Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Origin of he contends that frequent revelations were vouchsafed) was worshipped, or where he was sopposed to reside, is Magianism.
Polytheism. may have been no better than anthropomorphites in not so evident. Certain it is, that the worshippers held
their conceptions of the Divine Being.

him in destestation; and when they bad occasion to
Be this as it may, it is not conceivable but that the write his name, they always inverted it (udungF), to
members of those first colonies would quickly lose many denote the malignity of bis nature.
of the arts and much of the science which perhaps pre- The principles of the Magi, though widely distant
vailed in the parent state ; and that, fatigued with the from pure theism, were much less absurd than those of

contemplation of intellectual objects, they would relieve other idolaters. It does not appear that they ever 6 their overstrained .faculties, by attributing to the Deity worshipped their gods by the medium of graven imaFirst steps a place of abode, if not a human form. To men to- ges, or had any other emblems of them than light and in the pro- tally illiterate, the place fittest for the habitation of the darkness. Indeed we are told by Diogenes Laertius gress.

Deity would undoubtedly appear to be the sun, the and Clemens Alexandrinus, that they condemned all
most beautiful and glorious object of which they could statues and images, allowing fire and water to be the
form any idea ; an object, too, from which they could only proper emblems or representatives of their gods.
not but be sensible that they received the benefits of And we learn from Cicero *, that at their instigation * De lagi
light and heat, and which experience must soon have Xerxes was said to have burnt all the temples of Greece, bus, lib, ü.
taught them to be in a great measure the source of ve-

because the builders of those edifices impiously presu-S 10.
getation. The great spirit therefore inliabiting the med to inclose within walls the gods, to whom all things
sun, which they would consider as the power of light ought to be open and free, and whose proper temple is

and heat, was in all probability the first object of idola- the whole world. To these authorities we may add 7 trous adoration.

that of all the historians, who agree, that when magiThe spirit

From looking upon the sun as the habitation of their anism was the religion of the court, the Persian mo.
of light the god, they would soon proceed to consider it as bis yarchs made war upon images, and upou every emblem
first god of body. Of pure mind entirely separated from matter, of idolatry different from their own.

men in their circumstances could not long retain the The Magi, however, were but one sect, and not the
faintest notion ; but conscious each of power in him- largest sect of ancient idolaters. The worship of the
sell, and experiencing the effects of power in the sun, sun, as the source of light and beat, soon introduced
they would naturally conceive that luminary to be ani- into the calendar of divinities the other heavenly bodies,
mated as their bodies were animated. They would feel the moon, the planets, and the fixed stais. Men could
bis influence when above the horizon; they would see not but experience great benefit from those luminaries Salian
him moving from east to west ; they would consider in the absence of their chief god; and when they had polytheism.
him when set as gone to take his repose : and those ex- proceeded so far as to admit two divine principles, a
ertions and intermissions of power being analogous to good and an evil, it was natural for minds clouded with
what they experienced in themselves, they would look such prejudices to consider the moon and the stars as
upon the sun as a real animal. Thus would the Divi. benevolent intelligences, sent to oppose the power of
nity appear to their untutored minds to be a compound darkness whilst their first and greatest divinity was ab-
being like man, partly corporeal and partly spiritual ; sent or asleep. It was thus, as they imagined, that he
and as soon as they imbibed such notions, though per- maintained (for all beld that he did maintain) a con-
haps not before, they may be pronounced to have been stant superiority over the evil principle. Though to
absoluie idolaters.

astronomers the moon is known to be an opaque body
When men had once got into this train, their gods of very small dimensions when compared with a planet
would multiply upon them with wonderful rapidity. or a fixed star, to the vulgar eye she appears much
Darkness and cold they could not but perceive to be more magnificent than either. By those carly idola-
contrary to light and heat; and not having philosophy ters she was considered as the divinity second in rank

enough to distinguish between mere privations and posi- and in power; and whilst the sun was worshipped as 8 tive effects, they would consider darkness and cold as the king, she was adored as the queen, of heaven. The spirit entities equally real with light and heat; and attribute The earth, considered as the common mother of all or power of

