Obrazy na stronie
[merged small][ocr errors]


Ertracts from Mi. Parson's Journal while at Jerusalen.

(Continued from page 143.)

VISIT TO THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCH. An Armenian from Smyrna invited me to visit the principal Armenian churchi. It is situated near to Jaffa gate; is large, and elegantly furnished. We were conducted to the spot, where, they say, was interred the head of John the Baptist.* My Armenian attendant, after making the cross, bowed and kissed the stone, which concealed, as he believed, the sacred deposit. From the church was conducted to the apartment of the Patriarch. He was sitting in the corner of a large hall, with a writing table before him. He bade me take a seat. After coffee and sweetmeats, as is the fashion here, I presented to him a quarto edition of the Old Testament in the Armenian language; with the request, that he would inform me if the edition be correct. He replied, “I have examined it, and approve of it, as an edition without errors." I then mentioned, that I had a few copies, which I would offer, with his permission, to the pilgrims, at a cheap rate. He gave his assent; and a pilgrim present engaged to make inquiries, and to give me information.

I presented to Procopius an excellent copy of the Persian Testament, translated by the much lamented Henry Martyn. He read portions of it with flueney, and thanked me for the donation. Also, gave a French Bible to the clerk of the monastery, who reads and understands the French language.

VISIT TO THE HOLY SEPULCHRE. Feb. 21. Went to the church of the holy sepulchre. The gate fronts the south; and is strictly guarded by Turks without and Greeks within. No pil. grim, a subject of the grand seignior, can enter without paying a para--a trifle to be sure ; but when multiplied by the hundreds of times, at which each pilgrim enters, in the course of three months, the amount becomes a large sum. To prevent confusion, it is necessary to observe the difference between the church of the holy sepulchre, and the holy sepulchre itself the one embracing all the apartments belonging to the different denominations of Christians ;the other being only a monument erected over the tomb of our Saviour, and held in equal reverence by the various denominations of Christians who frequent it. The tomb may be called the centre of the church of the holy sepulchre, near to which may be heard the prayers of Christians in ancient Greek, in Latin, Armenian, Arabic, and Syriac.

Entered the gate of the church of the holy sepulchre amid a crowd of pilgrims. The first object, which attracted my attention, was the stone of unction, venerated as the spot whicre the body of our Lord was anointed for burial. The stone is thirty-one feet directly in front of the gate ;t is eight feet in length, and two feei two inches in breadth. Several large candles are kept standing at each end; and over it are suspended several silver lamps. The pilgrims all bow, and, after making the sign of the cross, kiss the sacred stone.

Leavirig the stone of mction we were conducted to the holy sepulchre. It is distant from the stone of unction 63 feet, under the centre of a large dome. The monument erected over the tomb contains two apartments. In the first is the stone where, it is said, the angel made his appearance to Mary; in the

* Others say, of St. James the Great.

+ The various distances, mentioned in reference to the church of the holy sepulchre, were subsequently taken by Mr. Parsons, at an hour when the people were not present,


other, is the holy tomb. The outside of the monument is twenty-nine feet in length, eighteen and a balf in breadth. I waited some time for the pilgrims to withdraw. While standing there, a pilgrim entered, and, at the sight of the tomb, wept and sobbed as over the grave of a parent.

MOUNT CALVARY. Seventy-three feet from the holy sepulchre we came to the chapel of appa. rition, in which a few Catholics were engaged in evening service. The music, for softness and solemnity, exceeded any thing I have heard in Asia. From this chapel, we returned to the holy sepulchre, and, passing through the Greek church, ascended Mount Calvary. It is sixteen feet above the level of the tomb. I stooped down to look into the hole in which, it is supposed, stood the cross ; below which is a fissure in the rock, made, it is believed, when Christ our Lord bowed his head and gave up the ghost.

THE ENVIRONS OF JERUSALEM. Feb. 22. In the afternoon, the interpreter of the Russian consul accompanied me to Mount Olivet. Left the city by Damascus gate, and turning eastward we passed near to the cave, in which, tradition says,* Jeremiah wrote his lamentations. “ All ye that pass by, behold, and see if there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow.” The cave is large, and is held in high veneration. Passing the north-east corner of the city, we descended to the brook Kedron. The bed of the stream was perfectly dry, notwithstanding the great rains. On our left, saw the church erected over the grave of the Virgin Mary; on our right, the garden of Gethsemane.

