« PreviousContinue »
looked it. Two sides were fortified by incredible size. Some were thirty feet three strong walls; but the other two, long, nine feet wide, and seven feet being encompassed with deep precipitate thick. All were chiseled and finished valleys, were guarded by only one wall. off in an elegant manner, and built up The grounds beyond the fortifications with the same care displayed in erecting were laid out into beautiful parks and the costly palaces of the Kings. Very pleasure gardens. With one of these often no cement was used, the size and last we are all familiar, for it was the weight of the stones rendering that ungarden of Gethsemane. Even at this necessary. Think of two hundred towers late day, the traveler is shown an old built in this way, built of stones thirty olive tree, which, beaten with the stornis feet long, and nine feet wide, and seven of nearly two thousand years, is said to feet thick! Hurled against such obhave stood in that sad place when visited structions, one would suppose that all by the Redeemer. Beyond the gloomy the battering-rams in the world, would valley of Jehoshaphat, rose mount produce no more disastrous effect than Olivet. From its green summit, the the pelting of so many drops of water. traveler could look down upon Jeru- From these defences, with plentiful supsalem and the whole of the neighboring plies of provisions, and with water in country.
such quantities as to be almost if not alThe sight was inspiring. Turrets and together inexhaustible, the soldiers could towers, walls and battlements, side by maintain a successful resistance for side and one above another, rose in almost any length of time. seeming confusion, imparting the aspect But, while the fortifications in genof an immense fortress to the city. Con eral were of this formidable nature, spicuous among all, stood the grand and there were a number of towers which in glorious Temple; and rising above it as every respect far surpassed them. Three if to shield it from harm, was the im- of these, it was said, were “for largepregnable tower of Antonia. The Tem- ness, beauty, and strength beyond all ple was built of white marble, and was that were in the habitable earth.” We of such majestic proportions that it is will describe one. It was built of white said to have appeared at a distance like marble. Each stone was thirty feet a mountain of snow. Warlike as was long, fifteen feet wide, and seven and a the aspect of Jerusalem, it was not half feet thick. These were polished without signs of peace. The massive and finished off in the most elaborate fortifications were relieved by trees manner. The joints were so close, as to planted for shade and ornament, while I be invisible at a short distance, so that bere and there, gleamed the musical the whole appeared as if cut from a waters of the sparkling fountain, or yet, single rock. The first part was sixty the eye rested for a moment upon the feet high and sixty feet wide, and was quiet waves of some placid pool. solid throughout. Above this founda
To speak of the city, however, in this tion it was divided into rooms, which general way would give a very in were adorned and furnished in a manner adequate conception of it. We must adapted to the fastidious tastes of a fasten the attention upon some particu- nobleman. It was provided also with lar object, which, being closely ex- great cisterns. Of their size we can amined, will not only speak for itself, but form some conception when informed enable us to form a judgment concern that one was thirty feet deep. The ing much besides. First, the walls. whole was crowned with battlements and They were strengthened by two hundred turrets, and ornamented with marble towers. Each was of massive propor-pillars. It was one hundred and forty tions and appeared like a fortress com- feet high, and its height was magnified plete in itself. Each was about thirty by its situation; for it stood upon the feet square at the base, and built of loftiest eminence of the city. He who solid stone for the same distance up-climbed to its top over the winding ward. Above this solid altitude were stairway, could survey the world for magnificent rooms, and over them, other miles and miles around. Lifted almost apartments, with cisterns to receive rain- into the clouds, he could look down upon water. Many of the stones used in the every part of the city, and, at times, construction of these buildings, were of even catch a glimpse of the blue waters
which I connecteren move mounta.cam
of the Mediterranean, nearly thirty stone, and every ornament, and all else miles off. When the sun rose, his needed for the Temple, was so exactly golden beams shone upon its snowy head cut, and fitted, and prepared, that, when long before the shadows were dissipated it came to the building of the edifice, from the narrow streets of Jerusalem; neither axe nor hammer was required to and when day declined, the flush of be used during its whole erection. With evening lingered still upon it when the so many hands to work, and so great world beneath was clothed in darkness. skill to direct them, we might feel only
The great size of the stones used in a moderate degree of surprise in learnthese buildings is astounding to us. But ing that one of the very mountains of those I have named do not compare Lebanon had been moved to Jerusalem. with others employed in the construc- But connected with these towers of tion of the Temple. There great masses which I have been speaking, king Herod of solid marble could be seen, which had a palace which was so superb as to were forty, fifty, and sixty feet long, and baffle the power of the historian to deof corresponding width and thickness. scribe. No money had been spared in They were, moreover, not brought from its construction; the most costly maquarries near at hand, but from others terial had been used; the most skilful situated many miles away; and the artists had been employed. It stood a roads over which they were conveyed, wonder in every respect. Walls, towers, were very hilly indeed. How such battlements, porticoes, pillars, rose to a heavy weights were moved, we have no great height. The mind was bewildered means of knowing. No record nor in following the intricacies of the carvdrawing of any machine which seems ings which adorned the columps. Gold, adapted to such work, is left us. It would and silver, and precious stones were so puzzle us with all our mechanical con- lavishly expended, and appeared in such trivances--it would puzzle, if not defy profusion as to make one think they the skill of the very best engineers of had become very common indeed. Elethe country, even to lift such a stone as gant statuary adorned each room; the that into its place.
