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Jordan; all that is known respecting Salim, is that it was near Ænon. Both places were on the west of the Jordan, and probably within Samaria. This may have led the Evangelist to assign the reason why John was baptizing there, viz. that there was abundance of water at that place. It was some time after the Passover.-Josephus represents Scythopolis as in Galilee ; but Lightfoot says (VOL. II. p. 493) that it was within the limits of Samaria, and in the jurisdiction of the Gentiles. It probably was a Gentile city, as well as some of the cities east of the Jordan, and we have no reason to believe that our Lord ever visited it. He must, however, have passed near it, when, having been rejected at Ginæa (p. lxxxviii.), he came along the borders of Samaria and Galilee in his way into the Peræa; and he probably crossed the Jordan at the bridge northwards of it.-Dr. Richardson pursued the same route as far as Scythopolis, crossing the south-eastern part of the Plain of Esdraelon, and passing near the shores of the Kishon. When his party came near Scythopolis, which they found to be a small village consisting of mere hovels, the Valley of the Jordan was in view, with the mountains beyond it. They found the weather much hotter than they had done in any other part of Palestine: the vegetation (May 11) was quite burnt up, and the grain over-ripe. Masses of ejected lava lay scattered around the village; and the adjacent hills had much the appearance of extinguished volcanoes. Mount Gilboa, rising to the height of eight hundred or a thousand feet, comes close to Scythopolis, and bounds the road up the river-side. It is a lengthened ridge, rising up in peaks. It bears a little withered grass, and a few scanty shrubs scattered here and there. The plain of the Jordan opposite this range, Richardson found extremely beautiful, well watered, well cultivated, with rich crops of barley, most of which was over-ripe. On the east, the Jordan is bounded by a high range of hills which forms part of Mount Gilead, retreating from it by a hilly foreground, so that the prospect is extremely interesting. About seven or eight miles up the river, there is a large stone bridge over the Jordan; and at this place the river has a considerable depth of water which it rolls over a stony bed, between thirty and forty feet wide. There appears to have been no bridge between this and the Dead Sea.

The passage of the Jordan which was crossed by Mr. Buckingham, was about six miles above Jericho; and we may conveniently follow his course from that town, round by Gerasa and Gadara, so far as to give, in connection with the particulars already stated, a general view of the Country beyond the Jordan.

After leaving Jericho, he and his companions proceeded northwards, having on the west a lofty peak of the range of hills which border the plain of Jordan on that side, and end, in this direction, the mountains of Judæa.

Nothing can, he says, be more forbidding than the aspect of these hills, which are barren and desolate; but Maundrell says that the view from them is delightful. This part of the Desert of Judæa is regarded, without improbability, as the scene of our Lord's abode for forty days after hist Baptism.-Proceeding further to the north, they opened on a beautiful valley, now highly cultivated, and spread over with a carpet of the freshest verdure, apparently of young corn. They soon came near the passage of the Jordan. Here the plain was unfruitful, the soil being in many places incrusted with salt, and having small heaps of a white powder like sulphur, scattered at short intervals over its surface. The whole of the plain from the mountains of Judæa on the west, to those of the Peræa on the east, may be called the vale of Jordan; but in the centre of the plain, which is here at least ten miles broad, the Jordan runs into another still lower valley, perhaps a mile broad in some of its widest parts, and a furlong in the narrowest. Through the middle of this the Jordan flows, between banks which were at this period fourteen or fifteen feet high, while the river was at its lowest ebb. There are close thickets all along the edge of the stream, as well as upon this lower plain, which would afford ample shelter for wild beasts. At the passage, the river appeared to be little more than twenty-five yards in breadth; and it was so shallow as to be easily fordable by the horses. This, it will be remembered, was after a long drought. The banks were thickly lined with tall rushes, oleanders, and a few willows; the stream was exceedingly rapid; and the water was pure and sweet to the taste, and tolerably clear from its flowing over a bed of pebbles.

