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THE EARLY DESTINIES OF MANKIND
By John Eliot Howard, F.R.S., F.L.S.
(Journal of 1880-81 -- pages 159 to 190)
It is most natural that our minds should turn towards the early condition of our race, and perhaps there never existed a keener interest in the inquiry than at the present moment.
Science, philosophy, and religion all offer us their aid in the research; not, however, in harmonious concert, but in rivalry; which it is the aim of many to render less manifest or to disguise by some friendly compromise.
As I am addressing the members of the Victoria Institute, who profess faith in the Christian religion, I confine myself to the last, and turn to the often-neglected third guide. Religion -- Christian religion -- bids us turn to the Scriptures, for information on an authority no less than divine. It is surely important that we should study profoundly the meaning of those records which we commend to thoughtful inquirers. We are told in the New Testament that the "Oracles of God" were a trust committed to the chosen nation (Rom. iii. 2), from whom we receive them (faithfully preserved, though not altogether uninjured in the transmission), and pass them on, still further obscured in part by our translations, to other Gentiles. It is surely needful, when these "Oracles" are attacked, to recur to the original deposit, and that in its primitive language and condition. The most celebrated translations, such as the Septuagint and Vulgate, afford much superfluous matter for critical objection. Look at "the Beginning " and see how every word tells it. This is the title of the first book in our Hebrew Scriptures, and it informs us of the great fact that there was a Beginning, concerning which both Science and Philosophy leave us entirely in the dark.
It is by faith that we enter upon the large and fair domain before us, a province which we cannot surrender to the "Agnostic." It is by faith alone that "we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things that do appear." Everything in Heaven and earth is represented as formed by and forthe Son of God. We read nothing of a self-developing Universe, of '' the powers and potencies of matter." Nature is but a figurative expression to conceal our ignorance; and the laws of Nature have no real existence, implying simply the course of things as it falls under our observation. The Son of God is represented as " upholding all things by the word of His power"; so that we have here in a religious aspect the alone source of forces and powers that we do not understand, but dimly recognise in their operation.
Mundane religion here accords with the account given in the Scripture, and, whilst not adding to its authority, certainly confirms what is there stated. The earliest conceptions of mankind of which we have any account symbolise with the above, representing not an effort to attain higher truth but a remembrance (and often a distortion) of truths already received.
The first month amongst the Babylonians was the month of the altar of the Creator, and two gods presided over it, Anu the primordial God, analogous to the Ouranos of the Greeks, and Bel, to whom is ascribed very specially the formation of the organised universe.
The grand spectacle of the Heavens must very early have fixed the attention of man, especially in those regions of the earth where the serenity of the air facilitated the observation of the stars. It was necessary for the purposes of agriculture that they should distinguish the seasons, and know when to expect their return. Hence arose the division of the year into the twelve months and the formation of the Zodiac (as is well explained in the works of Laplace.) These are some of the reasons which induce me to believe that astronomy was largely cultivated before the Flood; but I now direct attention to the above information derived from most recent and authentic researches into the elaborate astronomical system of the Chaldeans, of which the above forms a part. We look back over an interval of between 4,000 and 5,000 years, and find man believing in one Supreme God, the first ineffable cause; too high to be understood or worshipped; and in an Architect God, more or less identified with the former (see my previous paper on Egypt), afterwards called the craftsman or skilled workman.
To the Creator (in some sense one with the above) they dedicated the beginning of their year, and raised their altar for sacrifice.
The first elaborate study of the Heavens was made by men in a state of high civilisation; having no other conception than a religious history of mankind, and familiar in their traditions with thoughts of the Creation, of the Deluge, and of other events recorded in the book of Genesis which they stereotyped in the Zodiac.
The creation of man. (Elohim).
Now what is meant by Elohim? Does this plural and yet (in its construction) singular word refer to some corresponding revelation of the Divine nature to our first parents? I find in the Jewish commentators Dr. Sola, Lindenthal, and Dr. Raphall the following (Gen. p. 4): "When organised nature is called into existence, the words used are, Let the earth shoot forth, let the waters teem, let the earth bring forth, but when man, an intellectual being composed of spirit as well as matter, is to be created, it is no longer earth or water who are directed to bring forth, but the concentration of all powers God, exclaims, We (pluralis excellentiae) will make man."
