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Our reception at the convent was full of kindness and respectful attention, though the superior himself was absent on a visit to Acre. I was lifted from my horse, and borne up stairs by the servants; and after passing an hour with the friars in mutual enquiry, had a medical application prepared for my wound, and gladly retired to my chamber for repose.

11th. For the whole of the last week I had been confined to the convent, the state of my foot rendering it impossible for me to proceed on my journey; and my time, during this interval, was chiefly employed in arranging the notes of our journey from Geraza to this place, and in prosecuting my studies of the vulgar Arabic from aids furnished me by the Padré Curator of the convent.

Mr. Bankes quitted us this morning, on an excursion to Acre, Mount Carmel, and Cesarea, and I was therefore left quite alone. As a first exercise, however, I ventured to mount my horse to-day, and took a short ride to the Mountain of the Precipitation, as it is called, from a belief that it is the one from which the enraged Nazereens sought to precipitate our Saviour.

The road towards it lies over a tolerably level space for nearly a mile, in a southern direction, and it then becomes necessary to dismount and go on foot over a very rugged road, descending

into a deep ravine, between two hills. After a quarter of an hour's scramble we turned up on the right, and ascending the southern point of the hill, we came first to an altar in a recess hewn out of the rock. This was held sacred, as being the spot were Jesus dined with his disciples. There are, close by this, two large circular cisterns for preserving rain-water, each well stuccoed on the inside; and, besides these, there are several portions of buildings, all said to be the remains of a religious establishment founded there by Santa Helena.

Immediately over this spot, and on the edge of a precipice about thirty feet in height, are two large flat stones, set up on their edges close to the brink. In the centre, and scattered over different parts of one of them, are several round marks, like the deep imprint of fingers in wax, and these are insisted on to be the marks of Christ's grasp when he clung to the stone, and thereby escaped being thrown headlong down.

This is among one of the most bungling of the absurd traditions which prevail in this land of miracles. St. Luke represents the Jews as thrusting Jesus out of the synagogue in which he taught, and leading him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong; but he, passing

through the midst of them, went his way. * Nothing is more inconsistent, therefore, than to fix on this spot, as it is nearly two miles distant from the synagogue which they still shew in the present town, is almost inaccessible from the steep and rocky nature of the road, and is decidedly not on a hill on which Nazareth could ever have been built; nor is the statement of Christ's clinging to a stone for safety, more in harmony with the sentence which describes his escape.

But this variance with the very scriptures on which they profess to found all their faith, might easily pass among a people who seldom read them, were it not that the ten great marks reckoned up in different parts of the stone as the impression of the ten fingers of the Messiah, are so disposed that they could not have been made at once by any possible position of the human hand, and are too clumsily executed and arranged to deceive even the most superficial observer.

The view from this precipice commands the whole breadth of the plain of Esdraelon to the south, and while it shows the range of Carmel in the distance toward the sea-shore, it looks over

* St. Luke, iv. 28. to 30.


also upon Hermon, at the foot of which is the village of Nain, where Jesus raised the widow's Mount Tabor and the sepulchres of Eksall are not visible from hence, being shut in by the eastern hills; but a number of small settlements are seen scattered over the plain.

On our return, I felt refreshed by the air and occupation of the ride; but I found my foot still too tender to be used without extreme caution, and suffered even from the slight exercise of this excursion.

I was determined, however, to prosecute my journey with all possible speed, and began, accordingly, to prepare for my departure to-morrow. From the best information which I could collect, the road by Tiberias to Damascus was recommended as the safest and shortest, and this, therefore, I proposed to pursue, taking only the precaution to provide myself with a person acquainted with the bye-paths and high-ways, and leaving the rest to fortune.



FEBRUARY 12th. Under the conduct of a guide from the town, we quitted Nazareth at an early hour, and ascended the hills to the eastward of it. Our road was stoney and rugged for the first two hours, when we were chiefly on hilly ground, and in the early part of it, we had a commanding view of the plain of Esdraelon and Mount Tabor, with the village of Eksall appearing through an opening in the hills.

At nine we passed under the village of Ain Mahhil, leaving it on the left, and having Tabor immediately opposite to it, about two miles on our right. The village is small, and inhabited entirely by Mohammedans; it is situated on the brow of a hill, and the villagers are, more generally, shepherds than cultivators, though both classes are to be found there. In the vale below, the country is woody, having the oak, now bare, some few olive-trees, and the wild carob, bearing the same name among the Arabs. We saw here a land-tortoise of a small size, weighing from three to four pounds.

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