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it was "in the place where He was crucified” that there was the garden with the tomb in it newly made by Joseph.
Among the arguments against the theory may be mentioned the general statutory prohibition of executions within the city—a topic which, in the most august of instances, is made the ground of typical or prophetical illustration (see Heb. xiii. 12). No criminal, it is well known, could by Jewish law be executed or buried within the city limits; and
as we shall see, there is convincing proof that the Harâm area, within which the rock stands, was in the time of our Lord within the circuit of the city wall.
Of the numerous Mohammedan holy places and legends connected with the Dome of the Rock, it will be sufficient if we mention only a few. In the cavern they point out the praying-places of Abraham, David, Solomon, Elijah, and Mohammed. On the floor of the cavern is a slab of stone covering the Well of Spirits, from whence, on the Day of Judgment, all souls will be brought up, to appear before the throne of God, which will be planted upon the rock.
In the mosque are shown the banners of Mohammed and Omar, the footprint of the Prophet, hairs from his beard, and the shield of his uncle. Near the northern entrance
remains of Solomon's Temple; and a cistern, known and revered as the Well of the Leaf. Tradition says that Mohammed delivered a prophecy that one of his followers should enter Paradise while yet alive. During the caliphate of Omar, a worshipper, one Sherik-ibnHaiyan, came to this well to draw water, when his bucket slipped from his hands and fell in. He went down after it, and to his infinite surprise came to a door, which he thrust open, and found it led to a magnificent garden. He wandered about for some time and then returned, bringing with him a leaf which he had plucked as a token. The leaf never withered, and devout Moslems have ever since regarded this well as one of the entrances 'to Paradise.
Before referring in detail to the substructions of the Mosque El-Aksa, let us return to the Harâm, and glance at some of the things that meet the eye there.
Opposite the east portal of the Dome of the Rock is the Dome of the Chain, or David's Place of Judgment—an elegant structure supported by antique columns of different designs, paved with costly mosaics, and surmounted with a dome said by Moslems to have been the model for the Dome of the Rock. It is believed that once--a long time ago -a chain was suspended from heaven, and stood over this spot, and that when any two disputants could not agree the chain would move towards the one who had the right on his side, and this would settle the dispute. Near here is a structure where the prophets are said to have preached, and another where Solomon offered his prayer on the dedication of the Temple to the service of God; another, erected to commemorate Mohammed's nightjourney to heaven ; an elegant pulpit, on horse-shoe arches—a fine specimen of Arabian artwhere a sermon is preached every Friday in Ramadan; and various other buildings.
Between El-Aksa and the Dome of the Rock is a marble fountain, beneath which is a large reservoir, formerly supplied from the Pools of Solomon, seven or eight English miles distant.
A tour round the Harâm by the walls will introduce us to many places of absorbing interest. By the east wall is a stairway ascending to the top of the wall, and here the view is very striking. Immediately below is the valley of Jehoshaphat—a mass of graves and memorial-stones, the dead of all generations filling up the once deep valley. Jews and Moslems believe that this valley will be the scene of the Last Judgment: the Jews, on the ground of a prophecy in which it is said, “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat . . for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about” (Joel iii. 2, 12); the Moslems, on the ground of a tradition that when Mohammed comes to judge the world he will sit on this wall at a spot marked by a broken column, built in horizontally to the wall. This is the first pier of the great bridge Es Sirab, which is to be thrown over the gulf of hell and to be crossed by all who wish to reach Paradise. But, thin as the bridge is at the starting-place, it will, as it lengthens, become fine as a hair, and each person will have to carry the burden of his sins as fetters. The wicked will fall into the gulf, but the righteous will be supported by angels, and the farther they go along the bridge the lighter will be their burdens, till at length they will fly in safety to their heaven.
Near to this is the celebrated Golden Gate, or, according to tradition, the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, where Peter and John cured the lame man. It is one of the closed gates, and The gate
can only be entered from within the Harâm, although at the time of the Crusades it was open for a few hours on Palm Sundays. A Moslem tradition states that when our Saviour -who, it is said, entered Jerusalem through this gate on His triumphal procession on Palm Sunday—comes again to Jerusalem it will be to wrest the city from the hand of the Moslems; they have therefore prudently shut it up and walled it in. It is, however, generally agreed now that it corresponds with the Gate Shushan referred to in the Talmud; and, if so, “on it was portrayed the city Shushan, and through it one could see the High Priest who burnt the heifer, and his assistants, going out to the Mount of Olives." probably dates from the third century after Christ; the interior is used as a place of prayer by the Arabs. It is a large vaulted portal, highly ornate, and every pillar, column, cornice, and capital have been debated by archæologists, who still differ, and probably will, as to the antiquity of the various architectural details.
Northward from here is a mosque called the Throne of Solomon, marking the spot where it is said he was found dead. “ In order to conceal his death from the demons he supported himself on his seat with his staff, and it was not till the worms had gnawed the staff through, and caused the body to fall, that the demons became aware that they were now released from the king's authority.” Looking through a breach in the north wall, the traditional Pool of Bethesda is seen, 120 yards long and 45 wide, lying nearly 70 feet below the level of the Temple plateau, and called at the present time the Birket Isra’il, or Pool of Israel. At the north-west angle of the Harâm are the Turkish barracksstanding, it is believed, on the site of the fortress of Antonia—and the highest minaret of the Harâm.
Such are some of the main features of this remarkable spot, where, for centuries, no Christian foot has trodden until in quite recent times—a spot which is second to hardly any other spot in the world, and where still lie buried secrets which, so soon as the prejudices of the Moslems can be overcome, will doubtless be revealed to the searching eye of science.
Hitherto we have been in the track of legend-mongers and travellers; it is time we should now, get on the track of scientific explorers.
The first explorer of the ruins of Jerusaiem was Nehemiah, the prophet, who, in the book which bears his name, gives a singularly vivid description of the difficulties to be overcome in obtaining a rough survey before practical work could be commenced. “I arose in the night,” he says, “I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem : neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. And I went out by night by the Gate of the Valley, even before the Dragon Well, and to the Dung Port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof which were consumed with fire. Then I went on to the Gate of the Fountain, and to the King's Pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the Gate of the Valley, and so returned."*
Since his day Jerusalem has been again and again laid low in ruin, and explorers have risen up to do the same good work. Such were Origen and Jerome, Constantine and Helena; mediæval pilgrims; and scientific travellers, such as Drs. Robinson and Smith, Lynch, De
• Neh. ii. 12–15.