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PANORAMA OF THEBES.
This panorama of the City of Thebes is not only a correct representation of modern Thebes, as it now stands, but also of those ancient ruins, which, for thousands of years, have been an instructive spectacle to the world. Every temple, every pillar, and every stone on which the eye rests in the enormous mass of ruin, may be regarded as copied from those real remains which have existed, perhaps, three thousand years, and many of them possibly much longer.
The spectator of the panorama of Jerusalem looks on the semblance of a city comparatively modern; but in contemplating that of Thebes, he realizes to his mind a spectacle of more remote antiquity. I never look upon a ruin without finding myself disposed to serious thought. There is that in the overturned pillar and broken pediment, that silently, yet eloquently, tells an old man a tale of mutability, that he will do well to regard.
A dark cloud, seemingly impenetrable, has for ages rested on the ruins of desolated Thebes, involving it in mystery and obscurity. Profound learning, and soberminded conjecture, have done no more than establish a few probable suppositions ; but the recent discoveries in hieroglyphics have thrown a ray of light on many a hewn stone and symbolic description, rendering that plain and intelligible, which before was utterly unknown. There is now scarcely a doubt of the identity of Thebes of Egypt, with the No-Amon mentioned by the prophet Nahum: “ Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the wa ters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her
wall was from the sea ? Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite: Put and Lubim were thy helpers. Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable
men, and all her great men were bound in chains,” Nah. iii. 8—10.
Every fresh light thrown on the darkness which has so long shrouded Thebes, renders it more interesting; it is like finding something of value while groping amid ruins, that raises our estimation of the mouldering pile.
The term used to distinguish this city of No, or NoAmon, means “the dwelling of Ammon;" and it is a fact beyond contradiction, that there were more places than one in Egypt, called by the Greeks Diospolis, signifying the same thing. Little doubt, then, remains that the city of No-Amon, mentioned by the prophet Nahum, and the city of Thebes, are one and the same.
The prophetical denunciations of Jeremiah and Ezekiel to a city of the same name, must have referred to another place, not then destroyed, whereas the greatness of the city mentioned by Nahum had already departed. The word " sea' is frequently used in Scripture for great waters of all kinds, and the river Nile is undoubtedly of this description.
Herodotus would surely have described the glory of Thebes, as well as that of Memphis, if the former had not passed away before his day, and that was between four and five hundred years before the coming of our Saviour. We may, then, without much fear of deceiving ourselves, allow our eyes to rove over the
panorama of Thebes as over the ruins of No-Amon. We may
without subjecting qurselves to the charge of easy-minded credulity, believe the cities to be one and the same.
It is not, however, the antiquity alone of Thebes that so powerfully absorbs the mind of the reflecting visitor of the panorama; but the immensity of the masses of sculptured temples and obelisks, and colossal statues, which at once excite, astonish, and confound.
It is one thing to be told that Egypt was a flourishing nation in the earliest ages of the world, or to read that Thebes was the renowned capital of the Egyptian monarchy, and that her warriors issued forth armed from a hundred gates; bnt it is another to see with our eyes a correct representation of the stupendous, though faded glory of that mighty capital, as it is at this day. The gigantic blocks of massive stone, the avenues of sphinxes, the groves of columns, sculptured over with mysterious hieroglyphics, are so unlike the common objects around us; so much beyond our pigmy dwellings, and comparatively miniature public buildings, that mystery and amazement prevail in the spectator's mind.
When gazing on such huge masses as these before me, we cannot but be struck with the feebleness of “ mighty men,” when contrasted with the power of the Almighty. Man builds a city, but the hand of the Almighty overturns it. Man designs it to endure from generation to generation in prosperity, but God humbleth its pride and its power: “ The Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back ?" Isa. xiv. 27.
It is said that the whole French army, when they came suddenly in sight of these immense ruins, with one accord stood in ama:
nazement, and clapped their hands syith delight. These goodly temples were erected by
idolaters, by vain mortal men, who“ changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things ;" yet are their ruins even now attesting the truth of holy writ, respecting the destruction of idolatrous nations. 66 Their land is full of idols, they worship the work of their own hands; that which their own fingers have made." “ The day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and
upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low," Isa. ii.
I know not if others are moved as I am, by this painted semblance of ancient Thebes, but I stand oppressed, I might almost say afflicted, with confused reflections. The mighty ruins around wear not the appearance of decay; their edges are still sharp; their sculptured hieroglyphics seem as fresh as if the chisel of yesterday had fashioned them. These solid blocks of uninjured stone have defied the hand of Time, yet have they been shaken by the only arm that could shake them asunder, the arm of the Holy One.
“Not all proud Thebes' unrivall’d walls contain,
From each wide portal issuing to the wars," could
power of God, or endure the withering louch of the hand of the Eternal !
As the eye wanders over the banks of the river Nile and the distant mountains of Arabia, and then falls on the mighty temples of Karnak and Luxor, which appear to have been shaken to their foundations, and partly overturned, while yet in the pinnacle of their glory,
one apsorbing inquiry urges itself on the mind : “Whose hand hath done this ?” and though no audible response be heard, the heart feels the reply, “ The Lord, strong anıl mighty, the Lord mighty in battle!" "He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ?''
Jerusalem! thou hast awakened my awe, my reverence, and my spiritual affections, and more deep-y impressed on my mind the everlasting verities of the book of truth. And, Thebes !
I view thy noble relics with a sigh,
ROYAL ADELAIDE GALLERY,
There is no spot of earth that can be altogether un. interesting to a Christian perambulator, and for this plain reason, wherever he goes, God has been there before him, and left some unequivocal trace of his almighty presence. The heavens are richly coloured, the earth is clothed with beauty! The change of seasons is put a change in the glorious exhibition of God's