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The first remarkable event most significantly pointed out, is the offering of Isaac, represented in the first sign; which memorable act of obedience and self-devotion to the divine will, both on the part of Abraham and his son, Isaac, laid the immoveable foundation on which was placed all the divine promises to this peculiar people. The other distinguished personages, events, and circumstances are delineated in orderly succession through the other signs, down to the final deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt, when they obtained their liberty as a nation, under their incomparable and divinelydirected leader and legislator, Moses. Thus, this ancient monument may be considered an additional page of history in confirmation of the truth of divine writ; and it likewise furnishes an additional proof of the admirable genius of the man, under whose direction this Zodiac was formed and so beautifully sculptured on marble. The great legislator of the world when delivering, by Moses, a record of his divine acts and his laws to the Israelites, gave directions that they should constantly study them, teach them to their children, and be reminded of them by various means and in the principal actions of their lives—“that they should talk of them when sitting in their houses; when walking by the way; when lying down, and when rising up; that they should bind them for signs on their hands, and be as frontlets between their eyes; that they should write them on the posts of their houses and gates.” It was, therefore, strictly consonant with these divine injunctions, that the wisdom of Solomon should lead him to place emblematical memorials of these important matters in every part of his magnificent buildings: and more particularly on his artificial Zodiac, so that whether viewing that, or the constellations of the Zodiac in the heavens, they should constantly be reminded of the covenant they had solemnly entered into with their maker; and, likewise, of the virtues of their illustrious anceStorS. These reflections have naturally led me to a consideration of the etymology of the word ZoDIAC. The Hebrew word ZEdek, means justice, righteousness; ZADDIK–righteous, just; and ZoeDEAK, in Rabbinical Hebrew, means true, certain. Therefore, in whichever sense the term is taken, its application to the circle of the signs, is just and appropriate, whether in reference to the apparent path of the material sum—the emblem of the SUN of Righteous Ness; to the distinguished and righteous characters whom it commemorates; or merely to the constellations of the great circle, which afford us the means of a just and certain measurement of the times and seasons. So that when men lift up their eyes to the sun by day, and to the moon and the constellations by night, they may serve as memorials of all the great and important things after which they are named, or by which they are emblematically designated. It has too long been supposed, particularly by the sceptical portion of the learned, that the ancient Hebrews possessed but little knowledge at any period of their history, either in the arts or the sciences. I trust, however, that I have sufficiently shewn, even in these few pages, that they had risen to the highest pitch of perfection in both, many ages before either the Greeks or the Romans had emerged from a state of barbarism. The history of Herodotus, which was written about five hundred years after the time of Solomon, is filled with childish fables, and altogether wanting in the two great characteristics of an advanced state of civilization,-namely, regular genealogical and chronological accounts, such as the Hebrews had always carefully kept and preserved from the earliest period of time; destitute of these important registers, the early historians among the Greeks and Romans, had free scope for introducing whatever inventions they deemed to be most palatable to their readers, thereby rendering their books little better than romances. On the comparative merits of the Greek and Hebrew historians, Josephus has ably treated in the beginning of his first book against Apion, to which such of my readers as have not attentively considered the subject may refer, if they feel inclined to do so. On the subjects of arts and learning, this distinguished author, in the same books, without descending to particulars, refers the dispute to the test of the then existing monuments; for, says he, “as to the point in competition between the two nations (of Jews and Greeks,) respecting which of them should have the preference for men of arts and learning; the reader has no more to do but to consult our antiquities for his satisfaction.” Even after the total destruction of the capital of Jerusalem and its fine temple, the proofs exhibited in the palaces of Balbec and Palmyra, of persection in architecture, sculpture, and learning, were such as the Greeks in the most flourishing period of their commonwealth could never show. Any one may soon be convinced of this fact, by comparing Mr. Stuart's plates of the remaining monuments of Athenian art, with Mr. Wood's plates of Balbec and Palmyra. The peaceful and splendid reign of Solomon, formed a new era in arts and learning: his family alliances with Pharoah and other princes, and his fame for wisdom, brought about a more enlarged intercourse than had before existed, between the Israelites and the other surrounding nations. But it does not appear that his finest architectural forms were introduced into Corinth and Ionia, until a considerable time after the invasions of the Persians. How this celebrated king came into possession of his variousand unequalled accomplishments, in arts and learning, is clearly and particularly set forth in different