Imatges de pÓgina

been in the habit of attending our school and church. William Dent had not been amongst us so long, but for about five years he had been with us. They had both the reputation of being able and fearless sailors, and though different in their temperaments were general favourites amongst those who knew them.

French was thoughtful

approached the end of life, his love of the Church and devotion to her service increased in ardour and attention. He undertook the office of Treasurer, the duties of which he discharged with the utmost care and exactitude. He manifested increased affection for each of the members of the Church, and a growing desire for its unity and peace. On my own visits to this Society he occasionally wrote to me privately, informing me of any passing events which were occupy ing or agitating the public mind, and suggesting subjects which might be most usefully discussed from the pulpit. His departure is to me the loss of a ship-theLanarkshire.' On October friend with whom I had long held pleasant intercourse, and to this Society of an esteemed and honoured member. Our loss is his gain, and in this is our consolation in our affliction."

On Sunday, the 17th inst., a special discourse, addressed especially to young men, was given in the New Jeru salem Church, in memory of Joseph French and William Dent, who were washed overboard from the Lanarkshire, Dec. 28th. The church was crowded to its utmost capacity, and many were unable to obtain admission. The text was from 2 Samuel i. 23: "In death they were not divided." The preacher remarked: The presence of death in any form is naturally associated with grief. It is right that we should feel the sever

ance of the visible ties that bind us to those we love. The Word of God is full of comfort to those that mourn, and full of hope for those that grieve; and

never foreads us to sorrow.


Sorrow at the loss of our dear ones does not necessarily imply a doubting of divine mercy; for sorrow may be sanctified to our soul's good if we look upwards through our tears, and learn not sorrow as those who have no hope, but as those who believe in the Blessed promises of Him who wept at the grave of Icarus.... Joseph French and Wm. Deut were born in the same year, the former in September and the latter m October 1801. Joseph French was baptised into the New Church by the R. T. Chalklen, and from a chilli 2

and somewhat reserved; Dent was impulsive and somewhat boisterous. Yet the two were warm friends, and two mates. They sailed together last winter ; and at the close of this last yachting season they again took berths in one

19th they sailed for the Black Sea, and on the return voyage got as far as the Gulf of Lyons, where they encountered bad weather. On the 28th December heavy seas were washing the decks, and a hurricane was blowing; and it became necessary for the storm staysail to be bent. The men on watch refused to do knew no fear, volunteered for the work. it, and the two Brightlingsea mates, who They performed it, and thus secured the safety of the ship, when a heavy sea washed over the young men with the sail to which they were clinging. They struggled gallantly, but no help could mates were they in work and pleasure, in be afforded them, and they sank. True duty and danger, and "in death they were here a gloom was thrown over the whole not divided." When the sad news came parish. We shall all miss them, and be sorry for missing them; and if heartfelt sympathy can do anything to lessen the

sorrow of those who loved them most, I know that that sympathy is heartily given. They were young men of whom their parents might well be proud-they were a credit to the parish. They died nobly, doing their duty; and death has not divided them from us-we do not see them now, but their love for us and ours for thein is not lessened. Heaven

is not a great way off—it is close around with us to cheer us and encourage us in us now; the spirits of the departed are

that is holy, and true, and good. dried from the Colchester Mercury ở January 23rd.

[blocks in formation]


Ir will be remembered by most of our readers that Mr. George Smith has become celebrated in connection with the mastery and translation of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets, cylinders, bricks, etc., found in the valleys of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Great interest has naturally attached to the deciphering of the Assyrian inscriptions, for the reason that they throw light upon and confirm some of the historical statements of the Bible. The researches of Sir Henry Rawlinson resulted, in 1851, in the publication of an Assyrian version of the capture of Samaria by Sargon, the war against Hezekiah by Sennacherib, and the names of many persons and places mentioned in Scripture. The discovery in 1862 of the Assyrian eponym canon, a document furnishing the outlines of the Assyrian official chronology, and the publication in 1863 of many other discoveries, including a tablet that contained the synchronous history of Assyria and Babylonia, added fresh laurels to the reputation of Rawlinson. Various other workers, French, German and English, have verified each other's discoveries and added to the general sum of knowledge concerning these remains of ancient literature. Mr. Smith's introduction into this sort of work was in connection with the cuneiform inscriptions of the annals of Tiglath Pileser II., one of the great Assyrian kings, and his first discovery in Assyria was a curious inscription of Shalmanezer II., concerning the war between Hazael, king of Syria, and Jehu, son

1 Assyrian Discoveries: an Account of Explorations and Discoveries on the Site of Nineveh during 1873, 1874. By George Smith. [London: Sampson Low & Co. 1875.


of Omri, king of Israel, and the tribute which the latter paid to Shalmanezer in the eighteenth year of his reign. Other discoveries rewarded the labours of Mr. Smith in this department, until, in 1872, he had the good fortune to find some tablets containing several portions of a Chaldean account of the deluge. Many will remember the public excitement produced by the publication of the fragments. Continued investigation satisfied him that the fragments really formed a part of a series, in which was narrated the history of a Ninevitish hero, to whom Mr. Smith gave the provisional name Izdubar, but whom he now firmly believes will prove to have been no other than the Nimrod of the Bible; and he further concluded that this series contained in all twelve tablets. Inasmuch as the fragments in the possession of the British Museum had been brought by Layard from the Mound of Kouyunjik, it was obviously not improbable that continued researches in the same mound might be rewarded by the discovery of the missing, and possibly of additional, tablets. The proprietors of the Daily Telegraph volunteered one thousand guineas for prosecuting the search, and Mr. Smith was appointed to the duty. A further sum of one thousand pounds was subsequently granted for a second search by the authorities of the British Museum, and Mr. Smith's adventures, as well as the results of his labours, so far as his translations have as yet extended, are recorded in the volume now before us.

