Page images
PDF
EPUB

without being perceived, and came to Caper

naum.

It appears from the gospel of St. John, ch. i. v. 46, that Nazareth was regarded by the Jews as a very contemptible place. According to Dr. Clarke, a modern traveller, it seems to have retained the same characteristic meanness; and when he visited the town, he found it in a wretched state of indigence and misery. Indeed it is evident from the accounts of the Evangelists, that the other Jews entertained a very contemptible opinion of their Galilean brethren. Of this, one reason was, that lower Galilee was surrounded by Gentile nations; and hence was called " Galilee of the Gentiles." When this

province is mentioned in the New Testament, Lower Galilee is generally meant.

Cana of Galilee was so called to distinguish it from another town of the same name, wear the city of Sidon. In this little village, our Saviour performed his first miracle, which manifested his glory, and confirmed the faith of his disciples. The remarkable fact which they had witnessed caused them to believe in him with more stedfastness than they had previously done.

The city of Capernaum is celebrated in the Gospels as the place where our Lord usually resided during the time of his ministry. It stood northeast of the sea of Galilee, and was a convenient port, from whence vessels were continually passing from Galilee to places on the other side of the lake. This city is said, by our Saviour, to be “exalted unto heaven," but, because the inhabitants neglected to improve their distinguished privileges, he declares “it shall be brought down to hell.” This awful denunciation has been fully verified; for so far from being the metropolis of Galilee, as it once was, it consisted, a few years since, of only six poor fishermen's huts; and now, perhaps, is wholly uninhabited. The woe denounced upon Chorazin and Bethsaida, where our Lord performed his mighty works, has also been completely accomplished.

The Sea of Galilee is so named from that province. It is also called the lake of Genesareth, from a tract of country so styled, which bounded it for a considerable way on the

[ocr errors]

western side ; and the sea of Tiberias, from a town of that name. This sea, or lake, is viewed with veneration by Christians, from its being frequented by Christ and his apostles; and from the account of our Saviour's walking upon its waves. Matt. xiv. 25.

Tabor, a very remarkable mountain in Galilee, is celebrated by travellers for its variety of delightful prospects. It is supposed by some to be the place on which Christ was transfigured, which is styled, by St. Peter, the Holy Mount. Others are of opinion, that this wonderful transaction occurred on a inountain in the more northern parts of Galilee, near Cesarea Philippi.

Samaria, a province of Palestine, is situated between Judea and Galilee. Shechem, or Sichar, the capital of Samaria, lies in a narrow valley, between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. In the vicinity of this city, is Jacob's well, celebrated by our Saviour's conversation with a Samaritan woman. (See John iv. 6.) The town is now called Naplouse. The Samaritans, at present, are very few in number. As lately as 1809, we learn that they continu

ed at Naplouse, inhabiting old deserted houses, in the most decayed part of the city ; and that their employments just furnished them with bread. There are no Samaritans in the East, excepting at Naplouse and Jaffa ; and these amount to two hundred persons, men, women, and children, composing thirty families. Since the year 1788, they have not repaired to Mount Gerizim for worship, but have made their sacrifices in the city of Naplouse.

The province of Judea was celebrated for its capital, Jerusalem, which contained the Temple, the centre of the Jewish Religion. This city had acquired its greatest extent at the time of its final destruction. It then comprehended four hills; Zion, Moriah, Acra, and Bezetha. Zion was in the southern part of the city, and Acra in the northern. Zion was considerably the highest, and that part of the city situated on it, was called the upper city. The temple which Herod the Great rebuilt, with the utmost magnificence, and the other superb buildings with which he adorned his capital, evinced the splendor of the city, when our Saviour appeared to enlighten it with his divine instructions.

[ocr errors]

Our Lord entered Jerusalem in the character described by the prophet, just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass. (See Zechariah ix 9.) On that memorable occasion, by conforming to the simplicity of the patriarchal ages, he poured contempt on the pride of human glory. He honoured the law, which prohibited the chosen people from multiplying horses, lest they should imbibe the spirit, and engage in the ruinous enterprises, of warlike nations; and he displayed, at the same time, the unaffected meekness and lowliness of his character. He was, however, welcomed by the honours usually paid to kings and emperors. The multitude spread their garments, and strewed green branches in the way, which was the custom in the Eastern countries, when victors returned to their capitals. When our Saviour entered the city, he repaired to the temple, and healed the lame and blind whom he found there.

The Mount of Olives, or Mount Olivet, derived its name from the number of olive trees with which it was covered. It lay east of Jerusalem, and commanded a full view of the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »