صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

earth is Mount Zion. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.' How rich and thrilling are the associations that throng upon the mind as you enter the Holy City! The abode of the prophets, apostles, and Saviour himself; where the sublime scenes of our faith transpired-atonement, resurrection, ascension; where the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost, to the disciples, in cloven tongues as of fire, and all spake in strange languages the wonderful works of God. Next to walking the golden streets of the New Jerusalem, to stand within the earthly city, and gain a vivid, realising sense of these spiritual scenes, yields perhaps the highest joy to the Christian heart. To look upon Mount Zion, Mount Moriah, and the mountains round about Jerusalem, Gethsemane, Calvary, the Sepulchre, and the Mount of Ascension, where the heavens were opened, and the Saviour received into glory, quicken one's faith and zeal in the service of his Divine Master, as no other influence can, save the movings of the Spirit of God upon the heart. "The first day that I spent in Jerusalem was one of the most deeply interesting of my life. In the morning (though not the Sabbath), we attended service in the English church upon Mount Zion,-an elegant Gothic building, and a fitting sanctuary to worship God in His ancient chosen dwelling-place. The Scriptures were read, embracing the preaching of John the Baptist, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.' Also the baptism of Jesus, when the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a

FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

121

bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, 'Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.' The gospel comes to us as the oracles of salvation from the lips of the earnest preacher, and the songs of praise, and the voice of prayer ascend as incense before the throne, to call down the blessing of Heaven upon the worshipping assembly. Surely, 'This is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven,' to our souls, and here we do sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

"It was a scene and impression never to be forgotten. 'They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.' 'As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth, even for ever.' After service, we were introduced to good Bishop Gobat, and an excellent circle of Christian friends, faithful watchmen on the walls of Zion. Then we went forth in company with Dr Bonar, of Scotland, and Dr Tyler, of America, to gain our first views and impressions of the Holy City, and the sacred localities around.

"We first examined the town of David,-a quadrangular fortress built in the walls upon the western side of Mount Zion. It is partly of modern, and partly of ancient construction. The lower stones are large, and levelled in the ancient Jewish style of workmanship, which is as distinctly marked as the Roman or Grecian. The foundation must therefore undoubtedly be referred to the time of David, when he took the fortress of Mount Zion from the Jebusites, and strengthened it, and made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom. Then passing beyond the Jaffa gate, and ascending a flight of stone steps, we climbed to the top of

[blocks in formation]

the city walls. They are built of square masses of limestone, and strengthened with towers and battlements in the Saracenic style. A wide space is left upon the top, and a parapet upon the outer edge gives security to the walk, that commands a beautiful view both within and without the city. From this point, at the north-west angle of Mount Zion, we looked westward to the upper and lower pools and valley of Gihon, that terminates in the valley of the Sons of Hinnom. It is recorded that ‘Hezekiah stopped the upper water-course of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David.' This aqueduct is still traceable, and conducts underneath the walls to the pool of Hezekiah within the city. At this fountain of Gihon, Zadok the priest took a horn of oil out of the tabernacle and anointed Solomon king of Israel. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. And all the people came up after him; and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.'

"As we looked down upon this valley, and the reservoir still remaining, around which the anointing of the Wise King was celebrated, the whole scene was vividly impressed upon the mind. From this point also we traced the course and direction of the ancient walls of the city, and the whole was spread out as a physical map before us. Turning to the right, we saw the gardens of Bath-sheba within the walls now planted with green growing grain, and portions of Mount Zion under the plough of cultivation. Zion shall be ploughed like a field.' Also piles of ruin and rubbish were heaped around, and an air of deso

[blocks in formation]

'Jerusalem shall

lation prevailed, like a city overthrown. become heaps, behold your house is left unto you desolate.' The whole not only forcibly illustrated Scripture history, but also the terrible fulfilment of Scripture prophecy pronounced against the covenant people for their transgression and unbelief. We now continue our walk upon the walls, and come to the Damascus gate on the north, that forms the great public way to Samaria and Galilee. Before us, on the left, is Mount Scopus, where Titus pitched his camp and displayed his army to the Jews before attacking the city, thinking they would at once surrender at the sight of the Roman legions; but they were doomed to a more fearful destruction, that the Saviour's prophecy might be literally fulfilled. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts,' He said, 'As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.' Titus was most anxious to save the temple, as one of the noblest monuments of ancient art. But the 'holy and beautiful house,' says the Jewish historian, 'was destined to destruction,' and through a 'divine impulse,' a Roman soldier seized a burning brand and cast it in at the golden window, whereby the whole edifice was soon wrapt in flames. Titus hastened to the spot, and finding all attempts to save the building hopeless, entered the sanctuary and directed the removal of the sacred utensils of gold, some of which afterwards graced his trium

[blocks in formation]

phal procession, and were sculptured upon the arch that commemorated his victory at Rome, where they may be seen to this day.

"Continuing our walk, we reached the north-east angle of the wall. The valley of Jehoshaphat is below, and the course through which the brook Kedron winds its way. There, too, is the garden of Gethsemane, enclosed within a wall, and containing six ancient olive trees (supposed by many to be the same that were standing in the time of our Saviour), where He fell upon His face and prayed, saying, 'O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.' Here, or at least not far off, the Saviour endured that agony and bloody sweat,' which betokened that the redemption of a sinful world rested upon His soul, and well-nigh crushed the human nature with its weight. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him.' Beyond rises the beautiful Mount of Olives, the favourite place of retirement to our Saviour and His disciples, from the noise and distraction of the city, for divine meditation and prayer. And in the day-time he was teaching in the temple, and at night he went out and abode in the mount that is called the Mount of Olives.' Here, also, upon this hillside, just without the walls of the city, was doubtless the scene of the crucifixion. It was outside the city in a public place, for 'they that passed by reviled on him, wagging their heads,' and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.'

"The high road to Huathoth runs near this place. And just across this little valley, on the slope of Olivet, the

« السابقةمتابعة »