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KING DAVID'S CROWN OF GOLD.
We have great pleasure in endeavouring to satisfy a "Constant Reader of the Christian's Penny Magazine," by "a proper explanation," of 2 Samuel xii, 29, 30. "And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it. And he took their king's crown from off his head (the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones), and it was set on David's head."
The weight of this crown of Hanun appears certainly to have been great: but neither the king of Ammon nor the king of Israel "needed the neck of an elephant" to wear that ornament of royalty.
"A talent of gold" is said to have been the weight of this captured jewel: probably of the same weight as the golden candlestick in the Tabernacle, Exod. xxv, 39; the value of which, according to the celebrated professor Brerewood, was 4,500/.; but according to bishop Cumberland, 5,0761. 15s. 7d. Some suppose the value of the crown is intended, and not its weight, which, according to Dr. Arbuthnot, was a little more than 113/6s. 10oz. troy, equal to about 100lbs. avoirdupois. Bishop Cumberland computes it at rather less, making it about 93/bs. Some suppose it to have been the Syriac talent, which was but the fourth part of that used by the Hebrews. Still that would make the crown weigh about 25/bs. Whiston, in his Notes on Josephus, who says that David wore the crown ever after, declares this talent weighed only 7lbs.; and if so, David or Hanun might easily carry it upon his head. But it is not necessary to suppose the talent less than the ordinary computation; we may grant that it weighed full a hundred pounds, with its precious sardonyx mentioned by Josephus.
Eastern monarchs, it is well known, were accustomed to have crowns made to set forth their splendor and magnificence, besides those which they commonly wore as their distinguishing ornament. These were immensely large, and hung up supported over their thrones of state, where they sat at their coronation, and on solemn occasions. Athenæus mentions one made of 10,000 pieces of gold, placed on the throne of Ptolemy, king of Egypt: he describes one of gold that was 24 feet in circumference: and mentions others that were 2, some 4, and others 5 feet deep.
We must not omit to remark, that the Hebrew does not require us to understand that the crown was literally taken from off the head of Hanun, and set upon the head of David: but that the royal insignia of that base monarch (see 2 Sam. x, 4) were captured by David, and afterwards used as his own jewels.
A DESCRIPTION OF ONE OF THE CARTOONS.
Behold that group on yonder shore!
And we may add, that never more
Such group on earth will meet again;
'Twas He who died, who burst the grave,
And marks upon His hands and feet,
And prove his mortal suff'rings great :
Wishing, yet fearing to believe,
It seems to say, what, not receive
That seem to say, "We must not part! I will no more a traitor be, Lord, I will bleed, and die for Thee!" The Saviour speaks! —The voice they know, 'Tis the same tones they oft had heard; 'Tis music, clear, and deep, and low,
Which oft their fainting hearts had cheer'd : Simon! it is address'd to thee,
'Say, son of Jonas, lov'st thou Me?" What wisdom and compassion here,
No harsh rebuke, contemptuous frown';
To none around can it be known,
But forward still his heart can bound: "Lord, thou my soul canst plainly see, Thou know'st the love it bears to Thee!" "Then feed my sheep!"-the Saviour said, And the same question ask'd again: The same reply his servant made,
What could this new inquiry mean?
And thrice the same request was ask'd;
To feelings deep, on all the past; "Lord, Thou alone dost all things know,Thou know'st my love, and all my woe." Then "Feed my Lambs," the Lord replied: This precious CHARGE with joy he heard, Went forth and every foe defied,
Nor danger, pain, nor death he fear'd, With tenfold zeal, and tenfold love, Until his latest hour he strove.
MONUMENTS OF ROMAN GRANDEUR.
"Where Campagna's plain forsaken lies,
It has a wild and desolate appearance, as if neither man nor beast had passed over it for years; yet the very solitude seems sublime, and more suited to the present widowed state of Rome, where she sits "the Niobe of Nations," than palaces and triumphal arches. There is but one Rome in the world, and the peculiarity of its approach strikes the eye more forcibly than the ordinary suburbs of a city; one or two ruined towers are alone to be seen, in which "the fox looks out of the window, and the thistle shakes its lonely head," yet the soil teems with luxuriance, and the very weeds have a singular fertility and grandeur of appearance, as if characteristic of the land which has been formerly the scene of so many noble and illustrious transactions. Like the awful stillness that precedes a storm, so does the solitariness around prepare the mind for Rome. After passing a few lonely posthouses, a turn in the road brought us upon the "Eternal City." Her columns, obelisks, swelling domes, and palaces, burst upon us; every spot was classic ground, and we passed the celebrated Tiber by the bridge where Constantine beheld his famous vision of the Cross, and subsequently defeated his enemy, which event produced the conversion of the Emperor, and caused Christianity to become the religion of the Roman Empire and of the civilized world.
