Imatges de pÓgina
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TARES-WAYS IN WHICH THEY ARE SOWN. 113

process; and farther, that this change is permanent. These extemporaneous tares ever after produce tares, and tares only, nor can you, by any legerdemain, reverse the process, and change tares back to wheat. If this be true, it is a species of original sin in the vegetable kingdom every way surprising.

But how are you to answer a farmer who takes you to a field nearly all tares, and declares that he there sowed clean seed, and that in previous years he always reaped good harvests of pure grain? Whence the present crop of tares? he asks, and so do you. I have repeatedly examined such fields with all the care in my power, and without finding an answer. It would be easy to say, as in the parable, an enemy hath done this; but, though I have read in authors who never resided in Palestine that bad men do thus injure their enemies, I have never found a person in the country itself who had either known or heard of such an act. It is certainly remarkable that Arab malice has never adopted this mode of injuring its victims; but the fact must be told, it is altogether unknown at the present day. It must have been done, however, in the time of our Saviour, or He would not have mentioned it in his parable. At all events, the farmers of this day will not admit that their fields have thus been filled with tares, and I believe them. We must, therefore, find some other solution of a phenomenon which occurs so often that I have myself had frequent opportunities to verify it. I suppose that several separate causes conspire to bring about the result. First, very wet weather in winter drowns and kills wheat, while it is the most favorable of all weather for tares. In a good season the wheat overgrows and chokes the tares, but in a wet one the reverse is The farmers all admit this, but still they ask, Whence the seed of the tares? we sowed "good seed." To this it may be answered, The tare is a very light grain, easily blown about by the wind; that a thousand little birds are ever carrying and dropping it over the fields; that myriads of ants are dragging it in all directions; that moles, and mice, and goats, and sheep, and nearly every other animal,

true.

are aiding in this work of dispersion; that much of the tares shell out in handling the grain in the field; that a large part of them is thrown out by the wind at the threshing-floor, which is always in the open country; that the heavy rains, which often deluge the country in autumn, carry down to the lower levels this outcast zowan, and sow them there; and these are precisely the spots where the transmutation is said to occur. It is my belief that in these and in similar ways the tares are actually sown, without the intervention of an enemy, and their presence is accounted for without having recourse to this incredible doctrine of transmutation. Enough about tares. We are just entering the throat of this tremendous gorge. It is called Hamâm, from the clouds of pigeons which "flock to their windows" in these rocks. Look up now to that cliff on the left. It is more than a thousand feet high, and a large part is absolutely perpendicular. It is perforated by a multitude of caverns, holes, and narrow passages, the chosen resort of robbers in former days. The walls and fortifications which united these caverns, and defended them against attack, are still visible. They are now called Kulaet Ibn M'an, but anciently they bore the name of Arbela, from a village on the top, a little back from the precipice, the ruins of which are now named Irbid. Josephus has a graphic description of the capture of these caves by Herod the Great. After various expedients to expel them had failed, he let boxes filled with soldiers down the face of the precipice, and landed them at the entrance of the caverns. This was a most daring ex

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ASSAULT OF ROBBERS.

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CAVES OF ARBELA-HORNS OF HUTTIN.

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ploit, but it succeeded, and by fire and sword the robbers were entirely exterminated. Josephus himself afterward fortified this place in preparation for the Roman war, but he does not appear to have made any use of it.

This is truly a most surprising gorge, and there is nothing in this region which leads the traveler to expect such precipices.

The country above is yet more deceitful, and one is on the very edge of the awful cliffs before he is aware of their existence. I have passed up this ravine many times, and yet can never get through without stopping again and again to gaze, admire, and almost shudder. But we have still a hard ascent to the top, and must no longer loiter here. See these prodigious blocks, each "large as a meeting-house." They have tumbled from those giddy heights, and nearly block up the wady. Some of them have fallen since I last. came this road. Dr. Wilson is mistaken as to the size of this brook, but still here is a fountain of delicious water. My first ascent through this stupendous gorge had all the romance of a veritable discovery. I had never heard of it, and was almost wild with excitement.

This is indeed a fatiguing ascent, but now we have gained the summit, what a beautiful plain spreads out to the south and west! and those cone-like hills must be the Horns of Huttîn.

They are, and that village at their base on the north has the same name. It is half an hour hence, and our path lies through it. Dr. Clark and others have exaggerated the height of these "Horns," and the grandeur of the prospect from them; yet Dr. Robinson, who makes the criticism, scarcely does them justice. Neither the Horns themselves, nor the prospect of plain, and gorge, and lake, and mountain, is to be despised.

Nor are these gigantic hedges of cactus which surround this village to be passed without remark.

They are very large, and you will find the same at Lûbieh, three miles south of us, and at Sejera, between that and Tabor. In fact, the cactus hedges form impenetrable ram

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