"And about that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no little business unto the craftsmen; whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this business we have our wealth. And ye see and hear that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they are no gods that are made with hands: and not only is there danger that our trade come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana be made of no account, and that she should even be deposed from her magnificence, whom all Asia and the world worshipeth. And when they heard this they were filled with wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the city was filled with the confusion: and they rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel. And when Paul was minded to enter in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, sent unto him and besought him not to adventure himself into the theater. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was in confusion; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand and would have made a defense unto the people. But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And when the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he saith, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there who knoweth not that the city of the Ephesians is temple-keeper of the great Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these things can not be gainsaid, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rash. For ye have brought hither these men, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius, and the craftsmen that are with him, have a matter against any man, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls: let them accuse one another. But if ye seek anything about other matters, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. For indeed we are in danger to be accused concerning this day's riot, there being no cause for it: and as touching it we shall not be able to give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly" (Acts 19:23-41).
As I was leaving the ruins, I stopped, sat down in sight of the spot where I supposed the temple stood, and read the speech of Demetrius, and thought his fears were well founded. Their trade has come into disrepute, "the temple of the great goddess" has been "made of no account," and "she whom Asia and all the world" worshiped has been "deposed from her magnificence." Portions of the temple are now on exhibition in the British Museum, in London, and portions have been carried to different other cities to adorn buildings inferior to the one in which they were originally used. "From the temple to the more southern of the two eastern gates of the city," says McGarvey, "are traces of a paved street nearly a mile in length, along the side of which was a continuous colonnade, with the marble coffins of the city's illustrious dead occupying the spaces between the columns. The processions of worshipers, as they marched out of the city to the temple, passed by this row of coffins, the inscriptions on which were constantly proclaiming the noble deeds of the mighty dead." The canal and artificial harbor, which enabled the ships of the world to reach the gates of the city, have disappeared under the weight of the hand of time. In some places the ground is literally covered with small stones, and even in the theater, weeds, grass and bushes grow undisturbed. How complete the desolation!
Before leaving Ayassalouk on the afternoon train, I bought some grapes of a man who weighed them to me with a pair of balances, putting the fruit on one pan and a stone on the other; but I didn't object to his scales, for he gave me a good supply, and I went back and got some more. I also bought some bread to eat with the grapes, and one of the numerous priests of these Eastern countries gave me some other fruit on the train. I was abroad in the fruit season, and I enjoyed it very much. I had several kinds, including the orange, lemon, grapes, pomegranates, figs, olives, and dates. Perhaps I had nothing finer than the large, sweet grapes of Greece. The next day after the trip to Ephesus, I boarded the Princess Eugenia, a Russian ship, for Beyrout, in Syria. Soon after leaving Smyrna the ship stopped at a port of disinfection. The small boats were lowered, and the third-class passengers were carried to the disinfecting establishment, where their clothes were heated in a steam oven, while they received a warm shower bath without expense to themselves. A nicely dressed young German shook his head afterwards, as though he did not like such treatment; but it was not specially disagreeable, and there was no use to complain.
That evening, the twenty-second of September, we sailed into a harbor on the island of Chios, the birth-place of the philosopher Pythagoras. It is an island twenty-seven miles long, lying near the mainland. The next morning we passed Cos and Rhodes. On this last mentioned island once stood the famous Colossus, which was thrown down by an earthquake in 224 B.C. The island of Patmos, to which John was banished, and upon which he wrote the Revelation, was passed in the night before we reached Cos. It is a rocky, barren patch of land, about twenty miles in circumference, lying twenty-four miles from the coast of Asia Minor. On the twenty-fourth the Princess Eugenia passed the southwestern end of the island of Cyprus. In response to a question, one of the seamen answered me: "Yes, that's Kiprus." I was sailing over the same waters Paul crossed on his third missionary tour on the way from Assos to Tyre. He "came over against Chios," "came with a straight course unto Cos, and the next day unto Rhodes," and when he "had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand (he) sailed unto Syria and landed at Tyre" (Acts 20:15 and 21:1-3).
On the evening of Lord's day, September twenty-fifth, the ship passed Tripoli, on the Syrian coast, and dropped down to Beyrout, where I stopped at the "Hotel Mont Sion," with the waves of the Mediterranean washing against the foundation walls. At seven o'clock the next morning I boarded the train for Damascus, ninety-one miles distant, and we were soon climbing the western slope of the Lebanon Mountains by a cog railway. When we were part way up, the engine was taken back and hitched to the rear end of the train. After we were hauled along that way awhile, it was changed back to the front end again. In these mountains are vineyards and groves of figs, olives, and mulberry trees, but most of the ground was dry and brown, as I had seen it in Southern Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor. Beyond the mountains is a beautiful plain, which we entered about noon, and when it was crossed, we came to the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, and reached the old city in the evening. Damascus, with its mixed population of Moslems, Greeks, Syrians, Armenians, Jews, and others, is the largest city in Syria, and it has probably been continuously inhabited longer than any other city on earth. Away back in the fourteenth chapter of Genesis we read of Abraham's victory over the enemies who had taken Lot away, whom Abraham pursued "unto Hobah, which is on the left of Damascus," and in the next chapter we read of "Eliezer of Damascus," who Abraham thought would be the possessor of his house. Rezon "reigned in Damascus, and he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon" (1 Kings 11:23-25). Elisha went to Damascus when Ben-Hadad was sick (2 Kings 8:7-15); Jeroboam recovered the city, which had belonged to Judah (2 Kings 14:28); and Jeremiah prophesied of the city (Jeremiah 49:23-27). It was probably the home of Naaman, the Syrian leper, and here Paul was baptized into Christ.
For a long time the Arabs have considered Damascus as "an earthly reflection of Paradise," but an American or European would consider a place no better than it is as being far from the Paradise of Divine making. But it is not entirely without reason that these people have such a lofty conception of the old city. The Koran describes Paradise as a place of trees and streams of water, and Damascus is briefly described in those words. There are many public drinking fountains in the city, and owing to the abundance of water, there are many trees. The river Abana, one of the "rivers of Damascus" (2 Kings 5:12), flows through the city, but the most of its water is diverted by artificial channels. I had some difficulty in finding the American Consular Agent, and it is no wonder, for the place is not the most prominent in Damascus by a good deal, and the escutcheon marking it as the place where the American Government is represented is not on the street, but over a door in a kind of porch. The Agent was not in, so I retraced my steps to the French consulate, which is near by. I was kindly received by a gentleman who could speak English, and after we had had a good, cool drink of lemonade, he went with me to the "Hotel d'Astre d'Orient," in the "street which is called Straight." The next morning I found the American Agent in his office. Then I went to the postoffice, and after being taken upstairs and brought back downstairs, I was led up to a little case on the wall, which was unlocked in order that I might look through the bunch of letters it contained addressed in English, and I was made glad by receiving an epistle from the little woman who has since taken my name upon her for life. After reading my letter, I went out and walked up the mountain side far enough to get a bird's-eye view of the city, and it was a fine sight the rich growth of green trees presented in contrast with the brown earth all around. Returning to the city, I walked about the streets, devoting some of my time to the bazaars, or little stores, in which a great variety of goods are offered for sale. I also saw several kinds of work, such as weaving, wood-turning and blacksmithing, being carried on. The lathes used for turning wood are very simple, and are operated by a bow held in the workman's right hand, while the chisel is held in his left hand and steadied by the toes on one or the other of his feet. It is a rather slow process, but they can turn out good work. One gentleman, who was running a lathe of this kind, motioned for me to come up and sit by his side on a low stool. I accepted his invitation, and he at once offered me a cigarette, which I could not accept. A little later he called for a small cup of coffee, which I also declined, but he took no offense. "The street which is called Straight" is not as straight as might be supposed from its name, but there is probably enough difference between its course and that of others to justify the name.
