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without descending and again ascending through the deep ravine. Our road led along the foot of the great mountain range. The village and church of Mar Abd Esho (Saint Servant of Christ), is situated in a narrow ravine in the base of the mountain, which is filled with trees, many of the walnuts being very large. There were also clusters of fig-trees and pomegranates, and grape-vines fantastically climbing the tallest walnuts. Among the trees, which form an almost continuous forest, are small terraced gardens, rising successively from the fields far below; and cool springs of the finest water were gushing from beneath the rocks. At the head of the village is the church of Mar Abd Esho. From every appearance, we judged it to be the oldest Nestorian church we had seen. Priest Mando told us, that in one of their ancient books its date is recorded, which runs back three hundred and sixty years before Mohammed. We are not of course fully prepared to endorse that date. The church consists of three successive arched chapels, each of considerable size, separated by walls of vast thickness and strength. There is a communication between these chapels by wide doors.
Mar Abd Esho was in former times a monastery. The steep cliff above the village, is full of natural cells, of various forms and sizes, some of them possessing almost the regularity of rooms, with door and chimney. They are now occupied by the villagers as stables — a much better appropriation of them than when tenanted by the choir monks of bygone ages. Yet, could they speak, what a chapter of church history might these venerable cliffs reveal. We inquired of priest Mando how long it is since this place was occupied as a monastery. He replied, that nobody knows; but that there was a New Testament, written on parchment, taken from the church by Mr. Kanaw, British consul at Mosul, which purports to have been written by a monk of Mar Abd Esho six hundred years ago.
Our mission have now a young Nestorian preacher stationed in the town of Amadia, and another in this village of the monastery, Mar Abd Esho, and members of our mission frequently visit these ancient localities. Thus in the beautiful figure of an oriental Christian, while the natural light rises from the East, spiritual light, in this age, comes from the West.
2. LETTER FROM REV. GEORGE C. HURTER, Beirût, Syria, May, 23,
Having recently returned from a visit to Mount Sinai, I thought you would be interested in the discovery of a spring of water under the east side of Mount Horeb, which I cannot learn has been noticed by any traveller who has written on Sinai; but which is so striking that had it been seen, it would certainly have been mentioned. Travellers generally go to the convent and lodge there during their sojourn at Sinai, and those who prefer to remain outside the convent pitch their tents on the usual camping
ground at the entrance of Wady Shu'eib, and near the east side of the Wady, under, or close by, a little hill, where we also encamped. Travellers almost always take dragomen with them, and never attend to the supply of water for the prosecution of their journey. Not having a dragoman with us, we had to attend to the filling of the barrels ourselves. In coming towards Mount Horeb we took the road followed by Dr. Robinson by the Wady er-Râhah. On page 89 of the first volume of his Rersearches he says: "On the left of Horeb, a deep and narrow valley runs up S. S. E. between lofty walls of rock, as if in continuation of the S. E. of the plain. In this valley, at the distance of nearly a mile from the plain, stands the convent." On the east side of this valley is a small hill separated from the mountain by a road about one hundred feet across, which travellers follow in going to the convent from Wady es-Sheikh; while those who go to the convent by Wady er-Râhah pass on the west side of the hill. On the south side of this hill is the camping ground, and in getting to it we made a short circuit of five minutes ride to avoid a precipitous bank. On arriving at our camping ground, we requested our camel-drivers, before dispersing to their homes, to fill our barrels with water. They said they would take two of them to a spring where there was a reservoir in which they would place them. They pointed out to us the direction on the west side of the valley under Horeb, and we perceived a few trees at that place. Towards evening I told my party that I would go and see whether they had filled and sunk the barrels in the pool. The direction of the spring was straight across the valley from the camping ground. After leaving the tents, in about two minutes I ascended the ground where we made the circuit, then passed down a slight declivity, after which the