Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[graphic]

gloomy and imposing. They stand in this part on the very brink of the descent. It occupies above forty minutes to walk round them on the outside, which gives a circumference of three miles. The sides of Mount Sion are less steep where they rise over the Valley of Hinnom, which joins that of Jehoshaphat on the extreme right, beyond the pillar of Absalom, which is seen in the middle of the plate. Here its slopes are covered with corn-fields and with grass, and look rich and smiling, like a little oasis in the neglected soil around the city. Here is shown the scene of the last supper of our Lord and his disciples, a poor attempt of the fathers: the identity of such a chamber can exist only in the credulity of the believer. Of similar pretensions is the tomb of Solomon, near this spot These places of pretended sanctity "are unheeded and forgotten, the moment the eye rests on the fountain of Siloam just below; it breaks out of a rock in the side of Sion, and falls into an open and rock-hewn excavation, to which a flight of ancient stone steps descends. This bason was hewn thousands of years ago; the pool into which the fountain descends, is deep and clear as crystal: its waters are as sweet, as full, and as beautifully clear now, as in the days of our Lord. It is a luxury to sit on the grass that grows on the bank above, and look down on this celebrated water, the most useful, as well as healthful, in the whole neighbourhood—and follow its rapid stream as it gushes down the side of Zion; and thence into the valley beneath, that passes on to the wilderness. There is no water so much esteemed as that of Siloam; to which the women of the city come daily with their pitchers, for when the other waters in the city are scanty and turbid, the current of Siloam is still fresh and everlasting. One day, that we wandered here, we found a group seated pensively beside the water, as if wearied with their journey; it consisted of one fine old man, whose hair and beard were white, and two young and handsome men. They were Jews, and were gazing on the scene around; the open Sepulchres of Hinnom were beneath their feet, the field of blood, and the ruins of the palace of the high-priest who condemned the Innocent, were on the opposite hill: directly behind them were the gloomy walls of the devoted city—and in the dark glen below, their forefathers made their children pass through the fire, and offer sacrifices to Moloch. Could there be a more awful and appealing assemblage of objects? was there not in each a warning voice of the past? It is impossible to behold a Jew wandering among the places of his ancient pride and power, his fields of battle or of miracle, the staff in his hand, the beard sweeping his breast, the tear perhaps on his cheek, without feeling a sympathy for his fate. The Valley of Jehoshaphat is broken finely by grey and aged rocks, "on which a few olive-trees cast a thin shadow: at every step you seem to move over the ashes of those whose names and deeds are interwoven with our earliest memories, with our dearest hopes. The prophet, the apostle, the prince of Judah, have sealed this vale with their blood, or slept here when their warfare was accomplished. The sepulchres hewn out of the surrounding rocks, are uninjured by time: they are massive, and of a grand and imposing aspect The erection, or rather the formation of the sepulchre of Absalom, was effected by cutting it from the solid rock. At first sight it seems to be erected by an architect , and adorned with columns which appear to support the edifice, of which they are, in fact, integral parts; the whole of this tomb, as well as that of Zachariah, being of one entire mass of stone. The sound of the muezzin's voice, calling the Mahometans to prayers from the minaret of the Mosque of Omar, comes distinctly and sadly down this vale, and dies away among its rocks and lonely places: it is wildly at variance with each hope and remembrance, and the passenger cannot help wishing that the hour were come, when the worship of the false prophet shall be driven from the land. This hour may not be far distant: for who could have believed it possible that a Christian church should be built on Mount Zion, close to the sacred city; yet its walls and roof will soon proudly rise there. It will be a noble and spacious building: the plan is already published; the entrance has a long and lofty corridor on each side, whose shade affords a cool walk. The sum for its erection is now raising in England and abroad, by general contribution: and it is expected that in another year this fine edifice will be finished. Strange will be its appearance on Zion, sweet and exulting the hymns of praise, the words of victory in the Redeemer's name, heard here for the first time for twelve hundred years. The principal object of this church is to promote the conversion of the Jews; and to provide an established worship for the converts. And to the Christians who come either for business or pleasure to the city, it will be a high privilege to leave the walls of Jerusalem, and to share in its services, and listen to the pure accents of life and truth. The hopes of the supporters of the admirable design are, perhaps, too sanguine: it is a hard thing to persuade a Jew to forsake the faith of his fathers: and, in the Holy Land, where he is surrounded by the memorials and testimonies to the truth of the Messiah, it is yet more difficult than in Europe—because he is taught from his childhood to regard these localities with utter scorn and disbelief, and his heart is thus the more steeled against the reception of Christianity. Yet we cannot but believe and hope that the time will come, when he shall bow down at the altar of his Redeemer, and lead his children to Calvary with tears of joy. BETHANY. The distance from Jerusalem to Bethany is about two miles. It is a beautiful walk, and leads over the summit of Olivet; then, by a short and gentle descent, to the village. It is a small hamlet, the families in its flat-roofed cottages are as far removed from competence, as from poverty: the soil around the village is wild and rocky, thinly sprinkled with trees; a stream of clear water issues from an adjacent fountain, to which the young women of the village repair with their long-necked stone pitchers, such as we had seen them bear in Cana of Galilee, of the same form, doubtless, as those used at the marriage feast, where our Lord turned the water into wine. The ruins of the house of Lazarus are still shown here. Within and around its grey walls the tall grass and the wild flower grow rank. I plucked a beautiful crimson

« AnteriorContinuar »