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His death was eminently peaceful. For about three months his health had been precarious. The strong man was bowing himself. But he was not afraid. The sting of death was taken away. Due preparations had been made for this event; hence he met the last enemy with the most perfect composure. Until a few hours before he passed away he was perfectly conscious, and often conversed with his friends. lle frequently repeated his favorite hymn, “ Rock of Ages, cleft for ine, etc. On Sunday morning, February 19, 1882, at about seven o'clock, his spirit went home to God. The intelligence of his death was communicated to the various congregations of the Churches in Toronto, and on Monday the daily journals had lengthy articles respecting his busy life and happy death, Among the earliest messages of condolence received by his widow was one from his Excellency, the Governor-General of Canada, Lord Lorne, who greatly esteemed him. At the time of the last visit of his Excellency to Toronto he spent an hour in Dr. Ryerson's sick-chamber.
The funeral was probably the largest ever seen in the chief city of Ontario. Most of the places of business were closed, and the Ilouse of Assembly did not hold its usual afternoon sitting, but all the members attended the funeral. In the procession, which was of immense length, we observed his IIonor, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, J. B. Robinson, Esq.; Sir W. II. IIowland, G. S. Gyowski, A.D.C. to the Queen; the Professors of the University College, Trinity College, and St. Basil's College; the Anglican Bishop and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto; the Protestant ministers of the city, and hundreds of Methodist ministers. Next to the chief mourners in the procession were Principal Nelles and the Faculty and Senate of Victoria University, and a deputation of students representing the various classes in arts, theology, law, and medicine. The boys of the Ryerson, Dufferin, and Wellesley schools occupied the rear of the procession.
Religious services were conducted at the house and at the Metropolitan Church, which was crowded to overflowing, by the Rev. S. G. Laird, President of Toronto Conference, R. Jones, G. Cochrane, D.D., Chairman of Toronto District; Dr. Rose, Dr. Sanderson, W. Scott, and E. A. Telfer. Dr. Douglas, the President of the General Conference, was unable to
reach the city. The funeral oration was delivered by the Rev. John Potts, D.D., pastor to the deceased. The choir sung the anthem, “ Brother, thou art gone before us.” The closing hymn, “ Rock of ages, cleft for me,
cleft for me,” was sung with such solemnity and pathos that the vast audience was deeply affected and many wept aloud. Of the many floral tributes on his coffin one of the most beautiful was a crown from the pupils of the school which bears his honored name-Ryerson. His happy end was symbolized by another--a cluster of wheat and a floral sickle, for, like a sheaf fully ripe he was gathered to the harvest of the skies. The sable drapery of the church, the solemn music, the touching prayers, and the beautiful, appropriate address, and the deep emotion of the vast audience, produced a service which will never be forgotten.
Funeral sermons were preached on the following Sabbath by the Rev. Drs. Nelles and Potts, when the church was again crowded to overflowing. Truly,
The memory of the just
Smells sweet, and blossoms in the dust.
age when he died, and
He was a man, taking him all for all,
We shall not look upon his like again. Among the many articles which were published at the time of Dr. Ryerson's death none were more appropriate than the following by the writer's esteemed friend, the Rev. Dr. Withrow, editor of the “Canadian Methodist Magazine:”
Dr. Ryerson was one of the most lovable men we ever knew. Few men grow old so gracefully as he. Ile had been, we may say, a man of war from his youth, and was the hero of many a hard-fought fight, yet he was without a particle of bitterness or guile. Some of his foes became some of his best friends—for instance, the late Bishop Strachan. He was fond of telling to youthful listeners stories of his youth, and by the young who knew him he was greatly revered and beloved. To the last he retained his sympathy with the young. No one could feel his lingering shake-hands without perceiving how much heart there was in it.
We never knew a man so simple in his greatness, so generous in recognition of merit in others, so tender in the bestowment of sympathy, so wise in the giving of counsel. Above all, he was the simple, earnest, cheerful, sunny-minded Christian. We have often heard him say that not when receiving the high
est dignities and honors that were conferred upon him has he experienced such rich enjoyments as in preaching the Gospel to the Indians, or to the scattered settlers of the backwoods. While enjoying life to the full with a genial hilarity of spirit that never could grow old, the thought of death was a familiar and not an unwelcome one. We have often heard him converse calmly and cheerfully of the decease wbich he must shortly accomplish, and then address himself ardently to the duties of the hour. This religion had nothing ascetic in it. It was a calm, confident, holy trust. When apparently very near his end, he held the hand of the writer long, and spoke of that unfaltering trust. He said he was “simply resting by faith on the atonement."
“I the chief of sinners am,
ART. VI. – THE RELIGION OF BABYLONIA AND
[FIRST PAPER) Records of the Past; being English Translations of the Assyrian and Egyptian
Monuments. Twelve volumes. London. 1874-1881. Transactions of the Soci-ty of Biblical Archæology. Seven volumes. London.
1873-1851. The History of Herodotus. By GEORGE RAWLIxson. Four volumes. New York.
