« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
There is a marked instance in the magnificent galleries in the Vatican, painted by the great artist and his scholars, and hence called the galleries of Raphael. In one of these galleries the Pope has had two small doors inserted to conduct to some passes, simply ordinary neat doors, but over each is the inscription, “done in the Pontificate of Pius the Ninth.”
It is this restless vanity that keeps him in a perpetual fuss; calling a a council, quarrelling with governments, appointing a jubilee, or doing something to keep himself before the world: Poor old gentleman ! he is trying to get food out of husks.
The Vatican is the Pope's palace, adjoining St. Peter's, containing not only the apartments requisite for his residence, but several museums and a vast library. It is said to have 4422 chambers, and twenty courts. Its collection of sculpture is certainly unrivalled in the world. Its gallery of paintings I venture to think very inferior to that of Florence, and to several others that might be named. The present Pope has had one large chamber painted to commemorate the publication of the decree declaring the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
The largest side of the room has an immense picture of the Pope publishing the decree, and above him, quite life-size, is the Virgin, surrounded by a glory, and God the Father as an old man at one side, God the Son as a young man at the other, and the Holy Ghost as a dove above her head, thus making her the central object, and the three Divine persons supporting and surrounding her. Can idolatry go farther ?
I cannot regard these things without great sadness; and looking round at the gaudiness without and the emptiness within, exclaim with a heavy sigh, O Lord, how long shall these things be?
Rome is greatly overdone with churches. There are seven great ones, called basilicas, each splendid enough for the magnificent display even of Romish ceremonial ; with the most lavish ornamentation that beautiful marbles, gilding, sculpture, and painting can furnish.
Several stand in idle and forsaken splendour, with scarcely a person to be seen near them, and grass growing between the stones of the pavement around them. St. John Lateran's is an instance of this kind. The most marked example is, however, St. Paul's, without the walls. This immense new church has been erected by the present Pope, in a solitary place, on the site of a former small church, between two and three miles from Rome. Eighty gigantic polished columns sustain the roof. Decorations of every kind meet the eye in profuse abundance. Great medallion portraits of all the Popes—of course most of them imaginary—are all round the church like a cornice, or great belt just under the ceiling. Probably half a million of money has been spent there, received chiefly from the poor of Roman Catholic countries, and poured out to build this church, not to the glory of God or the use of mankind, but to useless pageantry and the glory of the Popes.,
There it stands in desolate splendour. There is no service. There are no people. The country around is withered and barren. The gorgeous toy will soon hasten to decay. A small omnibus, which will hold six people, runs a few times a day, to take curious travellers, at threepence a head, to wonder at the imbecility which luxuriates in empty splendour, but gazes unheeding on the sad results of ignorance, şuperstition, and poverty.
A sad contrast to the splendour of St. Peter's is the squalor of many parts of Rome, and even the immediate neighbourhood of the church itself. Dirty streets, dirty courts, miserable abodes, swarm almost within stone's-throw of St. Peter's.
But the worst neighbourhood of all is perhaps the Ghetto and its approaches, which for ages the Popes compelled the Jews to inhabit. You approach it by a narrow lane leading past the old Tarpeian rock, whence traitors were cast headlong and destroyed. So narrow, so unpleasant, and so tortuous is the way, that I was about to turn back, feeling uncertain, when I caught sight of the old fastenings of the gates, which closed the Jews up at an early hour in the evening, until it was thought proper to release them in the morning.
Every indignity and wrong which were calculated to make them hate Christianity were heaped upon them, and they were expected to be grateful and be converted. On approaching the iron stanchions of the gates, I saw, inside, the well-known old clothes-shops, and the peculiar physiognomy of the lower-class Jews. There was no mistaking where I was. But, oh! the dirt, the crowding, the degradation of that wretched quarter it was painful and piteous to behold.
One would have supposed that now- -I think since 1848-as the Jews could inhabit elsewhere in Rome, that the bulk would have quitted these confined and hideous streets, but they are crowded still. Ages of oppression seem to have ground the people down, and made them content amidst filth and degradation, and doubtless it will take many years to raise them to brightness, manliness, cleanliness, and comfort.
One of the pleasantest afternoons I enjoyed at Rome was on the Capitoline Hill, not very far from this region. It was the giving of prizes to the most deserving of the children of the schools under the municipality of Rome. The Senator, equal to our Lord Mayor, and his lady, and many leading members of the city council, and their
, ladies, occupied a large and ornamented tent in front of the Town Hall. All round the hill and its approaches banners were flying, and there were about six bands of music, which greatly enlivened the scene. About fifty schools, I was told, were represented, and the deserving scholars had a medal, with a suitable ribbon, fastened on the breast of each by one of the distinguished ladies I have mentioned. Crowds of people assembled to witness it, and the scene was a truly stirring one. I rejoiced over this more than anything else I had seen in Rome. There, I felt, are young souls which, when brightened by knowledge, will change the drivelling legends, contemptible relics, murky streets, and dirty abodes to which they have been accustomed for clear and noble views, spacious thoroughfares, and clean and comely dwellings.
One admirable feature in Rome is its fountains. They are really splendid. Soon after leaving the railway station you come to one representing Moses striking the rock, and the water gushes out in abundance. It is no mere spurt, but a stream two yards wide. Many of the others are still more striking. One has the form of a ship with water spouting out in all directions; another like a great rock with water flowing out of every part. On a warm day it gives a sense of cool delight to look at them. Then the two in the approach to St. Peter's, like the two in the Place de la Concorde at Paris, are things of beauty and of joy of which you never tire.
