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diminishing as they approach the platform. The sides are precipitous, much broken, and covered with trees. Its base measures five hundred feet; from the base to the summit or platform it is one hundred. The same author likewise mentions the remains of an extensive range or succession of ruins, composed of terraces, walls, rooms and corridors, and court-yards.
Mr. Stephens and his party established themselves for a considerable period amongst these interesting ruins at a dangerous season, taking up their abode in the same quarters, then reeking with damp, and pestilent with exhalations from the stagnant waters around the place. Here Mr. Catherwood went to work in earnest with his daguerreotype, and produced a beautiful series of fac-similes of the various objects of this wonderful locality, which are transferred with consummate skill to the pages of the work in question. Here an incident occurred, which is thus graphically described by Mr. Stephens :
“In working out the plan on the spot, it was found that the back wall, throughout its whole length of two hundred and seventy feet, was nine feet thick, which was nearly equal to the width of the front apartment. Such thickness was not necessary for the support of the building, and, supposing it might contain some hidden passages, we determined to make a breach through the wall, and to do this in the centre apartment. Over a cavity left in the mortar by the removal of a stone, were two conspicuous marks, which afterward stared us in the face in all the ruined buildings of the country. They were the prints of a red hand with the thumb and fingers extended, not drawn or painted, but stamped by the living hand, the pressure of the palm upon the stone. He who made it had stood before it alive as we did, and pressed his hand, moistened with red paint, hard against the stone. The seams and creases of the palm were clear and distinct in
the impression. There was something life-like about it that waked exciting thoughts, and almost presented the images of the departed inhabitants hovering about the building. And there was one striking feature about these hands; they were exceedingly small. Either of our own, spread over and completely hid them; and this was interesting from the fact that we had ourselves remarked, and heard remarked by others, the smallness of the hands and feet as a striking feature in the physical conformation of the Indians at the present day.”
These early architectural relics, interesting as they are from the evidence they afford of the capabilities and resources of an obscure people, possess additional claims on our attention for the testimony they bear to a community of origin in the population of both hemispheres. The gigantesque character and pyramidal form of many of the buildings, prove them to have been planned and executed by minds akin to those which reared the far-famed pyramids of Egypt, or the ruder graduated mounds of Asia, and northern Europe ; whilst the impress of the hand, in red paint, so well described by Mr. Stephens, as a common signature on these old buildings, points to a language very similar to the symbolic writing of the former country. In Yucatan, it is said to denote supplication, like the extended pair of arms in Egypt; and is also typical of that strength, power, or mastery, of which prayer to the Great Spirit, was supposed to be the procuring cause,
Amongst the Jews, it had an import very similar, as noticed by Mr. Maurice, in his “ Oriental Trinities.” The letter jod, of which the hand was the primitive symbol, denotes, according to the Rabbins, the thought, the idea of God; and is described as a ray of light.
It is said, farther to be indicative of that inaccessible glory, that primitive self-existence, which belong exclusively to the Most High God.
The sculptured turtles on the Governor's House, at Uxmal, call to mind the sacred tortoise of the Hindoos, which plays so conspicuous a part in the Courma Avatar, of that people; and on which the foundations of the earth were said to have rested, whilst the poor tortoise itself was without any support whatever !
So spake the absurd fables of heathenism, which have been exalted into comparison with the oracles of God. It is, therefore, matter for much gratitude, that these very fictions can now be brought forward in proof of scripture truth; that their very absurdity should constitute their value and importance. It is not difficult to suppose, that a coincidence might exist between two distant nations, in common matters of fact; or even in matters of opinion, fairly deducible from fact; but where these opinions are arbitrary, and especially where they are directly opposed to common sense, it is pretty clear that they have not been invented spontaneously by both parties, but borrowed by one of them from the other.
