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countries by the innumerable travellers and scholars who had gone before him. We know few books of travel which present such evidence of extensive erudition and accurate research; certainly not one which unites so happily great reading and solid judgment, and which turns the learning of others so liberally to account without the least compromise of its own freedom of thought. Mr. Stanley has for once successfully shown that it is possible to unite erudition and originality, to be profound without dulness, and accurate in the details of a historical subject without losing sight of its bearings upon general history. He has gathered his stores out of every writer of authority from Bochart or Quaresmius down to Laborde, Ritter, and Robinson; and yet, free from pre-judgments to a degree which, strange as it may seem, almost amounts to a defect, we could hardly venture to say that he manifests any special predilection for the views of any one of his predecessors. With a keen perception of the natural beauties of scenery, and a still keener appreciation of its past associations, he never passes by anything that illustrates the topography, the history, and especially the sacred memorials, of the scene of his journey; yet he has happily escaped that prolixity into which these qualities but too commonly betray.
Mr. Stanley's work will retain its place in literature as a contribution to the historical geography of Arabia and Palestine. The two most recent investigators of this important subject, Robinson* and Ritter†, if they have done much to elucidate it, have also done a great deal to unsettle and embarrass its study. Robinson is very often mainly aggressive in his strictures. He addresses himself far more to the demolition of existing theories than to the reconstruction of a system which may be received in their place. Ritter is always learned, and, generally speaking, singularly impartial; but he is often so hesitating and so distrustful of his own convictions, that we know few writers from whom, even when we most admire his learning, his industry, his candour, and his clearness, we rise with so utterly vague and unsatisfied a feeling as to the practical conclusion to be deduced from his investigations. It is chiefly in the track of these (although not to the exclusion of the older writers) that Mr. Stanley has followed. Many of their difficulties in the topography of Palestine he has satisfactorily resolved in
*Biblical Researches in Palestine, 3 vols. 8vo. 1841.
In his great work, the 'Welt-Künde in Verhältniss zur Natur 'und zur Geschichte des Menschen,' vols. xiv. xv. and xvi.; vol. xiv. contains Sinai; vols. xv. and xvi., Palestine.
the part of his work devoted to that subject; and if we cannot speak with the same unreserve of the chapters on Sinai,— if his statements here are occasionally vague and his conclusions faltering or uncertain,-it is not that he has evaded the difficulties of that intricate subject, or neglected the learning which others have expended upon their investigation. On the contrary, we can hardly doubt that the very extent of his reading and his desire to do full justice to each of the conflicting views which prevail on this subject have been, on more than one occasion, the occasion of betraying him into that hesitation which he himself deplores in his great master, Ritter.
It would be unjust, however, to Mr. Stanley to consider him as a mere antiquarian, adjusting disputed measurements and determining doubtful localities. For the thoughtful student the charm of his book will be, that, without neglecting these considerations, it passes beyond and above them. Fully alive to the importance of bringing out the agreement between the history of the Bible and the geography and natural scenery of the lands of the Bible, the striking correspondence, for example, between the actual localities of the Sinaitic Desert and the recorded events of the wanderings of the Jewish people; the harmony between the history of Joshua and the still discernible scenes of the battles which he is related to have fought; the lifelike truthfulness of the allusions to the natural characteristics of Arabia and Palestine with which the Prophecies and the Gospels abound,- he nevertheless deals with these subjects, and such as these, far less in the spirit of a polemic, than in that of a man full of his own convictions, and speaking, not so much for the purpose of convincing others, as of expressing, from the very fulness of this belief, that which he himself feels so strongly.
For, even independently of their doctrinal importance, or of the polemical or antiquarian illustrations to be derived from them, there is an intrinsic charm in these scenes to which no cultivated (not to say religious) mind can be insensible. Without caring to determine the precise locality of every interesting incident, there are few imaginations, except of the very rudest, which will be dead to the influences of such a region. There are few even amongst ourselves who can follow this path of pilgrimage and not clothe those mountains once again with the terrors of that awful Presence, or people anew with their mysterious occupants the
· Wilds, where, mid the feline race, Couched hungry seers and prophets vigil-blind;'
few, who among the time-worn caves of Mount Serbâl, for example, will not go back to the days when Elijah 'came thither into a cave, and lodged therein;'* or, again, upon what is still the high road of the yearly caravan of Mecca pilgrims, fancy that perhaps this is the very track of Paul on his outward or homeward journey, when he went into Arabia and returned again 'to Damascus ;'t or, amid the dreamy silence of some noon-day halt, picture the young camel-driver of Mecca, as he rested from his toilsome march, as yet without a single thought of the mighty destiny which lay before him, and cherishing no higher aspiration than for a safe transit through the desert and a ready market for his merchandise! It may be doubted, perhaps, whether Mr. Stanley has not gone beyond the general feeling, when he suggests that this pleasure of association is in all cases increased when the events which we recall occurred, not within perished or perishable buildings, but on the unchanging scenes of Nature; on the Sea of Galilee, and Mount Olivet, and at the foot of Gerizim, rather than in the house of Pilate, or the inn at Bethlehem, or the garden of the Holy Sepulchre;' but there certainly are many incidents in sacred history, and especially in the history of our Lord, the memory of which comes back upon the pilgrim with tenfold more pleasure on the grassy plain, or on the bare mountain-side, or upon the shore of the silent sea, than if it were commemorated by the most gorgeous monument that ever
Stood, the sun outfacing
With its marble and its gold!'
