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says, of the Lacus Asphaltites, sive Mare Mortuum, 'fuit olim amoenissima planities, quam Iordanes fluvius rigabat; inde in Sinum Arabicum, ut probabile est, se effudit. Eversione autem urbium factum, ut sisteret lapsum, et in ruinis illarum stagnaret.' (Vide · Notit. Orb. Antiq. à Cellario,' edit. Schwartz. Lipsiæ, 1732, tom. ii. p. 484.) Again, the same author adds, at p. 483, 'teter hic et pestilens lacus fuit olim amænissima planities, quam Iordanes rigavit; multis habitata civitatibus ; quarum quinque sacer scriptor nominat.'
Also in his map of “Palæstina,' given opposite to p. 390, tom. ii., Cellarius has placed the four cities, Zeboiim (on the north), Admah, Gomorrah, and Sodom within the Asphaltic Lake ; and Zoar near the last in the marshy plain, now called El Ghor, at the southern extremity of the lake.
Time will not allow me here to notice more than one of the supposed exact sites of these impious and condemned cities of the plain, and that one-Sodom—was, as Stephanus names it, their 6 metropolis.' M. de Saulcy, who, anxious to find the existing ruins of the ancient foundations of all the five cities, fancies that he has succeeded, although in two or three of them he has fixed on places containing some ruins, which are clearly much too distant from the Plain, or Salt Sea, even supposing his views to be correct, thus writes (vol. i. p. 472): “Sodom was situated at the south-western point of the Dead Sea : the Salt mountain is called Sodom by Galen. Sodom was therefore on the very same spot with the Salt Mountain. This mountain is called by the Arabs, indifferently, Gebel el Meleh, or Gebel Esdoum, the latter expression being also that of Galen. Thus, then, if on the very situation of the Salt Mountain we fall in with the ruins of a town, there is every probability that these are the ruins of Sodom ; and this probability becomes undeniable evidence, if the inhabitants of the country unanimously agree in giving to these ruins the name of Kharbet Esdoum ( ruins of Sodom”), and in attaching to them the traditional history of the town destroyed under the curse. All these conditions being strictly fulfilled, it is not possible to refuse credence to the fact that these ruins of a town called Sodom, are really the ruins of the Sodom mentioned in the Bible.'
This however is by no means conclusive ; for it does not necessarily follow that Sodom should have been on the very same spot with the Salt Mountain, which is in the south-west corner of the Salt Sea. Indeed I think it certain, with Cellarius and others before him, that Sodom must have occupied a position in the plain a mile or two more to the north, or north-east, and which at this day is covered with the waters of that sea.
The Mount, or · Hill of Salt,' Gebel el Meleh (or Malih), on the south-west margin of the Salt Sea, most likely derived at an early period its other title of Gebel E' Sdoum, or Mount of Sodom,' from its proximity to the site of the submerged city of Sodom ;a and very pos
a This period must have been before, or at the time when, Galen wrote, about A.D. 180, because he mentions the salts of Sodom from the mounts adjoining upon the (asphaltic) lake, which are named Sodom; (dnes) Sodouevoùs ånd TÔV TepleXóvτων την λίμνην ορών, και καλείται Σόδομα.-De Simpl. Med. Facult., lib. iv. cap. 19.
sibly the name of Kharbet E' Sdoum, “the Ruins of Sodom, might have been conferred on certain ruins near the Salt Hill in later times, either by anchorites or monks, or perhaps by some pilgrims or crusaders.
In the second place, in correcting M. de Saulcy's statement of the elevation of the Dead Sea, Mr. Faber has well observed, after remarking on its great depression, or the sinking of its ancient level, that the plain or ground of the Jordan 6 was volcanically depressed to such a depth that the river was henceforth cut off from its ancient course to the Red Sea,' or the eastern branch of it, anciently known as the Sinus Ælanites, and at present the gulf of Akaba, 'Bahr el Akabah.'
In addition to this there is also a second cause, which operates as strongly against the Jordan now pouring its waters into that gulf, and to which, as neither M. de Saulcy, nor the reviewer J. W. C., nor Mr. Faber have mentioned it, I beg to call your attention. This is the elevation of a portion of the southern extremity of the great valley, supposed to be the former channel of the river Jordan, at this day still named Wadi el Araba.
The highest point of this elevation occurs nearly at the parallel of 30° N. lat., about opposite to the spot called Wadi Beianeh, the exact height of which has not as yet been accurately surveyed, though it is probably from 350 to 500 feet above the levels of the Mediterranean and the Red Seas (between which there exists a very slight difference); and indeed the entire elevation forms a sufficiently powerful and natural barrier against the course of the Jordan proceeding further southward.