MOUNT OLIVET. In fifteen or twenty minutes reached the summit of the Mount of Olives. Here we had a delightful view of the city, and also of the Dead Sea. Perhaps no place in the world commands a finer prospect, or is associated with events more sacred and sublime. “David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot.” On the east side of it, our blessed Saviour raised Lazarus from the grave; and, on the west, he endured the agony of Gethsemane. Here he beheld the city, and wept over it. From this mount he was at one time conducted to Jerusalem with shoutings of “ Hosanna to the Son of David;" and, at another, with the cry of “Crucify him, crucify him.” From this spot he gave his last commission; Go into all the world, and preach the gospel," and then ascended, and “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

THE POOL OF SILOAM. Descending the Mount of Olives, we passed into the valley of Jehoshaphat, to the pool of Siloam. Here the blind man, at the command of Jesus, washed and returned seeing. The pool is at the foot of Mount Moriah, on the south side. We descended a handsome flight of steps to the water. It is visited, every day, by pilgrims of every denomination. I perceived nothing unusual in the taste of the water.

From Siloam, directing our course southward, we came to the tree, where, it is said, Isaiah was sawn asunder for his faithful exhortations and reproofs. The tree is securely guarded by a high wall, to prevent the injuries it would receive from pilgrims.


From this we began to ascend Mount Zion. We passed through fields of grain, which reminded us, at every step, of the awful prediction : “Mount Zion shall be ploughed like a field.” On the summit is a mosque, erected over the tombs of David, and of the kings of Israel; and an Armenian church, said to be the ruins of the house of Caiaphas, the high priest.

When Mr. Parsons mentions the traditionary accounts, which are reported to all travellers, he is not to be understood as giving any opinion, with reference to the reliance which may be placed on these traditions. Doubtless the identity of some places has been accurately preserved and transmitted; while that of others must remain incapable of proof,


Mount Zion, on three sides, is strongly fortified by nature. This agrees pre. cisely with the description given of it in the scripture. “Nevertheless, David took the strong hold of Zion, the same is the city of David.” At the foot of it, on the west, are the ruins of the pool of Beersheba_on the south, the valley of the son of Hinnom, called also Tophet, and the valley of slaughter. (Jer. xix. 6.) Here the children of Israel caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech (2 Kings xxiii. 10.); and, in this place, Jeremiah denounced the dreadful curse: “Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which, whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle."

On the south side of Mount Zion are the ruins of the old wall, supposed to be the one repaired by Nehemiah. Here may be seen, to the best advantage, the site of Solomon's temple, the Mount of Olives, and the plains and mountains of Judea. This delightful prospect, in connexion with its spiritual privileges, led David to sing, “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion." Returned to the city at sunset.

Feb. 24. A priest came to my room to read with me the holy scriptures.

Sabbath, 25. The Sabbath passed without the least interruption. How desirable this retirement, after so many Sabbaths of weariness.

26. A Greek priest requested me to aid him in the study of the English language. This will give me an opportunity to institute many important inquiries, and to obtain valuable information.

VARIOUS OBJECTS IN THE CITY. P. M. A priest invited me to visit some interesting objects in the city. We passed the street called Via Dolorosa, through which our Saviour bore his cross to Calvary-were shown the house of St. John the beloved disciple—the hall where the Saviour was arraigned before Pilate—the pool of Bethesda, near St. Stephen's gate--the arch where, it is said, Pilate cried, “ Bebold the man"_the place where Stephen was stoned, having his eyes fixed on the visions of God -the place in the garden, where our Saviour, being in an agony, prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground. St. John has marked the site of the garden very particularly. " He went forth with his disciples over the brook Kedron.” There is but one spot over the brook Kedron convenient for a garden. This garden has been consecrated by the many prayers, and by the blood of our divine Saviour. “ For Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples." It is still occupied as a garden, and contains several large olive trees.

