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Stonehenge has the aspect of having been built at different periods. Mr. Warner started the idea that the Belge having taken this part of the country from the Celts, proceeded to raise a monument of rival magnitude to that of Abury. It is possible that there may have been a primitive Celtic temple to the sun, and that round this the Belga erected a larger and more elaborate structure. The conception and completion of the larger and loftier circle has been supposed to denote the civilization of a later age; while the fact of its materials having been drawn from the immediate neighbourhood, has been alleged as an argument that the artificers were not in undisturbed possession of the territory. Assuming, however, as we have a right to do, that Stonehenge was essentially of Druidical origin, we may also believe that in its finished form, if not in its more rudimentary features, it was the latest as it was the grandest of the religious erections of the order; it was the great high sanctuary or metropolitan temple of the realm, the Pantheon of national worship.
A few miles only from the ancient city of Sarum, it has imparted a name of its own to a town more closely adjoining, for the stones of which it was composed were the petræ ambrosia, the anointed stones of the Greeks, the ambers of an earlier epoch, such as that which Jacob set up for a pillar, pouring oil on the top of it, vowing a vow and saying, "This stone which I have set up for a pillar shall be God's house." By the word amber was implied something solar and divine; a monument in Cornwall is still called mainamber, or the hallowed stone. The proper anointing material with which stones were consecrated to a religious character and office was the oil of roses, ambrosia, a term applied by the heathen poets to the food of the gods. Hence the parish in which Stonehenge is situate has received the name of Ambrosebury, or Amesbury, though subsequent superstition has made it the shrine of a fabled St. Ambrose. It has been no uncommon thing with the Romish chroniclers to canonize an idea, and then to record the doings of a saint called into existence by their own imagination. Amesbury is distinguished in modern times as the birth-place of Joseph Addison.
The stupendous temple of Abury, (or Avebury,) six miles from Marlborough, is in a state of far greater dilapidation than Stonehenge; but man, rather than time, has been the destroyer. Through the skill and perseverance of antiquarian explorers, especially of Dr. Stukeley, the plan of the work has been successfully traced. Stonehenge was simply circular; Abury represents a serpent with wings transmitted through a circle. The circle, as the figure of the sun, the great natural emblem of the Divine person, became
a secondary symbol of the Deity, and a type of infinity and eternity. Among Eastern nations, the serpent was a symbol of light, wisdom, life, and health. It may have been so adopted from its annual renewal of beauty; from the change and variety of forms depending on its sinuous movements; from its acuteness of vision, its sagacity and craft, and its hues as of flame or burnished metal. It was also a solar emblem, either from its brightness, or from a fancied resemblance between its winding track and the sun's apparent motion. There was, moreover, some traditionary reference to the serpent, as an instrument of man's primeval ruin, which rendered it an object of awe and worship; or to the fiery serpent made by Moses, which, first a source of healing, became at last a stumbling-block of idolatry. It has been disputed whether the Druids admitted the serpent into the number of their divinities, or assigned it a higher place than that of a sacred monogram; but at all events, the creatures their fancy portrayed, were the seraphim, or so-called flying serpents. There is properly There is properly no faculty of flight in serpents. Some by the distinction of their hoods, exhibit a vague resemblance to wings on either side their heads. Yet serpents may figuratively be said to fly, on account of the rapidity of their movements, or their sudden darting on their victims, or from their climbing trees, and thence springing to other trees, or pouncing on their prey. Some have conceived that the angelic seraphim, when manifested bodily, were animal forms, with serpents' heads, such as we may find in the sculptured temples of Thebes.
Whatever may have been the precise enigmatical idea of the pattern of the temple of Abury, we require an accurate survey of a wide circumference of outworks or approaches, to discover how far the conception has been realized. The site chosen is a separate plain, four or five miles in circuit. The temple was formed by a circular mound of earth, with a wide and deep ditch on its inner side, and the edge of the ditch set round with a row of erect stones, rough and unchiselled. The circumvallation was 4,400 feet in length, and the enclosed area twenty-two acres. Within the outer circle were two smaller circles of enormous stones, called respectively the northern and southern temples. The materials of these were equally unhewn and rude. The large outer circle originally consisted of 100 stones. The northern temple was composed of two concentric circles, an exterior of thirty stones, and an interior of twelve. In its centre were three large stones, arranged to constitute a cone. The southern temple was the counterpart of the northern, with an outer circle of thirty, and an inner one of twelve stones; but in its centre was a single obelisk or Kibla, towards which, during
worship, the faces would be turned. At the southern end of the line connecting the centres of the two temples, nearer the larger circle than the edge of the southern smaller one, a stone stood by itself, having a ring or perforation, as if to tie the sacrificial victim. Whether or not it be more than coincidence, the product of the two series of each smaller circle multiplied, one into the other, and added to the detached stones, gives the period of the solar revolution. The inner series representing the months, the outer series the days of the month; the separate stones would represent the number to be added to fill up the days of the year. The centres of these two temples were 518 feet asunder; their circumferences, where nearest, eighty-six feet apart. To the entire structure were attached, to complete the figure of the serpent, two extended winding avenues, marked by rough stones, and stretching on either side of the enclosure to a distance of more than a mile. The total number of stones, including avenues and their appendages, is computed to have been 650.