The feelings of that man are not to be envied, who could without a beating heart first mount the Capitol or view the Forum. There the genius of Ancient Rome still seems to preside, and every spot in the vicinity abounds with interesting reminiscences. The majestic Coliseum, which
"In its public days unpeopled Rome,
And held, uncrowded, nations in its womb," still stands, though in ruins, a noble specimen of the magnificent ideas of the Romans.
Of the Golden House of Nero, which in its days of grandeur found its limits too confined on the Palatine Mount, the early boundary of the Roman Empire, nought now remains of its gorgeous splendor, but fragments of columns, choked-up vaults, and subterranean frescos; and at this hour "the spider spreads her net in the palace of the Cæsars, and the owl stands sentinel" on the Imperial Mount.
In its neighbourhood are the Triumphal Arches of Titus*, Constantine, and Severus, with many elegant columns, the graceful vestiges of fallen funes and forsaken temples.
In the Museumns, besides an assemblage of most exquisite and beautiful statues, is a collection of pictures and an interesting assemblage of the busts of the illustrous dead.
The Church of St. Peter, for its immensity, its sublimity, and beauty, so far transcends all other edifices, that no description could convey an adequate idea of its magnificencet. The walls that glow with the richest marbles, the noble statues, the fine pictures, the richly ornamented altars, positively overwhelm the senses; whilst the lamps always burning, the swells of music occasionally falling on the ear, the fragrant incense wafted around, give the impression of enchantment, that as you wander about, you half imagine it a dream.
Besides its classical attractions, Rome is consecrated to the Christian traveller, it having been the scene of the labours and sufferings of several of the holy apostles. St. Peter was crucified on the spot where See our vol. i, p. 145.
† See our Engraving, vol. i, p. 209.
the sacristry bearing his name now stands; St. John was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil near the Lateran; and St. Paul dwelt here two whole years, and was afterwards beheaded.
Many of the first Christians sought refuge during the bloody persecutions of the Roman emperors in the gloomy recesses of the catacombs; and nothing even in the most heroic period of the Roman annals can compete with the wonderful inagnanimity, the fortitude, and pious resignation with which these holy men endured tortures worse than death, and resigned the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, with all that makes life dear, for the sake of their religion.
THE SUBSTANCE OF A COURSE OF LECTURES ON BRITISH COLONIAL SLAVERY, Delivered at Bradford, York, and Scarborough, by the Rev. Benjamin Godwin, Classical Tutor of Horton College, Bradford, Yorkshire. 8vo. pp. 170. London, Hatchard.
In whatever point of view we contemplate Negro Slavery, it appears an evil of enormous magnitude. It is the most flagrant violation of the righteous law of God; it is the most atrocious injury to the dearest rights of man;—and it is the most effectual means of demoralizing all classes of society in which it prevails. Should any one he disposed to question the latter position, we would refer him to the various works which refer to the West Indies, or to the following statement respecting the number of illegitimate children of free persons in Jamaica, which is taken from the registry of the Bishop's office, for 1830. Legitimate, 380, illegitimate 958: total 1338!!
What must be the general state of morals among a people, who would record in a religious ordinance that nearly three-fourths of their children were illegitimate, any one may conceive!
Mr. Godwin is entitled to the thanks of the conmunity for his valuable Lectures. They will be found a very interesting commentary on the whole system of Negro Slavery, and worthy of the perusal of every Christian-especially of every British Christian.
ANNUAL EXPENDITURE FOR GIN IN ENGLAND.-Årdent spirits are most pernicious to the health, especially of those who are badly fed. Yet the poorer classes are those who expend most in this deleterious and destructive stimulant. We are assured, that "the retail value of the gin annually consumed in this country amounts to nearly 20,000,000. Including the smuggled spirits, it is probably more. Here, then, are the people of this country, and principally those of the lower orders, taxing themselves to the extent of nearly half the whole revenue of the kingdom, and that in the consumption of an article, which, in return for a momentary gratification, entails upon thousands misery of every kind, including disease and premature death!”
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HISTORICAL NOTICES OF CARACTACUS. CARACTACUS is celebrated in the annals of our country, as one of the most distinguished of the ancient British princes. Brief notices of this renowned chief cannot fail to be interesting to our readers on two accountsFirst, because of his greatness of nind, displayed in his conduct towards the Romans, in their conquest of Britain; and especially, as his being carried captive to Rome was the means of introducing Christianity among our Druid ancestors.
