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tradition would require the very strongest arguments to disprove its veracity—such arguments as certainly never have been, and I am persuaded never will be, adduced; unless indeed, as has been anticipated", the demolition of the Holy Sepulchre itself should prove that the supposed cave is nothing more than a mass of masonry; and even then it would prove nothing against the authenticity of the site; since Dr Robinson asserts that “the monks themselves do not pretend that the present Sepulchre is anything more than an imitation of the original".” I should be curious to know his authority for this assertion, which I believe to be erroneous; but it is fair that the monks should have the benefit of their candour. rock is so entirely incrusted within and without with marble as to be wholly invisible; and thus the appearance of the Sepulchre itself furnishes another objection to its identity with the place of our Ilord's sepulture: nor shall I be ashamed to avow my sympathy with those who have felt regret at the transformation"; a feeling which I hope is not inconsistent
At present the native with admiration for those who “did what they could” to honour the spot so consecrated, and refused “to offer to God of that which cost them nothing.” But granting that the adornment was in bad taste, and that the marble case of the cave would be better away, it were rash to deny the existence of the rock within the case, because we cannot see it". The great thickness of the walls, and the form of the interior, which does not at all correspond with the groundplan of the exterior building, would form a presumption in favour of an irregular cave within; while nothing short of infatuation could have led an impostor, contrary to the plain letter of Scripture, to assign the Sepulchre to a building of his own erection, when so many caves in the neighbourhood of the city offered themselves to his choice. It has been urged as a general objection to the sacred localities in Palestine, that “nothing is done without grottoes”;” so that fictitious sites were always affixed to caves: it would be strange indeed if the Holy Sepulchre, which is so plainly declared to be a cave, should prove an exception to this rule ! For myself, I not only believe that there was originally a rock grave on the spot now shewn, but am prepared to maintain, even against the incredulous monks, that the rock still exists beneath the casing ; and I shall adduce a chain of witnesses to this fact, when I have first briefly described the present Sepulchre, according to my notion, leaving it, as I am permitted to do, to Professor Willis to trace its history through its various changes, as he best can. The Sepulchre then may be described as a “grotto above ground,” consisting of two chambers, whereof the outer one, constructed of solid masonry, is called the Chapel of the Angel; while the inner one, entered by a low door, is the very cave hewn out of the rock, where was the tomb of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The spot where the Sacred Body lay is “on the right side" of the cave at entering”, now covered with marble to protect it from injury; the removal of which would probably show a ledge or couch, such as are seen in other ancient tombs, cut in the native rock, and only large enough to admit the body. The tomb was designed by Joseph for his own burial, so that it had but one receptacle, as is the case with many other rock graves in the vicinity of the city”; and as it had known no occupant before, so we may be well assured that it knew none after it had been so honoured, but was preserved inviolate by its believing owner, who would provide himself another resting-place, probably in the same sacred garden. Indeed, there are still shewn at a small distance from the Holy Sepulchre two tombs in the rock", called the tombs of Joseph and Nicodemus; which certainly bear the marks of antiquity, and serve further to prove that sepulchral excavations existed here in ancient times. The Greeks believe that the Holy Sepulchre was formerly a rock grave, excavated in a mountain-side, as is the case with those e.g. in the Valley of Hinnom, but that the whole space about it was, by order of the Empress Helena, reduced to the level of the base of the cave, so that the cave stood erect in the middle of an even ground; that she further cased its four sides externally with marble, so as to give it the appearance of a building, and that the roof of the monolith was then pierced in several places to allow a vent to the smoke of the many lamps which continually burned within”. This is probably the correct account, for the testimony of Eusebius is conclusive as to the existence of a cave, and such a cave as that which is now shewn ; for it can hardly be supposed that a writer of that date would speak so confidently as he does in the following passage, unless the fact on which he was insisting had been generally known and universally received. His description is as follows: “The grave itself was a cave which had evidently been hewn out; a cave that had now been cut out in the rock, and which had experienced (the reception of) no other body. For it was necessary that it, which was itself a wonder, should have the care of that corpse only. For it is astonishing to see even this rock, standing out erect, aud alone on a level land, and having only one cavern within it; lest had there been many, the miracle of Him who overcame death should have been obscured°.” Such is the testimony of a bishop of Palestine who lived at the time when the Sepulchre was recovered, and who is regarded as a credible witness of facts, and not over credulous; it is, moreover, an incidental reference of the most unsuspicious character, and such as would generally be considered most satisfactory; for he is speaking on another subject, and introduces mention of this quite incidentally, not at all with a view to establish the identity of the spot, but as an argument for the truth of the Resurrection. Coeval with Eusebius was the Pilgrim of Bordeaux, who visited Jerusalem while the Martyry of the Resurrection was in the course of erection, and he describes the Sepulchre as a crypt, distant a stone’s-throw from the little hill Golgotha". Very little later than Eusebius was St Cyril, who furnishes fuller details of the adornment, while he distinctly attests the existence of a rocky cave. In forcing a Christian interpretation on the language of the Canticles, after the fashion of those times, though it will appear strained and fanciful to our notions, he thus
Oh! for that garden in its simpler guise,
the gate, and nigh to the city, in a fre-
Oh! if the lichen now were free to twine
masked. He was however disappointed,
Would not the whispering breeze, as evening
Sandys, p. 125, applies the lines of
Juvenal with reference to the fountain
Quanto praestantius esset
! Yet this is the sum of Dr Clarke's argument. Vol. II. p. 544. Dr Robinson is so satisfied with the conclusiveness of his arguments against the site, that he thinks it superfluous to ex
amine the Sepulchre. See Vol. 11. p. 80, n. 1. He only “looked in for a few moments” upon the church, once on Easter-day, when he “could not enter the Sepulchre.” Vol. 1. p. 330.
* See Maundrell, under April 19, and quoted in Bib. Res. 11. p. 79, note l.
* Mark xvi. 5; comp. John xx. 12. two.” He could not have described
* St Matthew calls it “his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock,” xxvii. 60. Dr Clarke might be describing the Holy Sepulchre itself where he writes of that which he would substitute for it, as “the identical tomb of Jesus Christ.” Vol. 11. p. 554 : “The large stone which once closed its mouth had been, perhaps for ages, Stooping down to look into it, we observed within a fair
sepulchre, containing a repository upon one side only, for a single body: whereas, in most of the others, there were two, and in many of them more than
more clearly the received Sepulchre to which he objects' So before, he describes the subterranean chambers in the same neighbourhood, as “hewn with marvellous art, each containing one, or many repositories for the dead, like cisterns carved in the rock upon the sides of those chambers. The doors were so low, that to look into any one of them it was necessary to stoop, and in some instances to creep upon hands and knees,” pp. 349, 50. Nothing can be more exact, only that now the Holy Sepulchre is not subterranean. These graves are in the valley of Hinnom.
* They are accurately delineated by * Dositheus Hist. Pat. Biff. B. seq. Lord Nugent, Lands Classical and A'. Trap. we'. Compare Shaw's Travels, Sacred, Vol. 11. p. 34. Vol. 1. p. 264, 2nd Ed. 1757.