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THE NINTH PLAGUE.
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.
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. 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
1 Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.Acts, ch. vii. ver. 22.
Ægyptus artium mater. Macrob. Sat. 1. 1. c. 15.
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 (Torns (απο της αιδις και παλαιας γενεσεως) the chief 3 deities, and the conservators of all things. only the conservators, but the Hence it is said, that they esteemed the sun as, mundi caput, the principal being in the uni
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 ανθρωπες, το παλαιον γενόμενες, αναβλέψαντας εις τον κόσμον, και την των ὅλων φυσιν καταπλαγέντας, και θαυμαζοντας, ὑπολαβείν είναι δυο θεείς αΐδιες τε και πρώτες, τον τε Ηλιον και την Σελήνην, ὧν τον μὲν Οσιριν, τον δε Ισιν ονομασαι. 1. 1. p. 11.
5 Solem mundi caput, rerumque satorem. 1. 1. p. 204.
Τέτες δε 13; θεὸς ὑφισανται τον συμπαντα κοσμον 1. 1. p. 11
verse, by whom all things were produced. Homer, who borrowed from Egypt, ascribed to the sun intellect, and universal perception. Μελιος, ὃς 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
¿ γεναρχης ἡμων Ηλιος. 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 Δέσποτα 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 Kugaidi, 1. S.
Heliod. 1. 10. p. 518.
The author stiles himself——ανες φοινιξ, Εμεσηνος, των αφ' Ηλια γενες.-Ηλιόδωρος. p. 519.
nection with the Ethiopians: their rites and institutes, and their manner of writing were in great measure the same. In consequence of which we find this luminary invoked by them, as the principal fountain of all human being. Ω δέσποτα Ηλιε, και θεοι παντές, δι την ζωην τοις ανθρωποις δοντες, προσδεξασθε 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 de-" ceased. 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 Σεραπιδος ἡ θέραπεια δια πυρος και ὕδατος γίνεται Even at this day, says 3 Porphy
1 Ταδε πλείςα των νομίμων τοις Αιγυπτιοις ὑπαρχειν Αιθιοπικά, της ζόμενης της παλαιας συνήθειας παρα τοις αποικισθεισι, κάτοχο τ. λ. Και πολλα τοιαυθ ̓ ἑτερα-------Αιθιόπων ὑπαρχειν. Diodorus Sic. 1. 3. p. 144. See also p. 145.
2 Porphyry de Abst. 1. 4. p. 379.
3 Ibid. p. 374.