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pláce Nebuchadnezzar could see the whole of that magnificent city, its walls with their hundred gates, its great idol temple, its beautiful gardens, and all its noble buildings, which had risen up under his hand; for though Babylon had been a great city before, it is supposed that it owed the greater part of its splendour to the improvements which Nebuchadnezzar had made in it. I will give you a short account of this glorious city before we go on any farther, that you may better understand many things which you will by-and-by find said of it in the Bible and other books. And what will you think of this wonderful place, when I tell you, first of all, that it was fifteen miles across each way, being built in the form of an exact square, and that it then covered a space of ground more than ten times as much as London occupies, which is one of the greatest cities, you know, which now exists in the whole world.
Notwithstanding, however, its great extent, Babylon had walls around about its four sides, and these walls were of most prodigious size, being eightyseven feet thick, and three hundred and fifty high ;
will understand me better, perhaps, if I tell you that they were one hundred and sixteen yards in height, and twenty-nine in breadth or thickness. Of the breadth you may at once form some idea, when I tell you that there was room upon the walls for six chariots to go one beside another, which, some of our widest streets you know, would not admit of. In these walls, on each of the four sides of the city, were twenty-five gates,
that is, one hundred in all, made of bright and solid brass.
E. How beautiful they must have looked, mother?
M: Beautiful, indeed, Edward ; and between every two of these gates were three towers ten feet higher than the walls ; besides four more at each corner of the city, as far as there were any need of them. The streets of Babylon were beautifully regular, the houses high and richly adorned, and built about fine large spaces of ground, which gave plenty of room for ornamenting them with fields and gardens. Through the middle of the city ran a branch of the river Euphrates, with a magnificent bridge across ; at each end of which there was a royal palace of great extent: near one of these palaces stood the idol temple of Belus, in the middle of which was a tower of amazing height, supposed to be that same tower which was built by Nimrod, and was called the tower of Babel. The other palace on the other side of the river, which was built by Nebuchadnezzar himself, was remarkable for its size and magnificence, and is still more talked of by old writers for its hanging gardens.
É. Do you mean gardens full of trees, with beautiful hanging boughs ?
M. No, my son ; by hanging gardens are here meant gardens which Nebuchadnezzar had raised up in the air to please his queen, who was a Median princess, and fond of hills and woods; so that when she was brought to Babylon, she was disappointed
at finding that it was built on a very flat and marshy plain.
E. But how did Nebuchadnezzar manage to hang his gardens in the air ?
M. The work, my son, served only for a vain show, but it was a very wonderful one, and cost a vast deal of skill and labour. For the gardens were carried up high in the air like so many terraces, rising one above another, until the highest was as high as the walls of the city. These terraces were supported underneath by arches built upon other arches one above another ; the earth being carried
and laid upon a flooring, which was placed over the arches ; yet the soil was so deep that even large forest trees grew in it, besides those other trees, plants, and flowers, which are more common in gardens,
E. Oh! mother, what a curious sight it must have been; I think I quite understand, now, how they were made to hang in the air, But I
suppose they were not very large ?
M. Although they were thus raised aloft in the air, they were by no means small in extent, for the measure round the sides is said not to have been much less than a mile.
Such, my son, was Babylon in the days of its prosperity ; and although my account of it can give you but a very imperfect idea of its real glory and beauty, yet you will now be better able to understand the expressions used about it in Scripture. For in the books of the prophets you will find this wonderful city spoken of as the “ Great Babylon,
the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency,” “ the golden city,” “ the lady of kingdoms,” “ abundant in treasures," the praise of the whole earth.” It is also spoken of as a mountain, because of the amazing height of its walls and towers, its palaces and temples, and hanging gardens, which, at a distance, had almost the appearance of mountains. And now, if you can draw away your thoughts for a time from this extraordinary place,
back to the history of Nebuchadnezzar, who was gazing, you know, upon the vast and beautiful works of which we have been speaking, when those proud words fell from his lips of which I was telling you. “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty."
You see he was so intoxicated with his own glory, as to forget entirely that he was but a human and a dying creature, to whom God had given all this great honour and power, and might, and magnificence, that he might use it for his glory and fulfil his purposes. He began to fancy that it was all his own doing, and that there was none greater than himself in all the earth beneath; no, nor yet even in heaven above. But while these presumptuous words were yet in his mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken; thy kingdom is departed from thee; and they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Such were the dreadful words which struck the ears of the astonished king, and scarcely had the voice ceased when the awsul sentence it had pronounced upon him was fulfilled. No time was now to be given to him for repentance. That very same hour was the thing which God had spoken brought to pass ; Nebuchadnezzar was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws : his reason too, of which he had made so bad a use, was taken away from him, and for the time that his punishment lasted, he was brought down to a level with the beasts that perish.
E. Oh! mother, this is a shocking story. How long did he remain in that dreadful state?
M. Seven long years, Edward, passed over him in that wretched condition; and at the end of that time it pleased God, who saw that his heart was completely humbled, to restore his understanding to
and the first use he made of his returning reason, was to show that his punishment had not been in vain. For he immediately lifted up his eyes to heaven and praised the Most High God, and praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever and ever, whose dominion is not one that can be taken away from him, but is an everlasting dominion, and whose kingdom, unlike that of earthly princes, is from generation to generation. Of this Nebuchadnezzar was now deeply convinced, and he acknowledged it with a humbled heart, and felt