صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

thing that will float, you may recover it at the fountain of Siloam. It was a fortunate inadvertence of Mr Fergusson to omit the important particular, that the writer computes the distance between Siloam and Golgotha at a mile'—in how much closer agreement with the old than with the new theory, a glance at the plan will shew. I will only further remark from this author, that the order in which the Sacred Places are visited, —commencing with the Sepulchre and the neighbouring sites, passing thence by the Tower of David, the Coenaculum on Mount Sion, the Church and Hospitals of St Mary (now El-Aksa), to the site of the Temple and Pilate's Palace,—while it is quite consistent with the received topography, is unintelligible on the other hypothesis. We now arrive at an important epoch in the history of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,—its destruction by the Persians under Chosroes II.” This fact is vouched for by the Paschal Chronicle, composed at that very time (for this is the last important event recorded in it,) and by other contemporaneous writers. How then does Mr Fergusson dispose of this inconvenient fact, which is stated with fuller particulars, and rests on more satisfactory evidence than half the historical events which have met with universal credence in the world 2 He sets it aside as an impudent falsehood, so barefaced as to carry its own refutation on the face of it, too absurd to deserve notice. His words are, “The age is fertile in falsehoods, but I have not met with one more startling than this°.” No reason is alleged for the falsification, no proof adduced, no motive assigned ; but the testimony of chronicles, letters, and histories, is coolly set aside as of no value, simply because it is fatal to the extravagant theory that has been propounded, and must be maintained at all hazards. I protest against a system of criticism which must reduce all documentary evidence, to waste paper, and shake the very foundations of history, sacred or civil. To proceed now to Arculfus, who describes the Church as restored by Modestus, Vicar of the See during the captivity of the Patriarch Zacharias. The value of this narrative is admitted, but the force of its statements is evaded by the same process that has been applied to earlier writers. Let the following notices be compared or contrasted, and it will be seen how far his description of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will suit the Dome of the Rock". The Church, according to Arculfus, was a round building with twice four entrances, to wit, four to the N.E. and four to the S.E. The door of the cave was at the East, and the place where the body was laid was on the North side of the rocky chamber. But the Dome of the Rock is an octagon, with four doors facing the cardinal points; the entrance to the cave is at the S.E., and there is no rocky couch on the North of the chamber, to correspond with the Sepulchre. This might suffice, had not Mr Fergusson furnished another specimen of criticism which is too bold to be passed over without notice". Arculfus not only gave a description of the sites to Adamnanus; he also rudely sketched the plan of the sacred buildings on a waxen tablet, in illustration of his narrative. It is acknowledged that this plan, which has been preserved, bears a much closer general resemblance to the group of buildings connected with the actual Sepulchre, than to the plan conceived by Mr Fergusson. A startling fact certainly, but one in which his ingenuity discovers a most convincing proof of the position which he maintains. He shall state the solution of the difficulty in his own words. The plan of Arculfus and that of the present Church “are so similar, that the conclusion appears to me inevitable, that the plan [of Arculfus] is not one taken from the Church, but the one from which the present Church was built...... We know, from continued reference to it, how popular and common this tract was, between the time of its composition and the Crusades; and one copy at least must have been found in Jerusalem, if not many. Let us then assume that the Christians were turned out of their original Sepulchre and Golgotha by the Mahometans. Nothing can be more improbable than that they had a correct plan of the localities:...but here they had one, and when compelled to transfer their Sepulchre to a new locality, can anything be more probable than that they should take the plan known to all the Latin world at least, and fixing on a rock for their ‘Golgothana rupes’...that they should have arranged the other localities with reference to it as they found them set down in this plan 2° I have nothing to oppose to such reasoning as this—it is past all argument, it would account for anything and everything. The whole assumption is overthrown by the simple fact, that the Church of the 11th century was erected, not by the Latins, but by Greeks, who probably never heard of the tract of Arculfus. Another specimen of that reckless disregard of difficulties which distinguishes the pages of Mr Fergusson's Essay must be noticed before we take leave of Arculfus. There is undoubtedly considerable difficulty in his description of the Mosk then used by the Infidels— a difficulty which will be considered in its proper place. He narrates that “the Saracens had erected a house of prayer on the site of the famous Temple, which was placed in the vicinity of the eastern wall’.” This description Mr Fergusson applies to the Mosk El-Aksa. But El-Aksa stands on the southern wall, and does not occupy the site of the Temple, even in his view of the case; and since, according to his theory, the whole pile of buildings connected with the Holy Sepulchre lay between the site of the temple and the eastern wall, no writer could say that the Temple stood near the eastern wall. But these difficulties disappear in a loose translation, and the Mosk stands where the theory requires it, “in the immediate vicinity of the southern wall, within the enclosure of Solomon's Temple”! Why, at this rate, any passage in any book will be “sufficient in itself to settle the whole controversy.” It is very considerate in Mr Fergusson to assure us at this stage, that “as far as the argument has hitherto gone, there has been no flaw whatever in the evidence:” we might otherwise have judged differently; and it must be admitted, that if confidence in error is equivalent to demonstration of truth, his positions are unassailable. We come now to St Willibald, and Bernhard the Monk. And here Mr Fergusson discovers a curious anomaly, which seems for a time to have occasioned some perplexity even to him. “The older traveller describes the new, the later the old Sepulchre's" Two solutions of the difficulty occurred to his inventive mind. The first was, that the transference of the site from the Dome of the Rock to the present spot took place previous to St Willibald ; but then how came it that Bernhard, eighty years later than Willibald, described the old Sepulchre ? This ground was therefore abandoned, and recourse was had to the other expedient of supposing an interpolation in the narrative of St Willibald”. But why not solve the difficulty by an interpolation in Bernhard 2 Was it not equally easy “to take it for granted” that the transference took place before St Willibald's journey, and that Bernhard was interpolated; as to “take it for granted” that it took place after Bernhard, and that Willibald was interpolated ? No doubt it was, and a bold theorist, having so many centuries of the dark ages at his disposal for any frauds that he might please to palm upon them, might as well have begged his fact in the 8th as in the 11th century; but it so happens that there are two distinct narratives of St Willibald’s journey by different hands, in one of which the account of the Holy Sepulchre is omitted : this, therefore, is

* “Intra Siloa et Golgotha credo anonymous Greek writer in Leo Allaesse milliarium.” sect. xix. The omis- | tius (>iousaukta, p. 85) gives the dission is the more remarkable because tance between the Holy Sepulchre and Mr Fergusson dwells particularly on Siloam as one mile. the preceding passage, and quotes as * See the history and authorities cited far as these words, p. 128, n. 1. An | above, in Vol. 1. pp. 300, l, and notes. * Essay, p. 129. Gretseri Op. Tom. iv. parsii. p. 256. * See the description and plan in * Essay, p. 154, 5.

' Adamnanus de Locis Sanctis ; compared with Bernhard, both cited and both mistranslated by Mr F. in his Essay, pp. 146,7. The description of the building, in which all the difficulty lies, I do not quote, because I shall have to consider it in speaking of the

Great Mosk. The point here in question is the site. The words are “in illo loco ubi templum constructum fuerat, in vicinia muri ab oriente locatum.” “Ubi templum in vicinia muri ab oriente locatum,” &c. Adamnanus et Bernhardus, l.c.

* Essay, p. 159. and, as such, highly instructive, and

* “I have been forced to abandon | useful also, in illustrating the topograthat ground, and to assume that it is an phy of the Sepulchre.” Essay, p. 162. interpolation of the eleventh century,

« السابقةمتابعة »