When Paul was stricken with blindness on his way here (Acts 9:1-30), he was directed to enter the city, where he would be told all things that were appointed for him to do. He obeyed the voice from heaven, and reached the house of Judas in Straight Street. When I reached the traditional site of the house of Ananias, in the eastern part of the city, near the gate at the end of Straight Street, I found a good-natured woman sitting on the pavement just inside the door opening from the street to what would be called a yard in America. The "house" has been converted into a small church, belonging to the Catholics, and it is entirely below the surface. I went down the stairs, and found a small chamber with an arched ceiling and two altars. I also went out and visited the old gateway at the end of the street. The masonry is about thirteen feet thick, and it may be that here Paul, deprived of his sight, and earnestly desiring to do the will of the Lord, entered the city so long ago. I then viewed a section of the wall from the outside. The lower part is ancient, but the upper part is modern, and the portion that I saw was in a dilapidated condition. "In Damascus," Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "the governor, under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to take me: and through a window was I let down in a basket by the wall, and escaped his hands" (2 Cor. 11:32,33). In some places there are houses so built in connection with the wall that it would not be a very difficult thing to lower a man from one of the windows to the ground outside the city.
Mention has already been made of the Arab's opinion of Damascus, and now I wish to tell how it appeared through my spectacles. The view from the distance is very pleasing, but when one comes inside the wall and begins to walk about the streets, the scene changes. The outside of the buildings is not beautiful. The streets are narrow, crooked, and usually very dirty; in some cases they are filthy. It seems that all kinds of rubbish are thrown into the streets, and the dogs are scavengers. Perhaps no other city has so many dogs. At one place up along the Abana, now called the Barada, I counted twenty-three of these animals, and a few steps brought me in sight of five more; but there is some filth that even Damascus dogs will not clean up. Some of the streets are roughly paved with stone, but in the best business portion of the city that I saw there was no pavement and no sidewalk—it was all street from one wall to the other. I saw a man sprinkling one of the streets with water carried in the skin of some animal, perhaps a goat. When I came out of the postoffice, a camel was lying on the pavement, and in another part of the city I saw a soldier riding his horse on the sidewalk. Down in "the street which is called Straight" a full-grown man was going along as naked as when he was born. Perhaps he was insane, but we do not even allow insane men to walk the streets that way in this country. Carriages are used for conveying passengers, but freight is usually moved on the backs of horses, camels, donkeys, or men. Some wagons and carts are to be seen, but they are not numerous. It is remarkable what loads are piled upon the donkeys, probably the commonest beasts of burden in Damascus. Sometimes the poor little creatures are almost hidden from view by the heavy burdens they are required to bear, which may consist of grapes to be sold, or rubbish to be carried out of the city. Sometimes they are ridden by as many as three people at once. If the gospel were to get a firm hold on these people, the donkeys would fare better.
About 333 B.C., Damascus came under the control of Alexander the Great. Antiochus Dionysius reigned there three years, but was succeeded by Aretas of Arabia in 85 B.C. Under Trajan it became a Roman provincial city. The Mongols took it in 1260, and the Tartars plundered it in 1300. An enemy marched against it in 1399, but the citizens purchased immunity from plunder by paying a "sum of a million pieces of gold." In 1516, when Selim, the Turkish Sultan, marched in, it became one of the provincial capitals of the Turkish Empire, and so continues. There was a very serious massacre here in 1860. All the consulates, except the British and Prussian, were burned, and the entire Christian quarter was turned into ruins. In the two consulates that were spared many lives were preserved, but it is said that "no fewer than six thousand unoffending Christians ... were thus murdered in Damascus alone," and "the whole number of the Christians who perished in these days of terror is estimated at fourteen thousand." A number of the leaders were afterward beheaded, and a French force, numbering ten thousand, was sent into the country. The Mohammedans have about two hundred mosques and colleges in this city, which was once far advanced in civilization.
I left Damascus and returned toward the coast to Rayak, where I took the train on a branch line for Baalbec, the Syrian city of the sun, a place having no Biblical history, but being of interest on account of the great stones to be seen there. No record has been preserved as to the origin of the city, but coins of the first century of the Christian era show that it was then a Roman colony. It is situated in the valley of the Litany, at an elevation of two thousand eight hundred and forty feet above the sea. The chief ruins are in a low part of the valley by the side of the present town, and are surrounded by gardens. Within the inclosing wall are the remains of the temple of Jupiter and the temple of the sun. The hand of time and the hand of man have each had a share in despoiling these ruins, but they still speak with eloquence of their grandeur at an earlier date. The wall is so low on the north that it is supposed to have been left unfinished. Here are nine stones, each said to be thirty feet long, ten feet thick and thirteen feet high, and they are closely joined together without the use of mortar. Just around the corner are three others still larger, and built in the wall about twenty feet above the foundation. Their lengths are given as follows: sixty-three feet; sixty-three feet and eight inches; and sixty-four feet. They are thirteen feet high and about ten feet thick. Some may be interested in knowing how such large building blocks were moved. McGarvey says: "It is explained by the carved slabs found in the temple of Nineveh, on which are sculptured representations of the entire process. The great rock was placed on trucks by means of levers, a large number of strong ropes were tied to the truck, a smooth track of heavy timbers was laid, and men in sufficient number to move the mass were hitched to the ropes." Some of the smaller stones have holes cut in them, as if for bars, levers, or something of that kind, but the faces of these big blocks are smooth. "A man must visit the spot, ride round the exterior, walk among the ruins, sit down here and there to gaze upon its more impressive features, see the whole by sunlight, by twilight, and by moonlight, and allow his mind leisurely to rebuild it and re-people it, ere he can comprehend it."—McGarvey.
There were some of the native girls out by the ruins who tried to sell me some of their needle work, but I was not disposed to buy. One of them attempted to make a sale by saying something like this: "You're very nice, Mister; please buy one." I told her there was a little girl in America who thought that, too, and went on. There is a rock in the quarry at Baalbec that is larger than any of those in the ruins, although it was never entirely cut out, the length of which is sixty-eight feet, and the width varies from about thirteen feet at one end to seventeen feet at the other. It is about fourteen feet thick, and the estimated weight is fifteen hundred tons. Some of the stones in a ruined building, once a tomb, standing on the hill above the town, give forth a metallic ring when struck. Farther on is a small cemetery, in which some of the headstones and footstones are as much as nine feet apart. If the people buried there were that long, surely "there were giants in the land in those days." I went down on the opposite side of the hill from the tomb and entered a vineyard, where an old man treated me with kindness and respect. The modern town is poorly built of small stones and mud, but there are some good buildings of dressed stone, among which I may mention the British Syrian School and the Grand New Hotel. I staid at another hotel, where I found one of those pre-occupied beds which travelers in the East so often find. About midnight, after I had killed several of the little pests, I got up and shaved by candle-light, for I wasn't sleepy, and there was no use to waste the time.
Leaving Baalbec, I went down to Rayak and on to Beyrout again. This old city is said to have been entirely destroyed in the second century before Christ. It was once a Roman possession, and gladiatorial combats were held there by Titus after the destruction of Jerusalem. An earthquake destroyed it in 529, and the British bombarded it in 1840. The population is a great mixture of Turks, Orthodox Greeks, United Greeks, Jews, Latins, Maronites, Protestants, Syrians, Armenians, Druses, and others. A great many ships call here, as this is the most important commercial city in Syria. The numerous exports consist of silk, olive oil, cotton, raisins, licorice, figs, soap, sponges, cattle, and goats. Timber, coffee, rice, and manufactured goods are imported. At one time Arabic was the commonest language, and Italian came next, but now, while Arabic holds first place, French comes second. The British, Austrians, Russians, and perhaps the French, maintain their own postoffices. Considerable efforts are being made by American, British, and other missionary institutions to better the condition of the natives. The American Mission, conducted by the Presbyterians, has been in operation more than seventy years. A few years ago they had one hundred and forty-three schools and more than seven thousand pupils. The Church of Scotland has a mission for the Jews. The British Syrian Mission was established in 1864.
Beyrout has comparatively little of interest for the traveler. I walked out to the public garden one morning and found it closed, but I do not think I missed much. As I went along from place to place, I had opportunity to see the weavers, wood-turners, and marble-cutters at their work. I stopped at a small candy factory, equipped with what seemed to be good machinery for that kind of work. One day I watched some camels get up after their burdens of lumber had been tied on. They kept up a peculiar distressing noise while they were being loaded, but got up promptly when the time came. When a camel lies down, his legs fold up something like a carpenter's rule, and when he gets up, he first straightens out one joint of the fore legs, then all of the hind legs, and finally, when the fore legs come straight, he is standing away up in the air. The extensive buildings of the American College were visited, also the American Press, the missionary headquarters of Presbyterians in America. On the third of October the Khedivial steamer Assouan came along, and I embarked for Haifa, in Galilee.
