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side of one of the hills by which it is closely environed. Most of the houses (upon nearer inspection than I at first made) I found to be built of stone; they are square, with flat roofs, covered with earth.
"The Christian inhabitants of Nazareth enjoy a degree of toleration unknown elsewhere in Syria or the Holy
Arrival at Jerusalem.-Early Christian Ages.-Hopes of Zion.-Miracle of the Wine.-Place of the first Miracle.-Mount of Beatitudes.-Tiberias. -The Sea of Galilee.-The Khan described.-Mount Tabor.-Plain of Esdraelon.-City of Samaria.-Tomb of Joseph.
Ar last we have arrived at the holy city, at that goal towards which so many thousands of pilgrims, in all ages since the light of the new dispensation here first shone upon benighted man, have turned their eyes, and which so few comparatively have attained.
In former times, to visit Jerusalem, and enter the holy sepulchre, and fortunately to reach home again in safety through the imminent perils and hardships which then attended a pilgrimage to Palestine, were esteemed an honour to which the millions did reverence; and the "holy palmer," with no other recommendation than the sanctity thus acquired, was hailed by the chiefest of every land as a being of superior order, entitled to privileges and immunities commensurate with the noble enterprise he had accomplished.
In those days the young crescent of Islam had attained the full orb of its dazzling splendour, and the proud followers of the Prophet, despising and contemning the disciples of
EARLY CHRISTIAN AGES.
the meek and lowly Nazarene, subjected all those who came within the pale of their influence to such rigorous and ignominious treatment, that, save those imbued with a zeal, perseverance, and fortitude of which no other cause has produced so many extraordinary examples, few of those who so vauntingly set forth from western lands held their courage unto the end, or accomplished the object of their high ambition.
A temporary truce, purchased by an onerous tribute, at times protected the lives of the Christian wanderers among the scenes of their greatest veneration; but contumely and opprobrium were ever the accompaniments of the exactions of the Moslems. During the short time that the Christian kings of Jerusalem held undisputed possession of the throne of David, the hill of Zion was easily accessible to the hundreds of pilgrims who then took advantage of that auspicious gleam of sunshine, which soon afterward relapsed into the midnight of persecution.
When "shadows, clouds, and darkness" began again to obscure the Christian cause on this theatre of its most brilliant achievements, the meteor of Islam broke forth with increased splendour; shining on through ages, and illuminating the path of the victorious Saracen, while the cimeter of the barbarous Turcoman, flashing in its beams, spread terror and desolation into the very heart of Christendom.
Now that the fading moon of Islam's glory is in its last phase, and fast approximating to eternal extinction, what a delightful thing it is for us, who were born under the influence of the "Star in the East," to contemplate "the sun of righteousness with healing in his wings," after humanizing, civilizing, and, I might almost say, beatifying the barbarous nations of the West, now approaching again the horizon of the East.
Absorbed in the busy affairs of life, and carried along in the whirling torrent of the present utilitarian age, we of the
West have little time, and, I fear, less inclination, to study the signs of the times in these matters; but it is said that "coming events cast their shadows before," and the hour of greatest obscurity is that which precedes the morning dawn.
When the ocean tempest is most furiously raging, the practised eye of the mariner detects the first lifting of the clouds, and the rising mercury gives him an earnest of approaching security long before the landsman ceases to tremble for the yet uncertain futurity. Again, when his bark lies listlessly on the burning surface of the torpid waters, he cheers the drooping spirit of the traveller by announcing the coming of propitious gales; for, ere yet a ripple dims the brightness of the gorgeous mirror, with extended hand he feels the "air of the breeze" cooling the feverish palm.
To all such of your friends as feel an interest in the redemption of the heathen East, when they become heart-sick from hope deferred, say to them, Be ye of good cheer, for the Lord hath proclaimed, "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, oh Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."
"Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold, thy salvation cometh; and they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, sought out, a city not forsaken." "The Lord hath sworn by his right hand."
And shall it not be so? Already the Christian "watchmen" on the walls of Jerusalem "lift up the voice," saying, "Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: Awake, awake, put on thy strength, oh Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, oh Jerusalem, the holy city: shake thyself from the dust; arise, arise, and sit down, oh Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, oh captive daughter of Zion."
THE HOPES OF ZION.
I fear that, when revisiting their native countries, the Christian labourers in this vineyard of the Lord may fre quently have occasion to ask with the prophet, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"
Say you unto them, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. In righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.' For to Jerusalem it is promised, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." How this is now being accomplished, we will speak of hereafter.
Let us for the present lay aside these reflections, and per. mit me to resume the thread of my narrative.
In my last I left you sighing over my tame description of Nazareth; for doubtless you have perused the highwrought effusions of Lamartine, and dwelt in ecstasy on his glowing iambics. Long before I reached the shores of Palestine, I was in raptures with his beautiful fancy sketches; and while I followed him through the mazy groves up to the giddy summit of his Parnassus,
"Le souffle impetueux de l'humaine pensée,
Equinoxe brulant dont l'ame est renversée,"
shook my every nerve, my thoughts became confused, and my imagination intoxicated; until at length the divine he roics of the "poet" overcoming my remaining powers,
"Poussant tour a tour les plus forts sur la cime,
prostrated all my hopes, and shipwrecked all my delightful anticipations. I was seized with despair at the prospect of my poor intellect not being able to appreciate, nor my un. VOL. II.-E
worthy heart sufficiently to venerate, the sacred places I was about to visit.
Since I have been wandering over holy ground, my ideas have recovered from the effects of the thunder of this mod. ern Jupiter. More fortunate than Phaeton, I find the car of my imagination has escaped unbroken, the steeds of enthuiasm unharmed and sound, the reins of judgment not lost. The heavy dulness of the first is more than compen. sated by the powerful impetuosity of the second; which, if properly guided by the latter, I may hope to attain that goal for which I am aiming, that of comparing, for my own selfsatisfaction, the plain truths of Scripture narrative, in relation to localities, with the physical realities as they now exist; drawing therefrom such moral and religious conclusions as may serve to render me wiser and better through life.
"Siloa's brook" can almost be taken up in the palm of the hand, and "Jordan's stream" can in places be forded by a child; while the holy and sublime inspirations which the sight of them induces in the Christian breast defy the pow. ers of mortal man to describe. The oft-repeated accounts of such prosaic travellers as myself cease to add anything new respecting these and similar scenes; and the elegant romance of others is but tinsel, compared to the fine gold everywhere shining in the pages of Holy Writ.
The author in question has mistaken the "epoque." The time for religious chivalry and romantic zeal is past. The deep waters of bigotry and fanaticism are assuaged, and the dove of common sense (in matters of religion) has found a resting-place. The pure fountain of life can now be approached by the humblest and most timid, without fear of miring in the swamps of mysticism which have hitherto environed it.
Viewing things in this light, our " poet" may very aptly apply his own lines to himself: