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astronomy had led them into idolatry. Syphis, of whom I have formerly treated, had taught them to worship the luminaries of Heaven ; and from his time, a great part of the Egyptian learning consisted in finding out the influence, which these bodies had upon the world. They turned their learning this way, and formed and fashioned their religion according to it. Herodotus tells us, that the Egyptians first found out what deity presided over each day of the week, and every month of the year. Clemens Alexandrinus says, that they introduced the use of astrology.' Dion Cassius, that they supposed the seven planets governed the seven days of the week ;? and Cicero, that by the observation of the motion of the stars, through a series of a prodigious number of years, they had got the art of foretelling things to come, and knowing to what fate any person was born. Philastrius Brixiensis supposes that this particular science was the invention of the Egyptians; and intimates that it had begun very early, by his suposing Ilermes to be the author of it;b for the invention of all arts and sciences, which were reputed truly ancient, were ascribed to Hermes. Necepsos, who, according to Eusebius, reigned in Egypt about the time when Tullus Hostilius governed Rome, was a great improver of the ancient Egyptian magic;d but it is evident, that the study and practice of it began before Moses' time, both in Egypt, and in the neighbouring nations. The caution which Moses gave the Israelites shews evidently, that the idolatrous nations had then their professors of these arts, known by various denominations. They had diviners, obserters of times, enchanters, wilches, charmers, consulters with familiar spirits, wizards, necromancers.' Balaam was skilful in enchantments, and may probably be supposed to have built seven altars according to the Egyptian system, which supposed that the seven pla. nets presided over the seven days of the week. Se. ven bullocks and seven rams might be a proper offering in his days to be made to the true God;" but the dividing it upon seven altars, implies an offering to more divinities than one, and seems to have been one of the practices, by which he went to seek for enchantments. We may come up higher, and find earlier mention of these artificers. Pharaoh had his wise men, sorcerers and magicians of Egypt, who pretended to work wonders with their enchantments;k and divination was reputed an art, and a cup used in the exercise of it in the days of Joseph ;' and in his time, the kings of Egypt had their magicians to interpret dreams. All these arts, in these days, were studied with great application in the idolatrous nations; and without doubt a great part of the learning of the Egyptians consisted in the study of them. Now I .cannot see why we may not suppose, that Moses, as he had an Egyptian education, was according to their course of discipline instructed in them. Philo indeed observes of him, that in all his studies, he kept his mind free from every false bias; and sincerely endeavoured to find out the truth in all his enquiries." A happy disposition this, to which the most learned are often very great strangers : for it is not abundance of literature which gives this temper; but it rather arises from a virtuous and undesigning heart.
* Herodot. lib. 2, c. 82. y Stromat. lib. 1, p. 306. * Dion Cassius, lib. 36, p. 37. • Cic.de Divinit.lib.1.c.1. 1) Hæres. n. 3. See Marsham Can. Chron. p. 448. • Jamblichus de Myster. Ægypt. d Ausonius Ep. 19.
e Dcut. xviii. 10, 11.
f Ibid. Job. xliii. 8. i Numb. xxiv, 1. ! Gen. xliv. 5. m Chap. xli. 8.
$ Numbers xxiii. k Exod. vii. Fiii.
Many writers have imagined that the magic of the heathen world, their oracles, interpretations of dreams, prodigies, omens, and divinations, were caused by a communication of their prophets, priests, and diviners, with evil spirits. They suppose, that as God was pleased to inspire his true prophets; to give signs, and work wonders, for his servants; to warn them by dreams, or to reveal to them his, will; şo the devil, and his angels, affected to imitate these particular favours, vouchsafed to good and virtuous men, and gave oracles, omens, signs, dreams, and visions to delude their superstitious votaries. When the heathens came to worship hero-gods, and to suppose that the world was governed by genii, or spirits of a higher nature than men, but inferior to the deity; then indeed they ascribed oracles, omens, signs,
* Aφιλονεικως τας εριδας υπερβας την αληθειαν επιζητει, μηδεν ψευδα της Διανοιας αυτα παραδεχεσθαι δυναμενής, ως εθε τοις Aigeriouagosi Philo Jud. lib. i, de Vitâ Musis.
dreams, and visions, to the ministry of such spirits, intrusted with the government of this lower world. This opinion is well expressed by one of Plutarch's disputants, and it was esteemed to be true by Plato and his followers. Many of the fathers of the Christian church likewise ascribed the divination of the heathens to the assistance of their dæmons; but we have no reason to think that any opinion of this sort had obtained in the first ages of idolatry, or had appeared so early as the time of Moses. We meet with no names of any heathen diviners, mentioned in thie Sacred Writings in these carly days, wbich imply any converse with such spirits. There are indeed two which may seem to imply it; but if we rightly translate the original words for them, we shall see that they have no such meaning. We mention consulters with familiar spirits, and necromancers, among the heathen diviners, against whom Moses cautioned the Israelites. 9 Our English expression, consulter with familiar spirits, seems to signify one that divined by the help of such spirit; but the Hebrew words, w, shoel aobv, are two persons, shoel is the cohsulter, aobo is the diviner. Our English translators have generally missed the true
ο Το μεν εφεςαναι τοις χρηςηριοις μη θηes, oις απηλλαχθαι των περι γην προσηκον εσιν, αλλα δαιμονας υπερετας θεων, και δοκεί Mos naxws agizo 1x1–Plut. de Orac. Defectu. p. 418.
Plato in Sympos, in Epinomide: in Timæo: in Phædro; in Ione, &c.
9 Deut. xviii. 10, 11.
sense of this expression. We translate, a man, or a woman, that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death ;' by this translation, a man or woman that had a familiar spirit, seems to be one sort of diviner, as a wizard is another; but the true translation of the Hebrew words is as follows. A man or a woman, if there shall have been with them, (i. e. if they shall have consulted) an aobo or an yiddeoni, (i. e. python, or a wizard) shall be put to death : here the dobv is the diviner, and does not signify a familiar spirit in a person, possessing him, as our English translation seems to intimate. That the word aobv is to be taken in this sense, is abundantly evident from ano her passage in this book of Leviticus; the words are, al tiphnu el ha aobroth, ve el ha yiddeonim: al tebakkeshu letameah bahem. i. e. Ye shall not have regard to the pythons, or to the wizards. Ye shall not make enquiries to the polluting of yourselves by them. Tere' it 'is very plain, that aobo does not signify'a spirit in a person, but is one sort of diviner, of whom the Israelites were not to enquire; as yiddeoni, tlie word translated wizard, is another;' and whoever
אל הפנו אל-האבת ואל-הידענים אל תבקשו
" Leviticus xx. 27.
Levit. xix. 31. The vulgar Latin, the Lxx, the Targum of Onkelos, the Samaritan, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render the passage as I have, and the Hebrew words cannot fairly bear a different translation.