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Clarke thinks that the fact of their being able to answer all demands, affords a proof of the wealth of the convent. In - the morning a number of Armenians and Jews attended, offering for sale the only produce of the Jerusalem manufactures ; beads, crosses, shells, &c. all of which after being purchased, are taken to the church of the holy sepulchre, where they receive a sort of benediction.
Dr. Clarke next visited the church of the holy sepulchre, which he says, is altogether such a work as might naturally be conjectured to arise from the infatuated superstition of such an old woman as Helena, subsequently enlarged by ignorant priests. Not a remnant of the original sepulchre can now be ascertained, 'yet,' he continues, "with all our sceptical feelings thus awakened, it may prove how powerful the effect of sympathy is, if we confess that, when we entered into the Sanctum Sanctorum, and beheld, by the light of lamps, there continually burning, the venerable figure of an aged monk, with streaming eyes, and a long white beard, pointing to the place “ where the body of our Lord was,” and calling upon us “to kneel and experience pardon for our sins”------we knelt, and participated in the feelings of more credulous pilgrims. Captain Culverhouse, in whose mind the ideas of religion and of patriotism were inseparable, with firmer emotion, drew from its scabbard the sword he had so often wielded in the defence of his country, and placed it upon the tomb. Humbler comers heaped the memorials of an accomplished pilgrimage; and while their sighs alone interrupted the silence of the sanctuary, a solemn service was begun. Thus ended our visit to the sepulchre.'
If the mass of the holy places be disfigured by superstition, "the mount of Olives,' says our traveller, 'undisguised by fanatical labours, exhibits the appearance it presented in all the periods of its history. From its elevated summit almost all the principal features of the city may be discerned, and the changes that eighteen centuries have wrought in its topography may perhaps be ascertained. The features of nature continue the same, though works of art have been done away: the beautiful gate of the temple is no more; but Siloa's fountain Vol. IV.
haply flows, and Kedron sometimes murmurs in the valley of Jehosaphat.
• It was this resolve, and the determination of using our own eyes, instead of peering through the spectacles of priests, that led to the discovery of antiquities undescribed by any author: and marvellous it is, considering their magnitude, and the scrutinizing inquiry which has been so often directed to every object of the place, that these antiquities have hitherto escaped notice. It is possible that their position, and the tenor of their inscriptions, may serve to throw new light upon the situation of Sion, and the topography of the ancient city. We had been to examine the hill which now bears the name of Sion : it is situated upon the south side of Jerusalem, part of it being excluded by the wall of the present city, which passes over the top of the mount. If this be indeed mount Sion, the prophecy concerning it, that the plough should pass over it, has been fulfilled to the letter; for such labours were actually going on when we arrived. Here the Turks have a mosque over what they call the tomb of David. No Christian can gain admittance; and as we did not chuse to loiter among the other legendary sanctities of the mount, having quitted the city by what is called “Sion gate," we descended into a dingle or trench, called Tophet, or Gehinnon, by Sandys. As we reached the bottom of this narrow dale, -sloping towards the valley of Jehosaphat, we observed, upon the sides of the op opposite mountain, which appears to be the same called by Sandys the “Hill of Offence," facing mount Sion, a number of excavations in the rock, similar to the sort of sepulchres which had so much interested us in Asia Minor, and, alighting from our horses, found that we should have ample employment in their examination. They were all of the same kind of workmanship, exhibiting a series of subterranean chambers, hewn with marvellous art, each containing one, or many, repositories for the dead, like cisterns carved in the rock upon the sides of those chambers. The doors were so low, that, to look into any one of them, it was necessary to stoop, and, in some instances, to creep upon our hands and knees: these doors were also grooved, for the reception of immense stones,
once squared and fitted to the grooves, by way of closing the entrances. Of such a nature were, indisputably, the tombs of the sons of Heth, of the kings of Israel, of Lazarus, and of Christ. The cemeteries of the ancients were universally excluded from the precincts of their cities. In order, therefore, to account for the seeming contradiction implied by the situation of the place now shewn as the tomb of the Messiah, it is pretended that it was originally on the outside of the walls of Jerusalem, although a doubt must naturally arise as to the want of sufficient space for the population of the city, between a boundary so situated, and the hill which is now called mount Sion. The sepulchres we are describing carry, in their very nature, satisfactory evidence of their being situated out of the ancient city, as they are now out of the modern. They are not to be confounded with those tombs, commonly called “the sepulchres of the kings,” to the north of Jerusalem, believed to be the burial-place of Helena, queen of Adiebéné. From all these circumstances, are we not authorized to seek here for the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea, who, as a pious Jew, necesarily had his burying-place in the cemetery of his countrymen, among the graves of his forefathers? The Jews were remarkable for their rigid adherence to this custom : they adorned their burial-places with trees and gardens : and the tomb of this Jew is accordingly described as being in a garden ; and it was “ in the place where our Saviour was crucified." Of what nature was that place of crucifixion? It is very worthy of observation, that every one of the evangelists, (and among these," he that saw it, and bare record,) affirm, that it was “the place of a Scull ;” that is to say, a public Cametery, “called in the Hebrew, Golgotha ;” without the city, and very near one of its gates. St. Luke calls it Calvary, which has the same signification. The church, supposed to mark the site of the holy sepulchre, exhibits no where the slightest evidence which might entitle it to either of these appellations.' Dr. Clarke pursues this subject at much length, and in which he displays considerable learning and ingenuity.
