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I am sensible, that some of these histories did not relate to chaotic and primeval darkness; but to an event much later, yet of high antiquity. Whatever the reference may have been, it is certain, that night was made a deity, and worshipped, The Egyptians were once possessed of the real truth, contained in these allusions; but their priests so veiled it, in types and allegories, to prevent its being profaned by the vulgar, that they lost sight
ibid. 1. 9. p. 763. Adgodirne Medavides iegov. Also at Ephesus a temple.
'It is said, that the usual sacrifice to this goddess was a cock. Huic ubi sacrificaretur, mos fuit, ut gallus immolare, tur; tanquam animal silentio adversarium, ut in libro secundo de Diis Theagenes. Natalis Comes, 1. 3. c. xii. p. 119.
* Proclus speaks in favour of these figurative and symbo lical references of the Egyptians; which were copied by Pythagoras and Timæus; and he gives this remarkable history of Plato, who disapproved of writing or speaking too plainly
-πgos ક τέτοις και αυτος Πλάτων εν άλλοις ητιασατο τες παντα εκ τα προχειρες λέγοντας ένα και τοις σκυτοτόμοις, φησί, καταδηλον αυτών ποιήσωσι την σοφίαν. In Timæum, 1. 1. p. 40. Besides the philosophers above mentioned, Plato too blamed those who disclosed their knowledge off-hand, or at once; because at this rate every cobler would get acquainted with their meaning. Strange! as if the more widely truth were diffused, the less would be its excellence; upon the same principles, if a man were a mendicant, Plato would abridge him of the light of the sun. This
of it themselves, and could never recover it. The whole nation, through mystery and refinement, were led into irretrievable error; and all partook of it who borrowed from them.
Night and shade are mere negatives. But we have seen, that the Egyptians introduced them as real, sensible, and substantial beings; and gave them a creative power. They were therefore very justly condemned to undergo a palpable and coercive darkness; such as prevented all intercourse for three days. In short, they suffered a preternatural deprivation of light, which their luminary Osiris could not remedy; and they were punished with that essential night, which they so foolishly had imagined, and at last found realized.
selfish pride, and these contracted notions were the cause of much doubt and ignorance, and of infinite error. How much more noble is the gospel principle, and that universal and beneficent ordinance-Go-and teach all nations.
It is said,neither rose any from his place for three days. Exod. x. 23. This seems to have been a phrase, by which was signified, to exert one's self, in order to set about any operation. Hence we read-Arise, go over Jordan.-Arise, and be doing.-Arise, O Lord, save me.--I will arise, and go to my Father.-Arise, and let us go up to Zion.-Many more instances to this purpose may be found.
Before we conclude this article, let us look back, and consider some of the leading features in the general character of this people. They abounded with emblematical deities, and were beyond measure attached to them and their learning, as well as their outward sanctity, made their religion very specious, and captivating, to those who were witnesses of their rites. I have mentioned the character given of them by Herodotus." θεοσεβεες περίσσως μάλιςα παντων ανθρωπων---that of all people upon earth they were the most extravagantly devoted to their gods and religion. They were likewise scrupulous observers of signs and omens.
The same writer says of them--
τερατα τε πλεω σφι ανευρηται, η τοισι αλλοισι ἅπασι ανθρωποισι. Γενομενο γαρ τέρατος φυλάσσεσι γραφομενοι τω ποβαινον, και ην κοτε ύσερον παραπλησίον τουτῳ γενηται, κατα τουτο νομισεσι απο Θησεσθαι. They have distinguished more portents and prodigies, than all people in the world collectively. And when any thing esteemed a prodigy
* Herod. 1. 2. c. 37. Ρ. 120.
2 Ibid. c. 82. p. 141.
happens, they observe and write down whatever ensues upon it. And if, in process of time, any similar appearance should occur; they imagine that the same consequences will follow. If such then was the disposition of this people, and they were out of a superstitious fear continually attending to portents and presages, and making false inferences, to the great abuse of their own reason, and the seduction of others: if this were the case, we then see a farther analogy and propriety in God's judgments. He, with great wisdom as well as justice, exhibited before their eyes some real prodigies, which could not be mistaken; and punished them in their own way for their credulity and superstition. It was not the occultation of a luminary; the glancing of a meteor in the atmosphere; much less an unusual birth; or the fantastic flight of a bird; which now demanded their attention. Their sacred river was universally polluted, and turned to blood. The very dust of their sanctified soil was rendered infectious, and produced nauseous boils and blains. Their serene air became overcast; and rain and hail, lightning and thunder, with fire mingled with rain, ensued: phænomena, grievous to behold, and fatal in their conse
quences, such as before were never known in Egypt. Lastly, the children of light, the offspring of the Sun, were condemned to a preternatural state of night. Their god, the luminary, rose at his stated times, and performed his function; yet could not dispel this painful, oppressive, and impenetrable darkness. All these, as well as the other judgments commemorated, were real prodigies: and, as I have repeatedly urged, they were all pointed and significant. Their force and purport would have been in great measure lost upon any other people; but they were particularly applicable to the Egyptians, as they bore a strict analogy with the superstitions and idolatry of that nation. There remains still one judgment, more terrible and affecting, than any which have preceded.