But what do these learned Jews mean by "the concentration of all powers "? It is figurative language, no doubt; but is not the corruption of figurative language that from which polytheism sprang? The description would, I think, have been acknowledged by the priests of Babylon as of their religion. All the powers might be worshipped, it being understood that they were emanations of, and included in, "the God One."
At a later date this monotheism became a secret of the priests; nevertheless, in the Orphic Hymn it is very explicitly stated. I notice that ---- is there made one with ---- elsewhere the first wife of the first Cause of all things. And the word implies Advice, counsel, a plan or undertaking.
Let this be compared with the personification of Wisdom in the eighth chapter of Proverbs (which as a Christian I am not at liberty to consider as mere poetry), and it will be apparent, as I judge, that the false is but a reflection (or distortion) of the previously revealed true doctrine. I say previously revealed, for the assumption of the plural We on the part of the Almighty must have been intentional. In the subsequent revelation to Moses it is I, the personal pronoun, that is used, Iam that I am. We have the highest authority for saying that more was made known to faithful men of old than Scripture records (see John viii. 56).
Elohim, in the first chapter of Genesis, is represented as forming the race of man after consultation. "Let us make man in our image :" the word is literally, shadowing forth ----Christ is called the Brightness of the Father's glory (----), which indicates something much higher than a mere shadow; also the express image of His person; the word ---- implying " the peculiar nature or character of a thing or person," (Liddell and Scott's Lex.), and therefore also leading us to a higher range of thought than the remaining term in the creation of man, ''in our likeness," ----which is feeble in comparison ("similitude, likeness, image," Ges. Lex.).
The purpose is then stated for which they (Adam, including his wife) were created. Adam was to have dominion, i.e. to be a visible God upon earth to all below him; as he was, on the other hand, to forbear to aspire to the glories of the Elohim above him, to whom he was to render unfailing homage and obedience.
This original dignity of man was dimly seen, even, by the heathen:--
Os homini sublime dedit, coelumque tueri Docuit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus.
In the Chaldean history men are formed by the mixture of the blood of Bel, the demiurge, with the earth; something divine being thus intermingled with much that is earthy!
It is a favourite subject of agnostic criticism that in Genesis ii. man is said to be formed of clay, and that science cannot find alumina in his composition. This is, however, a misconception of the subject. The word used is simply dust, and no reasonable criticism could extract from this any other meaning than that man was formed, as to his body, of materials derived from the earth, whilst his life (or "lives" rather) was from the breath of the Creator.
The word used ("formed ") no doubt naturally directs our minds to the thought of a potter, and clay as the plastic material with which he works; but it is surely hypercriticism to carp at all figurative language when used in Scripture.
In the meantime, this very natural figure appears to have been widely adopted amongst the nations of the earth to express the creative action. Amongst the Egyptians, we find certain monuments showing the creative Demiurge kneading the clay, to form it into man, on the same potter's wheel on which he has formed the primordial egg of the universe. Amongst the North-American Indians, the Mandans had a tradition that the Great Spirit formed two figures of clay, which he dried and animated with the breath of his mouth; and of which one received the name of the first man, and the other that of companion. The great god of Tahiti, Taeroa, formed man of red earth. The Dyaks relate that man was modelled from the earth. Elliot (Polynesian Researches, i. 180) states, that the Areois of Polynesia painted their faces red in their religious ceremonies, and that a tradition in accordance with that of many American nations said that man had been created out of red earth. Catlin, in his History of the North American Indians, gives an account of his visit to the Red Pipe Stone Quarry (unique in its kind), from which used to be procured the material for " the pipe of peace," the Calumet, all-powerful for its effects in soothing animosities; because the Indians considered it part of their flesh, and the Sioux had a tradition that the Great Spirit moulded a piece of it into the first man (others connected it with the Deluge), vol. ii. p. 169. It is said to be a sort of Steatite. (Adam seems to be from ---- " to be red-ruddy," Ges. Lex.)
