« הקודםהמשך »
upon, and His feet pressed before He left the earth which rejected Him should be the one in which He had been a loved and honoured guest. The old name of Bethany has disappeared, together with the palm-trees which once were in such profusion as to win for it this distinctive epithet." The memory of the raising of Lazarus has lived so vividly in Arab legend, that the name El-'Aziriyeh has supplanted the earlier and Biblical one. Of course traditional sites are pointed out for all the events of the Biblical narrative. The houses of Simon and of Martha and the grave of Lazarus are shown. The former may be dismissed without a glance or thought. They are evidently modern erections, certainly not earlier than the Saracenic period, and probably more recent. But the tomb of Lazarus may be authentic. The masonry, indeed, is modern, but the sepulchre itself, a deep recess cut into the rock, is apparently ancient, and, so far as I could judge, was originally a tomb. It is entered by a narrow passage, with twentyfive steps, leading to a cubiculum. The tradition which identifies it with ‘the cave' in which the ‘friend' whom ‘Jesus loved' was buried, has a respectable antiquity, going back, at least, to the time of Arculf (A.D. 700). Whether this be the exact spot or not, we know that very near where we stand the memorable words were uttered : ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.' " Escaping from the rabble of Arabs clamouring for backshish, we resumed our journey. The rain had ceased, and a few breaks in the clouds encouraged a hope that we might gain a view of the city not utterly disappointing. But we were quite unprepared for the view which awaited us on reaching the summit of Olivet. Seen under any circumstances, it is one never to be forgotten. The deep ravine of the Kedron below us—the city on the opposite hill, with its grey venerable walls, its broad marble platform, in the centre of which stands the exquisite dome of the Mosque of Omarthe picturesque mass of cupolas and minarets standing out against the sky— the surrounding valleys and hills dotted with villages and ruined towers and olive groves—need no aid from the associations of the spot to make it a most striking view. But when we add those associations—so sacred, so tender, so sublime—it is not to be wondered at that every visitor feels himself at a loss to express the emotions which it awakens. Nothing, however, which I had heard or read had prepared me for the view which broke upon us as we ascended the minaret on the summit of Olivet. The vast marble platform of the Temple, the dome of the mosque, the roofs of El-Aksa, the innumerable cupolas and flat roofs of the city, were all running with water from the heavy rain. Through rifts in the clouds long slanting beams of sunlight fell upon them with a dazzling splendour. The
* See, however, an interesting note by the late Dr. Deutsch in Dixon's Holy Land, in which it is maintained that Bethany meant not, as is commonly supposed, ‘the house of dates,’ but ‘the house of poverty.' He fails, however, to take note of the fact that as we have a Mount of Olives, a house of figs (Bethphage), and a house of bread (Bethlehem), so we might naturally have a house of dates in the same locality. * John xi. 25.
VIEW FROM THE MOUNT OF OLIVE.S. 87
city flashed and shone like molten silver. All the meanness and squalor of its degradation was lost in the radiance which veiled it. The storm-clouds had drifted away eastward, and settled dark and heavy over the Valley of the Dead Sea, blotting it out from view by their gloomy mass. Above the line of clouds rose the mountains of Moab, purple in the light of the descending sun. Only one more touch of beauty, only one more suggestion of hallowed thought, was possible. This was furnished by a rainbow—symbol of Divine mercy and faithfulness—spanning the storm-cloud which hung above the Valley of Sodom. On the one side was the city of God, radiant in the “clear shining after rain ; on the other the city of destruction, veiled in darkness and gloom, yet not utterly abandoned by our gracious and covenant-keeping God. Impressive as is the view which bursts upon us from the summit of the Mount of Olives, even now that Jerusalem lies in its misery and degradation, it must have been far grander when our Lord, on His way from Bethany, standing upon this very spot, beheld the city and wept over it, saying, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace but now they are hid from thine eyes.'" The valley at our feet was at least sixty feet deeper then than it is at present. The accumulation of - débris, the result of repeated CHURCH ON THE SUMMIT OF THE MOUNT OF OLIVES. sieges, has not only filled it up to that extent, but has choked up the bed of the Kedron, so that it has either ceased to flow altogether, or only trickles almost imperceptibly amongst the stones. The trees which once clothed the hills and the gardens which lay along the banks of the stream have disappeared. The face of the rock upon which the Temple stands, then went down almost precipitously, so that, as Josephus tells us, the spectator, standing upon the walls, grew dizzy as he iooked into the ravine below him. Now mounds of rubbish, through which Captain Warren sank a shaft to the depth of a hundred feet before he reached the virgin soil, rest against the rock and rise almost to the foot of the walls. The Temple itself was a marvel of splendour and beauty. Built of costly marbles, overlaid with gold, and adorned with jewels, it shone resplendently when the light of the rising or the setting sun fell upon it, as though another sun were setting or rising. Of all this magnificence, nothing remains save the vast marble platform upon which it stood. Well might the disciples listen with reluctance or incredulity as our Lord foretold the impending destruction of a city ‘beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth.'
* Luke xix. 42.
Slowly we descended from the summit, lingering at many points to recall the hallowed associations of the scene, or turning aside to gain some fresh
point of view. We remembered not only that our Lord had often trodden these very paths in His journey between Bethany and Jerusalem, or gone out to spend the night upon the Mount of Olives, ‘as He was wont,’ “ but that David, in his flight from the city, went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot. and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.’” Passing the Garden of Gethsemane, and crossing the Kedron, we entered by St. Stephen's Gate. Skirting the Temple area, travers
ing the length of the Via Dolorosa, slipping on the slimy stones or plunging ankle-deep into the mud of the wretched streets, we emerged at the Jaffa Gate and found our camp pitched on the edge of the Valley of Hinnom.
* Luke xxii. 39. * 2 Sam. xv. 30.