Standing on mount Olives, an interesting prospect opens to the observer. “So commanding,' says our traveller, 'is the
view of Jerusalem afforded in this situation, that the eye roams over all the streets, and around the walls, as if in the survey of a plan or model of the city. The most conspicuous object is the mosque, erected upon the site and foundations of the temple of Solomon: this edifice may perhaps be considered as the finest specimen of Saracenic architecture which exists in the world.
• It was upon the mount of Olives that the Messiah delivered his prediction concerning the downfall of Jerusalem ; and the army of Titus encamped upon the very spot where its destruction had been foretold. Not that, by the introduction of this fact, any. allusion is here intended to the particular place shewn as “the rock of the prediction.” The text of the evangelist proves that our Saviour, when he delivered the prophecy, was “at the descent of the mount of Olives," although in such a situation that "he beheld the city, and wept over it.” Whether the tenth legion of the Roman army was stationed upon the summit or side of the mountain, cannot now be ascertained ; neither is the circumstance worth a moment's consideration.
* About forty years before the idolatrous profanation of the mount of Olives by Solomon, his afflicted parent, driven from Jerusalem by his son Absalom, came to this eminence to present a less offensive sacrifice. What a scene does the sublime, though simple, description given by the prophet picture to the imagination of every one who has felt the influence of filial piety, but especially of the traveller standing upon the very spot where the aged monarch gave to heaven the offering of his wounded spirit. “And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet; and wept as he went up, and had his head covered ; and all the people that was with him covered every man his head ; and they went up weeping.” Abstracted from every religious view, and considered solely as a subject for the most gifted genius in poetry or in painting, it is perhaps impossible to select a theme more worthy the exercise of exalted talents.
• The view of Jerusalem from this eminence is from east to west. Towards the south appears the lake Asphaltites, a noble expanse of water, seeming to be within a short ride from the city; but the real distance is much greater ; and the journey
thither was at this time attended with such imminent danger from the Arabs that it was no longer attempted. Lofty mountains inclose it with prodigious grandeur, and resemble, by their position, the shores of the lake of Geneva, opposite to Vevay and Lausanne. To the north of the lake are seen the verdant and fertile pastures of the plain of Jericho, watered by the Jordan, whose course may be distinctly discerned. For the rest, nothing appears in the surrounding country but hills, whose undulating surfaces resemble the waves of a perturbed sea. These were bleak and destitute of wood, and seemed to be without cultivation. However, this cannot be ascertained by a distant view: we often found that mountains, which, when remote, appeared like naked rocks, were, when we drew near to them, covered with little terraees, like a series of steps, and abundantly productive. At a short distance from the summit, we were desired to notice the famous impression of a man's left foot in the rock, which has so long been shewn as that made by our Saviour at his ascension. Over this, Helena constructed one of her churches.
* As we descended from the mountain, we visited an oliveground, always mentioned as the Hortus Oliveti, or Garden of Gethsemane. This place is, not without reason shewn as the scene of our Saviour's agony the night before his crucifixion, both from the circumstance of the name it still retains, and its situation with regard to the city.
* The rest of this day's journey was spent in viewing antiquities justly entitled to the highest consideration among the curiosities of Jerusalem,--the “ sepulchre of the Virgin Mary,” and the “ tombs of the patriarchs :" all of these are in the valley between the mount of Olives and the city, on the eastern side of the torrent Kedron, at the foot of the mountain. After viewing these monuments, having now examined all the antiquities to the south and east of Jerusalem, we crossed the bed of the torrent Kedron by the bridge before mentioned: then, ascending to the city by a very steep bill, on which tradition relates that St. Stephen was stoned, we made the circuit of the walls upon the northern and western side, and, having found nothing remarkable, entered by the gate of Jaffa.