IN THE HOLY
"Within Thy Gates O Jerusalem." Ramleh in the morning light Is it the Arimathea of Joseph? The start for Jerusalem Scepticism and half knowledge A Scripture difficulty solved [Luke ii. 43-45} Irrepressible fertility Testimony of old travellers Entrance on mountain scenery Ladron Atmuas Rash inductions Ajalon Gideon Upper and Nether Beth-horon The scenery and the inspired narrative [Joshua x.] Mid-day repast Our one-eyed dragoman "Excelsior" Ancient fertility of the land Voltaire and Bayle Coming fertility, how and when ? [Isa. xxxii. 13] The Waldenses Peculiar shape of the mountains Abu Gosh Kirjath-jearim The true Emmaus Alpine experiences Scenes clustering -with histories- A ludicrous adventure Absorbing expectation First look of Jerusalem Visions of the past Tarrying at the Jaffa Gate" Within thy gates, O Jerusalem."
WE had only time to take a hurried glance at Ramleh ; but
we saw it to advantage in the light of a morning that was singularly bright,
and when a gentle breeze was bearing health to us on its wings. It is a town of
considerable importance, with a population somewhat above five thousand;
two-thirds of whom are Moslems, the other third Christians principally of the
Greek Church. Its streets were narrow and filthy; its gardens and orchards
beautiful and fragrant. The sand from certain quarters, especially from the
south-west, is not only blown up to its walls, but drifted into its lanes -
like the world intruding on the Church and blighting its fruitfulness - and,
along with minute particles of alkali from the accumulated heaps of its ancient
soap-works, afflicts more than half the people with eye disease, many of them
with blindness. It abounds in mosques and minarets, though the architectural
style of the greater number of the mosques makes one suspect that they were
originally Christian churches, built in the time when Richard of England and
his Crusaders had their headquarters at Ramleh, and that, by the addition of
the indispensable minaret and a few internal changes, they were adapted to the
worship of the false prophet. There is one noble tower of extraordinary height,
commanding a view from beyond Carmel on the north to the furthest extremity of
Philistia on the south, which a competent authority declares to have been
originally "the magnificent campanile of a Christian temple." It is not the
only instance in Palestine in which the hawk has taken possession of the nest
of the dove. This town owed its importance at an earlier period to the fact
that it was the point of intersection for the road from the sea-port of Joppa
to Jerusalem, and the great caravan road from Damascus into Egypt. It is mainly
dependent now on the fact that it is the first halting-place for the night for
pilgrims from the West on their way to Jerusalem.
Is this Ramleh, then, as monkish tradition would persuade us to believe, the Arimathea of Joseph? We should have liked to have been able to identify it as the place where dwelt that honourable counsellor who yielded up to our Redeemer his own rocky tomb "where never man had been laid." But there is really nothing solid or tangible on which to base such a belief. Ramleh, which signifies "sandy," has no etymological kindred with Arimathea, understood to be a form of Rama, which signifies "height," though we suspect it was some imagined connection of this kind that first gave rise to the tradition. Then the monks, having got hold of this conjecture, were not slow in finding out, not only the house of Joseph, but of his friend Nicodemus, and we know not how many others. Out of an almost invisible thread of fact they will weave you a whole web of baseless inventions. But the notices of old ecclesiastical chroniclers are clear in assuring us that Ramleh was of Saracen origin, and owed its existence to the famous Solyman in the eighth century; while they dwell with probably some pardonable exaggeration on its early greatness, when it was surrounded by lofty walls with twelve gates and many strong towers, which bade proud defiance alike to hostile borderers and foreign invaders. Unquestionably there are various towns in Palestine which sprang into existence after the Christian era, just as there are trees now common over the whole land, such as the prickly pear and the Damascus mulberry, which were unknown in the times of our Lord. The true Arimathea remains hidden perhaps under some green mound, to stimulate the curiosity and reward the researches of later travellers.
We started from the convent gate of Ramleh at an early hour, for we must enter Jerusalem that day before its gates were closed. The practice of taking advantage of the early morning for travelling is a necessity in the East, in order to get the full benefit of the cooler hours of the day, and to have time for the rest and repast at noon, when travelling would be intolerably oppressive and often dangerous. But while this is the unvarying practice when proceeding from day to day on a pilgrimage, it is never done on the first day of departure. On that day the party does not leave until within a few hours of sunset, and often pitches its tent on the first night within sight of the place which it has left. This was our uniform experience; as on our leaving Joppa yesterday, and afterwards on our setting out from Jerusalem and from Damascus. The custom, which has all the authority of a law, is very ancient, and allusions to it can be discovered in Jewish writers at least a century before Christ. The reason in which it appears to have originated was the very simple one that, if, on the first evening of unloading the baggage, it was found that anything of value had been left behind, or anything indispensable to the journey unprovided, there might yet be time to return and procure it.
