FEW scenes of greater desolation are presented amidst the ruins of this vast structure, than within the dromos, where one only now remains erect of that stupendous avenue of isolated columns, which formerly continued through the great cloistered court of the Temple of Karnak between the first and the second propylon; the former, terminated the avenue of sphinxes, and the latter, led from the dromos into the great Hall of Columns: these propylæ, if we may judge from their ruins, were the most gigantic and magnificent ever erected.

    Eleven of the central columns are now fallen, broken, and disjointed; yet the parts of each lie generally in such connexion as to enable the observer to mark how they once stood, and in his imagination, replace them where they must have contributed so much to the grandeur and beauty of this the most mighty Temple ever raised by man. Unless the single column had remained standing, it would have been difficult to conceive the extent of the destruction of this once glorious approach, and understand the purport of their structure; they were isolated, and bore on their summits the figures or the emblems of Amunre, the great Egyptian deity to whom the Temple of Karnak was dedicated. Beyond the column is seen the ruins of the second propylon, and within, the central avenue of the great Hall of Columns.

    How striking must have been the processions of the Pharaoh with the priests and the privileged through these courts and halls! how impressive the solemnities of the music and the rites! how splendid the dresses, the banners, the emblems, used in such processions, and the Temple itself! The imagination is overwhelmed, not merely by its vastness, but by its sculptured and painted enrichments, adding all that the arts of beauty could do to honour the god therein worshipped.

    But this mighty Temple, which time and man have not yet been able utterly to destroy, is permitted to exist in this state of ruin, to mark the punishment of those whose idolatrous perversions of religion brought destruction upon what would, from its immensity and prodigious strength, seem to have been built for all ages: what is it now? Cities have existed of far more recent foundation, without one stone being left upon another to mark their site; but those of Egypt, and especially Thebes – the Noph and No of Scripture – were doomed by the maledictions of the prophets, and the proofs before us exist of their awful verification. The predictions uttered by Divine inspiration have been justified by Divine power. Here, where man so impiously worshipped the foul idol he had made, the crawling reptile now shelters in, and the hyena finds a den.

    Thus fearfully have the prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel been fulfilled here. “Let them know what the Lord of hosts hath purposed on Egypt: the princes of Noph have seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof. Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, and the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia; and the country shall be desolate of that whereof it was full. I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. Thus saith the Lord God, I will destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt.”

    Whether it will ever be permitted that a pure faith and worship shall exist in later days in the land which has been thus cursed for more than twenty centuries, is yet in the womb of time, and in the inscrutable ordonnances of the Almighty.