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The Historical Works Of Venerable Bede

THE country round Jerusalem is rocky and mountainous. The ground on the north, from that city to Arimathæa, is, at intervals, rough and stony. There are open valleys covered with thorns extending all the way to the region of Thanitis; but from Ælia to Cæsarea of Palestine, though some narrow and craggy places are found for a short distance, yet the principal part of the way is a level plain, interspersed with olive-yards: the distance is seventy-five miles. The length of the Land of Promise from Dan over to Beersheba is a hundred and sixty miles, and from Joppa to Bethlehem forty-six miles. Near Jerusalem and the wall of the Temple is Gehennon, which is the Valley of Jehoshaphat, extending from north to south, and through it flows the brook Cedron, when it is swelled by a fall of rain. This valley, forming a small level plain, is well watered and woody, and full of delightful things: formerly there was in it a place dedicated to Baal. Here was the tower of King Jehoshaphat, containing his tomb; on the right side of it was a separate chamber, cut out of the rock of Mount Olivet, containing two hollow sepulchres, one of the old Simeon, the other of Joseph the husband of Saint Mary. In the same valley is the round church of Saint Mary, divided by slabs of stone; in the upper part are four altars; on the eastern side below there is another, and to the right of it an empty tomb, in which Saint Mary is said to have reposed for a time: but who removed her, or when this took place, no one can say. On entering this chamber, you see on the right hand side a stone inserted in the wall, on which Christ knelt when he prayed on the night in which he was betrayed; and the marks of his knees are still seen in the stone, as if it had been as soft as wax.








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