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-Suttee, and even Juggernaut, must hide its head before the sectaries of Russia!
We cannot now enter into details regarding the present state of religion in the different sections of the Greek Church; indeed, we have already anticipated these. Where superstitions so gross are rampant, there must be confusion, and every evil work, in regard to the simple truth of God. And yet, notwithstanding, elaborate attempts have been made, on the part of the Tractarians, as we have already seen, to achieve some sort of union between Lambeth and St Petersburgh. Mr Palmer is the apostle of this undertaking, and has adopted plans the most humbling, as well as arguments the most subtle, with a view to accomplish his cherished object. Jesuits on the one hand, and Anglo-Catholics on the other, are thus coquetting with the church of the Czar,for the present with only indifferent success. Meanwhile, at various points in the East the truth is spreading. But the details would require a separate article; and we can only in general announce, that wherever Christians have been permitted to proclaim God's message to men, men have been found to welcome and rejoice in it. It remains a problem for the future whether the Anglicans or the Romanists are to prevail in accomplishing a union with the Greeks, or whether all the three, eventually blending into one, are to sink together into the same dark and fathomless abyss of corruption. We shall in another paper give a detailed account of the negotiations which have taken place between the various parties with a view to union; and the course of events in the East may speedily throw light upon the prospective practicability of such an issue.
ART. V.-1. Nineveh and its Remains. By AUSTEN HENRY LAYARD. In two volumes. London: 1849.
2. Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon; with Travels in Armenia, Kurdistan, and the Desert: Being the
*When the celebrated Gorham case was decided, and the unadulterated truth of God on the subject of baptism declared to be tenable in the Church of England, many took offence. Some of the Tractarians thought of turning to the East for an asylum. Remembering the correspondence between the English Church and the Orientals about a hundred and thirty years ago, which was to be "renewed at some future and more convenient opportunity," the aggrieved Romanisers deemed that opportunity to have come. A document was prepared, which has indeed never been acted on, and seems intrinsically to merit only contempt, but which is still an important "sign of the times." The ambassador of the Czar was to be appealed to, and the readiness of some to sink into deeper darkness than they have even yet reached, was made fully apparent.
result of a Second Expedition, undertaken for the Trustees of the British Museum. By AUSTEN H. LAYARD, M.P. London: 1853.
3. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Vol. X., Parts I., II., III. The Persian Cuneiform Inscription of Behistun Deciphered and Translated; with a Memoir. By Major H. C. RAWLINSON. London: 1846.
4. A Commentary on the Cuneiform Inscriptions of Babylon and Assyria; including Readings of the Inscription on the Nimroud Obelisk; and a brief notice of the ancient Kings of Nineveh and Babylon. Read before the Royal Asiatic Society. By Major H. C. RAWLINSON. London : 1850. 5. A Later Communication from Lieutenant-Colonel Rawlinson, C. B., containing Outlines of Assyrian History from the Inscriptions of Nineveh; followed by some Remarks, by A. H. LAYARD, Esq., M.P.
6. Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy. Vol. XXII. Part XI. On the Inscriptions of Khorsabad. By the Rev. EDWARD HINCKS, D.D. Dublin 1851.
THE present age is emphatically one of transition. It is distinguished by all the marks which characterise such an epoch :it is discontented, restless, speculative, full of invention, indefatigable in its investigations of all kinds, and, while eager for reforms and change, is yet filled with gloomy forebodings of the near impending future. Man has enjoyed a large measure of liberty, civil and religious, since the time of the Reformation; but that liberty has not been wisely used; the authority of the Bible has not been sufficiently admitted and obeyed; society has not been adequately pervaded by its life-giving and lifepreserving principles; degradation, misery, and misrule are increasing; and mankind seem on the point of losing true liberty with all its blessings, which they have almost proved themselves unworthy to enjoy. Many efforts, all alike futile and abortive,-political, scientific, and literary or philosophical,have been made, and are being made, to satisfy the great want of which all are conscious, and to avert that threatened danger which all dread. Few, very few, directly and intelligently consult the Word of God, and seek to learn there, not only what are the true principles of civil and religious liberty, but how those principles can be realised, enjoyed, and permanently maintained. Yet there, and there alone, can it be learned how that inestimable blessing may be obtained and secured. Meanwhile Divine providence is leading men, by ways which they know not, and sought not, to perceive the marvellous truthfulness of that sacred book, THE BIBLE. While, therefore, in an age of at least incipient transition, such as we believe the pre
sent to be, men cannot refrain from inquiring into beginnings, it is a most propitious omen, that Providence has so guided their inquiries, by means of unexpected discoveries, as to bring them into contact with the ancient records of the sacred Scriptures, thereby infusing into the very mind and heart of this transition age the confirmed principles of Divine truth, from which we may cherish the hope, that the result of all the mighty movements of the troubled and tossing present, will be the development of an unprecedented measure of truth, purity, freedom, and peace in the coming future.
