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habited them. I have read a history in every stone, and, when gazing on some well-identified spot, consecrated by the
presence of the Saviour of a lost world, or a miracle of his disciples, my ardour has become intense.
But deep as was my interest in every other place, it is in the Holy City itself that my feelings are transported, as it were, from earth to heaven. More than
spot on earth, Jerusalem has been the scene of the most extraordi. nary and momentous events ever recorded in sacred or profane history. It has beheld the utmost splendour to which a temporal kingdom could possibly arrive.
What regal court of modern days can compare with that which surrounded the throne of Solomon ? Even the Queen of Sheba herself, “ when she had seen all Solomon's wis. dom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her;" and she was constrained to acknowledge, “behold the half was not told me.”
The throne on which he sat was “a great throne of ivory, and overlaid with the best gold;" "and all King Sol. omon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver, it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon." Even "silver was made to be in Jerusalem as stones.'
Such was Jerusalem in the days of Kings David and Solomon.
The many changes it underwent between that period and the advent of our Saviour are matter of history. But to a Christian mind the occurrences which subsequently took place are of much greater consequence, being fraught with the redemption of a lost world!
It was here our Redeemer preached the glad tidings of
THE HILLS OF JERUSALEM.
the gospel, and held forth its blessed promises to the faithful. And it was here that the Saviour of the world suffered an ignominious death upon the cross for our sinful race.
From the expression used by the Psalmist," as the mount. ains are round about Jerusalem,” &c., &c.(Psalms cxxv., 2), one would suppose Jerusalem was situated in a valley, sur. rounded by high hills at least, if not mountains.
These are relative terms, which convey different ideas to those who have had different opportunities to form standards of judgment in their own minds. Localities which once presented the appearance of hills may, by the action of time, the elements, and other agents, become considerably reduced. This has been the case in the present instance. The city, in fact, was originally built on several hills, and, when viewed from the valley of Jehosaphat, or as you approach it by the Bethlehem road, still appears to occupy an elevated position. Several situations in and around the city still bear their ancient names, as Mount Zion, Mount Moriah, Mount Calvary, and, which more deserves the name, the Mount of Olives. A considerable portion of Calvary (which, by-the-way, is never called Mounl in Scripture, that being, in fact, an error much used in common parlance) is now covered by a Christian temple, called the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, embracing not only that sacred relic to which devotees annually resort and prostrate themselves, but also the spot upon which, as they affirm, the cross stood, and various other places referred to in the narrative of that awful tragedy. Mount Moriah is that on which the Temple of Solomon stood, and upon which the celebrated Mosque of Omar is built, on the foundations of the new Jewish temple commenced by the apostate Julian, and so miraculously arrested by supernatural agency, in order that the prophecy might be accomplished, that Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Mount Zion is now partly without the walls of the city, and is used as a burial-place for the Catholics. The still. ness of death appears to reign over it. What a contrast between this state of things and that which must have ex. isted when the house of the forest of Lebanon stood there in all its glory, and the sound of merriment issued from its halls!
No one who has ever been in the habit of reading the Bible can forget the poetical description given of this con. secrated spot by the royal psalmist ; " Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great king.”
But I find that my errant pen is running on in advance of myself; for, although many of these reflections were co. incident with the hasty and imperfect view of the various sacred localities which I have taken the last two days, yet you would, perhaps, prefer that I had deferred them until I enter more into detail respecting each separate object of in. terest. Were I composing a set treatise on the Holy City and its interesting details, I might be more circumspect with regard to the dramatic unities ; but you are aware that I ever write from impulse, and leave it for you to make order out of the chaos of my ideas and impressions.
During our stay here my time will be continually occu. pied, day by day, in viewing the many interesting objects within and around the Holy City, and my evenings must be devoted to reading, in order to profit by my daily observa. tions. I shall therefore have little leisure to commune with you; yet, before we leave Jerusalem, I will endeavour to give you a chapter or two from my note-book, which I hope may prove more acceptable to you than the present epistle.
MOODS OF TRAVELLERS.
Moods of Travellers.-Worshippers at the Holy City.-Emotions of the
Christian.—Topography of Jerusalem.-Walls of Jerusalem.-Pool of Siloam.-What the Moslems believe.-- Temple of the Patriarchs.-Gar. den of Gethsemane.-Gates of Jerusalem.-Tombs of the Kings.
Jerusalem, THE few days that have elapsed since I last addressed you have permitted the first burst of enthusiasm to settle down into the more sober reality of critical observation.
My eyes have now become accustomed to the dazzling halo which envelops this most sacred spot upon our globe, and from behind this mysterious veil the reality of things at first obscured by it begins now to emerge.
In proportion as this city and its environs contain more objects of deep veneration for Christian, Jew, and Moslem than any other upon earth, so is it more deeply enshrouded in the dark vapours of mysticism, and buried beneath the accumulated legendary rubbish of fifteen centuries. The simple-hearted and over-credulous traveller, ever prone to lend a willing ear, and to yield implicitly his own judg. ment to the received opinion of ignorance and fanaticism, retires from this sacred spot without having tasted a drop of the unalloyed element which issues from this great fountain of truth, yet having waded deeply into the turbid pool of monkish error and superstitious folly. While, on the other hand, the acute and erudite philosopher, who safely navigates his bark of skepticism through the shallows of popish artifice and error, is the first to arrive at the pure fountains of living waters. But, instead of looking through this translucent medium in search of an honest conviction from that truth which lies at the bottom, he only sees re. flected from its surface the image of his own preconceived and preconfirmed opinions : for there is no error into which any portion of mankind has fallen so great as that whereby scriptural truths and contemporary profane histories are tortured into plausible proofs of vain theories, by the subtle sophists who fight under the standard of infidelity.
Of the former class it may well be said that they “look through a glass darkly;" and to the latter nothing can be more apposite than the exclamation of Festus to St. Paul, “thou art beside thyself; much learning hath made thee mad."
My present position is one of extreme difficulty. Natu. rally imbued, as you are aware, with a goodly portion of enthusiasm, and with now and then a little of the romantic, I find the swift current of the one and the whirling eddies of the other ever ready to make shipwreck of the frail vessel of my judgment. Not sufficiently laden with the ballast of discrimination, my bark frequently rides unsafely through the dangerous waves of credulity. Yet I prefer to navigate this narrow and stormy sea, guided by the lights of scriptural truth, rather than launch into the placid ocean of philosophy, even were I skilled in that occult science whereby its votaries have composed (as they pretend) an unerring chart, from the daily-developed mysteries of “ the earth beneath,” as well as from the sublimer truths which eyer revolve around us in the heavens above.
Jerusalem as it is is a study not only suited to the higher order of theological research, but well calculated to arouse feelings of religious veneration in the most superficial ob. server; and even the complacent and self-satisfied moralist, when his better feelings are here appealed to by the congre. gated monuments of the sublime dispensations, his heart re. luctantly responds to their arguments, while his lips exclaim with the half-confirmed Agrippa," almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”