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clusters of dates; citrons, olives, quinces, and pistachios, were seen all the year in flower and fruit—blooming and ripening—as through an endless summer. A copious spring, the Well of Capharnaum, now Ain-el-Tin, "the fountain of the fig-tree," gushed from the hills, and refreshed gardens, cornfields, and vineyards, with its crystal waters. Here was to be heard continually the singing of birds; here grew “ the lilies of the field,” beautiful in the eye of Christ; and the voice of the turtle was heard in the land.
Well might the Jews say in proverbs, that “God loved the Sea of Galilee above all the other seas.” We know how it was loved by Immanuel, God with us. There stood Capernaum, “his own city.” There stood Chorazin and Bethsaida, “wherein most of his mighty works were done.” There stood Magdala, the town of her who was forgiven much, and loved much. Upon that pebbled beach he called Simon and Andrew, James and John, from their boats and nets, to become fishers of men; and the calm words, “ Follow me,” there spoken, sounded forth, and are sounding, through the world, till all its nations and kingdoms shall rise up and follow Christ. There he sat, in Simon's boat, and spoke the parable of the sower to the multitude on the banks. In the fields that stretch down to the lake, the imagery of that sacred story may still be seen. There is the beaten foot-track through the field, from the highway to the water; the limestone rock cropping above the surface; the thorn-brakes, with small sharp spines and dark ivy leaves, of which it is supposed the crown of Calvary was formed; and, last, the rich black loam that yields an hundred-fold. On these waters he slept as a man and awoke as God. Over the foam and spray of these heaving surges he came in the morning watch to his own, when the wild gusts blew down the gorges of the Gadarene hills.
On this shell-strewn beach he stood by the fire of coals in the gray dawn, and, looking back over Calvary, thrice asked Peter, “Lovest thou me?" And there he took some steps along the rugged strand, saying again, “Follow thou me!" to show what a rough way the restored apostle was to tread from Gennesaret to
The inn of Bethlehem has crumbled to dust; the site of Calvary is forgotten; but the waves of the crystal lake still
ripple and spill in dewy spray on the stones once trodden by the feet of Christ.
On the wooded height of Tabor, from which the traveller often has his first glimpse of the lake, a range of scenery is outspread before him, vivified with the light of sacred incident and imagery. At his feet the plain of Esdraelon rolls its waves of verdure and bloom. Darkly looming in the west, Carmel rises like a watchtower by the sea. A deep cleft in the eastern mountains mark the valley of the Jordan. Beyond calm Gennesaret are the red bare crags of the Gadarene country, where Legion wandered till he met with Jesus. You may trace the hazy hills of Gilead in the south, looking down on the valleys where lign-aloes and thickets of balsam once scented the evening air. And far away to the north the snowy crest of Hermon shines in the clear sky. “The north and the south, thou hast created them : Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.”
In spring-time, and early summer, some traces of its ancient beauty linger round the lake. Green wheat fields, vineyards, and grassy pastures, lend a smiling aspect to its shores; and the goats of the Arab wander through the fragrant thickets. The groves of oleander which grow down to its brink are the haunt of singingbirds; and flocks of water-fowl dip their wings into the limpid waters. But the land is desolate and emptied of inhabitants. As in the days of Shamgar, the highways are unoccupied, and the travellers walk through byways. The Mount of Beatitudes is still pointed out; and Saphet, the “city on an hill,” still crowns its ancient height; but where are the multitudes who thronged the wayside walks of Jesus, and crowded down these grassy slopes to listen to his parables ? What a stir and hum of men was here in the days of old, the shores studded with cheerful towns and hamlets, the waters specked with the sails of fishing-boats! But one solitary sail glides over these waters now. Tiberias, with shattered walls and a few palm trees, stands on its former site; but Capernaum, Chorazin, Bethsaida, where are they? Every traveller speaks of the deep, dead silence, which broods over these scenes of old renown. The shout of the fisherman, the song of the vintager, the voice of maidens drawing water, the mirth of children, the noise of the mill-stone, have ceased. At night the cry of the jackal wails along the shore; and Arab watch-fires on the opposite crags mingle their reflection in the waters with the light of stars, which shine on unchanging in “ blue Galilee.”
