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“There are several important fields in this region, which it is desirable that some missionary should visit, and survey; as Armenia, Mesopotamia, Persia, Abyssinia, and the states of Barbary. Perhaps it may appear to be my duty to go through some of these countries.
“Such journies, I know will be attended with danger and difficulties. But if duty is made plain, it is always safe to proceed. Let all my brothers and sisters know, that I remember them
affectionately. I hope they are well and happy, walking in the fear of God, and training up their children ‘in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.' May the God of Abraham make
old happy, and if we do not meet again in this world. O may we meet in the presence of God, to dwell there forever.”
age serene and
“10. At eight o'clock left Nazareth for Tiberias, now called Tabaria. Going a little south of east, we soon came in sight of Tabor and Hermon. Tabor rises majestically, like a vast pyramid. Hermon is longer, and partially broken. At the foot of Hermon, on the north, our guide pointed out Nain, now a Turkish village. Tabor is nearly north of Hermon. The country we passed was covered with shrub-oak, and the soil seemed rich. At half past ten, we arrived at Kham-Sook or Market Tavern. Here are two old castles, and here the merchants of Nazareth, the people of the villages, and the Arabs from the mountains, hold a fair, every Monday. When we arrived, we found about 1000 people assembled, buying and selling cattle and merchandize of all sorts. We rested till twelve, and then set off for Tiberias, our course a little north of east, and arrived at 3 o'clock.
"You perceive neither Tiberias, nor its lake, till you approach very near them; and then, from the hill, you have a good view of both. The town stands
on the shores of the lake, is surrounded by a wall, and, from the hill, makes a very decent appearance. On entering, you find a considerable part of it in ruins. We lodged with a Jew, Signor Rafael Piciotti, the Austrian consul-general for Syria. He is now an old man, and has retired from business, to spend the eve of life quietly on the shores of this peaceful lake.
"In the evening Rabbi Samuel, who married the consul's daughter-in-law, (now thirteen or fourteen years old,) gave us the following estimate of the Jewish population. Ashkenasim (Polish Jews) 150 houses, and Sephartim (Spanish Jews) 70 or 80. Each sect have one synagogue. The Ashkenasim here are all Hasidim; there are no Perushim, (Pharisees) in the place. Rabbi Samuel says there are twenty or thirty_Rabbies, who spend their whole time in reading Talmud.
“11. We went to see the hot springs. They are on the shore of the lake, a half hour's ride south of Tiberias. The plain south of the town is covered with ruins till you reach the Springs. At one of these springs a bath is erected, to which the people of the country resort. The present building was raised by Jezzar Pasha. While Mr. Jowett remained at the bath, I pursued my course south, and in another hour arrived at the south end of the lake, where the Jordan issues from it. I rode a little way down the river and passed the ruins of an old bridge, the arches of which are still standing. The river bends often and varies much in width, perhaps from thirty to one hundred yards. It is so shallow that cattle and asses were fording it without difficulty. On returning to the bath, I ascertained the temperature of the water. In the water of the lake, my thermometer stood at 76°; in the sun at 90°; in the water of the bath, at the time I went into it, (when it had cooled, by standing,) at 110°; in one spring as it issued from the ground, 131°; in another, 132°;
where it issued from under the bath, 138°; and in another place, 139o. I was told, however, that the heat varies at different times. Probably it is diminished by heavy rains. The water is sulphureous. A Jew, with whom I entered into conversation at the bath, estimated the Jewish population of Tabaria at 96 families of Ashkenasim, and 90 of Sephartim. When we returned to the town, we stopped at what is called the house of Peter. It is now a Greek Catholic church, and the only church in Tiberias. We met with the only priest in the place, and he told us that the whole number of Christian families in the town is thirty or forty, all Greek Catholics.
