صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

had stood before, and that the aged trees, which now afforded us shade, were the lineal descendants of those under which He often reposed, but more particularly on the night of his arrest. The grot to which he retired on this occasion, and where "falling down to the ground" in the agony of his soul, and sweating" as it were great drops of blood," he was comforted by an angel, (Luke xxii. 43, 44,) is still shown and venerated as such. It is excavated in the live rock, and the descent to it is by a flight of rudely cut steps. The form of the interior is circular, about fifteen feet in diameter, and the roof, which is supported by pilasters, perforated in the middle, to admit light. There are some remains of sepulchres in the sides.

A few paces to the north of this grot, is a substantial stone building, resembling the dome of a church, almost even with the ground, having a pointed Gothic door-way. It covers the reputed Tomb of the Blessed Virgin; and its construction, like other great monuments in this country, is attributed to the pious mother of Constantine. The descent to it is by a broad and handsome flight of forty-six stone steps. On the right hand side, about

half-way down, is shown the cenotaph, erected to the memory of Joachim and Anne, the father and mother of Mary, and in a recess, on the opposite side, that of Joseph her husband. A further descent leads into a subterraneous chapel, lit up with lamps, which are kept constantly burning. In the centre, a little to the right, is an altar erected over the sacred tomb, which is an excavation in the rock. Behind it, in the curve of the chapel, is an altar, on which mass is occasionally said. Admitting the plausibility of the arguments which have been adduced, showing the improbability of its ever having served for the purposes here set forth, it is impossible not to be impressed with religious awe, at finding oneself in the mausoleum, dedicated to the memory of the most highly-favoured family of the earth. It is in possession of the Greeks, and what is singular, both Turks and Christians appoint guardians to watch over it. The former have a prayingplace near the tomb of the Virgin, but do not visit it, when any ceremony is going on, as was the case this day, it being with the Latins, the octave of the feast of the Assumption. Several of the Franciscan friars were on their knees in silent prayer, bearing


lighted torches in their hands. The concourse of people passing up and down the stairs was very great, but their conduct was decent and becoming.

From the tomb we commenced ascending the Mount of Olives, in the direction of the Church of the Ascension. This mountain, which is frequently mentioned in the Evangelical history, stretches from north to south, and is about a mile in length. At this moment, the short grass which covered its sides in the spring, is withered by the autumnal heats, but the absence of verdure is compensated for by patches, here and there, of the tree to which it owes its name. Formerly the whole mount and valley were covered with this species of tree, (whence the name, which it still preserves, Djebel Tor or Mount of Olives), but being of slow growth, when once decayed or wantonly destroyed, it is seldom replaced. The olive tree flourishes two hundred years before it begins to decay, and even while it is living, young trees spring up around it, which occupy its place when dead.

At about two-thirds of the ascent, we were shown the place where our Lord, looking down

upon the city, wept over its impending fate.* "Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down." (Mark xiii. 2.) How strikingly this fatal prophecy has been fulfilled! Not a vestige remains of the ancient capital of David and Solomon, not a tower, gate or wall, of Jewish times, is left standing. Fuit Hierosolyma. Without the walls, there are indeed, some few ancient sepulchral monuments, of doubtful date; but even these have been entered and defiled, as if the destruction pronounced on this fated city, extended even to the asylums of her dead.

From this point the best panoramic view of the Holy City is obtained, the slope of the hill, from west to east being just sufficient to present it to the greatest advantage. The interior of the court of the Temple is distinctly seen, with the celebrated Mosque of Omar rising in its centre, occupying the site of its more august predecessor.. Behind, the domes of the Sanctuary of the Holy Sepulchre, and other churches, convents, mosques, and minarets,

[ocr errors][merged small]

rise in pleasing succession; and though the Jerusalem of modern times is not the city of the Scriptures, any more than that it is built upon the same spot, yet, as seen from hence, the "widowed daughter of Zion" still displays sufficient grandeur, to aid the imagination in painting her as she once existed, "the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth."

Other localities of minor interest, and resting upon less authenticated tradition, were successively pointed out to us in this immediate vicinity. Indeed there is hardly a spot of ground, both within and without the walls of Jerusalem, that has not some legendary tale attached to it. One of these localities is the place where Christ taught the Apostles the Universal Prayer. "And be said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father," etc. (Luke xi. 2.); aud the other, the cave where the Creed was composed! But leaving these aside, we hastened to see the spot where the Son of God, born of a woman, last set foot on this our earth-" And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried

« السابقةمتابعة »