parts of his beautiful Treatise on the Duties of Kings; which has been preserved among what are called the Apocryphal writings, under the title of Wisdom, from which I select the following passage, which points out the source and the vast extent of his acquirements. “God hath granted me to speak as I would, and to conceive as is meet for the things that are to be spoken of; because it is he that leadeth unto wisdom, and directeth the wise. For in his hand are both we and our words; all wisdom also and knowledge of workmanship. For he hath given me certain knowledge of the things that are, namely, to know how the world was made, and the operation of the elements: the beginning, ending, and midst of the times: the alterations of the turning of the sun, and the change of seasons: the circuits of years, and the positions of stars. The natures of living creatures, and the furies of wild beasts; the violence of winds, and the reasonings of men: the diversities of plants, and the virtues of roots; and all such things as are either secret or manifest, them I know. For Wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me."—Wisd. of Solomon, VII, 15 to 22. The third, and last subject of my present investigation is that which concerns the inscriptions. Mr. Wood's observations upon
“The inscriptions in a language unknown can be matter of entertainment to so few, that it may be proper to give our reasons for allowing them a place in this work. The first specimen of those characters made public was that in Gruter, from a marble at Rome, and published a second time by Spon, with another of the same sort. Doctor Halley, who found an irreconcilable difference between Gruter's and Spon's copy of the same inscription, had the stone purposely viewed, and the exact figure of the letters taken; by which, and two other inscriptions brought from Palmyra by the English merchants of Aleppo, he hoped one day to find out the alphabet. Bernard, Smith, Rhenferdius, and others, have attempted this discovery, but unsuccessfully, perhaps for want of sufficient materials to work upon. It was entirely with a view to satisfy the curiosity of such persons, and not our own, that we copied these inscriptions; and from the same motives, Mr. Dawkins brought home three of the marbles.” The Abbé Barthelemy, about 80 years ago, wrote a dissertation upon these inscriptions; but I have not been able to meet with a copy of his work; nor have I ever met with any account to prove, that the alphabet has hitherto been discovered. The Alphabetum Palmyrenian, under the title ALPHABET, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, contains only 14 letters, one half of which are ill-formed and misunderstood. It was in the early part of the present year, that I first particularly directed my attention to this enquiry; and after considerable labour and perseverance, I have succeeded in discovering the alphabet, and the language in which these inscriptions are written, which, I trust, will clearly appear by the annexed plate. It contains the three which I conceive to be the most ancient. Each is turned into the Hebrew, or Chaldaic characters at present in use. No. 3, commences with the words “Yarach Elul Shenath— month Elul, year." If the date which follows be 3,333, it agrees, within a year or two, according to a chronological account which I have seen, with the year in which Necho, King of Egypt, made an expedition against Carchemish, by the Euphrates; and this is probably alluded to, in the second line, by the words, “Necho oolath aree—Necho went (or came) up a lion.” I must leave this inscription to be divided into separate words, and to be completely interpreted, by those who are better skilled in the Hebrew language. The dots in the beginning and ending of some of the lines, show where some of the letters on the marble are obliterated. Nos. 11 and 12, were copied by Mr. Wood, from under the sculptured heads in one of the sepulchres which is represented in plate 57. Owing, probably, to the defects in the marble, there are three of the letters, apparently not well formed. After having consulted two or three friends, I submit the following translations, leaving it to others to alter, or amend them, as they may judge proper. 11th-"Without one (or, an equal) among the high, or in the valley, (the low) to deliver, my strength (or, fortress) is blessed on high.” If the last letter be a Thau, it may then be read “my fortress is the blessed covenant.” 12th.-"I spread the wing; the world is obscured in the grave; bearing signs that I go on high, blessed according to the law.” Or, it may probably bear to be altered and paraphrased thus; “I spread the wing, O inhabitants of the world; O people in purity exalt yourselves; truly I shall go on high, blessed in the law." Or thus;–"I will unfold the wing of the world to the people exalted in faith: truly I shall ascend on high blessed in religion.” The Greek inscription placed on the outside of this sepulchre, was translated into Latin by the author of the History of Palmyra; by which it would appear, that it had been built by the ancestors of Malchus, and then, in the year 414 of the Selucian era, appropriated to the use of himself and his children. I am, however, strongly inclined to believe, from the appearance of the Hebrew, inside, unaccompanied by any thing in Greek, that this sepulchre must have been erected many ages anterior to the times of the ancestors whom he mentions. The rest of these inscriptions are evidently of much later dates; and although written in the same characters, are, I believe, mixed with Chaldean, Persian, Greek, and Roman derivatives. I observe in them the names of the months, Tisri, Thebet, and JVisan; and the proper names, Julius Aurelius, Sapor, Paulinus, Septimius Ororem, or Orodem.