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stone or marble ; but they used the gypsum, or soft, smooth, glossy limestone of the neighbourhood, cut it into slabs from thirteen to fifteen feet high, with which they lined their rooms like a wainscotting, and covered them over with sculptures and inscriptions. The carved guardian figures were not only of huge bulk, but were executed with much spirit, and had a solemn, almost a sublime dignity of aspect. Some of the human-headed and winged bulls are said to have been nearly twenty feet high; the lions nine feet long by nine feet high ; the eagle-headed god Nisroc, from nine to fourteen feet high ; the figures of the king from seven to nine feet high. The height of the palaces must have been two hundred feet high ; but they were all flat-roofed, and covered over with a coating of bricks. When the beams were burned these fell in, and the whole became a mass of clay when the rain had dissolved them, hiding but preserving the buried sculptures.
We can but give the merest glance at the religion of the Assyrians. Its most ancient form appears to have been the worship of the heavenly bodies, learned probably from Babylonia. To this nature-worship they added the worship of deified kings, and placed their own ancestor Ashur at the head of their idols, as the god of the country, while the figure of Nimrod was placed outside the palace gates, between the guardian human-headed and winged lions and bulls. These were evidently symbolical figures, intended to suggest ideas, but not intended to represent actually existing creatures. They were evidently borrowed from the cherubim of the Bible, which also were only symbolical figures. But the separate symbolical god Nisroc, the special god of the Sargon and Sennacherib dynasty, was evidently intended to suggest the ideas of fierceness and swiftness.
The next addition to their worship appears in the winged deity within a circle, seen always in connexion with the king, and found almost exclusively in the palaces built by Esarhaddon and his successors. In these palaces are also found the evil demon, the Ahriman of the Persians; and the fish-god, the Oannes of Babylon and Dagon of Phænicia. The winged circle seems to have been first used by the Egyptians, as a symbol of the sun. Into this winged circle the Medes, Persians, and Assyrians introduced a human figure; but the Assyrians restricted this symbol to the king, and thus made the king and his god the chief deity of their whole empire, so that an act of rebellion against the king was also an act of impiety against their deity. The king was their king, priest, and god, enjoying the most absolute despotism, holding supreme rule over both body and soul. The great rebellion of man against the true God was developed to the utmostreached its greatest height; and thus one dark volume of the world's history was completed. Subsequent aspects of this rebellion were displayed by Persia, Greece, and Rome.
The same conflict still continues. But true religion, even Christianity, the religion of the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and through it the worship of the one only living and true God, is advancing, and must advance till it fill the whole earth. Even buried nations and false religions are from time to time constrained to bear testimony to the truth of the Bible, the inspired word of Jehovah God of truth; and from all these wonderful events,
we are encouraged to look forward to the time when, through all the world, there will be one Lord and His
MY FIRST COMMISSION.
"It is exactly twenty years to-night," said Uncle Fred, the artist, as we sat around the parlour blazing fire, one cold, raw, cheerless, November evening—“It is exactly twenty years to-night since I got my first commission.” Uncle Fred seemed wrapt in thought, as the memory stole up on his soul, and threw its power over it. The candles had not yet been brought in, and we had been enjoying one of those familiar twilight conversations, which were of frequent occurrence before death had made so many inroads on our beloved home-circle as it has since done. Uncle Fred's chair was drawn close to the wall at the side of the fire, and his face lay in deep shadow, so that I could not see whether or no the memory influenced his features, but the motion of the hand looked as if it had been lifted to wipe away a tear. He continued silent for a few minutes after his first sentence, and then he resumed :
“ You remember, Tom,” he said to my father, postman's ring at the door-bell, that night when we were seated, as we now are, on the evening after I had returned from Italy? I don't think you ever knew much