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gains a new appropriateness on this spot. Joppa has always been the port of Jerusalem. It is, indeed, the only port of Southern Palestine. Thence " the ships of Tarshish” were seen coming and going. The “isles of Chittim (Cyprus) lie just below the horizon. It was the point at which the Jewish and Gentile world came into contact. Peter looking out over the waters of " the Great Sea” towards Greece and Rome, where the gospel was to win its greatest victories, would be at no loss to apply the lesson taught by the vision.
The history of Tabitha is fondly remembered by the people of Joppa. Tabitha or Dorcas (i.e. the gazelle) is partly a personal name—partly a term of endearment. An annual festival is still celebrated on the 25th of May, when the young people go out into the orange-groves around the town and spend the day in a sort of pic-nic, singing hymns and ballads in her honour.
In modern times Jaffa has acquired a sad notoriety from the infamous massacre of his prisoners, and the alleged poisoning of his plague-stricken troops by Napoleon Bonaparte. The spot is yet pointed out where, amongst the sand-hills on the beach, four thousand Turkish and Albanian troops, who had surrendered as prisoners of war, were shot down in cold blood.
Passing out from the town we cross the PLAIN OF SHARON, the exquisite fertility and beauty of which made it to the Hebrew mind a symbol of prosperity. “ The excellency of Carmel and Sharon was proverbial.
"The earth mourneth and languisheth” when “Sharon is like a wilderness.", When the Most High shall again“ bring forth a seed out of Jacob and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains,” its first result will be that once more "Sharon shall be a fold for flocks.”3 In the Song of songs, “I am the Rose of Sharon,"4 is the symbol to express the highest ideal of grace and beauty. As we rode across the plain, bright with the vivid green of early spring, and plucked handfuls of the innumerable flowers-cyclamens, anemones, roses, lilies, tulips and a score of others, which gemmed the turf or grew “unprofitably gay amongst the corn, we could enter into the feelings of Hebrew poets and prophets as they exulted in “the glory of Sharon.” But where were the inhabitants ? This fertile plain which might support an immense population is almost a solitude. Two or three wretched hamlets, mere clusters of mud huts, are the sole representatives of the numerous and thriving cities which once occupied it. Here and there was a solitary Arab breaking up the clods with a plough which remains unchanged in form from the earliest ages. These were the only signs of life we could discover. Day by day we were to learn afresh the lesson now forced upon us, that the denunciations of ancient prophecy have been fulfilled to the very letter,—“the land is left void
3 Ibid. lxv. 1o.
4 Cant. ii. 1. 1 Isa. XXXV. 2.
2 Ibid. xxxiii. 9. s The name of one of these hamlets, passed soon after leaving Jaffa, reminds us that we are in the old Philistine territory—Beit Dejan = Beth Dagon, i.l., the house of Dagon, 1 Sam. v. 2.
DEPOPULATION OF THE COUNTRY.
and desolate and without inhabitants." Within the last few years, however, there has been an improvement in some parts of the plain, arising from the establishment of a German agricultural colony near Jaffa, of a model farm supported by a society in London, and the acquisition of a considerable tract
of land by Messrs. Bergheim of Jerusalem. The German colonists retain, unchanged, the dress and manners of their fatherland, and it is not a little curious to meet a bevy of fair-haired, blue-eyed, red-cheeked damsels driven by
Isa. vi. 11-13. Jer. iv. 7 ; ix, 11 ; xxvi. 9; xxxiii. 10; xxxiv. 22 ; etc. etc.
a Silesian peasant in a genuine einspanner, in a district made memorable by the exploits of Samson against the Philistines.
Three hours from Jaffa stands RAMLEH, which has been identified with the Ramah of the Old Testament and the Arimathea of the New, but without sufficient authority. Its chief object of interest is a magnificent tower, resembling the famous Giralda of Seville, quite perfect, which rises from the ruins of an ancient khan. From the summit a superb view is gained. To the east are seen the mountains of Israel, bare and monotong but not without a certain impressiveness. Westward the Mediterranean stretches to the verge of the horizon. All around lies the plain of Sharon. On the slope of a hill about three miles distant stands a little white-walled village, conspicuous by a lofty ruined tower. It is the Lod of the Old Testament, LYDDA of
the New. Here Peter “found a certain man named Æneas, who had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, Æneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.” Here, too, he received the request of the saints at Joppa to visit them in their trouble at the death of Dorcas. As the road has remained unchanged from the earliest times, we can trace the whole route by which the sorrowing disciples came and the apostle returned with them. In hagiology, Lydda is distinguished as the birth-place of St. George, the patron saint of England. The Church, the ruins of which are visible from a distance, was destroyed by Saladin, and restored by Richard Cæur de Lion.
Soon after leaving Ramleh the road begins to ascend and the country grows wilder. We are approaching the elevated plateau on which Jerusalem