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NINEVEH, the subject of our present engraving, was an exceedingly ancient and populous city, having been first built by Ashur, or more probably by Nimrod, as recorded in Genesis x. 9-11.
Herodotus, the earliest of our profane historians, mentions that the Assyrians who inhabited Nineveh were formerly the first power of Asia.
Diodorus gives an account of the city as built by Ninus, the substance of which is as follows—“ Ninus putting off till another time the war he had purposed to carry on (against the Bactrians,) and bringing back his army into Syria, selected a favorable spot for the erection of a great city. For, having by the splendour of his victories eclipsed all his predecessors, he now formed the design of building so magnificent a city, that it should not only surpass all which had heretofore existed, but defy posterity in its attempts to erect one of equal grandeur. Having collected his workmen and materials on the banks of the Euphrates, he built a city surrounded by strong fortifications, and longer than it was wide. It was one hundred and fifty stadia in length, and fourscore and ten in width; the entire cir
cumference being four hundred and fourscore stadia (or about sixty miles). Ninus was not deceived in his expectations, for no city has ever equalled this in the extent of its circuit, or the magnificence of its walls. They were one hundred feet high, and three chariots could run abreast upon their summit; being fortified with fifteen hundred towers, each two hundred feet in height, and placed at proper distances. The greater part of the city was occupied by the richest of the Assyrians; but Ninus allowed such strangers as were willing, to settle there. He gave to the inhabitants the open country in the neighbourhood for their subsistence, and called the city Ninus or Nineveh, after his own name.” (History, lib. ii. 4.)
The next mention of Ninus in Scripture, occurs in the history of Jonah, about the middle of the ninth century B. C., where it is described by a common Hebrew superlative, as a city of God, or an exceeding great city, the circuit of which was computed at a three days' journey. (Jonah iii. 3. ) 6. Three days' journey," says the note on this text in the Pictorial Bible, “may be taken as giving from fifty to sixty miles, accordingly as we understand a journey on foot or a caravan journey;" and this latter measurement will exactly coincide with that given by Diodorus. It has been argued, however, that these dimensions refer to the diameter, and not to the circumference of the city; but the bare supposition of such a thing is absurd, and the only circumstance which could have induced commentators to entertain it for one moment, is the fact mentioned in Jonah iii. 4, where the prophet is described as entering a day's journey into the city, which day's journey, supposing its greatest length to have been less than twenty miles, would have carried him completely through it, or at all events very nearly so. But as the prophet's mission was to preach to its guilty population, and not to pass by the shortest route, in at one extremity,
and out at the other; he might well traverse a good day's journey about it, without reaching even to its centre. The simultaneous movement which took place throughout the city is certainly in favor of the supposition that he had not, as a mere matter of form, gone through it in the strictest sense, but had perambulated its various streets.
Nineveh is again brought before us in the Bible, about a century and a half later, in connexion with the fate of Sennacherib, who, after the destruction of his army returned there, and was slain while worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god. (2 Kings xix. 36, 37.)
A few years, possibly, before this event, it was doomed to destruction through the instrumentality of Nahum, in terms as remarkable for their sublimity and majesty of diction, as they are interesting from their local allusions, and their striking coincidence with the subsequent facts of its history.
At a later period Zephaniah took up the lamentation, and proclaimed that it should become “ a desolation and dry like a wilderness.” (See ch. ii. 13-15.)
So entirely has this once magnificent city been obliterated, that to this day its precise site is not certainly known. There is, however, little doubt that our engraving (from Kitto) represents the immediate neighbourhood of its locality, though no buildings of the old city remain in any of the groups with which the swampy wilderness therein pictured is studded. “This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me! How is she become a desolation! a place for beasts to lie down in: every one that passeth by her shall hiss and wag his head." (Zeph. ii. 15.)
in his power,
Our friend, when pressed at an ensuing meeting, by many individuals of our little association, to give us, some farther information especting the possessor of the Black House, whom he had last presented to us in what a mere professor would think a somewhat mortifying position, smiled and replied, “Be it then as you desire, my brethren; though I have nothing more to say of him which might satisfy any one desiring to hear things out of the routine of common life.” “ What! my brother,” interposed Paternus,“
' you have nothing to relate of the proceedings of John Hobbs out of the routine of common life subsequently to the discourse you had with him when he joined you in the wood ? Pardon me, but how is this? Are we to understand, that the poor man, after having been checked in his somewhat premature attempt to become a public benefactor, fell into a dull, plodding, worldly state, if not into his former vicious courses, thus proving that what you had supposed to be his conversion, was a spurious work? In what other way, I would ask, can we suppose that his after life--and you have not told us that he is dead-could have produced no circumstances worth recording-no act or event beyond the ordinary routine of every day life? If the well-spring which was opened within his breast, was from on high, and had its source from the Fountain of Life itself, how could it fail from overrunning its banks, and pouring and spreading itself forth for the fertilization of the parched lands within its reach ; the very hin. drances which the elements of earth might place in one direction, rendering its flow more deep and abundant in another. The secret and quiet water-course often nourishes more beautiful shrubs and herbs, and supplies a greater and sweeter variety of beautiful scenery than the rushing cataract and the majestic tide of the far-flowing river.”
It was with a sweet spirit of christian love and humility that John Hobbs's historian received what looked very like a rebuke from our venerable chairman; but Paternus had intended no rebuke, though on this and other occasions, he often suffered his anxiety to correct a false statement, or whai he thought to