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seen in America, Ireland, and elsewere,-testified to, as it has been, by inhabitants and visiters, by civilians and divines, by judges and magistrates, by the secular press as well as the religious, by newspapers and reviews, (the high-church “Quarterly” among the rest) by accounts, public and private, by letters and conversation, I can no more doubt than of my own existence.
If ever there has been an extraordinary manifestation of the Spirit of God, it has occurred within the last few years. If ever the Holy Ghost came down with power, He has done so of late. With all abatements, this must be confessed. If there have been wild, unreal excitements, there have also been conversions in a most unusual degree. If there have been galvanizing shocks, only leading to hideous contortions, there have been also inspirations of true Christian life into souls dead before. If, in a few cases, there has been anything that can possibly remind us of the struggles in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to catch the flame which is indeed of earth, though said to come from heaven; there has been, in many cases, what more justly reminds us of the descent of fire from the Lord on Elijah's altar, in answer to his prayer. Of the divinity of the work, I repeat, I cannot doubt.
LAST DAYS OF THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM.*
The bank against the western wall of the Inner Temple had been carried across the smouldering ruins of the western cloister and the outer court, and the battering-ram mounted upon it was made to play against the Inner Temple in vain ; for such was the compactness of the solid mass of masonry, that the ram produced no effect. Another more powerful engine was substituted, but no better result followed. For six days the most persevering efforts were continued, and then the Romans gave it up in despair.
Meanwhile, a second bank had also been perfected; namely, the bank outside of Antonia, directed against the northern cloister of the Inner Temple. It had gradually progressed across the débris of the northern cloister of the Outer Temple, which had been burnt, and across the outer court, and now approached the foot of the most easterly of the four northern gates of the Inner Temple. Titus at this time was anxious to save the sacred fabric with its cloisters as a trophy of arms, and ordered his legionaries to force the gate opposite the bank with crowbars and levers, and after great exertions
few of the stones at the threshold were dislodged; but the gate itself, upheld by the solid masses at the side and the supports within, stood firm. Titus ordered an escalade, and ladders were brought, and the Romans mounted with alacrity. Indeed, the Jews offered little resistance to the ascent, but no sooner were the Romans up than some were sabred as they stepped off the ladders; others, who had gained a footing on the wall, were surrounded and slain; and not a few of the ladders, loaded with men, were thrown backward, and all upon them dashed headlong against the hard pavement below. Titus did not yet despair, but ordered up the colours, or ensigns, in the hope that his legionaries would at least rally round these. The Jews even allowed the standards to be carried up opon the wall ; but there ensued a deadly and desperate conflict between the Romans in defence of their colours, and the Jews to get possession of them. The Jews again prevailed, and bore off the colours in triumph. This indelible disgrace to the Roman arms was witnessed by the assembled foree below; but not a man who had mounted the cloister ever rejoined the ranks.
* See SELECT LITERARY Notices, page 259.
The battery from the western mound had failed, and the attempt to force the northern gate had failed, and the escalade had failed; and Titus, disappointed and nettled, commanded his troops to set fire to the magnificent gate which had thus successfully resisted his efforts. The soldiery were but too ready to obey the behest, and in a minute' the northern gate was in a blaze. The plates of silver that covered it flowed down in liquid streams ; and, as might or must have been foreseen, the gorgeous cloisters that communicated with it became also the prey of the devouring element. Now it was that the spirit of the Jews for the moment was broken. Stricken to the earth by consternation at the depth of the calamity, they became paralyzed, and made no effort to extinguish the flames, but looked on in silent despair. This was on the 3d of August, [A.D. 70,) and for the rest of the day and throughout the night the conflagration continued.
