« AnteriorContinuar »
tended from the beginning of December to the end of January. During this period the westerly winds generally blow, which bring heavy rains, especially during the night. The cold is piercing on the elevated parts of the land, and sometimes fatal to those not inured to the climate. David has finely described this season of the year, where, in speaking of the Divine Majesty, he says, "he giveth snow like wool; he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes; he casteth forth his ice like morsels; who can stand before his cold?” (Ps. cxlvii. 16, 17.) And yet there are intervals when the sky is clear, and it is so hot that travellers with difficulty prosecute their journey. De la Roque relates, that he was greatly affected by the heat of the sun, when travelling near Tyre, on the 29th of January. During this season the inhabitants of Palestine, and the adjoining countries continue to sow their corn and pulse.
(3.) Ker, the cold season, embraced February and March. During the early part of this season there are some intense colds; and Shaw states, that it is the usual time at Jerusalem for the falling of snow. As the season advances, however, the atmosphere grows warm, and at length excessively hot, though the rains, accompanied with thunder and hail, are not yet over. The fields, which were pretty green before, become, by the springing up of the later grain, entirely covered with pleasing verdure, and towards the end of March every tree is in full leaf.
(4.) Ketsir, the harvest, included April and May, when the latter rains fell; called harvest rains (Deut. xi. 14, Heb.), because they helped to fill and ripen the corn for cutting. Thus the former rains fell after the autumnal equinox, at their seed-time, to quicken the grain; and the latter rains, after the
vernal equinox, to ensure a plentiful crop. It was owing to these rains that Jordan used to overflow its banks, at the time of the barley-harvest (Josh. iii. 15.) When they are past, the weather is variable till May, by cold winds from Lebanon. From the end of this month till the middle of September, there are few or no showers. In the Plain of Jericho, the heat is excessive at this time; but in other parts of the country the spring is delightful. After the rains cease, the corn soon arrives at maturity, and the harvest commences and continues till about the middle of June. It is impossible to describe the rich fragrance of an eastern climate at this season of the year, and before the excessive heat comes on. The air is filled with odours of plants, and flowers, and trees, which the breeze wafts about in most delicious freshness. Solomon says, “ The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come; and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines, with the tender grape, give a good smell, (Cant. ii. 11–13.) Before the middle of May, however, the verdure begins to fade, and by the end of the month all becomes parched and barren. To the extreme heat which now prevails, there are many beautiful allusions in the sacred writings. As when Isaiah is describing the peaceful and happy reign of the Messiah, he says,
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day-time, from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain,” (chap. iv. 6.) He uses the same language in describing God's care over the poor:
“ Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the
shadow of a cloud; the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low,” (chap. xxv. 5.)
(5.) Kitz, summer, comprised the months of June and July, during which the sky is clear, and the sun's rays so intense, that the streams which in winter rushed with the impetuosity of torrents, either dwindle into brooks, or become entirely dry. The winds generally blowing from the west, refresh the air in the latter part of the day, and the dews being very moderate, the inhabitants pass the night on the roofs of their houses. Thunder is very uncommon in this climate during the summer season, and it seldom or never rains. When it does rain, it is usually preceded by a whirlwind, with clouds of dust; it is "with a stormy whirlwind, or an overflowing shower, or great hail," (Ezek. xiii. 12, 13.) What has been said of the heat which prevails at this season of the year, is chiefly applicable to the lower parts of the country; for, even in the hottest months, the regions of Libanus are so cold, at times, during the night, as to render the use of fires indispensable.
(6.) Chem, the heat, comprehended August and September. During this season the heat increases and “the drought of summer” is experienced, (Ps. xxxii. 4.) The sky is serene and fair during the day; but in the night a copious dew falls, which either saturates the earth, or appears as hoar-frost: on the appearance of the sun it ascends as smoke from an oven, and becomes invisible. Lightning is also frequent in the night-time; and, if seen in the western hemisphere, it portends rain, often accompanied with thunder. During the heat, at noon, it is usual for persons to retire to rest. (See Judg. iii. 24; 2 Sam. iv. 5.)
GEOLOGY AND MINERALOGY.
GEOGRAPHY denotes, according to the etymology of the term, a description of the earth, being compounded of ge, the earth, and grapho, I write. It comprehends the history of the earth, in its whole material organisation-of its figure and other conditions, as a planetary body—of the composition, structure, and elevation of its continents and islands which comprise its solid superficies—of the extent, depth, tidal and other movements of the oceans and seas forming its liquid covering—of the rivers and lakes which give circulation to water over and through its solid parts-of the atmosphere which envelopes it and ministers so largely to all natural phenomena- of the great physical elements of light, heat, and electricity, in so far as they affect the conditions of matter on the globe-and, finally, of the innumerable forms of organic existence diffused throughout the whole of this vast creation. Thus, earth, air, and ocean, with everything of animal and vegetable life tenanting those great domains, come within the scope and constitute the science of physical geography.
For convenience, however, and the more orderly distribution and scientific handling of these multifarious subjects, the term geography is now restricted to so much of the vast subject as pertains to the surface of the globe, that which lies below the surface being assigned to geology and mineralogy.
We have already intimated the substance of the information furnished in the sacred volume relative to natural or physical science, and to the structure of the strata or rocky masses of which the earth's crust is composed. Of that wonderful series of fossil remains of animal and vegetable life, which, entombed in different portions of the crust of the earth, thence decipher to us the order and relation of mineral masses, as well as of the multitudinous forms of organic being which have given life and activity to successive epochs and conditions of the globe, it says nothing. The discovery of these and the sublime truths they suggest were left to the research and industry of man, to whom was given the dominion of the earth.