NORTH of Palestine lies the hilly region known as Lebanon. It takes its name from the two parallel ridges of mountains of which it consists,—Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. Lebanon means white, and these mountains are doubtless so called from the whitish limestone of which they are composed, and partly perhaps from their snowy whiteness in winter. Their average height is from 5,000 to 8,000 feet, though the highest peak, the Mt. Hermon of Scripture, lifts its lofty, snow-crowned head 10,000 feet, thus giving a fine view of all Palestine and Syria. It is thought by many that one of the southern spurs of Hermon was the scene of the Saviour's transfiguration. 

Between these two ranges of mountains lies a beautiful and fertile valley, seventy miles long and from three to seven wide; and through it flows the river Litany, anciently called Orontes, which empties its waters ,into the Mediterranean just north of Tyre. During a part of its course this river runs through a very deep chasm, which is the admiration of all travelers. For some distance the rocks rise not less than nine hundred feet above the stream, and the high, perpendicular cliffs come so near together in some places that the branches of trees growing on opposite sides of the chasm are said to meet and interlock. "At the bottom, like a silvery ribbon, the current rushes from rapid to rapid, foaming among the rocks,. and decked with the gay blossoms of the oleander along its margin. At one spot there is a natural bridge formed by the falling of masses of rock from above, leaving a channel for the stream a few hundred feet below them." 

To the traveler approaching the mountains of Lebanon, they look barren enough; but the truth is that the soil, though scanty, is very productive. 

The cultivation is wonderful, and every available spot of earth is put to use, as far up as anything will grow. "Fig-trees cling to the almost naked rock; vines are trained along narrow ledges; long ranges of mulberries, on terraces like steps of stairs, cover the more gentle declivities; and dense groves of olives fill up the bottoms of the glens." 

When one looks upward from below, the vegetation on the terraces is not 'seen, so " the whole mountain side appears as if composed only of immense rugged masses of whitish rock, severed by deep, wide ravines running down precipitously to the plain. No one would suspect, among these rocks, the existence of a vast multitude of thrift villages, and a numerous population of mountaineers, hardy, industrious, and brave. But so it is. 

Hundreds of villages are seen—here built amid labyrinths of rocks, there clinging like swallows' nests to the sides of cliffs; while convents no leis numerous; are perched on the top of almost every peak." At the o, great bend of the Litany, where it turns westward toward the Mediterranean, perched on the summit of a naked ridge, which rites almost perpendicularly from the right bank of the river to a height of more than fifteen hundred feet, stands the celebrated fortress of the Crusaders, over topping the neighboring hills, and commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country. "The tower of Lebanon, which looketh toward Damascus" mentioned by Solomon, is brought to mind by the accounts given by modern travelers of the ruins of ancient temples, built of stones of vast size. 

Many such ruinous temples have been discovered in different parts of Lebanon, several op conspicuous points high up in the mountains, where the labor of erecting them must have been stupendous. 

The olive and the mulberry trees are widely cultivated in Lebanon, the one for its oil and the other as food for silk worms. The wine of Lebanon was celebrated of old, and though much less is now made than formerly, it is still accounted of superior excellence. Extensive vineyards surround many of the villages, though the fruit is mostly eaten, or made into raisins. But the glory of Lebanon in ancient days was its vast forests of cedar. This wood is peculiarly adapted to building purposes, because it will not decay nor be eaten by worms. It is of a red color, beautiful, solid, and free from knots. It was to these forests of Lebanon that Solomon sent for cedar to build the temple at Jerusalem and also his own palaces. 

The "house of the forest of Lebanon "was probable so called from the quantity of this wood used in its building. But the "glory of Lebanon is departed," and its vast forests are no more. There are still some scattered trees in different parts resembling the cedar, but the largest and most ancient ones, generally thought to be the only genuine cedars, are found in a grove lying a little off the road which crosses Lebanon from Baalbec to Tripoli. Above it rise the loftiest summits of Lebanon, streaked with perpetual snow. The grove is now scarcely half a mile in circumference, and contains about four hundred trees, but they are not all large or old. There are about a dozen very ancient ones, probably as old as the time of Christ, and the rest are of various smaller sizes. 'A view of a part of this grove is given in our picture. One or two of the oldest of these trees measure more than forty feet around, and have a very ancient and weather beaten appearance. They often part at the trunk as into several trees, and the shadow of their horizontal arms is sometimes a hundred feet or more. 

The Hebrew writers of the Old Testament often refer to these sublime mountains rising like a vast barrier on their north. "They speak of its sea of foliage shaken by the gales, Psalms 72:16; of its noble cedars and other trees, Isaiah 60:13; Jeremiah 22:23; of its innumerable herds, 'the whole of which, however, could not atone for one sin, Isaiah 40:16; of its balsamic perfume and its excellent wine, Hosea 14:5, 7."  When God told Moses, his servant, that he should not go into the land of Canaan, because of his sin at the waters of Meribah, Moses still pleaded with the Lord to let him "go over and see the goodly land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain [probably Hermon] and Lebanon." David says in the Psalms, "The trees of the Lord are full of sap, the cedars of Lebanon which he has planted." 

But the word of the Lord is sure; and in Lebanon as in other countries against which God spake by the mouth Of the prophets, his judgments have been poured out because of the sins of the people. 

"Therefore, shall the Lord of hosts send among his fat ones leanness, and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire, and shall consume the glory of his forests: and the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them." 

Isaiah l0: 16-19. 

E. B. G.