these different and contrary effects to different and con- things; the ocean, whose waters are never at rest; the
the second. trary powers. Hence the spirit or power of darkness air, the region of storms and tempests, and indeed all

was in all probability the second god in the Pagan ca- the elements were gradually added to the number of
lendar ; and as they considered the power of light as a divinities ; not that mankind in this early age had so
benevolent principle, the source of all that is good, they far degenerated from the principles of their ancestors
must have looked upon the contrary power of darkness as to worship brute matter. If such worship was ever
as a malevolent spirit, the source of all that is evil. This practised, which to us is hardly conceivable, it was at
we know from authentic history to have been the belief a later period, when it was confined to the very lowest
of the Persian magi, a very ancient sect, who called their of the vulgar, in nations otherwise highly civilized.

good god Yardun, and also Ormuzd, and the evil god The polytheists, of whom we now treat, conceived Polytheism Ahraman. Considering light as the symbol, or perhaps every thing in motion to be animated, and animated of the Per

as the body, of Ormuzd, they always worshipped him by an intelligence powerful in proportion to the magsian magi.

before the fire, the source of light, and especially before nitude of the body moved.
the son, the source of the most perfect light : and for This sect of idolaters, which remains in some parts of
the same reason fires were kept continually burning on the east to this day, was known by the name of Sabi-
his altars. That they sometimes addressed prayers to ans, which they pretended to have derived from Sabius
the evil principle, we are informed by Plutarch in his a son of Seth ; and among the books in which their sa-
life of Themistocles; but with what particular rites he cred doctrines are contained, they have one which they

[ocr errors]

12 Passed into

Dioclo. cap. 158.

Saliism. call the book of Seth. We nced hardly observe, that habitants of Chaldea as at a very early period corrupted Sabii-a. these are senseless and extravagant fables.

The name

by luxury and sunk in vice. When this happened, we Sabian is undoubtedly derived from the Hebrew word must suppose that the moral Governor of the universe Tsuba, which signifies“ an host or army;" and this class would withdraw from them those occasional manifestaof polytheists was so called, because they worshipped tions of himself, and leade them to their own inventions.

" the host of heaven;" the Tsaba hesemìm, against In such circumstances, it was not unnatural for a people * Deut. ivo which Moses so pathetically cautions the people of Is- addicted to the study of astronomy, who had been 19. rael *

taught to believe that the Deity frequently appeared to Aro e in

The species of idolatry is thought to have first pre- their ancestors in a flame of fire, to consider the sun as
Chaldea vailed in Chaldea, and to have been that from which the place of his permanent residence, if not as his body.

Abraham separated bimself, when, at the command of But when either opinion was firmly established, poly-
the true God, he “ departed from his country, aud theism would be its inevitable consequence, and the pro-
from his kindred, and from his father's house." But gress of Sabiism would, in the most polished nation, be
as it nowhere appears that the Chaldeans had fallen into such as we have traced it among savage tribes.
the savaye state before they became polytheists and ido- From Chaldea the idolatrous worship of the host of
laters, and as it is certain ihat they were not savages at

heaven spread itself over all the east, passed into Egypt,
the call of Abraham, their early Sabiism may be thought and thence into Greece; for Plato affirms t, that “the + In Cratyl
inconsistent with the account which we have given of first inhabitants of Greece seemed to him to have wor-
the origin of that species of idolatry. If a great and shipped no other gods but the sun, moon, earth, stars,
civilized nation was led to worship the host of heaven, and beavens, as most barbarous nations (continues be)

Egypt, &c, why should that worship be supposed to bave arisen still do." "That Sabiism, or the worship of the host of among savages ? Theories, however plausible, cannot be heaven, was the first species of idolatry, besides the proadmitted in opposition to facts.

bability of the thing, and the many allusions to it in saTrue : but we beg leave to reply, that our account cred Scripture, we have the positive evidence of the of the origin of polytheism is opposed by no fact; be- most ancient pagan historians of whose writings any cause we have not supposed that the worship of the host part has been transmitted to us. Herodotus *, speaking