A FEW DAYS IN GALILEE.
Years ago, when I first began to think of making the trip I am now describing, I had no thought of the many interesting places that I could easily and cheaply visit on my way to Palestine. I did not then think of what has been described on the foregoing pages. Now I have come to the place where I am to tell my readers the story of my travels in the Land of Promise, and I want to make it as interesting and instructive as possible. It is important to have a knowledge of the geography of all the lands mentioned, but it is especially important to know the location of the various places referred to in Palestine. These pages will be more profitable if the reader will make frequent reference to maps of the land, that he may understand the location of the different places visited. I shall first describe my trip across the province of Galilee, and take up my sight-seeing in Judaea in other chapters.
The ancient Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon were on the coast between Beyrout and Haifa, where I entered Galilee on the fourth of October, but we passed these places in the night. Haifa, situated at the base of Mount Carmel, has no Biblical history, but is one of the two places along the coast of Palestine where ships stop, Jaffa being the other. Mount Carmel is fourteen miles long, and varies in height from five hundred and fifty-six feet at the end next to the sea to eighteen hundred and ten feet at a point twelve miles inland. There is a monastery on the end next to the Mediterranean, which I reached after a dusty walk along the excellent carriage road leading up from Haifa. After I rested awhile, reading my Bible and guide-book, I walked out to the point where the sea on three sides, the beautiful little plain at the base of the mountain, Haifa, and Acre across the bay, all made up one of the prettiest views of the whole trip. Owing to its proximity to the sea and the heavy dews, Carmel was not so dry and brown as much of the country I had seen before.
By the direction of Elijah, Ahab gathered the prophets of Baal, numbering four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the Asherah, four hundred more, at some point on this mountain, probably at the eastern end, passed on my way over to Nazareth later in the day. "And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said, How long go ye limping between the two sides? If Jehovah be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him" (1 Kings 18:21). He then proposed that two sacrifices be laid on the wood, with no fire under them; that the false prophets should call on their god, and he would call on Jehovah. The God that answered by fire was to be God. "All the people answered and said, It is well spoken." The prophets of Baal called upon him from morning till noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped about the altar that was made. And it came to pass at noon that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud; for he is a god: either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it was so, when midday was past, that they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening oblation; but there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded." The sincerity, earnestness, and perseverance of these people are commendable, but they were wrong. Sincerity, although a most desirable trait, can not change a wrong act into acceptable service to God, nor can earnestness and perseverance make such a change. It is necessary both to be honest and to do the will of our heavenly Father. After water had been poured over the other sacrifice till it ran down and filled the trench around the altar, Elijah called on Jehovah, and in response to his petition "the fire of Jehovah fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench." Elijah then took the false prophets down to the brook Kishon, at the base of the mountain, and killed them. Acre is the Acco of the Old Testament, and lies around the bay, twelve mile from Haifa. It is said that the Phoenicians obtained the dye called Tyrian purple there, and that shells of the fish that yielded it are yet to be found along the beach. Napoleon besieged the place in 1799, and used a monastery, since destroyed, on Mount Carmel for a hospital. After his retreat, Mohammedans killed the sick and wounded soldiers who had been left behind, and they were buried near the monastery. Acre was called Ptolemais in apostolic times, and Paul spent a day with the brethren there as he was on his way down the coast from Tyre to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:7.)
About noon I entered a carriage for Nazareth, in which there were four other passengers: a lady connected with the English Orphanage in Nazareth, and three boys going there to attend the Russian school. About two miles from Haifa we crossed the dry bed of the Kishon, as this stream, like many others in Palestine, only flows in the wet season. Our course led along the base of Carmel to the southeast, and the supposed place of Elijah's sacrifice was pointed out. Afterwards Mount Gilboa, where Saul and Jonathan were slain, came in sight, and later we saw Little Hermon with Nain upon it, Endor below it on one side, and Jezreel not far away in another direction. We saw a good portion of the Plain of Esdraelon, and Mount Tabor was in sight before we entered Nazareth, which lies on the slope of a hill and comes suddenly into view.
Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, and the references to it in the New Testament are not numerous. When Joseph returned from Egypt in the reign of Archelaus, the son of Herod, he was afraid to go into Judaea, "and being warned of God in a dream, he withdrew into the parts of Galilee, and came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, that he should be called a Nazarene" (Matt. 2:19-23). I do not know the age of Jesus when Joseph and Mary came with him to Nazareth, but "his parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the passover"; and we are told that the child was twelve years old at the time his parents missed him as they were returning from the feast, and later found him in the temple hearing the teachers and asking them questions. In this connection we are told that "he went down with them and came to Nazareth; and he was subject unto them" (Luke 2:51). Luke also informs us that Jesus, "when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23). Thus we have a period of eighteen years between the incident in the temple and the beginning of his public ministry, in which Jesus resided in Nazareth. The greater part of his earth life was spent in this Galilean city, where he was subject unto his parents. It is a blessed thing that so much can be said of our Savior in so few words. It is highly commendable that children be subject unto their parents, who love them dearly, and who know best what is for their health, happiness, and future good.
After his baptism and temptation in the wilderness, "Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Galilee, ... and he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read." When the roll of the Scriptures was handed to him, he read from the opening verses of the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, then "he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him" as he told them: "To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears," and although they "wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth," they were not willing to accept his teaching, and as he continued to speak, "they were all filled with wrath, ... and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way. And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee" (Luke 4:14-31).
Having made arrangements for a carriage the evening I arrived in Nazareth, before daylight the next morning I started to drive to Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee. When I went down stairs, at about half-past three o'clock, I found a covered rig with two seats, and three horses hitched to it side by side. I filed no objection to the size of the carriage, nor to the manner in which the horses were hitched. As the driver could not speak English and the passenger could not speak Arabic, there was no conversation on the way. As we drove out of Nazareth, I observed a large number of women at the Virgin's Fountain, filling their jars with water. At a distance of a little more than three miles we passed through Kefr Kenna, the "Cana of Galilee," where Jesus performed his first miracle. (John 2:1-11.) The road to Tiberias is not all smooth, but is better than might be supposed. With three horses and a light load, we were able to move along in the cool of the morning at a lively gait, passing a camel train, an occasional village, olive orchard, or mulberry grove. After a while the light of the moon grew pale, and about six o'clock the great round sun came above the horizon in front of us, and it was not long until a beautiful sheet of water six miles long—the Sea of Galilee—came suddenly into view. We rolled along the winding curves of the carriage road, down the slope of the hill, and through a gateway in the old wall, to Tiberias, on the west shore of "Blue Galilee."
According to Josephus, Herod Antipas began to build a new capital city about sixteen years before the birth of Jesus, and completed it in A.D. 22. He named this new city Tiberias, in honor of the emperor, but it does not appear to have been a popular place with the Jews, and but little is said of it in the New Testament (John 21:1), yet it was not an insignificant place. The Sanhedrin was transferred from Sepphoris, the old capital, to the new city, and here the school of the Talmud was developed against the gospel system. The ancient traditional law, called the "Mishna," is said to have been published here in A.D. 200, and the Palestinian Gemara (the so-called Jerusalem Talmud) came into existence at this place more than a century later. The Tiberian pointing of the Hebrew Bible began here. The present population is largely composed of Jews, about two-thirds of the inhabitants being descendants of Abraham. They wear large black hats or fur caps, and leave a long lock of hair hanging down in front of each ear. There is little in Tiberias to interest the traveler who has seen the ruins of Rome, Athens and Ephesus. The seashore bounds it on one side and an old stone wall runs along at the other side. I walked past some of the bazaars, and saw the mosque and ruined castle. About a mile down the shore are the hot springs, which, for many centuries, have been thought to possess medicinal properties. I tried the temperature of one of the springs, and found it too hot to be comfortable to my hand. As I returned to Tiberias, I had a good, cool bath in the sea, which is called by a variety of names, as "the sea of Tiberias," "sea of Galilee," "sea of Genessaret," and "sea of Chinnereth." It is a small lake, thirteen miles long, lying six hundred and eighty-two feet below the level of the Mediterranean. The depth is given as varying from one hundred and thirty to one hundred and sixty-five feet. It is really "Blue Galilee," and the sight of it is an agreeable change to the eye after one has been traveling the dry, dusty roads leading through a country almost destitute of green vegetation. In the spring, when the grass is growing and the flowers are in bloom, the highlands rising around the sea must be very beautiful.
