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From the east end of the wilderness, you enter the famous valley of Elah, where Goli'ah was slain by the champion of Israel. It is a pretty and interesting spot; the bottom covered with olive-trees. Its present appearance answers exactly to the description given in Scripture; the two hills, on which the armies stood, entirely confining it on the right and left. The valley is not above half a mile broad. Tradition was not required to identify this spot: nature has stamped it with everlasting features of truth. The brook still flows through it in a winding course, from which David took the smooth stones; the hills are not precipitous, but slope gradually down; and the vale is varied with banks and undulations, and not a single habitation is visible in it.
The same, concluded.
Ar the south-east of Zion, in the vale of Jehoshaphat, they say the gardens of Solomon stood, and also on the sides of the hill adjoining that of Olivet. It was not a bad, though rather a confined, site for them. The valley here is covered with a rich verdure, divided by hedges into a number of small gardens. A mean looking village stands on the rocky side of the hill above. Not a single palm-tree is to be seen in the whole territory around, where once every eminence was covered with them.
The roads leading to the city are bad, except to the north, being the route to Damascus; but the supplies of wood, and other articles for building the temple, must have come by another way than the near and direct one from Jaffa, which is impassable for burthens of a large size, from the defiles and rocks amidst which it is carried; the circuitous routes by land from Tyre or Acre were probably used. The Turk, who is chief of the guard that keeps watch at the entrance of the sacred church, waited on us two or three times; he is a very fine and dignified looking man, and ensured us entrance at all hours, which permission we availed ourselves of, to pass another night amidst its hallowed scenes, with interest and pleasure but little diminished.
We chose a delightful morning for a walk to Bethany. The path leads up the side of Olivet, by the very way
which our Saviour is said to have descended in his last entry into Jerusalem. At a short distance are the ruins of the village of Bethphage; and, half a mile further, is Bethany. The distance is about two miles from the city. The village is beautifully situated; and the ruins of the house of Lazarus are still shown, and do credit to the good father's taste.
On the right of the road is the tomb of Lazarus, cut out of the rock.* Carrying candles, we descended ten or twelve stone steps to the bottom of the cave : in the middle of the floor is the tomb, a few feet deep, and large enough to admit one body only. Several persons can stand conveniently in the cave around the tomb, so that Lazarus, when restored, did not, as some suppose, descend from a sepulchre cut out of the wall, but rose out of the grave, hewn in the floor of
The light that enters from above does not find its way to the bottom; the fine painting in the Louvre, of this resurrection, was probably faithful in representing it by torchlight. Its identity cannot be doubted: the position of Bethany could never have been forgotten, and this is the only sepulchre in the whole neighbourhood. It is a delightful Sunday afternoon's walk to Bethany: after crossing the mounts, the path passes along the side of a hill, that looks down into a wild and long valley, in which are a few scattered cottages. The view, just above the village, is very magnificent, as it embraces the Dead Sea, the valley and river of the Jordan, and its confluence with the lake.
On the descent of Olivet is shown the spot where Christ wept over Jerusalem : tradition could not have selected a more suitable spot. Up this ascent David went, when he fled from Absalom, weeping. And, did a Jew wish to breathe his last where the glory of his land and fallen city should meet his departing gaze, he would desire to be laid on the summit of the Mount of Olives.
The condition of the Jews in Palestine is more insecure, and exposed to insult and exaction, than in Egypt and Syria, from the frequent lawless and oppressive conduct of the governors and chiefs. These distant pachalics* are less under the control of the Portet; and, in Egypt, the subjects of Mahmoud enjoy a more equitable and quiet government than in any other part of the empire. There is little national feeling or enthusiasm among them; though there are some exceptions, where these exist in an intense degree. In the city, they appear fearful and humbled; for the contempt in which they are held by the Turks is excessive, and they often go poorly clad to avoid exciting suspicion.
* Pron. pål-shaw-lics.
+ The Ottoman government.