Lib. i. of heaven arose among savages only. That savages, he- of the religion of the Persians, says, that "they worship cap. 131. tween whom it is impossible to imagine any intercourse the sun, moon, and earth, fire, water, and the winds; to have bad place, have universally worshipped, as their and this adoration they have all along paid from the first and supreme divinities, the sun, moon, and stars, is beginning." He testifies the same thing of the savage a fact evinced by every historian and by every travel. Africans, of whom he affirms †, that they all worship. Lib. iv. ler; and we have shown how their rude and uncultivat- red the sun and moon, and no other divinity. ed state naturally leads them to that species of idolatry. rus Siculus, writing of the Egyptians I, tells us, that # Lib. i. But there may bave been circumstances peculiar to the “ the first men looking up to the world above them, and Chaldeans, which led them likewise to the worship of terrified and struck with admiration at the nature of the the heavenly host, even in a state of high civilization.- universe, supposed the sun and moon to be the principal We judge of the philosophy of the ancients by that of and eternal gods.And Sanchoniathon the Phoenician, ourselves, and imagine that the same refined system of a more ancient writer than any of these, informs us, metaphysics was cultivated by them as by the follow- in the fragment of his history preserved by Eusebius, ers of Descartes and Locke. But this is a great mistake; that “the two first mortals were Æon and Protogonus; for so gross were the notions of early antiquity, that it and their children were Genus and Genea, who inhamay be doubted whether there was a single man, unin- bited Phoenicia ; and when they were scorched with spired, who had any notion of mind as a being distinct the heat, they lifted up their hands to the sun, whom and entirely separated from matter (see METAPHYSICS, they believed to be the Lord of Heaven, and called Part III. chap. iv.). From several passages in the books him Baal-samen, the same whom the Greeks call of Moses, we learn, that when in the first ages of the Zsus." world the Supreme Being, condescended to manifest his Hitherto those divinities were worshipped in person, presence to men, he generally exhibited some sensible or, as Dr Prideaux expresses it, in their sacclla, or saemblem of his power and glory, and declared his will cred tabernacles; for the votaries of each directed their from the midst of a preternatural fire. It was thus that devotions towards the planet which they supposed to he appeared to the Jewish lawgiver himself, when he be animated by the particular intelligence whom they spoke to him from the midst of a bush; it was hy a pil- meant to adore. But these orbs, by their rising and Jar of cloud and fire that be led the Israelites from setting, being as much below the horizon as above it, Egypt to the Land of Promise ; and it was in the midst and their grossly ignorant worshippers not supposing it of smoke, and fire, and thunderings, that the law was possible that any intelligence, however divine, could

13 delivered from Mount Sinai.—That such manifestations exert its influence but in union with some body, statues and prodaof the Divine Presence would be occasionally made to or pillars were soon thought of as proper emblems of the ced statue the descendants of Noah who settled in Chaldea soon af- absent gods. Sanchoviathon, in the fragment already

worship. ter the deluge, must appear extremely probable to every quoted, informs is, that “ Hyspouranios and his brother one who admits the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures; Ousous, Phænician patriarchs, erected two pillars, the and he who questions that authority, has no right to one to fire and the other to air or wind, and worshipped make the objection to which we now reply ; because it those pillars, pouring out to them libations of the blood is only from the book of Genesis that we know the of the wild beasts bunted down in the chace." As Chaldeans to have been a civilized people when they fell these early monuments of idolatry were called Bellunos, into idolatry. All histories agree in representing the in- a word evidently derived from the Hebrew Bethel, the VOL. XVII, Part I.



[ocr errors]



Statue- probability is, that they were altars of loose stones, such which dæmons the Supreme God, the ruler over all, Dæmosa. worship. az that which was built by Jacob *, and from him re- hath comn.itted the government and administration of

ceived the same name. As his was consecrated to the this world, which is made up of gods, men, and ani. * Genesis, true God, theirs were consecrated to the host of hea- mals. ch. xxxv.