Several places mentioned in the New Testament were situated along the Sea of Galilee, but they have fallen into ruin—in some cases into utter ruin. One of these was Bethsaida, where Jesus gave sight to a blind man (Mark 8:22-26), and fed a multitude of about five thousand. (Luke 9:10-17.) It was also the home of Philip, Andrew, and Peter. (John 1:44.) It is thought by some that James and John also came from this place. On the northwestern shore was Chorazin, situated in the neighborhood of Bethsaida; also Capernaum, once the home of Jesus; and Magdala, the name of which "has been immortalized in every language of Christendom as denoting the birth-place of Mary Magdalene, or better, Mary of Magdala." Safed is a large place on a mountain above the sea in sight of the Nazareth road, and was occupied by the French in 1799. It is said that the Jews have a tradition that the Messiah will come from this place. On the way back to Nazareth the driver stopped at the spring of Kefr Kenna and watered his horses and rested them awhile. Hundreds of goats, calves, and other stock were being watered, and I saw an old stone coffin being used for a watering trough.
After another night in Nazareth, I was ready to go out to Mount Tabor. For this trip I had engaged a horse to ride and a man to go along and show me where to ride it, for we did not follow a regular road, if, indeed, there is any such a thing leading to this historic place, which is about six miles from Nazareth. It was only a little past four o'clock in the morning when we started, and the flat top of the mountain, two thousand and eighteen feet above sea level, was reached at an early hour. Mount Tabor is a well-shaped cone, with a good road for horseback riding leading up its side. There is some evidence that there was a city here more than two hundred years before Christ. Josephus fortified it in his day, and part of the old wall still remains. According to a tradition, contradicted by the conclusion of modern scholars, this is the mount of transfiguration. By the end of the sixth century three churches had been erected on the summit to commemorate the three tabernacles which Peter proposed to build (Matt. 17:1-8), and now the Greek and Roman Catholics have each a monastery only a short distance apart, separated by a stone wall or fence. The extensive view from the top is very fine, including a section of Galilee from the Mediterranean to the sea of Tiberias.
In the Book of Judges we read that Israel was delivered into the hands of the Canaanites, and was sorely oppressed for twenty years. The prophetess Deborah sent for Barak, and instructed him with a message from God to the end that he should take "ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun" unto Mount Tabor. This he did, and Sisera assembled his nine hundred chariots "from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river Kishon. So Barak went down from Mount Tabor and ten thousand men after him. ... Howbeit, Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite," and she drove a tent-pin through his temples while he was lying asleep, (Judges 4:1-23.) The song of Deborah and Barak, beginning with the words, "For that the leaders took the lead in Israel, for that the people offered themselves willingly, bless ye Jehovah," is recorded in the fifth chapter of Judges.
I was back in Nazareth by ten o'clock, and spent some hours looking around the city where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary the words: "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee" (Luke 1:28). These hours, with what time I had already spent here, enabled me to see several places of interest. Tradition points out many places connected with the lives of Joseph and Mary, but tradition is not always reliable, for it sometimes happens that the Greeks and the Romans each have a different location for the same event. This is true with regard to the point where the angry people were about to throw Jesus over "the brow of the hill" (Luke 4:29). I saw no place that struck me as being the one referred to in the Scriptures, and in reply to an inquiry, a lady at the English Orphanage, who has spent twenty years in Nazareth, said she thought it was some place on that side of the town, but the contour of the hill had probably changed. She also mentioned that the relics taken out in excavations were all found on that side, indicating that the old city had been built there. When Brother McGarvey visited Palestine, he found two places that corresponded somewhat with Luke's reference to the place. Concerning one of them he wrote: "I am entirely satisfied that here is where the awful attempt was made." I was shown the "place of annunciation" in the Latin monastery. On the top of a column stands the figure of a female, probably representing the Virgin, and a bit of ruin that is said to date back to the time of Constantine is pointed out. Here, I was told, stood the first church building erected in Nazareth. One of the "brothers" took the key and went around to a building supposed to stand on the site of Joseph's carpenter shop. It is a small chapel, built about 1858 over the ruins of some older structure. In the floor of marble or stone there are two wooden trapdoors, which are raised to show the ruins below. Over the altar in the end opposite the door is a picture to represent the holy family, and there are some other pictures in different parts of the little chapel. From here I went to the Virgin's Fountain. If it be true that this is the only spring in Nazareth, then I have no doubt that I was near the spot frequently visited by the Nazarene maid who became the mother of our Lord. I say near the spot, for the masonry where the spring discharges is about a hundred yards from the fountain, which is now beneath the floor of a convent. The water flows out through the wall by two stone spouts, and here the women were crowded around, filling their vessels or waiting for their turn. The flow was not very strong, and this helps to explain why so many women were there before daylight the morning I went to Tiberias. I saw one woman, who was unable to get her vessel under the stream of one of the spouts, drawing down a part of the water by sticking a leaf against the end of the spout. I also visited some of the bazaars and went to the Orphanage. This missionary institution is nicely situated in a prominent place well up on the hill, and is managed entirely by women, but a servant is kept to do outside work. They treated me very kindly, showing me about the building, and when the girls came in to supper they sang "the Nazareth Hymn" for me.
One of the occupations of the people here is manufacturing a knife with goat horn handles that is commonly seen in Palestine. Many of the women go about the streets with their dresses open like a man's shirt when unbuttoned, exposing their breasts in an unbecoming manner. The same is true of many women in Jerusalem. About one-third of the mixed population are Jews; the other two-thirds are Mohammedans and professing Christians, made up of Orthodox Greeks, United Greeks, Roman Catholics, Maronites (a branch of the Greek Church), and Protestants. I went back to Haifa and spent a night. The next morning I boarded the Austrian ship Juno for Jaffa. When I first landed here I had trouble with the boatman, because he wanted me to pay him more than I had agreed to pay, and on this occasion I again had the same difficulty, twice as much being demanded at the ship as was agreed upon at the dock; but I was firm and won my point both times. While in Galilee I had crossed the province from sea to sea; I had visited the city in which Jesus spent the greater part of his earth life, and the sea closely connected with several important things in his career. I had ascended Carmel, and from the top of Tabor I had taken an extensive view of the land, and now I was satisfied to drop down the coast and enter Judaea.
SIGHT-SEEING IN JERUSALEM.
Before leaving the ship at Jaffa I was talking with Mr. Ahmed, a gentleman from India, who had spent some time in Egypt, and had traveled extensively. He claimed to be a British subject, and was able to speak several languages. While we were arranging to go ashore together, one of the many boatmen who had come out to the ship picked up my suit-case while my back was turned, and the next thing I saw of it he was taking it down the stairs to one of the small boats. By some loud and emphatic talk I succeeded in getting him to put it out of one boat into another, but he would not bring it back. Mr. Ahmed and I went ashore with another man, whom we paid for carrying us and our baggage. I found the suit-case on the dock, and we were soon in the custom house, where my baggage and passport were both examined, but Mr. Ahmed escaped having his baggage opened by paying the boatman an additional fee. As we arrived in Jaffa too late to take the train for Jerusalem that day, we waited over night in the city from whence Jonah went to sea so long ago. We lodged at the same hotel and were quartered in the same room. This was the first and only traveling companion I had on the whole journey, and I was a little shy. I felt like I wanted some pledge of honorable dealing from my newly formed acquaintance, and when he expressed himself as being a British subject, I mentioned that I was an American and extended my hand, saying: "Let us treat each other right." He gave me his hand with the words: "Species man, species man!" He meant that we both belonged to the same class of beings, and should, therefore, treat each other right, a very good reason indeed. A long time before, in this same land, Abraham had expressed himself to Lot on a similar line in these words: "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we are brethren" (Gen. 13:8). On Saturday we moved our baggage over to the depot and boarded the train for Jerusalem. On the way to the depot an old gentleman, whom I would have guessed to be a German, passed me. When I entered the car it was my lot to ride by him. He learned that I had been to Bristol, England, and had visited the orphan homes founded by George Muller, and he remarked: "You are a Christian, then." He probably said this because he thought no other would be interested in such work. It developed that he was a converted Jew, and was conducting a mission for his people in the Holy City. Without telling him my position religiously, I inquired concerning different points, and found his faith and mine almost alike. This new acquaintance was D.C. Joseph, whose association I also enjoyed after reaching Jerusalem.
