Billeder på siden



their height. You see in them stones which belonged to the ancient temple, and which are of extraordinary dimensions.

Ancient Jerusalem had twelve gates :

1. The Cattle gate, porta Gregis, built by the highpriest Eliasib. It was thus called, because the cattle, destined for the sacrifices in the Temple, entered at it.

2. The Fish gate, porta Piscium, thus named, because it led towards the sea, and the fish, destined for the supply of the city, was brought in that way. It was built by the children of Asnaa, on the return from the Babylonian captivity.

3. The Ancient gate, porta Vetus, to which this name was given, because the Chaldeans left it standing when they destroyed all the others. It was rebuilt by Jehoiada, son of Phasea.

4. The Dung gate, porta Sterquilinia, by which all sorts of filth were carried out of the city towards the west.

5. The Valley gate, porta Vallis, leading to the valley of Jehoshaphat, where the bodies of those who had been executed on Mount Calvary were thrown. This gate was built by Hanun, after the return from Babylon. Subsequently it was called the Golden gate, porta Aurea.

6. The Fountain gate, porta Fontis, near the spring of Siloa, and which adjoined the king's gardens. It was rebuilt by Sellum, son of Choloza.

7. The Water gate, porta Aquarum, through which passed the Nathinians, who carried water for the service of the Temple.

8. The Horses' gate, porta Equorum, erected by the



priests. It was through this that the horses were taken to water.

9. The Judgment gate, porta Judicii or Judicialis. It did not lead out of the city.

10. The gate of Ephraim, porta Ephraim, at which entered the people of the tribe of Ephraim who were going to Jerusalem.

11. The gate of Benjamin, porta Benjamin, which led to the country of that tribe.

12. Lastly, the gate of the Angle, porta Anguli, so named, because it was situated at the point where the north wall formed an angle with the west wall.

Jerusalem, at the present day, has but seven gates :

1. Bab el Kzalil, the gate of the Beloved. It leads to the Bethlehem and Hebron road. It is by this gate that the pilgrims, who come by way of Jaffa, enter the city.

2. Bab el Nabi Dahoud, the gate of the Prophet David. It puts you in the way to Mount Sion, and is nearly facing the Hall of the Last Supper, and the tomb of David.

3. Bab el Maugrabé, gate of the Maugrabins or people of Barbary : it is also called the Dung gate. It is nearly at the angle of the ancient temple, and opposite to the village of Siloa. This gate is memorable, because it was through this that the Jews made Jesus pass when they took him to Pilate, after they had made him prisoner in the Garden of Olives. Since the invasion, this gate is kept constantly closed, as the garrison is not strong enough to allow posts to be placed every where, and the inhabitants of Siloa are strongly inclined to revolt.

4. Bab el Darahie, the Golden gate. It is to the



south, and leads to the place of the Temple. It is never opened, because, according to an ancient Turkish tradition, the Christians will, some day or other, enter Jerusalem by it, and make themselves masters of the city. It was at this gate that our Lord made his entry into Jerusalem on Palm-Sunday. The front of this gate is of handsome workmanship.

5. Bab el Sidi Mariam, Mary's gate, leading to the tomb of the Virgin. It is to the east, and faces the Mount of Olives. In all the descriptions of the Holy Land, it is called the gate of St. Stephen, because that saint passed through it when he was led forth to martyrdom. In the time of the Jews, it was the Cattle gate.

6. Bab el Zahara, the gate of the Desert : it is also called Herod's gate.

It is to the north, and leads to the way to the grotto of Jeremiah. It is between St. Stephen's and the Damascus gate.

7. Bab el Hamond, or Bab el Cham, the gate of the Pillars, or of Damascus. It opens into the road to the Tombs of the Kings; to Naplouse, the ancient Sichem; to St. Jean d'Acre, and to Damascus. Simon, the Cyrenean, was coming in by this gate when he met our Saviour bearing his cross.

I pause, my dear friend, more especially on Mount Sion, that famous mount where God himself long dwelt, and which has been by turns the object of the benedictions and the lamentations of the prophets. It is a hill, whose height in respect to Jerusalem is nearly as that of Mount Aventine to the Forum at Rome. It would appear much more lofty, if we were to take its height from its base in the valley of Gehinnon. Its appearance is arid,

[blocks in formation]

its colour is yellowish. There is not a mountain in the world, whose history is more gloriously, and, for a greater number of centuries, connected with that of the Christian religion and church, as the symbol and image of which it is always presented. About the year of the world 2988, David took it from the Jebusites, who, protected by a fortress, fancied themselves invincible there. He built a palace upon it, and, as it was the most glorious of his conquests, he not only fixed his residence there, but wished the city to bear its name. Solomon, his son, and the successors of that prince, dwelt there; and displayed in the establishments which they there founded a pomp and magnificence truly royal ; so that every thing great and remarkable in the long series of events preceding the appearance of the Messiah is linked with the memory of Sion.

But what most enhances its honour and its glory is that the Saviour long and frequently sojourned there, that he often assembled his apostles there, that he there manifested to them his infinite power, as well as his infinite goodness, by the most soothing, as by the most awful of mysteries, and that Sion was in some measure the cradle of his church.

Of the numerous monuments which covered this hill, almost all have disappeared. The only ones of which any traces remain are:

1. The house of Caiaphas, which I have already had occasion to mention. You have seen, in the description of the Via Dolorosa, that to this place Jesus was taken on leaving the house of Annas, and that there Peter denied him. It is now an Armenian church.



2. The tomb of David.

3. The Hall of the Last Supper. St. Helena converted it into a church, and embellished it with the most magnificent ornaments. The Saracens having, in the course of time, laid it in ruins, Sancia, queen of Sicily, by means of money, obtained its restoration to the Fathers of the Holy Land. In 1561, the Turks took possession of it, and turned it into a mosque. They are still, at the present day, its sole possessors.

Feeling a strong desire to see this memorable place, I one day told my dragoman to take all the necessary steps for that purpose. Formerly, the matter was not difficult, but it is become so since the entry of the Egyptians. My reputation of physician assisted me, and money did the rest.

On entering, you perceive on the left a small door, leading to the tomb of David, which I could not visit; no Christian being allowed to cross the threshold, let him offer ever so large a sum. The Turks, though accustomed to sell their complaisance, are inexorable on this point. Some travellers, nevertheless, assert that they have penetrated into it, and seen there three tombs hewn in a dark rock. I do not dispute this statement; for my own part, notwithstanding the popularity which I enjoy, and the protection of a number of friends, all the efforts that I made to convince myself of the fact, from personal observation, proved unavailing.

Having ascended on the same side a flight of about twenty steps, you find yourself in a large hall, the vaulted roof of which is supported by two pillars. This is the place where our Saviour held his Last Supper, and

« ForrigeFortsæt »