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endured the greatest agony from thirst, and the road seemed as if it would never end. All at once, the Arab (who was in advance of us) gave a shout, and in an instant we were at his side. We found in reality, in the midst of the salt plain, a magnificent spring of delicious water; and this was no more or less than the "Diamond of the Desert," immortalized by the pen of the bard of Scotland. Had its vast basin been actually filled with diamonds of the purest water, they would at that moment have been to us as vile sand compared with the precious liquid which flowed over its brim.

After we had quenched our burning thirst I felt a great desire to be romantic, and to request our sheik to personate El Hakim, by showing off his dexterity in throwing the djreed, and coursing his fine Arabian. But the intense heat of the sun soon overpowered all my fine romance, and we found that the most sensible thing was to make the best of our way to the shade of our tent, some miles distant. A comfortable meal soon restored us, when I set about employing the remainder of this afternoon and evening in your service; how far I shall have succeeded in amusing you, it will remain for you to decide.

I could make a few observations at this time on the interesting place where we are now encamped, but will not now impose farther on your patience by adding to this already too prolix epistle. In my next I will not forget Jericho. Until then, adieu.

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Mount Hermon.-Jericho.-Fulfilment of Prophecy.-Fountain of Elisha. -Christ's Fasting and Temptation.-Sufferings from Thirst.-Banditti. -The Valley of the Jordan.-Bedouin Encampment.-A Conflagration. -Nocturnal Music.

Mount Hermon,

WE are now encamped beside a rapid stream issuing from the east side of Mount Hermon, in that district of country anciently called Trachonitis, beyond the Jordan, and on the borders of Bashan. As there is neither town, village, nor ruin within some distance of us, I have dated this letter from the most remarkable place in our vicinity. The mount. ain called Hermon is the most southern peak of the range of Antilebanon, from which point two spurs branch off; one running west into Upper Galilee, the other southeast towards Mount Gilead. The latter is but a continuation or resumption of the Lebanon chain, stretching away to the Red Sea, and ending with Mount Sinai.

I will now return to where I last left you, under our tent at Jericho.

The "City of Palm-trees" is no more to be found; a few trees are clustered around an ancient tower; "heaps" of earth and rubbish mark the site of its former palaces, and long mounds indicate the lines of its walls; not those which fell down at the sound of the trumpet of Joshua and the voices of his hosts, nor those built by "Hiel the Bethelite," "who laid the foundations thereof in Abiram, his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord which he spoke by Joshua, the son of Nun" (1 Kings xvi., 34). Thus literally accomplishing the remarkable prophetic denunciation of Joshua

(vi., 26) against him who should rebuild the city of Jericho. "He shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it."

The walls were, no doubt, repeatedly rebuilt on the site of those previously destroyed, for this city flourished under the reign of every conquering nation, from that of the Jews down to the brief rule of the Crusaders, who were its last destroyers since which time it has gradually fallen, like many other "fenced cities, into ruined heaps."

Jericho is situated in the midst of the plain on the west side of the Jordan, at some distance from the " hill country” of Judea. There is a fine stream of water running past it, which issues from the hills and falls into the Jordan.

While at Jericho we were prevented by circumstances from visiting that part of the Jordan where the miraculous interposition of Divine power was manifested, by cutting off the waters, so that "the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan." The sacred historian describes the place as being situated " right against Jericho." You are aware how much pains infidel writers have taken to do away the idea of divine interposition in the case of the separation of the waters of the Red Sea, by accounting for that phenomenon through natural causes, the ebbing and flowing of the tides, or the prevalence of strong north winds.

Now if even the context of that very account does not contain sufficient refutation of any such theory (which I think it does most amply), surely the instance now alluded to, in the case of the passage of the Jordan, abundantly confirms the probability of the former miracle. The country in the vicinity of Jericho possesses a peculiar interest, from the fact that it was the place by which the children of Israel first entered the Promised Land; and while gazing on the


mountains of Moab, which bounded the lower Jordan and the Dead Sea on the side of the wilderness, I could almost fancy I saw the hosts of the Israelites encamped upon their sides, preparing to obey the command of their leader: "Now, therefore, arise and go over this Jordan, thou and all this people, into the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel." The borders were to extend westward "unto the great Sea" (the Mediterranean). I have traversed the extent of the Promised Land, in all its breadth from west to east, and it is melancholy to reflect on the fate of that once highly-favoured people who formerly inhabited it, and on the direful changes which the country itself has undergone, as the fruits of their disobedience.

It is impossible to observe the one and reflect upon the other, without having brought forcibly to one's mind the exact fulfilment of the denunciations pronounced by the Almighty as a punishment for their backslidings.

"But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away and worship other gods, and serve them, I denounce unto you this day that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it." (Deut. xxx., 17, 18; see also verses 19 and 20.)

And yet this is the land so often described as flowing with milk and honey, and abounding in all the good things of the earth; the perpetual inheritance of which was promised to God's chosen people" if they would love the Lord their God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments. And the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it."


How deplorable is its condition now! The very face of the earth is reduced in many places to a waste howling wilderness, with a wretched population thinly scattered over it, having scarcely the means to live, and without any inducement to labour. Nor do the judgments of an offended

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God seem yet to have ceased; storms and earthquakes are even now at work, as if to complete the utter desolation of the country.*

Even this valley of the Jordan, whose fertile soil (in many places where streams cross it from the mountains) once supported a considerable population, is now almost without a house or fixed inhabitant in its whole extent, from Jericho to Tiberias.

In only one or two instances we observed signs of cultivation, and the labourers were some of the nomade tribes of the desert, who resort to fertile spots on the borders of civilization to reap a scanty harvest, and then roam off again in winter to their wilderness, in order to appropriate the new pastures for their flocks of sheep, goats, and camels.

They live in rude tents, and are as wild in their appearance as the savages of our Far West.

Jericho and the land round about were the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin. It contained then fourteen cities, including Jerusalem. What a contrast it now presents!

You, who are so familiar with Bible history, must remember the frequent mention of "chariots," for the purposes of war as well as for luxury, as used in this country. How can one now realize this fact, when at present there is not a wheeled carriage of any kind in all Palestine or Western Syria; nor, indeed, does the present state of the highways admit of anything of the kind.

The land in the vicinity of Jericho is extremely fertile, owing to the stream of water mentioned before, and pro

* Since the above was written a destructive earthquake has occurred, which destroyed a considerable portion of the city of Tiberias on the sea of Galilee, and the city of Saphet, a few miles distant, and did much other damage in various places. Many inhabitants perished. The spot on which our tent stood a few months previous, near Tiberias, is said now to be a yawning gulf, the earth having opened, and the surface sunk to a frightful depth. This awful catastrophe might just as well have happened while we were unconsciously sleeping on this ill-fated spot.

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