The Chaldeans, says an ecclesiastical author of the first centuries of the Christian era, called the first man produced from the earth, Adam. This is partly confirmed by the cuneiform inscriptions, but the general form seems to be Admu. They say that he lay without movement, without life or breath, like to an image of the heavenly Adam, until the latter had communicated to him a soul. Amongst the Greeks, Prometheus formed man by modelling him from clay, and communicated intelligence to him by imparting fire which he had stolen from heaven. In the cosmogony of Peru, the first man created by divine power is called Alpa camasca, or " animated earth." Still more remarkable is the cosmogony of the Indians of Guatemala in their sacred book, called the Popol Vuh. They profess to derive the origin of their nation from the East beyond the sea; and, with this, the sacred traditions. As translated and published in 1861 by L'Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg, these present us with an elaborate description of a chaos primordial. There was nothing but silence, darkness, and night. Alone were the Creator, the Former, the Ruler, the Serpent covered with feathers, enveloped with green and gold, with sacred and mysterious garments. These speak together, consult and meditate. As the result of their counsel we have the creation. They said, "Earth," and at the instant it was formed, first appearing as a cloud, then the mountains rising like lobsters on the water, these afterwards clothed with cypress and pines. Then Gucumatz was filled with joy, which he expresses to " the heart of heaven." Afterwards the work proceeds, the course of the waters is divided, the streams wind amongst the mountains, and the plains and the little hills are formed and the world is filled with the varied tribes of living creatures. "The heart of the earth" seems to be the serpent and also the maternal principle, whilst "the heart of heaven" is the father and the Architect.
The description of the creation is elaborate and picturesque. Then comes the command that the creatures formed should utter the name of the Divinity. "Honour us, your Father and Mother."
The response to this was in the inarticulate language proper to each species, so that "the heart of heaven" and " the heart of earth" found that no honour would accrue from their work. They were obliged to try again. This time they made man of potter's earth. These creatures, however, though they had speech, had no intelligence, and apparently were drowned in the waters. Then followed another consultation and an attempt to make a really intelligent creature, that should " adore and invoke the Creator and the Former." The result was the formation of mannikins from sculptured wood which spoke and reasoned on the face of the earth. These existed and multiplied, but they had no heart to remember their Creator, and lived like beasts.
Then the waters were swollen by the will of the Heart of Heaven, and a great deluge ensued, which came above the head of these mannikins made out of wood; because they had not thought of their mother and their father, of him who is the heart of heaven, whose name is Hurakan; through them the face of the earth was obscured and a dark rain commenced, rain by day, rain by night; everything rebelled against these ungrateful people, and even their dogs turned to devour them. Filled with despair and lamentations, they wished to rush to the top of their houses, and the houses crumbling threw them again to earth; they wished to climb the trees, and the trees shook them far from them. They wished to enter into caverns, and the caverns closed before them.
Thus was accomplished the ruin of these human creatures. Now it is said their posterity is seen in those little monkeys which live in the woods. It is all that remains of them, for their flesh was formed of wood by the modeller and creator.
This is why this little monkey resembles man, the sign that he is of another race of men who were only mannikins wrought in wood, p. 199 (this seems a very plausible explanation if we study the monkeys and their emotions !)
Afterwards follows the creation of the first parents, four in number, of the human race. They had neither father nor mother, but "it was truly a prodigy, a true enchantment ' of the Creator and Former,' and these rendered thanks for their existence and formation. Soon, however, their amount of wisdom displeased the above Creator and Former, and they took counsel thus. It is not good that which they say. Their nature will be no longer that of simple creatures; but they will be so many gods." Then a cloud was blown over their eyes and their view was limited. Their wisdom was diminished. However (in compensation perhaps) they received spouses during their sleep, " and immediately their hearts were filled with gladness because of their wives."