Among the most interesting of the fragments of tablets discovered by Mr. Smith, are those which have enabled him to piece out and extend the Chaldean version of the story of the deluge and its context, to which he still gives the title, "The Izdubar, or Flood series of legends." The account which he published in 1872 was the translation of the eleventh tablet in the series of twelve, and about one-third of that tablet was either wholly effaced, sadly mutilated, or even absent, while the other tablets were in still worse condition. In his excavations in Kouyunjik, however, Mr. Smith recovered many new portions of these inscriptions, and he is therefore now enabled to give a much fuller rendering of the version than in 1872. He has already identified six out of the twelve tablets-the 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th, besides portions of several of the others, though much is still lacking to complete the version. The chances of their ever being obtained, however, grow yearly fewer and fewer. These Izdubar legends, Mr. Smith believes, were composed during the early Babylonian empire, more than 2000 years B.c.; the tablets declare themselves to be only a copy of the more ancient composition.

So far as the inscriptions have been translated it would appear that Izdubar, or Nimrod, if Mr. Smith's supposition is well founded, a great hunter or giant, obtained the dominion of the district round Babylon, and afterwards drove out some tyrant who ruled over Erech, adding this region to his dominion. Later on he sent and destroyed a monster which preyed on the surrounding lands; and a seer or astrologer named Heabani came to his court at Erech, becoming his close friend. Together Izdubar and Heabani destroyed various other wild animals, and conquered a chief named Humbaba, who ruled in a mountainous district, full of pine trees. Another chief, Belesu, was next conquered, and another monster, "the divine bull," was afterwards killed. Izdubar was now at the height of his power, ruling the whole valley of the Euphrates and the Tigris, from the Persian Gulf to the Armenian mountains. Misfortunes then set in; Heabani was killed by a ferocious animal, "tamabukku," and Izdubar was smitten with a loathsome disease, which seems to have been a kind of leprosy. The king then set out on a pilgrimage to the sea-coast to be cured of his disease, and, after various adventures, he met with Hasisadra, a deified hero, who had escaped the flood. This hero narrates to the king the story of the deluge, "the concealed story and the judgment of the gods;" informs him how to get rid of his disease, and the latter then returns to Erech, to mourn over his friend Heabani. The legends close with a petition to the gods for Heabani, who, after his death, is in the lower region of the departed, or hell. Hea, one of the gods, at length listens to this prayer, and releases Heabani, who then rises to heaven.

Mr. Smith says that "during the early Babylonian monarchy, from B.C. 2500 to 1500, there are constant allusions to these and similar legends. The destruction of the lion, the divine bull, and other monsters by Izdubar, are often depicted on the cylinders and engraved gems, and Izdubar in his boat, on his pilgrimage to Hasisadra, is also on some specimens. The legend of the flood is likewise alluded to in the inscriptions of the same epoch, and the 'city of the ark' is mentioned in a geographical list, which is one of the oldest cuneiform inscriptions we possess." Of course, while assigning the date of 2000 B.C. for the production of these tablets, Mr. Smith means, not that the legends originated at that time, but that they were then copied, and he believes that they were originally composed near the time of Izdubar, who, he thinks, was the Biblical Nimrod, who was the representative of the beginning of empire, a type of the great

[ocr errors]

conquerors who succeeded him. His history appears to have formed a national poem to the Babylonians, similar in some respects to those of Homer among the Greeks." Izdubar became afterwards regarded as a deity, and Mr. Smith found at Nineveh part of a tablet inscribed with a prayer addressed to him. The ruins of Erech, his city, still remain; it was also called Unuk or Anak; it is mentioned in Gen. x. 10, and in the 23rd century before Christ it was captured by Kudur-nanhundi, king of Elam, who carried off the then famous image of Ishtar or Nana, which was in its chief temple, and which, after remaining in Elam for 1635 years, was restored to the temple of Erech by Assurbanipal.

Some of the details of the inscriptions are extremely interesting. Erech, the city gained by Izdubar, seems to have been under the special tutelage or protection of Ishtar, the Assyrian Venus, Ashtaroth, Astarte, the "Queen of Heaven," the personification of the morning star. This goddess, it appears, sought to secure the love of Izdubar, but was repulsed by him. Ishtar thereupon ascended to the highest heaven, and besought Anu, the chief, the celestial god, her father, and Anunit, her mother, for vengeance against Izdubar, who "despises my beauty, my beauty and my charms," and Anu, in compliance with her wishes, made the "divine winged bull," which, however, was slain by the all-conquering Izdubar. But "the goddess injurer of men upon him struck, and in his limbs he died." Ishtar, that is, afflicted his body with a loathsome disease, and she subsequently caused the death of Izdubar's chosen friend Heabani by means of an animal with an untranslatable name. Izdubar thereupon begins his journey to find Hasisadra, son of Ubaratutu. He has a dream given to him by Sin, the Moon god, which, however, is lost; then he sees some giants with their feet resting in hell, and their heads reaching and supporting heaven, and who are supposed to guide and direct the sun at its rising and setting. These giants advise Izdubar to consult Hasisadra, whom one of them calls his father, and relates that this hero is immortal, established in the company of the gods, and has the knowledge of life and death. These giants direct Izdubar how to find Hasisadra. The long and toilsome journey is next described. Unfortunately only fragments of this part of the legends can be here and there made out. The journey is divided into stages of "kapus," lengths of six or seven miles; "the road is shrouded in darkness, there is no light upon it;" and a fresh adventure is met at each succeeding stage. At the ninth stage Izdubar comes to "splendid trees covered with jewels." To


« AnteriorContinua »