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218

ROCK OF THE PREDICTION.

day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee : and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knowest not the time of thy visitation.”

Words which, according to my custom, I read on the spot, and kneeling.

History has remarked that, by a peculiar permission of Providence, at the time of the siege of the guilty city, the tent of Titus was pitched on the precise spot where the Lord had foretold the destruction of Jerusalem.

LETTER XXV.

CHANGEABLE TEMPERATURE AT JERUSALEM — Aspect OP THAT CITY

DURING AND AFTER LENT-Aceldama, or Field of BLOOD-VALLEY op GEHENNON-TOMBS HEWN OUT OF THE Rock-WELL OP NEHEMIAH - FOUNTAIN Of Siloa—Village op Siloa—MOUNT OP OffenceTOMB OP ABSALOM - TOMB OF BARRACHIAS-TOMB OF ZECHARIAH TOMB OF JehOSHAPHAT Том Вѕ oP THE KINGS TOMBS OF THE JUDGES.

Jerusalem, February 27th, 1832.

I prosecute my excursions with ardour, my dear friend, and, thanks be to God, notwithstanding my fatigues, notwithstanding the fickleness of the weather, which, on the same day, is at one time scorching, at another very wet, and at another extremely cold, I am very well, with the exception of some slight incon

JERUSALEM IN LENT.

219

veniences. Never, indeed, have I known such a climate as this : it has happened that in the morning the heat has been suffocating, and at night snow has fallen in considerable quantity. At Jerusalem, every thing bears the mark of the curse with which that hapless city has been strieken. All there is extraordinary, all is dull; the sports of the boys in the streets are frequently noisy; you hear at times loud cries, but mirth appears to be banished from among them.

In the course of the year, Jerusalem presents itself under two very different aspects. He who should see that city only, during Lent, certainly could not form any eorrect idea of it. Then, ten thousand pilgrims, Greeks, Armenians, Russians, Syrians, Copts, throng thither, and give it for some time the appearance of a city full of life and bustle. At this period, however, it is but a dressed-up corpse, the features of which are covered by a deceitful mask, and which, when stripped, shows only the sad reality-death and its hideous ravages. The few shops that are open during Lent are afterwards shut up, at least most of them ; the streets are again deserted, or, if you see a few persons in them, it is on the terraces, upon which they come half naked, to rid themselves in the sunshine of the vermin which they cannot entirely destroy. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, you see outside the gates a few Turkish, Jewish, or Christian inhabitants, walking about, the men apart from the women, who are veiled from head to foot. It is in general to the cemeteries that they bend their steps. The husband, as he passes his wife, affects not to notice her; and the wife does the same in regard to

220

THE POTTER'S FIELD.

the child, which an unhappy slave carries carelessly behind her.

The day before yesterday, it was scarcely light when I was already at the Jaffa gate. I intended to visit the Aceldama, or field of blood, the well of Nehemiah, the fountain of Siloa, and the tombs of Absalom, Jehoshaphat, and Zachariah. Accompanied by my dragoman, on quitting the city, I took the road on the left; I passed close to a very large pool, now dry, which bears the character of high antiquity. It is known by the name of Bathsheba's pool.

After half an hour's walk, I reached the Potter's field, bought by the priests with the thirty pieces of silver which Judas had carried back to them, and which they would not put into the treasury again, because it was the price of blood. It was appropriated to the burial of strangers. It is a common notion

among

the Jews that Judas was buried there. This ground is long but narrow.

St. Helena caused it to be inclosed by walls. The Armenians, who are in possession of it, sell to the pilgrims the right of being interred there. It serves also as a cemetery for the Caraites, a sect of Jews, who reject traditions and adhere exclusively to the letter of Scripture.

A circumstance worthy of notice, and which my dragoman pointed out to me, is that in this ground you find a great quantity of potsheards, or fragments of earthen vessels, indicating the profession of its ancient proprietor. I picked up several, in which may be discovered the impress of high antiquity.

On the left is the valley of Gehennon, or Behennon, the

VALLEY OF GEHENNON.

221

accursed valley, where the impious kings who reigned for some time over Israel erected a temple to the god Moloch, to whom the people, having become idolaters, sacrificed children by placing them in the arms of his heated statue.

This valley is very deep. The wind, which blew with violence through the crevices and clefts in the rocks, reminded me of the shrieks of the infants consigned to the embrace of the burning idol.

On the right is an uninterrupted series of tombs cut out of the rock, the real origin of which it appears impossible to ascertain. Some writers date them back beyond our era; others conjecture that they existed in part at the time of Adrian, during the interval of peace which the Christians enjoyed under that emperor after the dispersion of the Jews. I went into several of these abodes of death; they are almost all alike. In some of them are to be seen remains of inscriptions in Hebrew and Greek, so mutilated that they cannot be read. Most of these tombs are a series of chambers containing a great quantity of oblong cells, destined for the sepulchres of the dead. The doorways are in general so low that you cannot enter them without creeping on all-fours, like the brute animals.

On sallying from one of these sepulchres, I was not a little surprised to find myself face to face with an illlooking Turk, who, armed with a musket, asked me for a bakschisch, (a donation) with an insolent air. As I was unarmed and he supposed that I was alone, his insolence increased till he saw a turban popping out of the same hole from which I had crawled : it was that

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PERSONAL INSECURITY.

of my dragoman. Notwithstanding the presence of Jacob, he insisted on having money, declaring that, the week before, an Englishman on a like occasion had given him a couple of crowns.

I desired Jacob to tell him that this was a proof that the Englishman was richer than I was, and, in spite of his cries and importunities, I persisted in my refusal.

It is a lamentable thing that, in the environs of Jerusalem, as throughout all Palestine, a stranger cannot go abroad by himself without running the risk of being robbed or even murdered. The most interesting excursions are almost always disturbed by that kind of qui vive on which you are obliged to be when you go without attendants. On this point I have frequently committed imprudences, which might have cost me dear. It is to be hoped that, if the pacha keeps Palestine, the depredations of the Arabs will be repressed ;* and that

At the moment when this page is going to press, I learn that forty thousand Arabs have rushed upon unfortunate Jerusalem; that, for the nineteenth time, it has been taken and pillaged, and that the Jews have suffered most. The plunder and slaughter lasted six days, and the arrival of Ibrahim's army alone put an end to them. When, after the reflexions which conclude the twenty-second of these letters, after quoting the prophecy of Daniel relative to the curse pronounced upon the deicide city, I added: " I see but too plainly that the desolation continues;" I was far from supposing that a more terrible catastrophe than any thing that met my view was destined so soon to furnish a new proof of it. Here follow some particulars which I find in a letter recently published on the subject.

“ Jerusalem, July 16th, 1834. My residence in this city, and particularly my excursions among the Arabs, had enabled me since my arrival to ascertain that the people are extremely dissatisfied with Ibrahim, and that they are more especially exasperated because the young men are taken away for the purpose of recruiting the army. I learned that an extensive conspiracy was on the point of breaking out, and that I should do well to leave Palestine. It

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