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hour. For had he proceeded then to sacrifice, and to bring down the supernatural flame, the people might have hailed it as the gift of their solar deity, have still magnified him as Baal, and have honoured Elijah as standing higher in his favour than his established priesthood. He therefore waited until the sun had hid his head behind the summit of Carmel, and the shades of approaching night settled upon the plains below; and then, “ at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice," the fire came down, which the fanatical idolaters were obliged to refer to the Lord who made heaven and earth.
The particular scene of this splendid transaction in the Jewish history may be nearly identified by the traveller. As “ all Israel was gathered together unto Carmel," we must look evidently to the south-eastern side of the mountain for the place of assembly, where it slopes into the noble plain of Esdraelon. The spot was admirably adapted to give imposing effect to the spectacle : from the spacious area of the plain, the striking display of idol imbecility and divine power would be clearly discernible. Esdraelon terminates at the foot of Carmel, and over its extensive and fertile surface the multitudes coming from the interior country would travel. Here, at its eastern extremity, was Ahab in his pride and power, and around him the famished inhabitants of Samaria, contemplating with eager interest the sacrificial rites, distinctly visible upon the the declivities before them. That this side of Carmel was the scene of the transaction, is confirmed, by its being the side by which the river Kishon flows, where the priests of Baal were slain.*
The successful prophet appears to have ascended higher up the mountain after his triumph, where he offered up that remarkable prayer in answer to which the drought was terminated, and the genial showers descended to refresh the parched and thirsty land. * And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees.” This was plainly one of the lower eminences of the range, for “ he said to liis servant, Go up now, look toward the sea," referring to one of the higher summits, which commanded a prospect of the Mediterranean. Here, upon the seventh ascent, the “little cloud like a man's hand,” kecaph ish, like the hollow of a man's hand, was beheld, the token of abundance of rain. And still in many eastern countries, the handlike cloud is recognized by the traveller, and found to be the sure prognostic of a storm. Bruce noticed this in connexion with the inundation of the Nile. “Every morning," he observes, “in Abyssinia is clear, and the sun shines; about nine a small cloud, not above four feet broad, appears in the east whirling violently round as if upon an axis : but arrived near the zenith it first abates its motion, then loses its form, and extends itself greatly, and seems to call up vapours from all opposite quarters. These clouds having obtained nearly the same height, rush against each other with great violence, and put me always in mind of Elijah's foretelling rain on mount Carmel. The air, impelled before the heaviest mass, or siriftest mover, makes an
* And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slew them there. 1 Kings xvii. 40.
impression of its own form in the collection of clonds opposite; and the moment it has taken possession of the space made to receive it, the most violent thunder possible to be conceived instantly follows, with rain, and after some hours, the sky again clears."*
The visit of Elijah to Carmel upon this occasion does not appear to have been its first consecration to the performance of sacred rites. In preceding ages it had been selected as a scene of worship, and probably as far back as the times of the judges, it was regarded as a holy spot in Israel. The prophet, we are told,“ repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down;" he did not erect one entirely new, but made use of materials already existing, an altar having been erected here in those times when, for want of fixed places of worship, such structures were permitted. This re-edified altar occupied the heights of the mountain for a long period; it survived the overthrow of the royal houses of Israel and of Judah; and was an object of religious respect when the conquering Romans came into the land. Tacitus observes, “ between Syria and Judea, stands a mountain, known by the name of Mount Carmel, on the top of which a god is worshipped, under no other title than that of the place, and according to ancient usage without a temple or even a statue. An altar is erected in the open air, and there adoration is paid to the presiding deity. Nec simulachrum Deo, aut templum situm tradidere majores ; aram tantum et reverentiam. On this spot Vespasian offered a sacrifice. In the midst of the ceremony, while his mind expanded with vast ideas, Basilides, the officiating priest, examined the entrails of the victims, and, in his prophetic manner, addressing himself to Vespasian, whatever,' he said, “are your designs, whether to build a mansion, to change your estates, or increase the number of your slaves, the fates prepare for you a vast and magnificent seat, with an immense territory, and a prodigious multitude of men.'” Suetonius also speaks of his consulting the oracle of Carmel, and receiving an answer which was so encouraging as to assure him of success in whatever he designed, how great and important soever it might be.+ From the description of Tacitus, the mount, the absence of a temple, no image, but a simple altar, very ancient, there can be no doubt but that it was the identical altar of Jehovah, before which Vespasian stood, in his time consecrated to the lying vanities of heathenism.
