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TO

THE FOURTH EDITION.

DESIROUS of preserving his Work as nearly as possible in its original form and order the Author has, in this new Edition, made additions and alterations in but a few places. Where this has been done it was either for the purpose of correction or improvement. It is his determination that the Work shall remain as it is. At a future period he hopes to present a work of similar magnitude to the Public, which, though it will in part be a continuation of Eastern Literature applied to the Illustration of the Sacred Scriptures, will embrace other subjects besides those of Customs and Manners. He has already made such progress in it as to induce him to hope it will not be very long delayed.

LONDON, March 24, 1812.

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It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. THE following traditions of the promised Messiah are

remarkable for their coincidence with the tirst promise, and must have had an higher origin than unassisted human invention. In the Gothic mythology, Thor is represented as the first born of the supreme God, and is styled in the Edda, the eldest of sons; he was esteemed a “middle divinity, a mediator between God and man.” With regard to his

actions, he is said to have wrestled with death, and, in the struggle, to have been brought uponi one knee; to have bruised the head of the great serpent with his mace; and in his final engagement with that monster to have beat him to the earth, and slain him. This victory, however, is not obtained but at the expence of his own life: “Recoiling back nine steps, he falls dead upon the spot, suffocated with the floods of venom, which the serpent vomits forth upon him.” (EDDAS Fab. 11, 25, 27, 32.) Much the same notion, we are informed, is prevalent in the mythology of the Hindoos. Two sculptured figures are yet extant in one of their oldest pagodas, the former of which represents

VOL. I.

deity

Hist. of

Chreeshna, an incarnation of their mediatorial God Vishnu, trampling on the crushed head of the serpent; while in the latter it is seen encircling the

RICE Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 290.) It is said that Zerâdusht, or Zoroaster, predicted in the Zendayestâ, that in the latter days would appear a man called Oshanderbeghâ, who was destined to bless the earth by the introduction of justice and religion; that, in his time, would likewise appear a malignant demon, who would oppose his plans, and trouble his empire, for the space of twenty years; that afterwards, Osiderbeghâ would revive the practice of justice, put an end to injuries, and re-establish such customs as are immutable in their nature; that kings should be obedient to him, and advance his affairs; that the

at the cause of true religion should flourish; that peace and tranquillity should prevail, and discord

and trouble cease. (HYDE, de Relig. vet. Pers. c. 31.) According to Abulpharagius, the Persian legislator wrote of the advent of the Messiah in terms even more express than those contained in the foregoing predic« Zeradusht,” says he,

says he, the preceptor of the magi, taught the Persians concerning the manifestation of Christ, and ordered them to bring gifts to him, in token of their reverence and submission. He declared, that in the latter days a pure virgin would conceive, and that as soon as the child was born, a star would appear, blazing even at noon

tuita uminished lustre. You, my, sons, exclaims the venera

ble seer,“ will pereeive its rising, before any other A nation. As soon, therefore, as you shall behold the star, follow it whithersoever it shall lead you, and adore that 20 mysterious child, offering your gifts to him with the profoundest humility

. He is the almighty word, which created the heavens." (Cited by HYDE, de Relig. vet. Pers. c. 31).

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No.2.-iv. 4. Apel brought of thefirstlings of his flock] The universality of sacrificial rites will naturally produce an enquiry into the source, from which such a cus. tom so inexplicable upon any principles of mere natų. tal reason, could have been derived. And here we are involuntarily led to the first institution of this ordinance, which is so particularly recorded in scripture. When it pleased God to reveal his gracious purpose of redeeming lost mankind by the blood of the Messiah, it would doubtless be highly expedient to institute some - visible.sigy, some external representation, by which the mysterious sacrifice of Mount Calvary might be prophetically exhibited to all the posterity of Adam. With this view, a pure and immaculate victim, the firstling of the flock, was carefully selected : and, after its blood had been shed, was solemnly appointed to blaze upon the altar of Jehovah. When the first typical sacrifice was offered up, fire miraculously descended from hea„ven, and consumed it; and when this primitive, ordinance was renewed under the levitical priesthood, two circumstances are particularly worthy of observationthat the victim should be a firstling--and that the oblation shauld be made by the instrumentality of fire, It is remarkable that both these primitive customs have been faithfully preserved in the heathen world; The Canaanites caused their first born to pass through the fire, with a yiew of appeasing the anger of their false deities; and one of the kings of Moab is said to have offered up his eldest son as a burnt offering, when in danger from the superior prowess of the Edomites. 2 Kings,, iii. 27. Nor was the belief, that the gods were rendered propitious, hy this particular mode of sacrifice, confined to the nations, which were more immediately contiguous to the territories of Israel. We learn from Homer, that a whole hecatomb of firstling lambs was no uncommon offering among his countrymen. (Iliad. iv. ver: 202.) And the ancient Goths, having “ laid it down as a principle, that the effusion of the blood of animals appeased the anger of the gods, and that their justice turned aside upon the victims those strokes which were destined for men,” (MALLETT's North. Antiq. vol. i. chap. 7.) soon proceeded to greater lengths, and' adopted the horrid practice of devoting human victims. In honour of the mystical number three, a number deemed particularly dear to Heaven, every ninth month witnessed the groans and dying struggles of nine unfor"tunate victims. The fatal blow being struck, the lifeless bodies were consumed in the sacred fire, which was kept perpetually burning; while the blood, in singular conformity with the levitical ordinances, was sprinkled, partly upon the surrounding multitude, partly upon the trees of the hallowed grove, and partly upon the images of their idols. (MALLETT'S North. Antiq. vol. i. chap. 7.) Even the remote inhabitants of America have re. tained similar customs, and for similar reasons. It is somewhere observed by Acosta, that in cases of sickness, it is usual for a Peruvian to sacrifice his son to Vira+ choca, beseeching him to spare his life, and to be satisfied with the blood of his child.

Faber's Horæ Mosaicæ, vol. i. p. 88.

No. 3.-5. 24. God took him.] The following singufar tradition may possibly have some reference to the translation of Enoch: “ The Kalmucks, among other idols, worshipin a peculiar manner one, which they call Xacamuni. They say, that four thousand years ago, he was only a sovereign prince in India; but, on account of his unparalleled sanctity, God had taken him up to heaven alive.”

VON STRAHLENBERG's Siberia, p. 409.

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