My remarks on this subject were made in a memoir, which I read before the section of geology and physical geography of the British Association at Birmingham in 1849, and published by Professor Jameson in his · Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal,' vols. xlviii. and xlix. (1850), from the first of which, at pp. 35-37, I here add the following extract :
Supposing the traveller to proceed northwards from the upper end of the gulf of Akaba, I state, after-passing the opening of Wadi Beianeh, and still ascending, the most elevated table-land or small plateau of the Wadi el Araba is reached at about the line of 30° N. lat. and 35° 15' E. long. nearly, which is very near 500 feet higher than the level of the gulf of Akaba, according to Herr Schubert. About that point the watershed occurs ; some of the waters of the Araba flow south into the sea of Akaba, but most are carried off north by the tributaries of the Wadi el Jeib into the Dead Sea.
“The same traveller (Schubert) found the depression of the bed of that deep Wadi at about four miles south of El Weibeh (“hole with water”) to be 91 Paris feet or 97 English feet below the level of the Red Sea ; the commencement or most southern limit of that depression taking place at about 15 miles northward of Gebel Harun, in Wadi el Araba. Consequently the Dead Sea, Asphaltic Lake, (Bahr Lut) the “ Sea of Lot," must lie considerably lower than the level of the gulf of Akaba ; indeed, Herr Schubert gives the level of the Dead Sea as being 598 Paris feet, and M. Russegger even more than 1300 English feet below that of the Mediterranean.
6 In the passage before cited, Galen makes no mention of any remains - Tņs πόλεως Σόδομα -“ of the city of Sodom.' '
• These geographical facts then afford, as some authors have supposed, sufficient evidence that the river Jordan, although taking its source at an elevation of 1800 feet in the North Syrian mountains, has not flowed through the entire valley El Araba into the gulf of Akaba, or rather into the Red Sea, beyond what is now the strait of Tiran. And certainly these facts are decisive that it never has done so, if the natural conformation of this region has always been the same as it now exists with regard to depth and height. But against its having continued the same, “ ab initio,” up to the present time, much reasonable hypothesis and several remarkable appearances may be fairly advanced.
Of the latter, some are the volcanic phenomena apparent around the Dead Sea and El Ghor, on the north; in the basaltic cliffs and creeks nearly opposite the isle of Kureiyeh ; the frequent displacements of strata and rocks in many places on the north-west side of the gulf of Akaba ; the coincidences exhibited by the strata in the isle of Tiran, with those of the Arabian and Sinaic shores ; and the volcanic remains and crater-like hills between them and Sherm, on the south. Moreover, it may be collected from Scripture that certain changes had actually been effected in the vicinity of the Dead Sea (Gen. xix. 25), and that they were caused by fire (ibid. 24 and 28, and see Wisdom x. 6); if then, at that period, the southern part of the valley of the Jordan, the plain of the Dead Sea, and El Ghor, had through igneous or volcanic, or
sunk much below their former levels, it is possible that a corresponding elevation of the land in Wadi el Araba might have taken place at the same, or perhaps at another time, by the same, or by a subsequent similar, agency,
Again, it seems probable from Scripture that the Dead Sea and Wadi el Araba had been once continued, or more connected in their levels ; because in Joshua iii. 16, and xii. 3, the former is called “ the Sea of the Plain, (even) the Salt Sea,” and in Deut. iv. 49, only Sea of the Plain;" the original Hebrew expression in all three verses is “ Yam ha Arabah ;" that is, the ' Sea of the Araba ;' and the Septuagint renders it i dalaooa" Apaßa. “Ha Arabah," in Hebrew, signifies the same as El Arabah in Arabic, a “desert plain," or a plain. So likewise we find in Deut. ii. 8, “the children of Edom” described as dwelling “ in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath and from Eziongaber;" the Hebrew and Greek words for the plain are here also the same, viz. “Arabah.” Consequently these passages from Scripture, showing that both extremes, north and south, of this great plain or Wadi bore the same appellation, prove that it was esteemed one entire valley in its whole extent from the Dead or Salt Sea to Elath and Eziongaber on the Red Sea, or Ælanitic gulf, in the land of Edom (1 Kings ix. 26, and 2 Chron, viii. 17).'
And, in the same Journal, vol. xlix., p. 270, I have thus remarked :
— having before noticed the probable passage of the river Jordan through the Wadi el Araba, and its flowing into the Red Sea beyond the strait of Tiran at a former but remote period, as well as some of the physical causes which very possibly put a stop to its further conflux, and latterly confined it to the present limits of the Dead Sea, I will now alone mention the following fact, as an additional proof that the Dead Sea may once have formed either a continuation of the Ælanitic gulf, or that it may have been directly connected with the same, by the Jordan having poured its waters into it at an antecedent date.'
