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duction of a serpent, consecrated as an enblem, to public view,) seems to bear some relation to the history of the first temptation *, which introduced sin and death into the world.
The tutelar deity of particular districts was somtimes introduced in the same manner; thus a serpent is represented by Virgil to have appeared to Æneas f ; and the connection between serpents and sacred places frequently occur.
The account of Discord being cast out from heaven, referred to by Agamemnon, in the 19th book of Homer's Iliad, has been thought to be a corrupt tradition of the fall of the evil angels.
The first worship of Apollo was offered to him under the representation of a serpent; but Apollo was generally regarded as the deity who had killed the serpent, Python , which word was probably derived from the Hebrew word ina, which signifies a serpent.
* Clein. Alex. Cohort. ad Gentes, Op. vol. i. p. 11. Edit. Potter. Numb. xxi. 8, 9. Justin Martyr's Apol. i. p. 45. Edit. Thirlb. p. 11. Plutarch in agæ et Cleomen. p. 524. Epphan. Hæres. 80.
+ Clem. Alex. lib. v. I. 84. # See Gen, iii, 15.
Claudian shews an acquaintance with the circumstances of the seduction of man, and of an ejection from paradise *, and his description seems to have furnished subject of imitation to Milton.
It has been imagined that the Indians entertained some notions, founded on traditionary accounts, of Paradise : and the representations of the serpent under the female form, and styled the Mexican Evė, are said to be found in the symbolical paintings of Mexico -p.
The original perfection of man, the corruption of human nature resulting from the Fall, and the increasing depravity which proceeded with augmented violence from generation to generation, are to be found in various parts of prophane literature.
Euryalus, the Pythagorean, declared that man was made in the image of God...
Cicero (as well as Ovid) speaks of man as created erect, as if God excited him to look up to his former relation and ancient abode.
The loss of that resemblance was supposed to have resulted from the effects of disobe
* Præf. ad Ruffin.
dience, and was considered as so universal that it was generally admitted, as is expressed by Horace, that no man was born without vices *.
The conviction of a gradual deterioration from age to age-of a change from a golden period, by successive transitions, to an iron depravity-of a lapse from a state devoid of guilt and fear, to times filled with iniquity, was universally entertained.
Descriptions to this effect are to be found in the writings of almost all the poets t, and they are confirmed by the reports of philosophers and historians. Providence seems to have drawn evidence of the guilt of men from their own confessions, and to bave preserved their Testimonies for the conviction of subsequent times.
Catullus represents the unhallowed period when justice was put to fight, and brothers imbrued their hands in fraternal blood, while incest and sacrilege alienated the mind of God from man I; and Tacitus marks out
* Lib. i sat. iii. l. 68.
+ See Hesiod, Orpheus, Lucretius, Ovid, Juvenal, Ca. tullus, and others.
| De Epithal. Pel. et Thetid, line 395–405. Taylor Ductor Dubitan. Book ii, c. i. p. 173.
progress of depravity, from a period free from offence and punishment, to a flagitious and abandoned wickedness, devoid even of fear *
The material world was supposed to have a tendency to corruption, a supposition justified by experience, if not founded on some knowledge of the Divine curse to which it had been exposed t.
From a general view of these statements, with respect to the Heathen manners, there is but too abundant proof to demonstrate the corruption of human nature, and the insufficiency of human reason to devise a remedy. The law of nature, which was a transcript of divine wisdom, written on the tables of the heart was broken, and its characters defaced ; and the principles of truth, which had been originally revealed by God, however preserved in the writings of eminent men, were so mixed with error and falsehood, that they produced but little effect. Plato confessed the necessity of waiting for a divine instructor, who might direct men how to
* Annal. lib. üi.
conduct themselves towards God, and their fellow-creatures *
* The prophane, are scarcely less forcible than the sacred descriptions, tending equally to shew that the human heart was prone to all evil.
The bistory of mankind is too often a detail of crimes ; but the most striking circumstance in the character of the Heathen ages, and in the influence of their superstitions, is, that the principles of actions, approved by the philosopher, and consecrated by the the priest, were false and mischievous; that selfish passions were recommended as glorious, and vices regarded as virtues ; that religion itself was the source of evil ; temples were the scenes of licentiousness t, and deities the examples of vice.
If we confine ourselves to what is indisputably true, we find that the whole period from the flood till the appearance of Christ, exbibited strong proofs of the depravity of the human heart, and of the weakness of human reason, notwithstanding the light which was ocasionally diffused by communications from above; and every thing, there
+ Herodotus, Clio, &c.