The decision to do so brought
instant and happy relief.
At no time in my period of absence of five months did I meet a
single former acquaintance. I planned every move, and held myself
in every way responsible for results. The experience I thus gained
in the many countries visited I value highly. Not infrequently I
found myself in trying situations; but all ended well. To-day, in
my inventory of life's rich and helpful experiences, though it
were possible for me to do it, I would not eliminate one of these.
It was a kind Providence that denied me the luxury of a place in a
modern "personally conducted" tourist party.
A few articles descriptive of certain experiences have been
written by me for publication. Some themes I have presented on the
lecture platform a few hundred times. My auditors, universally,
have been kind in their criticisms. Many have been the requests
that I write a volume reciting the story of my travels. In
response I have steadily refused. Many books on travel have
appeared in recent years, possibly too many; but I have seen very
little that has been written about the trans-Jordanic highlands.
And it is not strange, for, though multitudes of tourists annually
visit Palestine, not one person out of a thousand of them ever
goes east of the Jordan. And is it worth while? We shall see.
On my trip I tried to identify no biblical site; I tried to locate
no city of antiquity; I dug into no mound; I disturbed no ruin.
All this I left to the geographer, the historian, and the
archaeologist who had preceded me, or who should come after me.
True, with the help of my Bible, map, guide-book, and guide, I
formed opinions, and was happy in the fitness of some of them;
but, in the main, I was content to rest in the conclusions reached
by those who had studied scientifically and reverently every hill
and valley and ruin in this neglected region.
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