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ROAD OF THE CROSS.
The tenth and the last four stations are in the immense church of the Holy Sepulchre, which, as I have already had occasion to remark to you, contains the place where Jesus was stripped of his garments and gall was handed to him to quench his thirst; that where he was nailed to the cross; Calvary, where he expired upon the cross ; and the tomb in which he was laid.
I have thus, my dear friend, described to you briefly, but as accurately as I could, the places which our Saviour traversed in the course of his long passion. The facts which this sketch presents for our meditation had been foretold seven hundred years before by Isaiah, and God had then shown them as if accomplished. The prophet had seen the man of sorrows suffering and dying for us. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he had written.
“ He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed ..... Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him, yea, to put him to grief.” (Isaiah, liii. 5 and 10.)
At no time and in no place will these wounds with which Jesus was covered for our transgressions, that chastisement which was upon him and which earned our peace, those stripes by which we have been healed, that bruising for our iniquities, produce a deeper, a more salutary, a more efficacious impression than at Jerusalem, and on the way itself which was moistened by the tears, the sweat, and the blood of Christ.
When, turning over the annals of human justice, I there read the punishment inflicted by it on a malefactor, let it be stamped with ever so little of an unjust and use
ROAD OF THE CROSS.
less severity, I am apt to forget the crime and feel concern for the perpetrator : the voice of humanity silences that sentiment of rigid equity, which tells my reason that the criminal ought to be punished and society avenged ; and I find in my heart nothing but pity.
If, casting my eyes farther, I chance to fix them upon a sentence in which Justice has erred, if evident proofs of the innocence of him on whom her sword has fallen are unfolded to my view, strange as this man may be to my affections, to my religion, to my country, my soul is moved, is filled with indignation, groans, deplores the mistake or the accursed iniquity, and the punishment of the condemned becomes to me also a punishment.
But here, continuing to turn over the history of human judgments, I am suddenly stopped by one of those sentences of death which are but too common in those accursed periods, fortunately rare in the course of ages, when things and actions the most glorious, the most honourable, have lost their character of honour and glory; when even the affections, when the tenderest, the purest, the most sacred ties are considered by the law and its organs as merely a sort of complicity with the persons to whom these affections, these ties, unite us. It is a sentence which sent to the scaffold a father, in whom the justice of the time thought fit to punish the crime of a son whom paternal tenderness refused to deliver
to the executioner; and this father died resigned, content, joyful, at thus saving the life of his son! Oh! then I can no longer control the emotions that agitate my soul : thoughts the most agonizing, the most soothing, crowd upon it, jostling and driving back one another; and,
ROAD OF THE CROSS.
amid this conflict, which becomes to me an inexpressible torment, a voice, bursting from my bosom, cries: Ah! had that father been thy father!
“ Had that father been my father!” At this last idea, words fail me; and I suffer my tears to flow in silence.
How would it be, if, all at once transported to the very spot where this father was tried, dragged to execution, sacrificed, I were to penetrate into the hall where this iniquitous sentence was pronounced; I were to see there, with my own eyes, both the place where sat the judges and that occupied by him whose only crime was to have given me life and to love me; if, going thence, I were to traverse the way which he passed to suffer, and reaching the very spot where the scaffold was erected, treading the very ground that was stained with his blood ......
What am I about, my dear friend ! all this will not tell you what my soul here feels. He who passed along the Road of the Cross, whose steps I have followed from Gethsemane to Calvary, is to me and to all Christians more than a benefactor, more than a friend, more than a father: it is the innocent Jesus, sacrificing himself for the guilty; it is my Redeemer, my Saviour, my God!
MOUNT OF Olives - VALLEY OP JBHOSHAPHAT - BROOK CEDRON -
CHURCH OP THE VIRGIN MARY - TOMBS OP JOSEPH, JOACHIM, AND ANNA - ADMIRABLE View Of The MOONT OP OLIVES — FOOT-PRINT IBPT AT TAB ASCENSION - CHAPEL ON THE SPOT WHERE CHRIST TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES TAB Lord's PRAYER — PLACE WHERE THB A POSTLES COMPOSED THE PROFESSION OF FAITH.
Jerusalem, February 20th, 1832. I continue my excursions, my dear friend, sometimes on horseback, at others on foot, sometimes in company,
WALK TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.
sometimes alone; and, whatever I may have been told, my heart frequently brings me back to the Via Dolorosa. The Turks begin to get used to my dress, and to my spectacles, which at first excited great notice. Most of them take me for a physician, and I am sometimes stopped in the streets both by men and women, who insist on my feeling their pulse. This reputation of physician originated in a petty lie of my dragoman's, who hazarded it one day to facilitate for me the approach to Omar's mosque.
The mistaken notion of the people respecting my profession gave rise to visits and to solicitations which became extremely annoying to me. I have therefore positively enjoined Jacob to contradict the reports which he had himself circulated on this subject, and I am somewhat quieter; I say somewhat, because several persons suppose that it is but a subterfuge on my part.
Hitherto I have been but rarely insulted : some stones have been flung at me; I received them, if I may be allowed to say so, with all the resignation, all the submission of a pilgrim wending his way along the Via Dolorosa ; or, if you please, I affected not to notice these insults: it was the only way to put an end to them.
My favourite walk is to the Mount of Olives. The way thither leads through St. Stephen's gate and the valley of Jehoshaphat; you cross the brook Cedron over a bridge of a single arch. On reaching the foot of the hill, you have on your left the church which contains the tombs of the Virgin Mary, Joseph, Joachim, Anna, and the grotto of the Agony; on the right is the garden of Gethsemane, which I have already described. I will
VALLEY OF JEHOSHAPHAT.
say a few words concerning those places, of which I have not given you any account.
The valley of Jehoshapliat is called in Scripture the valley of Sara, the Royal Valley, the valley of Melchisedeck. Hither it was that the king of Sodom came to congratulate Abraham, after the victory gained by that patriarch over the five kings. It is situated between the Mount of Olives and Mount Moriah. Its appearance is extremely gloomy: the Gothic walls of Jerusalem, which crown it on the west side, throw over it a shadow, a kind of darkness, well adapted to make the mind persevere in those serious reflections which the very name of Jehoshaphat must naturally excite. It appears to have been in all ages a place of sepulture : the eye cannot there rest upon any thing but trophies of death. You find tombs of the highest antiquity; you find others of yesterday. It is towards this valley that the Jews, scattered over the face of the earth, cast their eyes; thousands of them, even in the flower of their age, quit the country of their birth, in the hope of being one day buried there. Their sepulchral stones are innumerable ; they completely cover the Mount of Offence,* extend along the brook Cedron, and rise behind the tombs of Absalom, Zachariah, and Jehoshaphat, to the road leading to Bethany. The village of Siloa is so encompassed by them, that it appears to form part of this vast cemetery of the Israelites.
The valley of Jehoshaphat is a valley of mystery. Its name, which signifies the judgment of God, awakens in the mind thoughts at once soothing and awful, an ineffable mixture of hope and fear.
• A name given to this mount when Solomon became a backslider.