Britain had been partially conquered by Julius Cæsar, in two expeditions; the last of which, a year after the former, was in the year 54 before the Christian era. Cæsar is believed to have advanced as far as St. Alban's, whose Latin name is Verulamium, the capital of Cassivelaunus. This city the Romans burnt and destroyed; hostages were delivered to Cæsar, as a security for the tribute he had imposed upon the Britons, and he withdrew with his army to Gaul.
For a period of ninety-seven years afterwards, the Britons were but little molested by foreign enemies : they did not pay the tribute imposed by their conquerors; and, though they repeatedly threatened, none of the Roman emperors, during that period, would invade the country, Augustus and Tiberius considering the expedition too expensive.
Claudius was induced to engage in the enterprize, VOL. II.
by the representations of Bericus, or Adminius, son of Cunobelinus. This prince dying, left his dominions between his other sons Togodumnus and Caractacus, who either conjointly or separately governed the Silures in Wales, and a great part of the south-west of Britain. Their step-mother, Cartismandua, queen of the Brigantes, inhabiting Yorkshire, &c., enjoying her own dominions.
Aulus Plautius, of consular rank, was commissioned for the undertaking, A. D. 43. His army consisted of four complete legions, with their auxiliaries and cavalry, making in all about 50,000 men. Vespasian, and his son Titus, who afterwards destroyed Jerusalem, and became emperors of Rome, were commanders under him. Caractacus led the British against the dreadful legions, the conquerors of the world, and was defeated. Claudius himself was induced to hasten to Britain to reap the glory of the conquest, and Caractacus was again defeated in Essex, and Camelodunum (now Maldon) a city of some note was taken, and established as a military fortification by the Romans. Some suppose that Caractacus was taken prisoner, and brought before the emperor Claudius at York, but released; but as he stayed but fifteen days in the island it does not appear probable; however, the Senate decreed the Emperor the title of BRITANNICUS as a surname, in memory of his conquest of Britain.
Plautius and Vespasian continued their efforts to subD
jugate the Britains. They were succeeded by Ostorius Scapula, A. D. 50. An alliance was formed by the Iceni, the Brigantes, and the Silures, three of the most powerful British tribes, who unanimously chose Caractacus for their chief general. He exhorted the soldiers on the morning of the fatal battle, telling them, "This is the day that will give liberty or perpetual slavery;" and bid them call to mind the glory of their ancestors, who drove Cæsar out of Britain, and formerly freed their country from the dominion of the Romans."
Discipline and skill in the Roman veterans, overcame the rude courage of the Britons, who were completely routed. Besides the dreadful effusion of blood, Caractacus lost his wife, daughters, and brothers and that chieftain himself taking refuge in the dominions of his step-mother, Cartismandua, was betrayed by her into the hands of Ostorius. Information of this victory was immediately forwarded to Rome; on which, Claudius ordered the royal captives to be sent to his capital, that he might behold in chains a prince who had been able to withstand the Roman legions for nine years.
On an appointed day, the imperial court being summoned, and the Emperor seated on his throne, the procession was made to pass before the master of the world. The servants and retinue of the British prince, with the rich spoils which had been taken by the Romans, were first led forth; then his wife, daughters, and brothers; and lastly Caractacus himself, walking erect, with a settled countenance, as if elevated above his misfortune. When beholding the astonishing splendour and magnificence of Rome, Caractacus exclaimed, Is it possible, that a people so wealthy and luxurious, should envy me a humble cottage in Britain?"
Tacitus informs us, that when Caractacus came near the Emperor, he addressed him with dignity, as follows: "If my moderation had been as great as my birth or fortune, Rome had seen me this day her ally, and not her captive, and perhaps she would not have disdained to rank in the number of her friends, a prince royally descended, and who commanded many nations. My present condition is as dishonourable to me, as it is glorious to you. I had arms, horses, riches, and grandeur. Is it strange I should part with them unwillingly? Does it follow, because you have a mind to rule over all, that therefore every one must tamely submit? Had I sooner been betrayed to you, neither your glory nor my misfortunes had been rendered so famous, and my punishment would have been buried in eternal oblivion. But now, if you preserve my life, I shall be a standing monument of your clemency to future ages.'
Claudius is said to have been so moved by these words, that he pronounced their pardon instantly, and ordered the chains to be knocked off the captives in his presence. Having received their liberty, they immediately presented themselves before the empress, giving expressions to their gratitude to her, who appears to have been their intercessor.
BRITISH ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.
