صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

of the enemy's force when disunited; he, before they could effect a junction, by this safer though more tedious mode of operation, broke their lines, and put them to rout with such slaughter, that a few only escaped. Fifty of their best conditioned forts, and nine hundred and eighty-five of the finest and best towns were utterly destroyed. The number of killed in pitched battles and sallies, amounted to five hundred and eighty thousand, besides multitudes that perished by fire, disease, and famine; so that Judea was left little better than a desert."

2

Hadrian afterwards built a new city upon Acra, which he called Ælia, after his own name. Here he founded a Roman colony, and erected a Temple to Jupiter Capitolinus; and afterwards another to Venus, the former near Moriah, the latter on Calvary. He also issued an edict, by which he not only prohibited the Jews

1 Hadrianus optimos quosque duces adversum eos mittit, quorum primus fuit Julius Severus: qui ex Britannia, cui imperat, contra Judæos missus est. Hic nulla ex parte ausus est aperte cum hostibus congredi, multitudine ipsorum atque desperatione cognita; sed eos separatim magno militum ac tribunorum numero adortus, commeatu prohibuit, atque interclusos serius quidem, sed minore cum periculo, ita oppressit fregitque ut pauci admodum evaserint et quinquaginta eorum arces munitissimæ, vicique celeberrimi atque nobilissimi noninginti octoginta quinque funditus eversi sint. Cæsa sunt in excursionibus præliisque hominum quingenta octoginta millia: eorum autem, qui fame, morbo, et igni interierunt, infinita fuit multitudo, ita ut omnis pene Judæa deserta relicta fuerit.

Dion Cass. Hist. Lib. 69.

2 Elius Hadrianus.

3 From whence the city was called Ælia Capitolina.

4 Socr. Sehol. Ecc. Hist. i. 7.

Beausobre imagines that Adrian endeavoured to deface the site of the city, and that he, therefore, levelled Moriah, that no traces of the Temple might remain.

Jews from entering Judea, but denied them even the sight of it from a distance: but before this period, it appears, that only upon one day in the year were they permitted to shed tears over the place where their Temple had formerly stood; an indulgence, which though granted for the shortest space of time, was purchased at a high price. Incensed against the Jews, Hadrian placed upon the entrance-gate to the city, the sculptured figure of a Hog, in derision and contempt of their religious prejudices; and soon after permitted the abode of their opponents, the Nazarenes, in the city, upon their renouncing the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law; and thus, unintentionally, aided the introduction of Christianity. Consequently, no sooner

were matters thus arranged, than the first pure Church of Christ was founded, which continued to flourish, with partial interruptions, to the time of Constantine.? It was now that pilgrimages to the Holy Land were first esteemed the most efficient mode of evincing that piety so congenial with the Christian scheme, and so advantageous for the promulgation and exposition of the Gospel: particularly amongst those, who having embraced the doctrines of the Apostles and primitive Christians, felt an insatiable desire to visit the scenes of their great Master's eventful life. Among the first of these who were of greater note, and whose services were attended with the most important consequences,

may

1 Greg. Naz. 12 Orat.

And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord shall rejoice over you to destroy, and to bring you to nought: and ye shall be PLUCKED FROM OFF THE LAND whither thou goest to possess it. Deut. xxviii. 63.

2 From this time (of Hadrian) the Church of the Gentiles was first constituted there, A. D. 137. Euseb. Ecc. Hist. v. 12.

may be ranked Helena the mother of Constantine.1 It was this Saint who, though advanced in life, undertook the journey with a view to purify the modern city from the corruptions of Heathenism, and to restore the objects of Christian veneration.2 Having found "the daughter of Zion left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a "lodge in a garden of cucumbers," she entered it; and levelling the Temple, dedicated by the profane Hadrian to Venus, searched with indefatigable zeal for the implements of the crucifixion. The care with which

66

these had been secreted, had before been intimated, and knowing the motives by which Hadrian had been actuated to conceal the sacred relics, she pulled up the statue of the Heathen Goddess, and beneath its foundation discovered, as was pretended, the sacred Sepulchre, and in it the true Holy Cross, said also to have been distinguished from the other two found with

it,

1 Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, commonly supposed to have been a British woman, the daughter of Coellus, a British king, of whom Constantine became enamoured on his first coming to Britain, in the reign of Aurelian.

2 Jerome relates that pilgrims from India, Ethiopia, Britain, and Hibernia resorted to Jerusalem about the year 385. Ep. xxii.