15 ven ; and the form of consecration seems to bave been Concerning the origin of these intermediate beings, Origin of nothing more than the anointing of the stone or pillar scholars and philosophers have framed various hypothe. dæmon. with oil (A), in the name of the divinity wňom it was ses. The belief of their existence may bave been de- worship. intended to represent. When this ceremony was per

rived from five difiereut sources. formed, the ignorant idolaters, who fancied that their 1. It seems to have been impossible for the limited gods could not hear them but when they were visible, capacities of those men, who could not form a notion of supposed that the intelligences by which the sun and a God divested of a body and a place, to conceive how planets were animated, took possession, in some inexpli- the influence and agency of such a being could every cable manner, of the consecrated pillars, and were as instant extend to every point of the universe. Hence, well pleased with the prayers and praises offered up be- as we have seen, they placed the heavenly regions unfore those pillars, as with the devotions which were ad- der the government of a multitude of heavenly gods, the

a dressed towards the luminaries themselves. Hence San- sun, the moon, and the stars. But as the nearest of those choniathon calls them animated or living stones, asbous divinities was at an immense distance from the earth, speab u gous, from the portion of the Divine Spirit which and as the intelligence animating the earth itself had was believed to reside in them; and as they were dedi- sufficient employment in regulating the general affairs cated to the host of heaven, they were generally erected of the whole globe, a notion insinuated itself into the on the tops of mountains ; or in countries which, like untutored mind, that these superior governors of univer.

Egypt, were low and level, they were elevated to a sal nature found it necessary, or at least expedient, to 14 great height by the labour of men.

employ subordinate intelligences or damons as ministers with the

It has been supposed, that this practice of raising the to execute their behests in the various parts of their idolatry of high places, pillars on high places proceeded from a desire to make widely extended dominions.

the objects of worship conspicuous and magnificent: but 2. Such an universal and uninterrupted course of ac-
we are strongly inclined to believe, that the erectors of tion, as was deemed necessary to administer the affairs
Briluause had something farther in view, and that they of the universe, would be judged altogether inconsistent
thought of nothing less than to bring the sacred stone or with that state of indolence, which, especially in the east,
pillar as near as possible to the god whom it represented. was held an indispensable ingredient in perfect felicity.
Whatever be in this, we know that the practice itself It was this notion, absurd as it is, wbich made Epicu-
prevailed universally through the east; and that there rus deny the providence, whilst he admitted the existence,
was nothing which the Jewish legislator more strictly of gods. And if it had such an effect upon a philoso-
enjoined his people to destroy, than the altars, statues, pher who in the most enlightened ages had many fol.
and pillars, erected for idolatrous worship upon moun- lowers, we need not surely wonder if it made untaught
tains and high places. “ Ye shall utterly destroy (says idolaters imagine that the governor or governors of the
he) all the places wherein the nations which ye shall universe bad devolved a great part of their trouble on
possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and deputies and ministers.
upon the hills, and under every green tree.

3. When men came to reflect on the infinite distance shall overthrow their altars, and break down their pile between themselves and the gods, they would naturally + Deut. xii. lars, and burn their groves with fire 1."

form a wish, that there might somewhere exist a class 23.

The mention of groves by the Hebrew lawgiver, of intermediate intelligences, whom they might employ brings to our recollection another species of idolatry, as mediators and intercessors with their far distant divia which was perhaps the second in order, as men devia- nities. But what men earnestly wish, they very readily ting from the principles of pure theism were more and believe. Hence the supposed distance of their gods, more entangled in the labyrinths of error. The Chal- would, among untutored barbarians, prove a fruitful deans, Egyptians, and all the eastern nations who be- source of intermediate intelligences, more pure and more lieved in a superintendiug providence, imagined that elevated than human souls. the government of this world, the care of particular na- 4. These three opinions may be denominated popu

4 tions, and even the superintendence of groves, rivers, lar; but that which we are now to state, wherever it and mountains, in each nation, was committed by the may have prevailed, was the offspring of philosophy.-gods to a class of spirits superior to the soul of man,