No. II. Introduction of Christianity into Britain. DRUIDISM, the religion of our pagan ancestors in Britain, we introduced to our readers in Number 13 of the Christian's Penny Magazine. They will reasonably desire some information concerning the more interesting parts of our Ecclesiastical History: this we intend to give in a series of papers.
Christianity was introduced among the Britons in the Apostolic age. Of this there seems indubitable evidence, both from facts and testimonies; though there exists no small measure of difference and of monkish extravagance in some of the traditions.
Gildas, the most ancient of our historians, who flourished in the sixth century, declares that he "could find no British records of either the civil or ecclesiastical affairs of Britain, while it was subject to the Romans; and that if such records ever did exist, they had either been destroyed by their enemies, or carried into foreign countries by the exiled Britons." Yet this writer intimates the prevailing tradition, that Christianity had been published in our country before the great revolt, and the defeat of Queen Boadicea, which happened A. D. 61;-for, referring to those calamitous events, he remarks, "In the mean time, Christ, the true sun, afforded his rays, that is the knowledge of his precepts, to this island, benumbed with extreme cold, having been at a great distance from the sun; I do not mean the sun in the firmament, but the Eternal Sun in heaven."
Caractacus, that martial but unfortunate prince, is believed to have been the means of furthering the diffusion of Christian knowledge among the Britons, if not of its introduction: and this will appear probable from several considerations. That bold chief, as we have seen, was carried captive to Rome, A. D. 52, when he was liberated by the Emperor Claudius: but Caractacus was detained in the imperial city for seven years, without a passport for his return home, which happened A. D. 59. At this period, the conquerors had established the southern division of this island as a Roman province, Camelodunum (Maldon in Essex) had been fortified as a Roman colony and military station, and Verulam (St. Alban's) and London had become inunicipia, or free cities, flourishing, and crowded with Roman citizens; of whom it is computed there could not be less than 100,000; as no less than 70,000 or 80,000 were massacred in the revolt under Boadicea, some of whom, it is thought, might be believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, for the following reasons:
The Christians at Rome were very numerous, and their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world," Rom. i, 8. The Epistle of Paul to the Romans is believed to have been written A. D. 58, and the flourishing state of their church may be tolerably estimated by consulting that Epistle, in chap. i, 1-15, and xv, 23, and xvi.
From the indispensable daily intercourse between Rome and Britain, Christianity must have been heard of by our countrymen; especially when we consider, that, besides those who had been carried prisoners to Rome, many would go to negotiate their affairs at the imperial court; and some who came to occupy civil or military posts in the island, or to transact mercantile business, would surely know and feel some interest in the Christian religion. Still more probable does this appear, as Claudius, the emperor, had published a decree, commanding "all Jews" "to depart from Rome," Acts xviii, 2. This happened A. D. 53, the year before the death of Claudius, and the Christian Jews were consequently dispersed among the Gentiles, as we see in the case of Aquila and Priscilla at Corinth, and some would probably carry the Gospel to Britain:
Aulus Plautius, it will be remembered, was the first Roman governor in Britain; and he had married Pomponia Græcina, who is believed to have been a decided Christian. Tacitus, a Roman historian of that age, says, "Pomponia Græcina, an illustrious lady, married to Plautius, who was honoured with an ovation or lesser triumph for his victories in Britain, was accused of having a strange and foreign superstition; and her trial was committed to her husband. He, according to ancient custom, convened her whole family and relations; and having in their presence tried her for her life and fame, pronounced her innocent of any thing immoral. Pomponia lived many years after
this trial, but always led a gloomy, melancholy kind of life."
The exemplary innocence of Pomponia, and her abandoning the licentiousness and idolatries of the imperial court, are characterized just as we might expect from a proud and philosophic pagan historian. But if this illustrious lady were a Christian, and accompanied her husband during his residence in Britain, from A. D. 43-47, she might be one of the first who brought the Gospel into our country, and prepared the means for some faithful preachers of Christ.
Several of the family of Caractacus are said to have embraced the Gospel at Rome; among whom, according to the Welch Triads, was Bran, erroneously called his father, who also had been carried with him into captivity. On this account, Bran was celebrated as one of the three blessed sovereigns;" and his family as "one of the three blessed lineages of Britain."
Caractacus was accompanied on his return to Britain, by several Christian preachers, of whom, ILID is supposed to have been a Jewish believer; and two others are believed to have been Gentiles, whose names were Cyndav and Arwystli. Great success is said to have attended their evangelical ministry; and many, as the fruit of their labours, in the southern parts of Britain, especially in Wales, became the disciples of Jesus Christ.