We should not have adverted to this custom, were it not that it seems of some use in illustrating one of the most beautiful passages in the history of our Lord. When Joseph and Mary were on their way back from Jerusalem on the first occasion of their visit with Jesus to the Temple at the feast, they discovered, when halting at sunset, that their wondrous child was not in the company. The fact has long been used as a stock objection with infidels, and with interpreters who dwell on the border-land of infidelity, and it has even been picked up and appropriated by Strauss as casting doubt on the reality of the entire narrative. Was it credible, it has been said, that out Lord's parents could have taken a long day's journey, and never once have inquired for a child so deserving of their love? This is another instance of that sceptical quarrelling with the Scripture narrative which has its origin in half-knowledge. Joseph and Mary, it is probable, were only a few miles distant from the city when they made their painful discovery. We saw Jerusalem, on the day of our leaving it, from the place of our encampment on our way south-eastward.
There was high enjoyment in that morning's ride. The sky was beautifully blue; the air was balmy; the lark was singing far up in the heaven; clouds of white pigeons sailed over our heads; birds of varied song made sweet music in the neighbouring olive-groves; the earth beneath our feet was a rich carpet of flowers of every form and colour. Rue and fennel, anemones and wild roses, lupin and narcissus, gracefully cupped lilies, golden striped tulips, and other flowers familiar to us at home in our meadows and on our road-sides, which we knew better by their names in our old poetry than by their nomenclature in botany. There were rich beds of wild thyme, the haunt and feeding-place of the wild bee, whose honey still makes the rocks of Palestine drop sweetness; and many a flower, especially of deep crimson hue, unfamiliar to us as were some of the constellations in the sky above us. This was evidently a region of the Holy Land from which all its virgin strength and floral glory had not even yet departed. What must it have been when Solomon sang of the beauty of the rose of Sharon! It is curious to look into the pages of old travellers some centuries back, and to find them writing thus of the same region:-"A most pleasant plain yielding thyme and hyssop, and other fragrant herbs, without tillage or planting, growing so high that they came to the knees of our asses." Forgive us if under the enthusiasm of first impressions, with so many sacred associations hanging over the land, we were tempted to quote words which future experiences did something to tone down,
"Thy very weeds are beautiful; thy waste
More rich than other climes' fertility;
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced."
In less than three hours from the time of our leaving Ramleh, we found ourselves entering among mountain scenery, and gradually becoming inclosed in a steep narrow glen, up which, with many windings, we were to ascend by a succession of ridges towards Jerusalem. Indeed, almost before we were aware, we were in the "hill country of Judah." As you pass from the plain into the narrowing track, you see on your right hand, about half a mile distant, a scattered fortress almost seeming to bend over a precipice. Its name is Ladron. The natural, and probably the correct, supposition is, that it was originally built to guard the entrance on this important highway to the sacred city. But the same monkish inventiveness which found a home for Joseph and Nicodemus at Ramleh, has pronounced this to be "the castle of the good thief," the house of the penitent malefactor who was crucified with our Lord. Until very recently it was the nest and stronghold of predatory Arabs, admirably situated for purposes of plunder first, and of safety for the robbers afterwards. Pilgrims, in the last age, breathed more freely when they found themselves a few miles beyond this den of thieves without having been "stripped and peeled."
That little town, again, on the left, at the root of the commencing mountain-range, is called " Amwas" or " Emmaus," and we halt and look down upon it for a few moments in order to receive a few cautions against the too ready identifying of places with Scripture names. Even modern travellers of high learning and authority have tasked and strained their ingenuity to prove that this is the very Emmaus to which the two disconsolate disciples were travelling on the memorable afternoon of the day of our Lord's resurrection. The name is all in their favour, and a tradition which can be traced down in unbroken line from the third to the thirteenth century confirms the impression derived from the identity of the name. But the inexorable conditions of the evangelical narrative give the conjecture to the winds, and place it beyond all reasonable doubt that this cannot be the Emmaus of Luke, the scene of that marvellous conversation and gracious self-manifestation by the risen Christ. The village named in the gospel was only sixty furlongs distant from Jerusalem: this is one hundred and sixty by the crow's flight. The two disciples returned to Jerusalem on the same evening. Is it credible that between afternoon and midnight, with an intervening pause, they could have travelled a distance of forty miles? Here, then, is an instance in which both the name and nearly a thousand years of tradition must give way before the stubborn logic of facts. We were being rapidly educated into an unpleasant scepticism about localities.