Feb. 27. Received a letter from the president of the Greek monastery at Rama, expressing his thanks for the tracts which I sent him to be distributed among the pilgrims.

28. Sent a few tracts to a Russian gentleman who resides in the monastery of Abraham. Also, gave a few to a young man belonging to the Catholic monastery. He engaged to read them attentively.

29. Sold an Italian Testament, and gave an Armenian Testament to an Armenian, who engaged to aid me in the distribution of the scriptures. Visited the priests, who have charge of the holy sepulchre, and gave them a Testament. Towards evening walked with a few priests to the place where, it is said, Hezekiah "stopped up the fountains and the brook, that ran through the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come and find water.” 2 Chron. xxxii. 4. By the way, gave them some account of the progress of religious institutions in America: of Sabbath schools, family worship, and benevolent societies.

VISIT TO BETHANY. March 2. A Russian gentleman, with the president of Abraham's monastery, offered to accompany me to Bethany, about two miles east of Jerusalem, at the foot of the Mount of Olives on the east side. “Now Bethany was nigh to Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.” We came to the grave of Lazarus. “It was a cave," saith St. John, “and a stone lay upon it.” A Turk, who seemed to have charge of the sepulchre, for a few paras gave us lighted tapers and permission to enter. We descended twenty-eight stone steps, where we found a small room about eight feet square. On the east and west sides are tombs cut

in the solid rock. Probably Jesus our Lord stood here, and cried with a loud voice, “ Lazarus, come forth.” Half a mile to the east, we came to a stone, upon which our Saviour sat, it is believed, when Martha met him and fell at his feet, saying, “ Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”

Returning to Jerusalem we passed over the summit of the Mount of Olives, and, besides visiting places before mentioned, came to the mount where King Solomon " built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hili which is Jerusalem." It is only a few rods south of the place from which our Saviour ascended to heaven. Visited also the tombs of the prophets, a little west of the Mount of Scandal.

March 3. Gave to Procopius 100 tracts, to be distributed among the priests and pilgrims. Conversed a long time with a priest, respecting the nature of the new birth. He said it was baptism. “When children are baptized, they are renewed, as it respects Adam's transgression; but if they afterwards sin, they must be punished.” This, so far as I can learn, is the prevailing sentiment among the Greeks. They can give no other account of the new heart.

The following remarks of the learned and pious Cotton Mather, in the conclusion of his Life of Eliot, will be read with interest, as being quite congenial to the spirit of our times.

“But I have not obtained the end of this history, nor may I let this history come to an end, until I do with some importunity bespeak the endeavours of good men every where, to labour in that harvest which the blessed Eliot justly counted worthy of his utmost pains and cares. It was the confession of Themistocles, that the victory of Miltiades would not let him sleep in quietness; may those of our Eliot raise a like emulation in those that have now seen the life of this evangelical hero! One Robert Baily (a true son of Epiphanius) many years ago published a book, wherein several gross lies, by which the name of that John Cotton, who was known to be one of the holiest men then alive, was most injuriously made odious unto the churches abroad, were accompanied with some reflections upon poor New England, whereof this was one, •The way of their

churches hath most exceedingly hindred the conversion of the poor pagans: of • all that ever crossed the American seas, they are noted as most neglectful of the work of conversion. We have now seen those aspersions and calumnies abundantly wiped away. But let that which has been the vindication of New England, be also the æmulation of the world : let not poor little New England, be the only protestant country that shall do any notable thing for the propagation of the faith, unto those dark corners of the earth which are full of cruel habita. tions. But the addresses of so mean a person as myself, are like to prevail but little abroad with men of learning and figure in the world. However, I shall presume to utter my wishes in the sight of my readers; and it is possible that the great God who despises not the prayer of the poor, may by the influences of his Holy Spirit, upon the hearts of some whose eyes are upon these lines, give a blessed answer thereunto.

