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gress of opinion and the power of truth. All the nations of Europe, in successive ages,-Greek, Roman, Barbarian,-glory in the name of the humble Galilean; armies, greater than those which Persia, in the pride of her ambition, led forth to conquest, are seen swarming into Asia, with the sole view of getting possession of his sepulchre; while the East and the West combine to adorn with their treasures the stable in which he was born, and the sacred mount on which he surrendered his precious life.*
On these grounds, there is presented to the historian and politician a problem of the most interesting nature, and which is not to be solved by any reference to the ordinary principles whence mankind are induced to act or to suffer. The effects, too, produced on society, exceed all calculation. It is in vain that we attempt to compare them to those more common revolutions which have changed for a time the face of nations, or given a new dynasty to ancient empires. The impression made by such events soon passes away: the troubled surface quickly resumes its equilibrium, and displays its wonted tranquillity; and hence we may assert, that the present condition of the world is not much different from what it would have been, though Alexander had never been born and Julius Cæsar had died in his cradle. But the occurrences that enter into the history of Palestine possess an influence on human affairs which has no other limits than the existence of the species, and which will be every where
* See Dialogues on Natural and Revealed Religion. By the Rev. Robert Morehead, D.D., p. 241,-an able and interesting work.
more deeply felt in proportion as society advances in knowledge and refinement. The greatest nations upon earth trace their happiness and civilization to its benign principles and lofty sanctions. Science, freedom, and security, attend its progress among all conditions of men; raising the low, befriending the unfortunate, giving strength to the arm of law, and breaking the rod of the oppressor.
Nor is the subject of less interest to the pious Christian, who confines his thoughts to the momentous facts which illustrate the early annals of his religion. His affections are bound to Palestine by the strongest associations; and every portion of its varied territory, its mountains, its lakes,—and even its deserts, are consecrated in his eyes as the scene of some mighty occurrence. His fancy clothes with qualities almost celestial that holy land,
Over whose acres walked those blessed feet,
In a former age, when devotional feelings were wont to assume a more poetical form than suits the taste of the present times, an undue importance, perhaps, was placed on the mere localities of Judea, viewed as the theatre on which the great events of Christianity were realized, and more especially on those relics which were considered as identifying particular spots, honoured by the sufferings or triumph of its divine author. The zealous pilgrim, who had travelled many thousand miles amid the most appalling dangers, required a solace to his faith in the contemplation of the Cross, or in being permitted to
Shakspeare, Henry IV. Part I. Act 1.
kiss the threshold of the tomb in which the body of his Redeemer was laid. To such a character no description could be too minute, no details could be too particular. Forgetful of the ravages inflicted on Jerusalem by the hand of the Romans, and by the more furious anger of her own children within her, -fulfilling unintentionally that tremendous doom which was pronounced from the Mount of Olives,--the simple worshipper expected to see the hall of judgment, the house of Pilate, and the palace of the high priest, and to be able to trace through the streets and lanes of the holy city the path which led his Saviour to Calvary. This natural desire to awaken piety through the medium of the senses, and to banish all unbelief, by touching with the hand, and seeing with the eye, the memorials of the crucifixion, has, there is reason to apprehend, been sometimes abused by fraud as well as by ignorance.
But it is nevertheless worthy of remark, that, from the very situation of Jerusalem, so well defined by natural limits which it cannot have passed, there is less difficulty in determining places with a certain decree of precision than would be experienced in any other ancient town. Nor can it be justly questioned, that the primitive Christians marked with peculiar care the principal localities distinguished by the deeds or by the afflictions of their Divine Master. It is natural to suppose, as M. Chateaubriand well observes, that the apostles and relatives of our Saviour, who composed his first church upon earth, were perfectly acquainted with all the circumstances attending his life, his ministry, and his death; and as Golgotha and the Mount of Olives were not enclosed within the walls of the
city, they would encounter less restraint in performing their devotions in the places which were sanctified by his more frequent presence and miracles. Besides, the knowledge of these scenes was soon extended to a very wide circle. The triumph of Pentecost increased vastly the number of believers; and hence a regular congregation appears to have been formed in Jerusalem before the expiry of the third year from that memorable epoch. If it be admitted that the early Christians were allowed to erect monuments to their religious worship, or even to select houses for their periodical assemblies, the probability will not be questioned that they fixed upon those interesting spots which had been distinguished by the wonders of their faith.
At the commencement of the troubles in Judea, during the reign of Vespasian, the Christians of Jerusalem withdrew to Pella, and as soon as their metropolis was demolished they returned to dwell among its ruins. In the space of a few months they could not have forgotten the position of their sanctuaries, which, generally speaking, being situated outside the walls, could not have suffered so much from the siege as the more lofty edifices within. That the holy places were known to all men in the time of Adrian is demonstrated by an undeniable fact. This emperor, when he rebuilt the city, erected a statue of Venus on Mount Calvary, and another of Jupiter on the sacred sepulchre. The grotto of Bethlehem was given up to the rites of Adonis ; the jealousy of the idolaters thus publishing, by their abominable profanations, the sublime doctrines of the Cross, which it was their object to conceal or to calumniate.
But Adrian, although actuated by an ardent zeal in behalf of his own deities, did not persecute the Christians at large. His resentment seems to have been confined to the Nazarenes in Jerusalem, whom he could not help regarding as a portion of the Jewish nation,-the irreconcilable enemies of Rome. We accordingly perceive, that he had no sooner dispersed the church of the Circumcision, established in the holy city, than he permitted within its walls the formation of a Christian community, composed of Gentile converts, whose political principles, he imagined, were less inimical to the sovereignty of the empire. At the same time he wrote to the governors of his Asiatic provinces, instructing them not to molest the believers in Christ, merely on account of their creed, but to reserve all punishment for crimes committed against the laws and the public tranquillity. It has therefore been very generally admitted, that during this period of repose, and even down to the reign of Dioclesian, the faithful at Jerusalem, now called Ælia, celebrated the mysteries of their religion in public, and consequently had altars consecrated to their worship. If, indeed, they were not allowed the possession of Calvary, the Holy Sepulchre, and of Bethlehem, where they might solemnize their sacred rites, it is not to be imagined that the memory of these holy sanctuaries could be effaced from their affectionate recollection. The very idols served to mark the places where the Christian redemption was begun and completed. Nay, the Pagans themselves cherished the expectation that the temple of Venus, erected on the summit of Calvary, would not prevent the Christians from visiting that holy mount; rejoicing in the idea,