صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

And Abraham gat up

not to slay the righteous with the wicked, until God promised that if peradventure ten righteous were found therein, He would not destroy it. early in the morning to the place where he stood before. the Lord and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.' In Hebron also Isaac long dwelt, and Jacob, after his years of service in Padan-aram, 'came unto Isaac his father, unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.' From hence he went down with his sons unto Pharaoh in Egypt, and became a great nation; and when Jacob was about 'to be gathered to his fathers' he commanded his sons, saying, 'Bury me with my fathers, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them. And Joseph went up to bury his father and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt':-a grand funeral procession across the sands of the desert to bury the embalmed body of the aged patriarch in the land where his fathers dwelt, and died, and were buried.

"Hebron likewise became the capital of David's kingdom, where he reigned seven and a half years over Judah, and was also anointed king over all Israel. Here too he doubtless composed many of his sublime psalms, that have in all ages penetrated the soul, and lifted it from earth to heaven. How vivid and thrilling were all these sacred associations, as just before the hour of sunset we

[blocks in formation]

passed through the vineyards of Eshcol, crossed the plain of Mamre, and came to the city of Hebron !

[ocr errors]

We spent the night at the house of a Jew from Holland, who represented himself as the American consul of the place. The steps and floors were as neat as Dutch scrubbing and scouring could make them; but the fleas and other small animals were as abundant as the grapes in the valley of Eshcol in the most fruitful season. I found it convenient to go out upon the house-top at night and meditate, and the view in the clear starlight of the plain, the valley, and the hills stretching far away, was beautiful indeed. There, too, I experienced a peculiar delight in holding communion and fellowship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had here often appeared to them, and talked with them as friend talketh with his friend.

"In the morning we set out to visit the great mosque that is built over the cave of Machpelah, where the patriarchs are buried. This is regarded as one of the most undoubted localities of the Holy Land, and is also esteemed one of the holiest places by the Mohammedans, who have the highest reverence for Abraham and the patriarchs; and on this account Christians are rigorously prevented from entering it. They were formerly not even allowed to approach near the outer walls of the harem. We were, however, unmolested in examining the exterior of the edifice. The structure is exceeding massive, and has in all respects an ancient appearance. The walls are built of large stones levelled in the peculiar Jewish style, and similar to those around the court of the Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem. A number of square

pillars, half imbedded in the wall, also extend around the

[blocks in formation]

building, and these are surmounted by a kind of cornice, which gives to the whole an imposing effect.

"We then called upon the sheik of the mosque, Hadji Halil, to gain admittance, if possible, into the interior. He is a venerable, amiable-looking Mussulman, with a long, flowing white beard. He received us very kindly, and at once admitted us through the large gate within the outer wall. As we were about to ascend the broad steps that lead to the mosque, however, a crowd of bigoted Moslems gathered around, and declared in the name of the prophet that we should not be permitted to enter. The old sheik then conducts us in a very friendly manner to his own house within the court that overlooks the building and the grounds around, remarking, at the same time, 'I myself would gladly admit you. There is nothing in my religion to forbid it, Mohammedans and Christians are all children of God and brothers together (most liberal sentiments to come from a Moslem sheik), but I dare not do it. My enemies would at once excite opposition, and create an insurrection in the town.' Meanwhile he gives us a very hospitable entertainment of coffee, raisins, fruit, &c., in oriental style, and favours us with many interesting items of Mohammedan tradition in regard to the lives and history of the ancient patriarchs. It was most pleasant to find such a spirit of enlarged kindness and liberality in a Moslem dwelling in Hebron, where they are reputed the most bigoted and fanatical in all Palestine. Departing thence, we rode a short distance from the town to visit the large terebinth tree called 'Abraham's oak.' We found many acorns upon the ground, and also some upon the tree. It is of immense dimensions, very venerable, and of great antiquity. Returning on our way, we




soon came in sight of Nebby Jonas-'the grave of the prophet Jonas.' Here the pilgrims have erected piles of stones, as is their custom, to mark their first point of view of a prophet's tomb. Then retracing rapidly our course, we at length come in sight of Mount Moriah and Jerusalem. And we are reminded of the journey of Abraham over the same path, from Beersheba to the land of Moriah, at the command of the Lord, to offer up his only son Isaac upon one of the mountains there. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.'

[ocr errors]

"As we approached, the sun was gilding the mountains of Moab, the summit of Olivet, the domes, minarets, and towers of the Holy City, with purple and golden light, reminding us also of the New Jerusalem,' with its walls garnished with precious stones, its gates of pearl, and streets of pure gold, 'wherein shall in nowise enter anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life; and the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.'

"How constant and lasting are such scenes to the Christian traveller in the Holy Land, and how they fondly linger in memory like a spiritual vision to elevate the soul from earth to heaven!

"C. N. R."



"WE made our next excursion from Jerusalem to the Jordan and the Dead Sea. Passing out of the Jaffa gate, and crossing the aqueduct from Solomon's pools, we rode along the valley of Hinnom, and passed Aceldama, or the Field of Blood, filled with caves, sepulchres, and dead men's bones. This was long used as a burial-place for strangers, and is at present entirely neglected and despised. The brook Kidron now flows in from above, and winds through the valley. Our path stretches over the hillside, and we enjoy the beautiful views of Mount Zion in the distance, which the Psalmist describes, 'Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north.' Viewed from this point in the morning sunlight, Zion rising majestically on the north, seemed worthy of the fullest praises of David's harp.

[ocr errors]

The country around presents a pastoral scene, and reminds us of patriarchal days. Sheep and goats are feeding upon the hillsides, and the shepherds' tents are pitched in the valleys. The road, however, is not entirely free from danger of attack. An armed Bedouin sheik accompanies us as guide and escort on our journey. In a short time we come to an encampment of black tents. Several armed men mount their horses as we approach,

« السابقةمتابعة »