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Our engraving this month represents all that remains of a large sculptured Sarcophagus, now in the British Museum, found at Xanthus, the ancient capital of Lycia, in Asia Minor, and brought to England by Mr. Charles Fellowes. The sculptures with which it is ornamented strongly resemble those found on the monuments of Persepolis; though some of the appurtenances, forcibly remind us of the ancient paintings of the Egyptians. The lotus held in the hands of some of the figures, the high chairs in which the principal personages are seated; and the winged harpies, exactly similar to the departing souls depicted on the tombs of Thebes, and identified by the hieroglyphical characters representing the word Bai (soul) are of this latter character. It is a singular circumstance that the Greeks used one and the same term to designate the soul, and the butterfly; an analogy likewise observed by the more northern nations of Europe, who still call these insects Geists -ghosts, or spirits. It would be difficult to find a
VOL. VI. 4th SERIES.
more beautiful illustration of the contrast so powerfully intimated by the apostle, between the corrupt and glorified body, than that suggested by the grovelling caterpillar and the gorgeous butterfly. Every insect-transformation of this kind, not only reiterates the challenge “Why should it be thought a thing incredible, that God should raise the dead !” but suggests a very delightful comparison between the “greater glory" of that spiritual economy which is to supersede the poor fettered feeble frame_"the body of this death,”-in which the renewed soul must necessarily “groan being burthened," whilst waiting for the unclouded disclosures of its better home above.
THE PASSING SAVIOUR. The Bible is full of truth and nature, especially in its delineations of the human character. The same motives, principles, passions, and feelings, which now actuate us in all our undertakings, appear to have been called into exercise by the varied characters portrayed in the Old and New Testaments, though we are too often disposed to regard these characters as differing to a great extent from the common orders of humanity. The courteous policy of the handsome Absalom, for example; the self-seeking hypocrisy of his adherents, and the cruel vacillation of the mob, ready at any moment, to turn round upon the best of sovereigns, have all their representatives in our own age and country. And what can be more pathetic and affecting from its very truthfulness, than the portrait of the exiled king himself, humbled to the very dust by the sins which had cost him, not his throne only, but what he esteemed as infinitely dearer, the light of his Father's countenance, and the protecting favor which had hitherto compassed him as a shield. He had no heart to throw back the cruel execrations hurled at him by Shimei; it was filled to bursting, with a sense of enormous guilt, the weight of which he only felt the more, because it had been committed against a God, whom he knew, had love enough, and more than enough to cancel it entirely and for ever! His thoughts dwelt upon those seasons of unbroken and unclouded communion with the Most High, when he had been hidden, as it were, in the secret of his tabernacle, closeted with the Heavenly Majesty, and filled with faith, and light, and love, and blessedness. But now he was a poor outcast, seeing only in his temporal troubles, the type of spiritual banishment; and yet confident that he should again enter into God's sanctuary, and pour out in tears, what he had before poured forth in praises—the broken and contrite heart that knew so well how to pray, “ Pardon my iniquity, FOR IT IS GREAT!”
In the New Testament, too, we find the same artless, but affecting exhibitions of human nature ; the same graphic touches of life, in all its relations, political, social, or domestic. A picture is presented to us in one short sentence, that strikes home to the heart, and assures us that the persons, places, incidents, and objects introduced, belong to the same world in which we live, and move, and have our being. This is especially remarkable in the simple, but matchless narratives of the holy evangelists, in which the events of our Saviour's life and mission are placed before us in such a way, that we not only see them, but we see nothing else; the writer and the writing are both kept out of sight, and there in all its original completeness and simplicity, the performance itself is enacted. No; it is not enacted ; there is nothing of theatrical shew about it; but it kindles through the mists of eighteen centuries, as the sun streams through the dews of morning; and lives, and breathes, and speaks again before us.
In those days of glorious privilege and aggravated wickedness in which the Saviour took upon himself our nature-in which, amidst the wonder and worship of “all the angels of God,” the First Begotten of the Father was brought into the world, the incident occurred of which we are now more particularly to speak. He who went about doing good had come nigh to Jericho, upon one of those missions of love, to which his whole public life was devoted. A crowd had gathered round him, drawn together, it would appear, by feelings very similar, to those which in the present day, influence assemblies of the like character. All the usual accompaniments of public spectacles were, no doubt, observable on this occasion; the hurried tread of feet; the shouts of the more boisterous ; the curious questioning of others; the rude struggles for the better posts of observation; the jeers of the less curious, or the disappointed ; all these, with other concomitants of a disorderly procession of idlers, might be seen and heard, where the little cloud of dust rising through the warm air, indicated the direction which that unruly, but intensely interesting procession had taken. But there was one who saw nothing of all this; a poor afflicted beggar by the way side ; and yet he was destined to be a most important party in the wonderful events of that day. We will not, ourselves, attempt to bring him before you; we can add nothing to the sketch furnished by “the beloved Physician,” without spoiling it. “It came to pass, as Jesus was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side, begging: and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, “Son of David, have mercy on me! And they which went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace : but he cried so much the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!' And Jesus stood and commanded him to be brought unto him : and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?' And he said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.' And Jesus said unto him, 'Receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee;' and immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God : and all the people when they saw it, gave praise unto God.” (Luke xvii ; 35-43.)
Jesus of Nazareth passeth by!” The queen of the south had come from far, to hear the wisdom of Solomon : but Solomon himself had contemplated with overwhelming awe, the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, when, more than a thousand years before, he exclaimed, “Will God in very deed dwell with man upon the earth !" Yet here He was ; living, walking, speaking among the sons of men; flesh of their flesh, and bone of their bone. He did not stand amidst the anxious and excited crowd in all the glory of his kingly character, but companied with them as the Nazarene; poor as themselves, and bearing all the contempt associated with the place where he had been brought up. He made himself of no reputation ; and those who were themselves despised, ventured into contact with him. To those who waited for the consolation of Israel, there was no music like the cry that heralded his coming, “ Jesus of Nazareth passeth by!”
Do you see that grey old sanctuary in the little valley at your