My Palestine Recollections. 1. The City of Joppa

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 13
I TWICE landed in Joppa. The first occasion was Sunday, the 11Th, and the second was Saturday, the 31St of August. Between those dates I visited Jerusalem, Sychar, Nazareth, Tiberias, Damascus and other places, the subjects of these happy recollections: I advisedly speak of them as “happy recollections”: for although I have frequently heard of those who have made a tour in Palestine speaking of the feelings of disappointment which came over them as they trod the streets of her cities and those holy fields of which Milton wrote so tenderly and in such beautiful language, I was myself a stranger to such impressions. Reader, will you come with me? for I have a desire to revisit those scenes. I can quite believe that I might experience some disappointment if I were to do so literally, and in the flesh, for I am obliged to hear of the intrusion of the railway engineer, and the sound of the steam whistle on those plains of sacred interest. So if you please we will speak of Palestine as I saw it, and as our acquaintance with what the Bible tells us of that land, both in the Old and New Testaments, may enable us, with its histories both in the past and in the future; for it has been truly said that the prophecies of the Bible are God’s history of the future. Here let me introduce a singular coincidence in connection with my first landing in Joppa. I was seated in an Arab boat, gazing towards the shore, in the hope of recognizing the figure of my friend Mr. Youhannah El Karey, who had promised to meet me there, when I heard my name called from a boat coming from the shore. On answering, I was informed that the speaker was a Mr. Floyd, a German gentleman residing in the city, and that Mr. El Karey had asked him to fetch me ashore. Finding that I had already engaged a boatman, he climbed over the gunwales of the boat, and, seated together, we passed safely between the rocks, and were met at the landing stairs by good Mr. El Karey. Before taking leave of Mr. Floyd, let me explain a little further my allusion to a “singular coincidence.” Several years later I had entered the Dover Express train in London, intending to alight at the Herne Hill Junction. I found I had one fellow-passenger, and he was disposed to enter into conversation. He very soon spoke of his native home being Joppa, and looking steadily at him, I soon recognized my old friend, and extending my hand as I said: “How do you do, Mr. Floyd?” It is needless to add that for the remainder of that brief journey in company, we made good use of the opportunity to speak of the places and people with which we were both acquainted. Let us endeavor to do the same, kind reader. Our opportunity for intercourse is also a very brief one: let us use it and imagine we are treading together the streets of Joppa, where the power of the name of Jesus was displayed in the raising of Dorcas from the dead, and that wonderful revelation was made to the Apostle Peter, through the vision of the great sheet let down from heaven, that he was not to esteem any man common or unclean, but preach the Gospel to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Or, as we visit Jerusalem, the City of the great King, or Sychar, where Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah to the woman of Samaria, or Galilee, the scene of so many of His miracles, let us seek to make a full use of our opportunities. I think that so long as memory lasts I shall cherish the recollection of hearing the little children of a school gathered in Joppa by a devoted missionary laborer, Miss Arnott, repeat Scripture portions and sing very sweetly the Arabic translations of some of the children’s hymns which we sing in Sunday Schools at home. Yes, indeed, if we would avoid those feelings of disappointment in our rambles in Palestine to which we were alluding, we have only to bring the name of Jesus into the scene.
“There is a Name I love to hear,
I love to speak its worth:
It sounds like music in mine ear,
The sweetest Name on earth.”
T. J.