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FIRE is a blessing which long was unknown to the ancients, as to many barbarous nations at the present hour. Ignition by lightning and the fire smouldering in the touchwood of a rotten trunk, made, perhaps, the first tinder, in which some observing character endeavoured to preserve a spark. In some tribes, two pieces of dried wood rubbed together might have been the means of producing fire. This discovery was of the utmost importance and benefit to mankind. Men were now enabled to make their food more agreeable and digestible, as also to form cooking utensils, involving the discovery of earthen vessels. Next, men learned the use of metals, and the art of melting and refining and rendering metals malleable. In the earliest ages, however, iron was not the metal in most general use, but copper. The art of the smith then arose from a combination of favourable circumstances; and, gradually, tools were adapted to the various exigencies of life, conducing to a bolder and a more durable style of architecture. In Babylon, and more especially in Egypt, stone building was brought to the greatest perfection; and immense edifices still remain, more than 4000 years old, exciting even

B. c. now the wonder of the world. In point of beauty, 1000. however, the most celebrated buildings are those

of the Greeks, the works of ages preceding and cotemporary with the Christian era; most exquisite specimens of art, from which lessons in architecture have been derived both by past and present generations.





B.c. The following theory is not given as a fact, but

only as a specimen of the strange fancies of those who do not perceive that language is a gift of the Creator, modified by the various degrees of talent, and the various circumstances of the human


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“ The first result of the expansion of man's “ mind was language. The sensations of pain, “ pleasure, wonder, and fear, drew forth involun

tary exclamations, similar perhaps to those of “ animals, and like the interjections · Ha!“Oh!' “ These expressions of man's feelings were the “ earliest form of language. Men heard the cries “ of animals and imitated them; man heard the “ rolling of the thunder, the howling of the wind, “ the roaring of the sea, and the gentle murmur“ings of rills and rivulets, and made similar sounds


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* by the organs of speech. Man further disco- B.C. “ vered a sympathy between the sensations of the

eye and those of the ear. What was dazzling “ in colour and sharp or shrill in sound produced “ on the organs of each a similar impression, and “ therefore they were expressed by a similar is sound. Thus was the formation of language

more or less affected by the surrounding objects “ and scenery, and the thoughts they awakened ; “ for man's thoughts were naturally in sympathy “ with the sensible impressions derived from the

objects with which man was in daily contact.”

We can know nothing of the language of our first parents. The most ancient language which is at present known is the Hebrew, as seen in the books of Moses; and this must differ widely from the language of Adam and Eve. Even the old German, as it was spoken and written only a thousand years ago, in our fatherland, we have considerable difficulty in understanding; and at least 3000 years must have elapsed between Moses and the first created beings. Besides, Moses did not live in the land of our first parents; for, as mankind multiplied, and one tribe pressed upon another, necessity compelled them to migrate to different parts of the earth. Therefore, as they became acquainted with different objects in different lands, making new discoveries and adopting new customs, we cannot be surprised that all these varieties, added to the innovations of time, caused languages to divide into such a number of branches, that they can with difficulty be traced to the parent stem.

B. C. 4000.

It is also very remarkable how all these countless languages, with all their countless words, are made up by the combinations of about twentyfour letters; and yet with what certainty, clearness, and euphony, do these words adapt themselves to thoughts, and with how powerful an instrument do they furnish the orator in moving the passions and feelings of his hearers.




B. C.

WHILE agriculture was yet in its infancy, it 4000. became the custom for families to congregate and

form towns and villages; and as the father of each family now regulates his household, so was it then found necessary to appoint some person to regulate the affairs of each society, and, undertaking the duties of father of a family, to direct and govern on a more extended scale. Without some such protector and judge, the humble and the weak found themselves at the mercy of the haughty and the strong; and if the community was attacked by wild beasts or some hostile tribe, neither order nor discipline could prevail. Naturally, therefore, the man who was marked for his energy and talent soon found his adherents, who, accustomed to obey him in war or emergency, carried on the same dependence on his guidance


and protection in more peaceful times. Such a s.c. character was Nimrod, the mighty hunter of Holy Scripture, who was the first to acquire power in the land of Assyria. The man distinguished for wisdom and justice at the board of counsel or the hall of judgment, soon had numbers who consulted him in their difficulties or disputes, till this referee was gradually raised by his talents to the position of commander, of judge, or of prince. This theory is confirmed by the example of Dejoces, King of the Medes. As to the forms of

government adopted in the most ancient kingdoms, it was doubtless elective, the king being chosen by the people, or by a council of their appointment; governments were not hereditary, descending from father to son, till a later period. These kingdoms were generally small, and of very limited resources. The first large kingdoms were those of Assyria and Egypt; and in Egypt we find the first regular code of laws upon record. Where the state was of large extent, the prince found assistance necessary, and made choice of the most experienced and prudent of his subjects to advise or to represent him: this is the class of subjects from which aristocracies arose. The form of government in which the legislative and the executive powers are vested in one individual as supreme, is called a despotic monarchy. That form in which the legislative power is shared among the landed proprietors, the noble, or the wealthy, without any recognised head or chief, is

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