On this earth we perceive a scale of beings rising graduinferior to those heavenly intelligences which animated ally above each other in perfection, from mere brute the sun,

the moon, and the planets. These spirits were matter through the various species of fossils, vegetables, by the Greeks called dailoves, dæmons, and by the Ro- insects, fishes, birds, and beasts, up to man. But the

mans genii. Timæus the Locrian, who flourished before distance between man and God is infinite, and capable | De Anima Plato, speaking of the punishment of wicked men, sayst, of admitting numberless orders of intelligences, all supeMundi, in

all these things hath Nemesis decreed to be executed rior to the human soul, and each rising gradually above ter script, à :

in the second period, by the ministry of vindictive ter- the other till they reach that point, wherever it may restrial dæmons, who are overseers of human affairs; to be, at which creation stops. Part of this immense


And ye



T. Gale editos.


(A) Hence the proverb of a superstitious man, marice didor diragou a gorxuri, he kisses or adores every

anointed stone; which Arnobius calls lubricatam lapidem, et ex olivi unguine sordidatum.--Stillingfleet's Origines Sacra.


Demons. chasm the philosophers perceived to be actually filled by sometimes visible and sometimes invisible. When they Dæmons.

the heavenly bodies ; for in philosophical polytheism do appear, though faintly observable by ibe human eye,
there was one invisible God supreme over all these: but they strike the beholder with terror and astonishment.”
still there was left an immense vacuity between the hu- Diémons of this last order were supposed to have pas-
man species and the moon, wbich was known to be the sions and affections similar to those of men; and though

lowest of the beavenly host: and this they imagined all nature was full of them, they were believed to have
must certainly be occupied by invisible inhabitants of local attachments to mountains, rivers, and groves,
different orders and dispositions, which they called good where their appearances were most frequent. The rea-
and evil dæmons.

son of these attachments seems to be obvious. Poly-
s. There is

yet another source from which the uni- theism took its rise in countries scorched by a burnversal belief of good and evil dæmons may be derived, ing sun; and dæmons by their composition being neces- In groves with perhaps greater probability than from any or all sarily subject in some degree to the influence of heat and on the of these. If the Mosaic account of the creation of the and cold, it was natural to suppose that they, like men,

banks of

rivers. world, the peopling of the earth, and the dispersion of would delight in the shady grove and in the purling mankind, be admitted as true (and a more consistent ac- stream. Hence the earliest altars of paganism were gecount has not as yet been given or devised), some know- nerally built in the midst of groves, or on the banks of ledge of good and evil angels must necessarily have been rivers ; because it was believed that in such places were transmitted from father to son by the channel of oral assembled multitudes of those intelligences, whose office tradition. This tradition would be corrupted at the it was to regulate the affairs of men, and to carry the same time, and in the same manner, with others of prayers and oblations of the devout to the far distant regreater importance. When the true God was so far sidence of the celestial gods. Hence too are to be demistaken as to be considered, not as the sole governor rived the mountain and river gods, with the dryads and of the universe, but only as the self-extant power of bamadryads, tlie satyrs, nymphs, and fauns, which held light and good, the Devil would be elevated from the a place in the creed of ancient paganism, and make so rank of a rebellious created spirit to that of the inde- conspicuous a figure in the Greek and Roman poets. pendent power of darkness and evil; the angels of These different orders of intelligences, which, though light would be transformed into good dæmons, and worshipped as gods or demigods, were yet believed to those of darkness into dæmons that are evil. This ac- partake of human passions and appetites, led the way count of the origin of dæmonology receives no small to the deification of departed heroes and other eminent

17 support from Plato, who derives one branch of it whol- . benefactors of the human race. By the pbilosophers Deification

ly from tradition. “ With respect to those dæmons all souls were believed to be emanations from the divi- of departed Tinaus. (says he *) who inhabit the space between the earth and nity ; but “ gratitude + and admiration, the warmest heroes, the moon, to understand and declare their generation is and most active affections of our nature, concurred to