It was late in the afternoon of October ninth when we got off the train at the Jerusalem station, which is so situated that the city can not be seen from that point. By the time we had our baggage put away in a native hotel outside the city walls it was dark. We then started out to see if there was any mail awaiting me. First we went to the Turkish office, which was reached by a flight of dark stairs. Mr. Ahmed went up rather slowly. Perhaps he felt the need of caution more than I did. According to my recollection, they handed us a candle, and allowed us to inspect the contents of a small case for the mail. We found nothing, so we made our way down the dark stairway to the German office, situated on the ground floor, nicely furnished and properly lighted, but there was no mail there for me, as mail from America goes to the Austrian office, inside the Jaffa gate.
The next day was Lord's day, and for the time being I ceased to be a tourist and gave myself up mainly to religious services. I first attended the meeting conducted by Bro. Joseph at the mission to Israel. It was the first service I had attended, and the first opportunity that had come to me for breaking bread since I left London, the last of August. After this assembly of four persons was dismissed, I went to the services of the Church of England and observed their order of worship. The minister was in a robe, and delivered a really good sermon of about fifteen minutes' duration, preceded by reading prayers and singing praise for about an hour. By invitation, I took dinner with Miss Dunn, an American lady, at whose house Bro. Joseph was lodging. As she had been in Jerusalem fifteen years and was interested in missionary work, I enjoyed her company as well as her cooking. After dinner I went to a little iron-covered meeting-house called the "tabernacle," where a Mr. Thompson, missionary of the Christian Alliance, of Nyack, New York, was the minister. At the close of the Sunday-school a gentleman asked some questions in English, and the native evangelist, Melki, translated them into Arabic. By request of Mr. Thompson, I read the opening lesson and offered prayer, after which he delivered a good address on the great, coming day, and at the close the Lord's Supper was observed. I understood that they did this once a month, but it is attended to weekly at the mission where I was in the morning. At the tabernacle I made the acquaintance of Mr. Stanton, a Methodist minister from the States; Mr. Jennings, a colored minister from Missouri, and Mr. Smith, an American gentleman residing in Jerusalem. There was another meeting in the tabernacle at night, but I staid at the hotel and finished some writing to be sent off to the home land.
Monday was a big day for me. Mr. Ahmed and I went down inside the Jaffa gate and waited for Mr. Smith, who was our guide, Mr. Jennings, and a Mr. Michelson, from California. Mr. Smith had been a farmer in America, but had spent three years at Jerusalem and Jericho. He was well acquainted with the country, and we could depend upon what he told us. Add to all this the fact that he went around with us without charge, and it will be seen that we were well favored. On this Monday morning we started out to take a walk to Bethany, the old home of that blessed family composed of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. We passed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, walked along the street called the Via Dolorosa, and saw several of the "stations" Jesus is supposed to have passed on the way to the execution on Calvary. We passed the traditional site of the "house of the rich man," the "house of the poor man," and the Temple Area. After passing the Church of St. Anne, we went out of the city through St. Stephen's gate, and saw the Birket Sitti Mariam, or Pool of Lady Mary, one hundred feet long, eighty-five feet wide, and once twenty-seven and a half feet deep. It is supposed that Stephen was led through the gate now bearing his name and stoned at a point not far distant. Going down the hill a few rods, we came to the Church of St. Mary, a building for the most part underground. It is entered by a stairway nineteen feet wide at the top, and having forty-seven steps leading to the floor thirty-five feet below. We went down, and in the poorly lighted place we found some priests and others singing or chanting, crossing themselves, kissing a rock, and so on. This church probably gets its name from the tradition that the mother of Jesus was buried here. Just outside the church is a cavern that is claimed by some to be the place of Christ's agony, and by others, who may have given the matter more thought, it is supposed to be an old cistern, or place for storing olive oil or grain. Perhaps I would do well to mention here that tradition has been in operation a long time, and the stories she has woven are numerous indeed, but often no confidence can be placed in them. I desire to speak of things of this kind in such a way as not to mislead my readers. It was near this church that I saw lepers for the first time. The valley of the Kidron is the low ground lying between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. The water flows here only in the wet part of the year. Crossing this valley and starting up the slope of the Mount of Olives, we soon come to a plot of ground inclosed by a high stone wall, with a low, narrow gateway on the upper side. This place is of great interest, as it bears the name "Garden of Gethsemane," and is probably the spot to which the lowly Jesus repaired and prayed earnestly the night before his execution, when his soul was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." It is really a garden, filled with flowers, and olive trees whose trunks, gnarled and split, represent them as being very old, but it is not to be supposed that they are the same trees beneath which Jesus prayed just before Judas and "the band of soldiers and officers" came out to arrest him. There is a fence inside the wall, leaving a passageway around the garden between the wall and the fence. Where the trees reach over the fence a woven-wire netting has been fixed up, to keep the olives from dropping on the walk, where tourists could pick them up for souvenirs. The fruit of these old trees is turned into olive oil and sold, and the seeds are used in making rosaries. At intervals on the wall there are pictures representing the fourteen stations Jesus passed as he was being taken to the place of crucifixion. This garden is the property of the Roman Catholics, and the Greeks have selected another spot, which they regard as the true Gethsemane, just as each church holds a different place at Nazareth to be the spot where the angry Nazarenes intended to destroy the Savior.
Leaving the garden, we started on up the slope of Olivet, and passed the fine Russian church, with its seven tapering domes, that shine like the gold by which they are said to be covered. It appears to be one of the finest buildings of Jerusalem. As we went on, we looked back and had a good view of the Kidron valley and the Jews' burial place, along the slope of the mountain, where uncounted thousands of Abraham's descendants lie interred. Further up toward the summit is the Church of the Lord's Prayer, a building erected by a French princess, whose body is now buried within its walls. This place is peculiar on account of at least two things. That portion of Scripture commonly called "the Lord's prayer" is here inscribed on large marble slabs in thirty-two different languages, and prayer is said to be offered here continually. There is another church near the Damascus gate, where two "sisters" are said to be kneeling in prayer at all hours. I entered the beautiful place at different times, and always found it as represented, but it should not be supposed that the same women do all the praying, as they doubtless have enough to change at regular intervals. The Church of the Creed is, according to a worthless tradition, the place where the apostles drew up "the creed." It is under the ground, and we passed over it on the way to the Church of the Lord's Prayer. The Mount of Olives is two thousand seven hundred and twenty-three feet above sea level, and is about two hundred feet higher than Mount Moriah. From the summit a fine view of Jerusalem and the surrounding country may be obtained. The Russians have erected a lofty stone tower here. After climbing the spiral stairway leading to the top of it, one is well rewarded by the extensive view. Looking out from the east side, we could gaze upon the Dead Sea, some twenty miles away, and more than four thousand feet below us. We visited the chambers called the "Tombs of the Prophets," but the name is not a sufficient guarantee to warrant us in believing them to be the burial places of the men by whom God formerly spoke to the people. On the way to Bethany we passed the reputed site of Beth-page (Mark 11:1), and soon came to the town where Jesus performed the great miracle of raising Lazarus after he had been dead four days. (John 11:1-46.) The place pointed out as the tomb corresponds to the Scripture which says "It was a cave" where they laid him. Twenty-six steps lead down to the chamber where his body is said to have lain when the "blessed Redeemer" cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." Whether this is the exact spot or not, it is probably a very ancient cave. One writer claims that it is as old as the incident itself, and says these rock-cut tombs are the oldest landmarks of Palestine. Tradition points out the home of Lazarus, and there is a portion of an old structure called the Castle of Lazarus, which Lazarus may never have seen. Bethany is a small village, occupied by a few Mohammedan families, who dislike the "Christians." On the rising ground above the village stands a good modern stone house, owned by an English lady, who formerly lived in it, but her servant, a Mohammedan, made an effort to cut her throat, and almost succeeded in the attempt. Naturally enough, the owner does not wish to live there now, so we found the building in the care of a professing Christian, who treated us with courtesy, giving us a good, refreshing drink, and permitting us to go out on the roof to look around.
