DISTANT VIEW OF THE CEDARS OF LEBANON.
Psalm XXIX. 5.
Drawn by J. D. Harding, from a Sketch made on the spot by Mrs. Bracebridge.
In Part XIII. a near view was given of the majestic Cedars of Lebanon, together with historical notices of these justly celebrated trees. The present engraving exhibits a distant view of the whole group: the trees form a dark cluster in the centre, behind which rises the snow-clad Lebanon, broken into fine bold sweeps. The stony fragments, seen in the foreground, are of grey limestone, which is crumbled into small detached masses.
A group of Arabs was on the spot at the time this view was taken. The Scriptures contain frequent references to the fountains, wells, and streams of Lebanon, as well as to its cedars and other trees. To those who are acquainted with the local scenery of the tract where they are found, the allusions of the prophets appear very striking.
“We learn from Hosea (xiv. 7.) that Israel shall one day be as the ‘wine of Lebanon;’ and its wine is still the most esteemed of any in the Levant. What could better display the folly of the man who had forsaken his God, than the reference of Jeremiah (xviii. 14.) to the ‘cold flowing waters’ from the ices of Lebanon, the bare mention of which must have brought the most delightful associations to the inhabitants of the parched plain?
The psalmist (xxix. 5.) declares that ‘the voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon:’ and a more sublime spectacle can scarcely be conceived, than the thunder rolling among these enormous masses, and the lightning playing among the lofty cedars, withering their foliage, crashing the branches that had stood the storms of centuries, and with the utmost ease hurling the roots and trunks into the distant vale.
But by Isaiah the mountain is compared to one vast altar, and its countless trees are the pile of wood, and the cattle upon its thousand hills, the sacrifice; yet, if a volcanic eruption were to burst forth from one of its summits, and in torrents of liquid fire to kindle the whole at once, even this mighty holocaust would be insufficient to expiate one single crime; and the sinner is told, that ‘Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof for a burnt offering.’ (Isa. xl. 16.)
The trees of Lebanon are now comparatively few, and with them are gone the eagles and wild beasts, to which they afforded shelter; and it is of its former state, and not of its present degradation, that we are to think, in reading the glowing descriptions of the prophets.— ‘The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious.’ (Isa. lx. 13.)”
Source: Landscape Illustrations of the Bible, consisting of views of the most remarkable places mentioned in the Old and New Testaments, from original sketches taken on the spot engraved by W. and E. Finden, by Thomas Hartwell Horne (1780-1862), William Finden (1787-1852), Edward Francis Finden (1791-1857), Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), Bartolomé de las Casas (1474-1566). London: John Murray: Sold also by Charles Tilt, 1836.