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sides by the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Persian gulf. The descendants of Abraham by Keturah and the Sabæans, were the only people noticed in Scripture who inhabited this part of Arabia.
[Civil History.—The Arabs, inheriting the character of Ishmael their progenitor, have in all ages led a wandering life. Devoted to a nomadic condition, we need not wonder that many of the notices taken of them in Scripture, refer to their peculiar way of life, and that they paid into the treasury of Jehoshaphat a yearly tribute of 7700 rams, and the same number of goats. Their marauding habits have naturally provoked against them the hostility of other nations; and subsisting as they have done for many successive ages, there is scarcely a single people who have figured in the history of the ancient world, that has not by turns directed its arms against this turbulent race. But amid all the efforts made to subdue them, they have retained to this hour their national independence ; so that their past history and their present condition is a remarkable commentary on the truth and fulfilment of the ancient prediction of their founder,—their hand is against every man, and every man's hand against them.'
* 2 Chron. xvii. 11.
Canaan, or Palestine, is entitled to particular consideration on many accounts; but chiefly because it was the residence of the chosen seed, and the theatre of our redemption.
When the Maker of heaven and earth appointed to the nations their inheritance, the country which is bounded on the west by the Mediterranean ; on the east by the river Jordan, the lake Asphaltites and the sea of Tiberias ; on the north by the mountain Antilibanus; and on the south by Idumea, fell to the lot of Canaan, one of the sons of Ham. It extends about two hundred miles in length, and eighty in breadth. It is situated between 31° and 34° north latitude, and 35° and 36° east longitude. From the grandson of Noah, who, in the opinion of the Orientals, migrated from Arabia, and the shores of the Red Sea, into that region, * it was first called the land of Canaan. It has since been distinguished by other names, as the land of Promise ; the Holy Land; Judea, from the tribe of Judah, which possessed its finest and most fertile division; and Palestine, from the Philistines, by whom a great part of it was inhabited. Although not half so large as England, and situated in a very warm climate, it surpassed all other
* Michaelis Spicil. part i. p. 169.
countries in fertility and pleasantness. Abounding with the most delicious fruits and choicest grains ; diversified with beautiful hills, plains, and valleys; enriched with fountains and brooks of excellent water; adorned with delightful groves and forests; crowded with populous towns and wealthy cities; blest with a sweet and salubrious temperature, and placed in the very centre of the earth, from whence the light of true religion might radiate into every part of the world, it was assigned by Jehovah for the habitation of his chosen people, where redeeming love was to put forth all its glories.
Physical Geography.-Palestine is in general a mountainous country; even the whole of Syria, of which the Holy Land is reckoned a part, is in some degree a chain of mountains, branching off in various directions, from one great and leading ridge. Whether the traveller approach it from the sea, or from the immense plains of the desert, he beholds at a great distance, a lofty and clouded chain running north and south as far as the eye can reach; and as he advances, sees the tops of the mountains sometimes detached, and sometimes united in ridges, uniformly terminating in onegreat line, towering above them all. This line, which extends without interruption from its entry by the north quite into Arabia, runs at first close to the sea, between Alexandretta and the Orontes; and after opening a passage to that river, proceeds to the southward, quitting for a short distance the shore, and in a chain of summits stretches as far as the sources of the Jordan ; where it divides into branches, to enclose as it were in a capacious basin, this river and its three lakes. During its course a countless number of branches separate from the main trunk, some of which are lost in the desert, where they form various enclosed hollows, as those of Damascus and Haran; while others advance towards the sea, where they sometimes end in steep declivities as at Carmel, or Nekoura, or by a gentle descent sink