On the 4th of August, the sacred fabric, though encircled by flames, was still standing ; and Titus called a council of his generals to deliberate upon its fate. Besides Titus, there were present the six most prominent personages of the army ;-namely, Tiberius Alexander, the second in command ; Sextus Cerealis, the commander of the 5th legion ; Larcius Lepidus, of the 10:h; Titus Phrygius, of the 15th ; Fronto of Liturnum, who led the Alexandrian cohorts ; and Marcus Antonius Julianus, the Procurator of Judæa. Some cried impetuously, “Down with the Temple to the ground !” for that it was the very heart and centre of the whole rebellion. Others advised more guardedly, that, if abandoned by the Jews, it should be preserved; but if converted into a citadel or military position, it ought to be razed. Titus expressed his opinion, that the sanctuary, whatever use might be made of it by the Jews, ought, for their own sake, to be saved as & monument of their prowess. Alexander, Cerealis, and Fronto expressed their concurrence in this view, and the majority therefore favoured the preservation of the Temple. Orders were given for preventing the conflagration from reaching the sanctuary, and to clear the ground for an assault upon the platform on which it stood. The Romans were occupied the rest of the day upon these works; and the Jews, dejected by the destruction of the cloister, did not venture upon a renewal of hostilities.
The 5th of August, a day of ominous import, dawned upon the besieged. It was on that very day that the Temple of Solomon had been burnt by Nebuchadnezzar. Was the Temple of Herod to share the same fate on the same day? The partisans of John and Simon * showed no superstitious dread of it; for their courage, which had slumbered all the day before, now rose to its highest pitch ; and at eight o'clock in the morning, sallying from the eastern gate, they rushed down upon the Roman legionaries. The Romans formed in close rank, and, armed with large shields, stood like a wall to receive their charge ; but the Jews poured down in ever-increasing numbers, and would have prevailed, had not Titus, who was on the lookout from the remaining tower of Antonia, hastened with his chosen guard to their relief. Narrow as the space was, it is said that even a body of cavalry rode in amongst the Jews, and trampled them down. The contest was a severe one, and it was not till one o'clock in the day that the Jews, exhausted and overmatched, were driven back, and again shut up
within the walls of the Inner Temple.
Titus, having secured the victory to his troops, retired to his tent to repose himself after his fatigues. The troops proceeded to clear the ground; and, the enemy offering no resistance, they ascended the platform to extinguish the smouldering fires of the cloisters. All at once the indomitable bands of John and Simon, having recovered breath after the morning's exertion, rushed upon their foes and engaged in another death-struggle. At this moment a soldier, without orders, and actuated only by a spirit of revenge, seized a burning brand from the cloister, and, mounting on the back of a comrade, hurled it into the windows of one of the side chambers that enclosed the sacred fabric on the north. Ignition in the hot month of August was easy, and in a few minutes the flames were seen to ascend. A convulsive cry arose from the Jews, as they beheld their beloved Temple approaching its fate. They sprang to the rescue, but extinguishment was beyond human effort.
Tidings came to Titus in his tent that the Ternple was on fire; when he instantly started up, and, accompanied by his body-guard of spearmen, commanded by Liburnus, hastened to the spot. All the officers followed in his wake, and after them the legionaries en masse. Titus forced his way into the first court of the Inner Temple, the court of the women, and then into the second court, which contained the sacred fabric, and by shouts and gestures implored the assembled multitudes to assist in subduing the flames; but the clamour and din that reigned on all sides drowned his voice, and distracted attention from his gestures. The confusion was increased by the legionaries, who had climbed the ascent after him in a tumultuous body. The entrances to the upper platform were choked with men, and some fell and were trampled to death, and others were thrown down amongst the smouldering ruins of the cloister, and suffocated or burnt. Those who had reached the sanctuary paid not the least regard to the commands, or renonstrances, or even the threats, of Titus; but, instead of averting destruction from the holy pile, encouraged those before them to complete its destruction.
* These were heads of factions among the besieged.EDITOR.
Titus saw that the fate of the Temple was sealed ; and eager, from natural curiosity, to inspect the interior of perhaps the most celebrated edifice in the world, he hastened with his guards to the vestibule, and entered the Holy, or first shrine, and then the Holy of Holies. The flames had already enveloped the chambers only round the exterior; and Titus was so struck with the beauty and magnificence of what he beheld, that the thought still recurred, Was it not possible to save this glorious production of human skill? He rushed back through the portal, and again implored the Romans to exert themselves to preserve so renowned a monument, and even ordered Liberatus, the centurion of his guard, to inflict corporal chastisement on any that disobeyed. All was in vain. The fury of the soldiery predominated, and even his own immediate followers were so far from paying respect to his injunctions, that one of them, as Titus left the sanctuary, thrust a burning flambeau into the wood-work of the doorway, and the whole Temple now became one volume of fire. Seated as it was upon an elevated platform, it presented the appearance of a vast volcano surging and Beething from the bowels of the earth, and vomiting a sea of flame up to the skies. The roar of the conflagration was only equalled by the shouts of the triumphant Romans, and the shrieks of their despairing victims. The whole upper city, though divided by a valley, was a spectator of this scene of devastation, and the hills around re-echoed a nation's wail.