The situation of Bethabara, the house of passage, (more anciently Bethany beyond the Jordan), is a matter of some uncertainty. It might have been at any one of the fords of the Jordan: but I deem it most probable that it was at this above Jericho. Its vicinity to Jerusalem suits well the place for John's Baptism, and also the circumstances respecting the deputation from the Sanhedrim, and the message of the sisters of Lazarus. A very instructive view of the ford is given in the Landscape Illustrations of the Bible.

The eastern range of hills is succeeded by another of less elevation; and then there is a high table-land of extraordinary richness, abounding with beautiful prospects, clothed with thick forests, (among which the oak was often seen), varied with verdant slopes, and possessing extensive plains of a rich soil, (now covered with thistles), and yielding in nothing to the plains of Zabulon and Esdraelon.

In proceeding northwards, the travelers came to the Jabbock-the river over which Jacob passed when about to meet his brother Esau. "The

banks of this stream," says Buckingham, "were so thickly wooded with oleander and plane trees, wild olives, and wild almonds in blossom, pink and white sickleyman flowers, and others, the names of which were unknown to us, with tall and waving reeds at least fifteen feet in height, that we did not perceive the waters through them from above; though the presence of these luxuriant borders marked the winding of its course, and the murmuring of its flow was echoed through its long deep channel, so as to be distinctly heard from afar." Where they crossed, this river was not more than ten yards wide; but it was deeper than the Jordan above Jericho, and nearly as rapid.

While proceeding to the north-east, through the region of Gilead and Bashan, the country presented much of cultivation. There had been gentle showers on these mountains, while all the country west of the Jordan was parched with drought; and the young blades of corn were, early in February, appearing above the earth. The general face of this region improved as the travelers advanced; and every new direction of their route opened upon them views which surprised and delighted them by their grandeur and their beauty. When, however, after visiting the magnificent ruins of Gerasa, they again came to the neighbourhood of the Jordan, and of the Hieromax which flows into it through a bed of basalt, the country appeared like that in the midst of which Jerusalem stands, consisting of black stony mountains, with scanty soil, and presenting few spots even capable of cultivation. The dark masses of rock over which the river winds its course, resemble cooled lava, when contrasted with the lighter soil by which it is edged on both sides. The stones of its bed are porous; and small patches appear on the ground in many places. There are also hot springs to the north of it. These and similar phenomena in different parts, are among the evidences of volcanic agency, which present them

selves throughout the course of the Jordan, from its source, to the termination of the Asphaltic Lake.

Near the Hieromax at Om Keis, are some extensive ruins, which Buckingham supposes to be those of Gamala; but Seetzen, whose opinion is commonly followed by geographers, considers them as the remains of Gadara, one of the cities of Decapolis, spoken of by Josephus as the capital of the Peræa. See p. lxxix.-It was formerly a large and opulent town; but it has no further connection with the Gospels, than as giving appellation, according to the common text, to the country south-east of the Lake, in which our Lord cured the demoniacs.

The survey which we have taken of the region called by the Evangelists the Country beyond the Jordan, enables us to appreciate the account given of it by Josephus. He describes the Peræa as more extensive than Galilee,

though inferior to it in other advantages and in population. The greater part of it, including the south-east, is rough and desolate, and unsuited to the finer kinds of fruit. Nevertheless the soil, where it is good, is very productive. The plains abound in trees of various kinds, though the olive, the vine, and the palm are the most common; and they are abundantly watered with torrents from the neighbouring mountains, and by springs that never fail, even when the torrents are dried up by the summer-heat.— The Plain of Jordan, he says, is greatly burnt up in the summer; and owing to the extreme heat, to which he might have added its narrow breadth and the nature of its soil, the atmosphere becomes unwholesome and even pestiferous. Every part is destitute of moisture, except the borders of the Jordan; and there the palms are more flourishing and productive than those at some distance from its banks. From the length which Josephus assigns to the Plain, viz. thirty miles, he probably referred almost exclusively to that part of the valley of the Jordan which begins so far north of the Asphaltic Lake; and the baneful character of the air during the heat of summer, sufficiently explains the reason why, though in itself attractive, it was so destitute of population.