1880. The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World. By GEORGE RAWLIN
Sox. Three volumes. New York. 1880. Lectures upon the Assipian Language and Syllabary. Babylonian Literature. As.
syrian Grammar. By Rev. A II. Sarce. The Chaldean Account of Genesis. By GEORGE SMtu. A New Edition, with Ad
ditions. New York. 1881. The Ancient History of the East. By F. LEXORMANT. Two volu les. Philadel.
pliia. 1871. Chaldean Jagic: Its Origin and Development. By F. LENORMANT. London. 1877. An Archaic Dictionary from thie Egyptian, Assyrian, and Etruscan Monuments
and Papyri. By W. R. Cooper. London. 1876. Studies on the Times of Abraham. By Rev. HENRY GEORGE TOjKiss. London.
1878. The discovery of a literature from twenty-five hundred to four thousand years old, which had been buried more than two thousand years in the ruins of the dead cities of Babylonia and Assyria, the recovery of the lost languages in which it is written, and their translation into modern tongues, are remarkable triumphs of nineteenth century scholarship. The geographical position of these mighty empires, the richness of the soil, the size and magnificence of their great cities, the wide
ness of their sway in the days of their glory, the influence they exerted upon early Eastern thought and in molding and modifying religions and mythologies, the place they fill in Oriental history, and their intimate relations with the chosen people of God—these lend importance to any new discoveries which may be made concerning their early history and the thoughts which moved the hearts of their people. Here was the home of Abraham, “ the friend of God," and, in the light of recent Assyrian discoveries, we may now believe that he carried with him in his migration to Canaan the contents of the sacred books of the kingdom of Ur, embracing the earliest traditions of the creation, the fall, the flood, the tower of Babel, and other facts recorded by his descendants, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, in the book of Genesis.
By public and private liberality and enterprise, the literary treasures of these mighty nations have had a resurrection, and Layard, the Rawlinsons, Norris, Ilincks, Smith, Sayce, Talbot, Menant, Oppert, Pinches, Houghton, Guyard, Boscawen, Lenormant, Schrader, Delitzsch, Haupt, IIommel, and others, have breathed into them the breath of life, and they speak to us to-day and reveal wonderful secrets concerning the political, social, and religious history of many peoples. The language in which this history is written, with its difficult syllabary and strange cuneiform characters, is being slowly yet surely and thoronghly deciphered and interpreted, and already we have grammars, contributions to a dictionary, reading books, texts, coinmentaries, translations, organized classes, and a “Society of Biblical Archæology” devoted to the recovery of the meaning of hieroglyphic and cuneiform records of Egypt, Assyria, and other Bible lands of the East, several volumes of whose transactions show commendable learning and activity.
The labor of decipherment and interpretation is but fairly in progress. What may be revealed in the future cannot be predicted. We may, however, rely upon present results, and, whatever may be the progress of Assyrian scholarship in the future, it is probable that the main results hitherto determined, as far at least as they have reference to the Assyrian religion, will not be materially changed. It is time to gather from many sources, and put into popular form, valuable material concerning Assyrian gods and religious beliefs and practices.
The Assyrians used a mode of writing borrowed from the Accadians, who spoke a Turanian tongue. To adapt a Turanian hieroglyphic, ideographic, and syllabic alphabet to a Semitic language was found most difficult. That the mode of writing was originally hieroglyphic cannot now be questioned. “ The Turanian cuneiform writing, as science has now proved," says Lenormant, “was originally hieroglyphic, that is, composed of pictures of material objects; and these forms can in some cases be reconstructed. An inscription entirely written in these hieroglyphics exists at Susa, as is positively known ; but it has not yet been copied, and is therefore unfortunately not available for study."
The Accadians entered Accad from Elam at a period far back in the mists of antiquity. At first they seem to have used papyrus as writing material, but the earliest recovered monuments of their language are written or stamped clay tablets. They were conquered by the less cultured Semites, who appeared in Sumir or Shinar previous to 2000 B.C. These Semites were called Casdim, or“conquerors,” (Assyrian, casiii,) in the Old Testament. Their language was Babylonian, with which Assyrian is closely allied; their religion resembled that of the authors of the Himyaritic inscriptions.
For soine time the Semites dwelt with the Accads on terms of tolerable friendship, in general confining themselves to north-western Chaldea, while the Accads kept nearer the sea. From the latter the Semites borrowed not only their mode of writing, but also much of their religion and many of their arts and sciences. After some centuries the Accads were completely subdued, and their language ceased to be spoken probably not later than 1600 B.C.
The archaic literature has been preserved on clay tablets. After having been stamped with the arrowhead characters, the tablets were baked, and sometimes covered with a clay coating and baked the second time. Upon the removal of the outer coating a double impression of the writing is revealed. The tablets are of all sizes, “ from an inch long to over a foot square.” They are most frequently found in a fragmentary condition, and the task of restoration is very great. They were arranged according to subjects in libraries, had titles stamped upon them, and were carefully catalogued.