There cannot be a doubt, however, that that village of Yalo, on the mountain-side towards our left, looks down upon one of the most interesting scenes of Old Testament history. It is the Ajalon of Joshua's great prayer and of the answering miracle, when "the moon stood still in the valley of Ajalon." We were now, therefore, skirting the locality of one of the grandest events in the life of the chosen people. We had not time to diverge from our path and trace from point to point in the scenery the various details of that great conflict, rout, and slaughter, in which the military strength of the five Canaanitish kings was broken and shivered, and Jehovah himself fought from heaven so visibly and gloriously for Israel. We could only look in upon some points in the vast theatre of that mighty drama. Gibeon still stands, not quite a ruin yet, on a lofty eminence, down whose sides there are the traces of old gardens and broken terraces, where a few olives make an effort to live. Upper Beth-horon is perched upon another height, while Beth-horon the Nether lies down in a valley beneath. The incidents of that great and notable day can be traced in these various places with the most perfect certainty, through the singularly minute exactness of the sacred narrative. The five kings of the Amorites have surrounded Gibeon with a strong army, determined to punish to the utmost its craven people for their desertion to that mysterious power which has come up so suddenly upon their land, and the recollection of whose terrible triumphs at Jericho and Ai is still fresh upon their minds. Joshua, warned of this by the timid and wily Gibeonites, hastens through the night, by a forced march, to Gibeon, and early in the morning falls upon the besiegers by a sudden onslaught which produces universal confusion and dismay. They flee before the conquering Israelites, toil up the steep ascent to the Upper Beth-horon, the confusion and the carnage increasing every moment. On the crest of the village-crowned mountain a new terror awaits them, for, as they still rush onward, the Lord casts down great hailstones from heaven upon them, and more perish by the hailstones than are slain by the children of Israel with the sword. Down they flee into the valley beneath, towards the Nether Beth-horon, more terrified by the dread artillery of heaven than by the pursuing hosts of Israel; and then it is that Joshua, with sword in hand, looking down on the retreating Amorites, and seeing that the day for reaping the awful death-harvest is all too short, speaks that command in the hearing of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies." We cannot determine the modus of that magnificent miracle. Can we do this, indeed, in regard to any supernatural work? It is enough for us to know that the laws of nature were so divinely controlled as to produce this astonishing result. "This was the very longest day," says the ever quaint Fuller, "which that climate ever did or shall behold, when time was delivered of twins, two days joined together without any night interposing."
The ascent was every half-hour becoming steeper and the sun hotter, and we were not sorry when our guide told us to halt for our mid-day repast and rest. A piece of carpet was spread for us under a fine old oak tree, with thick foliage and enormous branches. We began today to eat the wild honey, which never failed us during our journeyings in Palestine and those rich oranges, larger than an infant's head, which Giuseppe had purchased yesterday at the gate of the Jaffa gardens, tasted like nectar. With what skill he cuts them up into thin slices with that long knife drawn from his belt, not allowing one drop of juice to escape. We had noticed before this that he was one-eyed, and we were not long in the country until we observed that this was a very common fact with men of middle age. Indeed, it would be difficult to determine whether the possession of both eyes is the exception or the rule. There are sometimes local causes which so far account for this, as was the case at Ramleh; and the want of skilful surgeons may explain it in not a few other instances. But we soon discovered that there was a cause beyond this, operating always and everywhere, in the terrible conscription for the Sultan's army, which had tempted hundreds thus to maim themselves in order that they might be disqualified for military service. We were told, however, that the unscrupulous Pasha at Jerusalem, determined not to be outdone, had met one trick with another, and had, some years before, instituted a one-eyed regiment, for admission to which this Cyclopean condition was a necessary qualification !