The successor of Elijah in the prophetic office appears to have frequently made Carmel his place of residence; its caves and fastnesses affording a secure asylum in circumstances of danger. Elisha retreated here after the destruction of the young Bethelite idolaters, for ridiculing the translation of his illustrious master;t and here he was visited by the woman of Shunem, a city at the extremity of the plain of Esdraelon, whose son he restored to life. § In its rocky de
* Travels, vol. iii. p. 669.
+ Apud Judæam Carmeli Dei oraculum consulentem ita confirmavere sortes, ut quicquid cogitaret volvaretque animo, quamlibet magnum, id esse proventurum pollicerentur. 1 And he went from thence to Mount Carmel. 2 Kings ii. 25.
So she went and came to the man of God to Mount Carmel. 2 Kings iv. 25.
files piety was often obliged to hide its head. The following passage in Micah seems to intimate that this was the case in his day: he introduces the church bewailing the scarcity of good men, and offering up a prayer in behalf of a hidden remnant.
The sheep of thine inheritance,
As in the days of old."* In Amos, there is the same reference to the places of concealment with which the mountain abounded.
« Though they dig into hell,
There shall my hand take them ;
I will search and take them out thence.”+ But Carmel is distinguished in profane history, as well as sacred story. It was the site of the Syrian Ecbatana, a city so called in opposition to the Median capital of that name ; here Cambyses met his death upon his return from the conquest of Egypt. The event is mentioned by Herodotus, as the fulfilment of an oracular announcement:-“An oracle from Butos had warned him that he should end his life at Ecbatana ; this he understood of Ecbatana of the Medes, where all his treasures were deposited, and where he was in his old age to die. The oracle however spake of the Syrian Ecbatana. When he learned the name of the town— This' he exclaimed, remembering the oracle, is donbtless the place in which Cambyses, son of Cyrus, is destined to die.'”I A similar fabulous prophecy is connected with the death of one of our own kings, Henry IV., of whom it was foretold that he should die at Jerusalem, and who expired in the Jerusalem chamber at Westminster. D’Anville identifies the Syrian Ecbatana with Batanea, but this cannot be correct, as Batanea was a name of a district at some distance from Carmel, and is spoken of by Josephus as a place totally distinct from the city. “He," speaking of Varus, “ moreover slew many of the Jews, to gratify the Syrians of Cæsarea. He had a mind also to join with the Trachonites in Batanea, and to take arms, and to make an assault upon the Babylonian Jews that were at Ecbatana, for that was the name they went by. He therefore called to him twelve of the Jews of Cæsarea of the best characters, and ordered them to go to Ecbatana. * Micah vii. 14. + Amos, ix. 3.
Herod. Thalia. lxiv. $ Cellarius thus fixes the site of Ecbatana, and mentions the oracle fatal to Cambyses :-“ Oppidum in Carmelo monte, quod Plinius memoravit, eodem auctore Ecbatana fuit dictum. In hoc Oppido, Cambyses rex Persarum mortuus est, cui oraculum Ecbatana fatalem locum prædixerat, quem ille de urbe Mediæ intellexit; oraculum autem de Ecbatanis Syriæ loquebatur, ut Herodotus tradidit, lib. iii.c. 64." Geog. Antiq. lib. iii. c. 13.
In the immediate neighbourhood of mount Carmel, is the city of Acre, the Accho of the Scriptures, the AKH of Strabo, and the Ptolemais of the Greeks, the scene of many a sanguinary struggle during the Crusades. It is first mentioned in the sacred writings, as one of the places from which the Asherites were unable to expel the original Canaanitish population.* Under the auspices of the first Ptolemy, it rose to considerable consequence, and being enriched and beautified by his liberality, it received from him its Greek name. “ This Ptolemais,” says Josephus, “is a maritime city in Galilee, built in the great plain. It is encompassed with mountains; that on the east side, sixty furlongs off, belongs to Galilee; but that on the south belongs to Carmel, which is distant froin it one hundred and twenty furlongs; that on the north is the highest, and is called by the people of the country the ladder of the Tyrians,'which is at the distance of an hundred furlongs.":| Most of the cities of Syria and Palestine, retained only for a short time the Greek and Roman names they received from their conquerors. Ammianus Marcellinus speaks of the natives in his day using the ancient appellations; and soon did Ptolemais revert to its ancient Phænician name, Acre, by which it is now known.