furniture was luxurious; and the greatest In those days, however, when kings part of the vessels and dishes were silver ruled with almost absolute sway, it was and gold. The number of rooms was possible to gather together such armies immense, and many of the bed-chambers of laborers as are never seen with us. were so large as to accommodate one Thus we find that when Solomon began hundred guests apiece. The Palace was to build the Temple, he assembled to- surrounded by groves of trees. There gether the incredible number of 153- were vast gardens filled with rich exotic 600. men. Of these, 70,000 were en plants. There was the giant palm, liftgaged in transporting material, 80,000 ing its graceful head to the tops of the were sent to the mountains of Lebanon, towers. There were trees loaded with to hew timber, and 3,600 were appointed purple figs. Between the green leaves as overseers. In addition to these, he of others gleamed the scarlet pomegraraised a levy of 30,000 others, who were nate. All varieties of trees and shrubsent to work in Lebanon by relays of bery remarkable for either foliage or 10,000; each relay serving for one blossom, mingled their leaves in rich month and returning home for two. Yet profusion. Long walks wound through so great was the task, that over seven the groves. From brazen statues spouted and a half years were occupied in the floods of cool water. The air was actual building of the Temple, after the burdened with perfume from flowers, material had all been prepared. This that grew in marble vases, or more fact finds a counterpart in the great lowly beds on the ground. This was pyramids of Egypt. * Of one of these it the home of Herod, a man famous for is said, 100,000 men were engaged for his magnificence, and one who seemed ten years in .quarrying the stone, and to be inspired with the desire of rivaling then kept hard at work for twenty years the glory of Solomon. more in erecting the building. | But had you visited Jerusalem in the
Of the skill of the ancients one fact days when this despot oppressed Israel, alone speaks in most emphatic terms. It you would no doubt have turned your was this; every piece of timber, every steps in the direction of the Temple
before devoting time to anything else. the one chief nation upon the face of the It was built of white marble, and from earth. No wonder that with all this maga long distance could be plainly seen. nificence about them, they grew proud It was the chief object beheld upon ap- and looked down with contempt upon proaching the city, and it was the most the hated Gentiles, who knew nothing wonderful to examine after reaching of the great covenant established by that place. We cannot begin to give a Jehovah with Abraham. No wonder it complete description of it, but must con- was hard for them to turn away from tent ourselves with speaking of a few all this grandeur, and beauty, to the particular points of interest. The whole humble simplicity of Christ. In Him edifice was encompassed on every side they beheld nothing but the most posiby the most magnificent colonade the tive contradiction to all the aspirations, world ever saw. Here one could walk and all the teachings of their whole over marble floors between double lives. rows of exquisitely finished Corinthian But, passing through this outer encolumns until the very distance forced closure and ascending a broad flight of one to rest. Before the visitor, stretch- steps, the visitor found himself in an exing far away, extended the grand colo- tensive open court; and, looking across nade, the columns lessening in appear- its smooth pavement, he beheld the great ance as the distance grew. Sunlight gates which opened the way into what and shadow intermingling there a de- is known as the Sanctuary. These enlightful twilight over all. The roof was trances were ten in number, of which made of the expensive and fragrant that known as the “Beautiful Gate," wood of the cedar, and finished off with far exceeded in splendor all the others. carvings and gildings peculiar to Jewish Yet the others were by no means conarchitecture. The columns were nearly temptible. Everyone had two doors forty feet high and were cut from a forty-five feet high and twenty feet wide, single rock. They were not made of which were completely overlaid, both several stones joined together, but each outside and inside with heavy plates of one from top to bottoin was composed solid gold. They were supported on of a single solid shaft of pure white either side by high, and massive columns marble. I have seen a number of build and towers, strongly fortified and ornaings called grand now; and I remember mented with great elaboration. The being once called to admire the two space between these golden portals was handsome columns supporting the front occupied by lofty cloisters, and these in of a Cathedral in Philadelphia. They turn were adorned with superb portiwere of brown sandstone, and were con- coes, whose cedar roofs were held aloft sidered very