you know, modern history has done so much, and of whom such wonderful records are preserved in the Brit9 ish Museum. You have seen these records. What are they? Winged bulls and lions, memorials of conquest, types of the power of the Great King. Nebuchadnezzar brings their meaning home to us: the man whose pride was exalted, who set himself up above the stars of heaven. In him are united the temporal and spiritual authority, a danger into which the East is constantly falling. The Ezyptian, on the other hand, is ruled by his priests; he deals in magic, and uses the mysterious powers of nature to secure his authority over the people. In one, the ruler, in the other, the priest, are forgetting the Jewish principle that they are God's ministers, and that their gifts are to be exercised for Him. Each found his representative in the Jewish nation; and each, we know too well,

led that people into their own peculiar temptation. We 10 pass to the next people of the old world—these are the

Greeks. They are in many respects the very opposites of the Jews: the Jew permitted no representations to be made of the unseen God—the Greek delighted in them. Everywhere he multiplied these representations, everywhere he tried to reduce to sight spiritual things by shadowing them forth in the likeness of men. Nay, the more Greek he was the more he essayed to do this. If he thought of wisdom, it was under the emblem of Minerva; if of strength, Hercules; if of abstract beauty,

Venus; if of empire, Jupiter; if of light and inspiration, 11 Apollo. Of the mysteries of nature in which the Egyp

tian delighted he thought nothing, or only so far as they related to mysteries in himself. Man and the powers of man, man as the master over matter and the ruler of the world, were the objects of the deepest thought and speculation to the Greek. Whatever fell within the limits

[ocr errors]

of this inquiry he pursued with increasing avidity: his government, his institutions, his philosophy, his poetry, had this for their object. Every problem which could concern the soul or the body, or their connection, or their faculties, or their habits, or the exercise of their several powers, never came amiss to him. No wonder that the 12 Greek magnified the courage, the strength, the wisdom of man; that he claimed for him a distinction from brute matter around him—a life of his own and a personality -as the Jew was witnessing to the nations that God was not to be confounded with the invisible powers of Nature. Though different, both were asserting a necessary truth; and the evils and idolatry of both arose not from the truths which they held, but from the falsehoods which they mixed with those truths. To the 13 Greek we still go for instruction in all that belongs to the dignity, the powers, the beauty of man, for examples of brave deeds, for heroical recitals, for noble struggles against tyranny in all forms, whether of brute force, or ignorance, or pain, or, as he called it, destiny. The great enemy to the Greek is the Persian, as the Egyptian was to the Jew; and yet as there was a most extraordinary attraction of the Egyptian to the Jew, so was there of the Greek to the Persian. The Greek was naturally tempted to adopt Persian manners and customs, the Persian would offer every kind of temptation to induce the Greek to settle in his country. There were, also, opposite as they 14 might appear to each other, points of resemblance between them which render this mutual attraction and repulsion the more remarkable. The Persians were an heroic people like the Greeks. They thought much of their ancient heroes, Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes. Like the Greeks, they hated a sacerdotal caste, who used their influence to blind and mislead the people. Like the

Greeks also, the sun was the chief object of their national 15 worship. But to the Persian, his god, though a power

infinitely removed from himself, and the light of the world, was a light and no more. He had none of the attributes of a god in the sense of the Greeks; he had no personality. He was not, it is true, made with hands, and he dwelt not in temples ; but neither did he draw near to his worshiper, nor did his worshiper feel that he could draw near to him. There was no feeling that

he could sympathize with humanity ; that he could or 16 would make a covenant with his people. Thus not only

the evil powers of the world and the instruments of darkness were to the Persian more definite, comprehensible, and formidable; but his extreme reverence for his king as the sole representative of all authority, as the ruler, the sole dispenser of justice and judgment, converted the Persian into the mere tool of despotism. He is the willing instrument of conquest, the enemy of na

tional independence, the champion of a aniversal mon17 archy, of which the Great King is the head. To him the

Greek, striving for individual independence, never forgetting his native land, never blending with the people among whom he settles, is as much a mystery as his own reverence for kingly authority and his feeling that he has

no existence independent of his king is to the Greek.... 18 We have now reached the history of another people more

powerful than any we have yet seen-I refer to the Romans. They too are a religious people, they have their auguries, their priesthood, and, like the Hebrews, a belief in the invisible God, who has been the founder and is the father of their nation. They too are strongly impressed with a sense of their own power, and of the value which it possesses in bringing the nations of the earth into order and regularity. They too, like the Greek, set a high

value on the freedom of man; and like the Persian, they feel that there is some paramount and paternal authority, superior to all the rest, on the acknowledgment of which the strength and unity of their nation depend. The his- 19 tory of the Roman people tells us of the virtues of fathers and mothers, the obedience of sons, the chastity of daughters. The founder of their nation is the dutiful Æneas who saves his father from the flames of Troy. Is he in doubt what to do, he flies for advice to his father; after death it is his father's spirit that guides, it is his father's household gods who extend their protection and guardianship to the son. It is the parental authority that is shadowed forth in all the forms of the Roman government; it is the sense of reverence and obedience which the son owes to the father, that is at the root of all their discipline, their civil order and subordination. It is this which 20 gives a dignity and intensity to their civil disputes, and to the contentions of senators and plebeians. We feel that they are not mere ordinary broils, like other popular tumults, but that the deepest principles are involved in them; and that out of such confusion they are to come forth stronger and more united than before. Wherever the Roman sets his foot he rouses up his own sense of law and social order among the nations, even though he can not raise up among them a true feeling for those principles which had led himself to a true appreciation and knowledge of self-government. Whatever the nations, 21 whatever their condition, savage or civilized, no sooner does the Roman appear among them than they too are led to feel a value for right and order, as they had never felt before. Permanent forms of government start up, towns are built, roads are made, people are taught to live together, to co-operate, to depend upon one another. They were a stern and severe people, it is true; they 22

were often guilty of great acts of tyranny and oppression in carrying these lessons to the nations round about them; but we must not for that overlook the great good that they did; we must not forget to recognize the fact that, with all his failings, the Roman, in his manliness, in his love of right, in his unswerving adherence to justice, in

his patriotism, in his regard for the laws of his country, 23 has been an example to all the world. No nation has

done more to imprint the names of its great citizens on our memories and to make them familiar in our mouths as household words. We may know little of the personal histories of Decius, of Regulus, of Brutus, or of Cato, but so long as self-devotion, self-denial, patriotism, and unconquerable rectitude are admired, so long will these names be remembered, as the brightest examples of these virtues.






Towns, as was pointed out by the late Mr. J. R. Green, have a sort of historic personality that renders their origin and growth peculiarly attractive. What a world of history centers in and around London! Westminster Abbey and the Tower are inexhaustible in their rich and varied interest. Let the student consult Loftie's “History of London,” Baedeker's “ London and its Environs,” Dean Stanley's “Memorials of Westminster Abbey" (revised edition), and Freeman's “Norman Conquest," on the foundation of Westminster

Abbey. 1 To London, under the name of Trinovant, Cæsar is

supposed to allude: “The strongest city in those parts”; that is, in Middlesex. It was governed by a petty king,

« ElőzőTovább »