Page images


of stones on its summit. I inquired what it was, and one of the Arabs said-Nabi Ibrahim;' but another of them told Mr. King, that it was called Galgala. Query. Is this the Gilgal, where Joshua placed the twelve stones which he took out of Jordan. See Joshua iv, 19, 20. At half past two we arrived at the Jordan, at the place where pilgrims usually visit it, and where the Israelites passed over on dry ground, "right against Jericho.'' From the Dead Sea to this place the ground is, most of the way, completely barren, and appears like a mixture of black earth and ashes. Not a green thing is

I swam across the river, and took a walk in the plain of Moab, in the inheritance of Reuben, on the other side Jordan, toward the rising of the sun. After this I sat on the bank, and read the third chapter of Joshua. I also read Matthew third, and offered a prayer in Greek with two Greeks, while Mr. Wolff read in German to the Germans who were with us. I do not suppose a prayer is any more acceptable to God for being offered in a particular place; yet I shall never envy the man, who could read these two chapters and pray on the shores of the Jordan, without any peculiar emotions. After riding over the parched plain, we drank freely of the water of Jordan, though it was muddy. We found the current very rapid, but not deep. While we were on the shore two Bedouin horsemen forded the river. These were the first human beings we had seen, since we had left St. Saba. The whole country which we had passed through is a desert, with no inhabitant except Bedouins, who resort to it, especially in winter, when they find, in different places, pasturage for their flocks.

“At six o'clock we arrived at Jericho. We took up our lodgings for the night, men and horses together, in an open yard of the castle. We walked among the dirty huts of modern Jericho, the walls of which are of rough stone, and the roofs of

bushes and mud. The inhabitants, 200 or 300 in number, are all Mussulmans.

“5. We left Jericho early in the morning, and soon came to a stream of pure water, which we followed to its source. It issues from the earth near the foot of the mountain, Quarantania, on which, tradition says, Christ fasted forty days. This is probably the fountain, whose deadly waters Elisha healed. At one o'clock we reached our lodgings in the Holy City, extremely fatigued, but grateful, that we had been enabled to perform safely this interesting journey.

“We searched for the famous apple of Sodom, and found two kinds of fruit, either of which, with the help of a little poetic imagination, might pass for the fruit in question. One kind grows in abundance near the Jordan where we bathed. We plucked a few of the apples, which were probably of last year's growth. They were black and dry, and did not in outward appearance correspond with what is said of the apple of Sodom. Perhaps, however, it is different when the fruit first ripens. On opening these apples, (if I may call them so,) we found the inside soft and dry like the pith of an elder, or of a cornstalk that is thoroughly dried. There is no pulp in the inside, and generally but one or two seeds. These resemble apple seeds. We cannot fairly judge of this fruit, without seeing it when it first comes to maturity.

“The other fruit, which we observed, and which seems to me more like the apple in question, grows around Jericho. It looks very inviting, but its taste is extremely bitter and disagreeable. One of the Arabs told me it was poisonous. Chateaubriand, who thought this the apple of Sodom, says, “When dried it yields a blackish seed, which may be compared to ashes, and which in taste resembles bitter pepper.' Whether either of these is the apple of Sodom, or whether there is any such apple, even

after all that Josephus and Tacitus and others have said about it, I will not attempt to decide. The Bible says of the Israelites, when they sin, “Their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter; their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.' Deut. xxxii, 32, 33. This is figurative language, and ineans that the Israelites should reap bitter fruits from their sinful practices, as the inhabitants of Sodom had done. May not all that is said of the apple of Sodom have originated from a similar metaphor?

“One of our Arabs was named Nasar Allah; I asked him where he liked best to live, in the desert or in the city? He replied, 'In the desert.' I asked why? His answer was striking and characteristic; 'I am a son of the desert, I am not a son of the city.""

During a number of days from the last date, Mr. Fisk was employed in reading the Scriptures, and conversing with Jews, Rabbies, Abyssinian, and Syrian bishops, Greeks, and Catholics. As these discussions were all of a similar character with some which have been introduced, it will not be profitable or interesting to continue to detail all that his journal contains. These portions will now be passed over with brief notice.

"In the afternoon we made a visit to the Greek metropolitans, and then went into the library of their convent. Among the manuscripts we found an ancient copy of the New Testament, which we spent some time in examining. The disputed passage, 1 John v, 7, is entirely wanting. The 7th and 8th verses stand thus: "For there are three that bear record, the spirit, and the water, and the blood,'&c. Acts xx, 28, reads thus; "the Church of the Lord and God, (To Kupicu xxà becm, which he hath purchased,' &c. 1 Tim. iii. 16, and Rom. ix, 5, are as in the common copies now in use.

“17. We went to the nunnery of St. Mary the Great. There are twenty-eight or thirty nuns. Several of their rooms are well furnished, and they received us with much civility. We conversed with them a long time on religious subjects. They remembered the visit of our dear brother Parsons, and spoke of it with pleasure."

The whole number of Greck convents in Jerusalem, Mr. Fisk states to be fourteen, of which he has given a brief notice. They are occupied with but very few monks and nuns, and most of them are appropriated to the accominodation of pilgrims.

6620. A little past noon we walked down to the west wall of the temple on Mount Moriah, where the Jews go on Friday to lament over the destruction of the temple. The wall where we saw them appeared to be fifty or sixty feet high; in the lower part of it were nine rows of stones, each about three feet and a half thick; and then sixteen rows of smaller ones. These two parts of the wall appear to have been built at different times. Probably the lower stones were employed in the second temple; for though its walls were thrown down, there is no reason to suppose that all the stones were removed. The Jews themselves say that no part of the wall of the second temple now exists. The Jews pay annually a certain sum to the Turks for the privilege of visiting this place. We found about thirty of them sitting on the ground near the wall, and reading from their Hebrew books. It was deeply affecting to see these lineal descendants of Abraham, most of them poor and ragged, sitting in the dust, and paying for the privilege of weeping, where their fathers sung and rejoiced and triumphed; miserable slaves on the very spot where their fathers were mighty kings! A Jew accompanied us. In the market a Turk, too lazy to light his own pipe, called on the Jew to do it for him. The Jew refused, and the Turk was rising in a rage to pursue him, when,

perceiving that the Jew was accompanying us, he desisted. Soon after this a Turkish peasant, who was carrying a sack of water, called to the Jew in a very domineering manner, to assist in emptying the water into a vessel. We interfered, and nothing more was said. Poor Jews! when will they learn the true cause of their oppression, and repent, and turn to God?

Sabbath, June 22. This is the Pentecost of the oriental Christians. We arose soon after day break, and went out to Mount Zion. Without the city, on the summit of the mount is the burying place of the Christians. The Greeks hold one part, the Armenians another, and the Catholics a third, all in the same plat of ground. The Greeks resort this morning to that place to pray for the dead. One of the bishops and a great number of priests were present. The multitude stood up while prayers were read, and sat on the ground to hear lessons from the Scriptures. During this service three priests, with censers in their hands, walked about among the tombs, and said short prayers whenever requested to do so by surviving friends, from whom they received fees on the occasion.

The Greeks do not believe in purgatory, yet they pray for the dead, and have a confused idea that the dead may, in some way or other, be benefitted by their prayers.

“South-east of this burying-ground is a small Turkish village which the Jews call the city of Zion.' It is surrounded by a wall, and contains several houses and a mosque. Here according to tradition are the tombs of David and his successors. See 1 Kings ii, 10, and xi, 43, and xiv, 31. Christians also believe that in this place Christ instituted the Holy Supper; but neither are the Jews now permitted to enter the tombs of their kings, nor the Christians the room where they believe their Lord instituted the holy sacrament. Just before the Greeks concluded their service, the Armenian patriarch, with a considerable

« PreviousContinue »