At an early period of Christian history, mount Carmel began to be an object of veneration, and soon after the visit of the Empress Helena to the Holy Land, it is probable that religious edifices were erected upon it. An order of religious derived their name from itthe Carmelites – who seem to have originated with some recluses who inhabited the mountain. Phocas, a Greek monk, relates, that in his time, in 1185, Elijah's cave was still in existence, near which were the remains of a building, which intimated that there had been anciently a monastery. He states that some years previously an old monk, a priest of Calabria, whose name was Berthold, fixed his residence on Carmel, and assembled ten brothers. In 1205, Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem, gave the Solitaries a rigid rule. This rule consisted of sixteen articles, one of which confined them to their cells, and enjoined them to continue day and night in prayer; another prohibited their having any property; another enjoined fasting from the feast of the holy cross until Easter, except Sundays; abstinence from flesh at all times was enjoined by another article; and another imposed upon them a strict silence from vespers till the tierce the next day. The rule was confirmed by Pope Honorius III., but afterwards relaxed by Innocent IV. Upon the peace which the Emperor Frederick II. concluded with the Saracens in 1229, most of the Carmelites quitted Palestine under Alan, the fifth general of the order, and erected monasteries in England, and in various parts of Europe.
A convent has, however, survived upon Carmel to modern times, beautifully situated upon the edge of a promontory, overlooking the sea. During the siege of Acre by the French under Buonaparte, it was used as a hospital for their sick. After their retreat the Arabs pillaged it: and during the recent Greek revolution, Abdallah
* Judg. i. 31, 32. + Wars, lib. ii. c. 10.
Pasha razed it to the ground, blew up the foundations, and carried the materials to Acre, upon the pretext that it had sheltered some of the insurgents. The members of the community are now rebuilding it upon the site of the ancient edifice, and one of them has recently visited Europe to collect contributions for that purpose.*
Tradition still associates Carmel with the name of the intrepid prophet who once “ prevailed with God” upon its summit. The credulous devotee directs the traveller to the cave in which he lived, the fountain at which he drank, and the grotto in which he taught the sons of the prophets. The latter is described as a well hewn chamber, cut entirely out of the rock, and squared with great care, being twenty paces long, twelve broad, and from fifteen to eighteen feet high. It was a cell on the left on entering nearly in the centre of its eastern side, large, but roughly hewn; and around the south end and west side runs a low bench of stone. A kind of altar in a high recess stands at its further end, immediately opposite to the door of entrance, before which there was a curtain and a lamp. Beneath were mats and carpets for the accommodation of visitors. It thus affords a comfortable halt for travellers, as it affords shelter and shade, and has a cistern of excellent water, a place for horses, and a coffee-house adjoining. It is called the “ school of Elias," from a notion that the propbet taught his disciples there. It was formerly in Christian hands, but it is now taken care of by Mahomedans, who have built all these convenient establishments about it. The place which has been usually pitched upon as the residence of the prophet, is described by Pococke as a grotto, in a narrow valley about a mile long, among the mountains. Contiguous to it is his fountain, cut out of the rock, and nigh at hand there are the ruins of a convent, which, according to report, was built by Brocardus, the second general of the Latin Carmelites. The spot is represented as wild, and solitary in the extreme; far apart from the haunts of men, familiar with no sounds but the murmur of the sea to which the valley opens, the cry of the eagle, or the footfall of the pilgrim. That this was the particular scene of Elijah's residence is only a fiction handed down from the illiterate monks of Helena's day; yet still that he might have visited
* Fra Giovanni Battista - who has distributed the following appeal in Greek, Italian, and French :-“The convent and church of Mount Carmel, in Syria, are universally known to the Christian world. These sacred monuments were so completely destroyed in 1821, that the cave of the prophet Elijah alone remained. The bare-fooled Carmelites (Carmes déchausés), the appointed guardians of the place, obtained permission in 1827 to re-edify the structure. Charitable assistance from Europe has enabled them to make some progress in the work, but in order to complete it, they are compelled again to appeal to the benevolence of the faithful. The establishment on Mount Carmel is not only entitled to interest from its religious associations, but also from its great utility to the numerous mariners and travellers who arrive at Kaifa. The Carmelite in attendance at that town, where no European agent resides, is always ready to afford them as. sistance, and is specially charged to conduct them to the convent, whose doors are never closed to the stranger. The names of contributors will be inscribed in the church, and they will participate in the daily prayers of the community for their benefactors,"
+ Buckingham's Travels, vol. i. p. 187.