Claudia, a Christian lady enrolled in the inspired records, by the apostle Paul, 2 Tim. iv, 21, is thought to have been a daughter of Caractacus, left behind him at Rome, she having been married by Pudens, a person of senatorial dignity. Martial, a Roman poet of that age, celebrates her as an accomplished British lady, married to Pudens, who is believed to be the same person whom the apostle mentions in the same passage with Claudia.
Many are exceedingly anxious to prove that Britain was honoured with the presence and labours of some of the Apostles of Christ. Traditions, the most extraordinary and absurd, have been handed down to our times respecting the apostles James, Simon Zelotes, Peter, Andrew, and Joseph of Arimathea, having preached the Gospel in Britain. These are unworthy of our recording.
Britain is, however, with good reason believed to have been honoured with a missionary visit from the great "Apostle of the Gentiles." Ancient and respectable tradition exists, declaring that our island was visited by Paul: and when we consider that he was liberated from his confinement at Rome, in the spring of A. D. 63, between which, and the period of his death, A. D. 65, or according to some A. D. 67, he might take his long purposed "journey into Spain," as he mentions in his Epistle to the Romans, chap. iv, 24-28; while in the west, as there is much reason to believe he made that journey, he could easily pass over the channel into Britain.
Dr. Henry observes, in which we fully concur, "In a word, though it would be rash and unwarrantable in a modern writer, to affirm positively that the apostle Paul preached the Gospel in Britain, yet it is certainly no presumption to affirm, that if any of the apostles preached in this island, it was most probably the apostle Paul."
"The entrance of Christ into a city, whether in person or by the preaching of the Gospel, always makes a stir. Some are moved by the novelty. Some, alas! by hatred and envy and some, blessed be God, are moved with joy and gratitude to God for sending His blessed Gospel among them."
THE BIRMINGHAM APPRENTICE. (Continued from vol. i, p. 229.)
His Religious Principles.
BAPTIZED and brought up, as his friends considered, a member of the Church of England, William was taught the Catechism; and was able to repeat the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. But until after he arrived at manhood, he was unacquainted with any one who was consistently religious; or with any individual who was accustomed to observe the daily worship of God in his family.
From the little he had seen of the Methodists, during the few weeks he was in their Sunday school, he was persuaded that some of them were truly religious; and all the silly opprobrium, which for years he had heard heaped upon them, was not sufficient to destroy the respect for them which had been created by that short opportunity of observing them.
He was led to think highly of the Rev. E. Burn, minister of St. Mary's chapel, whose son had been a school-fellow with William; partly from the fact of his being accounted methodistical in his principles and preaching, and partly from some circumstances connected with that gentleman publishing a funeral sermon on the decease of the pious Countess of Burfort; through which, William had a short interview with Mr. Burn.
Though an ingenious mechanic, the master of Williaın had in reality no religious principles; in relation to which, he was ignorant in the extreme. This will readily be inferred from the fact of his not possessing a single religious volume, except a Prayer Book, nor a copy of the Holy Scriptures in his family, for several years after William was bound; and then his cominissioning a Jew, with whom he had frequent dealings, to purchase a good Bible, and to examine which, William, the apprentice, was called in for his opinion, whether it were a proper and a good one! William derived, therefore, no advantage in a religious point of view, from any qualification of his master.
Inquisitiveness was a peculiar feature in the mind of William and his circumstances were in some respects calculated to provoke its exercise; for having felt the indispensable necessity of personal religion, he was exceedingly solicitous to ascertain what was the certain truth, according to the word of God, and what party, among the several denominations of professing Christians, held its sacred realities in their scriptural purity.
William wished to be a churchinan; and he ardently desired to find that the church of England was altogether right, and that the Roman Catholics, the Methodists, and the Dissenters were in the wrong. To assist him in his investigation, he procured a copy of the Manchester "Young Man's Companion," which as he had seen contained a mass of various and valuable instruction, a branch of which, not the least valuable, was a sketch of the various religions embraced by different nations, and notices of the principal divisions of Christians, under their several denominations. This was of considerable use to William, as most of the information was entirely new, and it served to sharpen his disposition for inquiry, that he might obtain full satisfaction.
Observing his seriousness, and knowing that he was fond of reading, one of his shopmates, an elderly man, but greatly addicted to excessive drinking, brought William a book, which appeared to have been a trouble to him, as its possession carried condemnation to habits of intemperance: it was an old copy of the Rev. Mr. Hervey's Eleven Letters to Mr. Wesley, in reply to the Observations of that gentleman on Hervey's