The discoveries to which we allude are those connected with ancient Egypt and ancient Assyria, two countries with which the historical narratives of the Bible bring us into close contact, at a period of antiquity beyond the range of common history. The books of Moses, while relating the various events which befel the race of Abraham, record also somewhat of the rise of great nations in Central Asia, and state with considerable minuteness the transactions which occurred in Egypt, both during the residence of the Hebrew people in that country, and especially at the period of their departure. Again, both in the historical books of Kings, and in the writings of the prophets, there are placed before us narratives respecting the relation in which the Hebrew people stood to the mighty Assyrian empire, and the treatment they received from that cruel and oppressive power. There were consequently two historical epochs, separated from each other by a period of five or six centuries, in each of which the Hebrews had been in close contact with a great monarchy in such a manner that the transactions which had taken place must have been recorded in the public annals of these monarchies. It might be expected, therefore, that these annals, if they were still extant and could be recovered, would either confirm or invalidate the Scripture narrative, at least in its historical department. But if such annals were still in existence, they were buried in impenetrable obscurity, out of which no amount of past learning or research had been able to raise them. In Egypt the traveller wandered amidst a vast wilderness of pyramids, tombs, obelisks, and sphinxes, covered with hieroglyphical inscriptions, which might be charged with all the wisdom and learning of that ancient kingdom, but the deep mysteries of which no man had been able to disclose. Vast mounds cumbered the banks of the Tigris, to which tradition ascribed some connection with that great city Nineveh, the haughty metropolis of imperial Assyria; but no human eye had explored the secret recesses of those huge funereal mounds. So long as this remained the case, there could be nothing obtained from those silent retreats of the buried past, either to confirm or to invalidate the Bible;
and yet men continued to hover round and gaze upon them with increasing earnestness. There had been hopes entertained by some infidel writers, such as Volney and his followers, that these "ruins of empires" contained, and would one day reveal, a complete confutation of Scripture history; this position carried, they would have a strong "vantage ground" from which to assail its doctrinal statements. With this view such men were eager to explore the unknown records of Egypt; while a measure of anxiety as to the result equally impelled the defenders of Bible truth to prosecute a similar course of investigation. It was not mere antiquarian curiosity that urged on the prolonged inquiries with such zeal and perseverance, but the deep, though often unacknowledged, feeling that the veracity of revelation was involved in the results. It is one thing to please the eye and cultivate the taste by inspecting the shape of an Etruscan vase, or the exquisite proportions of Athenian sculpture; and quite another to stand face to face with an ancient Pharaoh, and obtain from his monumental records a sentence regarding the veracity of Moses.
At length the sphinx yielded up the solution of her riddle; Isis was unveiled, and the monuments of Egypt revealed their mysteries. The result has been, to state it in the language of one of the most thoroughly learned of Egyptologers, that the discoveries made in ancient Egypt contain much to confirin various statements in the Mosaic writings, but nothing to contradict them. More recently, Nineveh has been disinterred. The gigantic tomb-heaps of her buried palaces have been explored by extensive excavations and tunnels, and vast quantities of sculptured historical records have been recovered, collected, and deciphered. There, too, the result has been the same. The Bible narrative has been confirmed with marvellous exactness, not only in its leading statements, but often also in very minute details. It is scarce a metaphor to say, that from dead Egypt and buried Assyria sepulchral forms have arisen and voices have been heard, bearing solemn testimony to the truth of that record which pronounced their doom, rendering awful homage to the Almighty arm by which they were smitten in their pride.
But the question may be asked, What certainty is there that the ancient records of Egypt and Assyria have been at length correctly deciphered, and are now truly understood? This question deserves the most conclusive answer that can be given; and our attempt to furnish such an answer will lead us to give a brief account of the method employed in deciphering those ancient inscriptions,-an outline of the historical information obtained, and a short statement of its relation to well-ascertained secular history, as
well as to the historical narratives of the Bible. By following this process, we venture to hope that we may be able to place before our readers a tolerably full and intelligible view of those intensely interesting and precious memorials of the past, to which the attention of the civilised world is now so eagerly and so justly directed.
During the progress of that tremendous struggle begun by the French Revolution, which ushered in the present age of transition, Egypt was invaded by an army under the command of Napoleon. That wonderful man had taken with him not only soldiers to fight, but men of science and literature to explore, so that his campaign should produce results of every kind. In August 1799, while a French officer of artillery was engaged in constructing fortifications at Rosetta, he dug up the fragment of an oblong square slab of black syenitic basalt, covered with inscriptions. This discovery was immediately communicated to the men of science and literature, to whose province it belonged to ascertain its value. The inscription was threefold: the upper of the three was in hieroglyphics, the middle in what was termed the enchorial or popular, and the lowest in Greek. A hasty perusal of the Greek text showed that this stone tablet recorded the ascription of the highest honours of the Pharaohs to Ptolemy Epiphanes by the priesthood of Memphis. It was at once perceived that such a record might be of great value in guiding the inquiries of learned men with regard to the interpretation of hieroglyphic inscriptions. Shortly afterwards Alexandria fell into the hands of the British; and the Rosetta stone, which had been packed up for transmission to Paris, was sent to England, and deposited in the British Museum. The possible value of that relic of antiquity was very readily recognised by the literary men of Britain; and with a liberality which did them honour, engraved copies of it were immediately made, and transmitted to every seat of learning in Europe, for the investigation of philologists every where.
The path of inquiry had most fortunately been cleared from the obstructions of the mythic and symbolical dreams of earlier interpreters, about the same time, by the learning and sagacity of Zoega, a native of Denmark, who had established the distinction between hieroglyphics and purely symbolical representations, had maintained that the former contained signs of articulate sounds, and had given to these the name of phonetic signs. It was an obvious conjecture that the triple inscription was but one in meaning, but expressed in different languages and modes of writing, so as to be equally intelligible to the different races or classes of people by whom they were used. The labours of Heyne and Porson speedily restored and interpreted