And at all events, whatever may be the diversity of temperament, or the variety of attraction which the several scenes of this sacred land possess, Mr. Stanley certainly does not overstate its general interest, when he says that
The whole journey, as it is usually taken by travellers, presents the course of the history in a living parable to us, to which no other journey or pilgrimage can present any parallel. In its successive scenes, as in a mirror, is faithfully reflected the dramatic unity and progress which so remarkably characterises the Sacred History. The primeval world of Egypt is with us, as with the Israelites, the starting point-the contrast of all that follows. With us, as with them, the pyramids recede, and the desert begins, and the wilderness melts into the hills of Palestine, and Jerusalem is the climax of the long ascent; and the consummation of the Gospel History presents itself locally, no less than historically,
* 1 Kings, xix. 9.
† Gal. i. 17.
as the end of the Law and the Prophets. And with us, too, as the glory of Palestine fades away into the "common day" of Asia Minor and the Bosphorus, gleams of light still continue-first, in the Apostolical labours, then fainter and dimmer in the beginnings of ecclesiastical history- Ephesus, Nicæa, Chalcedon, Constantinople; and the life of European scenery and western Christendom completes by its contrast what Egypt and the East had begun. In regular succession at "sundry" and "divers" places, no less than in sundry "times and divers manners," "God spake in times past to our "fathers," and the local as well as the historical diversity is necessary to the ideal richness and completeness of the whole.' (Pref. XXV.)
Although the work may be properly said to commence with the scenes of the Exodus, it is introduced by some slight but interesting sketches of the principal localities in the ordinary tour of Egypt and the Nile. These sketches, as well as those of the several stages of the journey through the Peninsula of Sinai, are given in the form of extracts from the author's original journals, or from letters addressed to friends at home. They are written without any appearance of study, and are but a transcript of the impressions received upon the spot; but to many readers they will prove more attractive than the elaborate descriptions which are interspersed through the work, the fruit of study and research superadded to the observations made at the time.
We shall not dwell, however, upon those portions of Mr. Stanley's work which are already familiar to the readers of eastern travels. He has described with great success the characteristic features of the desert of Sinai-its arid and desolate plainthat singular mountain-range whose jagged and fantastic peaks Sir Frederick Henniker happily likened to an ocean of lava, 'which, while its waves were running mountains high, had 'suddenly stood still;' the wild and picturesque passes, the wadys, the springs, the oases, the strange and stunted vegetation. It is the utter absence of the ordinary accompaniment of mountain scenery in Europe,- of the variegated drapery of oak and birch, and pine and fir, nay, even of the grass, the fern, or the lichen which clothe, however scantily, the bleakest European mountains, that constitutes the great peculiarity of the mountains of the Desert to the eye of a western traveller. To this, too, Mr. Stanley, with much probability, ascribes a phenomenon which was first remarked by Niebuhr:
The deep stillness and consequent reverberation of the human voice can never be omitted in any enumeration of the characteristics of Mount Sinai. From the highest points of Râs Sasâfeh to its lower peak, a distance of about sixty feet (?), the page of a book, dis
tinctly but not loudly read, was perfectly audible; and every remark of the various groups of travellers descending from the heights of the same point rose clearly to those immediately above them. It was the belief of the Arabs who conducted Niebuhr, that they could make themselves heard across the Gulf of Akaba, - a belief doubtless exaggerated, yet probably originated or fostered by the great distance to which in those regions the voice can actually be carried. And it is probably from the same cause that so much attention has been excited by the mysterious noises which have from time to time been heard on the summit of Gebel Mousa, in the neighbourhood of Um-Shômer, and in the mountain of Nâkûs, or the Bell, so called from the legend that the sounds proceed from the bells of a convent enclosed within the mountain. In this last instance the sound is supposed to originate in the rush of sand down the mountain side; sand, here, as elsewhere, playing the same part as the waters or snows of the North. In the case of Gebel Mousa, where it is said that the monks had originally settled on the highest peak, but were, by these strange noises, driven down to their present seat in the valley; and in the case of Um-Shômer, where it was described by Burckhardt as like the sound of artillery, the precise cause has never been ascertained. But in all these instances, the effect must have been heightened by the death-like silence of a region where the fall of waters, even the trickling of brooks, is unknown.' (Pp. 14, 15.)
Mr. Stanley, however, dwells with more pleasure on those characteristics of the Desert which illustrate its sacred history. He loves, for instance, to trace in its occasional springs or wells, a connexion with the waters' and 'springs' of the journey of the Israelites. In his allusions to the botany of the Desert, instead of pursuing new species or new distributions of classes, he delights to point out how the present vegetation is precisely what might be inferred from the Mosaic history.' He recognises in the wild acacia, called by the Arabs sont,' the 'seneh' or 'senna' of the Burning Bush. The shittim,' of the wood of which the tabernacle was made, is still common under the name 'sayal.' The wild broom which gave its name, Rithmah,' to one of the stations of the Israelites' march, and under which Elijah slept (1 Kings, xix. 4.), is still seen, with the same tall canopy and white blossoms as of old, and is called by the almost identical name of Retem.' The palm-trees, though dwarfed and stunted in their growth, still mark localities which may yet be recognised as scenes of the Israelitish history.
So also, instead of discussing learned ethnological theories, he prefers to trace the analogies which the modern inhabitants of the Desert bear to its ancient history.
The general name by which the Hebrews called the "wilder"ness," including always that of Sinai, was "the pasture." Bare as the surface of the Desert is, yet the thin clothing of vegetation which