“ Wherefore, may the people of New England, who have seen so sensible a difference between the estates of those that sell drink, and of those that preach truth, unto the miserable salvages among them, as that even this alone might inspire them, yet from a nobler consideration than that of their own outward prosperity thereby advanced, be encouraged still to prosecute, first the civiliz. ing, and then the christenizing of the barbarians, in their neighbourhood; and may the New Englanders be so far politic as well as religious, as particularly to make a mission of the gospel unto the mighty nations of the Western Indians, whom the French have been of late so studiously, but so unsuccessfully tampering with; lest those horrid pagans, who lately (as it is credibly affirmed) had such a measure of devilism and insolence in them, as to shoot a volley of great and small shot against the Heavens, in revenge upon the man in the Heavens,' as they called our Lord, whom they counted the author of the heavy calamities which newly have distressed them; be found spared by our long suffering Lord,

[who then indeed presently tore the ground asunder, with immediate and horrible thunders from Heaven round about them, but killed them not !] for a scourge to us, that have not used our advantages to make a vertuous people of them. If a King of the West Saxons long since ascribed all the disasters on any of their affairs, to negligencies in this point, methinks the New Englanders may not count it unreasonable in this way to seek their own prosperity. Shall we do what we can that our Lord Jesus Christ may bestow upon America, (which may more justly be called Columba) that salutation, 'O my dove !'

“ May the several plantations, that live upon the labours of their negroes, no more be guilty of such a prodigious wickedness, as to deride, neglect, and oppose all due means of bringing their poor negroes unto our Lord; but may the masters of whom God will one day require the souls of the slaves committed unto them, see to it, that like Abraham, they have catechised servants; and not imagine that the Almighty God made so many thousands of reasonable creatures for nothing, but only to serve the lusts of Epicures, or the gains of Mammonists; lest the God of Heaven out of meer pity, if not justice unto those unhappy blacks, be provoked unto a vengeance which may not without horror, be thought upon. Lord, when shall we see Ethiopians read thy scriptures with understanding!

“ May the English nation do what may be done, that the Welch may not be destroyed for the lack of knowledge, lest our indisposition to do for their souls, bring upon us all those judgments of Heaven, which Gildas their countryman, once told them, that they suffered for their disregards unto ours; and may the nefandous massacres of the English by the Irish, awaken the English to consi. der, whether they have done enough to reclaim the Irish, from the Popish bigottries and abominations, with which they have been intoxicated.

“ May the several factories and companies, whose concerns lie in Asia, Africa, or America, be perswaded, as Jacob once, and before him his grandfather Abraham was, that they always owe unto God certain proportions of their possessions, by the honest payments of which little quit-rents, they would certainly secure and enlarge their enjoyment of the principal; but that they are under a very particular obligation to communicate of our spiritual things, unto those heathens, by whose carnal things they are enriched; and may they therefore make it their study, to employ some able and pious ministers, for the instruction of those infidels with whom they have to deal, and honourably support such ministers in that employment.

“ May the poor Greeks, Armenians, Muscovites, and others, in the eastern countries, wearing the name of Christians, that have little preaching and no printing, and few Bibles or good books, now at last be furnished with Bibles, orthodox catechisms, and practical treatises by the charity of England; and may our presses provide good store of good books for them, in their own tongues, to be scattered among them. Who knows what convulsions might be liastened upon the whole Mahometan world by such an extensive charity.

May sufficient numbers of great, wise, rich, learned, and godly men in the three kingdoms, procure well-composed societies, by whose united counsels, the noble design of evangelizing the world, may be more effectually carried on; and if some generous persons will of their own accord combine for such consultations, who can tell, but like some other celebrated societies heretofore formed from such small beginnings, they may soon have that countenance of authority, which may produce very glorious effects, and give opportunity to gather vast contributions from all well-disposed people, to assist and advance this progress of christianity. God forbid, that Popery should expend upon cheating, more than ten times what we do upon saving the immortal souls of

“ Lastly, may many worthy men, who find their circumstances will allow of it, get the language of some nations that are not yet brought home to God; and wait upon the divine providence, for God's leading them to, and owning them in their apostolical undertakings. When they remember what Ruffinus relates concerning the conversion of the Iberians, and what Socrates, with other authors, relates concerning the conversion wrought by occasion of Frumentius and Ædesius, in the Inner India, all as it were by accident, surely it will make


« PoprzedniaDalej »