Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση



centuries have wrought in its topography may perhaps be ascertained. The features of Nature continue the same, although works of art have been done away : the beautiful Gate of the Temple is no more ; but Siloa's fountain haply flows, and Kedron sometimes murmurs in the Valley of Jehosaphat'.

It was this resolve, and the determination of using our own eyes, instead of peering through the spectacles of priests, that led to the discovery of antiquities undescribed by any author : and marvellous it is, considering their magnitude, and the scrutinizing inquiry which has been so often directed to every object of the place, that these antiquities have hitherto escaped notice It is possible that their position, and their inscriptions, may serve to throw new light upon the situation of Sion, and the topography of the antient city. This, however,

, will be a subject for the investigation of future travellers. We must content ourselves with

(1) “ Torrens hic est verò nomine, quum æstivo tempore flumen esse desinat, et vallis nomen habeat, adeoque sicco pede transeatur." Relandi Pal. Illust. tom. I. p. 294. lib. i. cap. 45.

(2) Perhaps Sandys alludes to them in his brief notice of “ divers Sepulchres,” &c. following his description of ACELDAMA. See p. 187. Lond 1637.


barely mentioning their situation, and the circumstances of their discovery. We had been to examine the hill which now bears the name of Sion: it is situate upon the south side of Jerusalem, part of it being excluded by the wall of the present city, which passes over the top of the mount. If this be indeed Mount Sion, the prophecy concerning it, that the plough should pass over it, has been fulfilled to the letter; for such labours were actually going on when we arrived. Here the Turks have a mosque over what they call the Tomb of David. No Christian can gain admittance ; and as we did not choose to loiter among the other legendary sanctities of the mount", having quitted the city by what is called “ Sion Gates,we descended into a dingle or trench, called Tophet, or Gehinnon, by Sandys. As we reached the bottom of this narrow dale, sloping towards the Valley of Jehosaphat, we ob

Discovery served upon the sides of the opposite mountain, by the (which appears to be the same called by Sandys


[ocr errors]

(3) Micah iii. 12.

(4) That is to say " where Christ did eate his last supper; where also, after his resurrection, the doores being shut, he appeared to his A postles, when they received the Holy Ghost; where Peter converted three thousand ; and where, as they say also, they held the first Councell, in which the Apostles Creed was decreed." See Sandys' Travels, p. 185. Lond. 1637.

(5) See the author's Plan of Jerusalem.

[blocks in formation]


the Hill of Offence,") facing Mount Sion, a number of excavations in the rock, similar to those already described among the Ruins of Telmessus, in the Gulph of Glaucus ; and answering to the account published by Shawl of the Crypte of Laodicea, Jebilee, and Tortosa. We rode towards them; their situation being very little elevated above the bottom of the dingle, upon its southern side. When we arrived, we instantly recognised the sort of sepulchres which had so much interested us in Asia Minor, and, alighting from our horses, found that we should have ample employment in their examination. They were all of the same kind of workmanship, exhibiting a series of subterraneous chambers, hewn with marvellous art, each containing one, or many repositories for the dead, like cisterns carved in the rock upon the sides of those chambers'. The doors were so low, that, to look into any one of them, it was necessary te stoop, and, in some instances, to creep upon our hands and knees : these doors were also grooved, for the reception of immense stones, once squared

(1) Shaw's Travels, p. 263. Lond. 1757.

(2) In the writings of the Prophets, frequent allusions occur to similar places of sepulture: thus, Isaiah xiv. 15, 18. Ezekiel xxxii. 20, &c.



and fitted to the grooves, by way of closing the entrances. Of such a nature were, indisputably, the tombs of the sons of Heth, of the Kings of Israel, of Luzarus, and of Christ. This has been also proved by Shaws; but the subject has been more satisfactorily elucidated by the learned Quaresmius, in his dissertation concerning antient sepulchres'. The cæmeteries of the Antients were universally excluded from the precincts of their cities”. In order, therefore, to account for the seeming contradiction implied by the situation of the place now shewn as the tomb of the Messiah, it is pretended that it was originally on the outside of the walls of Jerusalem ; although a doubt must necessarily arise as to the want of sufficient space for the population of the city, between a boundary so situate and the hill which is now called Mount Sion,

(3) Shaw's Travels, p. 263. Lond. 1757.

(4) Vide cap. vii. (" de forma et qualitate veterum Sepulchrorum.") Eludid. T. S. Quaresmii, tom. II. p. 127. Antv. 1639.

(5) This is evident, from a view of the ruins of all antient cities in the East, as well as from the accounts left by authors concerning their mode of burial. In a preceding chapter of Quaresmius, (cap. vi. lib. iv. tom. II. p. 125.)“ DE SEPULCHRORUM SITU,” he says, “ Quoad locum et situm sepulchrorum dicendum est, ea eligi solita extra civitates in suburbiis et hortis." It was a violation of the laws of the country to bury any corpse within the walls of a city (Vid. Cicer. 2. de Legibus.) Would it were so among modern nations ! “ HOMINEM MORTUUM (inquit Plato, lib. xii. de Legibus) IN URBEM NE SEPELITO.” Quaresi. ibid. p. 126.


CHAP. The sepulchres we are now describing bear, in

their very nature, a satisfactory proof of their being situate out of the antient city, as they are now out of the modern. They are not to be confounded with those tombs, commonly called “ the Sepulchres of the Kings,” to the north of Jerusalem, believed to be the burial-place of Helena, queen of Adiebéné.

Some of them, from their magnificence, and the immense labour necessary to form the numerous repositories they contain, might lay claim to regal honours; and there is one which appears to have been constructed for the purpose of inhuming a single individual. The Karaites, of all other Jews the most tenacious in adhering to the customs of their ancestors, have, from time immemorial, been in the practice of bringing their dead to this place for interment; although this fact were not wanted to prove it an antient Jewish cæmetery, as will


in the sequel. The sepulchres themselves, accord

ing to the antient custom, are stationed in the Inference midst of gardens. From all these circumstances

are we not authorised to look here for the Sepuldiscovery.

chre of Joseph of Arimathea, who, as a pious Jew, necessarily had his burying-place in the cæmetery of his countrymen, among the graves of his forefathers ? The Jews are remarkable for their rigid adherence to this custom : they

derived from the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »