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and the dread of such a fate greatly increased the fear and reverence which the populace entertained toward priests and priestesses. In all cases where the life of a man was concerned, they supposed the deities could be appeased only by the life of a man. Thus, if one man had shed the blood of another, his own must be shed. If a man was in danger from desperate illness, or about to incur uncommon perils, they supposed the danger was incurred by sins, and that they might be atoned for by the sacrifice of another man. In sueh cases they made vows to the gods to sacrifice a human rietim, if their own lives were spared ; and such vows they were religiously bound to perform. Sometimes, to atone for national sins, or avert national calamities, they sacrificed whole hecatombs of human beings, as the Hindoos used to sacrifice a thousand horses at once, and the Greeks a hundred oxen. On such occasions, they made a huge image of basket-work, in the shape of a man, and filled it with men, women, and children. Then they surrounded it with combustibles, and they all perished in the flames. These vietims were generally captives and criminals, who were sometimes reserved for several years, till an occasion occurred to offer them all together. The cruelty of this custom was softened to their own minds by a belief that vietims offered to the gods were purified from all mortal stain by the process, and raised to an equality with superior natures.

It was the universal faith that all events happened according to unalterable laws of destiny, known only to the gods, and revealed by them to certain favoured mortals. They fully believed that criminals could be detected by subjecting suspected persons to ordeals, such as walking on red-hot metals, or plunging the arm into boiling oil. If they were guiltless, people believed that Good Spirits would interfere for their protection, and they would escape unharmed. Earthquakes, tempests, and other convulsions of nature, were supposed to be occasioned by the death of some great man.

Their morality was rather of an external character, but extremely strict in its laws. Bravery was the crowning virtue in men, and chastity in women. A high proud sense of personal honour was the restraining principle in both. Licentiousness was much detested, and of rare occurrence. Heroes, who died fighting for their country, were perfectly certain of passing at once into a paradise of eternal joy, whatever might be their character in other respects. This belief inspired men with wild and furious courage, and a reckless contempt of death. They gave strong proof of faith in a future existence; for they frequently loaned money on a solemn promise that it should be repaid to them in another world. It was likewise common to put letters in the hands of the dead, with the fullest belief that they would deliver them to departed souls, according to direction. If people killed themselves, from a wish to accompany deceased friends, it was supposed that their souls would dwell together.


Druids had the Persian feeling concerning statues. They never represented the gods by images. Their religious ceremonies were periormed in consecrated caverns and groves of the forest. They supposed such dark and solemn places were the favourite resort of powerful spirits, from whom oracular communications could be obtained by the performance of appropriate rites. Military standards were kept in the hallowed recesses of these sacred caverns. When the Druids delivered them to warriors going to battle, they pronounced terrible imprecations on the heads of their enemies, devoting them all as victims to Tuisco, god of war. The consecrated groves were approached with religious awe. Men would have been terrified with fears of vengeance from offended deities, if they had cut down one of the trees, even by mistake. They hung them with garlands and trophies, and the remains of victims that had been offered. On altars among the trees were placed oblations of fruit, grain, and flowers; and through thickly interwoven boughs rose the smoke of burnt-offerings; of men and animals sacrificed to propitiate the gods.

Celtic nations adopted some of the Roman deities, after they became a portion of that empire; but they worshipped them according to their ancient fashion, in caverns, or groves, or on huge altars of stone reared in the open plain. Many vestiges of these old Druidical monuments remain in France and England. On the island of Anglesea are the ruins of a temple, that enclosed twenty-two acres; and a single one of the stones, when broken in pieces, made twenty cart-loads. The famous ruins at Stonehenge, in England, are supposed to have been an ancient Temple of the Sun. The masses of stone are so immense, that the neighbouring peasantry to this day believe they must have been brought together by agency of the devil. In some places, rocks of prodigious size are poised on small ones, in such a manner that they can be easily put in motion, though the strength of a giant could not destroy their balance. There were but few temples erected for this worship, and some of them are said to have resembled those of Hindostan. Another proof of the Asiatic origin of these tribes is found in the fact that the ancient language of Germany, called Teutonic, bears a very strong resemblance to Sanscrit.

In the century preceding the Christian era, Roman emperors abolished human sacrifices among these people, and deprived the Druids of power, on account of their dangerous political influence.



JEHOVAH! shapeless Power above all powers,
Single and one, the omnipresent God,
By vocal utterance, or blaze of light,
Or cloud of darkness, localized in heaven;
On earth enshrined within the wandering Ark;
Or out of Zion thundering from his throne
Between the Cherubim.


The history of the Jews commences with Abraham, their most celebrated patriarch, the tenth generation from Noah. It is supposed he was born in Chaldea, about two thousand years before Christ. He was doubtless educated in the planetary worship of the Chaldeans, and accustomed to adore the images by which they represented the Spirits of sun and stars. Joshua, addressing the tribes of Israel, long after Abraham's day, says: “Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood [the river Euphrates) in old time; even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor; and they served other gods." The Greek historian, Suidas, asserts that Terah was a statuary, and made images of the gods for sale. Among the traditions of Jewish Rabbis, it is recorded that Terah, having occasion to take a journey, left his business in the care of Abraham. A man, who came in, apparently to purchase, asked Abraham how old he was. He replied: "I am fifty." "Yet you worship an image made but yesterday !" rejoined the stranger. These bold words made a deep impression upon Abraham. Some time after, a woman brought flour as an offering to the gods; but Abraham, instead of presenting the oblation, placed a hatchet in the hands of the largest image, and broke all the others in pieces. When his father returned and asked the meaning of this destruction, he re plied that the gods had quarrelled which should have an oblation of flour, and the strongest one had destroyed the others. “You are bantering," said Terah ; " for images have not sense to do that.” “Say you so ?" rejoined Abraham; "then how absurd it is to worship them!"

The same traditions declare that Abraham was persecuted by the Chaldean government, on account of his infidelity concerning the popular gods; that he was condemned to pass through fire, but escaped from the ordeal unharmed Terah afterward removed to Haran, in Mesopotamia, accompanied by children and grandchildren. Abraham was then seventy years old. According to Josephus, historian of the Jews, “ he was a person of great sagacity, both for understanding all things, and persuading his hearers; and not mistaken in his opinions. For which reason he began to have higher notions of virtue than others had, and be determined to renew and to change the opinion all men had concerning God. He was the first who ventured to publish the idea that there was but One God, the Creator of the universe; that as to other gods, if they contributed anything to the happiness of men, they each afforded it ae cording to His appointment, and not by their own power. His opinio'r was derived from the irregular phenomena visible both at land and sea, as well as those that happen to the sun, moon, and all the heavenly bodies. If, said he, these bodies have power of their own, they would certainly take care of their own regular motions; but since they do not preserve such regularity, they make it plain that, so far as they co-operate to our advantage, they do it not of their own abilities, but as they are subservient to Him, who commands them, to whom alone we ought to offer honour and thanksgiving. For which doctrine, when the Chaldeans, and other people of Mesopotamia, raised a tumul against him, he thought fit to leave that country, and at the command, and by the assistance of God, he came and lived in the land of Canaan.” Nahor, his brother, remained with

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