“12. I went with our guide Antoon Baulus, to see the ruins of Capernaum on the shore of the lake, north of Tiberias. One hour's ride brought us to an Arab village called Maydool. We then entered a plain, which we were an hour in crossing. Then passing a deserted khan, we entered upon a rough piece of road, and soon came to the ruins of an Arab house, evidently of very modern construction; yet my guide asserted that this was Bethsaida. A few rods north of it are some ruined walls but clearly of modern origin. After passing a set of mills on a brook, we came to the ruins of Čapernaum, at least, to ruins which now bear that name; in about three hour's ride from Tiberias. Here are ruins which are manifestly very ancient. A part of the wall of one building still stands, and many walls appear at the surface of the ground, as well as broken columns; pedestals, and capitals. These are of hard limestone, like those of Balbec. There are now twenty or thirty uninhabited Arab huts on the ruins of the old city. Two men and one woman were repairing the roof of one, in order to make it a store-house for grain.”
Returning to Tiberias Mr. Fisk visited a synagogue, with which a college was connected. He found nearly 1000 volumes of Babbinic lore in one
room, and 1500 volumes in another. He estimated the population at about 1000, among whom he distributed the Scriptures.
He left Tiberias (or Tabaria) on the 13th, and proceeded on his way as far as Safet. He took lodgings in the house of Rabbi Israel, the head of the Ashkenasim Jews, the name of whose wife was Deborah, and that of his agent Baruch. He remarks, “ I love these Old Testament names ; but I long for the time, when the names of Apostles as well as Prophets shall be found in these families.”
“14. The castle of Safet stands on very high ground, with the town east and west of it, and some scattered houses south. This morning we went up to the castle, waited on the aga, who commands the town, and took a view of the place and the hills around it. We conjectured the number of Turkish houses to be 1000. We could see only four minarets. The castle is large and lofty, and built on a magnificent plain, but now decayed and going to ruin. To the north-east is a high mountain, which the Jews say is Tabor. To the south-west is another, which they say is Hermon. On an eminence a little south-east of the castle, is an old fortress, which the Jews say was founded by Josephus. They tell you likewise, that this is the scene of the battle of Sisera.”
At 5 o'clock Mr. Fisk with his companion reached Hatheen, a small village at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes. This mount "receives its name from the tradition, that here Christ delivered his memo. rable Sermon; and it seems that tradition is here supported by a high degree of probability."
On the 15th, he left Hatheen, and in less than three hours came to Cana of Galilee.* John ii. It is
“Why is it," said Mr. Jowett to Mr. Fisk, “that these very scenes become endeared to us, as we read the portions of Sacred Scripture relating to them; so that they are rendered much more lovely than mere scenery could make them?” Mr. F. illustrated the feeling of religious association by putting the case of two amiable persons: "For both” said he, "we might conceive a very warm affection; bat if one were
represented as being now a mean village with few inhabitants. The church was a low, dark place, in which a water pot of stone was shown, said by the priest to be one of those mentioned in the Gospel. He reached Nazareth the same day.
“16. As I was walking in the hall of the monastery, a padre came up, and entered into conversation with me about the distribution of books. He said he was aware, that the English wish, by the distribution of books, to form a party in the East. "But,' said he in a confidential manner, as if telling me something very important, I perceive they do not know the character of the people in the Levant. One third of the money, which they spend for books, if distributed secretly, would form a large party. Whereas, by distributing books they effect nothing. Fourteen cases of books arrived at Jaffa at different times while I was there, and of all these I presume you cannot now find enough to fill two cases.'
Such advice from a missionary might seem like serious trifling, or like an intentional insult to us, but the manner in which the padre spoke, and especially the fact that this is the method adopted by the Catholics in order to make proselytes, make me believe, that he was sincere in what he considered the best method of converting men. This man has been thirty years a missionary without learning the language of the country. I answered his remarks by showing what is the real object of the Bible Society, and by pointing out the present ignorance
pious, and the other not, how far more congenial would be our attachment to him, whose heart was one with ours in the love of God? He is in the truest sense our FRIEND--a friend, in common with us, of God--a friend for eternity! We may know him only for a short time on earth, but we shall know him hereafter forever. So to compare inanimate things with spiritual, our attachment to this spot is heightened by the remembrance of the divine discourses once uttered here; and which seem to make it hallowed ground, to which we are united by a kind of religious endearment."