What became of the desperate bands of John and Simon? Driven by fire and sword from the fastness of the Inner Temple, they lost not their wonted energy, but, facing the dense ranks of the legionaries that surrounded them, cut their way through to the outer court, and thence gained the bridge that led from the south-west corner of the outer court, and reached in safety the Upper Town, to bid defiance once more to the Roman arms.
The scene that they left behind them beggars all description. A general carnage, remorseless and indiscriminate, followed; and men unarmed and begging on their knees for mercy, priests in their robes, women and children, were murdered in the madness of the moment, without regard to the laws of war, without distinction of age, or sex, or office. Streams of blood were seen to flow down the steps of the altar, and the pavement was covered with dead bodies, over which the brutal soldiery still struggled in pursuit of the wretched fugitives.
Some anticipated death from the hand of the enemy, by precipitating themselves into the flames. A numerous body of the priests found their way to the top of the broad wall of the Inner Temple, and there stood motionless as statues, aghast at the sight before them. A multitude of the populace, amounting to six thousand, took refuge on the roof of the royal cloister, along the south side of the Outer Temple. The Romans most inhumanly set fire to the latter cloister, and not a living soul of all the six thousand escaped. As for the priests who still survived upon the wall of the Inner Temple, they were soon driven by famine to surrender at discretion; and Titus ordered them all to execution, with the cold remark, that,
VOL. X.- FIFTH SERIES.
as the Temple was destroyed, their office was gone, and that the priests of the Temple who had lived by it should also perish with it.
The Romans even wreaked their vengeance upon inanimate objects: for, leaving only the bare walls of the Inner Temple, they destroyed what remained of the cloisters, and demolished the gates, with the exception of the Beautiful Gate on the east, and the Royal Gate on the south, which were for the present spared. They also delivered over to the flames the famous Treasury, in which, as the great national bank, vast heaps of wealth had been accumulated.
The Romans now in triumph carried their ensigns into the Temple, and, planting them opposite the Beautiful or Corinthian Gate, (the eastern,) offered sacrifices to them, according to their custom, and saluted Titus as Imperator. Thus stood, in the Holy Place, “the abomination of desolation," spoken of by the prophet Daniel ; and so dropped the curtain upon the fourth act of this mournful tragedy.
THE LAST JEWISH SACRIFICE.
When the Prince of Wales made his oriental tour, the visit of the party to Mount Gerizim was of great interest. The ancient Shechem is replaced by the modern Nablous, in the valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. Jacob's well is at the foot of Gerizim. In the city of Nablous remains to this day a small company of Samaritans, the last of that religion, numbering at the present time one hundred and fifty-two souls. These are the sole representatives of a once powerful nation, the ruins of whose city, Samaria, at a little distance, crown the summit of an olive-shaded hill, and look off with mournful solemnity to the distant Mediterranean. The decay of the race is not the subject of interest so much as the preservation, to this time, of the worship of God on Gerizim.
The royal party reached Nablous just at the time of the Passover, and witnessed its celebration on the mountain by this little company of the descendants of the ancient people who celebrated it there in all the pomp of a great nation. The scene, as described, was most deeply interesting. The assembly was on the mountain to “sacrifice the Passover at evening, at the going down of the sun." The priest and the elders were robed in white, with bare feet. The women were all of them shut up in their tents. Before sunset the recitation of prayers commenced ; and as the sun touched the horizon, six sheep were slain with knives, and the blood was tipped by the finger on the foreheads and noses of the children. The sheep were then spitted on wooden poles. There is an interesting point here, inasmuch as this method of roasting the Passover lamb closely resembles the ancient. Now they use a pole which has a cross-beam to keep the body from slipping off. Formerly this cross-beam was thrust through the breast of the lamb, and the forefeet were attached to it. Justin Martyr called attention long ago fo this resemblance to the cross.