For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain to the craftsmen;…
The worship of or had from a very early period been connected with the city of . The first temple owed much of its magnificence to Croesus. This was burnt down in B.C. 335, by Herostratus, who was impelled by an insane desire thus to secure an immortality of renown. Under Alexander the Great it was rebuilt with more stateliness than ever, and was looked upon as one of the seven wonders of the world. Its porticoes were adorned with paintings and sculptures by the great masters of Greek art, Phidias and Polycletus, Calliphron and Apelles. It had an establishment of priests, attendants, and boys, which reminds us of the organisation of a great cathedral or abbey in mediaeval Europe. Provision was made for the education of the children employed in the temple services, and retiring pensions given to priests and priestesses. Large gifts and bequests were made for the maintenance of its fabric and ritual, and the city conferred its highest honours upon those who thus enrolled themselves among its illustrious benefactors. Pilgrims came from all parts of the world to worship or to gaze, and carried away with them memorials in silver and bronze, generally models of the sacellum, or sanctuary, in which the image of the goddess stood, and of the image itself. That image, however, was very unlike the sculptured beauty with which Greek and Roman art loved to represent the form of Artemis, and would seem to have been the survival of an older cultus of the powers of nature, like the Phrygian worship of , modified and renamed by the Greek settlers who took the place of the original inhabitants. A four-fold many-breasted female figure, ending, below the breasts, in a square column, with mysterious symbolic ornamentation, in which bees, and ears of corn, and flowers were strangely mingled, carved in wood, black with age, this was the centre of the adoration of that never-ceasing stream of worshippers. Its ugliness was, perhaps, the secret of its power. When art clothes idolatry with beauty, man feels at liberty to criticise the artist and his work, and the feeling of reverence becomes gradually weaker. The savage bows before his fetich with a blinder homage than that which Pericles gave to the Jupiter of Phidias. The first real blow to the worship which bad lasted for so many ages was given by the two years of St. Paul's work of which we read here. As by the strange irony of history, the next stroke aimed at its maghificence came from the hand of Nero, who robbed it, as he robbed the temples of Delphi, and Pergamus, and Athens, not sparing even villages, of many of its art treasures for the adornment of his Golden House at Rome (Tacit. Ann. 15:45). Trajan sent its richly-sculptured gates as an offering to a temple at Byzantium. As the Church of Christ advanced, its worship, of course, declined. Priests and priestesses ministered in deserted shrines. When the empire became Christian, the temple of Ephesus, in common with that at , supplied materials for the church, erected by , in honour of the Divine Wisdom, which is now the Mosque of St. Sophia. When the Goths devastated Asia Minor, in the reign of Gallienus ( A.D. 263), they plundered it with a reckless hand, and the work which they began was completed centuries later by the Turks. The whole city, bearing the name of Aioslouk — has fallen into such decay that the very site of the temple was till within the last few years a matter of dispute among archaeologists.
Parallel VersesKJV: For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;