From this point we turned our footsteps toward Jerusalem, "about fifteen furlongs off"—that is, about two miles distant. (John 11:18.) When we reached the lower part of the slope of Olivet, where the tombs of departed Jews are so numerous, Mr. Michelson and Mr. Jennings went on across the Kidron valley and back to their lodging places, while Mr. Ahmed, Mr. Smith and I went down to Job's well, in the low ground below the city. The Tower of Absalom, the Tomb of James, and the Pyramid of Zachariah were among the first things we saw. They are all burial places, but we can not depend upon them being the actual tombs of those whose names they bear. The first is a peculiar monument nineteen and one-half feet square and twenty-one feet high, cut out of the solid rock, and containing a chamber, which may be entered by crawling through a hole in the side. On the top of the natural rock portion a structure of dressed stone, terminating in one tapering piece, has been erected, making the whole height of the monument forty-eight feet. The Jews have a custom of pelting it with stones on account of Absalom's misconduct, and the front side shows the effect of their stone-throwing. The Grotto of St. James is the traditional place of his concealment from the time Jesus was arrested till his resurrection. The Pyramid of Zachariah is a cube about thirty feet square and sixteen feet high, cut out of the solid rock, and surmounted by a small pyramid. It has many names cut upon it in Hebrew letters, and there are some graves near by, as this is a favorite burial place. Some of the bodies have been buried between the monument and the wall around it in the passage made in cutting it out of the rock. Going on down the valley, we have the village of Siloam on the hill at our left, and on the other side of the Kidron, the southeastern part of the Holy City. St. Mary's Well is soon reached. This spring, which may be the Gihon of 1 Kings 1:33, is much lower than the surface of the ground, the water being reached by two flights of stairs, one containing sixteen steps, the other fourteen. The spring is intermittent, and flows from three to five times daily in winter. It flows twice a day in summer, but in the autumn it only flows once in the day. When I was there, the spring was low, and two Turkish soldiers were on duty to preserve order among those who came to get water.
The Pool of Siloam, fifty-two feet long and eighteen feet wide, is farther down the valley. The spring and the pool are about a thousand feet apart, and are connected by an aqueduct through the hill, which, owing to imperfect engineering, is seventeen hundred feet long. From a Hebrew inscription found in the lower end of this passageway it was learned that the excavation was carried on from both ends. A little below the Pool of Siloam the valley of the Kidron joins the valley of Hinnom, where, in ancient times, children were made "to pass through the fire to Moloch" (2 Kings 23:10). Job's Well, perhaps the En Rogel, on the northern border of Judah (Joshua 15:7), is rectangular in shape and one hundred and twenty-three feet deep. Sometimes it overflows, but it seldom goes dry. When I saw it, no less than six persons were drawing water with ropes and leather buckets. The location of Aceldama, the field of blood, has been disputed, but some consider that it was on the hill above the valley of Hinnom. There are several rock-cut tombs along the slope of the hill facing the valley of Hinnom, and some of them are being used as dwelling places. The Moslems have charge of a building outside the city walls, called David's Tomb, which they guard very carefully, and only a portion of it is accessible to visitors. Near this place a new German Catholic church was being erected at a cost of four hundred thousand dollars. We entered the city by the Zion gate, and passed the Tower of David, a fortification on Mount Zion, near the Jaffa gate.
On the ship coming down from Beyrout I had a conversation with a man who claimed to have been naturalized in the United States, and to have gone to Syria to visit his mother, but, according to his story, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Turks. After being mistreated in the filthy prison for some time, he secured his release by bribing a soldier to post a letter to one of the American authorities. He expressed a desire to visit Jerusalem, but seemed afraid to get back into Turkish territory. Learning that I was going there, he wrote a letter to the Armenian Patriarch, and I presented it one day. In a few minutes Mr. Ahmed and I were led into the large room where the Patriarch was seated in his robe and peculiar cap. Meeting a dignitary of the Armenian Church was a new experience to me. I shook hands with him; Mr. Ahmed made some signs and sat down. In the course of our limited conversation he said rather slowly: "I am very old." Replying to a question, he informed me that his age was eighty years. I was on the point of leaving, but he hindered me, and an attendant soon came in with some small glasses of wine and a little dish of candy. The Patriarch drank a glass of wine, and I took a piece of the candy, as also did Mr. Ahmed, and then we took our leave.
The eleventh day of October, which was Tuesday, was occupied with a trip to Hebron, described in another chapter devoted to the side trips I made from Jerusalem, but the next day was spent in looking around the Holy City. Early in the morning the Mamilla Pool, probably the "upper pool" of 2 Kings 18:17, was seen. One author gives the dimensions of this pool as follows: Length, two hundred and ninety-one feet; breadth, one hundred and ninety-two feet; depth, nineteen feet. It is filled with water in the rainy season, but was empty when I saw it. Entering the city by the Jaffa gate, I walked along David and Christian Streets, and was shown the Pool of Hezekiah, which is surrounded by houses, and was supplied from the Mamilla Pool.
The next place visited was that interesting old building, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where our Lord is supposed to have been buried in Joseph's new tomb. Jerusalem has many things of great interest, but some few things are of special interest. The Temple Area and Calvary are of this class. I am sure my readers will want to know something of each, and I shall here write of the latter. No doubt the spot where Jesus was crucified and the grave in which he was buried were both well known to the brethren up to the destruction of the city in the year seventy. Before this awful calamity the Christians made their escape, and when they returned they "would hardly recognize the fallen city as the one they had left; the heel of the destroyer had stamped out all semblance of its former glory. For sixty years it lay in ruins so complete that it is doubtful if there was a single house that could be used as a residence; during these years its history is a blank." There is no mention of the returned Christians seeking out the site of either the crucifixion or burial, and between A.D. 120 and A.D. 136 Hadrian reconstructed the city, changing it to a considerable extent, and naming it Aelia Capitolina. This would tend to make the location of Calvary more difficult. Hadrian built a temple to Venus, probably on the spot now occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Eusebius, writing about A.D. 325, speaks of Constantine's church built on the site of this temple. It is claimed that Hadrian's heathen temple was erected to desecrate the place of Christ's entombment, and that Constantine's church, being erected on the site of the temple, and regarded as the place called Calvary, fixes this as the true site; but whether the church and temple were on the same site or not, the present church stands where the one built by Constantine stood, and is regarded by the mass of believers as the true location.
Constantine's church stood two hundred and eighty years, being destroyed by Chosroes II., of Persia, in A.D. 614, but was soon succeeded by another structure not so grand as its predecessor. In 1010, in the "reign of the mad caliph Hakem," the group of churches was entirely destroyed, and the spot lay desolate for thirty years, after which another church was erected, being completed in eight years. This building was standing in 1099, the time of the Crusaders, but was destroyed by fire in 1808. This fire "consumed many of the most sacred relics in the church. Marble columns of great age and beauty crumbled in the flames. The rich hangings and pictures were burned, along with lamps and chandeliers and other ornaments in silver and gold. The lead with which the great dome was lined melted, and poured down in streams." The building now standing there was finished in 1810 at a cost of nearly three millions of dollars, one-third of this, it is said, being expended in lawsuits and Mohammedan bribes. It is the property of several denominations, who adorn their separate chapels to suit themselves.
The church is entered from a court having two doors or gates. Worshipers pass through the court, and stop at the left-hand side of the door and kiss the marble column, which clearly shows the effect of this practice. Just inside of the building there is a guard, composed of members of the oldest Mohammedan family in the city. The reader may wonder why an armed guard should be kept in a church house, but such a reader has not seen or read of all the wickedness that is carried on in the support of sectarianism. Concerning this guard, which, at the time of the holy fire demonstration, is increased by several hundred soldiers, Edmund Sherman Wallace, a former United States Consul in this city, says in his "Jerusalem the Holy": "This Christian church has a Moslem guard, whose duty it is to keep peace among the various sects who profess belief in the Prince of Peace. * * * It is a sickening fact that Moslem brute force must compel Christians to exercise, not charity toward each other, but common decency and decorum. But it is a fact nevertheless, and will remain apparent to all so long as priestcraft takes the place of New Testament Christianity and superstition supplants religion."
A little beyond this guard is the "Stone of Unction," upon which many believe Jesus was prepared for burial, but the original stone for which this claim was made is not now visible, being covered with the present slab to keep it from being worn out by the kissing of pious pilgrims. It is eight and a half feet long and four feet wide. Pilgrims sometimes bring the goods for their burial robes here and measure them by this stone. Some large candles stand by it, and above it are eight fine lamps, belonging to the Greek and Roman Catholics, the Copts, and Armenians. Not far away is a small stone, which I understood was called the place where the women watched the preparation by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. (John 19:38-42.)