+ Ilarbura task too arduous for my slender abilities. In this case enlarge the object of religious worship, and to make man we must credit the report of men of other times, who, regard the inventors of arts and the founders of society according to their own account, were the descendants as having in them more than a common ray of the diof the gods, and had, by some means or other, gained vinity. So that god-like benefits, bespeaking as it were exact intelligence of that mystery from their ancestors. a god-like mind, the deceased parent of a people was eaWe must not question the veracity of the children of sily advanced into the rank of a dæmon. When the rethe gods, even though they should transgress the bounds ligious bias was in so good a train, natural affection of probability, and produce no evidence to support their would have its share in promoting this new mode of adoassertions. We must, I say, notwithstanding, give them ration. Piety to parents would naturally take the credit, because they profess to give a detail of facts with lead, as it was supported by gratitude and admiration, which they are intimately acquainted, and the laws of the primum mobile of the whole system : and in those our country oblige us to believe them.”

early ages, the natural father of the tribe often hapThough these dæmons were generally invisible, they pened to be the political father of the people, and the were not supposed to be pure disembodied spirits.- founder of the state. Fondness for the offspring would Proclus, in his Commentary upon Plato's Timus, tells next have its turn ; and a disconsolate father, at the

every dæmon superior to human souls con- head of a people, would contrive to soothe his grief for sisted of an intellectual mind and an ethereal vehicle." the untimely death of a favourite child, and to gratify Indeed it is very little probable, that those who gave a his pride under the want of succession, by paying divine body and a place to the Supreme God, should bave

honours to its memory:'

- For a father I afflicted with 1 Wisdom of thought that the inferior orders of his ministers were untimely mourning, when he had made an image of his Solomon,

spirits entirely separated from matter. Plato bimself di- child soon taken away, now honoured him as a god, xiv. 15. + Eperio- vides the class of dæmons into three orderst; and whilst who was then a dead man, and delivered to those that

be holds their souls to be particles or emanations from were under bim ceremonies and sacrifices.” That this
the divine essence, he affirms that the bodies of each or- was the origin and progress of the worship of departed
der of dæmons are composed of that particular element souls, we have the authority of the famous fragment of
in which they for the most part reside. “ Those of the Sanchoniathon already quoted, where tle various mo-
first and highest order are composed of pure ether; those tives for this species of idolatry are recounted in express
of the second order consist of grosser air ; and dæmons words. “ After many generations (says he) came Chry-
of the third or lowest rank have vehicles extracted from sor ; and he invented many things useful to civil life,
the element of water. Dæmons of the first and second for which, after his decease, he was worshipped as a
orders are invisible to mankind. The aquatic dæmons, god. Then Aourished Ouranos and his sister Ge, who
being invested with vehicles of grosser materials, are deified and offered sacrifices to their father Hypsistos,


ton's Div.



us, that “


[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]

Hero. when he had been torn in pieces by wild beasts. Af- ging the same train of sentiment, each city, and ever I to Worship. terwards Cronos consecrated Muth his son, and was bim- every family of consequence, found Lures and Penates Turis self consecrated by his subjects.”

among their departed ancestors, to whom they paid the Go In the reign of Cronos flourished a personage of great warmest adoration, and onder whose protection they reputation for wisdom, who by the Egyptians was calls believed their private affairs to be placed. As those ed Thoth, by the Phænicians Toautos, and by the national and household gods were believed to be in their Greeks Hermes. According to Plutarch, he was a deihed state clothed with airy bodies, so those bodies profound politician, and chief counsellor to Osiris, were supposed to retain the form which their grosser

then the king, and afterwards the principal divinity, of bodies had o pon earth. The image of a departed friend 18

Egypt: and we are told by Philo Byblius, the transla- miglit perhaps be formed by the hand of sorrowful af. a political tor of Sanchoniathon, “ that it was this Thoth or Her- fection, before the statue or the brine of a deity was in vention, mes who first took the matters of religious worship out tronght of; but when that friend or benefactor became which in- of the hands of unskilful men, and brought them into the object of religious adorations, it was natural for his troduced

due method and order.” His object was to make reli- votaries to enliven their devotion by a view of bis sigion serviceable to the interests of the state. With this militude. Maximus Tyrius tells us II, that "there is

