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shewed a reverence, as Sir John Marsham observes, not only to cats, and rats, and apes; but to grubs and beetles,---volucribus, reptilibus, aquatilibus, s. 9. p. 156. Among these were, as Lactantius tells us---culices et formicæ. Hence the children of Israel were injoined by the Mosaic law to hold every thing of this sort in abhorrence. Therefore, says the lawgiver, take ye good heed unto yourselves----lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female. Deut. c. iv. v. 15, 16. And he farther tells them, that this interdict did. not merely extend to the larger and nobler animals, such as the steer, and the cow; to the crocodile of the river, or the stork in the heavens but to the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth. v. 18. And in respect to their food they are told---every creeping thing, that creepeth upon the earth, shall be an abomination. v. 41. Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean---the soul, that hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water. Levit. c. xxii, v. 5, 6. But notwithstanding
these prohibitions the children of Israel forsook the law of the Lord: and the rites, which they adopted, consisted in this symbolical worship, introduced from Egypt. They had polluted the house of God by painting these vile hieroglyphics upon the walls of the inner court; the most sacred of all. Hence Ezekiel says, that when he was brought there in vision, he had a full sight of these abominations.--So I went in, and saw and behold, every form of creeping things and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. ch. viii. v. 10. In all these accounts we have the idolatry of the Egyptians alluded to: and their worship of flies and insects particularly pointed out.
If then such was the worship of this people; nothing could be more striking and determinate, than the judgment brought upon them. They were punished by the very things, which they revered: and though they boasted of spells and charms, yet they could not ward off the evil. They had, like the Grecians, gods, αλεξίκακοι, αποτρόπαιοι, απομενοι, who, they thought, could avert all mischief: and among these Isis Averrunca: but their power was ineffectual: and both the prince
and the people were obliged to acknowledge the inferiority of their own deities, by sueing through Moses to the God of Israel. Intreat for me, says Pharaoh. And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord. Exodus, c. viii. v. 30.
The reason, why the cstrum, or cunomyia, was thought sacred, arose probably from its being esteemed among many nations an instrument of vengeance in the hand of God. In the fable of Io this fly is sent to punish her; and to make her wander over the face
'It was expressed by the Romans both oestrus and oestrum. Estrum Græcum est, Latine asilus, vulgo tabanus voServius in Virg. Georg. l. 3. v. 148.
Naturalists in later times distinguished between the sgos, œstrum; and the vas, the same as the cunomyia. However the poets, and many other writers speak of one animal under both names. Ælian says, Τον μεν μυωπα όμοιον φυναι τη καλύμενη͵ κυνόμυια. 1. 4. c. 51. p. 227. And they make the myops the same as the œstrum. Muwy eidos revias Οιςρος καλεμενος. Hesych.—-Μυωψ
παρόμοιος τη κυνόμυτος.
-Schol. in Odyss. x. v. 299. In the Prometheus of Eschylus the myops and cestrum are throughout used as sy
See Bochart Hierozoic. v. 2. 1. iv. p. 547. 2 Hence she is made to say,
Μαςιγι ΘΕΙΗ. γην προ γης ελαυνομαι.
of the earth. And when Bellerophon was supposed to have rashly mounted the winged horse; and to have tried to pass to heaven, this fly was sent, which by rendering the horse unruly, brought him soon to the earth. The like calamity happened to " Ampelus, the favourite of Bacchus. He was by the same means thrown down to the ground from a sacred bull, and killed, through the jealousy of Selene. As it was supposed to be sent at the will of heaven, people metaphorically stiled any divine, and any extravagant impulse, an œstrum. Hence Orpheus, having been forced for a long time to be in a state of wandering, says that he was at last by means of his mother Calliope freed from that madness.
Και με αλητειηστε και εξ οιστρε εσάωσε Mnong nμetegn.-Orph. Argonaut. v. 101. The bite or puncture of this insect was terrible: hence people's fears increased their reverence, especially when it was esteemed a messenger of the gods.
* Τον Δια μηνίσαντα οιςρον εμβαλειν τῷ Πηγασῳ όθεν εκπέσειν τον BEλλgov. Schol. in Homerum, l. 6. v. 155. The story taken from Asclepiades, the tragedian.
Και οι πεμπε μυωπα βρυσσοoy-Nonni Dionys. I. xi. p. 199.
The Miracle of the Flies ascertained.
The land of Egypt being annually overflowed was on that account pestered with swarms of flies. They were so troublesome, that the people, as 'Herodotus assures us, were in many places forced to lie on the tops of their houses, which were flat: where they were obliged to cover themselves with a network, called by Juvenal Conopeum. This is described by the scholiast as-linum tenuissimis maculis nexum: a knitting together of line into very fine meshes, As the country abounded thus with these insects, the judgment which the people suffered might be thought to have been brought about by natural means. For both the soil and climate were adapted to the production of frogs, and flies, and other vermin: and they certainly did produce them in abundance. All this may be granted: and yet such is the texture of the holy scriptures, and these great events were by divine appointment so circumstanced, that the objection may be easily shewn to be idle and that none of these evils could
1 L. 2. c. 95. p. 146.
* Ut testudineo tibi, Lentule, Conopeo. Sat. 6. v. 80. So called from Kavan, a gnat, or fly.