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no companionship with a man who injures his neighbour.”
“Take not that which belongs to another."
“Be not envious, avaricious, proud, or vain. Envy and jealousy are the work of Evil Spirits. Haughty thoughts and thirst of gold are sins."
“ To refuse hospitality, and not to succour the poor, are sins."
“Obstinacy in maintaining a lie is a sin. Be very scrupulous to observe the truth in all things.”
“Abstain from thy neighbour's wife. Fornication and immodest looks are sins. Avoid licentiousness, because it is one of the readiest means to give Evil Spirits power over body and soul. Strive, therefore, to keep pure in body and mind, and thus prevent the entrance of Evil Spirits, who are always trying to gain possession of man. To think evil is a sin."
"Contend constantly against evil, morally and physically, internally and externally. Strive in every way to diminish the power of Arimanes and destroy his works. If a man has done this, he may fearlessly meet death ; well assured that radiant Izeds will lead him across the luminous bridge, into a paradise of eternal happiness. But though he has been brave in battle, killed wild beasts, and fought with all manner of external evils, if he has neglected to combat evil within himself, he has reason to fear that Arimanes and his Deys will seize him, and carry him to Duzakh, (hell,) where he will be punished according to his sins; not to satisfy the vengeance of Ormuzd, but because having connected himself with evil, this is the only means of becoming purified therefrom, so as to be capable of enjoying happiness at a future period.”
“Every man who is pure in thoughts, words, and actions, will go to the celestial regions. Every man who is evil in thoughts, words, or actions, will go to the place of the wicked."
“ All good thoughts, words, or actions, are the productions of the celestial world."
There is a work called The Sadder, written for popular use, by a Magus, much later than Zoroaster. As usual with all religions as they grow older, there is a departure from primitive simplicity. This book contains few moral precepts, and directions for innumerable ceremonies, accompanied with unconditional obedience to priests. It declares: “Though your good works exceed in number the leaves, the drops of rain, the stars in the sky, or the sands on the sea-shore, they will be unprofitable to you, unless they are accepted by the priests. To obtain the acceptation of these guides to salvation, you must faithfully pay them tithes of all you possess; of your goods, of your lands, and of your money. If the priests be satisfied, your soul will escape hell-tortures; you will secure praise in this world, and bappiness in the next. For the teachers of religion know all things, and can deliver all men." This book represents Arimanes as being annihilated, instead of restored.
A large portion of the Zend-Avesta is filled with pray. ers, of which the following are samples: “I address my prayer to Ormuzd, Creator of all things; who always has been, who is, and who will be forever; who is wise and powerful ; who made the great arch of heaven, the sun, moon, stars, winds, clouds, water, earth, fire, trees, animals, metals, and men; whom Zoroaster adored. Zoroaster, who brought to the world knowledge of the law; who knew by natural intelligence, and by the ear, what ought to be done, all that has been, all that is, and all that will be ; the science of sciences, the excellent Word, by which souls pass the luminous and radiant bridge, separate themselves from the evil regions, and go to light and holy dwellings, full of fragrance. O Creator, I obey thy laws. I think, act, speak, according to thy orders. I separate myself from all sin. I do good works according to my power
. I adore thee with purity of thought, word, and action. I pray to Ormuzd, who recompenses good works, who delivers unto the end all those who obey his laws. Grant that I may arrive at Paradise, where all is fragrance, light, and happiDess."
“O Ormuzd, pardon the repentant sinner. As I, when a man irritates me by his thoughts, words, or actions, carried away, or not carried away, by his passions, if he humbles himself before me, and addresses to me his prayer, I become his friend."
“ Grant, O Ormuzd, that my good works may exceed my sins. Give me a part in all good actions and all holy words.”
pray to Mithras, who has a thousand ears and ten thousand eyes; who never sleeps, who is always watchful and attentive, who renders barren lands fertile."
“Thou Fire, son of Ormuzd, brilliant and beneficent, given by Ormuzd, be favourable to me.”
"I pray to the New Moon, holy, pure, and great. I pray to the Full Moon, holy, pure, and great. I gaze at the Moon which is on high, I honour the light of the Moon. The Moon is a blessed Spirit created by Ormuzd, to bestow light and glory on the earth.”