After a rest of silence, if not of sleep, we spring to our feet refreshed, and are again mounted and on our way. We notice a gradual change in the scenery. We have left many of the wild flowers now behind us; even the trees are becoming stunted and unsocial, though here and there at intervals we recognize the dwarf oak, the box, and the laurel. Large naked masses of limestone crop out here and there upon the mountain sides, though all the way up to this point it has been possible to trace, in the ruins of old gardens, in neglected and broken down terraces, in dead vine stocks and gnarled olive roots, with bright patches of verdure, the evidences of a formerly wider culture, the relics of a much more extensive fruitfulness. Our friend Lt. Van de Velde mentions, that where he passed through this same region he met with the fragments of old watch towers standing in places in which there is now nothing to watch, but which must at an earlier period have blossomed as the rose.
And here we may state our conviction, which began to form itself at this part of our journeyings, and which all our later wanderings went to confirm. It was a favourite objection with Voltaire and Bayle, and the able school of infidels of which they were the chief prophets, that this country could never have possessed the fertility and beauty which are ascribed to it in the Scriptures; and that the descriptions of it, not only in the poetry of the Bible, but in its plain histories, are demonstrably gross exaggerations. And we have heard the fainter echoes of these confident assertions in our own times. Our belief is that the exaggeration is all on the side of these writers, and that there is nothing in the condition of modern Palestine to discredit the inspired representations; nay, that it is quiteconceivable that, without any strictly miraculous interposition, under the influence of good laws and industrious intelligent culture, the fruit of general education and sound religion, the land may yet recover all its old and palmy fertility. This is the order which prophecy leads us to expect. "Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers......until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high." The Turkish administration, especially in its remoter provinces, blights and curses everything that it touches. The proverb is almost literally true, that wherever the hoof of a Turkish horse rests, it leaves barrenness behind it. Think of a country in which the poor farmer is obliged to give two-thirds of the whole produce of the land he cultivates to the government, and in which the remaining third is estimated by the rapacious agents of the Pasha, who generally know nothing either of justice or mercy. Competence is dangerous under such a system. The thriving man becomes a mark for robbery and oppression. Is it matter for wonder that, under such a system as this, gardens should have, returned to wildernesses, the vine withered, the olive-tree drooped and died, corn fields have become oozy swamps, fountains once used for irrigation have been choked and sealed up, and hundreds of places which once echoed with the songs of the reaper or of the vintage now heaps of stones, or masses of tangled weeds, or barren rocks! " The old instrument is the same, but it is neither strung with stock, nor played upon with the hand of skilful industry. The rose of Sharon is faded, her leaves lost, and now nothing but the prickles thereof are to be seen. But let labour be protected and fairly and certainly remunerated; let industry be instructed, guided, and stimulated, and how soon would the land begin to smile with abundance, and to put on again her beautiful garments! Could that picture of industry which we have sometimes witnessed among the Waldenses on the slopes of their Cottian Alps, of women carrying baskets of earth on their heads, and spreading it on the naked rocks from which the rains and melting snows had washed the soil away, in order to afford planting-ground for the young vines, only become common in Palestine, and the energy which it represents be made indigenous there, in how many thousand spots would the wilderness become a fruitful field! Competent judges have affirmed that were the one plain of Esdraelon, which stretches from Cape Carmel to Mount Tabor, a distance of less than thirty miles, to be cultivated according to our Western notions of culture, it would produce sufficient grain to feed all the inhabitants of Palestine. The well-known experience of Mr. Meshullam proves what good farming could evoke from this weary, down-trodden land, and what sleeping life there is in its soil, when, on his experimental farm at Urtas, a little to the southward of Bethlehem, he was rewarded by a rotation of five different crops in one year; and even the peach-stone which he dibbled into the earth grew peaches within the first twelve months.
As we rode on we recognized that peculiar formation of many of the mountains which had been noticed by Richardson and other travellers in a former age, "meeting at their base, but separated at their top, not by pointed acuminations, but more like two round balls placed beside each other." We were now passing through a region which, in the times of that observant traveller, and at a much later period, was the most dangerous for pilgrims in all Palestine, with the one exception of the road down to Jericho, through the presence of that powerful and ferocious brigand, Abu Gosh, who, for fifty years, was the scourge and terror of the whole region, plundering luckless caravans, and not scrupling to send a bullet through the body of a pasha who might venture to intrude into his territory and to question his authority. Those narrow passes and sharp turns in the road, where concealed bandits could quietly wait their prey, and be ready to point the muzzle of a gun to their breast as they moved round the angle of a rock, favoured his robber life. That village up on the margin of the wady, with some strong-looking buildings frowning in its centre, was the robber's capital; and the wrecks of his family, returned from long exile, are said to harbour in it still, like Giant Pope in Bunyan, perhaps watching the passing pilgrim, but no longer able to do any mischief: they may grin, but they cannot bite.
