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from the Asia so called in Scripture. We must therefore by Asia, in the New Testament, understand Lydia in its largest acceptation, so as to include Ionia and Eolis; for in this were comprehended the seven cities, the churches of which are called the churches of Asia.
ASSYRIA. The derivation of the word Assyria has puzzled all the learned, and is likely to puzzle many more, it would therefore be but lost time here to enter into the controversy. The following is abridged from Calmet. The boundaries of Assyria have varied with its success in arms. It was first bounded by the Lycus and Caprus, but the name of Assyria, more generally speaking, is applied to all that territory which lies between Media, Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Babylon. It is now called Kurdistan. The empire of Assyria is generally believed to have been founded by Ashur, son of Shem, who was driven from Shinar by Nimrod. Gen. x. 10, 11. Many others however apply the words of this passage to Nineveh, which is the marginal reading, and is the more probable interpretation.
Nimrod then may be considered as the founder of the new empire of Nineveh, which being seated in a country almost exclusively peopled by the descendants of Ashur, had been called Ashura or Assyria. Of Nimrod's successors we are ignorant: we read (Gen. xiv.) that in Abraham's time, about A. M. 2092, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, in confederacy with certain other kings, attacked the kings of Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities which had rebelled. Under the Judges, (Judges iii. 8.) about A. M. 2591, the Lord delivered Israel into the hands of Cushan-Risha-thaim, king of Mesopotamia, who oppressed them eight years. Julius Africanus says, that Evechous reigned in Chaldea 229 years before the Arabians, in the time of Isaac. The Arabians conquered the Chaldee Empire, A. M. 2466, and kept it 216 years, to A. M. 2682. And Belus the Assyrian succeeded the Arabians 55 years before the foundation of the latter Assyrian empire by Ninus.
During the reigns of David and Solomon, the Assyrian monarchs posessed nothing on this side of the Euphrates. David subdued all Syria without their concerning themselves about it; and when he attacked the Ammonites, they sent for succour to the other side of the Euphrates; (2 Sam. x. 16.) but David defeated those troops, and even obliged certain people on the other side of the river to pay him tribute.
The first King of Assyria mentioned in Scripture, is the Sovereign who reigned at Nineveh, when Jonas went thither, A.M.
3180. The prophet does not inform us who this monarch was; but he describes the city as being prodigiously large. From 2 Kings, xv. 19, and 1 Cor. v. 26, we learn, that about 50 years after, Hus Pul, King of Assyria, invaded the territories of Israel, under the reign of Menahem. It is conjectured that Pul was the father of Sardanapalus, under whom the history of Assyria assumes a more consistent aspect.
The measure of Nineveh's sins being completed, God raised up enemies against Sardanapalus, in the person of Arbaces, King of Media, and the Persians, and other of his allies who besieged and took the Capital, and induced the King to put himself to death, Thus terminated the ancient empire of the Assyrians, which had lasted from Nimrod about 2500 years, and from Ninus the son of Belus about 520 years, A. M. 3254. Upon the death of Sardanapalus, the empire was divided into the Assyrian, properly so called, and the Babylonian kingdoms.
Arbaces, who is believed to be the Tiglath Pileser of scripture, (2 Kings, sv. 29.) fixed the seat of his government at Nineveh, which continued the Capital of the Assyrian Empire. He was succeeded by Shalmaneser, whose son and successor Sennacherib is so famous in sacred and profane history. He was killed by two of his sons, and succeeded by a third, Esarhaddon, who having re-united the enemies of Chaldea and Assyria, left his throne to Saosduchinus, who reigned twenty years.
This is thought by some to be the Prince, who in Judith is called Nabuchodonosor; but this is improbable.
Saosduchinus was succeeded by Chyniladon, the true Sardanapalus. Sarachus having rendered himself contemptible to his subjects by his effeminacy, Nabopolassar, to whom he had conmitted the government of Chaldea, determined upon seizing the crown, and for this purpose formed an alliance with Astyages, or Ahasuerus, son of the King of Media. With their united forces they besieged, took the city, and terminated the monarchy of the Assyrians ; Sarachus burnt himself to death in his palace B. C. 61?. With this event were fulfilled the prophecies of Jonah, Zephaniah, and Nahum, against Nineveh.
ATHENS. A celebrated city and powerful commonwealth of Greece, and distinguished by the military talents, learning, eloquence, and politeness of its inhabitants. When St. Paul visited it A. D. 52, he found it plunged in idolatry, occupied in enquiring and reporting news; curious to know everything, and divided in opinion concerning religion and happiness, (Acts xvii.) The Apostle taking opportunities to preach Jesus Christ, was brought
before the Judges of the Areopagus, a court which took cognizance of offences against the laws and religion. Before this as. sembly, St. Paul gave an illustrious testimony to truth, and a remarkable instance of powerful reasoning.
The schools, professors, and philosophers of Athens, were very famous. The Lyceum, where Aristotle taught, was on the banks of the Jlissus. A great marsh which formerly existed, had been drained and planted, and in the days of Plato, abounded in shady walks. Here Plato read his lectures. His disciples were called Academics. There were other sects of Philosophers at Athens, as the Stoics, the Cynics, or snarling dogs, and the Epicureans.
Paul upbraided the Athenians with being too superstitious, i.e. having too many objects of worship. This arose chiefly from their habit of deifying many of their greatest beroes and statesmen. This custom is illustrated by inscriptions, on a Doric Portico, still standing at Athens, to the following purport: “ The people (of Athens,] out of the donations bestowed [on them] by Caius Julius Cesar, the good; and by the Emperor Augustus Cesar, the son of the God [dedicate] this to Minerva Archegetia [chief conductoress] &c."
“ The people (honour] Lucius Cesar, the son of the Emperor Augustus Cesar, the son of the God.”
“ The Senate of the Areopagus, and the Senate of the six hundred and the people (honour with that statue] Julia Goddess, Augusta, Providence, etc.”
This illustrious city was twice burnt by the Persians; destroyed by Philip II. of Macedon; again by Sylla ; plundered by Tibe. rius ; desolated by the Goths in the reign of Claudius; and the whole territory ravaged and ruined by Alaric, who however spared most of the antiquities.
It is now a mass of ruins, having suffered a fearful overthrow in the bloody contest between the Greeks and the Turks. It is much visited by travellers, and has a population at the present time of about 14000.—(Calmet.)
Azotus, OR ASHDOD—A city of the Philistines; it was one of those which were not taken by Joshua, and being surrounded by a wall of great strength, it became a place of great importance. Hither was sent the Ark of God when taken from the Israelites, and here was Dagon cast down before it. (1 Sam. v. 2,3.) Uzziah king of Judah, broke down its wall, and built cities or watch towers about it. (2 Chron. xxvi. 6.) It was taken by Tartar, general of Assyria, (2 Kings xviii. 17,) when it appears to have
been severely treated; as Jeremiah (xxv. 20) gives the cup of desolation to be drunk by the remnant of Ashdod. It was not however wholly destroyed, but continued to be a place of great strength and consequence.
Its New Testament name is Azotus, and here was Philip found after his conversion of the Eunuch, at Old Gaza, distant about 30 miles. (Acts viii. 40.) It was a sea-port town, and lay between Askelon and Ekron. It is now a comparative ruin, but abounds with many fine monuments of its former strength and great
MEMORIALS OF FEMALE HOLINESS. The following piece of Biography is extracted from an excellent
Work, entitled, “English Churchwomen of the Seventeenth
Century." LADY JANE CAVENDISH was the eldest daughter of William, Marquis, afterwards Duke of Newcastle, and was brought up in her infant years at Welbeck, the princely abode of her father. Her mother took much pains with her education, and she was the favourite of her grandmother, Lady Ogle.
She had a naturally sweet and even disposition, which, being cultivated by good training, produced an even course of goodness. “Her soft yielding compliance, backed with magnanimity, was like polished marble, smooth and strong."
During her youth, she took much delight in her father's writings, and left a good stock of her own, for she loved to spend her leisure in writing pious meditations, as well as in reading good discourses. From her youth to her death-bed, she failed not of prayer thrice a day; or if her time was interfered with in the morning, or at noon, she failed not to make it up at night. Whilst her father was abroad, she and one of her sisters were in a house of his, garrisoned against the rebels, and after showing her courage and loyalty during the siege, she became a prisoner there upon the house being taken. The treatment received by her and her sister, was not such as might have seemed due to their rank and tender age, but upon the re-taking of the house by the King's forces, she became petitioner, to save her jailer's life. Her troubles did not end here; her mother died soon after. Her father, to the surprise and sorrow of the King and of his friends,
suddenly left England after his defeat at Marston Moor. He, as well as her brother were banished and proscribed, their estates seized, and she was left to struggle with all her distresses. The losses of the Marquis were reckoned, together with the sums that he had spent in the King's service, at more than £700,000. When the fifths were allowed to those whose estates had been seized, Lady Jane became a solicitor for her father and brothers, with much difficulty obtaining pardon for their lives, and when she found that all she could obtain was not enough for her father's support in his exile, she sold her own plate and jewels, given her by her father and grandmother, and sent over the money to him.
Her filial duty in this instance, was afterwards made known by Margaret Lucas, whom the Marquis married abroad. This lady having had an excellent education, devoted her life in a great measure to literary pursuits, combined with which, she imbibed unvarying loyalty from her family. She was maid of honour to Queen Henrietta, and attended her when she left England. At Paris, she met with the Marquis of Newcastle, and was married to him in 1645, after which time they lived in such a manner as might best suit his ruined fortunes, residing chiefly at Antwerp. Their literary employments were their chief amusement, but she was obliged at one time to come over to England, to try to procure some grant for the Marquis out of his estates; in this attempt she was unsuccessful, but received liberal assistance from her own and her husband's relations, with which supply she returned to him, and they lived abroad till the Restoration. They survived it many years, both living to a great age. Her compositions in prose and verse were very numerous; and after her return to England with her husband, they lived chiefly in retirement on his estates.
The Marchioness also related of Lady Jane, that she would not engage herself in marriage till she had obtained permission from her intended husband to send over to her father a considerable share of her own fortune ; which afterwards, on being restored to his estates, he repaid.
In deciding upon her marriage, which her father's absence left to her own choice, though not without his consent sanctioning it, she resolved to enter into no family which had