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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 134



to do with pilgrimages. The two motives which most of * all persuade men cheerfully to incur danger are religion and gain. When were the two more closely allied than in those comparatively peaceful times when Jerusalem was open both to worshippers and traders ? With his money bags tied to his girdle, the merchant could at once perform the sacred rites which, as most believed, made him secure of heaven, and could purchase those Eastern luxuries for which the princes of theWe3t were ready to pay so dearly. A state of things, however, so favourable to the general welfare of the world could not be expected to last very long. Luxury and sensuality destroyed the Abassides, and their great kingdom fell to pieces. ' Then Nicephorus Phocas, Emperor of Constantinople, saw in the weakness of the Mohammedans the opportunity of the Christians. With wisdom worthy of Mohammed he resolved on giving his invasion a religious character, and endeavoured to persuade the clergy to proclaim a holy war. These, however, refused to help him ; religion and the slaughter of the enemy were not to be confounded, and the great army of Nicephorus, which might have been made irresistible, was disheartened for want of that spirit which makes every soldier believe himself a possible martyr. The Greek Emperor took Antioch, but was prevented by death from following up his success, while the Patriarch of Jerusalem was condemned to the flames on suspicion of having corresponded with the Greeks. But before the taking of Antioch troubles had befallen the Christians. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was greatly injured by the fanatics, who took every opportunity of troubling their victims. When it had been restored, the Patriarch was cast into prison on a charge of having built his church higher than the Mosque of Omar. He got off by a singular artifice. An old Mohammedan offered, for a consideration, to show him a way of escape. His offer being accepted, he simply told the Patriarch to deny the fact, and call on them to prove


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