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place where seventy-two learned Jews resided, while they translated the Old Testament into the Greek language.
in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt, after the death of Alexander the Great. Many of the Jews taken in war as captives, were slaves in Egypt. Besides these, there were many other Jews who voluntarily resided in Egypt. Josephus says, that there were in the early part of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, one hundred and twenty thousand Jews in slavery in Egypt; and it is probable that many of them were in Alexandria. Josephus also states, that Ptolemy Philadelphus formed a great collection of books at Alexandria, and that he determined to have the sacred books of the Jews translated into the Greek language, which was then most generally used. That he sent rich presents to Eleazar the Jewish high priest, and desired him to send learned men to Alexandria to translate the Scriptures. We are also told, that seventy-two learned men were sent for this purpose, and that the king plentifully provided for their accommodation on the Isle Pharos, and that there they made a translation of the Old Testament Scriptures into the Greek language. Also, that at this time the king gave to the captive Jews their freedom.
Immediately after the death of Alexander the Great, Ptolemy Soter was king of Egypt. He was one of Alexander's Generals who divided his great empire among themselves, and assumed royal dignity. Ptolemy Soter commenced the erection of a wonderful building, on the isle of Pharos, which was designed to serve as a watchtower and light-house, and probably for various other purposes. Alexandria was then a place of great commerce. Multitudes of ships floated in its harbours; therefore a light-house to assist sailors, at night, in steering ships into the harbour, would be very important. The erection of this building was not completed when king Soter died; but it was completed by his son Philadelphus.
According to the accounts given of this erection, it was a very extensive and magnificent edifice. Some ancient authors say, that at the foundation it was 600 feet square,
PHAROS—THE ALEXANDRIAN LIGHT-HOUSE.
and was 450 feet high. Other historians do not describe its dimensions as being so great. There is, however, no doubt it was a very large pile of masonry. We are told it was adorned with marble columns, cornices, and galleries. That several large fires were kept burning on the top of the light-house, and that the light could at night be seen at the distance of one hundred miles. It is not probable that the light could be seen at so great a distance. In fact, we believe it to have been impossible. We regret, that it is no uncommon thing for persons in describing wonderful things to exaggerate. To do so is both foolish and wicked. If the light were observable at fifty miles distant, that would be a very wonderful thing. There is no doubt that the light was seen at a great distance, and was of immense benefit to mariners trading at Alexandria.
As this light-house was built on the isle of Pharos, it received the name of the island. When mariners saw the light, they said they saw Pharos. Hence when other lighthouses were erected they obtained the same name. Pharos became a common name for a light-house.
The learned Dr. Prideaux, in reference to the Alexandrian Pharos, says it cost 800 talents. This if computed by Attic talents, amounts to £165,000 of our money; but, if, by Alexandrian talents, it will come to twice as much. The architect who built it was Sosastrus, of Cnidis, who craftily endeavoured to usurp the honour of it, with posterity, to himself by a fraudulent device. The inscription ordered to be set on it being, “King Ptolemy to the gods, the saviours, for the benefit of those who travel by sea.” Instead of Ptolemy's name, he craftily engraved his own in the solid marble, and then filling up the engraved letters painted Ptolemy's thereon. In process of time the composition, which the architect had put over the inscription wore away, and then the inscription appeared thus
Sosastrus, the Cnidian, son of Dexiphanes, to the gods, the saviours, for the benefit of those who travel by sea. “ The tower of Pharos has long been demolished. Pharos was at first an island at the distance of seven furlongs from the main-land; but it was made a peninsula, by making a
bank across the sea to the island. This was called the Heptastadium, or the seven furlong bank. Both the bank and the tower were finished in the beginning of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus.”
A modern author, the Rev. T. Boaz, gives a very different account respecting the Heptastadium. He says“Between the mainland and the island of Pharos, a dyke called Heptastadium was cut, of sufficient width to admit of ships passing from one port to the other, and over this bridges were thrown. Some time, however, during the dynasty of the Ptolemies, the dyke was filled up with an artificial mound, upon which now stands part of modern Alexandria.” We think the account given by Dr. Prideaux is most likely to be correct.