To what base uses has that village come; for while the point has not been absolutely proved, it has at least been rendered highly probable, that Kuriet-el-Ainab is the actual Kirjath-jearim of Old Testament history, the place to which the ark of the Lord was brought from Beth-shemesh, and where it rested under the care of a priestly family further up on the same eminence, until it was carried up by David from thence to Jerusalem. During the time in which this sacred symbol of the divine presence tarried in the priest's mountain-home at Kirjath-jearim, the people must have come up to it from all quarters for sacrifice and worship; and now that ancient " house of prayer" for all people had literally been " made a den of thieves."
There are those who favour the conjecture that this is also the true Emmaus of the evangelical narrative; and there would indeed be something pleasing in the coincidence that the little town which for so many centuries before had been the resting place of the symbol of the divine presence had once at least afforded shelter and hospitality to the risen Redeemer, the incarnate God. If picturesqueness could have anything to do in settling such a question, we should prefer, in harmony with the general opinion of students of sacred topography in Jerusalem, marking Kolonieh as the real gospel Emmaus, standing a good way up on the wooded slopes of a mountain, with gardens of fruit trees spreading down to a shady hollow with its little murmuring brook and its old Roman bridge. Its distance from Jerusalem is not inconsistent with the supposition, and its present evidently Roman name only proves that, at a later period, it was garrisoned for a time by Roman soldiers.
We had severe effort with our now wearied horses before we got quite clear of those narrow passes in which we had been winding and ascending for so many hours. There was one zigzag, rugged, almost precipitous place that nearly worsted us. We had gone over some of the worst passes in the Alps, we had crossed one of the most formidable ridges of the Appenines by moonlight, yet some engineering skill had been expended on those roads; but here the turns were so sharp around the pointed projecting rocks, the beetling precipices beneath so terrible, and the declivities above us which we were required to climb so near to the perpendicular, that our best resource for a little time was to throw the reins upon our horse's neck and to close our eyes. At length we were upon ground which, though bleak in some places and rugged in all, was comparatively level; and we began to breathe freely. And now we could not doubt that we were passing over ground which was rich at almost every step with Biblical associations. Along this way the procession must have moved bearing the ark of the Lord from Kirjath-jearim to its place within the curtained tabernacle on Mount Zion. The whole region before and behind must have echoed with the glad music of the harp and the psaltery, the clang of the cymbals, and the soft sound of the silver trumpets. "The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels. There is little Benjamin, with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali." Through long centuries, companies of pilgrims must have journeyed over this lofty table land on their way to keep the solemn annual feasts, converging towards it from many a wady and glen, their ranks increasing and their songs becoming louder as they drew near to the sacred city. And if Emmaus was some where in this quarter, as all seem to believe that it was, then it seems certain that "on that solemn eventide" of which Cowper speaks, the blessed feet of the risen Christ must have trodden hereabouts when he talked with those two disciples - alternately hoping and fearing, believing and doubting - in words that made their hearts burn within them; though it is probable that gardens and corn fields may then have filled the air with fragrance and clothed the landscape with beauty. The Roman legions must have marched along this path to be the instrument of Heaven's holy and awful vengeance against the doomed city whose cup of guilt was full. And in later ages this must have been the course of the brave Crusaders from the far West, ascending under their red cross banners either to recover Jerusalem to the Christians, or to perish under its walls and be buried in its sacred dust. In a little while, however, we began to give scarcely any heed to scenery or incident. The consciousness had been secretly present to our hearts since the morning, that before sunset we were to look upon the most sacredly interesting place in the world; and now the absorbing thought, as the intervening miles slowly lessened between us and our bourn, was Jerusalem - Jerusalem! We were not, however, without a brief adventure, that was curiously out of keeping with our state of mind. As we were riding along at a somewhat brisk pace over a comparatively level part of our way, we saw a company of five or six men approaching us from the opposite direction on horseback, and with ample cloaks floating behind them on the breeze. Who were these imposing riders, to whom distance lent so much enchantment? Had they borne lances and carried pennons, they might almost have represented a company of those Crusaders of whom we had been dreaming half-an-hour before. Alas! for sentiment and romance! They turned out to be nothing more than mounted " touters" from the different hotels in Jerusalem, eager to put into our hands their bill of fare, and to extract from us a promise, which we were slow to give. It was more than a mile before we got rid of this teasing. It was a somewhat ludicrous instance of the occidental wave which is beginning to obliterate the old customs of the East. But the same kind of influence is at work in many other and more serious forms. We have need to make haste if we would catch the old picture of the East entire. The colours are fading, the forms are changing. We are convinced that there are many customs illustrative of Scripture which have yet to be observed and placed on record. No man has yet quite done for Palestine what Mr. Lane has accomplished, in his admirable work, for Egypt.
