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opened the gate; and Christian did not step into the Interpreter's house with more joy, when the fiery darts of Apollyon were behind him, than we felt, for the Arabs of this desert were not far from us, and they seldom spared the traveller or pilgrim. The church of this monastery is a very ancient one, and adorned by the most grotesque figures of old male and female saints. In the middle of a small paved court is a dome, containing the tomb of the holy St. Saba; it is gilded and adorned in the usual tawdry manner of the Greeks. Hence we passed by a flight of steps into a small church hewn out of the rock; it formed one lofty and spacious apartment, in which divine service was sometimes performed by torchlight . A portion of the soil has been conveyed from beneath by the industry of the recluses, who grow a variety of vegetables on the terraces for the use of the convent. About thirty monks of the Greek persuasion reside here; they received us hospitably: in the evening we sat down with the superior in the convent parlour to supper; his conversation was animated and intelligent, full of stories of the wilderness in which he lived, and of the Dead sea at a few hours' distance. In the heart of so fearful and savage a scene, we were now not only in comfort, but in luxury: we felt this yet more when we ascended by flights of steps and passages to the summit of the convent, and entered two or three delicious little cells, which were carpeted and cushioned in the Oriental manner; one of these was to be my chamber for the night . Could the world afford a more wild, sublime, and memorable home? We sat down, and gazed on the deep glen of the Kedron far beneath, the wilderness on every side, where David fled from the pursuit of Saul, and the Dead sea and its sublime shores full in front , illumined by the setting sun. A narrow wooden tower, ascended by a flight of steps from the convent roof, overlooks the desert to a great distance. A monk every day looks from this watch-tower for many hours, far and near, to give notice of the approach of any of the wild Arabs, who come to the foot of the walls with loud menaces. A large quantity of cakes of bread is kept in the tower, and they are thrown out to the Arabs, who are then pacified, and take themselves off. The firing of their musketry, their wild cries, break sadly on the stillness of the monastery: could they force their way in, or scale the walls, there is little doubt of their putting many to death, and plundering all they could find. In a dark vaulted chamber far below, to which we descended at night with torches and through many passages, there is a fearful sight—three thousand skulls of those who died long ago, piled in several pyramids: we looked on them through the iron bars of the door, the glare of our torches fell on the ghastly heaps; each face was turned toward us, each seemed, in the deep gloom and silence of the cavern, to tell a tale of helpless slaughter. The precipices on the opposite side of the glen are full of caves, to which a great number of Christians retreated during one of the ancient persecutions; they were slaughtered here by a body of soldiers sent for that purpose: the skulls of these martyrs were collected, and piled in pyramids in this place. The monastery of St. Saba is in the wilderness of Ziph, and a few hours' distance from Jerusalem. It was founded by this saint in the middle of the fourth century: at least , he built a chapel here, and the recluses who resorted to him built their cells; and it has ever since been a religious retreat of great'fame. The first monastery is said to have been built in the reign of the emperor Justinian. St . Saba died when nearly a hundred years of age: feeling his end approach, he implored to be carried to his beloved retreat, that his bones might rest there; and here they have been preserved to this day. The glen of the river Kedron, on whose brink the monastery stands, is three or four hundred feet in depth: the channel is mostly dry. In the evening, when we walked on the battlements, several foxes were peaceably running about below. The passages, as well as the flights of steps, are hewn out of the precipice. One of the towers is about a hundred yards from the convent, and is on the extreme right of the plate. To live long in the heart of so sublime a solitude, is mournful: a visit of a few days is beautiful. When I retired to rest in the little cell, whose window looked forth on the desert, the moon slowly rose, and her flood of light fell on the hills, the sands, the verdant dells, and ancient rocks of this wilderness, on battlement and tower, while the glen of the Kedron slept in a fearful gloom. On waking in the morning, the little crucifix and grinning skull on a table beside the bed, were the first objects that met the view. The service in the little church hewn out of the rock was very impressive, when the few torches mingled their glare with the faint daylight, and the voices of the fathers, chanting their hymns, broke on the silence of the desert. The fathers of this monastery are not severe ascetics, like those .of Sinai: the use of meat, wine, &c. is permitted, and the stranger will not complain of the fare set before him: tolerable wine, excellent coffee, several dishes cooked in the Greek manner, with fruits. Their supplies are brought from the city. There is a cheerfulness about these recluses, who appear to be not only reconciled but attached to their situation: the air around their retreat is one of the healthiest in the world: they have many comforts within the walls, and the thoughts of many among them cleave still to the affairs and politics of Europe. There is no convent garden to exercise their industry, there being no place for one among the cliffs and crags: on one of the terraces is a solitary palm, the only tree in the precincts, and it looks as strangely here as it would look within a cavern on the shore, or in the gloomy court of some vast prison: yet its slender form and leaves of vivid green are beautiful within the battlements, and up many a flight of steps. Many are the tales and traditions which prevail here concerning the Dead sea: men who pass their whole lives in its vicinity cannot fail to remember them. The superior told us, that he had heard some of the old Arabs of the desert say, that, when passing on their camels through its waters, whose shallowness in one part allowed them to enter to some distance, they came to a kind of causeway, whence they could see, the day being very clear and bright, the fragments of walls and buildings beneath, at the bottom. The Jordan pours its tide into it, so in winter does the Kedron, and anciently the Arnon; but there is no outlet to this vast lake, no issue that the eye of man can discern to its waters: not a stream, not a rill passes from them. Some have supposed there is an under current; others, that there is a considerable suction by the sands at the eastern extremity. These suppositions do not admit of proof, and there seems to be slender foundation for either. During the festival of Easter, pilgrims of the Greek religion

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