In the center of the rotunda, with its entrance facing the east, is the Chapel of the Sepulcher, the holiest place in all this holy building. Passing through the small door, the visitor finds himself in the Chapel of the Angels, a very small room, where a piece of stone, said to have been rolled away from the grave by the angels, is to be seen. Stooping down, the visitor passes through a low opening and enters the Chapel of the Sepulcher proper, a room only six and a half feet long and six feet wide. The "tomb" is at the right hand of the entrance, occupying about half of the floor, above which it rises two feet. It is covered with marble, so that even if this were the very spot where the Lord and Savior was laid by the hands of kind friends, the modern visitor would not know what it looked like when that event took place. The little chapel, capable of accommodating about six people at a time, contains some pictures and forty-three silver lamps, the property of the Copts, Armenians, Greek and Roman Catholics. A priest stands on guard, so that no damage may be done to any part of the place.
The Greek chapel, the largest, and to my notion the finest that I saw, is just in front of the sepulcher. From its having two sections and a partition, I was reminded of the tabernacle of the wilderness journey. Services were being conducted once while I was there, and I saw the Patriarch and others, gorgeously robed, going through with a service that was at least spectacular, if not spiritual. At one point in the exercises those participating came down close to where I was standing, passed around the spot designated "the center of the world," and went back again to the farther end of the richly ornamented room. One of the priests, with hair reaching down on his shoulders, bore a silver vessel, which I suppose contained burning incense. The long hair, beautiful robes, the singing, praying, and such things, made up a service that reminded me of the days of Solomon and the old priesthood.
The demonstration of the "holy fire" takes place in this church once a year, and there are thousands who believe that the fire passed out from the Chapel of the Angels really comes from heaven. This occurs on the Saturday afternoon preceding Easter, and the eager, waiting throng, a part of which has been in the building since the day before, soon has its hundreds of little candles lighted. As the time for the appearance of the fire approaches the confusion becomes greater. Near the entrance to the sepulcher a group of men is repeating the words: "This is the tomb of Jesus Christ;" not far from them others are saying: "This is the day the Jew mourns and the Christian rejoices;" others express themselves in the language: "Jesus Christ has redeemed us;" and occasionally "God save the Sultan" can be heard.
Mr. Wallace, from whose book the foregoing items are gleaned, in telling of a fight which took place at one stage of the service, describes it as "a mass of wriggling, struggling, shrieking priests and soldiers, each apparently endeavoring to do all the possible injury to whomever he could reach. * * * But the fight went on. Greek trampled on Armenian, and Armenian on Greek, and Turk on both. Though doing his very best, the commanding officer seemed unable to separate the combatants. The bugle rang out time after time, and detachment after detachment of soldiers plunged into the melee. * * * This went on for fifteen minutes. Just how much damage was done nobody will ever know. There were a number of bruised faces and broken heads, and a report was current that two pilgrims had died from injuries received." This disgraceful and wicked disturbance is said to have been brought about by the Armenians wanting two of their priests to go with the Greek Patriarch as far as the Chapel of the Angels. And it is furthermore said that the defeat of the Armenians was brought about, to some extent at least, by the muscular strength of an American professional boxer and wrestler, whom the Greeks had taken along in priestly garb as a member of the Patriarch's bodyguard. It is not surprising that Mr. Wallace has written: "The Church of the Holy Sepulcher gives the non-Christian world the worst possible illustration of the religion of Him in whose name it stands."
As I was going through the city, I saw a camel working an olive press. The poor blindfolded animal was compelled to walk in a circle so small that the outside trace was drawn tightly over its leg, causing irritation; but seeing the loads that are put upon dumb brutes, and men too, sometimes, one need not expect much attention to be given to the comfort of these useful servants. Truly, there is great need for the refining, civilizing, and uplifting influence of the gospel here in the city where it had its earliest proclamation. I also visited two grist mills operated by horses on a treadmill, which was a large wooden wheel turned on its side, so the horses could stand on it. I was not pleased with the nearness of the manure in one of these mills to the material from which the "staff of life" is made.
The German Protestant Church of the Redeemer is a fine structure on the Muristan, completed in 1898. The United States consulate is near the Austrian postoffice inside of the Jaffa gate. I went there and rested awhile, but saw the consul, Selah Merrill, at his hotel, where I also met Mrs. Merrill, and formed a favorable opinion of both of them. Here I left my belt, checks, and surplus money in the care of the consul.
Continuing my walk on Wednesday, I passed one of the numerous threshing floors of the country. This one was the face of a smooth rock, but they are often the ground on some elevated spot, where a good breeze can be had to blow away the chaff, for the grain is now threshed and cleaned by the primitive methods of long ago. After the grain has been tramped out (1 Cor. 9:9), the straw, now worn to chaff, is piled up, and when a favorable wind blows, a man tosses it in the air with a wooden fork. The grain falls in a pile at his feet and the chaff is carried aside some distance. When this operation has been carried on as long as is profitable, the wheat and what chaff remains in it are thrown into the air with a wooden shovel, called in our Bibles a "fan." (Matt. 3:12.) The final cleaning is done by washing the grain, or with a sieve.
The Tombs of the Kings, which may never have contained a king, are extensive and interesting. They are surrounded by a wall, and to reach them the visitor must go down a very wide stairway. The steps probably do not number more than twenty-five, but the distance from one side of the stairs to the other is twenty-seven feet. There are channels cut in the rock to carry the water that comes down these steps to the cisterns, two in number, one of which is a good-sized room cut in the rock at the side of the stairway. It contained about three feet of water when I saw it, although there had been no rain in Jerusalem for half a year. The other one, at the bottom of the stairs, is much larger, and was empty. The vaulted roof is supported by a column, and there are steps leading from one level of the floor to another.
Turning to the left at the foot of the big stairway, we passed through an arch cut through the rock into a court made by excavating the earth and stone to a depth of perhaps twenty feet. It is ninety feet long and eighty-one feet wide. The entrance to the tombs is by a vestibule cut in the rock at one side of the court, and it appears that this once had a row of pillars along the front, like veranda posts. We went down a few steps and stooped low enough to pass through an opening about a yard high. Beyond this we found ourselves in a good-sized room, cut in the solid rock. There are five of these rooms, and so far as the appearance is concerned, one might suppose they had been made in modern times, but they are ancient. The bodies were usually buried in "pigeon-holes" cut back in the walls of the rooms, but there are some shelf tombs, which are sufficiently described in their name. One room seems never to have been completed, but there are burial places here for about forty people.
One of the interesting things about these tombs is the rolling stone by which they were closed. It is a round rock, resembling a millstone. The height is a little over three feet and a half, and the thickness sixteen inches. It stands in a channel cut for the purpose, but was rolled forward before the entrance when it was desirable to have the tombs closed. When Jesus was buried, a "great stone" was rolled to the mouth of the sepulcher, and the women thought of this as they went to the tomb on the first day of the week, saying: "Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the tomb?" (Mark 16:3.) They went on and found the tomb open; so, also, we may often find the stone rolled away if we will go forward in the discharge of our duties, instead of sitting down to mourn at the thought of something in the distance which seems too difficult.
On our way to the tombs just mentioned, we passed the American Colony, a small band of people living together in a rather peculiar manner, but they are not all Americans. I understood that there had been no marriages among them for a long time until a short while before I was in Jerusalem. Some of them conduct a good store near the Jaffa gate. We passed an English church and college and St. Stephen's Church on the way to Gordon's Calvary. This new location of the world's greatest tragedy is a small hill outside the walls on the northern side of the city. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher stands on ground which for fifteen hundred years has been regarded as the true site of our Lord's death and burial, but since Korte, a German bookseller, visited the city in 1738, doubts have been expressed as to the correctness of the tradition. Jesus "suffered without the gate" (Heb. 13:12), and "in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb wherein was man never yet laid" (John 19:41), and it appears to have been near a public road. (Mark 15:29.) In 1856 Edward Robinson, an American, offered proof that the site sustained by the old tradition was inside the city walls at the time of the crucifixion, and more recent discoveries, made in excavating, confirm his proof. The new Calvary meets the requirements of the above mentioned scriptures, and gets its name "Gordon's Calvary," from the fact that General Gordon wrote and spoke in favor of this being the correct location, and a photographer attached his name to a view of the place. In the garden adjoining the new Calvary I visited a tomb, which some suppose to be the place of our Lord's burial.