fine ipdeed. They were by double rows of marble columns corperhaps six feet in diameter and fifty or responding in beauty and appearance, sixty feet high. But instead of being to those of which I have previously cut from a single stone, they were made spoken. Viewing this part of the of a number of blocks placed one upon Temple from the open court, it must another, and that too in such an inartis- have appeared a harmonious combinatic way as to allow the broad seams of tion of massive and warlike towers, the joints to be plainly apparent for golden gates, and airy shafts of marble a considerable distance. These were columns. termed magnificent columns. What And now it seems as if all I have told then can be said of the one hundred and you must sink into comparative nothsixty-two solid marble pillars, which ingness, when placed in contrast with stood in one grand colonade on one side that which is to come. No sooner did alone of the Temple? Here the Jews the visitor ascend the flight of steps assembled at all hours of the day. And which led to the “Beautiful Gate,” than it is not to be wondered at,—when there burst upon the view a scene so walking on and on beneath this splendid brilliant that for a moment the eye felt cedar roof, over a smooth marble pave- pain, as when suddenly turned upon a ment, with all these signs of elegance, glowing flame. Immediately before and wealth and power about them, that him, lifting its mighty front to the giddy their feelings were exalted, and they felt height of one hundred and fifty feet, that God had indeed chosen them to be stood what was properly called the Temple. It was as broad as it was high, aglow with the glories of his decline, and but broad and high as it was, the whole the light fell with soft and subduing of its great face was covered completely shadows upon the pillars, columns, with thick plates of burnished gold, towers, and high walls of the Temple, or which beneath the steady light of the shone with ten-fold lustre upon the . sun, blazed and flashed with a glory in- golden front of the Sanctuary, when all describably brilliant. There it stood, around about the altar stood multitudes the Jewish Temple! The colonade, the of devout worshippers, the wood of the golden gates, these all encircled it as if sacrifice was kindled, and as the bright with their magnificence to prepare the tongues of fire leapt into the air, and the mind for what was so much superior. black smoke ascended to heaven, with Above the immense door which opened one accord the musicians and singers all the way into it, gigantic grape vines of united in praising God. Hundreds of gold wound and twisted themselves into instruments, and thousands of voices every conceivable form of beauty, their trained to greatest harmony, united in immense leaves and thick stems, and one song. The horns blew, the trumpets heavy clusters of grapes six feet long sounded, the cymbals clashed, the harps serving to relieve the monotony of the twanged, the tabrets rang, and the voices broad front. And there were also curi- of the singers rose high to heaven. As ously graven in the precious plating, the flames grew brighter, and the smoke tall and stately palm trees that drooped grew denser and rolled higher, the their graceful branches low to the voices of the singers swelled grander, ground, with outstretched wings of and fuller, and louder, and the head of cherubim, and wild seraphic faces that every worshipper was bowed lower, and spoke of joy ineffable, and lilies, emblems all adored the Lord. Yet wilder clashed of purity, opened their wide petals side the cymbals, and louder blew the by side upon the gold. And thus both trumpets, and sweeter and fuller joined inside and outside the Holy Place was in the pipes and flutes, until the sacred elaborately ornamented. Then looking music, floating through the quiet air, in through the wide open door, the eye pervaded every silent nook and corner gazed into a splendid apartment where of the vast edifice. Through the long, the walls, and the ceiling and the floor and now darkened and deserted corri
terial that was so lavishly used all over over the warlike battlements, through the building. At the farthest end of the golden portals out upon the city, this apartment, covering nearly the rolled the full tones of the glorious whole face of it, and, with the brilliancy strain, till penetrating the dark and of its colorings contrasting finely with silent sepulchre, it must have sounded the golden floor and ceiling, was an ex- o'er the motionless forms of Israel's dead quisitely wrought Babylonian curtain, kings. embroidered with blue and fine linen, And to-day, as regularly as the Saband scarlet, and purple. Behind this bath comes, the Jews living in Jerucurtain no eyes but those of the priests salem go to the place where once their could look, and no feet but theirs could magnificent Temple stood. And where tread, for here was the Holy and the a part of the old foundations are still Most Holy Place.