Baron A. von Humboldt writes, in his · Views of Nature' (p. 260, edit. Bohn, Lond. 1850)-- In opposition to the hitherto generally adopted opinion respecting the absence of all organisms and living creatures in the Dead Sea, it is worthy of notice that my friend and fellow-labourer, M. Valenciennes, has received through the Marquis Charles de l'Escalopier and the French Consul (at Jerusalem) Botta, beautiful specimens of (a living coral or zoophyte) Porites elongata (of Lamarck), from the Dead Sea, which is supersaturated with salt. This fact is the more interesting, because this species is not found in the Mediterranean but only in the Red Sea, which, according to Valenciennes, has but few organisms in common with the Mediterranean.'
But I must observe, that if the river Jordan ever mingled its waters with those of the gulf of Akaba, by having flowed through the entire length of the Wadi el Araba, it must have done so previous to the time in which the author composed the 18th chapter of the book of Joshua, because in the 19th verse the south end of Jordan' is laid down as being at the ‘Salt Sea.'
Trusting that the interest, and I conceive also the great importance of correctly interpreting Scripture, and of ascertaining as accurately as the Bible accounts will permit, the site of the destroyed cities of the plain,' as well as the former supposed course of the river of the plain (Arabah) from the sea of the plain ’ into the eastern arm of the Red Sea, or, as Cellarius gives it, *Jordanes fluvius ..... inde in Sinum Arabicum, ut probabile est, se effudit,' will be a sufficient apology for my sending to you this communication for insertion in the next number of your Journal, I am, &c.,
John HogG, M.A., F.R.S. 12, King's Bench Walk, Temple, London,
Nov. 16, 1853. * The Peschito Syriac text clearly conveys the idea given in the Latin of the Polyglot:-ho:60; LOVA, in the vale of the Sodomites. This looks like an attempt to get rid of the difficulty of translating '70,--which cannot mean Sodomites; yet it shows that, in the opinion of the translator, the vale appertained to that people. See Gesenius's “ Thesaurus’ in loc.-ED. J. S. L.
China.--While those parts of Europe which are subject to the Church of Rome are for the present in great measure closed against the Bible, and agents for the circulation of God's word are either expelled from the scene of their labours, or compelled to advance with caution and amidst much apprehension, the East presents prospects of a widely different character. The political and religious changes which are taking place in China are of such a description that it seems impossible to avoid recognising the hand of Divine Providence in them, removing the barriers which had so long intercepted the light of Christianity, and facilitating the entrance and circulation of the Scriptures. Idolatry is breaking up in this vast empire, and a spirit of inquiry is abroad which promises the most favourable results. The Rev. J. Hobson, chaplain at Shanghai, in a communication to the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, dated June 2, 1853, observes that, Whether this rebellion succeed or not, it is evident the days of Chinese exclusiveness and apathy are numbered. The demand for Christian books, and especi. ally for works treating of Western nations, is greatly increased. I have had nearly fifty applications at the chaplaincy within a few days.'
The Bishop of Victoria, in a letter of the date of July 7, 1853, from Shanghai, said, —İ despatched lately my two native catechists towards Nanking, viã Loochow, but after thirteen days' absence, and encountering many risks from the Imperialists, they returned three days ago, having been able to accomplish only half the distance. Unless foreign intervention save the emperor, the insurgents must prevail. They form a most astonishing compound of religion, zeal, sincerity, and truth, with many elements of an opposite character. It appears they have only twenty-seven chapters of Genesis and a few Christian tracts among them; and yet at dawn of day they chant doxologies to the Trinity, &c. My catechists took one copy of our Chinese Liturgy and New Testament, but were forced to leave them at Loochow, as a discovery of them by the imperialist troops, further onward in their proposed route, would probably have led to their instant decapitation.'
From the accounts which have appeared in the public journals and elsewhere, of the origin of this remarkable religious movement, it appears that the element of truth which it comprises takes its origin in no small degree from the instruction of the late Dr. Gutzlaff, and the versions of Scripture made by him. The extraordinary facility with which that eminent man adapted himself to Chinese habits and manners, and which enabled him to obtain access to the native mind in a degree rarely if ever approached by any other European, led to the formation of a society of Christians called the Chinese Union,' for the purpose of promoting the spread of Christianity. It would seem that some of the members of this Society, in combination with the well-known • Triad Societies,' which have for many years looked towards the liberation of China from the Tartar dominion, have taken a leading part in the present movement. Amongst the books published by the insurgent chiefs, and lately brought from Nanking to Canton, is the first part of the Book of Genesis, very elegantly printed, according to the translation of Gutzlaff, published by him at Hong-Kong. The 'Overland Friend of China' mentions the following circumstances to show the influence exercised by Gutzlatf's teaching. In one of the pamphlets of the Thae-ping party, called “The Proclamations published by Imperial appointment,' the very phrase used by Gutzlaff as the general title of the Old Testament, viz., “The Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament,' and the phrase 'the Supreme Lord, the Great God,' so often used in the books of the insurgents, is evidently taken from Gutzlaff's translation in Gen. ii. 4, and numerous other places. He has used it for an equivalent for the Lord God,' where the Supreme Lord stands for the first, and the Great God for the second