De view he appointed Osiris and other departed princes to race of men, whether barbarian or Grecian, living on be joined with the stars and worshipped as gods; and the sca-coast or on the continent, wandering in deserts being by Cronos made king of Egypt, he was, after his or living in cities, which hath not consecrated some death, worshipped bimself as a god by the Exyptians. kind of symbol or other in honour of the gods.” This To this honour, if what is recorded of him be true, he is certainly toue; but there is no good evidence that had indeed a better title than most prinees; for he is the first symbols of the gods were statues of men and said to have been the inventor of letters, arithmetic, wonen. Whilst the san and other hearenly bodies congeometry, astronomy, and bieroglyphics, and was there. tinued to be the sole oljects of religious worship, the fore one of the greatest benefactors of the human race symbols consecrated to them were pillars of a conical or which any age or country has ever produced.

pyrumidal figure; and if such pillars are ever called That the gods of Greece and Rome were derived from gruven images by Moses and other ancient writers, it Egypt and Phænicia, is so universally known, that it is was probably on account of the allegoric figures and needless to multiply quotations in order to prove that characters, or hieroglyphic writing, with which they the progress of polytheism among the Greeks and Ro- were inscribed. mans was the same with that which we have traced in Hitherto we have considered the souls of departed more ancient nations. The following translation, how- heroes as bolding the rank only of dæmons or demigods ; ever, of the account given by Hesiod of the deification but they generally rose in the scale of dividities, till sepori of deparied beroes, with which we have been favoured they dethroned the heavenly bodies, and became them

grais by a learned and ingenious friend, is so just, and in our selves the dii majorum gentium. This revolution was ef-theopinion so beautiful, that we cannot deny ourselves the fected by the combined operation of the prince and the tar), pleasure of giving it to our readers.

priest; and the first step taken towards it seems to have

been the complimenting of their heroes and public be“ The gods who dwell on high Olympus' hill, wefactors with the name of that being which was most First fram'd a golden race of men, who liv’d esteemed and worshipped. “ Thus a king for his beUnder old Saturn's calm auspicious sway.

neficence was called the sun, and a queen for her beauLike gods they liv'd, their hearts devoid of care, ty the moon. Diodorus relates, that Son first reigned Beyond the reach of pain and piercing woes ; in Egypt, called so from the luminary of that name in Th’ infirmities of age nor felt, nor fear’d.

the heavens. This will help us to understand an odd Their nerves with youthful vigour strung, their days passage in the fragment of Sanchoniathon, where it is In jocund mirth they past, remote from ills. said that Cronus had seven sons by Rhea, the youngest of Now when this godlike race was lodg’d in earth, whom was a God as soon as born. The meaning proBy Jove's high will to demi-gods they rose, bably is, that this youngest son was called after some And airy dæmons, who benign on earth

luminary in the heavens to which they paid divine boConverse--the guides and guardians of mankind. nours; and these honours came in process of time to be In darkness veil'd, they range earth’s utmost bound, transferred to the terrestrial pamesake. The same bis

Dispensing wealth to mortals. This reward torian bad before told us, that the sons of Genos, mortals Egywe xat

From bounteous Jove awaits illustrious deeds [." like their father, were called by the names of the eleημερων,

ments-light, fire, and flame, of which they had discolib. 1. vers. The deification of departed heroes and statesmen was vered the use.

that which in all probability introduced the universal “ As this adulation advanced into an established wornational

belief of national and tutelar gods, as well as the practice ship, they turned the compliment the other way, and and tutelar of worshipping those gods through the medium of statues called the planet or laminary after the bero, the better gods. cit into a human figure. When the founder of a state to accustom the people, even in the act of Planel-wor.

or any other public benefactor was elevated to the rank ship, to this new adoration. Diodorus, in the passage ciziri,"
of a god, as he was believed still to retain buman pas- already quoted, having told us, that by the first inha-
sions and affections, it was extremely natural to supposebitants of Egypt the sun and moon were supposed to
that he would regard with a favourable eye that nation be the principal and eternal gods, adds, that the former
for which he had done so much upon earth; that he was called Osiris, and the latter Isis. This was in
would oppose its enemies, and protect the laws and in- deed the general practice ; for we learn from Macro-
stitutions which he himself bad given it. By indul- bius, that the Ammonites called the sun Aloloch; the


[ocr errors]

100, &c.




[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »