« ZurückWeiter »
these hill's Zion was the highest, and contained the upper city, “the city of David,” with the citadel, the strength of which, and of the position on which it stood, enabled the Jebusites so long to retain it as their strong hold, and to maintain their command over the lower part of the city, even when they were obliged to allow the Israelites to share in its occupation. This Mount Zion (which we are only here noticing cufsorily) formed the southern portion of the ancient city. It is almost excluded from the modern city, and is under partial cultivation. It is nearly a mile in circumference, is highest on the west side, and towards the east slopes down in broad terraces in the upper part of the mountain, and narrow ones on the side, towards the brook Kidron. This mount is considerably higher than the ground on which the ancient (lower) city stood, or that on the east leading to the valley of Jehoshaphat, but has very little relative height above the ground on the south and on the west, and must have owed its boasted strength principally to a deep ravine, by which it is encompassed on the east, south and west, and the strong high walls and towers by which it was enclosed and flanked completely round. The breadth of this ravinė is about one hundred and fifty feet, and its depth, or the height of Mount Zion above the bottom of the råvine, about sixiy feet. The bottom is rock, covered with a thin sprinkling of earth, and in the winter season is the natural channel for conveying off the water that falls into it from the higher ground. On both of its sides the rock is cut perpendicularly down; and it was probably the quarry from which much of the stone was taken for the building of the city.
The site, regarded as a whole, without further attending to the distinction of hills, is surrounded on the east, west, and south by valleys of various depth and breadth, but to the north-west extends into the plain, which in this part is called the plain of Jeremiah,' and is the best wooded tract in the whole neighbourhood. The progressive extension of the city was thus necessarily northward, as stated by Josephus. The town most probably, almost certainly, began at the southern, or Mount Zion, part of this site, and in its ultimate extension, according to Josephus, comprehended a circuit of thirty-three furlongs; whereas that of the modern town does not appear to exceed two miles and a half. The confining valleys are often mentioned in Scripture. Those on the east and south are very deep. The former
is the valley of Jehoshaphat, through which flows the brook Kidron, and the latter is generally called the valley of Hinnom. This denomination is extended by some topographers also to the western and least deep valley, while others call it the valley of Gihon. On the opposite side of these valleys rise hills, which are mostly of superior elevation to
Kidron, is the Mount of Olives. That on the south is a broad and barren hill, loftier than the Mount of Olives, but without any of its picturesque beauty. On the west there is a rocky flat, which rises to a considerable elevation towards the north, and to which has been assigned the name of Mount Gihon. Even in the north-east, at Scopus, where the besieging Romans under Titus encamped, the ground is considerably more elevated than the immediate site of the town. Thus is explained the expression of David : “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people" (Ps. cxxv. 2). The relative height of those surrounding hills gives to the city an apparent elevation inferior to that which it really possesses. The district for many miles round Jerusalem is now of a very barren and cheerless character, whatever may have been its ancient condition. Solomon must be considered as having permanently fixed its metropolitan character, by the erection of the temple and the royal establishment. But it was the temple, chiefly, which in all ages maintained Jerusalem as the metropolis of the country. Even after the destruction of that venerated fabric, the mere fact that it had existed there operated in preventing the selection of any new site, even when the opportunity occurred. The separation into two kingdoms, after the death of Solomon, did also necessarily prevent any intentions of change which might have arisen, had the whole country remained one kingdom, with a large choice of situations for a capital ; and we are to remember that, although, after the erection of the temple, it always remained the ecclesiastical metropolis of the land, it was, in a civil sense, for a long series of years, the capital of only the smallest of the two kingdoms into which the land was divided. But under all disadvantages, many of which are perhaps the result of the wars, the
town, on the brink of rugged hills, encircled by deep and wild valleys,
town, on the brinkler neglect of mahaps the result
vinter, dless S to the
gardens, added to its numerous towers and temple, must, as Carne remarks, have given it a singular and gloomy magnificence, scarcely possessed by any other city in the world.
The best view of the site and locality of Jerusalem is obtained from the Mount of Olives. The Mount is usually visited by travellers, who all speak of the completeness of the view obtained from the above spot. This view comprehends in the distance the Dead Sea and the moun. tains beyond; while, to the west, the city with its surrounding valleys, and all its topographical characteristics, is displayed like a panorama, below and very near the spectator, the Mount being only separated from the town by the narrow valley of Jehoshaphat. It is seldom indeed that any city is seen in such completeness of detail as Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.
The climate of the mountainous tract in which Jerusalem is situated differs from that of the temperate parts of Europe more in the alternations of wet and dry seasons than in the degree of temperature. The variations of rain and sunshine, which with us exist throughout the year, are in Palestine confined chiefly to the latter part of autumn and the winter, while the remaining months enjoy almost uninterruptedly a cloudless sky. Snow often falls, about Jerusalem, in January and February, to the depth of a foot or more; but it does not usually lie long. The ground never freezes; but the exposed standing waters in the reservoirs are sometimes covered with thin ice for a day or two. The high elevation of Jerusalem secures it the privilege of a pure atmosphere, nor does the heat of summer ever become oppressive except during the prevalence of the south wind, or sirocco. Dr. Robinson states that during his sojourn at Jerusalem, from April 14th to May 6th, the thermometer ranged at sunrise from 44° to 64° Fahr., and at 2 P. M. from 60° to 79° Fahr. ; this last degree of heat being felt during a sirocco, April 30th. From the 10th to the 13th of June, at Jerusalem, the range at sunrise was from 56° to 74°, and at 2 P. M. once 86o with a strong north-west wind. Yet the air was fine and the heat not burdensome. The nights are uniformly cool, often with heavy dew. Yet the total absence of rain soon destroys the verdure of the fields, and gives to the whole landscape the aspect of drought and barrenness. The only green thing that remains is the foliage of the scattered fruit-trees and occasional vineyards, and fields of millet. The deep green of the broad fig-leaf and of the millet is delightful to
the eye in the midst of the general aridness; while the foliage of the olive with its dull grayish hue scarcely deserves the name of verdure.
212.—THE ARIEL AMONG THE SHOALS.
COOPER [It is not often that we venture to take a ‘Half-Hour' from a novel. A passage so removed from its natural place is generally very unsatistory,--difficult to be understood without reference to the story and the characters. The extract from the American novelist now given is independent of the story, which turns upon the adventures of the famous captain, Paul Jones, whose gallant deeds in the war of the American Colonies with England have a touch of romance in them which well fits them for fictitious narrative. James Fenimore Cooper, the son of an American judge, was born in 1789. Having quitted college, he entered the navy in 1805, and remained six years afloat. In 1811 he married, and commenced his career as an author. What Scott did for the Highlands in their transition from clanship to civilization, Cooper did for the United States in their progress to nationality and extension. As a writer he is unequal, and too generally diffuse. But there are passages in the Spy,''the Pilot,' and other of his best works, which are truly excellent.]
The extraordinary activity of Griffith, which communicated itself with promptitude to the whole crew, was produced by a sudden alteration in the weather. In place of the well-defined streak along the horizon that has been already described, an immense body of misty light appeared to be moving in with rapidity from the ocean, while a distinct but distant roaring announced the sure approach of the tempest that had so long troubled the waters. Even Griffith, while thundering his orders through the trumpet, and urging the men by his cries to ex: pedition, would pause for instants to cast anxious glances in the direction of the coming storm, and the faces of the sailors who lay on the yards were turned instinctively toward the same quarter of the heavens, while they knotted tủe reef-points, or passed the gaskets, that were to confine the unruly canvas to the prescribed limits,
The pilot alone, in that confused and busy throng, where voice rose above voice and cry echoed cry in quick succession, appeared as if he held no interest in the important stake. With his eyes steadily fixed on the approaching mist, and his arms folded together in composure, be stood calmly awaiting the result.
The ship had fallen off with her broadside to the sea, and was become unmanageable, and the sails were already brought into the folds necessary to her security, when the quick and heavy fluttering of canyas was thrown across the water with all the gloomy and chilling sensations that such sounds produce, where darkness and danger unite to appal the seaman.
“The schooner has it!” cried Griffith; “Barnstable has held on, like himself, to the last moment—God send that the squall leave him cloth enough to keep him from the shore !"
“ His sails are easily handled,” the commander observed, “and she must be over the principal danger. We are falling off before it, Mr. Gray; shall we try a cast of the lead ?”
The pilot turned from his contemplative posture, and moved slowly across the deck before he returned any reply to this question-like a man who not only felt that every thing depended on himself, but that he was equal to the emergency.
“ 'Tis unnecessary,” he at length said ; " 't would be certain destruction to be taken aback, and it is difficult to say, within several points, how the wind may strike us.”
“ 'Tis difficult no longer,” cried Griffith; "for here it comes, and in right earnest!"
The rushing sounds of the wind were now indeed heard at hand, and the words were hardly passed the lips of the young lieutenant before the vessel bowed down heavily to one side, and then, as she began to move through the water, rose again majestically to her upright position, as if saluting, like a courteous champion, the powerful antagonist with which she was about to contend. Not another minute elapsed before the ship was throwing the waters aside with a lively progress, and, obedient t8 her helm, was brought as near to the desired course as the direction of the wind would allow. The hurry and bustle on the yards gradually subsided, and the men slowly descended to the deck, all straining their eyes to pierce the gloom in which they were enveloped, and some shaking their heads in melancholy doubt, afraid to express the apprehensions they really entertained. All on