The baths of Old Rome cannot be too highly admired and commended ; the modern city has entirely fallen away in that respect. Those whose remains are visible at the present day are those which were attached to Imperial palaces, but the whole people used to bathe very freely. The ruins of the baths of Caracalla on the Appian Way are still stupendous. They are about 300 yards long, 100 wide, and a 100 feet high. The walls, which are of the usual narrow bricks of Roman manufacture, are as strong as castle walls. They were cased inside with marble. The space was divided for three baths—cold, tepid, and warm. Noble pillars and statues adorned each bath, of which you see the feet and many remains. The water was brought 18 miles, and you see the aqueduct by which it came.
This was a creation of power and luxury; but what one could do then, surely many might achieve now, and it would be a benefit of immense value if every young person in this country could wash all over at least once a week, and learn to swim. The advance in health and in safety would be unspeakably great, and if I might in any way add to the disposition to do this, it would amply repay me for a visit to Old Rome.
The catacombs of Rome have formed of late years an extremely interesting feature of the ancient city. In the second and third centuries, when the Christians were subjects of annoyance, and sometimes of persecution, they withdrew to underground passages formed in old sandpits and quarries, and there held their worship secure from insults, and there buried their dead. These passages are miles in length.
This condition of subterraneous habitation continued until the time of Constantine, when Christianity became the religion of the state, and when the necessity for hiding ceased.
After the sixth century, when Rome for ages became the scene of fierce struggles, often besieged and often taken, the catacombs got their entrances covered up, and were forgotten. In the sixteenth century they were re-discovered, and since then have been re-opened and explored from time to time. Thousands of epitaphs have been rescued, and are now fixed up in a gallery at the Vatican, in the Lateran Museum, and in other accessible positions ; very few remain now under ground.
The interest of these epitaphs is very great, since they indicate the kind of Christianity which prevailed in the second and third centuries. Having been covered up for more than a thousand years, they had been kept free from the corruptions which had been going on above ground.
We can touch this subject but briefly on account of the length of this article; but a few salient particulars will no doubt be felt to be important.
First,—The Lord Jesus Christ is the only representation of the Deity that occurs, and He is commonly exhibited as the Good Shepherd
Secondly,—There is no figure of a crucifix; showing that it was the Saviour glorified and triumphant rather than the Saviour suffering, that was the object of meditation and adoration to the early Christians.
Thirdly,—There is no representation of the Virgin anywhere, in marked contrast with the way in which she has been magnified in after centuries, and obtruded in Papal countries everywhere as a semiDeity.
Fourthly,—The memorial slabs usually have a dove with an olive leaf in its mouth upon them, and often two doves, indicating that Christianity was a religion to produce the dove-like spirit, and to lead to peace, both on earth and in heaven.
Fifthly,—There is no reference, so far as I know, to the resurrection of the body. Every expression on them indicates continued and exalted life, no coming up of the body.
We cannot close this paper without an expression of our admiration of the Divine Providence, which, right under the central seat of the Papacy, has preserved a record of purer ages and of better things; and thus in this instance, as in many others, enabled the New Dispensation to show that the Kingdom of God is like unto an householder that brought out of his treasures things new and old.
THE HISTORY OF A MOLECULE.
The scientific facts referred to in this note may be found stated more fully, and with beautiful clearness, in an address by Professor ClerkMaxwell, published in Nature, September 25, 1873.
A gallon of water may be divided into 70,000 drops, each weighing one grain. Each of these drops may be subdivided into parts of undetermined number and minuteness. Let us imagine that we have as last arrived at our final step in the subdivision, and that we have found the droplet that is the smallest possible quantity of water. This is a molecule of water.
Divide it once more, and it ceases to be water, it resolves itself into three atoms, two of hydrogen and one of oxygen, and if it be true that hydrogen and oxygen are really elementary, then these atoms are finally indivisible.
The atomic theory, then, of Democritus of Abdera (2200 years ago), asserts that all matter is composed of elementary indivisible bodies called atoms. All compounds are now said to be composed of molecules, which are indivisible except by resolution into their elementary atoms, either separate or otherwise compounded. One example of this has already been given ; as another, take a molecule of chalk. This is Ca, CO,, and on being divided resolves itself into a molecule of lime (Ca, O), and one of what is commonly called carbonic acid (CO). These molecules may again be resolved into two atoms of the metal calcium, two of oxygen, and one of carbon.
Lucretius maintained that atoms (the molecules of elementary substances) were in a state of everlasting unrest. This doctrine is now revived and extended to the molecules of compound bodies. Every molecule in a stationary block, say of granite, is continually in motion, though the motion of each is confined within less than microscopic limits. In liquids the molecular motion is not so limited; each molecule works its way throughout the whole mass. A lump of sugar at the bottom of a tumbler of water at rest, slowly dissolves, and then slowly, but surely, sweetens the whole liquid. This travelling of molecules (in this case, of sugar) throughout the whole of a fluid is called diffusion. Diffusion is very rapid in the case of gases and vapours, as is seen in the swiftness with which odours permeate the whole air of a room free from aërial currents. This
process of diffusion, which goes on in gases, liquids, and some solids, is a convincing proof of the motion of molecules.
The study of molecular motion has been diligently prosecuted by many most distinguished physicists, and is still commanding the attention of the ablest experimentalists.
The flying molecules beat against every object placed among them, hence the pressure of the air and other gases. From any vessel remove one-half the contained air, and the strokes of the molecules against the sides will be reduced in number to one-half, so the pressure upon the sides will be diminished in the same proportion. This is Boyle's law of gaseous pressure. By heating a body the velocity of its atomic motion is increased and its molecules traverse longer paths. Hence bodies when heated expand ; or, if confined, exert a greater pressure on the walls of the containing vessel. On this depends Charles's law, that solids expand when heated, liquids expand more, and gases expand most and uniformly, an equal expansion being produced in them by an equal increase of temperature. Were we to go