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LIBRARY OF ECCLESIASTICAL KNOWLEDGE.
Lives of Eminent Reformers. Vol. I, Biographical Series, 12mo. cloth, pp. 360. 58. London.
Luther, Zuingle, Melancthon, and Calvin, form the subject of this valuable volume, which we have great pleasure in recommending to our readers. For their extraordinary labours, -in restoring to mankind the possession of the Holy Scriptures, in reforming the churches, overthrowing the arrogant pretensions and the debasing superstitions of Popery, and recovering the pure doctrines of salvation by Jesus Christ, aз contained in the Gospel,—they have laid Europe, and the whole world, under the greatest and most lasting obligations.
M. CLAUDE, in his valuable defence of the Protestant Reformation, gives the following just character of these great men. God enriched them with a lively and penetrating understanding; a solid judgment; exquisite and profound knowledge; an indefatigable propensity to labour; a wonderful readiness to compose and deliver; an exact knowledge of the Scriptures, and the principles of the Christian religion; a great and resolute soul; an unshaken courage; an upright conscience; a sincere love of the truth; an ardent zeal for the glory of God; a solid piety, without hypocrisy and without pride; a plain and open carriage; an entire disengagement from the things of the world; an admirable confidence in God and his providence; a cordial friendship to all good men; the greatest aversion to the vices, profanation, and sophistry of others. These were the gifts and talents wherewith the Divine favour honoured the greatest part of them. There yet remains the liveliest character of them in their writings, and they were as the seal with which God would confirm their call. For when his wisdom designs persons to any great work, it is wont to bestow on then those necessary qualifications to acquit themselves in it: and we may say, without fear of being charged with derogating from the truth, by those who know history, that from the sixth age until that of our fathers, that is to say for the space of more than nine hundred years, there could not be found any space of time so fertile in great men as that of the Reformation." This volume illustrates and confirms these observations of Claude.
A FEW years since, in a village in the neighbourhood of London, a committee of eight ladies, who managed the concerns of an institution which had been formed for the relief of the poor, agreed to meet, on a certain day, at twelve o'clock precisely. Seven of them attended punctually at the appointed hour; the eighth did not arrive till a quarter of an hour after. She came in, according to the usual mode, with "I'm very sorry to be behind the time appointed; but really the time slipped away without my being sensible of it. I hope your goodness will excuse it. I am sure I beg pardon.' One of the ladies, who was a Quaker, replied: Truly, friend, it doth not appear clear to me that we ought to accept of thine apology. Hadst thyself only lost a quarter of an hour, it would have been merely thy concern; but in this case the quarter must be multiplied by eight, as we have each lost a quarter; so that there have been two hours sacrificed by thy want of punc tuality."
"Closet religion is the first thing: but that religion which comes from God is diffusive, like the God from whom it comes."
RECOMMENDATION OF THE CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE.
FOR the interests of our Country, especially of the Poorer Classes, we are deeply convinced of the importance and necessity of a Cheap Religious Publication of sound principles, and adapted for general circulation at the present eventful crisis. Such a Periodical we consider the "CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE," which has been carried on successfully for about eight months. This work has been established on the great principles of the Protestant Reformation, without controversy on those minor points about which British Christians are divided as such we feel pleasure in recommending it to the Public; and so long as it continues to adhere to those Evangelical principles, we will afford it our patronage.
REV. J. BLACKBURN, Pentonville.
REV. JOHN BURNETT, Camberwell.
JOSEPH JOHN GURNEY, Esq., Norwich.
Testimonies, expressing cordial approbation of the "CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE," have been received from many distinguished Clergymen of our Metropolis, whose names we hope to be permitted to add to the above list and the Conductors of the work pledge themselves to allow nothing of a sectarian character at any time to appear in its pages.
CLERICUS next week: his favour came to hand too late for insertion in the present Number.
The first volume of the Christian's Penny Magazine, from June to December 1832, is now complete, and may be had, neatly bound in canvass, price 38. 6d. through any Bookseller or Newsman; and also any of the preceding Parts or Numbers. A specimen of the embellishments in the First Volume is printed on a large Sheet, price 2d., which will be found to contain some beautiful articles for Books of Prints.
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THE EGYPTIAN SPHYNX AND PYRAMIDS. EGYPT has been celebrated as a theatre of wonders for a period of more than 4000 years, from the time of its founder Misraim, the grandson of Noah. Divine inspiration in the Bible, has recorded the antiquity, richness, and magnificence of Egypt, while it predicted its ruin and baseness as a nation. (See especially Ezek. xxix.) Some of these particulars will engage our attention on a future occasion, as an illustration of the authenticity, and confirmation of the divinity of the Holy Scriptures.
Among the astonishing antiquities of this once famous nation, the three PYRAMIDS and the SPHYNX are regarded as the most prodigious remains of human power and skill.
These stupendous monuments of the "mighty dead," have excited the admiration of both scientific and philosophical travellers, whose reports have afforded the highest gratification to the inquisitive who tarry at home.
"THE PYRAMID OF CHEOPS," supposed to have been built by a prince of that name, is the largest; the dimensions of which have been differently given. Herodotus, who visited it about 2300 years ago, computed it at 800 feet square; but the sands blown from the Lybian desert have increased into hills around it, burying part of its base. It has been recently measured by a French engineer, who states that the base is a square of 746 feet on each side, covering nearly fourteen acres of land. It is said to be as large as the area of Lincoln's Inn Fields. The perpendicular height is about 560 feet; being 156 feet higher than St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The summit, which, viewed from below appears as a point, is found to be a platform, each side of which is 18 feet long. Many of the stones with which this enormous edifice is built, are 30 feet long; and the whole mass is estimated at 6,000,000 of tons; and that it would be sufficient to build a wall 10 feet high and one foot thick, round the whole kingdom of France, which is about eighteen hundred miles! G
"THE PYRAMID OF CEPHRENES," from the name of its supposed founder, the second in magnitude, is stated to be 655 feet at its base, and 398 feet in height! Both of these gigantic monuments have been described by many travellers, to whom we refer our readers for particulars, especially to Pocock, Thevenot, Shaw, Graves, Denon, Salt, Savary, Volney, and Belzoni. One of these modern writers remarks: "Their stupendous height, the steep declivity of their sides, their enormous solidity, the distant ages they recal to memory, the recollection of the labour they must have cost, and the reflection that these huge rocks are the works of man, so diminutive and feeble, who crawls at their feet, lost in wonder, awe, humiliation, and reverence, altogether impress the mind of the spectator in a manner not to be described."
Situated about 300 paces from the PYRAMID of Cephrenes, is the celebrated SPHYNX. This monument, whose enormous bulk excites astonishment in the spectator, is a statue representing a monster of the heathen mythology. Superstitious dread in the mind of fallen man conceived this most extravagant idea, which consists of the head and breasts of a woman, the body of a dog, the tail of a serpent, the wings of a bird, the paws of a lion, and a human voice!
DR. POCOCK, about two hundred years ago, found only the head, neck, and part of the back of this statue visible; the rest being covered with the vast accumulations of sand, which have buried part of the Pyramids. He states the height of the head to be twenty-seven fect; the beginning of the breast thirty-three feet wide, and about one hundred and twenty-five feet from the fore part of the neck to the tail. According to THEVENOT, years was
high, and fifteen feet from the ear to the chin. "PLINY, a Roman writer, who lived in the time of the Apostle John, mentions this SPHYNX, and assures us, that the head was no less than one hundred and two feet in circumference, and sixty-two feet high from the belly, and that the body was one hundred and forty-three feet long. It was believed to have been the sepulchre of King Amasis, who ascended the throne of Egypt in the time of the prophet Ezekiel, five hundred and sixty-nine years before the Christian era.
Travellers have admired the sculpture of this stupendous image: but the nose of it has been shamefully mutilated by rude barbarians. Denon remarks, "Although the proportions are colossal, the outline is pure and graceful, the expression is mild, gracious, and tranquil; the character is African; but the mouth, the lips of which are thick, has a softness and delicacy of execution truly admirable; it seems real life and flesh. Art must have been at a high pitch when this monument was executed; for, if the head is deficient in what is called style, that is, the straight and bold lines which give expression to the figures under which the Greeks have designated their deities, yet sufficient justice has been rendered to the fine simplicity and character of nature displayed in this figure.'
M. BELZONI, with the assistance of some Arabs, succeeded in removing immense quantities of sand from the base of the Pyramids; and with the like industry, he cleared away the sand from a great part of the SPHYNX, laying open a multitude of curious objects. A temple of a single stone, considerable in its dimensions, was discovered between the legs of the Sphynx, and another in one of its paws. The ground in front was covered with Grecian buildings, inscriptions on which commemorate the visits of emperors and great men to view this remarkable monument. Sphynxes are among the most common ornaments on the ancient temples of Egypt; from which we may conclude they were intended to convey some important instruction.
MYTHOLOGY OF THE SPHYNX.
