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THE WAY OF THE CAPTIVITY.
the traditions, and contributes to point out to the pilgrims who throng from all parts of the world to the Holy Land the points to which Christian piety is most powerfully attracted, where the heart is filled with sentiments of love and gratitude, more intense, more ardent, more generous, more tender, more worthy of Jesus Christ.
It was to precisely this theatre of the passion of my Saviour that, on my return from Bethlehem, my first thoughts were directed. I have spent several days in examining it, not, as on my first arrival at Jerusalem, in haste and confining myself to the principal points, but taking them all in regular succession, and in the order of the events marked in the evangelical history, beginning with the Way of the Captivity, which comprehends the whole space traversed by Jesus Christ, from the moment of his apprehension till that when Pilate, too weak to use his authority in behalf of innocence, in the hope of softening the multitude and disarming its fury, showed to it him for whose blood it was clamouring, clad in robes of mock royalty, and covered with wounds, saying: “Behold the man!”
Accompanied by Jacob, my dragoman, who speaks Turkish and Arabic fluently, I sallied forth by St. Stephen's Gate. We descended the hill on which that martyr was stoned, and, having crossed the bridge over the brook Cedron, we found ourselves at the first station, at Gethsemane, in that sacred garden which Jesus bedewed with his sweat and his blood, where he was taken and bound, to be thence dragged to Jerusalem. The painful thoughts which had assailed me on my first visit
THE WAY OF THE CAPTIVITY.
again rent my soul. The spot where the Saviour was betrayed by the kiss of the infamous Judas, that where the august Victim presented himself to the soldiers who came to seize him, excited in me all the indignation that I had felt the first time; it seemed as though I were present at the scene of horror described by St. John :
“ And Judas also which betrayed him knew the place, for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with his disciples.
“ Judas, then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief-priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns, and torches, and weapons.
“ Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and said unto them : Whom seek ye?
“They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them: I am he. And Judas also which betrayed him stood with them.
“ As soon then as he had said to them: I am he, they went backward and fell to the ground.
“ Then asked he them again : Whom seek ye? and they said : Jesus of Nazareth.
“ Jesus answered : I have told you that I am he. If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.
“That the saying might be fulfilled which he spake : Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.” (John, xviii. 2—9.)
Methought I saw-I did see, those soldiers, that multitude, those torches, those staves, and those swords : I heard the questions repeated by the Saviour, who knew all things, and the answers of those furious men: I witnessed the terrible effect of those words : “I am he"
THE WAY OF THE CAPTIVITY.
words so simple, so modest, so mild, and which nevertheless proved, to those to whom they were addressed, a thunder-bolt that made them start back and fall to the ground: and, in the transports of ardent gratitude, I admired that divine goodness, which, accepting for itself all sorts of insults, ill treatment, and sufferings, was anxious only to preserve the disciples from them, that he might not lose any of those whom his Father had given him, any of those who were his.
It was near the grotto of the Agony that Jesus, giving himself up voluntarily and freely to death by these words : “ I am he whom ye seek,” held forth his divine hands to the soldiers who bound them. Having proceeded for some time along the bank of the Cedron, they crossed the brook. A tradition relates that our Lord, being violently pushed by them, fell at the foot of the bridge, where is still to be seen the print of two knees on a rock, which is held in great veneration. The ground contiguous to it has been purchased by the Armenians.
The soldiers then forced Jesus to ascend Mount Zion, and proceeded towards the house of Annas, an aged priest, and father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high-priest for that year,
the same who had declared to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
This house of Annas the chief-priest, or, to speak more correctly, the church erected on its ruins, forms the second station. Here is now seen a convent of Armenians; it stands near David's gate, almost at the foot of Mount Sion. In the church, on the left, is pointed out the place into which Jesus was put, before he was taken to the high-priest.
PALACE OF CAIAPHAS.
Close to this is the site of the hall where Jesus, having been ushered into the presence of the aged priest, impatient to feast himself on the sight of his humiliations, was questioned by him concerning his doctrine and his disciples, and struck by one of the officers of the palace, for having answered frankly and truly :
“I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort, and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me; they know what I said.”
From the house of Annas, Jesus was conducted to the palace of Caiaphas, where is the third station.
It was in this palace that Caiaphas called together at night the priests, the doctors of the law, the senators, the scribes and the Pharisees, before whom he caused Jesus to be brought. It was there that, in the name of the living God, the divine Saviour was adjured by the highpriest to say if he was the Christ, the Son of God, and that, when he answered, “I am he," he was declared a blasphemer; and, as such, deserving of death,
The site of the palace of Caiaphas is on Mount Sion, beyond the present walls of Jerusalem. The Greeks have built a monastery upon it. Some travellers make mention of the hall in which our Lord was questioned, and exposed to insults and outrages, as though it were still in existence. This is erroneous: I have in vain examined the whole building without discovering anything that exhibits the least vestige of it : I have questioned the Greeks and the monks; but they have no idea of the kind.
PALACE OF CAIAPHAS.
The most remarkable thing I saw is the court, through which the just and innocent Jesus, escorted by his implacable enemies, passed to be taken before the tribunal of blood, which had already pronounced his sentence. It was in this same court that Peter had the weakness to deny his master thrice, in consequence of his having ventured, from curiosity, from a desire “to see the end,” into a place whence truth and justice were banished ; into a place where Jesus was a prisoner; a place of which his persecutors and tormentors were the masters : a painful as well as terrible image of the fall of those presumptuous men whom a vain curiosity sometimes detains in the company of the wicked, causing them to brave the danger of betraying their faith ; or of those also who, foremost to shew their attachment to justice while she triumphs, hasten with cowardly prudence to conceal their sentiments as soon as persecution takes place, especially when it appears likely to last; who, deeming it wise to await the event in order openly to obey or to disobey their conscience, insensibly take interest, the mere interest of the moment, for their guide, gradually come to care only about those who can be useful to them, and end by an open and shameful apostacy, as soon as the cause of justice seems to them to be ruined.
Within the monastery there is a very pretty little church, kept extremely neat and adorned with magnifi. cent tapestry. The altar is formed out of the stone which closed the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre. Beside this altar is a small room where you are told Christ was obliged to wait till he was taken into the presence of the high-priest.