In 1722, when described by Dr. Stukeley, of the hundred original stones of the larger circle, eighteen were standing, and twenty-seven remaining prostrate. At Sir R. Colt Hoare's surveying, in 1812, of the same circle, only ten stones were standing, and five left where they had fallen. Since that date, several of these have been broken up for road-mending, or removed for other purposes. With no respect for antiquity to restrain or animate them, the farmer or peasants of the neighbourhood, doubtless thought, they were doing good service in clearing useless cumberers of the soil. The ditch and mound are in tolerable preservation.
Due south from Abury, exactly midway between the extremities of the avenues that form the head and tail of the serpent, is an artificial eminence, called Silbury-hill. In shape the frustrum of a cone; it is 700 feet in perpendicular height, and covers a space of five acres. It was a prominent object on the road from London to Bath in days preceding railways. By calculation, based on the variation of the magnetic needle, Dr. Stukeley fixed the date of Stonehenge at about 460 years before Christ, and he supposed that Abury was founded 1,400 years previously. It is at all events a monument of vast and venerable age. In its name we recognize the mystic word Abiri, synonymous with the Cabiri of the East-the mighty or powerful The worship of the Cabiri extensively prevailed; but its origin, which was evidently of the highest antiquity, is shrouded in doubtful and dark surmises. In every case rites were held, initiation to which was attended with scenes and incidents of fearful solemnity, succeeded by rapture and repose. The Cabiri were known
under a variety of designations, according to local and suggestive circumstances, but the antitypes were probably always the same. Some extend their number to seven, and believe them to represent the family of Noah, exclusive of its head, to whom separate and superior honours were assigned. The hierophantic mysteries would thus depict the horrors with which the ark was surrounded, the gloom in which its inmates were immersed, and the passage through death to life and light ultimately granted them. Some reduce to three the number of the Cabiri, and would see in them emblems of the Divine Triad, the Father, the Word, the Spirit. Thus, the sphere or circle would symbolize the Divine nature without beginning or end. The serpent protruding from the sphere, would typify the Word that created and clothed the world; and the wings, the Spirit, that imparts vital and motive energy. So the three stones within the northern temple of Abury, have been construed into three mighty ones, enclosed by a circle of eternity. Thoth the Beneficent stands alone in the circle of time, represented by the one stone in the southern temple; while the ring-stone placed apart, destined to the office of slaughter, has been taken to indicate Typhon, the evil genius, and the whole is shut in by the large outer circle of space.
SHOULD you ever visit the great western prairies of America, do not fail to spend a Sabbath in C-- and, at 2 P.M., go to the Mission Sabbath School. There you will see what can be accomplished by warm, strong hearts, and willing hands. A little more than two years since this school was commenced, the district being one of the most uninviting in the city; now there are over 1,000 children who meet in this Sabbath Home.
The history of this school I cannot now relate: but, as you pass up the eastern aisle, just stop midway, and observe that class of little boys; they are roughly clad, and their unseemly raiments tell of a near approach to want; but their faces are clean, their eyes bright, and so interested are they in what their teacher says, that they scarcely notice you or others who are there to look. You are interested. I knew you would be. Now turn to their teacher. Why, you say, she's but a child herself. True indeed, for fifteen summer suns have not yet passed her head. Little Mary R-was one of the first-fruits of this work of love, and she is thus proving her devotion to that Shepherd who has so recently gathered her to His fold. Look how the boys drink in her words! She is in earnest, as she tells the story of the Cross; and the seed she is sowing is falling into other than stony ground, and Mary waters it with her tears.
I would like to tell you much of this young, zealous Christian; but you can talk with her, and learn from herself the story of God's love. Let me, however, repeat one incident which you would not hear from her.
Mary's father was a sailor; and soon after she had found the Saviour, she went with him on one of his trips up our beautiful lake. As they returned, a storm arose; the wind blew a perfect gale, the vessel was tossed upon the furious waves; the danger was imminent, and all seemed lost. While sailors, who had often encountered the stormy perils of the sea, were filled with terror and dismay, little Mary sat composedly by the hatchway, sweetly singing one of her Sabbath school hymns,
"We have nothing to fear from the wind or the wave,
Under our Saviour's command;
And our hearts in the midst of the dangers are brave,
Then let the hurricane roar,
And will land at last
Safe on the evergreen shore."