Socr. Schol. says, that though Thomas preached and converted the Parthians, Matthew the Ethiopians, and Bartholomew the Indians, yet" the "innermost Indians," that is, those far in the country, were not enlightened by the doctrines of Christianity till the time of Constantine.

Ecc. Hist. Lib. i. c. 19.

3 Socr. Schol. Ecc. Hist. Lib. i. c. 7, and Theodoret Lib. i. c. 18. Nothing could surpass the zeal with which she visited every spot consecrated by the actions of Jesus Christ and by his Apostles, from the hills of Jerusalem to the shores of the sea of Galilee and over all Samaria, nor the piety with which she endeavoured to perpetuate the remembrance of the holy places by the monuments she erected.

Clarke's Travels vol. 2, p. 563.

it, by a miraculous healing virtue; and thus originated a superstitious veneration for the cross itself, ending in gross Idolatry. The Cross was not without its accompaniments, and, therefore, Pilate's title of accusation, by which he proclaimed that Jesus whom he crucified was the King of the Jews; and even the head of the spear by which he had been pierced, were at the same time restored. On this spot the Emperour, at the solicitation of his mother, built the "Church of Christ's

Sepulchre;" for "he regarded it as his duty," says Eusebius," to make that most blessed place illustrious " and venerable in the eyes of the world." Her next

undertaking was to erect a second church on Mount Olivet, to mark the place of Christ's ascension; and a third at Bethlehem, the birth place of the Saviour, where, from the time of Hadrian, the rites of Adonis had been performed. These churches were adorned with every thing that piety or wealth could confer, and time has shewn that the devotion of Helena, and the powerful influence and zeal of her son, were sufficient to raise monuments transmitting the glory and fame of their memories to a late posterity.4 From

⚫ í Socr. Sch. Ecc. Hist. Lib. i. c. 7, The truth of this account of the discovery of the cross and its accompaniments, as here given by Socrates and Cyril of Jerusalem, has justly been called in question: particularly as Eusebius, who mentions with great exactness the buildings erected by Constantine, makes no allusion to a circumstance, which if true, he would never have omitted. The story is regarded entirely as a legend, intended to operate upon the minds of the credulous, instigating them by becoming pilgrims to bring a greater revenue to the supporters of the fiction. It is sufficient for us to know that Helena having found the spot of the crucifixion, there built a church.-See Clarke's Travels upon this subject.

2 Euseb. Vit. Consti.

Nicephorus, lib. iii. c. 30, attributes upwards of thirty churches and chapels to have been built by her.

4 Whatsoever might have been her mental endowments, her bodily energies,

From the time of Constantine, the city resumed its ancient name; and Jerusalem, once more redeemed, began to flourish under the auspices of that religion which she had hitherto endeavoured so strenuously to oppose,' while the Jews, under this and the succeeding Emperours, relinquished all expectation of emerging from that obscurity into which they were now driven, till the mad ambition of Julian once again excited their expectations, by holding out an intention of invalidating the Christian Revelation by a practical argument against the truth of one of its most important predictions. With the view, therefore, secretly to ruin the Christian Church by the restoration of the Jewish worship, he determined upon re-building the Temple of Jerusalem on its old foundations; one, which should surpass the magnificence and popularity of that of the Resurrection standing on the adjacent eminence. In his letter to the community of the Jews, he says"The Holy City of Jerusalem which you have so long "desired to see inhabited, re-building by my own "labours, I will dwell in."2

[ocr errors]

This

energies, at a season of life when human strength is said to be but labour and sorrow," were superior to the weight of age, and to the fatigues of a pilgrimage sufficient to have exhausted the most vigorous youth. Clarke's Travels, vol. 2, p. 562.

According to Theodoret, she was nearly eighty years old when she undertook this pilgrimage.-Paulo ante mortem, quam octogesimum ætatis agens oppetebat, istud iter fecit. Lib. i. c. 18.

1. A. D. 327.

2 Την εκ πολλῶν ἐτῶν επιθυμε μένην παρ' υμιν, οικεμένην πολιν ἁγιάν Ιερεσαλὴμ ἐμοῖς καμάτοις ἀνοικοδομήσας οικήσω. Ep. 25.

AND HE SHALL (THINK TO) PLANT THE TABERNACLES OF HIS PALACES BETWEEN THE SEAS, IN THE GLORIOUS HOLY MOUNTAIN; YET HE SHALL COME TO HIS END, AND NONE SHALL HELP HIM. Dan. xi. 45.

« السابقةمتابعة »