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world; partly on account of the pleasing diversity of mountains and valleys; partly on account of the salubrious air which we breathe there, and which is at all times filled with balsamic odours from the wild-flowers of these valleys, [hence the bees and the honey,] and from the aromatic herbs of the hills. Most of the mountains are dry and arid, and exhibit more rock than mould adapted to cultivation; but the industry of the old inhabitants had triumphed over this defect of the soil. They had hewn the rocky hills from the foot to the summit into terraces; carried mould from below, as on the coast of Genoa, the Lebanon, and elsewhere; and then planted on them the fig, olive, and vine, and raised corn and all kinds of pulse, which, favoured by the usual spring and autumnal rains, by the dews which never fail, by the warmth of the sun, and the general mildness of the climate, produced the finest fruit and most excellent corn in the world."
Dr. Clarke, speaking of the appearance of the country between Shechem and Jerusalem, says :—" A sight of this territory alone can convey an adequate idea of its surprising produce. It is truly the Eden of the East, rejoicing in the abundance of its wealth.. The effect of this upon the people was strikingly portrayed in every countenance, Under a wise and beneficent government, the produce of the Holy Land would exceed all calculation. Its perennial harvests, the salubrity of its air, its limpid springs, its rivers, lakes, and matchless plains; its hills and valleys; all these, added to the serenity of the climate, prove this to be indeed 'a field which the Lord hath blessed; God hath given it of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine.'"
These are glowing words, and would furnish a considerably exaggerated statement as applied to the country at large. But it is strictly correct in regard to the district he describes, especially in the parts nearest Shechem; and it is fair to take this as a specimen of what the land was once, and might yet become. In fact the hilly district around Shechem (now Nabulus) is perhaps the best cultivated portion of Palestine, though considerably inferior in natural fertility to some of the plains that lie towards the Mediterranean Sea. It is this which renders it a fit average specimen of what the whole land must have been when cultivated by an abundant and active population.
In a matter like this, the opinion of a practical agn
culturist would seem of more value than any other that could he obtained. We happen to possess this in the the testimony of Mr. Lowthian, a gentleman farmer, from the north of England, who, under some peculiar religious impressions, proceeded to Palestine, with the view of renting a farm, cultivating it after the English fashion, and teaching the natives to do the same. His experience was, that there was a deficiency of seasonable rain, which rendered cultivation precarious, and high cultivation impracticable. Looking into the Bible, he found that, in Deuteronomy xi. 13—15, the rain in its due season—that the Israelites might have their corn and their wine, and their oil, and that there might be grass in their fields for their cattle—was promised solely on the condition of their obedience to the laws of God. Accordingly, we read in Jeremiah iii. 3, and v. 24, 25, that because of their disobedience "the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain." The inference drawn therefrom is, that in consequence of the final great disobedience of the house of Israel, the latter rain has been withholden; and thus the soil, although rich and capable of being fertilized by timely rains, is left comparatively, unproductive. There is hence a deficiency of the products, not only of tillage, but of pasturage.
Mr. Lowthian states, that on his arrival at Jerusalem, and perceiving that all the milk that was brought into the city for one day did not exceed ten or twelve quarts, and this small quantity only goat's milk well watered; and that he could find no honey but a small piece which he had the pleasure of tasting while taking tea with the bishop's chaplain; he was led, he says, to exclaim to himself,— "How completely have God's judgments been executed on this devoted land!" And he adds,—" Most clearly did I perceive that the natural cause of all this evil was the absence of seasonable rain. Bain which waters the earth, and blesses it with fertility, God has withheld, and thus brought all these evils and many more upon the land which flowed with milk and honey."
Mr. Lowthian differs from those who determine the "former and the latter rains" of Scripture, with reference to the present condition of the country. The "former rain" he conceives to be that of winter. This does fall, but is so uncertain that it sometimes does not come till January; in consequence of which, water becomes so exceeding scarce and dear that the inhabitants are put to great«inconvenience and loss. And as no agricultural operations can be proceeded with till this rain has made the earth soft, the harvest is thrown back; for it is mostly in March and April that the crop is gathered in. After that, as Mr. Lowthian believes, "the latter rain used to come; by which it is more than probable, nay, almost certain, that a second crop was produced: but this latter rain is now entirely withheld, and none is ever expected to fall during summer. On this account the best part of the year is lost, and no vegetable can grow or keep alive but those plants whose roots penetrate deep into the earth."