On the way back to my lodging place we passed the Damascus gate, the most attractive of all the old city gates, and one often represented in books. It was built or repaired in 1537, and stands near an older gateway that is almost entirely hidden by the accumulated rubbish of centuries, only the crown of the arch now showing. As we went on we passed the French Hospice, a fine modern building, having two large statues on it. The higher one represents the Virgin and her child, the other is a figure of the Savior. The Catholic church already mentioned, where two sisters are to be seen in prayer at all times, is near the Hospice. It is a rather impressive sight to stand in this beautiful but silent place, and see those women in white robes kneeling there almost as motionless as statues.
Thursday and a part of Friday was taken up with a trip to Jericho, but we got back in time to spend the afternoon in looking around Jerusalem, and we had an interesting visit to the home of Mrs. Schoenecke, a German lady, whose father, named Schick, spent fifty-six years of his life in Jerusalem. From what information Mr. Schick could gather from the Bible, Josephus, the Talmud, and his personal observations during the time the Palestine Exploration Fund was at work, he constructed large models of the ancient temples that stood on Mount Moriah from the days of Solomon to the time of Herod and Christ. I was told that the original models were sold to an American college for five thousand dollars. Mr. Schick then constructed the models shown to us, and explained by Mrs. Schoenecke. We were also shown a model of the tabernacle used while Israel was marching to the promised land.
The Wailing Place is a rectangle one hundred feet long by fifteen feet wide on the outside of the Temple Area, on the western side, where the wall is about sixty feet high. Some of the stones in this section are of large size, and authorities admit that they are of Solomon's time, but the wall in which they now stand may be a reconstruction. The Jews come here on the Sabbath, beginning at sundown on Saturday, for a service which one author describes as follows: "Nearest to him stood a row of women clad in robes of spotless white. Their eyes were bedimmed with weeping, and tears streamed down their cheeks as they sobbed aloud with irrepressible emotion. Next to the women stood a group of Pharisees—Jews from Poland and Germany. * * * The old hoary-headed men generally wore velvet caps edged with fur, long love-locks or ringlets dangling on their thin cheeks, and their outer robes presented a striking contrast of gaudy colors. Beyond stood a group of Spanish Jews. * * * Besides these there are Jews from every quarter of the world, who had wandered back to Jerusalem that they might die in the city of their fathers, and be buried in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, under the shadow of the Temple Hill. The worshipers gradually increased in number until the crowd thronging the pavement could not be fewer than two hundred. It was an affecting scene to notice their earnestness; some thrust their hands between the joints of the stones, and pushed into the crevices, as far as possible, little slips of paper, on which were written, in the Hebrew tongue, short petitions addressed to Jehovah. Some even prayed with their mouths thrust into the gaps, where the weather-beaten stones were worn away at the joints. * * * The congregation at the Wailing Place is one of the most solemn gatherings left to the Jewish Church, and, as the writer gazed at the motley concourse, he experienced a feeling of sorrow that the remnants of the chosen race should be heartlessly thrust outside the sacred inclosure of their fathers' holy temple by men of an alien race and an alien creed." So far as I know, all writers give these worshipers credit for being sincere, but on the two occasions when I visited the place, I saw no such emotion as described in the foregoing quotation. The following lines are often rehearsed, the leader reading one at a time, after which the people respond with the words: "We sit in solitude and mourn."
"For the place that lies desolate; For the place that is destroyed; For the walls that are overthrown; For our majesty that is departed; For our great men who lie dead; For the precious stones that are buried; For the priests who have stumbled; For our kings who have despised Him."
This solemn practice has been observed for about twelve hundred years, but the same place may not have been used all the time. "She is become a widow, that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces is become tributary! Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is become as an unclean thing" (Lam. 1: 1, 8).
On Friday evening we entered some of the many synagogues yet to be found in Jerusalem and observed the worshipers. On Saturday we went to the House of Industry of the English church, where boys are taught to work. Olive wood products are made for the tourist trade. We passed a place where some men were making a peculiar noise as they were pounding wheat and singing at their work. This pounding was a part of the process of making it ready for food. An old lady was standing in an open door spinning yarn in a very simple manner. We watched her a few minutes, and I wanted to buy the little arrangement with which she was spinning, but she didn't care to part with it. She brought out another one, and let me have it after spinning a few yards upon it. I gave her a Turkish coin worth a few cents, for which she seemed very thankful, and said, as Mr. Ahmed explained: "God bless you and give you long life. I am old, and may die to-day." She told us that she came from Mosul, away beyond the Syrian desert, to die in Jerusalem. We visited the synagogue of the Caraite Jews, a small polygamous sect, numbering in this assembly about thirty persons. They also differ from the majority of Hebrews in rejecting the Talmud, but I believe they have a Talmud of their own. Their place of worship is a small room almost under the ground, where we were permitted to see a very fine old copy of the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament. The work was done by hand, and I was told the man who did it was sixteen years of age when he began it, and was sixty when he finished the work, and that the British Museum had offered five thousand dollars for the book. Some of these people speak English, and we conversed with one woman who was quite intelligent. They kindly permitted us to go up and view the city from the housetop.
In the afternoon we visited the Temple Area, an inclosure of about thirty-five acres, in the southeastern part of the city, including the Mosque of Omar (more appropriately called the Dome of the Rock), the Mosque El Aksa, and Solomon's Stables. For Christians to enter this inclosure, it is necessary to notify their consul and secure the service of his cavasse, an armed guard, and a Turkish soldier, both of whom must be paid for their services. Thus equipped, we entered the inclosure, and came up on the east front of the Dome of the Rock, probably so named from the fact that the dome of this structure stands over an exposed portion of the natural rock, fifty-seven feet long, forty-three feet wide, and rising a few feet above the floor. After putting some big slippers on over our shoes, we entered the building and saw this great rock, which tradition says is the threshing floor of Araunah, and the spot where Melchizedek sacrificed. It is also the traditional place where Abraham sacrificed Isaac, and it is believed that David built an altar here after the angel of destruction had put up his sword. It is furthermore supposed that the great altar of burnt offerings stood on this rock in the days of Solomon's Temple, which is thought to have been located just west of it. This is the probable location of Zerubbabel's Temple, and the one enlarged and beautified by Herod, which was standing when Jesus was on earth, and continued to stand until the awful destruction of the city by the Roman army in A.D. 70.
The modern visitor to this fine structure would have no thought of the ancient temple of God if he depended upon what he sees here to suggest it. All trace of that house has disappeared. The Dome of the Rock, said to be "the most beautiful piece of architecture in Jerusalem," belongs to the Turks. It has eight sides, each about sixty-six and a half feet long, and is partly covered with marble, but it is, to some extent, in a state of decay. Between the destruction of the temple and the erection of this building a heathen temple and a church had been built on the spot.
The Mosque El Aksa was also visited, but it is noted more for its size than the beauty of its architecture. The Turkish Governor of Palestine comes here every Friday to worship at the time the Sultan is engaged in like manner in Constantinople. Solomon's Stables next engaged our attention. We crossed the Temple Area to the wall on the southeastern border, and went down a stairway to these underground chambers, which were made by building about a hundred columns and arching them over and laying a pavement on the top, thereby bringing it up on a level with the rest of the hill. The vaults are two hundred and seventy-three feet long, one hundred and ninety-eight feet wide, and about thirty feet high. They were not made for stables, but were used for that purpose in the middle ages, and the holes through the corners of the square stone columns show where the horses were tied. A large portion of these chambers has been made into a cistern or reservoir.
After a visit to what is called the Pool of Bethesda and the Church of St. Anne, we went outside the city wall on the north side and entered what looks like a cave, but upon investigation proves to be an extensive underground quarry. These excavations, called Solomon's Quarries, extend, according to one authority, seven hundred feet under the hill Bezetha, which is north of Mt. Moriah. The rock is very white, and will take some polish. Loose portions of it are lying around on the floor of the cavern, and there are distinct marks along the sides where the ancient stone-cutters were at work. In one part of the quarries we were shown the place where visiting Masons are said to hold lodge meetings sometimes. Vast quantities of the rock have been taken out, and this is probably the source from whence much of the building material of the old city was derived.