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birth in Asia, and exploring nature and language for new symbols, soon seised upon this allegorical expression as highly descriptive of her roinantic ideas, and the title was transferred from terrestrial houses to the spheres. Hence, in the Arabian astronomy, those constellations in the heavens, nearest which the moon, during her munthly revolutions, remains every night, are called the MANSIONS OF THE MOON,* which, according to the Arabian computation, amount in number to twenty-cight, according to the Indian, to only twenty-seven, mansions; and these gates must, therefore, be considered as houses, or spheres, through which the soul passes in her course to the centre of light and felicity. It may here be remarked, that the expresion occurs frequently in holy writ, often in the former sense, and sometimes even in the astronomical allusion of the word. In the former acceptation we read, in Esther, ii. 19, of the Jero Mordecai sitting in the king's GATE: in La
* These MANSIONS OF THE MOON are, from Mr Costard'sArabian astronomy, accurately marked on the celestial globe, made and sold by Mr George Adams, in Fleet-street, whose obliging kindness to the author during the composition of a work, in which astronomy and theology are so intimately connected, he thus publicly and gratefully acknowledges.
THE GATE OF HEAVEN.
nientations, v. 14, that the elders have ceased from the GATE: and, in Ruth, iii. 11, it is used in a sense remarkably figurative; all the GATE (that is, house) of my people know thou art virtuous. In the second acceptation, the word as well as the attendant symbol itself, to our astonishment, occur in the account of Jacob's vision of the LADDER WHOSE TOP REACHED TO Heaven, and in the exclamation, THIS IS
This circumstance cannot fail of exciting in the reader the utmost surprise, since it is hence manifested to have been an original patriarchal symbol, and will hereafter be brought by me in evidence that there was among the post-diluvian ancestors of the human race an astronomy older than has yet been proved to exist, and possibly tinctured with ante-diluvian philosophy. A similar idea occurs in Isaiah, xxxviii, 10; I shall go to the GATES of the grave; and in Matthew, xvi. 18; the GATES of hell shall not prevail against it ; nor is it impossible but our blessed Lord himself might speak in allusion to the popular notion of the two astronomical GATES celestial and terrestrial, when, in Matthew, vii. 13, he said, Enter ye in at the strait GATE; for, ride is the GATE and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which
go in thereat; because strait is the gate and nur row is the way rohich leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
But let us return to the Homeric cave, concerning the fabrication, intention, and ornaments, of which Porphyry has given us a disquisition, which, however obscure it may appear from the very partial information on this subject which has descended to us from the antients, will more than sufficiently serve to convince us how deeply were blended together their profound astronomical and metaphysical speculations. This cave had two entrances, or GATES, as they are called even by Homer; the one of which looked to the SOUTH, the other to the NORTH.
Perpetual waters through the grotto glide,
On this passage the great pliilosopher remarks, “ There are two extremities in the heavens: viz. the winter solstice, than which no part of heaven is nearer to the south ; and the summer solstice, which is situated next to the north. But the summer tropic, that is, the solstitial circle, is in Cancer, and the winter tropic in Capricorn. And, since Can
cer is the nearest to the earth, it is deservedly attributed to the moon, which is itself proximate to the earth. But, since the southern pole, from its great distance, is invisible to us, Capricorn is assigned to Saturn, who is the highest and most remote of all the planets. Again, the signs from Cancer to Capricorn are situated in the following order; the first is Leo, called, by astrologers, the House of the Sun; afterwards Virgo, or the House of Mercury; Libra, of Venus; Scorpio, of Mars; Sagittarius, of Jupiter; and Capricornus,'or the House of 'Saturn. But, from Capricorn, in an inverse order, Sagittarius is attributed to Saturn, Pisces to Jupiter, Aries to Mars, Taurus to Venus, Gemini to Mercury, and, last of all, Cancer to the Moon. From among the number of these, theologists consider Cancer and Capricorn as two ports; Plato calls them two GATES. Of these, they affirm that Cancer is the gate through which souls descend, but Capricorn that through which they ascend, and exchange a material for a divine condition of being. Cancer is, indeed, northern, and adapted to descent; but Capricorn is southern, and accommodated to ascent: and, indeed, the GATES of the cave, which look to the north, are, with great propriety, said to be pervious to the descent of men; while the
southern GATES are not the avenues of the gods, but of souls ascending to the gods. On this account the poet does not say it is the passage of the gods, but of immortals, which appellation is also common to our souls, whether in their whole essence, or from some particular and most excellent part only they are denominated immortal. It is reported that Parmenides mentions these two PORTS in his book, concerning the nature of things; as likewise that they were not unknown to the Egyptians and Romans : for, the Romans celebrate their Saturnalia when the sun is in Capricorn ; and, during this festivity, the servants wear the shoes of those that are free, and all things are distributed among them in common; the legislator intimating, by this ceremony, that those, who are servants at present by the condition of their birth, will be hereafter liberated by the Saturnalian feast, and by the house attributed to Saturn, i. e. Capricorn; when, reviving in that sign, and being divested of the material garments of generation, they shall return to their pristine felicity and to the fountain of life. But, since the path beginning from Capricorn is retrograde, and pertains to descent, hence the origin of the word Januarius, or January, from janua, a gate, which is the
of time Q4