Assuming, therefore, not only from what has been advanced above, but from other points of evidence, which we cannot now recapitulate,* that a striking similarity exists between the manners, customs, arts, and superstitions of the old and new worlds; we find the voice of all heathen antiquity responding to the records of Inspiration, in testifying to that important truth—" He hath made of ONE BLOOD all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”
THE PARSON'S CHOICE MEMORIES.
CHAP. 1.—THE LITTLE TRAMPER. In a certain district of our island, which it is not requisite to name, it has long been the custom for the rectors, vicars, and
* The reader will find some of these points referred to in our Vols. for 1843, p. 22, and 1844, pages 253 and 397.
curates, to meet from time to time, at each other's houses, to discuss in a friendly way the various subjects most interesting to persons engaged in their sacred and important callings.
Young and old, experienced and non-experienced persons, of course, met on these occasions, although there was seldom any intrusion of individuals who were not more or less anxious to do what was pleasing in the sight of their heavenly Master in their several conditions.
One aged clergyman, whom we shall call Paternus, had insensibly, and from long habit, obtained so much influence in the society, as to be enabled to act the gentle part of controller, whenever too much natural temper was betrayed in any discussion which might arise; and was peculiarly skilful in bringing the conversation back to points of vital interest, whenever it seemed in danger of wandering from them to more worldly matters.
As this little society met in each other's houses, the scenes of their assemblies were various : it was in the parsonage of the rector of a large town-living, that the discourse arose which was the commencement of a series of conversations of such general interest, that I, who was a silent auditor through all these occasions, should do an injustice to the religious public, if I made no use of the privilege allowed me, of giving them to that public.
The house of our entertainer (for whenever we met we were regaled with tea) looked out from an old oriel window into a crowded church-yard, in which, by a common computation, as many as the whole living population of the town, were heaped every twenty-five years.
“ Astonishing thought !” as one of our party said, “and what a sight will this be, when at the sound of the last trumpet, this silent, lonely place shall teem with life!”
“ And the dead shall be raised,” added another, “and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake ; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
In the centre of this grave-yard, there stood up prominently a square marble tomb, from the flat surface of which arose a pyramid, supported on four globes. One side of the tomb was open, ready to receive a new tenant; a man but lately of the first consequence of the town. The rector and his curate had
been summoned to attend this funeral ; they had expected the ceremony would be over before the hour of meeting, but in this they were disappointed ; for these things, as every clergyman knows, are liable to be behind their time; and the more important the pageant, the more surely are the attendants kept waiting. There was no other sign of the approach of the funeral for some time after we stood in the window, but a gathering of the lower sorts of people, and the increasing eagerness which the boys, especially, displayed in securing places on the tops of flat tombs or head-stones, whence they might see the procession to advantage. In the mean time, from one minute to another, came the dull, heavy sound of the muffled bell from the tower of the church, the reverberation of one stroke hardly ceasing before another struck upon the ear.
“Is it not marvellous,” said one of our party, “that creatures, assured of death as we are from infancy, should go on as most people do, pursuing the bubbles, riches, honor, and pleasurewith scarcely a thought of their certain doom ; even making such an occasion as the death of others, a sort of pastime? See how those boys are sporting as they clamber along the headstones!”
“Carelessness,” replied the venerable father of the party,“ is a property of childhood ; necessary, probably, to the physical development of the system, and therefore in healthy children we see few symptoms of anxiety respecting death : but permit me, as having studied mankind many years, to state my belief that the larger portions of adult human beings, are more or less groaning secretly under the dread of death, and that this dread is never removed but in the case of believers; the only real defence against this fear, being the assurance that Christ, through death, has destroyed the power of death, and thus delivered them, who through fear of death, were all their life time subject to bondage. This fear of death,” continued the venerable man, “ little as you seem to attribute to its influence, seems to me almost the only thing that keeps human beings within any kind of bounds. Nor do I allow that it has no power over even the most careless children ; or why do they shrink and shudder at the lifeless forms of even their dearest friends ?”
The solemn pageant now beginning to appear, and coming on