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TEMPLE OF THE WINDS, AT ATHENS.
(With an Engraving.) Before some great personages, on their coronation or inauguration into offices of splendour and dignity, a form is sometimes observed, the design of which is to prevent them from being puffed up and intoxicated by pride, by reminding them of the fleeting character of all these earthly honours; for “ the fashion of the world passeth away.” A wisp of straw is brought, and fire applied to it. During its rapid combustion, a person, appointed for the purpose, proclaims, “Sic transit gloria mundi,”—
“ Thus does the glory of the world pass on;
Bright is the blaze, but in a moment gone!" Earthly ambition has often sought the perpetuation of a name by the erection of magnificent buildings,—burial-places, it may be, or temples to the honour of fabled deities; that thus may be commemorated the piety (so sadly mistaken) of those who have in this way employed their wealth. But where are they ? Many have passed away altogether, and only exist in the records of the past. Many remain, like the Pyramids of Egypt, commemorating, however, nothing but the vast power which their erection demanded, and almost defying conjecture as to their authors, or their intended uses. Some are found in ruins, suggesting only to the gifted architect, who understands the principles and rules of their construction, some idea of what they were in their pristine glory. Like
Vol. XI. Second Series, 2
the aged man, borne down by “the rush of numerous years,” who is only the shadow of his former strength; so do these ruins appear in their decrepitude, and whoso looks on any one of them can only say, “ Stat nominis umbra,”—“It stands, the shadow of a name.”
Thus is it with the “ Temple of the Winds," at Athens, which stands a very short distance from the northern side of the Acropolis, not quite half-way to the “Portico of Hadrian.” What it now is, connected with modern buildings, may be seen in the engraving. The northern aspect is given; and beyond it may be seen the Acropolis, with the battlemented fortifications on its summit, by which the Turkish masters of Greece, in the days of their rule, could command at the least the northern half of the city. Gradually, by the elevation of the surrounding soil, the apparent height of the temple has been, as will be seen by referring to the proportions of the entrance on one of the sides, considerably diminished.
The former character of this building may be very briefly described.
The “ Temple of the Eight Winds” was a tower of eight squares, of marble; and on each side was sculptured the figure of a wind, according to the quarter from which it blew. The model of this building was furnished by Andronicus Cyrrhestes, who erected on the top a slender marble column, which no longer exists, on the summit of which was a Triton of bronze, holding out a rod in his right hand, so contrived that the figure moved round with the wind, the direction of which was therefore indicated by the rod.
The tower was also a sun-dial. On each side of this octagonal building was placed a vertical dial-plate; the gnomon projecting from the wall, while the lines marking the hours were cut into it. These dial-lines may still be traced ; and though the gnomons have disappeared, yet the places in which they were inserted are still visible.
The building also contained a water-clock, which was supplied with water from the spring under the “Cave of Pan,” on the north-west corner of the Acropolis.
It is supposed that it was erected about the year B.c. 159.
So pass away the glories of the world! While the temple was new, Andronicus Cyrrhestes might triumph in its form. But of what use is it now? Here are seven syllables. Any other seven would convey as distinct an idea. All has passed away of the man but the sound of the syllables! What is human pride worth? Happy they who seek that circumcision of the heart whose praise is, not of men who forget, who die, but of God, the ever-living, ever-remembering, everblessing God! To them who possess it, when ages have passed away which utterly bewilder the mind attempting to conceive their number, it will be as valuable, as sweet, as enduring, as when first bestowed.
ORIENTAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE
LANGUAGE. GENESIS Xxxii. 18.-" It is a present sent unto my lord Esau.” Whenever a favour has to be solicited, peace to be made, or an interview desired, a present is always sent to prepare the way. Thus may the servants be seen with trays of fruit, or cakes, on their heads, covered with white cloth, going to the house of the man who can grant the boon. Should there be something very important at stake, then a diamond, or a ruby, or some valuable jewel, will be sent by a confidential person.
Genesis xxxii. 19.—“On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau.” I almost think I hear Jacob telling his servants what they were to say to Esau. He would repeat it many times over, and then ask, “What did I say?” until he had completely schooled them into the story. They would be most attentive; and, at every interval, some of the most officious would be repeating the tale. The head-servant, however, would be specially charged with the delivery of the message.
When they went into the presence of Esau, they would be very particular in placing much stress on Jacob's saying, “ The present is sent unto my Lord!” and this would touch his feelings. Servants who see the earnestness of their master, imitate him in this when they stand before the