Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

travels comprehend al

PART II. unto Illyricum, and after that in Rome, and, according to

the received opinion of the ancients, in Spainf, and even in St. Paul's Britains itself, he preached the Gospel of Christ. Indeed

the two greatest parts of the sacred books, which make

up the New Testament besides the Gospels, are either most all the places men

Epistles written by this great Apostle, or else accounts of tioned in

his travels and voyages, the relation of these being what the New Testament takes up the greatest part of the sacred book, intitled, the out of the Acts of the Apostles. For this reason, to describe the Gospels.

travels and voyages of St. Paul, is much the same as to give a geographical account of the places mentioned in the other books of the New Testament, besides the four Gospels. As for those few places which occur in the said books of the New Testament, and yet relate not to the history of St. Paul's travels and voyages; they shall however be taken notice of where it shall be most proper, so that in this treatise shall be comprised a full account of all such places as are to be found in any of the books of the New Testament that follow after the Gospels, and have not been described before in the former Part as being likewise mentioned in the Gospels.

g Theod. in Tim, et Psalm, Athan, ad Dracont,

e Acts xxviii. 31. f

Epiphan. Hæres. xxvii. p. 51. Chrys. de Laud. Paul. Cyril. Catech. xvii. p. 457.

CHAP. I.

St. Paul

goes from

to Damas. cus.

Of St. Paul's Travels from his leaving Jerusalem to go to

Damascus, till his first return to Jerusalem, after his

Conversion. St. Paul having (as himselfa acquaints us) been bred up, 1. after the strictest sect of the Jewish religion, a Pharisee, was very zealous for the Mosaical Law, and consequently Jerusalem against the Gospel of Christ, as a doctrine looked upon by him to be set up in opposition to the Law. Hereupon he thought with himself, that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth; which he accordingly did in Jerusalem, shutting up many Christians in prison, having received authority from the chief priests so to do. And when they were put to death, he gave

his voice against them, and punished them frequently in every synagogue, and even compelled them to blaspheme, by speaking against or disowning of Christ. Nay, so exceedingly mad was St. Paul against such as professed themselves to be the disciples of Christ, that he persecuted them even unto bstrange cities, lying without the bounds of Judea. For the Jewish Sanhedrim, or chief council, not only had power of seizing and scourging offenders against their law within their own country, but, by the connivance and favour of the Romans, might send into other countries, where there were any synagogues that acknowledged a dependance in religious matters upon the forementioned council at Jerusalem, to apprehend them. Accordingly, St. Paul was sent to Damascus, with authority and commission from the chief priests, to fetch up what Christians he could find there, that they might be arraigned and sentenced at Jerusalem. But God had de- A. D. 35. signed him from henceforth for a better work; insomuch that he being miraculously converted by a voice from heaven, as he was on the road, and now not far from the

a Acts xxvi. 5, 9, &c.

b Acts xxvi. 11.

2.

tion of Damascus.

PART II. city, instead of continuing a persecutor, became a preacher

of the Gospel, when he arrived at Damascus.

This city is one of the most venerable for antiquity in A descrip- the whole world, being the birthplace of Eliezer", the

steward of Abraham. Nor has it been less considerable on account of its strength and greatness, being for a long time dthe capital of Syria, and residence of the Syrian Kings, mentioned in the Old Testament. To pass by other titles, it is styled by Julian ethe Eye of the whole East; and, to pass by other accounts of it, I shall content myself with that given us by the reverend and ingenious Mr. Maundrellf, as being the latest, and given by one that has himself seen the place, and was in all respects qualified to give a most just description thereof.

My author then acquaints us, that certainly no place in the world can promise the beholder at a distance greater voluptuousness. Insomuch that the Turks have a tradition among them, that their prophet coming near Damascus, took his station upon a certain precipice for some time, in order to view the city; and considering the ravishing beauty and delightfulness of it, he would not tempt his frailty by entering into it, but instantly departed, with this reflection upon it, that there was but one paradise designed for man, and for his part he was resolved not to take his in this world. But to proceed to a more particular description of this city.

