, bear witness; and thus has it been given into the hands of strangers for a prey, and unto the wicked of the earth for a spoil; for when the Ottomans took Syria from the Mamlouks of Egypt, they considered it only as the spoil of a vanquished enemy. According to the law, the life and property of the vanquished belong to the conquerors. The traveller (Volney) here quoted remarks, that the government is far from disapproving a system of robbery and plunder; that precautions against robbers are most necessary in Palestine, and
the whole frontier of the desert, and that war, famine, and pestilence, assail them at every turn. They som in anguish, and reap vexation and care. They would not be permitted to reap the fruit of their labours. Reduced to a little flat cake of barley or doorra, to onions, lentils, and water,—dread prevails throughout the villages ; for extortion, and the tyranny of all its governors, are everywhere fatal to agriculture, arts, commerce, and population. From the same writer we learn, that the roads in the mountains are extremely bad —that nobody travels alone—and that great roads, canals, and bridges, in the interior parts of the country, there are none ; in short, the barbarism of Syria is complete—the most simple arts are in a state of barbarism—the sciences are totally unknown. In all this, as with a sunbeam, the accomplishment of the divine threatenings is written. 6. The robbers shall enter into it, and defile it. The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness. No flesh shall have peace. They have sown wheat, but they shall reap thorns; they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit. They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment; that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein. The highways lie waste ... the way-faring man ceaseth ... the earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof... the worst of the heathen possess their houses ... it is a people of no understanding."
Again, the annual sum paid by the different divisions of Syria, into the treasury of the sultan, amounts to 2345 purses ; but Palestine, one of these divisions, returns nothing. They shall be ashamed of your revenues.” (Jer. xii. 13.) The pastoral or wandering tribes overrun Syria. The Turkmen, Curds, and Bedouins, have no fixed habitations, but keep perpetually wandering with their tents and herds. pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden