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9. Finally, that so far from there being any evidence, that any of those fundamental truths of religion or morals which may occasionally appear in their writings were discovered by their unassisted reason, we can trace them to an earlier age, and can shew that they had the means of access to higher sources of information; whilst on the other hand it may be exhibited as a proof of the weakness of the human mind and the corruptness of the human heart, that they generally involved those great principles in doubt which they thus received; built upon them fanciful systems destructive of their moral efficacy; and mixed them with errors of the most deteriorating character. (8)

The last observation will be more fully illustrated in the ensuing Chapter.

(8) See Note C at the end of this Chapter.

Note A.-Page 26.

THE illustration of the particulars mentioned in the paragraph, from which reference is made to this note, may be given under different heads.

THE FORMATION OF THE WORLD FROM CHAOTIC MATTER.-Some remains of the sentiments of the ancient Chaldeans are preserved in the pages of Syncellus from Berosus and Alexander Polyhistor; and when the tradition is divested of its fabulous dress, we may trace in the account a primordial watery chaos, a separation of the darkness from light, and of earth from heaven, the production of man from the dust of the earth, and an infusion of Divine reason into the man so formed. -The cosmogony of the Phenicians as detailed by Sanchoniatho, makes the principle of the Universe a dark air, and a turbulent Chaos. The ancient Persians taught that God created the world, at six different times, in manifest allusion to the six days' work as described by Moses. In the Institutes of Menu, a Hindoo Tract, supposed by Sir William Jones to have been composed 1280 years before the Christian era, the Universe is represented as involved in darkness, when the sole self-existing power, himself undiscerned, made the world discernible. With a thought he first created the waters, which are called Nara, or the Spirit of God; and since they were his first ayana, or place of motion, he is thence named Narayana, or moving on the waters. The order of the creation in the ancient traditions of the Chinese is,-the heavens were first formed; the foundations of the earth were next laid; the atmosphere was then diffused round the habitable globe, and last of all man was created. The formation of the world from Chaos may be discovered in the traditions of our Gothic ancestors.-See the Edda, and Faber's Hora Mosaica, Vol. 1, page 3.


In the ancient Greek philosophy we trace the same tradition, and Plato clearly borrowed the materials of his account of the origin of things, either from Moses, or from traditions which had proceeded from the same source. Moses speaks of God in the plural form, " In the beginning Gods created the heaven and the earth," and Plato has a kind of Trinity in his To ayatov" the good," vous or "intellect," who was properly the demiurgus, or former of the world, and his Psyche or universal mundane soul, the cause of all the motion which is in the world. He also represents the first matter out of which the universe was formed as a rude Chaos. In the Greek and Latin poets we have frequent allusions to the same fact, and in some of them highly poetic descriptions of the chaotic state of the world, and its reduction to order. When America was discovered, traditions bearing a very remarkable resemblance to the History of Moses on various subjects, were found among the semi-civilized nations of that continent. Gomara states in his History, that the Peruvians believed, that, at the beginning of the world, there came from the north

a being named Con, who levelled mountains, and raised hills solely by the word of his mouth; that he filled the earth with men and women whom he had created, giving them fruits and bread, and all things necessary for their subsistence; but that, being offended with their transgressions, he deprived them of the blessings which they had originally enjoyed, and afflicted their lauds with sterility.

"The number of days employed in the work of creation," says Mr. Faber, "and the Divine rest on the seventh day, produced that peculiar measure of time, the week, which is purely arbitrary, and which does not spring, like a day, or a month, or a year, from the natural motions of the heavenly bodies. Hence the general adoption of the hebdomadal period is itself a proof how widely a knowledge of the true cosmogonical system was diffused among the posterity of Noah." Thus in almost every part of the globe, from Europe to the shores of India, and anciently among the Greeks, Romans, and Goths, as well as among the Jews, we find the week used as a familiar measure of time, and some traces of the Sabbath.

THE FALL OF MAN.-That the human race were once innocent and happy, is an opinion of high antiquity, and great extent among the Gentile nations. The passages to this effect in the classical poets are well known. It is asserted in the Edda, the record of the opinions of our Scythian forefathers. "There can be little doubt," says Maurice in his History of Hindostan, "but that by the Satya-age, or age of perfection, the Brachmins obscurely allude to the state of perfection and happiness enjoyed by man in Paradise. Then justice, truth, philan thropy were practised among all the orders and classes of mankind." That man is a fallen creature, is now the universal belief of this class of Pagans; and the degeneracy of the human soul, its native and hereditary degeneracy, runs through much of the Greek philosophy. The immediate occasion of the fall, the frailty of the woman, we find also alluded to equally in classical fable, in ancient Gothic traditions, and among various barbarous tribes. A curious passage to this effect occurs in Campbell's Travels among the Boschuana Hottentots.

THE SERPENT.-The agency of an evil and malignant spirit is found also in these widely extended ancient traditions. Little doubt can be entertained but that the generally received notion of good and evil demons grounded itself upon the Scripture account of good and evil angels. Serpent-worship was exceedingly general, especially in Egypt and the East, and this is not to be accounted for but as it originated from a superstitious fear of the malignant demon, who, under that animal form, brought death into the world, and obtained a destructive dominion over men. That in ancient sculptures and paintings, the serpent symbol is sometimes emblematical of wisdom, eternity, and other moral ideas, may be allowed; but it often appears connected with representations which prove that under this form the evil principle was worshipped, and that human sacrifices were offered to gratify the cruelty of him who was a "murderer from the beginning." In the model of the tomb of Psammis, made by Mr. Belzoni, and recently exhibited in London, and in the plates which accompany his work on Egypt, are seen various representations of monstrous serpents with the tribute of human heads which had been offered to them. This is still more strikingly exemplified in a copy of part of the interior of an Egyptian tomb, at Biban al Melook in Richardson's Travels in Egypt. Before an enormous serpent three men are represented on their knees, with their heads just struck off by the executioner, “while the serpent erects his crest to a level with their throats,ready to drink the stream of life as it gurgles from their veius." This was probably the serpent Typhon of the ancient Egyptians; the same as the Python of the Greeks; and, as observed by Mr. Faber," the notion, that the Python was oracular, may have sprung from a recollection of the vocal responses, which the tempter gave to Eve under the borrowed figure of that reptile." By consulting Moore's Hindu Pantheon, it will be seen that the serpent Caliya is represented as the decided enemy of the mediatorial God, Krishna, whom he persecutes, and on whom he inflicts various sufferings, though he is at length vanquished. Krishna pressed within the folds of the serpent, and then triumphing over him and bruising his head beneath his feet, is the subject of a very ancient Hindoo bas relief, and carries with it its own interpretation.

In the Edda, Fab. 16, “the great serpent is said to be an emanation from Loke the evil principle; and Hela, or Hell or Death, in a poetical vein of allegory not unworthy of our own Milton, is celebrated as the daughter of that personage, and as the sister of the dragon. Indignant at the pertinacious rebellion of the evil principle, the universal Father despatched certain of the Gods to bring those children to him. When they were come he threw the serpent down to the bottom of the ocean. But there the monster grew so large, that he wound himself round the whole globe of the earth. Death meanwhile was precipitated into hell, where she possesses vast apartments, strongly built, and fenced with grates of iron. Her hall is Grief; her table, Famine; Hunger, her knife; Delay, her servant: Faintness, her porch; Sickness and Pain, her bed; and her tent, Cursing and Howling."

THE FLOOD OF NOAH.-Josephus, in his first book against Apion, states, that Berosus the Chaldean historian relates, in a similar manner to Moses, the history of the flood, and the preservation of Noah in an ark or chest. In Abydemis's History of Assyria, in passages quoted by Eusebius, mention is made of an ancient prince of the name of Sisithrus, who was forewarned by Saturn of a deluge. In this account, the ship, the sending forth and returning of the birds, the abating of the waters, and the resting of the ship on a mountain, are all mentioned. (Euseb. Præp. Evang. lib. 9, c.12.-Grotius on the Christian Religion, lib. 1. sec. 16.) Lucian, iu his book concerning the Goddess of Syria, mentions the Syrian traditions as to this event. Here Noah is called Deucalion, and that he was the person intended under this name is rendered indubitable by the mention of the wickedness of the antediluvians, the piety of Deucalion, the ark, and the bringing into it of the beasts of the earth by pairs. The ancient Persian traditions, as Dr. Hyde has shewn, though mixed with fable, have a substantial agreement with the Mosaic account. In Hindostan, the ancient poem of Bhagavot treats of a flood which destroyed all mankind, except a pious prince with seven of his attendants and their wives. The Chinese writers in like manner make mention of a universal flood. In the legends of the ancient Egyptians, Goths and Druids, striking references are made to the same event; (Edda, Fab. 4; Davies' Mythology of the British Druids, p. 226.) and it was found represented in the historical paintings of the Mexicans, and among the American Nations. The natives of Otaheite believed that the world was torn in pieces formerly by the anger of their gods; the inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands have a tradition that the Etooa who created the world, afterwards destroyed it by an inundation; and recollections of the same event are preserved among the New-Zealanders, as the author had the opportunity of ascertaining lately in a conversation with two of their Chiefs, through an interpreter. For large illustrations of this point, see Bryant's Heathen Mythology, and Faber's Hora Mosaicæ.

SACRIFICE.-The great principle of the three dispensations of religion in the scriptures, the Patriarchal, the Mosaic and the Christian,-that without shedding of blood there is no remission, has fixed itself in every pagan religion of ancient and modern times. For though the followers of Budhu are forbidden to offer sanguinary sacrifices to him, they offer them to demons in order to avert various evils; and their presentation of flowers and fruits to Budhu himself shews, that one part of the original rite of sacrifice has been retained, though the other, through a philosophic refinement, is given up. Sacrifices are however offered in China, where the most ancient form of Budhuism generally prevails; a presumption that the Budhism of Ceylon and some parts of India, is a refinement upon a more ancient sys"That the practice of devoting piacular victims has, at one period or another, prevailed in every quarter of the globe, and that it has been alike adopted by the most barbarous and by the most civilized nations, can scarcely be said to need regular and formal proof."


EXPECTATION OF à Deliverer.-Amidst the miseries of succeeding ages, the ancient pagan world was always looking forward to the appearance of a great Deliverer and Restorer, and this expectation was so general that it is impossible to account for it but from "the promises made unto the fathers," beginning with the promise of conquest to the seed of the woman over the power of the serpent. It is a singular fact and still worthy of remark, though so often stated, that, a little before our Lord's advent, an expectation of the speedy appearance of this delivere

was general among the nations of antiquity. "The fact," says Bishop Horseley, "is so notorious to all who have any knowledge of antiquity, that if any one would deny it, I would decline all dispute with such an adversary as too ignorant to receive conviction, or too disingenuous to acknowledge what he must secretly admit." It is another singular fact, that Virgil in his Pollio, by an application of the Sybilline verses, which are almost literally in the high and glowing straius in which Isaiah prophesies of Christ, to a child of his friend, one of the Roman Consuls, whose birth was just expected, and that out of an extravagant flattery, should call the attention of the world to those singular and mysterious books, so shortly before the birth of him who alone could fulfil the prophecies they contain. For a further account of the Sybilline verses, the reader is referred to Prideaux's Connection, to Bishop Lowth's Dissertations, and to Bishop Horseley's Dissertation on the Prophecies of the Messiah dispersed among the Heathen. It is enough here to say, that it is an historical fact that the Sybilline books existed among the Romans from an early period ;—that these oracles of the Cumæan Sybil were held in such veneration, that the Book which contained them was deposited in a stone chest in the temple of Jupiter in the Capitol, and committed to the care of two persons appointed to that office expressly;-that about a century before our Saviour's birth, the book was destroyed in the fire which consumed the temple in which it was deposited; that the Roman Senate knew that similar oracles existed among other nations, for, to repair that loss, they sent persons to make a new collection of these oracles in different parts of Asia, in the islands of the Archipelago, in Africa and in Sicily, who returned with about a thousand verses, which were deposited in the place of the originals, and kept with the same care ;-and that the predic. tions which Virgil weaves into his fourth Eclogue, of the appearance of a king whose monarchy was to be universal and who was to bestow upon mankind the blessings he describes, were contained in them. It follows therefore, that such predictions existed anciently among the Romans; that they were found in many other parts of Europe and Asia and Africa; and that they had so marvellous an agreement with the predictions of the Jewish prophets, that either they were in part copies from them, or predictions of an inspiration equally sacred-the fragments of very ancient prophecy interwoven probably with the fables of later times. "If," as Bishop Horseley justly observes, "any illiterate person were to hear Virgil's poem read, with the omission of a few allusions to the heathen mythology, which would not affect the general sense of it, he would without hesitation pronounce it to be a prophecy of the Messiah." It might seem indeed that the poet had only in many passages translated Isaiah, did be not expressly attribute the predictions he has introduced into his poem to the Cumaan Sybil; which he would not have done if such passages had not been found in the oracles, because they were then in existence, and their contents were known to many. The subsequent forgeries of these oracles in the first ages of the Church, also, prove at least this, that the true Sybilline verses contained prophetic passages capable of a strong application to the true universal Deliverer, which those pious frauds aimed at making more particular and more convincing. Those who do not read Latin may consult "the Messiah" of Pope with the principal passages from Virgil in the notes, translated and collated with prophecies from Isaiah, which will put them in possession of the substance of this singular and most interesting production.

Nor is it only on the above points that we perceive the ancient traditions and opinions preserved in their grand outline among different heathen nations, but also in the scriptural doctrine of the destruction of the present system of material nature. The Pythagoreans, Platonists, Epicureans, Stoics, all had notions of a general conflagration. After the doctrine of the Stoics, Ovid thus speaks, Metam. lib. 1.

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Seneca, speaking of the same event, ad Murciam c. ult., says, Tempus adveniret quo sidera sideribus incurrent,&c. The time will come when the whole world will be consumed, that it may be again renewed, when the powers of nature will be turned against herself, when stars will rush on stars, and the whole material world, which now appears so resplendent with beauty and harmony, will be destroyed in one general conflagration. In this grand catastrophe of nature, all animated beings, (excepting the universal intelligence,) men, heroes, demons and gods shall perish together."

The same tradition presents itself in different forms in all the leading systems of modern paganism.

Note B.-Page 31.

OF THE Controversy as to Zoroaster, Zeratusht,or Zertushta,and the sacred books said to have been written by him called Zend or Zendavesta, which has divided critics so eminent, it would answer no important end to give an abstract. Those who wish for information on the subject are referred to HYDE'S Religio Veterum Persarum; PRIDEAUX'S Connection; WARBURTON'S Divine Legation; BRYANT'S Mythology; The Universal History; Sir W. JONES'S Works, Vol. III. p.115; M. du PERRON, and RICHARDSON's Dissertation prefixed to his Persian and Arabic Dictionary. But whatever may become of the authority of the whole or part of the Zendavesta, and with whatever fables the History of the Reformer of the Magian religion may be mixed, the learned are generally agreed that such a reformation took place by his instrumentality. "Zeratusht," says Sir W. Jones, "reformed the old religion by the addition of genii or angels, of new ceremonies in the veneration shown to fire, of a new work which he pretended to have received from Heaven, and, above all, by establishing the actual adoration of the Supreme Being;" and he further adds, "The reformed religion of Persia continued in force till that country was conquered by the Musselmans; and without studying the Zend, we have ample information concerning it in the modern Persian writings of several who profess it. Bahman always named Zeratusht with reverence; he was in truth a pure Theist, and strongly disclaimed any adoration of the fire or other elements, and he denied that the doctrine of two co-eval principles, supremely good and supremely bad, formed any part of his faith." "The Zeratusht of Persia or the Zoroaster of the Greeks," says Richardson, "was highly celebrated by the most discerning people of ancient times; and his tenets, we are told, were most eagerly and rapidly embraced by the highest in rank, and the wisest men in the Persian empire." Dissertation prefixed to his Persian Dictionary.—He distinguished himself by denying that good and evil, represented by light and darkness, were co-eval, independent principles, and asserted the supremacy of the true God, in exact conformity with the doctrine contained in a part of that celebrated prophecy of Isaiah in which CYRUS is mentioned by name. "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me," no co-eval power. "I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, or good, and create evil, I the Lord do all these things." Fire, by Zerdushta appears to have been used emblematically only, and the ceremonies for preserving and transmitting it, introduced by him, were manifestly taken from the Jews, and the sacred fire of their tabernacle and temple.

The old religion of the Persians, was corrupted by Sabianism or the worship of the host of heaven, with its accompanying superstition. The Magian doctrine, whatever it might be at first, had degenerated, and two eternal principles, good and evil, had been introduced. It was therefore necessarily idolatrous also, and, like all other false systems, flattering to the vicious habits of the people. So great an improvement in the moral character and influence of the religion of a whole nation as was effected by Zoroaster, a change which is not certainly paralelled in the history of the religion of mankind, can scarcely therefore be thought possible, except we suppose a Divine interposition either directly, or by the occurrence of some very impressive events. Now as there are so many authorities for fixing the time of Zoroaster, or Zeratusht not many years subsequent to the death of the great Cyrus, the events to which we have referred in the Text are those, and indeed the only ones,

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