standing, they gather themselves toIn front of the Temple stood the great gether to mourn over the loss of their altar; around the altar officiated a beautiful house. Old men and women crowd of priests; upon it lay the with heads all gray with years, lay their slaughtered lamb, and on either side of trembling hands upon the stones as if it, drawn up in double rows, were the caressing something that was inexpressimusicians arrayed in the sacred uniform bly dear to them. They bow their and bearing in their hands every kind heads against them, cover them with of musical instrument known; pipes, kisses, and wash them with their tears. horns, trumpets, cymbals, tabrets, harps, Thus they mourn and weep, calling upon organs, and others of various kinds. God in tones of pathetic entreaty to And just when the glowing sun was remember the covenant established with about to descend behind the far away His people. This is one of the saddest hills of the West, and the sky was all things that I have ever heard. We
know that the Temple will never be re- branches and steady stem holding and built, but this poor people cling with un- bending with the fantastic freight of wavering faith to the hope that God fruit. O the mysteries of that laden will raise it up from its ashes more tree! Budding, blossoming and bearing beautiful than ever before.
its harvest all at once! How the gay horns of plenty swayed the dainty
branches, linked by chains of silvery After Christmas.
bells, behind whose mystic windings
glittering fruits hung tremulous with BY A PASTOR'S DAUGHTER.
fairy faces, and miniature groups shining
within them! The marvellous golden Sitting in the firelight, Bess and I,
egg swung from a tiny twig reflecting talking quietly, while the little ones sat all the firelight and more beside ; silent on the moss under the Christmas tree, drums hung stickless beside gilded hugging their knees, and with eager fishes that unhesitatingly were upward faces discussing the sweet impossibilities bound : tiny flags waving out the innoof Kriss Kindel's journeyings. Said cent cause of endless enthusiasm in Bess. “The pine is falling fast, and I fear their Auttering red. white and blue : we shall soon have nothing left but gay balloons tempted by the tiny Vanity brown stems; suppose we take the tree | Fair, lost ambition, and rested midway and evergreen down ?” “True," said transfixed; curious fruitage of yellow 1, “and beside Epiphany is past," as the and red hung from sprays that held star on the topmost bough glittered a fringed balls and 'glistening nothings : moment. The children were sorry, but | banners with devices of peace and joy willing, if they could only have a fare- fluttered above sweet cherub faces flv. well to it, and we promised that for the ing with shiny wings from the tips of next evening.
boughs, like an echo from the choir that Meanwhile the hearth-light was mak- startled the shepherds that starlit night ing pretty changes in the home picture, on Judea's hills; tiniest bird-cages with and the old-fashioned parlor wore more canaries resting from song and step, than its usual gentle grace. The rever- swung beside clusters of silvery grapes ence lent it from the faces on the walls, that hung high enough to be sour, while portraits of Christian ancestors who had from innermost branches shone divers left us in that blessed hope which made colors from tangible bubbles. Suspended the whole life here a long Advent les from many a fair twig hung the seeds son, seemed always deeper at Christmas- of Utopia's gardens; transparent nuts tide, so full of precious memories and with, O wonder to tree! golden leaves ! hopes; these with the pictures of the Birdlings of gray and gorgeous plumage present were garlanded with evergreens nestled amid the evergreen branches ; and sprigs of ivy and myrtle; the few crimped oranges, yellow and splendid statuettes with delicate wreathing of among the fir; gay tulips and white ferns; from vase and candelabra swept lilies blooming on the ends of boughs trailing mosses, while many a cluster of that bore fruits which never grew in the bright autumn leaves and shadowy fairest of earthly Edens, shining white grasses lent a grace here and there to and pink under a covert of silvery stand or sheaf.
foliage. For the deeper joy of the Christmas- In quiet content, from dizzy heights tide there were the shields above door swung strapped papoose guarded by as ways and windows, bearing “ Glad Tid
gorgeous a group of clouds as ever ings,” “Child Jesus," “ Peace on earth,” gathered around the hills when the sun with a star and cross of frosted autumn goes down, from whose tossings a full leaves. This the firelight showed in orb with dazzling rays shot forth, ever fitful turns, and the shadows of the shining, never gone from among the Christmas boughs came and went with leafage of that Christmas tree. Glimthe leaping flames, like the dreams and mering scales betray the dolphin on his recollections in our hearts.
slow sail through the tempestuous sea But a dazzling radiance some way of fir ; fluted shells, dainty enough for seemed appropriated by the tree itself, the tiniest naiad to float in, lay stranded standing near the corner, with graceful 'on the greenest of shores, under the