The celebrated Commander Maury has remarked (in reference to the Deluge) that we find, in America, traditions incomparably nearer to those of the Bible and of the Chaldean religion than amongst any people of the Old World; and that these could not be derived from the Buddhists or from India or Japan. Lenormant quotes this opinion with approbation. It would lead me away from my present subject to explain this difficult, but, I think, not insoluble enigma. I learn from a friend in Nova Scotia that Miller, in his Life among the Madocs, records their tradition, tracing the origin of the red men to a fallen daughter of the Great Spirit; showing their conviction that man was, in some way, of a nobler origin than the brutes. Her earthly companion was punished by being compelled to walk on four legs, instead of two. To this day the grizzly bear is never slain by the red men, who recognise him as a sort of kinsman.
That we are by our constitution in part of the earth, earthy, and partly of superior origin, has been the belief of man in all ages; and our modern philosophy, instead of raising us to higher levels of thought, sinks beneath the average common-sense of uncultivated man. Philosophers profess to derive our origin from the brute creation, and thus libel our betters, for it cannot be denied that they fulfil the end of their creation; that their lives are unstained by reproach attending the breach of commandments of their Creator. Without regret for the past, enjoying without stint the present, and having no dread of judgment to come,-- the philosopher might well (however inly) wish himself back in their place; or even go further in rebellious thought against his destiny, and say to himself with the poet of despair--
Know that, whatever thou hast been, 'Twere something better not to be !
The origin of man has been amongst all nations a subject of the deepest
interest. The traditions of the earliest ages have been treasured up; and,
though mixed with abundant fables, have furnished deeply interesting materials
for thought. It is not much to the credit of modern research that the alone
authentic source of information should be superseded and quietly ignored
by our philosophers. Much more worthy of the dignity of man's reason are
the verses of Milton; when he says in his harmonious verse,--
How charming is Divine philosophy,Not harsh and crabbed as dull fools suppose,But musical as is Apollo's lute,And a perpetual source of nectared sweets.True Philosophy, i.e., Divine Philosophy, begins with the first words of Scripture; not by God proving His own existence, but evidencing Himself by His works. God saw that His creation was "good," according to His own standard.
"To philosophise is to render the causes and ends of things. No man, therefore, that denieth God can do this truly. For the taking away of the First Cause maketh all things contingent. . . . Wherefore nature and the causes and reasons of things duly contemplated, naturally lead us unto God, and is one way of securing our veneration of Him; giving us, not only a general demonstration of His Being, but a particular one, of most of the several qualifications thereof. For all goodness, righteousness, proportion, order, truth, or whatever else is excellent and amiable in His creatures, it is the demonstration of the like in God. For it is impossible that God should ever make anything, not like Himself, in some degree or other. These things, and the very notions which we have of them, are conceptions issuing from the womb of the Divine Nature."
This, I take it, is the strong, immutable foundation of truth and of all knowledge, of which man can by any means possess himself. God is not only the source of stability, but all things are stable only in Him. "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." He is not only the source of beauty and of harmony, but the beauty and the harmony must be in Him before they exist in His works.
Man was created with free will, and was intended to exercise this free will in harmony with God. He had not essential and inherent stability, but this was dependent on his keeping his true position as a creature, ascribing all glory to the Creator, and finding it his happiness to be continually receiving every good gift from above.
So in the account of the creation of man in Genesis this is represented as the result of settled purpose. To entrust a creature with free will was a decision pregnant with the most momentous results, to which the formation of a world seems comparatively insignificant. There is, therefore, a dignity and a glory about man's creation of which neither science nor philosophy can tell us anything.
Elohim created the universe from previously non-existing material; formed the man from the elements of the world; and, as we shall see, " built up'' the woman from the substance of the man.
Intellect, strength, and wisdom, including love to the good and hatred of evil, combined with power to originate the good and to eradicate the evil, are some of the most marked and prominent features of the masculine character; whilst intelligence, perception, grace, and benignity, including steadfastness of affection in cherishing and developing all that is lovely and desirable in those committed to her fostering care; or in one word, the true companion and the true mother, mark the typical Eve (the mother of all living) as proceeding from the hand of her Creator.
