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the rushing of a torrent. After proceeding for an hour in the hollow of a ravine, the traveler comes again to the rugged steeps of a new chain of mountains; on passing which he comes to an open desert, from which are seen the Dead Sea, and the blue mountains of Arabia Petræa. In the environs of Jericho, are found well-cultivated fields of maize and of dourra, with gardens of orange-trees and pomegranates: and fine palm trees (?) encircle the houses. Then succeeds the Desert, which is an extensive plain disposed in numerous sections, that descend progressively to the banks of the Jordan, by regular steps. The soil consists of a hard white sand, covered by a concrete saline crust."

Jericho, as is stated by Josephus, was nearly nineteen miles from Jerusalem, and above seven from the Jordan, i. e. from the ford, probably. He describes it as in a plain, but overhung by a mountain forming part of a chain which begins near Scythopolis, and continues on to the southern limit of the Asphaltic Lake. Mr. Buckingham has shown good reason to regard the village of Rihhah, generally supposed to be Jericho, as not on the site of the ancient city, the ruins of which, he says, are three or four miles nearer Jerusalem. The modern village consists of about fifty mean houses, surrounded with a fence of the prickly pear. A fine brook flows near it, emptying itself into the Jordan, the nearest point of which is about three miles distant; and the neighbouring ground, thus fertilized, bears dourra, Indian corn, rice, and onions.-In the time of our Lord, Jericho was inferior only to Jerusalem in the number and splendour of its public edifices. It was one of the cities appropriated for the residence of the Priests and Levites, of whom it is said twelve thousand dwelt there at the period of the Gospel history. The territory round Jericho was deemed the most fertile part of Palestine, and abounded in palms and in roses: it yielded, too, great quantities of the opobalsamum-the balsam or balm of Gilead, which was so rare, and so much valued in ancient times, that it sold for double its weight in silver. The trees that produced it, Justin says, resembled the fir, though they were lower, and were cultivated in the same manner as the vine. At present there is not a tree of any description, and scarcely any verdure around the spot. To the northward of the city, as it appears, is a celebrated fountain named from Elisha, 2 Kings ii. 19–22, of which a beautiful engraving is given in the Landscape Illustrations. The waters of this fountain "are at present received in a basin, about nine or ten paces long, and five or six broad; whence, issuing out in a copious stream, they divide themselves into several small streams, dispersing their refreshment to the land as far as Jericho, and render it exceedingly fruitful. Noble trees grow close by this fountain, the spreading boughs of which afford a grateful shade to the traveler." It must often have been visited by our Lord.

A few miles from Jericho, the Jordan enters the Dead Sea, or Lake

Asphaltites. Of the scenery at this spot, an interesting engraving will be found in the first number of the Landscape Illustrations. This Lake is termed Asphaltites from the abundance of asphaltum, a species of bitumen often found floating on it: and it is called the Dead Sea, because it was believed that its waters were fatal to animal life. Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the valley now covered by the Asphaltic Lake, was a peculiarly fertile region, watered by the Jordan, which continued its course onwards to the Red Sea, and fell into the eastern branch of it. Besides Sodom and Gomorrah, there were three other cities on the Plain, which were destroyed with them, or in consequence of the formation of the Lake. There is nothing in the Mosaic account of this catastrophe, which interferes with the supposition of Dr. Daubeny, that it was occasioned by a volcanic eruption, and that the course of the Jordan being interrupted by a current of lava, the Lake was formed in consequence. That the whole region is volcanic appears from the character of the rocks on the southeastern side; from the hot springs and gulleys on the south-west; from the quantities of asphaltum floating upon the surface of the water; and from the large proportion, nearly one fourth, of muriatic salts found in its The Roman road in the south-east is formed of pieces of lava; and as it has been already observed, there are indications of volcanic action, in various parts, along the whole course of the Jordan, from its source in the north of Palestine.


The length of the Asphaltic Lake is stated by Josephus at about seventy miles, and its breadth eighteen. Some recent travelers represent it as very much shorter; but their estimate may have arisen in part from the period of the year when their observations were made. It is very shallow near the shores; and the intense heat in summer, with the small supply of water at that season, would greatly lessen the extent of the surface. At the southern extremity, it is nearly separated into two parts; and in summer one may walk across the division: the part so detached is of an oval figure, surrounded with plains and hills of salt. Owing to the extreme degree of salt which the water contains, it is exceedingly buoyant, and at the same time it presents great resistance to bodies moving in it. From the same cause, it is not easily agitated by the winds; though, like the Lake of Galilee, it is liable to the effect of sudden gusts and hurricanes, occasioned by the mountains which form its basin. It is likewise to be attributed to the acrid saltness of the water, that no fish are found in it; and even on its dreary shores, a few snail-shells are all the traces of animal life.

The shores at the northern extremity of the Dead Sea are very flat, and the Jordan before it enters the Lake passes through an extensive alluvial

tract, formed of a greyish sandy clay. Pococke describes the stream, at the end of March, as deep, rapid, and turbid, and about as wide as the Thames at Windsor.-The mountains on the side of Judæa, which form the western boundary of the Lake, are less elevated than those on the east. The extremity of the latter is said to consist of dark granite, of various colours. The precipices in general descend abruptly into the Lake; and the height of the mountain boundaries, with the extent, the solitude, and the general calmness of the Lake, present the combined features of majesty and of desolation. Mr. Hardy arrived with the pilgrims at their restingplace after night-fall. "It was a beautiful star-light night, without a cloud. The sky was one clear blue, and rested on all sides upon mountains that presented their forms in rugged outline and of the darkest possible shade, the circle of which was only broken towards the south by an expanse of still water forming the Dead Sea." The Author of Three Weeks in Palestine gives a morning view. "At the first dawning, the tints of the rising sun, purple and gold, with the deep shadows concealing the nakedness of the land, gave beauty to the landscape. The mountains encircling the Lake, which lay sleeping and motionless beneath them, reflecting their images, supplied a noble outline but the full glare of day displayed the wilderness in its true colouring of awful desolation. The mountains assumed one uniform dusty-brown livery, unrelieved even by a passing shadow; for not a cloud was visible in the blazing heavens: the sea was of a dull, heavy, leaden hue, unlike the fresh transparent purple which the living waters of a mountain lake usually display. The ground over which we rode, riven into chasms and ravines, showed not a blade of verdure: the few stunted shrubs that had struggled into life, were masses of thorns, with scarcely a leaf upon them, and wore the brown garb of the desert."

The region west of the Dead Sea towards the south, not only partakes of the general hilly character of the south of Judæa, but abounds in extensive caverns. This is particularly the case in the wilderness of Engeddi, in which is the Convent of Santa Saba, an erection of the sixth century, with many grottoes around it. This remarkable structure is situated on the summit of a ravine, several hundred feet deep, through which the Kedron takes its course to the Dead Sea, sometimes swelled by heavy rains to an impetuous torrent, but often with little or no water in its channel. The hills in this desert region are intersected by deep and narrow ravines, filled with wild verdure, in the sides of which are several caverns.

8. JERUSALEM and its neighbourhood.

We now return to Bethany, to proceed thence to Jerusalem.-This village is situated on the east side of the Mount of Olives. There is still

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