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SKETCHES OF JERUSALEM. in the prophetic language of Jeremiah, “I
beheld, and lo, there was no man, and all BY C. G. ADDISON, ESQ., OF THE INNER TEMPLE. the birds of the heaven were fled."
We toiled, a long and slowly moving ca. First appearance of Jerusalem-the Latin Convent valcade, over a rough road, amid jagged
- The Armenian Church-The Sepulchres of masses of rock, against which the horses and the Kings—The Church of the Holy Sepulchre mules were constantly tumbling. A few Pilgrims—the Brook Cedron-The Sepulchre of olive trees, scattered along the sides of some the Virgin—Garden of Gethsemane–The Sa- distant hills, were the only symptoms of cred Olive trees—The Mount of Olives.
vegetation, except the few dried-up herbs and Ecco apparir Gerusalem si vede,
scattered clumps of camel thorn, which here Ecco additar Gerusalem si scorge.
and there found a scanty subsistence upon Ecco da mille voci unitamente
the rocky sterile soil.
We ascended a lofty Gerusalemme salutar si sente.---Tasso, hill, and saw in the distance the long ridge
of mountains bounding the great desert, and NOVEMBER 20.-An hour before sunrise I skirting the edge of the plain of Jericho. left the poor and almost deserted village of Through an opening in the barren eminences Bir, and, accompanied by the Greek Pappas, over which we rode, we caught for a short the Damascus merchant, the Moslem women, time, a glimpse of a distant plain, which, from and the humble pilgrims, I struck into the the blue mists that were hovering over it, narrow, rocky, bridle-path leading to Jeru- presented an exact resemblance to a large salem. It was a dark and gloomy morning; lake. and the surrounding country, dimly seen by The bright sunny weather we had so long the faint twilight, presented a wild and soli- enjoyed had now left us; dark, driving tary aspect. When the sun rose, we were clouds flitted across the heavens, the wind in the midst of a bare, arid, treeless land blew cold, and howled fearfully among the scape. There was no water, and no vegeta- rocks, and approached' Jerusalem tion; and the whole country, far and near, through one of the wildest, gloomiest scenes presented a desolate surface of rock, or a of desolation I ever witnessed. succession of undulating hills covered with After riding for nearly three hours through loose, jagged, dark stones. The prophecies the same dreary and solitary country, and predictions of the olden time appear, in- throughout which the dwelling of man was deed, to have been wonderfully and fearful- nowhere visible, we ascended a slight emily brought to pass; all things are “utterly nence, and the landscape then began to unconsumed from off the land, man and beast, bend and relax a little of its stern and bar. and the fowls of heaven.” The desert be- ren aspect. Olive woods were seen in front, tween Damascus and Palmyra was cheerful and above a short screen of refreshing foby comparison, for there the little burrowing liage appeared a white cupola, which was d'jerboas, or an occasional herd of gazelles, immediately hailed as El Khobbs! Jerusaenliven the solitude of the wilderness; but lem! Pushing our horses onwards 10 the here, within a short distance of Jerusalem, summit of the neighbouring hill, behind no animated object was any where to be seen which, in our advance, the small portion over the wide-extended landscape ; and truly of the city had disappeared, we suddenly
came upon a scene, imposing from its con- and very courteous. He inquired eagerly trast with the country we had lately tra- for news; wanted to know what the Engversed, and certainly one of the most inte lish House of Commons had been doing of resting in the world. Above the olive woods late, and he informed me, with an air of in front, seated on an eminence, appeared a consequence and satisfaction, that he was line of houses, domes and minarets, con- a British subject, being a Maltese. The spicuous among which, and high above all, monks insisted upon my swallowing some were the white cupola of the church of the brandy and rosolio, which were handed Holy Sepulchre, and the dark dome of the round by one of the brotherhood in tiny mosque of Omar. To the left of these rose glasses. A worthy and hospitable friar, the Mount of Olives, a lofty, picturesque hill, with a bunch of keys in one hand and a scattered over with olive trees, and crowned basket in the other, then conducted me to a with a mosque and a Christian church. house called the “casa nuova,” or the new