Do we not see that these are but the reflections of various attributes of the Divine perfections, and that a want of comprehension of the whole subject leads to serious evil? In some popular theology we have a Divinity all benignity and shorn of power; a Universal Father, with little ability to restrain or to correct his unruly family, and none to execute vengeance on the " vessels of wrath." The female advocates of " woman's rights " seem never to have learned the secret of woman's true power-- " She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her lips is the law of kindness." I commend to their favourable notice the following lines of the author of " The Praise of Womankind" ("Würde der Frauen"),-- the poet Schiller :--
Mächtig seyd ihr, ihr seyd's durch der Gegenwart ruhigen Zauber;Was die stille nicht wirkt, wirket die rauschende nie. Kraft erwart' ich vom Mann, des Gesetzes Wiirde behaupt er; Aber durch Anmuth allein herrschet und herrsche das Weib !As regards the stronger sex, we look for strength and maintaining the dignity of the law; but instead we find the prevalence of an emasculated philosophy, which departs in every direction from sound good sense; and in nothing more evidently so than in the manner in which it estimates the female mind, being incapable of comprehending the contrasted beauty and grace of her nature; and insisting on treating her as simply a weaker homo, to be raised (not exactly by gymnastic exercises in the Platonic method), but by ill-adapted intellectual training, to become an inferior copy, instead of a poetical rendering of the original Adam.
I have always been in favour of the highest culture for the female mind, and know that those thus educated can fulfil with the greatest propriety all the duties of their station. But, then, this culture must be adapted to the special character of those subjected to it. To expect the accomplishment of laborious tasks, invigorating and enjoyable as these may prove to the masculine mind, is to inflict probably irreparable injury on the more delicate, though equally perfect, organisation. It is simply to realise what Schiller has described in his charming little piece, Pegasus im Joche, wherein the poet tells us what befell the noble beast when yoked to the plough with a laborious ox; and what, on the contrary, was seen when his peculiar powers were developed in their own line of things.
It is a fable, I own, but marvellously like what has fallen under my own observation.Leaving the noble beast to the care of the philosophers, where he lies--Von Gram gebeugt das edle GötterpferdZu Boden stürzt und sich im Staube windet--I turn for a moment to the laborious ox, of which I take as an antitypical illustration a real man of science, to whom concentration of thought was a pleasure; the late John Dalton, well known to several of my relatives. As a boy, and early developing his taste for abstruse studies, his master, who delighted to exercise his powers, used to set him a difficult problem-- say in his morning's school. In the afternoon or evening the master would ask whether he had conquered the difficulty. " Not yet, master, but I think I shall have it by morning," used to be the reply; sleeping or waking he would not relinquish his bull-dog grip till he had mastered his subject. Try the same plan with a girl of the same age, and the probable result would be brain-fever.
The Scriptural account of man presents us with the thought of variety in unity, and unity ever more developing itself in variety. The child is not the exact image of either parent, but always a combination of the qualities of both. Hence arises the possibility of an almost infinite diversity combined with substantive unity, for God " hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth "; but, if this had been ordered in the way of evolution of one individual into many, there would have been no variety; all would have been the wearisome repetition of an individual type. This we see in the vegetable kingdom, in propagation by slips and cuttings, and also in what is termed parthenogenesis amongst insects.
It seems to me that we have displayed before us in creation these two ideas of the Creator-- unity, and variety. Unity, because all things exist in Him alone; and all the immense universe is, in all its parts, obedient to His laws. He is the great King, and His kingdom ruleth over all; and variety, because all His creation is one poem, perpetually hymning His praise, and telling forth to the ear of faith the beauty, the loveliness, as well as the grandeur and majesty, of the character of God. The adaptation of music to the soul of man illustrates this poetry of nature; the divinely-taught gift of speech as capable of portraying all the emotions of the soul; the divided colours of the rainbow; and the association of light, and life, and love, in the moving world-- all tell forth this great truth that God in creation manifests His own glorious perfections, and illustrates Himself. In the figurative language of the old Greeks ----, descends, and ---- becomes fruitful. This poetical conception is common to all mankind.
