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and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle. They are a hideous looking bird.
But here we are at the Mukŭtta, as that "ancient river," the Kishon, is now called. It is somewhat curious that both Kishon and Kŭtta are mentioned by Joshua as cities in this neighborhood; the one is the ancient Hebrew, and the other the modern Arabic name of the river. You would scarcely suppose, from the depth of the current, that one may pass along the beach three months hence and find no river at all, and yet so my experience proves. The first time I came this way I crossed the Kishon in a boat, and swam the horses; the next time there was no river, not even a rill to be found. This is explained by referring back to the inward winds I have spoken of. These ever drive the waves, loaded with sand, up against the mouth of the river, and, as soon as the dry season reduces its volume, the waves overcome it, and a large sand-bank dams up
the stream; the river then spreads out into a large marsh, and slowly percolates through the sand, and thus finds its way to the sea. It is strong enough now, however, and if we watch not our opportunity and choose our path wisely, following the sand-bank at its mouth, we shall fare badly between it and the waves, which come rolling in to swell its dimensions. Safely over, let me call your attention to this singular delta, with its apex at the junction of the river with the sea, and its base resting against the foot of Carmel. It is planted with picturesque and solemn palm-trees, the finest grove of the kind in Syria.
Khaifa has much improved since my first visit twentythree years ago; and, as the steamers between Beirût and Jaffa touch here, it must increase up to a certain point; but the natural advantages with reference to the interior are not great, and it will never become a large city, unless a railroad from the east should terminate at it; then, indeed, it would speedily expand into a vast emporium. This may be the Sycamenon mentioned by Greek and Roman geographers, though the distance from that place to Acre, accord
1 Micah i. 16.
CONVENT OF CARMEL-LOCK AND KEY.
ing to the Itineraries, was at least twice as great as from Acre to Khaifa. We have no occasion to stop here, for there are no antiquities about it except rock tombs, and our object is to visit the convent on the mountain. It will take us forty minutes to climb it; but the view, ever widening as you ascend, and changing from “glory to glory,” will richly repay any amount of toil, and at the convent we shall rest and refresh the outer man at the very respectable refectory of these Carmelite monks. The establishment is, indeed, quite as much a hotel as a house of prayer.
Having now satisfied our curiosity and our appetites, we may pay our bill, and leave to others more in love with such matters the task of describing this great castle-convent, with its twenty monks chanting Latin to nobody, around holy places whose history is fabulous.
Our friend Scander has unconsciously exhibited an illustration of Isaiah xxii. 22, which struck me very forcibly: And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. The key with which Scander opened his magazine was large enough for a stout club, and it might well be laid on his shoulder.
True; and I have seen keys more than twice as large. The material “house of David” was the stronghold of Zion, and such castles now have enormous wooden locks, with keys in proportion. I once spent a summer in an old castle whose great outer door had a lock and key which was almost a load to carry. This kind of lock is no doubt very ancient. Their construction is such that a false key can scarcely by any possible chance fit them, and the difficulty is increased in proportion to the number and eccentric position of the wards into which the movable metal drops are required to fall. The following cut will exhibit its nature more clearly than any amount of description can do.
These locks are placed on the inside of the doors of gardens and outer courts, and even on those of inner rooms in some places. To enable the owner to unlock them, a hole is cut in the door, through which he thrusts his arm and in
serts the key. All the garden doors about Sidon are thus arranged, and such must have been the custom at Jerusalem in the days of Solomon. In Song v. 4 he makes the bride say, My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him; that is, she saw him thrust in his hand to unlock the door, that he might enter; and naturally enough, the bowels — that Oriental symbol of the affections—were “moved.” Solomon well knew the perturbations and delightful agitations of love; and a much more trivial thing than the hand of the beloved, and a much less significant action than the one here mentioned, will start the heart leaping and fluttering in irrepressible ecstasy. But it is time to return, lest Acre's inexorable gate be locked against us, and there is neither hole in it through which we can thrust our hand, nor wakeful heart on the other side to be “moved” by it if we could.
March 11th. Our ride to Shefa 'Amer to-day will complete the survey of this vast plain of Acre to the borders of Zebulon.
As there is nothing special to claim attention in this part of the plain, let me ask an explanation of several passages of the Bible which I have marked in my Bible readings at Acre. But first tell me what tree is this on our right, dressed out in white blossoms so early in the season ?
That is the almond. It often blossoms in February, and this early activity is repeatedly alluded to in the Bible. Jeremiah opens his heavy visions thus : The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou ? and I said, I see the rod of an almond-tree. Then said the Lord, Thou hast well seen, for I will hasten my word to perform it-just as this tree hastens to bud and blossom long before any other has begun to wake out of the repose of winter, and before it has put forth its own leaves.
The same thing is implied, according to the general economy of miracles, in the selection of rods from this tree by Moses to be laid up in the tabernacle, in order to settle the controversy in regard to the family that should be clothed with the priestly office: And it came to pass that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. This was miraculous rapidity certainly; but a rod was selected for the purpose from that tree which, in its natural development, is the most expeditious of all; and not only do the blossoms appear on it suddenly, but the fruit sets at once, and appears even while the flowers are yet on the tree, buds, blossoms, and almonds together on the same branch, as on this rod of Moses.
In that affecting picture of the rapid and inevitable approach of old age drawn by the royal Preacher, it is said that the almond-tree shall flourish or blossom.? The point of the figure is doubtless the fact that the white blossoms completely cover the whole tree without any mixture of green leaves, for these do not appear until some time after. It is the expressive type of old age, whose hair is white as wool, unrelieved with any other color.
And now my texts: What do you understand by such expressions as, He drinketh up scorning like water? 3
This idiom is very common in Arabic. It seems natural to the Oriental mind to conceive of many operations under the idea of eating and drinking, which we connect more directly with some other sense than that of taste, or else mention abstractly. Thus they very commonly speak of eating a great rain when they have been thoroughly drenched in a shower; so also they eat a violent wind and a piercing cold. I frequently hear them say of one who has been bastinadoed on the soles of his feet, that he has eaten fifty or five hundred sticks, as the case may be. In like manner, they drink many strange potions. In their self-conceit, they will offer to drink the whole course of scientific education in three months. Persons not particularly encumbered with modesty have assured me that they could drink the entire system of evangelical religion with even greater expedition. There are many similar expressions in the Bible which may claim our attention hereafter; at present let us turn up to that fine Tell, from whose summit we shall enjoy a good view of this celebrated plain. It is called Kezan, and was once a place of importance and strongly fortified. These 1 Num. xvii. 8.
3 Job xxxiv. 7.
2 Eccl. xii. 5.