THE history of Tyre, long the capital of Phænicia, the first commercial city of the ancient world, and the founder of many colonies, is full of instruction to a nation like our own, which calls itself, as Tyre once did, mistress of the seas. As if to connect Christian Britain with Pagan Tyre by a still closer link, the first trading ships that ever visited our shores were Tyrian galleys, which, long before Isaiah and Ezekiel lived, drew wealthy freights of lead and tin from the mines of Cornwall. Such a name as Perran-Zabuloe, a village on the Cornish sea-coast, is one of the footprints left on the shores of England by the old Phænician sailors.
Isaiah speaks of Tyre as a city “whose antiquity was of ancient days.” He calls it “daughter of Zidon," as it was founded by settlers from that city. Standing on the shore of the Mediterranean, in the centre of the great highway of ancient commerce, it drew into its harbours and bazaars the riches of the East and West. From its position on the northern border of Israel, we find it mentioned so early as Joshua's time as “the strong city Tyre ;” and later, in David's days, as a “stronghold”—a city whose treasures were locked up within iron gates and granite walls. Hiram, king of Tyre, sent cedar wood and skilful workmen to assist in building David's palace. Between this king's grandson and Solomon a still closer alliance was formed. The Tyrian wood-cutters felled cedars in Lebanon for the temple; the wood was floated by Tyrians to Joppa; and the ornamental brass-work of the temple was executed by a Tyrian craftsman.
At this time Tyre was rapidly rising to that greatness and splendour which had reached its zenith in Ezekiel's days. Her merchants were known in every mart, her vessels traversed every sea. Every wind wafted to her harbour fleets whose masts were of cedar and whose benches were of ivory, laden with spices from Arabia and gold from Ophir, jewels and purple from Damascus, wheat and oil from India, and precious minerals from Tarshish (Western Europe
and the British Isles). Her merchants were princes; her builders had perfected her beauty. She was made very glorious in the midst of the seas.
Tyre at first stood on the mainland, but as its commerce increased, an island about half a mile from the shore was occupied, and in time became the principal city. The first town sunk into a suburb under the name of Old Tyre. In this position, throned like Venice on the waters, the merchant-city exulted in her strength and security. ...
In a siege, which lasted thirteen years, the city on the mainland was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and the pride of the mistress of the isles was humbled for a time. For seventy years Tyre was forgotten. But these disasters were but the first drops of the thunder-shower. The city rose prouder from its fall; and the tide of its prosperity again flowed to the full. Tyre was as great and famous as it had ever been, when, about 332 B.C., it was again besieged, by Alexander the Great. For a time the island city defied his efforts, till, by immense labour, a causeway was formed out of the ruins of Old Tyre, which gave his armies access to it from the mainland, and led, after a siege of seven months, to its final overthrow. To this daring expedient the words of Ezekiel referred: "They shall lay thy stones, and thy timber, and thy dust, in the midst of the water.” The very ruins of the earlier city were swept from the face of the earth, and buried in the deep.
In later ages the position of Tyre gave it importance as a stronghold to the successive conquerors of Syria. At times it seemed to enjoy a gleam of prosperity; but its glory had departed. We find a Christian church planted there in the days of Paul. In the time of the Crusades it was twice besieged and stormed; and it was the last place in Syria wrested from the Christian arms by the Saracens (A.D. 1291). Thus nation after nation had come up like waves of the sea, and dashed themselves against the devoted city.
No trace of Old Tyre is left. As the traveller crosses the mole of Alexander, washed on both sides by the waters, he may see how the dust has been "scraped” from her, and her site made smooth and naked, “like the top of a rock.” The waves break on