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Ver. 21.


EXOD. Ch. x.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.

V. 22. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven: and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.

V. 23. They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

This judgment was very extraordinary; nor had any thing similar been ever experienced by this or any other nation. other nation. It was certainly directed with a particular view; and bore a strict analogy with the sentiments and idolatry of the people who suffered. They were a wise and learned nation; with minds much enlightened. Hence, to shew the great extent of Solomon's knowledge, it is said, that his wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of

the east country, and all the wisdom of1 Egypt. They had traditions transmitted of the principal events from the commencement of time; and had been acquainted with the history of creation and we may, from particular traces, perceive that they knew the mode in which it was carried on; and the hand by which it was effected. But they chose to express every thing by allegory: and these allegories were again described by cymbols, and hieroglyphical representations, to which they paid an idolatrous reverence. By these means the original object became obscure; and the reality was lost in the semblance. They looked upon light and upon fire, the purest of elements, to be proper types of the most pure God. And they regarded the sun, the great fountain of light, as a just emblem of his glory; and likewise of his salutary influence upon the world. This was specious, but of a dangerous tendency; as it drew away their attention from the proper object of worship: which became by degrees obscured, and was at last totally effaced. Both the name and

Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Acts, ch. vii. ver. 22.

Ægyptus artium mater. Macrob. Sat. 1. 1.


p. 130.

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idea of the true God was lost; and all adoration was paid to the sun, and to the earth, under the title of Osiris, Ammon, Orus, Isis, and the like. The sun, in consequence of it, was esteemed to be the soul of the world: and Diodorus Siculus mentions, that the ancient Egyptians supposed this luminary and the moon to rule all things by their influence; and that they were through all ages (To Tas αιδις και παλαιας γενέσεως) the chief 3 deities, and the conservators of all things. And not only the conservators, but the creators. Hence it is said, that they esteemed the sun as, mundi caput, the principal being in the uni


I The titles were various.


Te Serapim Nilus, Memphis veneratur Osirim.

Martianus Capella, Hymn. 2.

See Ausonius, Epigram. 30.

* The same notion prevailed in other parts. Sol mens mundi. Macrob. Sat. 1. 1. p. 69. and 204.

3 Solem et lunam deos esse. ibid. p. 210.

4 Τους δ' ουν κατ' Αίγυπτον ανθρωπος, το παλαιον γενομένες, αναβλέψαντας εις τον κοσμον, και την των όλων φυσιν καταπλαγέντας, και θαυμάζοντας, ὑπολαβεν είναι δυο θεός αίδιος τε και πρωτές, τον τε Ηλιον και την Σελήνην, ὧν τον μὲν Οσιριν, τον δε Ισιν ονομασαι. 1. 1. p. 11.

5 Solem mundi caput, rerumque satorem. Macrob. Sat. 1. 1. p. 204.

Τετες δε 735 9εως ὑφίσανται τον συμπαντα κόσμον 1. 1. p. 11

doza. Diodor.

verse, by whom all things were produced. Homer, who borrowed from Egypt, ascribed to the sun intellect, and universal perception. Ηελιος, ός παντ' εφορα, και παντ' επακέει,

Odyss. 1. 12. v. 108.

Of the Adoration paid to the Sun, and to Fire.

Not only the Egyptians, but the Ethiopians, Persians, Phenicians, Syrians, Rhodians, and other nations, esteemed themselves Heliadæ, or descendants of the Sun: and they worshipped him both as their sovereign and parent. Hence Persina, the queen of Ethiopia, is introduced by Heliodorus, as invoking the sun in the following manner. Επικεκλησθω μαζ


τις ὁ γενάρχης ἡμων Ήλιος. Let the Sun, the ¿ great author of our race, be invoked, as a witness upon this occasion. A like address is made by a person called Hydaspes to both luminaries at a sacrifice. Ω Δεσποτα Ηλιε, και Σεληνη deoTowa---Our Lord the Sun; and our Governess the Moon. The Egyptians had a great con



Ethop. 1. 4. p. 175. See Xenophon KugsTMαidua, 1. 8. p. 233.

Heliod. 1. 10. P. 518.

The author stiles himselfανες φοινιξ, Εμεσηνος, των αφ' Ηλια γενές. Ηλιόδωρος. Ρ. 519.


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nection with the Ethiopians: their rites and institutes, and their manner of writing were in great measure the same. In same. In consequence of which we find this luminary invoked by them, as the principal fountain of all human being. Ω δεσποτα Ηλιε, και θεοι παντες, δι την ζωην τοις ανθρωποις δοντες, προσδέξασθε με, και παράδοτε τοις αΐδιος θεοις συνοικον. They are the words, which it was usual for the priest to speak at a funeral in the person of one deceased. At the same time he held up towards heaven an ark, in which the remains of the deceased were deposited. “O, sovereign “Lord, the Sun, and all ye other deities, who "bestow life upon mankind; receive me, I "beseech you; and suffer me to be admitted "to the society of the immortals."

They worshipped also the elements, and particularly fire and water. Ετι και νυν εν τη ανοίξει το άγιο Σεραπίδος ἡ θεραπεια δια πυρος και ὕδατος γίνεται Even at this day, says 3 Porphy

1 Ταδε πλείςα των νομίμων τους Αιγυπτίοις ὑπαρχειν Αιθιοπικάς της ρόμενης της παλαιας συνηθείας παρα τοις αποικισθείσι, κατά του ο Το λιο Και πολλα τοιαυθ' ἑτερα-Αιθιοπων υπαρχειν. Diodorus Sic. 1. 3.

p. 144. See also p. 145.


* Porphyry de Abst. 1. 4. p. 379.


3 Ibid. p. 374.

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