ground gradually rose until I reached the spring, in about ten minutes, by a rugged path, over large boulders of Sinaite granite. Here I was surprised to find a fine spring of pure water issuing from a rent in the rock; the rent was in an oblique direction, the highest part of it on the left, and sloping down towards the right. The lowest part of the fissure was as high as a man's head from the ground. The surrounding rock is the solid red granite of Sinai, smooth on its face and unbroken by fissure or seam. The fissure is about six feet long, about four inches wide, five inches deep at the bottom and twelve at the top, and runs down into the rock parallel with the perpendicular side of the mountain; the water seems to issue about two feet above the bottom of the rent, flowing over the lowest part of it in a stream about the thickness of a man's finger. The reservoir is about twelve feet long by five feet in width, and four feet deep, and was nearly full when I reached the place. When full the water is let off to irrigate some twenty or more fruit trees. As I was the first (as far as I am aware) to observe this singular "rent" in the "Rock of Horeb," and am unable to find any allusion to it in the books of Burckhardt, Robinson, Stanley, or other travellers, I have thought it my duty to inform the public of the fact, in order that
future travellers may not fail to see it. Could we suppose that Moses had a rod about six feet long, and that, raising the lower end of it as high as his head, he struck it obliquely against the granite cliff, and that a wedge-shaped cavity was thus miraculously formed, this rent would meet the conditions exactly.
NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
LEWIN'S SIEGE OF JERUSALEM.
THE Siege of Jerusalem by Titus, is the title of a recent contribution toward the topography of the ancient city, an octavo of five hundred pages, from the pen of Thomas Lewin, Esq., M. A., of Trinity College, Oxford. The volume is composed of three distinct parts. The first one hundred pages describe, in a graphic and spirited manner, the siege of the city by Titus, giving in the form of a regular and compact narrative, all the salient points of the story as told by Josephus, and guarding against the exaggerations into which the Jewish historian was betrayed through his flattery of Titus on the one hand, and upon the other, by his animosity toward certain leaders among his own countrymen. Mr. Lewin has succeeded in throwing about one of the most familiar, and even hackneyed, events of history a freshness and reality, that secures at once the attention of the reader, and sustains it to the end. We object, however, to the importance which he ascribes to the works of Josephus as collateral evidence for the Christian history.
"For the halo of light which the Wars and Antiquities have thrown upon the Christian religion we ought to be deeply grateful. Had these works not come down to us, what a cloud of darkness would have hung over the birth and rise of Christianity!" But why so? The birth and rise of Christianity are recorded in the four Gospels and in the book of Acts by historians who, to say the least, are as trustworthy as Josephus; and the comparison of these books with the Old Testament well illustrates the connection of Christianity with Judaism. By every fair canon of historical criticism, Luke should be accepted as an authority for the rise of Christianity, though unsustained, and even contradicted, by a hostile
1 London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green.
2 Page 6.
LEWIN'S SIEGE OF JERUSALEM.
Jewish contemporary, who was notoriously given to vanity, credulity, and exaggeration. It is as reasonable, surely, to test Josephus by Luke as to revise Luke by Josephus.
The second portion of Mr. Lewin's volume, embracing one hundred and twenty-five pages, gives the journal of the author's visit to Jerusalem. There is in this little of interest to the classical inquirer; the new points being a full description of the bevelled stones brought to light in the excavations for the site of the Russian consulate, near the south side of the court of the Holy Sepulchre; and an account of the exploration of an ancient cistern at the southeast of Sion, within the walls, with a few items of minor importance. Indeed the journal seems to have been inserted chiefly for the purpose of certifying the reader of the author's competence, as an eye-witness, to discuss the topography of Jerusalem. In this view it serves as an introduction to the third and principal portion of the work: A Sketch of the Topography of Jerusalem from the earliest Times down to the Siege by Titus. In this essay the author vindicates, at much length, the positions assumed in his preliminary narrative of the siege.
