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the best is an altar-piece in three parts, in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace. There is a Portrait of a Youth by him (No. 303.), and a St. Jerome, said to be after Albert Durer (No. 563.), at Hampton Court Palace. In the Sutherland Gallery is a small painting on copper of the Death of the Virgin. In the Print Room of the British Museum is a specimen of his wonderful powers of sculpture in lithographic, or hone-stone, not quite eight inches high, and about five and a half wide. In this small space are sculptured in very high relief, an interior, with a woman lying in bed, called St. Elizabeth, and as many as eight figures, besides a dog, furniture, &c. the scene being intended to represent the Naming of St. John. A figure of a young man entering is said to represent Albert Durer himself. The expression and character given to heads not larger than the size of a little finger's nail, is a most marvellous exhibition of skill. It was purchased by Payne Knight at Brussels, for five hundred guineas, and bequeathed by him to the British Museum, of which it is one of the choicest treasures, of itself well repaying a visit. The Print Room also possesses a volume of his original sketches and drawings in chalk, charcoal, pencil, pen and ink, on paper of all sizes and colours: of all subjects; portraits, sacred compositions, anatomy, natural history, ornaments. The Pictures in this volume are selected from Albert Durer's work called the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, recently republished. Nuremberg was the place of his birth and of his death. He was born on the 20th May, 1471, and died 6 April, 1528, in the fifty-seventh year of his age.
THE LIFE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
THE coming of the Messiah or Saviour had been foretold to the Jews by their prophets, and was fully expected by them; but they mistook the spirit of the prophecies so completely, that evident as the fulfilment of them was to some, the generality of the Jews utterly refused to accept Jesus Christ as the promised Saviour, who should come into the world. The persecutions and cruelties which they inflicted on Jesus and his followers show but too well how far removed they were from being in a state to receive his beautiful doctrine, teaching meekness and loving-kindness, peace and charity.
After our first parents, Adam and Eve, had forfeited the favour of God, by their disobedience to his commands, the life of their children, the whole human race descended from them, would have been one of utter wretchedness and despair, had they not received from time to time hopes and promises that God would, at some future time, again look upon them with favour and indulgence. In what way this was to be brought to pass, they did not know; but it became a general feeling, that some wonderful atonement for their former sins would be offered and accepted.
The Jews had, for so long a time, been accustomed to think themselves Gods chosen people, that they were first astonished and then enraged, that Jesus Christ should declare himself to be sent to both Jew and Gentile, to save all sinners, and not the Jews alone.
The state of the country, at the time at which Jesus made his appearance, must have been terrible: the people were ground down by the taxes imposed upon them by their Roman conquerors, and were exposed to all kinds of oppressions and humiliations. The collectors of taxes, the publicans (as they were called, from the Latin wordpublicus,) were insolent in the extreme, and seem to have put no kind of restraint upon their extortions and cruelties; so much so, that their very name became a reproach, and we find Jesus, in his addresses to the people, constantly using the words publicans and sinners together, and as almost meaning the same thing.
The religion of the Jews, notwithstanding the advantages which they still retained, from possessing the laws of Moses and the writings of the prophets, had become a religion of forms and ceremonies: they kept to the mere letter of the law, and entirely neglected its spirit. They prayed—they fasted— they gave alms; but instead of offering up their prayers to God, and to God alone, with their whole thoughts fixed on him, and with the earnest desire of making themselves worthy of his love, they went into the most frequented places—into the synagogues and to the corners of the streets, " that it might appear to men that they prayed:" and when they gave alms, or did any other charitable act, they made a display of it, and their only motive seemed to be, to gain a good name amongst men, for deeds which are worth nothing as mere forms. They were hypocrites, who valued not God's favour and love, but pretended to do so, only to win the favour of their fellow-men.