Our eagerness had now grown into impatience. Surely when we get up to that eminence we shall see Jerusalem! We ascend, and are disappointed; and so it is a second time and a third. Can we really be on the right way? At length we pass on to a rocky plateau, and our range of view is widened. Does that line of bright green in the far distance mark the course of the Jordan? It does; and that shining strip of water must be the mysterious Dead Sea, and that lofty wall of green beyond must be the mountains of Moab. We proceed a few paces onward, and Jerusalem is almost at our feet. First, green Olivet appears, with a half-ruined monastery on its summit, and dotted all over with olive trees. Those are the old walls of the holy city. Behold, rising high above them, is the domed Mosque of Omar, and that old black structure nearer is the Tower of David. See what a glory the western sun is shedding upon the venerable city and down into that deep valley of Hinnom! The dream of a life was realized. We reined in our horse, and gazed mutely. We confess to have felt so solemn that we refused to speak or to be spoken to by others; just as we have sometimes felt when entering a death-chamber where a spirit had just passed away to heaven, and nothing but the cold beloved dust remained.
Then, as we descended slowly on the bright greensward, a succession of visions passed rapidly before our mind.
In imagination we saw the city in its palmy days, when Solomon was its king. The Temple was built and finished and stood on Mount Moriah "very magnifical," the work of a united religious people - a very poem in stone. The glory of the Lord had descended and taken visible possession of it, and the king, with his white robed priests and crowding multitudes, had sung high praise and holy welcome to the heavenly King, the Divine Inhabitant. Ages passed, and then we imagined proud Sennacherib's army of Assyrians compassing the city round about, demanding submission and entrance, or assuring the people of speedy bondage and destruction in the event of refusal. Hezekiah's prayer conquers when the besieged people are at their wit's end; and one of God's soldiers, an angel from heaven, on one night seals in a fatal death-sleep 185,000 of the beleaguering army which had defied the living God. Next, we thought of Nehemiah in later ages walking by moonlight amidst its ruined walls and broken gates, hastening to arouse and unite the dispirited and divided people; and then, under his patriotic, earnest leadership, transfusing his soul, as it were, into the whole nation, the wall rising from day to day like a thing of life, its gates set up, and national existence and national hope restored. Then centuries elapsed again, and we beheld the Son of God walking and teaching in its streets and places of public concourse, and working miracles at its Temple-gates, his earthly life closed by the great events of his crucifixion on Calvary, his resurrection and ascension. And, last of all, the vision passed before us of the armies of the Roman Titus surrounding the guilty city, the protracted siege, the terrible scenes of carnage, the burning Temple, the ploughshare carried through its foundations, and the remnant of the people that had escaped the sword and the fire scattered to all the winds of heaven, to become the mocking, and the proverb, and the by-word of all the nations of the earth. The thought, however, which stood present and prominent in our mind as we looked down from the heights of the Jaffa road was, that somewhere within the range of our vision at that moment, those great events had occurred which had brought redemption to our world! Calvary was near, and the rocky grave where angels watched, and the green spot from which Jesus had ascended through that sky to heaven!
But it is remarkable what rude shocks one's meditations experience when travelling in Palestine. No sooner had we reached the Jaffa gate by which we were to enter this wondrous city, which had occupied the waking dreams of a lifetime, than we were stopped by the jabbering of custom-house officers eager for bribes, and kept waiting long under a broiling sun until their voracity was satisfied. We then descended through steep, narrow streets, on loose flinty stones, on which it was next to impossible for our horse to find solid footing; and after passing under some gloomy arcades, into which the sunlight never penetrates, landed at the door of a little inn with scarcely a window on its outside wall, and which had very much the look of a prison. It was enough. We were in Jerusalem.
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