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Nineveh well known Sardana bells
her images are broken in pieces." And Isaiah, (xxi. 9 :) “ Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.”
Nineveh was a rich, as well as a great city. The use of gold was well known in it, and some records indicate that it was very abundant. Sardanapalus is said to have placed one hundred and fifty golden bells and as many tables of the same metal on his funeral pile, besides gold and silver vases and ornaments in enormous quantities, and purple, and many-colored raiments. When Nineveh was taken, it contained, according to some absurd traditions, £25,000,000,000 sterling in gold. The spoiler might well have exclaimed, in the language of Nahum, (ii. 9 :) " Take ye the gold, take ye the silver; the riches of Nineveh are inexhaustible; her vases and precious furniture are infinite.” Nebuchadnezzar's image on the plains of Dura, all of fine gold, shows how plentiful that metal was.
Various monuments on the Assyrian sculptures indicate the nature of their worship. Emblems are found on many of their monuments, indicating that they worshipped the sun, moon, and stars. The king, worshipping, wore a collar representing them about his neck. The Persian custom of dedicating horses to the sun was well known in Assyria, and found its way also into other nations. In his purgation of the Israelites from their idolatry, Josiah “took away the horses. that the kings of Judah had given to the sun.” (2 Kings xxiii. 11.) The figure of the supreme Divinity was a figure in a circle, with the wings and tail of a bird. In representations of a battle, this figure appears over the king as his guardian; and there has a bow and arrow in his hands, with which he shoots against the enemies of the Assyrians. It is possible that the circle may be designed to represent the body of the sun, and the wings and tail of a bird, his diverging rays; or, if these are symbols of the divine attributes, the circle indicates endless existence, and the wings, rapidity of motion, or omnipresence. The sun was the principal object of adoration, as the symbol of God, and was called by the name of Baal, Bel, Belus, (whence Apollo,) or some similar cognomen. At the great temple in Babylon, there was a statue of Baal forty feet in height. In a sculpture discovered among the ruins of Nineveh, is a procession of warriors, carrying on their shoulders four images. This explains the passage in Isaiah xlvi. 6, 7: “ They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith, and he maketh it a god; they fall down, yea, they worship; they bear him upon the shoulders,
VOL. XV.—NO. LIX.
they carry him, and set him in his place.” The idols of the Assyrians were delicately carved, overlaid with gold or silver, and daintily clothed. The second deity, a female, was called in the Babylonian temple, Hera ; the same with Astarte, Ashtaroth, Ashtoreth, Mylitta, and Venus. She is also called in the Scriptures, the “queen of heaven,” (Jer. vii. 18, xliv. 17,) and her worship seems to have taken a strong hold of the Assyrians and the neighboring nations. The worship of Ashtaroth is alluded to in the prophetical and historical books of the Old Testament oftener than appears to a reader of our English version. Some author on Assyria remarks, that in most places where the “groves” are mentioned, the original implies images of Ashtaroth.
Mr. Layard intimates that the human figure with the head of an eagle or hawk may be a symbol of the Deity, and thus explains the name of the god Nisroch, in whose temple Sennacherib was slain by his sons. Nisr signifies an eagle. The wheel within a wheel, in Ezekiel's vision, seems to refer to the symbol of Divinity surrounded by a circle and by the wings and tail of a bird. The connection of the image of a bull with the Divine Being is peculiar; possibly that animal may be employed as a symbol of power. In this connection we may remind the reader, that the first idol of the Israelites was in the form of a golden calf; and that Solomon placed under the brazen sea twelve brazen bulls.
Some of the sculptures on the walls were, doubtless, the images of beings to be worshipped. This we should infer from Ezekiel viï. 10: “Behold every form of creeping things and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel portrayed upon the wall round about.” The winged lion and the winged bull at the entrances might be a symbol of divine protection. The intermingling of sacred symbols on the sculptures with those of a more common and secular character, implies that among the Assyrians religious considerations were constantly associated with the affairs of life.
The volumes of which we have given a cursory view, so far as relates to the ruins of Nineveh and the manners of the Assyrians, are of great interest to the Biblical scholar and historian. New light is shed by them on many portions of Sacred Writ. The volumes are printed in a high style of excellence, and illustrated by numerous engravings of the interesting sculptures of which they treat.
ART. VIII.-WILLIAMS'S MISCELLANIES. Miscellanies. By WILLIAM R. WILLIAMS. New-York: Ed
ward H. Fletcher. 1850. Pp. 391.
opy to the publice very lineontains the hands
The above is the brief and unpretending title of a handsome volume, just issued from the press, which contains the collected discourses and writings of one, every line from whose pen is always received by the public with interest and delight. We are most happy to welcome its publication; and though it comes to us too late to allow us to do anything like justice to its abundant and varied merits, we yet cannot refrain from giving some account of its contents, in the hope that our readers will thus be induced the earlier to make themselves acquainted with a volume which cannot fail to be regarded as a gem in American literature. Of the discourses which it contains, several have been published before, and having been widely read, constitute the basis of the high and enduring reputation which their author now enjoys, both as a Christian theologian and as an elegant and accomplished writer and scholar. Three of them were prepared for the anniversaries of Literary Societies, viz. : that on the “ Conservative Principle in our Literature,” which has already passed through two large editions in a volume by itself, and those on "The Jesuits as a Missionary Order," and on " The Life and Times of Baxter," both of which appeared as articles in earlier volumes of this Review.* The other discourses, with two or three exceptions, relate to the interests, the duties and offices, and the ultimate triumphs of the Christian church; and we hazard nothing in saying, are among the most eloquent, Scriptural, and impressive which have ever been delivered upon these stirring and ennobling subjects.
