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I DU M Æ A:

WITH A SURVEY OF

ARABIA AND THE ARABIANS.

CHAPTER I.

ARABIA AND THE ARABIANS.

Character of the country-The Arabah-Did the Jordan flow

through it?-Gulf of Akabah- The Great Glen-Name of the Arabs --Joktan-Ishmael-Peninsula of Sinai–The giving of the Law-Modern history-Rock inscriptions-Arabia

Petræa-Arabia Deserta. Every country has its own peculiar physiognomy, produced by its soil and climate, its configuration and productions. The expression of one land is soft, gentle, and feminine ; of another, hard and bold. The characteristic of one is beauty; of another, vigour. One seems to wear a perpetual smile ; another, a perpetual frown. To one we are drawn by the power of an incessant and resistless attraction ; from another we are repelled, as if by some dark spell, by which it overmasters our spirits. There is no country whose characteristics more marked than those of Arabia.

are

Extending from the mouth of the Nile eastward to the Euphrates, a distance of a thousand miles, and from the Arabian Gulf northward to the region around Palmyra, a distance of fourteen hundred miles, it may be regarded as one great sea of sand. Its mighty rocks seem like waves, whose tumultuous waters had been suddenly arrested in the midst of a storm, and congealed in all fantastic shapes into granite. “ Araby the Blest," (retaining the figure,) is the chief of its isles, rich, fertile, and luxuriant. Its islets are innumerable ; oases, embosomed in every valley, and surrounding every fountain, which one is startled to find so green and beautiful in such a waste. But its general aspect is uninviting, uninteresting, and repulsive. The sun smites it by day, and the moon by night.

Yet, with one exception, no other land may be compared with this in historic interest and moral power. From one of its desert parts, the region of Sinai, came forth that system of monotheism, which shone as a light for ages amid the darkness of heathendom, and which involved in it, though obscurely revealed, all the peculiar and remedial elements of Chris tianity. And from another of its desert parts came forth, in a later age, that gigantic system, which, originating in imposture, yet recognising the unity of God and the exclusiveness of his worship as its first principle, at a time when Christianity itself was reduced by its devotees to a cunningly devised idolatry, has been a scourge to

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