Yet it is an interesting sight, to meet with a Jew, wandering, with his staff in his hand, and a venerable beard sweeping his bosom, in the rich and silent plain of Jericho, on the sides of his native mountains, or on the banks of the ancient river Kish'on, where the arm of the mighty was withered in the battle of the Lord. Did a spark of the love of his country warm his heart, his feelings must be exquisite: --but his spirit is suited to his condition.
that ye, through his poverty, might be rich."
Low in the dim and sultry west
Is the fierce sun of Syria's sky;
Its hour of feast and joy, is nigh.
Lone, by the wayside faintly sinks ;
And from the humble well he drinks.
On the dark wave of Galilee
The gloom of twilight gathers fast,
Sweeps the bleak evening blast.
bird hath left the air,
And laid him down to welcome rest.
Still, near the lake, with weary tread,
Livgers a form of human kind;
And, from his lone, unsheltered head,
Flows the chill night-damp on the wind.
Why seeks not he the pillowed bed?
He hath not where to lay his head !
To bless, to save, the human race;
A rich, full stream of heavenly grace.
Elijah fed by Ravens.-GRAHAME.
SORE was the famine throughout all the bounds Of Israel, when Elijah, by command Of God, toiled on to Cherith's failing brook. No rain-drops fall, no dew-fraught cloud, at morn, Or closing eve, creeps slowly up the vale. The withering herbage dies. Among the palms, The shrivelled leaves send to the summer gale An autumn rustle. No sweet songster's lay Is warbled from the branches. Scarce is heard The rill's faint brawl. The prophet looks around, And trusts in God, and lays his silvered head Upon the flowerless bank. Serene he sleeps, Nor wakes till dawning. Then, with hands enclasped, And heavenward face, and eye-lids closed, he prays To Him who manna on the desert showered, To Him who from the rock made fountains gush. Entranced the man of God remains; till, roused By sound of wheeling wings, with grateful heart He sees the ravens fearless by his side Alight, and leave the heaven-provided food.
Mount Sinai.-LETTERS FROM THE EAST.
LEAVING the valley of Paran, the path led over a rocky wilderness, to render which more gloomy, the sky became clouded, and a shower of rain feil. By moonlight we ascended the hills, and, after some hours? progress, rested . for the night on the sand. The dews had fallen heavy for some nights, and the clothes that covered us were quite wet in the morning; but, as we advanced, the dews ceased.
Our mode of life, though irregular, was quite to a wanderer's taste. We sometimes stopped for an hour, at midday, or, more frequently, took some bread and a draught of water on the camel's back; but we were repaid for our fatigues, when we halted for the evening, as the sun was sinking in the desert, and, having taken our supper, strolled amidst the solitudes, or spent the hours in conversation till dark.
But the bivouac* by night was the most striking, when, arriving, fatigued, long after dark, the two fires were lighted. I have frequently retired to some distance to gaze at the group of Arabs round theirs, it was so entirely in keeping. They were sipping their coffee, and talking with expressive action and infinite vivacity; and, as they addressed each other, they often bent over the flame which glanced on their white turbans and drapery and dark countenances, and the camels stood behind, and stretched their long necks over their masters.
Having finished our repast, we wrapped ourselves in our cloaks, and lay down round the fire : and let not that couch be pitied; for it was delightful, as well as romantic, to sink to rest as you looked on that calm and glorious sky, the stars shining with a brilliancy you have no conception of in our climate. Then, in the morning, we were suddenly summoned to depart, and, the camels being loaded, we were soon on the march. Jouma frequently chanted his melancholy Arab song, for at this time we were seldom disposed to converse, and were frequently obliged to throw a blanket over our cloak, and walk for some hours, to guard against the chilness of the air.
The sunsets in Egypt are the finest; but to see a sunrise in its glory, you must be in the desert : nothing there obscures or obstructs it. You are travelling on, chill and silent,
* Pron. bē-voo-ac; an encampment for a night.