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word be my guide. Thou alone art God : man, thy creature, calls upon thee, by fire and by water, and by air and by earth, by spirit, and by all created things. I have found eternal blessedness, in the expectation of which I may rest contentedly in thy will."
There is much of the same kind in these dialogues of Hermes, which must have come from Divine Revelation, whether derived from Moses immediately, as we are inclined to think, or composed since the Christian æra from the Bible and the writings of Plato, as Causabon supposes. These passages prove nothing concerning the author of the work, and our opinion of its genuineness rests upon other grounds, which a few words will suffice to state. First, these dialogues explain incidentally the theology and philosophy of Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Plato, more clearly than we can gather it from their writings which remain: this no imitator could do. Secondly, they also throw light upon the cabalistic mysteries of the Jews, little likely to be known by an imitator living between the first and fourth centuries, when it must have been composed, if spurious. Thirdly, they throw much light on the Egyptian superstitions, from whence both the eastern and western streams of Pagan idolatry had their source. On all these points it takes a higher, a purer, and more consistent standing than we think any imitator could assume; and from this height, after the time of Plato, the Greeks rapidly degenerated, till in the Romans it became sheer folly and total infidelity, as in Ovid and Lucretius.
Hermes wrote in the Phoenician language and character, and from the Phænicians all the nations of the West derived both their letters and mythology. To their letters we shall have occasion to return for fuller examination, and would only at present point the attention of our readers to their mythology; begging them to observe, how, from impersonating the powers of nature in the first instance, the deification of men began, ending in the grossest idolatry among the people, on the one hand; and how, on the other hand, from resolving all creation into fixed laws, independent of the supreme God, fatalism and infidelity took root among the philosophers, and produced among them evils as great and more incurable than the stupid idolatry of the people. And the lesson is necessary; for in Popery, on the one hand, and infidel science, on the other, idolatries of exactly the same kind are snaring this generation. The costume and the fashion is altered, to suit our time and country; but the word of God declares the idolatry to be the same, and that all but the servants of God shall worship the beast and his image, and as many as will not worship shall be killed (Rev. xiii. 15). And though many who are abetting the idolatry, now spreading so fast, are doing it unwittingly, or in fear, this does not excuse
them, any more than Plato, or Socrates, or Hermes, for similar compliance; nor does it seem probable that any thing short of that stern, inflexible hardihood which Moses had from God, can enable any one to stem the tide of idolatry when it once sets in. Hermes appears to have known the true God, but, not having a Divine commission, backed with signs and wonders, he could not pull down the idolatrous systems which had grown up both in Egypt and Phenicia. He did endeavour to bend them into some resemblance of the truth, and tried to inculcate through them allegorically, truths which might in some degree neutralize the most dangerous of the errors, but it seems to have been wholly in vain.
It was the same in all other lands : worshippers of the true God were found among the heathen down to the time of Moses, who kept alive among them some remnant of the truths once delivered to the fathers. Melchizedek being a priest of the Most High God among the idolatrous nations of Canaan, proves that there were some true worshippers at Salem; Balaam, from the mountains of the East, knew God, though his heart went after covetousness; Abimelech, king of Gerar, believed in God, though Abram thought in his heart, Surely the fear of God is not in this place: and Lot witnessed in Sodom, and Job in the land of Uz, and doubtless many more, whose names are not recorded in Scripture. But, above all, Joseph, who had saved Egypt from famine, and married the daughter of the priest of On, could not but be heard with respect, both by priests and people, in declaring his faith : and the Israelites, during their sojourn in Egypt, must have taught some knowledge of the God of their fathers. All which considerations convince us that some knowledge of the truth subsisted among all the nations down to the time of Moses, and especially in Egypt, the country of Thoth and Hermes. Moses also, in acquiring the learning of the Egyptians, could scarcely fail to communicate some knowledge of God in return: and though the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he proudly asked who is the Lord, the magicians were constrained to acknowledge the finger of God, and many of the servants of Pharaoh feared the word of the Lord (Ex. ix. 20);—yet all these causes had scarcely any effect in staying the progress of idolatry among the people.
But akin to and parallel with the gross idolatry of the people was the third form, which was confined to the priests in the first instance, and communicated by them with the greatest caution, and only to such as were deemed worthy of initiation into the higher mysteries, and of whose discretion and capacity they took cognisance by not communicating the higher doctrines till after long preparatory exercises in the lower and unimportant doctrines. These greater mysteries regarded not only the first
VOL. VI.-NO. I.