It is situated in an even plain of so great extent, that you can but just discern the mountains that compass it on the farther side. It stands on the west side of the plain, at not above two miles distance from the place where the river Barrady breaks out from between the mountains, its gardens extending almost to the very place. The city itself is of a long straight figure, its ends pointing near northeast and south-west. It is very slender in the middle, but swells bigger at each end, especially at that to the north

c Gen. xv. 2.
d 1 Kings xi. 24.
c Julian. Epist. 24.

f Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 117-132.

east; in its length, as far as I could guess by my eye, it CHAP. I. may extend near two miles. It is thick set with mosques and steeples, the usual ornaments of the Turkish cities; and is encompassed with gardens extending no less, according to common estimation, than thirty miles round; which makes it look like a noble city in a vast wood. The gardens are thick set with fruit-trees of all kinds, kept fresh and verdant by the waters of Barrady. You discover in them many turrets and steeples and summerhouses, frequently peeping out from amongst the green boughs, which may be conceived to add no small advantage and beauty to the prospect. On the north side of this vast wood is a place called Solkees, where are the most beautiful summer-houses and gardens.

The greatest part of this pleasantness and fertility proceeds from the waters of Barrady, which supply both the gardens and city in great abundance. This river, as soon as it issues out from between the cleft of the mountain into the plain, is immediately divided into three streams, of which the middlemost and biggest runs directly to Damascus, through a large open field, called Ager Damascenus, and is distributed to all the cisterns and fountains of the city. The other two (which seem to be the work of art) are drawn round, one to the right hand, the other to the left, on the borders of the gardens, into which they are let (as they pass along) by little currents, and so dispersed all over the vast wood. Insomuch that there is not a garden, but has a fine quick stream running through it, which serves not only for watering the place, but is also improved into fountains and other water-works, very delightful, though not contrived with that variety of exquisite art, which is used in Christendom.

Barrady being thus divided, is almost wholly drunk up by the city and gardens, What small part of it escapes is united, as Mr. Maundrell was informed, in one channel again, on the south-east side of the city, and, after about three or four hours course, finally loses itself in a bog, without ever arriving at the sea.

PART IJ. The Greeks, and from them the Romans, call this

river Chrysorroas (i. e. Golden stream). But as for Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, mentioned 2 Kings v. 12. I could find, saith my author, no memory of so much as the names remaining. They must doubtless have been only two branches of the river Barrady, and one of them was probably the same stream that now runs through the Ager Damascenus, directly to the city, which seems, by its serpentine or winding course, to be a natural channel. The other I know not well where to find; but it is no wonder, seeing they may and do turn and alter the courses of this river, according to their own convenience and plea

sure.

The garden walls are of a very singular structure. They are built of great pieces of earth, made in the fashion of brick, and hardened in the sun. In their dimensions they are two yards long each, and somewhat more than one broad, and half a yard thick. Two rows of these placed edge-ways one upon another make a cheap, expeditious, and in this dry country a durable wall.

In passing between the gardens, we observed their method of scouring the channels. They put a great bough of a tree in the water, and fasten it to a yoke of oxen. Upon the bough there sits a good weighty fellow, to press it down to the bottom, and to drive the oxen. In this equipage the bough is dragged all along the channel, and serves at once both to cleanse the bottom, and also to mud and fatten the water for the greater benefit of the gardens,

The streets of this city are narrow, as is usual in hot countries; and the houses are all built on the outside of no better a material, than either sun-burnt brick, or Flemish wall, daubed over in as coarse a manner as can be seen in the poorest cottages. From this dirty way of building they have this among other inconveniences, that, upon any violent rain, the whole city becomes, by the washing of the houses, as it were a quagmire.

It may be wondered what should induce the people to

« ElőzőTovább »