Times and Seasons, 1 July 1842

  • Source Note
Page 834
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From the Jewish Intelligencer.
THE JEWS.
LETTER OF THE REV. MR. CHEYNE.
Mount Carmel.
We left Alexandria on the 16th of May and arrived at in twenty-three days. The first part of our journey, as far as Darmatha, we rode upon asses, reminding us of the sons of Jacob when they carried corn out of Egypt; our track lay by the sea shore, so that we enjoyed a cool breeze, tempering the hot air of the desert.
We crossed the only two remaining branches of the Nile, and drank of the water. From Darmatha we sailed across lake Mazaleh, as far as San—the ancient Zoar. You may believe the ruins of this once ancient city afforded us matter for deep reflection. For about three miles there are immense mounds of brick and pottery—entirely covered with loose alluvial matter. At one spot we found immense blocks of granite, the remains, no doubt, of some ancient Temple, two sphynxes were laying close by one in a very good state of preservation, and a great many obelisks beautifully carved. There are also many petrified stones, as if the place had been destroyed by fire:—Isa. xix 12., Eze. xxx 14., Psa. lxviii 12. When God visited his marvelous works upon Pharaoah and his people. The country around is quite flat, rich soil; but without water, without cultivation—desolate. From Zoar to we rode camels. Before coming to the land of Palestine we found it all a waste, howling wilderness, “a land of drought, and of the shadow of death.” We suffered sometimes a good deal from heat—thermometer sometimes 95 degrees in our tent.
* * No object attracts your eye, there is only one wide ocean of sand round and round; no sound breaks on the ear, but the plaintive song of the Bedouin, cheering on his slow paced camel; we entered the land of the Philistines on the first of June; it may be described in one word, as an open pasture country, composed of vast undulating plains, or more graphically in the words of Zepheniah:—“dwellings and cottages for shepherds and food for flocks.” I have seen ten flocks of an immense size from a single eminence. We did not enter Gaza, as the plague was raging there; but as we stood on Sampson’s mount and looked down upon the town, encircled with gardens of figs and olives, we could trace the fulfillment of every word that God had spoken against it. The old city of Gaza seems to be buried beneath smoothe round hills of sand; “baldness is come upon Gaza.” The next day we found the reapers buisy in the valley of Eschol, and met many a camel carrying to the thrashing floor the ripe barley. Its vines and pomegranates are gone; some fine spreading fig trees yet remain.
Our first view of the hill country of Judea was truly heart-stirring. Emerging from a mountain pass, the immense plains of Sephela lay stretched like a map before us, the rays of the morning sun glanced on the brown walls of the many towns that lay beneath us; the hills of Judea rose in the back ground, tier above tier. We thought of the ark of God carried back by the oxen, of Asa’s battle with the Ethiopians, of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. That night we pitched our tent among the hills of Judea. Next morning we entered mountain defiles of the wildest decription. I have seen many mountain passes but never one of such romantic beauty. The flowers that appeared on the earth, the figtree putting forth its green figs, and the voice of the turtle heard in the land, gave it a holy loveliness. We thought that surely Solomon had often wandered here, and Isaiah too; for here was “in the wilderness, the shittah tree, the myrtle, and the oil tree, the fir tree, and the pine tree and the box tree together.” The terraced hills above all excited our admiration. You have no idea to what an extent that wonderful method of cultivation must have been carried on by the Jews; nor of the perfect condition in which the remains are to this day, we have scarcely seen a hill in the whole land however rocky or barren, that does not bear the traces, more or less perfect of having been terraced literally from top to bottom. We often counted fifty, sixty and seventy terraces on one rocky hill. No spot was left uncultivated, so that when the vines were planted and twined the words of the eighteenth Psalm were literally true: “The hills were covered with the shadow of it.[”] The question was continually rising on our lips: Where are all the vines that covered those hills with their fr[a]grant clusters? we found the answer in Hos. ii. 12; Joel i. 11 and 12, Isa. xxxi. 7—these mountains shall yet drop sweet wine—Amos ix. 15.