principles of created and visible things, but the Creator himself, and they inferred, from the workings of their own minds, the nature of that Eternal Mind from whence all things proceed. This, some may suppose, would be a most laudable pursuit; and so it would be with Revelation for our guide, and with the determination to limit and controul our inquiries within the bounds of that which is revealed; but these men, seeking to know all things, and thinking that they could know all things, became gods to themselves, and were snared, first, in mental idolatry, which is the most difficult of all to escape from, and then degenerated themselves into the most gross and puerile superstitions, and the most abominable crimes (Rom. i. 20—32). Our information respecting these mysteries has come down to us in three streams, all greatly polluted in their course, but in ascending which we come to one fountain, into which some rills of Divine revelation must have been infused, though soon lost in its turbid progress. The least pure of these streams, is that which descended from Babylon to the southern and eastern extremities of the earth ; but this stream we have neither the wish nor the opportunity to trace. The next is that which came direct from Egypt, and only traceable in the scanty fragments of Jamblichus, Sanchoniatho, Manetho, Berosus, and Hermes, preserved in the writings of the Fathers, and of whom scarcely a single treatise has come down to our time. Yet these fragments, scanty as they are, throw more light upon the subject, because less adulterated, than the third and most copious stream. From Phænicia the third stream came, together with letters, and the seeds of every art : it fructified and civilized Greece, spread along both shores of the Mediterranean, and, issuing from the Straits of Hercules, reached the ultima thule of the old world. The mysteries taught by the Druids and Celtic priests were not committed to writing, but communicated orally, and after long preparation, like the greater mysteries of Eleusis; and of none of these have we any direct record, but have to collect the indications and infer the substance of them from historic facts, popular superstitions, or incidental allusions; and these chiefly in the earliest poetic fragments of Greece. The Greeks were the most conceited and egotistical people of all the nations of antiquity, but still they uniformly acknowledged that every art and every science they_possessed was derived originally from Phænicia and Egypt. From thence, letters, numbers, and astronomy came; thither, as to the source of knowledge, the sages had recourse; and the philosophers only professed to break down to popular apprehension, and accommodate to another clime, primæval truths, the gift of Heaven to man: and this they did by degrading mysteries, which themselves but imperfectly understood, to the level of the popular philosophy of the educated classes, and to the popular
superstition of the vulgar. This explains the phænomenon, which is so perfectly unaccountable on any other hypothesis, in the writings of Plato and the other luminaries of Greece. Their grand conceptions of some of the bearings of truth, and their glorious enunciation of these conceptions in all the splendour of the most perfect of uninspired eloquence, are strangely contrasted with the most puerile and contemptible superstitions, and the most vulgar and degrading immorality. The Egyptians had the truths in their mysteries, and symbolized them in hieroglyphics: the Grecian sages sought after the truths with labour and diligence: but the people of Greece at once took the hieroglyphics, took them vulgarly and literally, took them without mystery or explanation, made of them their bestial gods; and the philosophers, whose process was slower, who required time to understand and time to explain the mysteries under those symbols, found themselves anticipated by the people--found the idol already appropriated and firmly established; the people already worshipping the great goddess Diana, whose statue fell down from Jupiter; and ready to clamour down any one who would teach them better things, by crying out for two hours, at any time, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. To one who studies Plato, without knowing the sources from whence he drew his truths, it is a subject of admiration that he expressed so much which is true; but to one who knows the sources, it is matter of regret that he could not express more: that he should, in the first place, so often break down the heavenly things to the vulgar prejudice both of the learned and unlearned ; and, in the next place, that in the endeavour himself to comprehend the Divine attributes, he just reversed the scale,-he made the human mind the standard for measuring the Divine; he made God the image of man, instead of man the image of God; he compressed the Infinite into the limits of the finite, and gave its last and most insidious form to idolatry, namely, self-idolizing. Before the time of Socrates, the philosophers were more retiring: they left the people to themselves, and confined their instructions to chosen scholars; following the precept inscribed on the Delphic fane γνωθι σεαυτον: and in studying to know themselves, knew God also, as out of them, and above them, and before all things, and only to be known by His own revelation of Himself. And the oracles of Zoroaster, and the rhapsodies of Orpheus, which seem like the ravings of delirium to a cold imagination working upwards towards them through the schools and the Pantheon, become intelligible and beautiful, and easily conformable with the truth, when looked down upon from the eminence of Divine Revelation, or the first step of declension in the writings of the second Hermes.
With this preliminary outlinc we leave the subject for the
present to the meditation of our readers, intending, if God permit, to shew, in a future Number, the purport of all, and the meaning of some, of the inscriptions of Chaldea and Egypt, in order to demonstrate that these, though prior to alphabetic writing among the heathen, are posterior to Hebrew alphabetic writing: and in doing this we shall also have to demonstrate that the several heathen alphabets are not derived from their knowledge of hieroglyphics, and gradually simplified into letters, but that letters of all kinds were derived originally from the Hebrew; and that, in the few instances wherein hieroglyphics or symbols have been used as an alphabet, the previous knowledge of an alphabet suggested this use of the symbols ; and that hieroglyphics never could have been so used till after an alphabet was known.
The literature, and philosophy, and religion of all mankind, being thus shewn to come originally from God, He is glorified in the right use of them all, and the perversion and abuse of them are chargeable on the sin and folly of man. In proving this we shall incidentally shew that the pretensions of the ancients to an antiquity inconsistent with the Mosaic history, are capable of an easy and satisfactory explanation ; and that it is ignorance of their meaning in us, and no intention to deceive in them, which has led us to suppose the heathen chronology irreconcileable with the Mosaic history. We shall thus endeavour to contribute all the assistance we can collect from Philology, Mythology, and Mysticism to fortify the position which Mr. Cullimore is maintaining by his astronomical and chronological researches, that the Hebrew Scriptures are in all respects the standard of appeal, and to be received with implicit confidence as the word of God.
RECENT PUBLICATIONS ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH
SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND MIRACLES.
The general Delusion of Christians, touching the Ways of God's
revealing Himself to and by the Prophets, evinced from Scripture and primitive Antiquity; and many Principles of Scoffers, Atheists, Sadducees, and wild Enthusiasts, refuted. 1713:
republished 1832. Most valuable service has been rendered to the cause of scriptural inquiry in general, and to the question of spiritual gifts in particular, by the well-timed republication of this important and interesting work. As the author's object was not so much the defence of any existing manifestations, as the statement of the general truth “ touching the ways of God's revealing Himself,”