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perfect "; the second is the place where the gods refresh themselves; and in the third live the gods Seb, Shu and Tefnut.
After death the soul of the dead man was supposed to have many enemies to combat, just as the sun was supposed to spend the time between his setting and rising in fighting the powers of mist, darkness, and night. These he vanquished by the knowledge and use of certain words of power.” The deceased was also supposed to be condemned to perform field labours in the nether-world, but to avoid this, stone, wooden, or Egyptian porcelain figures
THE SOUL REVISITING THE BODY IN THE TOMB.
were placed in his tomb to do the work for him. After undergoing all these troubles and trials the soul went into the abode of beatified spirits, and there did everything wished by it, and remained in bliss until it rejoined its body in the tomb. During its wanderings it might make its transformations into a phoenix (bennu), a heron, a swallow, a snake, crocodile, etc.
In the Hall of Osiris the soul was supposed to affirm before the Forty-Two gods that it had not committed any of
the forty-two sins which are detailed in good papyri at full length as follows :1. O thou that stridest, coming forth from Heliopolis, I
have done no wrong. 2. O thou that embracest flame, coming forth from
Kher-āḥa, I have not committed theft. 3. O Fenţiu, who comest forth from Hermopolis, I have
committed no act of violence. 4. O Eater of Shadows, who comest forth from Qernet,
I have never slain men. 5. O Neha-þrå, who comest forth from Re-stau, I have
never filched from the measures of corn. 6. O ye double lions, who come forth from the sky, I
have committed no fault. 7. O Eyes of Flame, who come forth from Seaut, I
have never stolen the property of the gods. 8. O Neba (i.e., Fire), who comest forth in retreating, I
have never spoken falsehood. 9. O Seizer of Bones, who comest forth from Suten
ḥenen, I have never stolen food to eat. 10. O Breath of Flame, who comest forth from the Het
ka-Ptah (Memphis), I have spoken no evil. 11. O Qererti, who comest forth from the underworld, I have
committed no act of uncleanness. 12. () thou god whose face is turned behind thee, who
comest forth from thy shrine, I have never caused any
one to weep tears of sadness. 13. O Basti, who comest forth from the tomb (?), I have
never eaten my heart (i.c., lied).
From the Papyrus of Ani, Brit. Mus. No. 10,470, plates 31, 32. For a complete translation of the 125th Chapter of the Book of the Dead, of which this extract forms part, see my Papyrus of Ani, London, 1895, p. 344 ff. The forty-two negative declarations are commonly called the “ Negative Confession,"
14. O Legs of Flame, who come forth from the darkness
of night, I have never made an attack upon any man. 15. O Eater of Blood, who comest forth from the block of
sacrifice, I have never meditated upon iniquity. 16. O Eater of the intestines, who comest forth from the
Abode of the Thirty, I have never stolen tilled ground. 17. O Lord of Law, who comest forth from the Abode of
Law, I have never entered into a conspiracy. 18. O thou that stridest backwards, who comest forth from
Bubastis, I have never accused any man of crime. 19. O Serțiu, who comest forth from Heliopolis, I have
never been angry without cause. 20. O god of two-fold evil, who comest forth from the nome
Atchi,* I have never committed adultery. 21. O Vamemti, who comest forth from Khebt, I have
never committed adultery. 22. O thou that observest what hath been brought into the
Temple of Menu (Åmsu), I have never defiled myself. 23. Oye Chiefs, who come forth from the persea trees, I
have never caused terror. 24. O Khemi, who comest forth from ķu, I have never
transgressed. 25. O Reciter of words, who comest forth from Urit, I
have never spoken in hot anger. 26. O Babe, who comest forth from Uab,f I have never
made my ear (literally, face) deaf to the sound of
words of truth. 27.0 Kenememti, who comest forth from Kenemmet, I
have never uttered curses. 28. O thou that bringest thy offering, who comest forth 29. O thou that orderest words, who comest forth from
from Seut, I have never put out my hand in a quarrel.
* The ninth nome of Lower Egypt.
Unaset, I have never been an excitable and con
tentious person. 30. O Lord of (various] aspects, who comest forth from
Netchefet, I have never been precipitate in judgment. 31. O Sekheriu, who comest forth from Uten, I have
never stirred up conspiracy. 32. O Lord of the double horns, who comest forth from
Senti, I have never multiplied my words against those
of others. 33. () Nefer-Temu, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptaḥ
(Memphis), I have never meditated evil, and I have
never done evil. 34. O Temu in his seasons, who comest forth from Țattu, I
have never committed an act of wrong against
the king. 35. O thou that workest in thy heart, who comest forth
from Sahu, I have never turned running water out of
its course. 36. O Akhi, who comest forth from Nu, I have never been
arrogant in speech. 37. O thou who verdifiest mankind, who comest from Seu,
I have never blasphemed God. 38. O Neņebka, who comest forth from thy shrine, I have
never committed fraud. 39. O thou who art dowered with splendours, who comest
forth from thy shrine, I have never defrauded the
gods of their offerings. 40. O Ser-tep, who comest forth from [thy) shrine, I have
never robbed the dead. 41. O thou that bringest thy arm, who comest forth from
the place of double truth, I have never robbed the
child nor defiled the god of [my] town. 42. O Illuminator of the lands, who comest forth from 'Ta
she (Fayyûm), I have never slain the animals sacred to the gods.
It is thus tolerably evident that grand tombs were not built as mere objects of pride, but as "everlasting habitations” which would serve to preserve the body from decay, and keep it ready to be re-inhabited by the soul at the proper season. Greek authors have written much about the beliefs of the Egyptians; but the greater number of their statements are to be received with caution. They wrote down what they were told, but were frequently misinformed.
The papyri which have come down to us show that the moral conceptions of the Egyptians were of a very high order : and works like the Maxims of Ptah-ḥetep and the Maxims of Ani* show clearly that a man's duty to his god and to his fellow-man was laid down in a distinct manner. Such works will compare very favourably with the Proverbs of Solomon and the Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach.
The religious literature of the Egyptians includes a large number of works, of which the most important is the collection of chapters generally called the Book of the Dead ; in Egyptian its name is per em hru, “Coming forth by day." Selections from this work were written in the hieratic character upon coffins as early as the XIIth dynasty (B.C. 2500), and this practice was continued down to the second century of our era.
The walls of tombs were covered with extracts from it, and scribes and people of rank had buried with them large rolls of papyrus inscribed with its principal chapters, and ornamented with vignettes explanatory of the text which ran beneath. Some of the chapters in the work are of very great antiquity; and as far back as B.C. 3500 the text was so old that the scribes could not understand it all. Many parts of it are obscure, and some corrupt; but the discovery from time to time of ancient papyri with accurate readings tends to clear up many doubtful points, and to bring out the right meaning of certain parts of the work.
* See page 48.