We descended to the olive groves, and, house, an,edifice lately purchased by the after passing several sepulchral excavations convent for the reception of strangers and in the adjoining rocks, we came to a long pilgrims. Here I was accommodated with range of stone battlemented Saracenic walls, a square white-washed room, opening upon and entered the city of Jerusalem by a lofty a wooden gallery, and furnished with a Saracenic gateway, called the Bab el Scham, worm-eaten bedstead, a deal table, and or “the Damascus gate." We then travers-two chairs. ed a narrow street, between dark gloomy A lively, talkative Frenchman, a guest buildings of stone, which were furnished with at the convent, dressed in a pea-green a few narrow windows, with pointed arches jacket, blue striped trousers, and a cocked stuck here and there without any order or hat, offered himself to me as a.cicerone, arrangement. The dullness of the day, and and finding him intelligent, I agreed to the gloomy silence and desertion of the avail myself of his services immediately streets, presented a most saddening and me. after breakfast. lancholy spectacle. The rain began to pat. At eleven o'clock, accompanied by the ter upon the stones, and the clouds, chased Frenchman, I sallied forth into the town; along by the wind, threw a mournful obscu- the wind blew in gusts, and showers of rity over every object. A few Arab women, rain were continually falling. We passed shrouding themselves under the porch of a through some deserted and gloomy streets, mosque, and here and there a solitary Turk and then traversed a wretched' bazaar, gathering his scanty garment tight about his canopied over head with strips oftattered meagre person, and seeking shelter from the canvass, and bordered on either side by blast, were the only objects visible in the si- paltry shops, some of which exposed a few.lent and deserted city.
roots and withered vegetables, shrivelled “How doth the city sit solitary that was figs, or musty beans, for sale; and others, full of people ? how is she become as a wi-tawdry cottons, or soiled second-hand dow; she that was great among the nations, clothes. The rain beat through my umand princess among the provinces, how is brella, and in dirt and discomfort we she become tributary?"
trudged up and down hill, through scenes “ How hath the Lord covered the daughter of poverty and wretchedness, over stones, of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast and through mud, until we at last arrived down from heaven to earth the beauty of at the Armenian church, situated upon Israel?"
Mount Zion. We crossed a paved court, The Lord hath caused the solemn fasts and putting aside a warm crimson silk and the sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and curtain, which hung down before an hath despised, in the indignation of his anger, arched doorway, great was my astonishthe king and the priest.'
ment to find myself suddenly transported * All that pass by clap their hands at thee, from the mean miserable streets of Jerusasaying, Is this the city that men call the per. lem, into the richest and most gorgeously fection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth ?! ornamented building I had seen since leav
Truly we may now reply—“The Lord hath ing the cathedral church of St. John at done that which he devised; he hath fulfill- Malta. The walls were surrounded by ed his word that he commanded in the days pictures, the floor was covered with rich of old : he hath thrown down, and hath not warm Turkey carpets, and the vaulted pitied ; and he hath caused thine enemy to ceiling was supported by square pillars, rejoice over thee."
covered with Dutch tiles, painted blue, and After traversing various dark and nar- inscribed with crosses and holy devices. row streets, we arrived at the Latin Con. From this ceiling, suspended by cords, vent, where I was introduced to a venera- hung numerous large ostrich eggs, stained ble monk, with a long beard and a shaven with different colours; and around the crown, and was conducted by him through edifice extended richly adorned marble various long white-washed passages to the altar-pieces, and small chapels hung with apartment of the superior, a handsome lamps, and richly decorated with tortoise. room wainscoted with spanish oak. In an shell inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Numearm.chair, surrounded by a group of rous reverend old Armenians, with long monks, sat the venerable chief of the con- white flowing beards, were kneeling bare. vent, a jolly lively old man, very agreeable foot around the altars, and the gloom of the
day, the dim soft light shed around from terranean portico adorned with some anthe silver lamps, the low chant of the cient architectural decorations. This porpriest, and the moaning of the wind through tico opens on a series of subterranean some broken casements, produced a most chambers, which, from their elegance, powerful and imposing effect.