But there is a deeper mystery still to be revealed. I speak of the idea of the Church, by which I presume to understand that which rests on the response, in the hearts and lives of men, to the revelation of the deepest and most glorious attributes of God. For whilst we read that His greatness is unsearchable, that His understanding is infinite, and that His glory is above the earth and heaven, it is only in the manifestation of His grace that we are assured of the consoling truth that God is love. "We love Him because He first loved us" !
Now, all this Scriptural teaching is connected with the account given in Genesis of the formation (literally, "building-up")of the woman from the side of Adam whilst he slept symbolical of "the Church," as arising from the death-sleep of " the Christ "-- and her ultimate position as intended to be presented to Himself without spot (no trace left of the fall)? without wrinkle (in everlasting youth), "nor any such thing as would be unworthy of the mansions in the Father's house to which He will conduct her. All this bears upon our present life. The Church is now being "builded together," quickened together with Christ, and those who follow the instructions of Scripture are assured that there is thus a spiritual bond that will endure when all merely earthly relationships pass away. It may be permitted to me, after fifty years' happy experience, to bear testimony to the unspeakable blessing of the institution of marriage; not only as a civil contract (though this cannot be over-estimated), but as a " mystery" (or shadowing-forth of heavenly realities), in which are involved truths quite hidden from modern philosophy. We have (as expounded by our Lord) the assurance that God from the beginning united the first pair in an indissoluble bond, and that " He hateth putting away." We have, also, the reciprocal duties of man and wife established; not on the basis of superior strength, but the husband, according to the teaching of the great apostle, is bound to nourish and to cherish his wife even as the Lord the Church. To those who discard the idea of " the Church " this is, of course, without meaning; and to those who own no "Lord" to whom they owe subjection, it may seem unreasonable that the wife should find happiness in a state of subjection to her husband. Still more impossible in such cases must it appear that the wife should " see that, she reverence her husband "!
The past of man's history.
We will now review the bearing of the truths we are considering on the illimitable past. We have seen that man was created to have a religious history, to respond, in fact, to the gracious purposes of God in his thoughts towards the workmanship of his hand. It necessarily follows that the degree to which he fulfils, or fails in fulfilling, the original purpose of his being must ever have made him amenable to the judgment passed by his Maker on his works.
We have, then, the basis of a religious history in God revealing his own mind and purposes to man, and gradually bringing these to pass through such a series of dispensations as we read of in Scripture. Thus, in some sense, the kingdom of God exists wherever we find men (from Abel downwards) disposed to walk in his ways; but the existence of such a kingdom cannot possibly be placed further back than the fall of man, and the first promise of a Redeemer; nor can this era be looked upon as much more ancient than that ascribed to these events in our Bibles.
Philosophy asks us to look back over a dreary waste of man's existence for hundreds of thousands of years, during which (if a created being) he must have been responsible to his Creator, and condemned for his misdeeds without hope or possibility of pardon or recovery. Who can believe that an Almighty Being could suffer such a portent to exist? If not Almighty, but limited by laws which he cannot break, then we fall back into the conception of a mere thundering Jupiter; full of bombast, but in the end subject himself to Fate! Is this better than Atheism? It is impossible to frame any accordance between those who have banished an Almighty God from their thoughts and their councils, and those on the other hand who look upon all things as ministering to his glory.
All such believers have in every age confided in a living God, "The alone Powerful One " (---- ----) who is not dependent for happiness on any source external to himself -- who is, in fact, blessedness itself (--------, Chrysostom), independent of all laws (else not Almighty), capable of being moved to love or hate by human actions, and answering prayer by altering in their favour the ordinary course of events, or even the hearts and dispositions of men. Such an One has been the object of trust from the beginning. I regard the philosophers who would construct for us a universe without God, and an immeasurable past of man's history without law, or faith, or hope, as simply the advance guard of the army of Nihilists, and as bent on destroying everything which makes life valuable; in fact, as enemies of the whole human race. Take away the kingdom of heaven from amongst men, -- abolish all notion of " the Church " as that which responds to God's revelation of himself, -- you take away all the colouring, all the beauty, all the poetry out of this visible scene. You leave nothing but a ghastly skeleton; in the language of the alchemists, the Spiritus has vanished the Phlegma alone remains.