MANY of our readers, especially those whose reading is limited, will naturally be anxious for some information concerning the origin of such a strange monster as the Sphynx. This anxiety we will endeavour to gratify, as a reason for urging our friends to prize the blessed volume of the Divine Revelation, and to cherish gratitude to God for such a precious treasure of knowledge, truth, and salvation, as is contained in the Holy Scriptures.
Heathen mythology informs us of its tradition, that the Sphynx was the daughter of Typhon and Echidna. Typhon is said to have been the son of Juno, whom the heathen called the queen of heaven. Typhon is said to have had no father; and so vast was his magnitude, that he touched the east with one hand and the west with the other, and the heavens with the crown of his head. A hundred dragons' heads grew from his shoulders: his body was covered with feathers, scales, rugged hair, and adders from the ends of his fingers snakes issued, and his two feet had the shape and folds of a serpent's body: his eyes sparkled with fire, and his mouth belched out flames. He was at last overcome, and thrown down; and, lest he should rise again, the whole island of Sicily was laid upon him!
Echidna, the mother of the Sphynx, is represented as a beautiful woman in the upper part of the body, but as a serpent below the waist!" Some say the mother of the Sphynx was CHIMÆRA, a monster, which "had the head and breast of a lion, the belly of a goat, and the tail of a dragon!"
Juno is said to have sent the Sphynx into the neighbourhood of Thebes, in Egypt, for the purpose of punishing the family of Cadmus, whom she persecuted with immortal hatred; and it laid this part of Boeotia under continual alarms, by proposing enigmas, and devouring the inhabitants if unable to explain them. In the midst of their consternation, the Thebans were told by the oracle, that Sphynx would destroy herself as soon as one of the eniginas she proposed was explained. In this enigma she inquired, "What animal is that, which goes upon four feet in the morning, upon two at noon, and upon three in the evening?"
Upon this, Creon, king of Thebes, promised his crown and his sister Jocasta in marriage, to him who could deliver his country from the monster by a successful explanation of the enigma. It was at last happily explained by Edipus, who said, Man is that animal; for he creeps upon his hands and feet in his infancy, or the morning of life, and so may be said to go on four feet: at noon, or in manhood, he walks erect upon two feet: and in the evening of life, or old age, he uses the support of a staff." The Sphynx, on hearing this explanation, dashed her head against a rock, and expired.
Learned mythologists have explained the fable of the Sphynx as relating to one of the daughters of Cadmus, or Laius, who infested the country of Thebes by her continual depredations, because she had been refused a part of her father's possessions. Her having the body of a dog, they explain as denoting her lasciviousness; the paws of a lion signified her ferocious cruelty; her enig mas, the snares she laid for strangers and travellers; and her wings, the dispatch she used in her predatory expe ditions.
Our young readers especially will not fail to be interested in some further illustrations of this subject, which we will add chiefly from the pen of Mr. Taylor, the learned editor of "Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible." They occur under the article CAUCASUS, which is the name given to immense chains of mountains in Asia, extending from China, through India and Persia, to the shores of the Mediterranean sea. It was on part of this range, ARARAT (Gen. viii, 4), that Noah's ark rested
after the Deluge; and from his descendants, apostatizing from the patriarchal worship, and from their corrupted traditions, that most of the heathen fables arose. TAURUS is a name given to a long range of these mnountains, on which Mr. Taylor remarks:
"The word Taur, in many languages, signifies a bull; it is so in Spanish, and French, at this time; it was so in Latin, Greek, Arabic, &c.; and above all, as being most ancient, it was so in Chaldee; which language was little distant, either in time or place, from the first settlement on mount Taurus. To account for this name, observe, (1.) that Noah, on coming out of the ark, sacrificed to God, among other things, a young bull, or beeve, as the most valuable offering in his power: the place of sacrificing might be denominated from this first offering. (2.) As Noah was of pastoral manners, no doubt he kept around him all the valuable domestic animals he could, which he cherished, multiplied, and employed. The chief of these, the bull, might give name to the mountain where they pastured.
