People and Land of Israel: 3. Recent Travels in the Holy Land and Neighboring Countries, Part 2

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1. Later Biblical Researches in Palestine and the adjacent Regions: a Journal of Travels in the year 1852. By Edward Robinson, Eli Smith, and others. Drawn up from the original Diaries, with Historical Illustrations, by Edward Robinson, D.D., LL.D., &c. With Naps and Plans. (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 185G.)
2. The Desert of Sinai: Notes of a Spring Journey from Cairo to Beersheba. By Horatius Bonar, D.D., Kelso. (London: James Nisbet & Co., Berners Street. 1857.)
In the preface, Dr. Robinson states that with this volume closes the record of his personal observations in the Holy Land. “To these my BIBLICAL RESEARCHES in the Holy Land, the fruit of thirty years of preparation, and of personal travels in 1838 and 1852, I can hope to add nothing more.” The present work is intended as a supplement to his former one, and prepared of course on the same principles. “The great object of all these travels and labors has been, as formerly announced, to collect materials for the preparation of a systematic work on the physical and historical geography of the Holy Land To this work, so much needed, should my life and health be spared, I hope speedily to address myself.” (p. 6)
The book before us consists of thirteen sections, with a few notes and indexes, the last of which, Passages of Scripture Illustrated, is meager and incomplete. Judged by that list, one might well wonder why the volume was entitled “Researches,” for Matthew and Revelation are the only books of the New Testament referred to, and these in the most cursory way. As to the Revelation, the solitary allusion is divided with Neh. 13:55And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests. (Nehemiah 13:5): and Job 24:1414The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief. (Job 24:14), as well as with one of the two references to Matthew. Even as regards the Old Testament, the prospect looked extremely unpromising. We are glad to say, however, that this is the fault of him who drew up the third index; for the body of the work and the foot notes really discuss a considerable number of points interesting to the reader of scripture, as will appear presently.
The maps which are at the end, drawn up by Kiepert, of Berlin, principally from materials furnished by Dr. R., the late Dr. E. Smith, and other American travelers, appear to be extremely full and accurate.
From the cold, minute, business-like “Researches” of the American traveler, we turn to Dr. Bonar's Notes of his journey to the borders of Canaan. We were disappointed to find that it is spun out. It is to be followed by “Notes of a Journey through the Land of Promise.” The matter would not have been too much for one volume, particularly as we might have been spared, without loss, many allusions to things and places at home, and oft-recurring descriptions of the sky and the stars abroad, not to mention dubious scraps of erudition and caustic allusions to the peccadilloes of Keble's oriental descriptions. Notwithstanding, it is a relief to meet with a modern book of travels, written by a man who honestly believes in the Word of God. We may meet with almost wearisome illustration of the points of parallel between Old Testament allusions and the manners of the East to this day, most of them trite and some far-fetched indeed. Still there is no comparison between the general, moral, and godly tone of this latest contribution, and that which prevailed in the more ambitious works of Lepsius, Robinson, and others.