I maintain that the world cannot be in any measure understood either
in its past or present condition, if we exclude the spiritual, the religious
aspect. I cannot surrender my convictions to those who think otherwise.
If we have to do with persons afflicted with colour-blindness, we cannot
be blamed for saying, " We regret that your view of the world invests everything
with the hues of universal drab, in which it is your misfortune to behold
the fair face of Creation shrouded;
but we do not submit to be taught
by you, whose vision is imperfect, that
are the only persons
capable of painting landscapes, or of writing poetry."
The first home of mankind.
Philosophy is, at present, attempting to furnish us with a quite new history of religion. By investigating the written religious books of the East, and evolving much out of her own consciousness, she hopes to understand the gradual steps by which man slowly worked himself up to the conception of "the Infinite." She will then (it is hoped) be able to present this conception in a new and clearer light,-- a quite fresh crystallisation of the idea (as the chemists would say), free from Jewish and Christian mother-liquor, and we shall then be able to do correct homage to that hitherto misunderstood " something which, external to ourselves, makes for righteousness"!
In the meantime, the testimony of the sacred Scriptures is quietly ignored, and the modern instructors of our race tell us that "it is supposed that man first appeared in a land now beneath the Indian Ocean"!
It is not too much to say that not the slightest ground exists for such a supposition. Like other of the dreams of philosophy, it rests on no solid proof whatever. " I see no difficulty in believing " has become the creed chanted in full chorus by Darwin and his disciples. This theory is wholly opposed to the most recent researches of science.
In the recently-published first volume of the publication of the Challenger, Sir Wyville Thomson informs us, as the result of the deep-sea sounding, that
"There does not seem to be a shadow of reason for suposing that the gently undulating plains, extending for over a hundred millions of square miles, at a depth of 2,500 fathoms beneath the surface of the sea, and presenting, like the land, their local areas of secular elevation and depression, and their centres of more active volcanic disturbance, were ever raised, at all events in mass, above the level of the sea; such an arrangement, indeed, is inconceivable."
The researches of science thus help to dispel the dreams of philosophy. On the other hand, we find the truths of revelation confirmed on every side. The remembrance of the first home of the human race has imprinted itself too deeply in the language, the traditions, and the history of mankind to be easily eradicated, even by the crudities of Positivism, however all-potent these may seem for the moment.
In the first place, the testimony of Scripture is very clear and precise.
The religious history of man begins, then, in the embodying' of what I have called the Church idea in the introduction of our first parents, not into the wild world, but into a specially-selected garden. The Covenant name Jehovah Elohim specially marks out this account as the Church history in contrast with the more secular account in the first chapter of Genesis. Here, whilst abundantly supplied with all that was good and warned against evil, man was to have responded to the goodness of God, and to have learned how to name all God's creatures, and to subdue them all to himself as the visible representative of Deity. He was to exercise to the full his faculties both of mind and body; and evidently all this arrangement pointed to nothing less than his becoming king over all the earth.
As the germ in the acorn is sheltered from all mischief and abundantly supplied with nourishment, so man was placed in those favourable circumstances which were essential to the first beginning of his life-- a life which, when matured, was intended, like the oak, to dominate all the surroundings.
These circumstances could only be found in the warmest and most favoured regions of the world,-- such as the district of Babylonia, the exuberant fertility of which is celebrated by Herodotus. He says that its soil was so well fitted to the growth of the cerealia, that it seldom produced less than two hundredfold, and in favourable seasons as much as three hundredfold. Xenophon adds, that the dates of Babylonia were so good, that what the Babylonians gave to their slaves were superior to those which found their way to Greece. Strabo states that Babylonia produced barley such as no other country did, and that the palm-tree afforded the people bread and honey, and wine and vinegar, and materials for wearing. In such a situation, and with a delightful climate, which continued till the days of the Greek writers, was man first placed. Cyrus was in the habit of spending the seven colder months at Babylon because of the mildness of the climate.