"But not only was this mountain called the 'Mountain of the Bull,' or beeve; it was also commemorated under the figure of a bull; though possibly sometimes under that of other domestic animals. The number of animals, companions to mankind by their nature, is not very great: after the beeve, the goat and sheep, the dog, the swine, the horse, perhaps the elephant, and the camel. The number of birds also is not great, the house cock, the swan, and especially the pigeon or dove. Among reptiles, though it may startle us, is the serpent, of which some kinds are esteemed in many parts of India to be guardians of the house and premises, and are accordingly admitted as inmates to every apartment. Indeed, of the whole serpent tribe, terrible as its name sounds in our ears, not one kind in ten is venomous; and those which are fatal, seldom strike without provocation. To the serpent we may add the lizard. Among insects, the bee. Such are the chief pastoral riches of mankind, and such were the pastoral riches of Noah. From these must have descended whatever breeds afterwards roamed the earth; and the mountain on which these first swarmed, seems to have been typified by the figure and appellation of some one or more of them; while distant parts of the same range of mountains, to which the savage creatures were exiled, were typified by figures and appellations of them; as the lion, the tiger, &c. among beasts; the eagle, &c. among birds. And in like manner, as parts of these mountains might derive names from the bull, or beeve, so might other parts from the lion, or from the eagle; which suggests one reason why the gods of the heathen were accompanied with images of those kinds of creatures which referred to these mountains. So Jupiter had the eagle, originally in reference to Eagle Mountain,' or a district called 'The Eagle' - the Garoora-sthan of the present Bramins. Dionysius had the bull, Cybele had lions, Venus had doves, bees, &c. Hence, in after ages, the imaginary improvement, but really great deterioration of symbolic lore, by combination of figures into unnatural forms; as, a bull with a human head, meaning Bull Mountain,' with the man who headed it (i. e. governed it), composes the Minotaur (i. e. Menuh-taur) (taur, or bull, of Menuh?]. By equal perversion, the goat and the lion are compounded; and when a delineator, or his patron who directed the representation, dissatisfied with a single mountain, or district [perhaps, dominion], was desirous of including the whole range (or Caucasus at large), he combined, in one most monstrous form, the lion, denoting one mountain, the goat, another mountain, and the tail he converted into a serpent. Hence originated the griffin-an eagle's head (Mount Eagle) on a lion's body (Mount Lion), with a multitude of other emblems, all referring to the
region where mankind originally settled, or to events principally connected with that region."
"Armenia Alta is one of the highest regions in the world," says Moses Chorenensis, "for it sends out rivers in contrary directions towards the FOUR cardinal points in the heavens. It has three mountains, and abounds with wild animals, and many species of fowl for food; also, with hot baths, and mines of salt, and other things of utility, and the chief Curina." The reader will recollect, that in coincidence with this testimony, Moses, in Gen. ii, 11-14, specifies three provinces adjacent to Paradise; for though the number of his rivers is four, the number of his provinces is but three; ETHIOPIA, HAVILAH, and ASSYRIA; and we can scarcely doubt, that this number (three) was received in like manner among the ancients. In proof of this might be quoted the well-known emblem of Caucasus- a lion, a goat, and a serpent, three; or, the bull, the eagle, and the man, three; or, the lion, the eagle, and the human head, three: hence also the GRIFFIN, and the SPHYNX.
EXPENSES OF WAR.
CHRISTIANITY shall ultimately destroy wars, by renovating and sanctifying the minds of men. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Isa. ii, 2, 3, 4.
Who can compute the destruction of life during the last hundred and fifty years! Look at the expense!
By an official return it appears, that from Jan. 1, 1831, to Jan. 1, 1832, the new Metropolitan Police force has apprehended no less than 72,824 persons on different charges; namely, 45,907 males, and 26,917 females. Out of this number, 23,787 drunken persons were discharged by the police after they became sober, and 4,379 were fined five shillings each, amounting to 1,0941. 15s. Of these, 3,187 were males, and 1,194 females. From the above returns, the police-men have apprehended on an average about 199 per day. These statements do not include the city itself. Such are the statistics of ignorance and vice!-Teacher's Mag.
COUNTRY MORALS.-The prosecution of felons at the late assizes for Somerset cost the county the enormous sum of 3,3001. — Taunton Courier.
THE BIRMINGHAM APPRENTICE.
His Mental Improvement.
THIRSTING for knowledge, especially in those branches of it which relate to the realities of religion, William was anxious to form some plan for the cultivation of his mind. The claims of business he regarded as imperative, and gave to them a full measure of his time; attending with his workmen from six or seven o'clock in the morning, and sometimes much earlier, until the same hour in the evening: but by diligent activity, he was able generally to devote from four to six hours a day to reading and literary study. He met with an admirable little work on the Advantages of Early Rising" he read it with much interest, and reflected on what Dr. Doddridge, the Rev. John Wesley, and others had accomplished by that healthful practice, and in a good measure followed their worthy example, allowing himself but six hours for sleep each night.
At first he laboured under a painful disadvantage: he had no judicious intimate friend, whom he could consult, as to the most eligible mode of accomplishing his purposes of mental improvement. He sighed over this inconvenience: but perhaps he was too backward in seeking that assistance, which without much difficulty he might have obtained. His purpose, however, was fixed, strengthened greatly by his increasing perception of the inestimable value of sound knowledge.
