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adorned their burial-places with trees and gardens: and the tomb of this Jew is accordingly described as being in a GARDEN; “in the place where our Saviour was crucified?.” It is moreover worthy of observation, that every one of the Evangelists (and, among these, “ he that saw it, and bare record?,”) affirm, that the place of Crucifixion was “the place of a Scull;" that is to say, a public Cemetery", “ called in the Hebrew GOLGOTHA ;" Golgotha, without the city, and very near to one of its gates. St. Luke calls it CALVARY, which has the same signification. The church, now supposed to mark the site of the Holy Sepulchre, does not exhibit any evidence which might entitle it to either of these appellations. It may therefore be surmised, that upon the opposite summit, now called Mount Sion, without the walls, the Crucifixion of the Messiah was actually accomplished ? Perhaps some evidences, that we
(1) John xix. 41. (2) Ibid. ver. 35.
(3) Reland says, that the hill was called Golgotha, from its resemblance to the shape of a human scull.-—"Golgotha collem exiguum à formå cranii humani dictum, quam referebat, notum est,” (Palæstina Illustrata, lib. iii. tom. II. p. 860. Utrecht, 1714.) But the words of the Gospel do not imply this. The hill is expressly denominated “ the place of a Scull" by all the Evangelists. And, indeed, the circumstance of the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea being there situate, is a complete proof that it was a place of burial.
CHAP. obtained, may further illustrate this most inter
Upon all the sepulchres at the base of this mount, which, “as the place of a scull,” we have the authority of Scripture for calling either Calvary or Golgotha, whether it be the place of crucifixion or not, there are inscriptions, in Hebrew and in Greek. The Hebrew inscriptions are the most effaced : of these it is difficult to make any tolerable copy. Besides the injuries they have sustained by time, they have been covered by some carbonaceous substance, which rendered the task of transcribing them yet more arduous. The Greek inscriptions are brief, and legible ; they consist of immense letters deeply carved in the face of the rock, either over the door, or by the side, of the sepulchres. Upon the first we observed these characters :
Having entered by the door of this sepulchre, we found a spacious chamber cut in the rock connected with a series of other subterraneous
apartments one leading into another, and contain-
When we had penetrated to the extremity of
CHAP. closed its mouth had been, perhaps for ages,
rolled away. Stooping down to look into it, we observed, within, a fair sepulchre, containing a repository, upon one side only, for a single body; whereas, in most of the others, there were two, and in many of them more than two. It is placed exactly opposite to the hill which is now called Mount Sion. As we viewed this sepulchre, and read upon the spot the description given of the coming of Mary Magdalene and the Disciples in the morning', it was difficult to divest our minds of the probability that here might have been the identical Tomb of Jesus Christ, and that up the steep which led to it, after descending from the gate of the city, the Disciples strove together, when “ John did outrun Peter, and came first to the Sepulchre.” They are individually described as stooping down to look into it'; they express their doubts as to the possibility of removing a stone', which, when once fixed and sealed, might have baffled every human effort. But upon this sepulchre, as upon the others before mentioned, instead of a Hebrew or a Phænician
(1) John xx. (2) Ibid. xx. 4.
(3) Ibid. ver. 5, 11. (4) “ And they said among themselves, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the Sepulchre ?--(And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away) for it was very great." Mark xvi. 3, 4.
inscription, there were the same Greek characters, destitute only of the Greek cross prefixed in the former instances. The inscription stood thus,
TH САГТА С.
the letters being very large, and deeply carved in the rugged surface of the rock.
The Hebrew Inscriptions, instead of being over the entrances, were by the side of the doors. Having but little knowledge of the characters in which they were written, all that could be attempted was, to make as faithful a representation as possible of every incision upon the stone, without attempting to supply any thing by conjecture; and even admitting, in certain instances, doubtful traces, which were perhaps casualties caused by injuries the stone had sustained, without any reference to the legend. The following characters appeared upon the side of the entrance to a
(5) A copy of one of these Inscriptions was since exhibited to some learned Jews. These men recognised the Hebrew character, and would have made snch alteration in the transcript as might serve to develope more fully the imperfect parts of it, and lead to an explanation of some of the words. This was not permitted ; because conjecture, by introducing more than is warranted by the original, would