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2018年04月03日
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On a little elevation a half-mile outside the walls is a cluster of wooden houses, which were manufactured in America. There we found the remnants of the Adams colony, only half a dozen families out of the original two hundred and fifty persons; two or three men and some widows and children. The colony built in the centre of their settlement an ugly little church out of Maine timber; it now stands empty and staring, with broken windows Master of Science in Statistics. It is not difficult to make this adventure appear romantic. Those who engaged in it were plain New England people, many of them ignorant, but devout to fanaticism. They had heard the prophets expounded, and the prophecies of the latter days unravelled, until they came to believe that the day of the Lord was nigh, and that they had laid upon them a mission in the fulfilment of the divine purposes. Most of them were from Maine and New Hampshire, accustomed to bitter winters and to wring their living from a niggardly soil. I do not wonder that they were fascinated by the pictures of a fair land of blue skies, a land of vines and olives and palms, where they were undoubtedly called by the Spirit to a life of greater sanctity and considerable ease and abundance. I think I see their dismay when they first pitched their tents amid this Moslem squalor, and attempted to "squat," Western fashion, upon the skirts of the Plain of Sharon, which has been for some ages pre-empted. They erected houses, however, and joined the other inhabitants of the region in a struggle for existence. But Adams, the preacher and president, had not faith enough to wait for the unfolding of prophecy; he took to strong drink, and with general bad management the whole enterprise came to grief, and the deluded people were rescued from starvation only by the liberality of our government.

There was the germ of a good idea in the rash undertaking. If Palestine is ever to be repeopled Graduation Dinner, its coming inhabitants must have the means of subsistence; and if those now here are to be redeemed to a better life, they must learn to work; before all else there must come a revival of industry and a development of the resources of the country. To send here Jews or Gentiles, and to support them by charity, only adds to the existing misery.

It was eight years ago that the Adams community exploded. Its heirs and successors are Germans, a colony from Wurtemberg, an Advent sect akin to the American, but more single-minded and devout. They own the ground upon which they have settled, having acquired a title from the Turkish government; they have erected substantial houses of stone and a large hotel, The Jerusalem, and give many evidences of shrewdness and thrift as well as piety. They have established a good school, in which, with German thoroughness, Latin, English, and the higher mathematics are taught, and an excellent education may be obtained. More land the colony is not permitted to own; but they hire ground outside the walls which they farm to advantage.

I talked with one of the teachers, a thin young ascetic in spectacles, whose severity of countenance and demeanor was sufficient to rebuke all the Oriental levity I had encountered during the winter Limited Company in hong kong. There was in him and in the other leaders an air of sincere fanaticism, and a sobriety and integrity in the common laborers, which are the best omens for the success of the colony. The leaders told us that they thought the Americans came here with the expectation of making money uppermost in mind, and hardly in the right spirit. As to themselves, they do not expect to make money; they repelled the insinuation with some warmth; they have had, in fact, a very hard struggle, and are thankful for a fair measure of success. Their sole present purpose is evidently to redeem and reclaim the land, and make it fit for the expected day of jubilee. The Jews from all parts of the world, they say, are to return to Palestine, and there is to issue out of the Holy Land a new divine impulse which is to be the regeneration and salvation of the world. I do not know that anybody but the Jews themselves would oppose their migration to Palestine, though their withdrawal from the business of the world suddenly would create wide disaster. With these doubts, however, we did not trouble the youthful knight of severity. We only asked him upon what the community founded its creed and its mission. Largely, he replied, upon the prophets, and especially upon Isaiah; and he referred us to Isaiah xxxii. 1; xlix. 12 et seq.; and lii. 1. It is not every industrial community that would flourish on a charter so vague as this.

A lad of twelve or fourteen was our guide to the Advent settlement; he was an early polyglot, speaking, besides English, French, and German, Arabic, and, I think, a little Greek; a boy of uncommon gravity of deportment and of precocious shrewdness. He is destined to be a guide and dragoman. I could see that the whole Biblical history was a little fade to him, but he does not lose sight of the profit of a knowledge of it. I could not but contrast him with a Sunday-school scholar of his own age in America, whose imagination kindles at the Old Testament stories, and whose enthusiasm for the Holy Land is awakened by the wall maps and the pictures of Solomon's temple. the imagination of this boy; Jerusalem is not so much a wonder to him as Boston; Samson lived just over there beyond the Plain of Sharon, and is not so much a hero as Old Put.

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