magnitude, and extent, have been called We crossed the carpeted floor, and “the sepulchres of the kings," and are arrived at a beautiful little marble chapel, supposed to be the royal caves mentioned the doors of which were covered with by Josephus. Our guides produced and tortoise-shell inlaid with mother-of-pearl, lighted several wax candles, and we then worked into patterns of flowers of exquis- groped our way along a narrow subterraite beauty, taste, and gracefulness. In a nean passage, over stones and sand, to the small recess, lined with marble, and hung first chamber, which is about seven yards with massive silver lamps, all burning, a square, and most exactly proportioned small circle of inlaid tortoise-shell and Beyond this first room are six others, tp mother-of-pearl on the marble floor was some of which we descended by several pointed out by the credulous Armenians steps. In most of these rooms are sepul. as the identical spot where St. James was chral niches, and in the niches are frag. beheaded: and my Greek servant, kneel. ments of the stone sarcophagi which once ing down, crossed himself, and kissed it contained the dead bodies. Among them most reverently and devoutly! Above I observed some pieces of white marble hung a picture representing the head of sculptured with leaves and flowers. These the martyr. There are three altars in this sepulchralchambers were originally closed beautiful little sanctuary, gorgeously orna- with stone doors, similar to those seen in mented, and furnished with sacred vessels the baths and in the court of the Temple of of gold and silver, for sacrifice.
the Sun at Palmyra. They are of one On entering another small side chapel, solid block of stone cut into wainscot com. we were shown a much esteemed picture, partments, and turn on stone pivots groov. representing the Day of Judgment, and the ed in the rock. The last of these sepulchral sad fate of the damned, who were rolling chambers is the handsomest of all; the in a sea of fire, poked and stirred by corners of the rooms are adorned with legions of devils. The floor under the pilasters, and the walls are sculptured with carpets is of rich mosaic, the walls are the leaves and branches of the vine, as covered with Dutch tiles, and the richness are also the stone sarcophagi contained and magnificence of the building were within it. astonishing. It is remarkable that the In the absence of any authentic account Christians, the most despised race of all, concerning these sepulchres, they have excepting the Jews, in this land of oppres- been dubbed by antiquity hunters the sion and persecution, should be able to sepulchres of the kings," so often alluded preserve this wealth, this tortoise-shell, to in the Old Testament. silver, and mother-of-pearl, from the hands " Howbeit they buried him in the city of of the avaricious rulers of the country. David, but not in the sepulchres of the All the pillars, the sacristy, the portals of kings.". the doors, and great portions of the walls, So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and are covered with blue porcelain tiles. In they buried him with his fathers, in the this church they exhibit three stones re- field of the burial which belonged to the garded as most holy and sacred relics. kings.". One they affirm to be the identical stone on "And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and which Moses broke the tables of the law; they buried him in the city, even in Jeruanother, the stone on which Jesus stood in salem ; but they brought him not into the the river Jordan, when he was baptized by sepulchres of the kings of Israel.” St. John; and the third, they say, is a * And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, stone brought from the holy mountain of and they buried him in the chiefest of the the Transfiguration !
sepulchres of the sons of David."-Chron. When the rain ceased, we passed along passim. some dull streets, and went out of the city, As these are the most extensive and the by the Damascus gate, to visit the sepul- most richly adorned of all the countless chres of the kings. We passed through a sepulchral excavations about Jerusalem, grove of thinly-scattered olive trees, and there is good reason for giving them the over a stony district covered with small appellation they have received; and if that square fragments of Mosaic pavement, the appellation be correct the last room, dèbris of the ancient city. Jerusalem ap- which contains so great a number of repears to have extended for near a mile to ceptacles for dead bodies, and is adorned the northward of the present walls, and wiih so many elegantly carved decora. near the extremity of this mile are nume- tions, is undoubtedly the “chiefest of the rous ancient sepulchral excavations, which sepulchres," and the one in which king seem to have been placed on the outskirts Hezekiah was buried. of the ancient town. After passing several On our way back to the city we picked of these, we descended by a narrow path. up quantities of small fragments of mosaic way into a hollow excavated in the rock, pavement, of the same kind as that I have at the upper end of which was a long sub- I found on the sites of all the old Roman
towns. On the outskirts of the olive grove carved date stones and mother-of-pearl I was shown a subterranean ancient tomb, crucifixes of all sizes, mother-of-pearl which had for a long time been inhabited shells neatly carved, and representing the by a sick and infirm old man, and by the crucifixion, the birth of our Saviour, the side of a vaulted subterranean passage I annunciation to the Virgin, and other saobserved a white marble sarcophagus, cred subjects, well executed in bas-relief. which was very handsomely sculptured. It was a complete auction, and the greatest As we drew near the Bab el Scham, or noise, bustle, and confusion prevailed • Damascus gate," a small grot was among the venders of the different wares pointed out near the walls of the city, as and their customers, some of whom ap. the dungeon in which Jeremiah was impeared to be quarrelling and fighting over prisoned by order of Zedekiah, king of their goods; and the scene generally was Judah, and from whence he was released far from being in unison with the feelings by Ebed Melech, the Ethiopian," who drew one naturally experiences when about to up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up enter for the first time the great christian out of the dungeon.”—Jer. xxxviii.