In style and in thought these Miscellanies present several striking though highly attractive peculiarities. They everywhere bear the impress of the author's own mind. The diction is no borrowed compilation from the writings of others, but though formed after the best models to be found among the great masters of English literature, it is eminently original and characteristic. It is always harmonious and correct, yet without the studied niceties of the schools, or the enfeebling refinements of art. It is bold, idiomatic, and strong, as well as
* Christian Review, vol. VI and vol. VIII.
beautiful and finished;—the style of an earnest-minded and fearless writer who has great truths to discuss, and cannot stop to make mere beauty of diction an object of attention, but who from the impulses of his own delicate nature never writes without filling the ear with melody, and gratifying the taste with images of grace and loveliness. It is also unusually free from cant and every species of affectation, which must be claimed as a special merit in discourses so many of which relate to the subjects of theology. It contains on every page proofs of the rich and varied scholarship with which the author has adorned his mind,-a scholarship which seems to have extended its inquiries and won its trophies in nearly every field of literature and art. Its treasures, however, are never paraded before the reader, but if noticed at all, are only incidentally seen, embodied in striking illustrations, peering through classical images or historical allusions, or occasionally referred to in notes, which, while explaining or confirming the text, point the reader away to the distant and unfrequented fountains of the author's lore.
Of this, a fine illustration is to be found in the paragraphs which are appended to the first Discourse in the volume, the “ Conservative Principle in our Literature.” In enforcing the argument suggested by his noble theme, he had referred to the effect on the mind of Dr. Johnson produced by a stanza from that beautiful Latin hymn, commencing“ Dies Iræ, dies illa,” which in mediæval times was so intimately associated with the gorgeous service of the Romish cathedrals of Europe. The allusion required a few sentences of explanation in a note, but the author, filled with the sublimity of the glorious hymn and the solemn scenes in which it had been chanted in the olden time, calls up the recollections of his own previous reading concerning it, traces its history through the various languages in which it has been translated or imitated, and, almost ere he is aware of it, writes what is probably the most complete literary history of the Dies Iræ that can be found in our whole, literature.*
Good writing will generally be found to depend very largely for its effect on the author's power of converting abstract ideas into sensible images, and of suggesting to the imagination thoughts that are not absolutely expressed in words. This power Dr. Williams possesses in a high degree, and it often
* Dr. Williams refers to several of the English translations which have been made of this ancient hymn, and at the close of the appendix he subjoins one in double rhymes which appears to be from his own pen, and which, we believe, will favorably compare with the most successful versions which have ever been made of the Dies Iræ.
enables him to give the happiest dramatic effect to the scenes which he describes. He evidently possesses an exquisite eye for the moral picturesque, and a rare skill in historical portraiture,—faculties which in connection with his great patience of inquiry, we may venture to suggest, would admirably qualify him for a work to which he has more than once been invited by his brethren and friends—that of writing a history of the Christian denomination to which his ancestors have belonged for many generations, and of which he is now a distinguished ornament. Such a work has already been delayed too long, and unless it be undertaken soon, we greatly fear that the value of the lessons it should be made to teach will be underrated, if not wholly overlooked. The secluded scenes amid which our persecuted faith was compelled to hide itself through the long ages of Papal sway in Europe; the later contests which it was obliged fiercely to wage with ecclesiastical power alike in the old world and the new ; the characters of its heroic vindicators, often wrought to sublimity by the sufferings they endured or the principles they uttered ; its intimate connection with the progress of religious freedom, and the triumphs which that freedom has won and is now winning in the world, are among the themes which, in such a history, would blend with the loftier interests of heavenly truth and the wider progress of the Redeemer's kingdom. Should Dr. Williams ever attempt a work like this, as we earnestly hope he will, we venture to predict that the name of Anabaptist, once dreaded, and so long hated both in England and America, will be rescued from the obloquy which has been so often heaped upon it in history, and invested with a moral interest to which the sounding appellations of Churchman and Presbyterian could never pretend, and which may be shared only by the humbler names of Covenanter and Moravian.
In illustration of our author's descriptive power, we quote the following passage from the introduction to an address “On the Jesuits as a Missionary Order," which he delivered at Brown University, and which has appeared in an earlier number of this Review :
Little knew Columbus of the trains of religious influence that came in the wake of his great discovery. In those weary days and nights of anxiety and watchfulness, when his solitary courage buffeted, singlehanded, the mutinous remonstrances of his companions—when, with such difficulty, he kept the prow of his vessel turned still toward the West—if he understood little the peculiar aspect of the shores he was fast nearing, he knew quite as little of the mysterious instrumentality,