7. Region of the DEAD SEA.

As travelers approach the Dead Sea from Jerusalem, it is most suitable to our present object to follow the same course, and 'go down from Jerusalem to Jericho.'

From the eastern side of the Mount of Olives, the mountains east of the Jordan are in full sight, extending southwards to Mount Pisgah, whence Moses surveyed the promised land. "The river is discerned," says Buckingham, "winding its course through a deep valley, until it discharges itself through the Dead Sea to the southwards; and the eastern view is bounded by an even range of high and woodless mountains, stretching, as far as the eye can reach, in a north and south direction." From the hills in the Peræa, whither we have before followed his route, "the the west shore of the Dead Sea, like its east, as seen from the Mount of Olives, presented the appearance of bold and rocky cliffs and precipices, of considerable elevation, and abrupt descent." On descending eastwards, from the Mount of Olives, by a steep rocky path, a fountain presents itself, at which tradition says that the Apostles rested when journeying between Jerusalem and Jericho. "It is situated (say some travelers) in the gorge of a long narrow valley, which exhibited the last signs of vegetation in a few stripes of corn; beyond it, not a blade of grass is to be seen. After leaving this valley, we wound our way among parched and barren hills, of one uniform whitish-brown colour, bearing not the semblance of

any green thing to relieve the eye." After this they entered a very narrow defile, with high precipitous sides, where Sir Frederick Henniker had been attacked and wounded. Of this defile there is a striking picture in the Three Weeks in Palestine, from which the foregoing extract is made. There is scarcely room for doubt that this is the spot which our Lord had in view in the Parable of the good Samaritan.-If this be the defile which Mr. Buckingham mentions as about twelve miles from Jerusalem, he and his companions, after passing it, thus pursued their course:

"We descended again into deeper valleys, traveling sometimes on the edges of cliffs and precipices, which threatened destruction on the slightest false step. The scenery all around us was grand and awful, notwithstanding the forbidding aspect of the barren rocks that every where meet our view: but it was that sort of grandeur which excited fear and terror, rather than admiration. The whole of this road from Jerusalem to the Jordan is held to be the most dangerous about Palestine; and indeed in this portion of it, the very aspect of the scenery is sufficient, on the one hand to tempt to robbery and murder, and on the other to occasion a dread of it in those who pass that way." The shouts sent by some armed banditti from hill to hill "were re-echoed through all the valleys; while the bold projecting crags of rock, the dark shadows in which every thing lay buried below, the towering heights of the cliffs above, and the forbidding desolation which every where reigned around, presented a picture that was quite in harmony throughout all its parts."

"After a succession of these wild hills", says Dr. Morehead's traveler, "with others still more white and bare to the left, we came to a height from whence we saw the Dead Sea and the Plain of Jordan. There was a haze through which the dark grey water, and the dim hills beyond, looked melancholy and forlorn. The Jordan was marked by a green line in the midst of a white and grey plain, six or eight miles broad; beyond which were other high mountains, those over against Jericho."

This route was so often traversed by our Lord, and is from its associations so interesting, that the reader may be glad of one more delineation from the pen of Lamartine. After having described the early part of his journey, which he began to the south of the Mount of Olives, and spoken of a broad artificial road on the sides of the mountains, the formation of which he attributes to Solomon, this picturesque writer thus continues:

“There is now no longer a dwelling or cultivated spot to be seen. The mountains are completely destitute of vegetation, being indeed barren rocks, or covered with a blackish rocky cinder. They have, from time to time, split into narrow abysses, where no pathway is found. All the heights have a volcanic appearance. The masses which have been rolled down their sides, and on the road, by the torrents of winter, resemble blocks of lava, hardened and cracked by the progress of ages. When the summit of one height is attained, and the horizon momentarily expands, as far as the eye can reach, it rests on nothing but a black chain of hills, whose truncated peaks are heaped upon one another, and present a savage outline relieved by the dark blue of the firmament. Thus it is a boundless labyrinth of rocky avenues of every form, torn, split, and jagged, into gigantic heaps, and divided at intervals into deep ravines, where you hear not even

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