church of Jerusalem. On my return home I was informed that The first object that I encountered in at four o'clock one of the monks would passing through the porch of the church call to conduct me to the church of the was my old friend and fellow traveller, the Holy Sepulchre, and I employed the inter- Greek Pappas, who was now dressed in mediate time in looking over some of the full canonicals, and was quite an imposing accounts which have been written to prove figure. In his hand he held a long staff, that the marble sarcophagus there shown, and a dark purple robe was wound round is really the tomb of our Lord-a fact his person; his head was covered with a which, in the estimation of the worthy tall black priest's hat without any brims to monks, it is the height of impiety to deny, it, and from his neck hung suspended a as they are, say they, in possession of docu. large silver crucifix. He was kneeling on mentary evidence amounting to proof posi. the marble pavement with his hands clasped tive on the subject.
in prayer, and he occasionally stooped The tomb of our Saviour, according to and kissed a large slab of marble, which I the monkish authorities, was discovered was informed was the identical stone and enclosed in a building by the primitive whereon Joseph of Arimathea and NicoChristians, forty-six years after the de- demus placed the body of Jesus, when struction of the city by Titus. This build. " they wound it in linen clothes with the ing was afterwards wrested from their spices, as the manner of the Jews is to hands and converted into a Temple of Ve- bury !"- John xix. At each end of this nus by the Emperor Hadrian; but, on the stone were placed three enormous silver conversion of Constantine to Christianity, candlesticks, which, with the candles they the pious Empress Helena, his mother, on contained, appeared from ten to twelve her pilgrimage to the Holy Land, erected feet in height. Numerous pilgrims, in long a large church on the spot, and enclosed beards and in humble attire, were kneeling within it the identical marble sarcophagus with devout reverence around the sacred alleged to be the tomb of Jesus Christ. stone, and seven massive silver lamps, There has been a world of discussion hanging from above, shed a pale and softupon the subject, but unfortunately the mi- ened light upon the interesting scene. It nute identification of every place and was quite a picture. From the wall behind thing by the monks and priests, down to projected two richly gilded balconies, and the pots and pans mentioned in the gospel between them two large pictures were narrative, naturally predisposes the mind dimly seen, the one representing the anointto be very credulous, and to listen with ing the body of our Saviour, and the other great doubt to all the priestly assertions the taking down from the cross. and testimonies upon the subject. St. The reverend monk, now pointing to a Mark simply tells us that Joseph laid the door to the left of the vestibule, requested body, of our Saviour “ in a sepulchre me to enter the church of the Holy Sewhich was hewn out of the rock, and roll- pulchre." We passed outwards into a ed a stone to the door of the sepulchre." vast circular hall, surrounded by a spa
At the appointed hour I proceeded with cious and lofty dome of a hundred and the worthy monk to the consecrated fifty feet in height, and fifty-eight feet in church, and after traversing some narrow diameter, surrounded by sixteen columns dark winding streets, up and down hill, we supporting a circular gallery. At the indescended some steps, and entered a stant of our entrance a fine organ and a large open court in front of a massive and full choir of voices pealed along the aisles venerable pile of buildings, flanked by a of the adjoining Catholic church, and the square bell tower, and surmounted by two solemn melody swelled with thrilling large domes of imposing appearance. Di- effect through the columns and along the rectly in front was a large doorway form. vaulted roof of the spacious dome. We ing the principal entrance to the church, paused, and the reverend monk pointed in and the area in front of the building was a dignified and solemn manner to a little entirely filled with a motley collection of marble structure rising from the pavement individuals who were selling rosaries of under the centre of the dome, which he in