Tent Life in the Holy Land
By William C. Prime (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1857)
[from Chapter 1, "Nunc Dimittis Domine!"]
And all this I was to accomplish -- not in some dim future, but to-morrow -- to-morrow!
Yea, there lay Holy Land and thither my pilgrim feet would carry me ere three suns had risen and set. [p. 2]
[from Chapter 18, "If I forget thee, O
Think not lightly of this, my friend, for it is no light matter to have seen the Holy City. I hesitated much before I visited the Holy Land. I had always reasoned somewhat in this way. If I were taught that the Son of God descended to this earth, assuming the form of a child, and was the reputed son of a carpenter in an American village; that he lived here, walked these streets, preached at these corners, slept in the nights on the hills of Long Island and New Jersey, and was finally mobbed in the public places, tried for some alleged crime, condemned and executed here; if, I say, all this were taught me, I should find it much more difficult to believe than I now do the story of his life and death in a distant land, over which tradition and history have cast a holy radiance. I therefore feared much that when I had walked the streets of Jerusalem, had climbed the sides of Olivet, had rested in the garden of Gethsemane, and visited the Holy Sepulchre, my faith in the divinity of the Saviour and the authenticity of his mission, might be seriously impaired.
Far otherwise was the reality.
Every step that I advanced on the soil of Palestine offered some new and startling evidence of the truth of the sacred story. Every hour we were exclaiming that the history must be true, so perfect was the proof before our eyes. The Bible was a new book, faith in which seemed now to have passed into actual sight, and every page of its record shone out with new, and a thousand fold increased lustre.
The Bible had, of course, been our only guide-book. There is no other -- and the publication of another will tend materially to decrease the interest of travel in Syria. He who shall visit Holy Soil with Murray's proposed red book in his hands will know nothing of the keen pleasure that we experienced in studying out for ourselves the localities of sacred incident, or the intense delight that flashed across our minds when we found those startling confirmations of the truth of the story -- startling, because unexpected and wholly original.
Sitting on the side of Mount Moriah, it was with new force we read that exquisite passage in the 46th Psalm, "There is a river the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High;" which had its origin unquestionably in the beautiful fountain that springs under the very rocks of Moriah . . . [pp. 313-15]