Where Stephen Was Stoned.
An interesting relic of the past, suggestive of the sieges of Jerusalem, is the fragment of an arch, which was, no doubt, the starting-point of the high bridge that rose above a portion of the city, and joined the two great hills on which Jerusalem was built, - Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. It thrills the beholder to stand beside the base of this huge arch, and think that on the bridge it once upheld, the Roman conqueror, Titus, advanced to hold a conference with the leading Jews, when, having captured one-half of Jerusalem, he called upon the other section to surrender. His offers, however, were treated with disdain; for trusting still that Israel's God would rescue them, although the remainder of the city was in ruins, and though the Romans had already occupied their Holy Temple, the Jews fought on in desperation, to die by thousands round the ruined palace of their kings. The world has rarely seen a more impressive proof of national faith and heroism.
An Interesting Relic.
At one place in our walk about the Holy City we saw some wretched men and women crouching in the sun, and sheltered by a mass of paving-stones. They called to us in half-articulate words, rattled tin boxes partly filled with coins, in appeal for charity, and finally held out for our inspection fingerless hands and toeless feet. We started back, regarding them with mingled horror and compassion, for these we knew must be the hideous lepers of Jerusalem, about whom we had often read. We threw to them some pennies, for which they struggled furiously, the helpless and the disappointed ones uttering meantime heart-rending cries. Physicians claim that leprosy is not infectious, but we took care to keep at a safe distance from these loathsome beggars, and, like the Levite of old, to pass, though sorrowfully, on the other side. They are, however, genuine objects of compassion, and, as they cannot work, they must be supported either by the State or by private charity. Accordingly, it was with satisfaction that we beheld, not far from the Jaffa Gate, the hospital erected in 1867 for these pitiable creatures. They should all be secluded there; but liberty is still allowed them, and they often marry, thus propagating the disease, since this unfortunate evil is hereditary.
The Leper Hospital.
It is not strange to find these lepers in Jerusalem; for, though by no means limited to the Israelites, that race, when in the Orient, has always suffered more or less from this terrible malady. Yet the Mosaic regulations in regard to it were very strict. Those who had any symptoms of it were compelled to show themselves to the priest and undergo a seclusion of seven days. If they were then discovered to be really leprous, they were obliged to live outside the town, crying "Unclean, Unclean," to every one who might approach them, and dragging out a life of self-abhorring misery, until relieved by a welcome death.
Finally, having made the circuit of Jerusalem, we passed through one of the gates and found ourselves in a thoroughfare called David Street. It is precisely in its streets that the Jerusalem of the present day is disappointing. Outside the walls, along the line of its historic battlements, or looking on the surrounding hills, which are the same as in the time of Christ, one feels the dignity and sanctity of the Holy Nevertheless, at one place the Via Dolorosa is bordered by a structure which has for many generations borne the name of the Ecce Homo Arch, and is supposed to mark the spot where Pontius Pilate, pointing to the guiltless prisoner before him, uttered the well-known words, - "Behold the man!" Close by it is a little church, which, like the street itself, is often thronged with pious pilgrims. In fact, almost every foot of the Via Dolorosa is consecrated to some sad event connected with the path to Calvary. Thus, one spot is believed to indicate the place where Jesus took the cross upon His shoulders; another where He fell in weakness; another still where He addressed the women of Jerusalem ; and yet another where Veronica, it is said, wiped the perspiration from His brow.