(To be continued.) [p. 834]
From the Jewish Intelligencer.
THE JEWS.
LETTER OF THE REV. MR. CHEYNE.
Mount Carmel.
We left Alexandria on the 16th of May and arrived at in twenty-three days. The first part of our journey, as far as Darmatha, we rode upon asses, reminding us of the sons of Jacob when they carried corn out of Egypt; our track lay by the sea shore, so that we enjoyed a cool breeze, tempering the hot air of the desert.
We crossed the only two remaining branches of the Nile, and drank of the water. From Darmatha we sailed across lake Mazaleh, as far as San—the ancient Zoar. You may believe the ruins of this once ancient city afforded us matter for deep reflection. For about three miles there are immense mounds of brick and pottery—entirely covered with loose alluvial matter. At one spot we found immense blocks of granite, the remains, no doubt, of some ancient Temple, two sphynxes were laying close by one in a very good state of preservation, and a great many obelisks beautifully carved. There are also many petrified stones, as if the place had been destroyed by fire:—Isa. xix 12., Eze. xxx 14., Psa. lxviii 12. When God visited his marvelous works upon Pharaoah and his people. The country around is quite flat, rich soil; but without water, without cultivation—desolate. From Zoar to we rode camels. Before coming to the land of Palestine we found it all a waste, howling wilderness, “a land of drought, and of the shadow of death.” We suffered sometimes a good deal from heat—thermometer sometimes 95 degrees in our tent.
* * No object attracts your eye, there is only one wide ocean of sand round and round; no sound breaks on the ear, but the plaintive song of the Bedouin, cheering on his slow paced camel; we entered the land of the Philistines on the first of June; it may be described in one word, as an open pasture country, composed of vast undulating plains, or more graphically in the words of Zepheniah:—“dwellings and cottages for shepherds and food for flocks.” I have seen ten flocks of an immense size from a single eminence. We did not enter Gaza, as the plague was raging there; but as we stood on Sampson’s mount and looked down upon the town, encircled with gardens of figs and olives, we could trace the fulfillment of every word that God had spoken against it. The old city of Gaza seems to be buried beneath smoothe round hills of sand; “baldness is come upon Gaza.” The next day we found the reapers buisy in the valley of Eschol, and met many a camel carrying to the thrashing floor the ripe barley. Its vines and pomegranates are gone; some fine spreading fig trees yet remain.
Our first view of the hill country of Judea was truly heart-stirring. Emerging from a mountain pass, the immense plains of Sephela lay stretched like a map before us, the rays of the morning sun glanced on the brown walls of the many towns that lay beneath us; the hills of Judea rose in the back ground, tier above tier. We thought of the ark of God carried back by the oxen, of Asa’s battle with the Ethiopians, of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. That night we pitched our tent among the hills of Judea. Next morning we entered mountain defiles of the wildest decription. I have seen many mountain passes but never one of such romantic beauty. The flowers that appeared on the earth, the figtree putting forth its green figs, and the voice of the turtle heard in the land, gave it a holy loveliness. We thought that surely Solomon had often wandered here, and Isaiah too; for here was “in the wilderness, the shittah tree, the myrtle, and the oil tree, the fir tree, and the pine tree and the box tree together.” The terraced hills above all excited our admiration. You have no idea to what an extent that wonderful method of cultivation must have been carried on by the Jews; nor of the perfect condition in which the remains are to this day, we have scarcely seen a hill in the whole land however rocky or barren, that does not bear the traces, more or less perfect of having been terraced literally from top to bottom. We often counted fifty, sixty and seventy terraces on one rocky hill. No spot was left uncultivated, so that when the vines were planted and twined the words of the eighteenth Psalm were literally true: “The hills were covered with the shadow of it.” The question was continually rising on our lips: Where are all the vines that covered those hills with their fragrant clusters? we found the answer in Hos. ii. 12; Joel i. 11 and 12, Isa. xxxi. 7—these mountains shall yet drop sweet wine—Amos ix. 15.
(To be continued.) [p. 834]
Page 834