The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920
|Helena finding the True Cross, Italian manuscript c. 825|
All the reasons which can be brought against the site of Calvary will be found in the writings of Robinson, Fergusson, and others of their school. But hosts of most learned writers and investigators of various nations prove that it is the exact place where the Tragedy of Redemption took place. The Orientals, Russians and pilgrims throng the great Church at Easter, and celebrate the feast according to their different rites, and all are filled with devotion, love, and veneration.
A thousand reasons could be given regarding the reality of the site, but we will give only a few. When St Helena, mother of the Roman emperor Constantine, who had but recently been converted, came here looking for the site of Calvary in the year 310, she had behind her the whole power of her son, who sat on the throne of the Caesars .All that power, wealth and learning could supply, she brought with her. The people of the Holy City knew that she was the emperor's mother, and they furnished her with every fact known regarding the Redemption.
Only 150 years had elapsed from the time that Hadrian had built the temple of Venus over the tomb of Christ, and that building was still standing. Besides, Constantine had furnished her with the information by which she could find where was Joseph's garden. (Ulpian, Digest. L. XV. 156.) Can any one suppose for a moment that the Christians of Jerusalem of that age would look for the site of Calvary in a spot where rose the statue and temple of the goddess of adultery, if it were not authentic ? The Gospel states that He was crucified outside the walls, and why would they have pointed out the spot then within the walls, if it were not the exact place ? Recent excavations have laid bare the foundation walls built by Herod Agrippa twelve years after the crucifixion, and caves and tombs show that it was outside the walls, for the Jews never buried their dead within the city.
THE TEMPLE OF JEHOVAH.
STUDYING astronomy with the Chaldeans at Ur, "Light," "the Moon," the ruins of which are now called Mughier: " the Betumined," Abraham rose to the knowledge of the one true God, believed no more in the idols his father used to make and sell, then God appeared to him, and called him into Palestine to become the father of the Hebrews, say Jewish and Mahommedan writers and traditions of the Orient. 1 But we cannot vouch for all these things.
On a mountain He showed him God ordered him to sacrifice his only son Isaac, as a type and a prophecy of the eternal Father sacrificing his only begotten Son for the redemption of the human race. Abraham called the mountain Moriah: " The Lord seeth," (Gen. xxii. 14.) But a few steps to the west, is another hill, but higher, where Melchisedech: " The Just King," had built the fortress he called Sion :" The Projecting," or " Fortress." Around it rose the city he called Salama: " Peace," to which word was later added Jeru, " The City," whence came the name Jerusalem, " The City of Peace." 2
The Targum of Onkelos says Moriah is called the " land of worship." "And Abraham sacrificed and prayed in that place, and he said before Jehovah, 'In this place shall generations worship, because it shall be said in that day, In this mountain did Abraham worship before Jehovah.'" (Targum on Gen. xxii. 14.) From the time he took Sion and made it his capital, David prepared for the building of that famed Temple. On his death-bed to his son Solomon he said : " Behold I in my poverty have prepared the charges of the house of the Lord, of gold a thousand, and of silver a million talents, but of brass arid of iron there is no weight, for the abundance surpasseth all account, timber also and stones I have prepared for all the charges." 3 This gold and silver alone amount to $19,349,260. But money at that time was enormously more valuable than it is now and labor was cheap.
David hid this great treasure in his tomb, under his palace where now stands the Cenacle, where Christ celebrated the Last Supper. When Antiochus besieged the city. Hyrcanus opened " the sepulcher of David, who excelled all other kings in riches and took out of it three thousand talents." 4 ''He gave them to Antiochus who raised the siege. Herod also went down into the tomb, as Josephus says : " As for any money he found none, as Hyrcanus had done, but that furniture of gold, and those precious goods that were laid up there, all which he took away, However he had a great desire to make a more diligent search, and to go further in, even as far as the very bodies of David and Solomon, when two of his guards were slain by a flame that burst out upon those that went in, as the report goes. So he was terribly affrighted and went out, and built a propitiatory monument of that fright he had been in, and this of white stone at the mouth of the sepulcher, and that at great expense also." 5 By this we learn that the Cenacle was built by Herod I.
Moriah was a steep rocky hill, surrounded on all sides by deep valleys. Lest dead bodies might desecrate the holy house, Solomon began by excavating under the mountain tunnels and galleries in all directions, using the stone and materials for filling up the space around the hill; most of this work remains to-day and the stones are very large. The writer measured one at the west wall, where every Friday at sundown the Jews come to weep over the destruction of their city, and he found it to be seventeen and a half feet long, by three feet high—we do not know how deep it extends into the wall. In this way a square area was formed around the summit of Moriah, containing a.bout thirty-five acres. On this the great Temple was built.
1 See the Talmud ; Smith's Dict, of the Bible ; Geikie, Hours with the Bible, etc.
2 See Smith's Dict, of the Bible, Talmud, etc.
3 Paralip., called Chronicles, xxii. 14.
4 Josephus, Antiq. B. xiii. C., viii. 4.
5 Antiq. B. xxi., C. xi. 1.