William found both a stimulant and an excellent counsellor in the well-known work of Dr. Watts. the memoirs of that excellent man, prefixed to the smaller editions of his Psalms and Hymns, he found the observations of Dr. Jolinson, which introduced him to that valuable instructor. Few books," says that great man, "have been perused by me with greater pleasure than his Improvement of the Mind,' of which the radical principles may indeed be found in 'Locke's Conduct of the Understanding;' but they are so expanded and ramified by Watts, as to confer upon him the merit of a work in the highest degree useful and pleasing. Whoever has the care of instructing others, way be charged with deficiency in his duty if this book is not recomiended.”
Dr. Johnson's opinion was a recommendation sufficient: William purchased it, and gave it a careful reading; and though that work generally supposes a larger measure of learning than he considered himself as possessing, he made an extensive collection of the most useful suggestions and directions, which were never forgotten by him. William was peculiarly affected and encouraged by the Introduction to that invaluable book of Dr. Waits. Probably many of our readers have never seen that work, or met with those judicious and valuable remarks of that 'friend to youth." On their account we gladly quote them in this place :
"No man is obliged to learn every thing; this can neither be sought nor required, for it is utterly impossible yet all persons are under some obligations to improve their own understanding; otherwise it will be a barren desert, or a forest overgrown with weeds and brambles. Universal ignorance or infinite errors will overspread the mind which is utterly neglected, and lies without any cultivation.
"Skill in the sciences is indeed the business and profession of but a small part of mankind; but there are many others placed in such an exalted rank in the world, as allows them much leisure and large opportunities to cultivate their reason, and to beautify and enrich their minds with various knowledge. Even the lower orders of men have particular callings in life, wherein they ought to acquire a just degree of skill, and this
is not to be done well without thinking and reasoning about them.
"Besides, every son and daughter of Adam has a most important concern in the affairs of a life to come, and therefore it is a matter of the highest moment for every one to understand, to judge, and to reason rightly about the things of religion. It is vain for any to say, We have no leisure or time for it. The daily intervals of time, and vacancies from necessary labour, together with the one day in seven in the Christian world, allows sufficient time for this, if men would but apply themselves to it with half as much zeal and diligence as they do to the trifles and amusements of this life, and it would turn to infinitely better account. Thus it appears to be the necessary duty and interest of every person living to improve his understanding, to inform his judgment, to treasure up useful knowledge, and to acquire the skill of good reasoning, as far as his station, capacity, and circumstances, furnish him with proper means for it. Our mistakes in judgment may plunge us into much folly and guilt in practice. By acting without thought or reason, we dishonour the God that made us reasonable creatures, we often become injurious to our neighbours, kindred, or friends, and we bring sin and misery upon ourselves: for we are accountable to God our judge for every part of our irregular and mistaken conduct, where he hath given us sufficient advantages to guard against those mistakes."
William's chief attention was directed, for a considerable period, to the History of the Bible,—the Evidences of Christianity,—and the Doctrines of the word of God. To enumerate all the books which he read on these subjects would be impossible and useless; and as to some of them, he regretted the loss of time which he had spent upon them. Such regrets, it is believed, are very common among those who are seeking improvement without a judicious, well-informed friend to guide them in the choice of their books; and he must be considered as a sincere friend to youth, who, with the wisdom and kindness of an intelligent Christian, performs the office of a friendly counsellor in this respect.
Among the books from which William derived most instruction and delight, on the former branch of knowledge, were Stackhouse's History of the Bible," Josephus's History of the Jews,” and “ 'Rollin's Ancient History." By these excellent works, a new, extensive, and most pleasing field of wisdom, was set before his mind. The account which the latter writer gives of the customs, learning, riches, public works, and polity of the Egyptians,-the remarkable details of the character of "Cyrus the Persian," and of the siege and conquest of the mighty Babylon, the "Chaldees' excellency," the deliverance of the captive Jews, and the utter ruin and desolation of that wondrous city, all in the most exact accordance with the striking predictions of Isaiah and Jeremiah, impressed his mind with astonishment, at the confirmation thus afforded to the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures.
The whole series of Scripture Prophecy was contemplated with still greater admiration by William, on reading "Newton's Dissertations on the Prophecies;" and the refined and sacred pleasure which he derived from this exercise of mind, appeared far superior to the possession of the greatest portion of worldly wealth. He would have been amply satisfied, if he could have devoted his whole time to such studies, without any consideration of worldly gain; but as he was circumstanced, business required his diligent attention, and the hours redeemed in his mornings and evenings only could be spared for the pursuits of intellectual improvement.