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REFERENCES TO PLAN OF JERUSALEM,
REDUCED FROM A LARGE PLAN, CONSTRUCTED BY SCHULTZ, PRUSSIAN CONSUL AT JERUSALEM.
16. Room in which the Last Supper was instituted.
17. House of the Virgin Mary.
18. Place where St. Peter wept.
19. House of Sta. Anna.
THE attentive reader of history cannot fail to remark how often, in the confusion of the middle ages, the very movements or principles which seem in themselves most barbarous, or are most strongly tinctured with the darkest shades of superstition, have been those which, in the sequel, gave the strongest impulse to the advancing spirit of civilization which has at length changed that dark past into this bright present It is in the contemplation of this oft-recurring fact, that we trace, more distinctly, perhaps, than in any other, the inscrutable but unerring ways of that higher Providence to whose rule all things are subjected. Few of those duties enjoined by the ancient Romish Church were accompanied with, and seemed to lead to, more abuses and scandals than the pilgrimages to the Holy Land, so natural an attraction to every Christian; few were attended with so much bigotry, and blindness, and uncharitableness, or ended in observances and convictions so grossly superstitious and so degrading to the intelligence of mankind. Yet it was this throwing of people upon the wide and distant scene, on which they were forced into continual intercourse, hostile or friendly, according to the circumstances of the moment, with people of different manners, creed, sentiment, and knowledge, that gradually softened down all prejudices, and paved the way for the entire destruction of that system to which it seemed intended to give support. If the seeds of civilization ever existed in the cloister, they were seeds cast upon the barren rock, and it was not until they were transplanted to another and richer soil, that they began to sprout and give promise of fruit.
Even in this point of view the narrative of those early pilgrimages must possess no ordinary degree of interest, and it gives us no little insight into the history of the march of intellectual improvement to accompany these early travellers in
their wanderings, as they have themselves described them to us, and to watch their feelings and hear their opinions. The human mind is one of those important objects of study that we can never look upon from too many standing-places. But there is another point of view in which the narratives of the early pilgrims, of which so many have been preserved, are perhaps still more interesting. That favoured land to which they relate, the scene of so many events of deep import to our happiness in this world and in the future, has never lost its attractions, and more steps, as well as more eyes, are now turned towards it, than in those so-called ages of faith, when every mile on the road was believed to count in heaven for so much towards the redemption of the past crimes and offences, however great, of the traveller. Pilgrims innumerable still visit the holy places, with a purer faith and a less prejudiced understanding, yet with the desire of knowing what others in past ages saw, which is now not to be seen, or which is seen under different circumstances; to know what they thought of objects which still offer themselves to view; and to trace in their successive observations and reflections the gradual development of a thirst for discovery and knowledge which has at length given them the power of being so much wiser than their forefathers. It was the interest created by the objects these pilgrims visited personally, and the curiosity excited by the vague information obtained from intercourse with men who came from parts still more distant, that laid the first foundation of geographical science, and that first gave the impulse to geographical discovery.
A comparison of the numerous narratives to which we allude, places before our eyes the most distinct view we can possibly have of the various changes which have swept over the land of Palestine since it was snatched from the power of the Roman emperors. The more ancient are, of course, the most interesting, because they relate to a period when a far greater number of monuments of still earlier antiquity remained in existence than it has been the lot of any modern pilgrims to visit, and the traditions of the locality were then much more deserving of attention, because they were so much nearer to the time of the events to which they related. It can hardly be supposed that the Christian inhabitants of Jerusalem and its neighbourhood, under the Romans, did not preserve some
authentic traditions concerning the localities of the more important events of Gospel history.
We have fortunately one document of a very remarkable character, which has preserved to us the local traditions of the Christians of Syria under the Romans. It was first brought to light by the celebrated French antiquary, Pierre Pithou, who printed it, in 1588, from a manuscript in his own library, under the title of "Itinerarium a Burdigala Hierusalem usque;" and it was afterwards inserted in the editions of the "Antonine Itinerary," by Schott and Wesseling. The author of this Itinerary was a Christian of Bordeaux, who visited the Holy Land in the year 333*, and it was evidently compiled for the use of his countrymen. This visit took place two years before the consecration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built by the emperor Constantine and his mother Helena. The compiler of this Itinerary, who is the first traveller to the East who has left us an account of his journey, departed from Bordeaux, then one of the chief cities of Gaul, passed by Arles and other towns, and crossed the Alps into Italy, which country he traversed, passing through Turin, Pavia, Milan, Brescia, Verona, &c., to the then magnificent city of Aquileia; thence he crossed the Julian Alps, and passed through Noricum, Pannonia, Illyria, Dacia, and Thrace, to Constantinople, and thence, after crossing the Bosphorus, he continued his route through Asia Minor to Syria. Hitherto the Itinerary is a mere recapitulation of names and distances, but, after his arrival in Syria, he continually interrupts his bare list of names, to mention some holy site, or other object which attracted his attention. On his arrival at Jerusalem, he gives us a long description of that city and its neighbourhood. From Jerusalem he returns to Constantinople, varying a little his route, and thence he retraces his steps as far as Heraclea in Thrace, where he leaves his former road, passing through Macedonia to Thessalonica, and thence to Italy, where he visited Brundusium, Capua; and Rome, and thence returned to Milan.
* This date is fixed by a statement of the writer of the Itinerary:— "Item ambulavimus Dalmatio et Dalmaticei Zenophilo cons. iii. Kal. Jun. a Kalcidonia, et reversi sumus ad Constantinopolim vii. Kalend. Jan. consule suprascripto." We know from the historians that Flavius Valerius Dalmatius (brother of the emperor Constantine) and Marcus Aurelius Xenophilus were consuls together in 333.