“I invoke the Source of Waters, holy, pure, and great, coming from the throne of Ormuzd, from the high mountain, holy, pure, and great."
“I invoke the sweet Earth. I invoke the Mountains, abode of happiness, given by Ormuzd, holy, pure, and great."
The Word spoken by Ormuzd, through whose agency creation was produced, was called Honover, and invoked as the Great Primal Spirit.
In all their prayers and religious ceremonies, it was customary to turn towards the sun. When they invoked the stars, the elements, or any visible objects, they affirmed that their worship was not directed to them, but to the Spirits residing in them, whom they were bound to revere as the benevolent creations of Ormuzd. In his name all their prayers and ceremonies began and ended. Of all places on earth, mountains were considered most holy. Rivers were sacred, and they never allowed them to be polluted by blood, or anything unclean. The Euphrates, which annually overflows and fertilizes the country, they regarded with especial reverence, and paid homage to it, as Egyptians did to the Nile. All good men, useful ani. mals, salutary plants, and luminous objects, belonged to Ormuzd. All wicked, ferocious, poisonous things, and all dark places, belonged to Arimanes. They expressed their detestation of this Evil One in all manner of ways. When they had occasion to write his name, they always wrote it backward, and turned the letters upside down. They considered a dragon the representative of him. They sometimes sacrificed to him and his Spirits, in order to pacify their rage, avert dangers, or procure injury to enemies ; but it was not lawful to eat the meat of animals thus sacrificed. When Xerxes prayed that it might be put into the minds of nations at enmity with Persia to drive away their best and bravest men, as the Athenians had exiled Themistocles, he addressed the prayer to Arimanes, not to Ormuzd. For oblations to Evil Spirits, they pounded plants that grew in deeply-shaded places, mixed them with the blood of a wolf, and threw it into some dark hole where the sun never shone.
Persian priests were called Magi. At first they were few in number, but afterward became numerous and powerful. The Archimagus, or High Priest, was revered as the visible head of the church, and the lawful successor of Zoroaster. He resided at Balch, which was regarded as a holy city. They said the identical fire from heaven, brought by Zoroaster himself from the flaming mountain, where he received the sacred Book of Laws, was there preserved in the temple. Grand solemnities and religious festivals were celebrated there, and it was deemed an indispensable duty for every man to make a pilgrimage thither at least once in his life. Each district had a superintending priest, who ranked next to the High Priest. A third class performed the common offices of worship in towns and villages. A large tract of the most fertile land was appropriated to the Magi; and citizens were required to give a tenth of their income for their support, and the expenses attending religious ceremonies. Kings could not
enter upon the duties of their royal office till they had been enrolled among the Magi, and instructed in their mysteries. They had sole charge of the public records, and the education of youth. No other persons were allowed to explain the Sacred Books, or perform religious ceremonies. A class of them were Prophets. When they prophesied, they said the air was full of visions, which infused themselves subtly into their eyes. It was believed they could predict weather, and foretell future events from the aspect of the stars; that, by certain ceremonies and holy words, they could cast Evil Spirits out of the diseased; and recite spells that would impart supernatural virtue to stones, plants, and scraps of writing. In the later times, kings sometimes caused them to be put to death for misinterpreting dreams and uttering false prophecies.
The Magi were required to be of good moral character, in sound health, and free from any personal deformity. Hindoo and Egyptian priests considered it necessary, in order to preserve their sanctity, never to come in contact with blood, except that of animals slain for sacrifice; but Persian priests were not considered polluted by killing anything, except a human being, or a dog. In primitive times they were very simple in their habits. They dressed in plain white robes
, and wore no ornaments. They slept on the ground, and lived on bread, cheese, fruit, and vegetables. Afterward, when people brought animals to be sacrificed to the gods, the priests were accustomed to feast upon the flesh; it being their doctrine that the soul of the animal was the part most appropriate to deities. It was unlawful to touch the sacrifice, or approach the altar, till they had poured upon it consecrated liquors, and repeated prescribed words.
They worshipped Fire with peculiar reverence, because they thought it represented, though imperfectly, the original fire from Ormuzd, the vital principle of life and motion; also, because it was the most purifying of all things. They never allowed dead bodies to be burned; that being considered a pollution of the sacred element. A fire was kept