An American traveller, the late Dr. Olin, gave much attention to this matter. He says,—" It is quite certain, I think, that some portions of Palestine, once fertile, are now irreclaimable. The entire destruction of the wood that formerly covered the mountains, and the utter neglect of the terraces that supported the soil upon steep declivities, have given full scope to the rains, which have left many tracts of bare rock where formerly were vineyards and cornfields. It is likely, too, that the disappearance of trees from the higher grounds, where they invited and arrested the passing clouds, may have diminished the quantity of rain, and so have exposed the whole country, in a greater degree, to the evils of drought, and doomed some particular tracts to absolute sterility. Besides these, I do not recognise any permanent or invincible cause of barrenness, or any physical obstacles in the way of restoring this fine country to its pristine fertility. These causes are not peculiar to Palestine. They exist perhaps to a still greater extent in Greece, and the islands of the Archipelago, and in the mountainous regions of Asia Minor. The soil of the whole country has certainly deteriorated under bad husbandry, and the entire neglect of the means of improvement. But a small degree of skill and industry would generally be sufficient to reclaim it, as must be evident to every traveller who has observed the vineyards near Hebron and Bethlehem, and the gardens of the Nablous" [Shechem]. He adds afterwards :—" I put the question to almost every traveller I met with, in or from the Holy Land, What is your opinion of the natural fertility of the country, and of its ability to feed a large population? And in every instance the reply was in strong corroboration of the sentiments I have here advanced."
A NEGLECTED TItEASUKE.
"What did he mean by telling me that story about the sailors?" said Sarah Adams to herself, when my grandfather had disappeared. "He might have found something better than that to talk about, and I in such trouble," she thought, almost resentfully.
Something better! Something better! The thought had no sooner come into her mind, than other thoughts succeeded it.
"And what was it kept him from saying something
better?"—this was the current of her troubled reflections. —" Didn't I tell him that he need not be always throwing religion in my face? and he said that he would not do so any more. But I did not mean what I said, no* entirely; and he might have given me a word 05 two of comfort; and if he had offered to kneel down and. pray for me, I wouldn't have minded. It is long, long, siwee I heard a prayer. 0 dear! I don't know what is to become of me. I am very unhappy. If he could but have known how unhappy I am!"
Poor Mrs. Adams was very unhappy,—more ao; than she could have told in few words. It was not altogether her temporal distress; this was not ao mew to her that she could not have borne it with the- same sullen, dull kind of patience which she had often, manifested before. Nor was it a very tender regard for heir husband, and a delicate sensibility on. account of his disgrace, which caused her mental wretchedness. She had not altogether lost ltaar love for him: it wouM be untrue to say this; but the knawdiedge and a long pamfirl experience of his deficiencies had caused a sort of external indifference towards Mm which had an influence 01a her feeMiigs. At this time, too, she felt, perhaps justly, resentful towards him, as the cause of her poverty and degradation. Neither was it that she saw her children around her in rags and ignorance. She was so used to rags and ignorance that they had ceased much to trouble hear: and, at present, in spite of their rags, her children were happy enough in their ignorance,—especially as (thanks to- my grandfather's benevolence)* they had recently been well fed.
And yet, my grandfather's visit left her moie unhappy than it found her.
"I did not really mean what I said when I told him that I did not want him to say any more to me about religion," —so Sarah Adams went on thinking;—"and he need not have taken me at my word so hastily. To be sure, it worried me, and reason enough; but for all that I knew he meant it kindly, and he might have seen that. But it seems now as if he had given me up altogether, as too bad to mend; and though he is still good to me, he won't try any more to do my soul any good. And so I have lost my best friend's best help—the only one who was ever faithful to me as he has been."
Poor Mrs. Adams sat down and wept bitterly. She could "^iBot help being convinced that it was by her own deed she