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ONCE MORE AT JERUSALEM.
JERUSALEM, 16th April.
THE post does not leave before the 19th, so that I have still some time to add a few lines to the letter which I broke off yesterday. Had I been able to carry out my own intentions, I should have visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday evening, in order for once to have been an eye-witness of the scandals that are enacted there on that festival; I should after that have joined on Easter-day the thanksgivings and praises of the congregation on Mount Zion; and that nothing might be forgotten, I should on the following Monday have followed the thousands of pilgrims to the Jordan, in order to have seen that part of their proceedings in the Holy Land also with my own eyes. But my lot was ordered otherwise. I lay in solitude on my sick-bed. Of the great number of travellers who, on the occasion of the feast of the Resurrection, were present in the Zion Church, and of the parting discourse preached by Bishop Gobat, I saw and heard nothing, but had to be content with the short account given me of it by my landlord; and as for the thousands of pilgrims assembled in this city during the week before Easter, I saw only a shadow of them when, a week ago, on entering the Jaffa gate, I found the streets through which I had to pass to my lodgings literally crammed with men, camels, horses, and mules.
PILGRIMS IN JERUSALEM.
It was a bustle like that of a great fair, joyous and uproarious; nothing, in short, could have been less in harmony with the occasion of the feast. Happily those days do not last long. As soon as each has washed away his last remaining sins in the Jordan, and dipped in the water a piece of garment which is to serve afterwards for his shroud, by way of passport through purgatory, the collected multitude leave the Holy City; the pilgrimage has then been accomplished, and Jerusalem returns to its wonted condition. Now, on looking back, I consider it well not to have attended any part of this feast. From the little specimen that I saw the other evening when with the Crawfords in the Church of the Sepulchre, I can well suppose what the rest must have been. Had I been there on Good Friday eve, I might perhaps have had my share of the strokes which the Turkish guards distribute with their whips in order to keep the crowd in order, or in the thrusts and kicks which nevertheless take place, and which to many prove mortal, so much so that we are assured that on the Good Friday of 1834, more than 300 persons were killed. You are probably acquainted with the revolting exhibition of the Greek fire; why, then, should I detain you by saying anything about that gross abomination? Year after year, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, are these scandalous scenes repeated.* Much
* In a letter from a friend at Jerusalem, dated June 1853, the following occurs :-" We had again the annual blasphemy of the 'Holy Fire.' I did not go to the church to see it, but I met some excited fanatics running wildly through the streets, with bundles of lighted tapers triumphantly stretched out, and women were dipping their hands in, and rubbing their faces with, the flame.
"I heard also of another farce, in the washing of beggars' feet by the Latin Patriarch. My informant, the bishop, told me that they dip
is there that changes on this ever-changing earth; but some things seem to last very long. Alas! man, left to himself, sold under sin, changes not, unless it be from bad to worse. So, too, on the pretended place of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. It was truly an invention of Satan, to bring together under one roof different sects, all calling themselves Christians after the Saviour of the world, and so to kindle the flame of mutual rivalry in their hearts as to which should possess these so-called holy places. How much blood has flowed from this cause, and how much reviling has been poured on Christ by the Mohammedans on account of it! And what may not this contest yet produce? It would appear that it is not only some hundred Greeks and Romanists, some Armenian and Coptic Christians, that devour each other about the possession of the holy places-it is not only the fraudulent trafficking that is carried on by those sects with one another and with the Turks about that possession ;* but the strife threatens to extend still further, and it may not be long before nations and kingdoms shall assemble their forces against one another, and go to war for the appropriation to themselves of the alleged
handkerchiefs in the water after use, and the remainder is stored in bottles, and used as medicine for the sick. So low does Satan love to degrade his victims."
* One finds in various books of travels instances of the frauds by means of which the different parties have tried to purchase from the Turks this property. C. de Bruyn, among others, mentions that the King of Spain, at whose cost the Romish convent at Jerusalem was kept up, had placed at the disposition of its procurator the sum of 400,000 rixdollars, for the purpose of having the Holy Sepulchre swindled into the hands of the Romanists; but that the Greeks had hitherto contrived to defeat all such attempts.
CHANGE OF TRAVELLING ATTENDANTS.
Sepulchre of Jesus.* Striking, truly, is the contrast between what the true grave of Jesus effects when beheld by the spiritual eye, and what is brought about by the pretended grave when beheld by that of the
With my return to Jerusalem my small caravan has undergone some change. The contract with my muleteer being now at an end, he is the first that marches off. The hire of horses and mules has, owing to the number of travellers who have lately arrived, risen from ten to fifteen piastres each per day. My mukhari was, accordingly, well pleased to be relieved of his contract with me; and as respects myself I have no feeling of regret on that account, for although all mukharis have the character of being very troublesome, yet I imagine that the one who has been travelling with me, since my leaving 'Akka, is one of the worst ruffians to be found in the country. But I confess he has had a difficult job of it in going to all those out of the way places. What, however, is to me a matter of more regret, Ferez has left me, in consequence of his having heard of the death of his father. He was on that account recalled to his village Shemlân. Ferez, throughout all the difficulties of the journey, in which he shared as well as myself, has been very serviceable to me. And, finally, I have taken farewell of my horse that has carried me so faithfully and safely over
* How much has happened since the writing of these lines! It is now no longer a future prospect; we have the actual fact before us. "Wars and rumours of wars-nation risen against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." But "all these are the beginning of sorrows.” "Whoso readeth," saith the Lord, "let him understand."-Matt. xxiv. 7, 8, 15, &c.
so many steep rocks, and by the brink of so many deep abysses. I was sorry to part with the animal, but owing to the departure of Ferez I was left without a servant, and had no prospect of being able speedily to supply myself with another. Of course my horse could not be kept without being properly attended to, and I therefore thought the best thing I could do was to sell it, and to prosecute my travels in future on hired horses. This is unquestionably more expensive, but it will be one care less, as I shall not have to trouble myself now about the feeding of my own horse, a matter far from being easily accomplished at all places; and the further I proceed on my journeyings the more do I wish to escape from every source of care of which I can rid myself.
All these circumstances keep me at present detained in Jerusalem. It is well that thereby I neglect nothing; on the contrary, it was my very purpose to spend some days in "the city of the great king." If one would make himself anywise acquainted with Jerusalem, so as clearly to comprehend the principal occurrences related in the Scriptures connected with it, I should think he would find a residence for a month necessary. No doubt, one may see in much less time whatever there is to be seen in the city and its immediate environs; but then it is only a passing over it with haste, wanting that calm meditation, without which Jerusalem is to us, properly speaking, no Jerusalem. Besides, Christianity in Jerusalem, in its practical features, is too important not to seek to make ourselves better acquainted with it, and enter into fuller communion with it than a shorter period would allow.