How glad a ship's company must be, when tossed upon the ocean in a dark night, to see a light-house by the aid of which the ship can be correctly guided by the sailors into a safe harbour. Many light-houses have been erected in various parts of the globe, and by their means multitudes of lives have been preserved. They are not only of use to guide vessels, in entering or leaving harbours, but also to warn mariners of dangerous rocks and sand-banks, and currents, that they may steer ships in a safe course. Such important services as light-houses afford, to those who traverse the mighty ocean, the Word of God is intended, and able to render to us, while we are on the voyage from time into eternity. If we attend to the teachings of God's Word, we shall be guided so as to keep clear of the dangerous rocks, shallows, and whirlpools, of sin--of which there are very many. These are the works of presumption, pride, and ambition—the shallows of vanity, idleness, and irreligion--and the whirlpools of worldly pleasures and licentiousness. Against these we are warned by the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.
The Bible has been compared to a chart in which the dangers of the ocean are described, and the right course by which to steer for the better country is laid down ; and happy are they who properly consult their Bibles, and learn, thereby, to avoid the dangers to which they are exposed. The precepts, promises, and threatenings of God's word, are lights to guide as. Jesus Christ, also, is a most glorious light. Good old Simeon said, Christ is “a light to lighten the Gentiles; and the Apostle John says, that Christ is “ the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
Jesus Christ has procured for us the influences of the Holy Spirit, by which our understandings and consciences are enlightened. Thus, both the Word of God and the Holy Spirit enlighten us; to guide us in the way that leads to everlasting life—to the haven of eternal security. Light-houses would be of no use if mariners were not careful to guide their ships aright—so the teachings of God's Word, of Jesus Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit will not save our souls, unless we attend to the duty of avoiding the evils against which we are warned, and rightly use the light which is intended to guide our feet into the way of peace—to direct us to Jesus Christ—that we may obtain salvation, and so, at last, enter into heaven, to dwell in the Kingdom of Glory for ever.
THE GARRET HOME.
A GENTLEMAN was one day visiting some destitute families in one of the poorest parts of London. After climbing a number of stairs, which conducted to the top of one of the houses, he observed a ladder leading to a door close upon the slates. He thought it most unlikely that any living being would be found dwelling there; but in order to satisfy himself, he resolved on ascending the ladder. On reaching the door, he found it so low, that he was obliged to stoop before he eould enter.
• Is there any one here ?” he enquired. " Come in," answered a feeble voice.
He entered, and found a little boy the solitary tenant of this wretched home. There was no bed—no furniture of any kind. Some straw and shavings in one corner formed the poor little fellow's seat by day, and his couch by night.
THE JUVENILE COMPANION.
“ Where is your father ? You must surely long very much for his coming home in this dark solitary place ?"
“ No, sir," replied the boy, sorrowfully. “My father gets drunk. He used to send me out to steal, and whatever I stole he spent in drinking."
“ Does he not make you do so still ? "
“I went,” replied the boy, “to the Ragged School, and I was there taught the words, Thou shalt not steal.' I was told about heaven and hell—that Jesus Christ came to save sinners—that God punishes the bad and loves the good ; and I resolved, from that time I would steal no more. Now," continued the little sufferer, “my father himself steals, and then gets tipsy; and then he gets angry at me, and is cruel to me, and whips me, because I will no longer steal.”
“ Poor little boy !” said the gentleman, deeply interested in the sad history. “I am sorry, indeed, for you. You must feel very lonely here !”
“No,” said the other, with a smile on his face; “ I am not alone. God is with me; Christ is with me, I am not alone !”
The gentleman took out his purse and gave him a small trifle, promising that he would come back again and see him, on the morrow.
« Stop!” said the little fellow, as his kind visitor was preparing to go down the ladder. “I can sing." And so say. ing he commenced, in simple strains, the beautiful hymn with which he loved to cheer his solitude :
“ Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child;
" Fain would I to thee be brought,
Gracious God I forbid it not ;