How much controversy about the historical sites in the Holy City would have been spared, had Josephus been a little more explicit upon one or two points; had he furnished us a plan of the city walls in his day, or thought to mention whether the Lower City lay to the east, to the north, or to the northeast of the Upper! But even his more elaborate descriptions of the city are so marred by omissions, and so confused by seeming contradictions, that it is impossible to construct a plan of Jerusalem upon the general platform of the modern city, which will harmonize within itself all the data of the Jewish historian together with the topographical data derived from the Old Testament scriptures and the Apocrypha. Two hills, the one loftier than the other, separated by the Tyropoean valley, upon whose brink the houses stood face to face, the lower hill gibbous or crescent-shaped, the two hills starting from a common neck or plateau upon the north, but upon all other sides surrounded by deep ravines. such were the salient features of Jerusalem as described both by Josephus and by Tacitus. Next, a subordinate hill, still lower than the second, formed the platform of the temple, originally separated [quere from Acra or from the city] by a broad valley, which was filled up under the dynasty of the Asmoneans. Lastly, a fourth hill, Bezetha, lying toward the north, which was enclosed by the wall of Agrippa. To these general outlines must be added various incidental allusions to walls, gates, towers, palaces, etc., to make up the confused data of Josephus.
Upon the platform of the modern city it is easy to identify the first or highest hill, though there may be a question as to its terminus upon the north whether at the Jaffa gate or beyond. The temple hill is represented by the enclosure of the Haram, and the outlet of the Tyropoean is marked by the pool of Siloam. But beyond these obvious identifications,
there lies a mass of confusion which only engineering and excavation unearthing the Jerusalem of the past from the debris of ages arrange with even tolerable satisfaction. Meantime a gleam of light is occasionally thrown upon the obscurity by some chance discovery, and the collocation of such isolated facts may by and by lead to a reconstruction of the city as it stood in the time of Christ. Mr. Lewin has labored assiduously for this end, and we here give in outline his results, without following the details of the discussion.
1. The High Town was exclusively confined to the hill now called Sion; beginning at the Jaffa gate, and enclosed by the Tyropoean valley on the north and east, and by the valley of Hinnom on the west and south.
2. The Low Town lay principally on the eastern hill, called Moriah, at the north, and Ophel on the south. Its settlement began upon Ophel, where was the proper city of David, and afterward the palace of Solomon. It was enlarged by the acquisition of the temple area, and subsequently extended over upon the western hill. This extension formed the Inner Low Town or Acra; the temple platform was the Middle Acra; and the Outer Acra lay upon Ophel.
3. The Asmonean valley is that which descends obliquely from the Damascus gate to the Haram, where it falls into the Tyropoean.
4. The New Town occupied all the northern portion of the city from the Jaffa gate on the west to the northeastern end of the Temple platform, exclusive of the tract comprised within the second wall. The course of the second wall, therefore, lay to the east of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, which Mr. Lewin regards as the true site of the crucifixion.
Mr. Lewin argues these points with much ingenuity of research, and he has constructed, in the main, a plausible and self-consistent theory. Yet the reader of Josephus will see that it is hardly possible to adjust some of his statements to this topography; and Mr. Lewin sometimes twists a word or a sentence of Josephus to suit his plan, not content to assume, with most archaeologists, that the castle at the Jaffa gate represents the tower of Hippicus, he makes the extravagant assumption that the three towers, Hippicus, Phasaelus, and Mariamne were all embraced within the present area of the El-Kalah or castle of David.
Mr. Lewin occasionally forgets his former positions, while pressing a new point of argument. Thus, to make the point that the Millo of David was the castle of the Jebusites at the north, he says, "Millo, in Hebrew means simply a citadel." But when, a little later, he would argue that the Millo of Solomon was the walled platform of the Temple, he tells us that "Millo signifies literally, in Hebrew, a filling up or embankment; so that, from the force of the word itself, we look around in search of some great earthwork." a