Two of the rivers of Eden are expressly stated to be the Euphrates, and the Tigris under its old Accadian name, still in use, " Hiddekel " ; and Gikhkhan, the exact representative of Gihon, is given as a synonym of the Euphrates. This was probably a branch of the Euphrates, compassing the whole land of Cush, or the land of Nimrod, the Kutha of the Arabian geographers. The site of the town has been identified with the ruins of Towibah, immediately adjacent to Babylon. There remains only the river Pison to be inquired after. This compassed the whole land of Havilah, which was a settlement of the Ishmaelites, the most to the east of any of their tribes. It has been identified by consent of commentators with the province of Bahrein, on the Persian Gulf, a district anciently watered, as we gather from Pliny, by a branch of the Euphrates which, diverging from the course of its other channels, ran southward parallel with this gulf, and full into it nearly opposite to the Bahrein Islands, of which one still retains the name of Aval, famous for its pearl-fishery. Afurther verification of the site is afforded by the added words " there are (bdellium) pearls, ----, from the root ----, as signifying an excellent, selected pearl (Ges, Lex.). All things considered, I think it must be admitted that the sacred historian described the Garden of Eden as in Babylonia. The first mention of Eden, ---- (delight, pleasure) is in Gen. ii., apparently of a district well known, under that name, watered by the four well-known principal streams above mentioned, flowing through a deep rich alluvial tract of country, which by this very description reminds us that ages must have elapsed before the creation of man for such rivers to be formed and for their alluvium to be thus deposited. These streams (the Euphrates and the Tigris) have throughout the historic period mingled their often-changing courses either through natural or artificial channels. Through one of these last the steamboats of Colonel Chesney's expedition made their way, passing from the one river to the other.
When Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, he dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden, that is, apparently, of the district so called; whilst this tract of country again was that lying to the eastward of Judea.
This whole region is little watered by rain, as Herodotus remarks (Clio, i. 193); but there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the land. The name seems to have been conferred upon it from its exuberant fertility. A similar term (---- Eden) lingered till the late times of the Jewish monarchy. This slightly different form helps to mark the district in which the Garden was placed.
It is remarkable that in this, as in so many other cases, the recent discoveries confirm the inspired narrative. A common Elamite name of Babylonia was Gan Duniyas and Gan-duni Gan signifying " enclosure," '' district," and Duni or Duniyas being the sacred name. The word in the Hebrew translated garden is also Gan. Gan-eden and Gan-duniare in all probability parallel words-- " Garden of Delight" or '' Enclosure of God." It is necessary to remember that the genius of the nations we are speaking of as the early inhabitants of this region, tended strongly to what we call paronomasia. Thus, according to Jewish commentators, Cain had a double meaning (the lamentable or the acquisition) as derived from one or other of two similar verbs; and, not to multiply instances, the word Babel appears to have been at first Bab-il or Babilu, " the Gate of God," as alluding to the sacredness I have above spoken of. When the confusion of tongues had taken place, it was called (by the family of Shem) Babel, or confusion, with very little alteration of the pronunciation. The whole district was called "the Dominion of Bel" up to the time of Sargon, who uses this term for Babylonia, and Bel or El was the name of God derived from times before the flood. The sacredness which belonged to the whole district was, so to speak, intensified in reference to the site of Babylon. This was always the sacred city in the estimation both of the Babylonians and Chaldeans.
It was, then, in Eden that Jehovah Elohim is described as planting the garden, and, though called the garden of Eden afterwards (or simply the two words in apposition), there is no reason to identify the garden with Eden, which was evidently a much wider appellation.
Now it is remarkable that the most ancient name of Babylon, in the idiom of the ante-Semitic population, was Tin-tir-ki, which signifies, according to Lenormant, "the place of the tree of life."
Many reasons induce me to believe that the site of Babylon was exactly that of the garden itself. Corruptio optimi fit pessima-- I commend the thought to the inquiry of students of Scripture, but cannot follow it out here. To those who have any acquaintance with the mysteries such as I have alluded to in my treatise on "the Druids," reasons derived from this source will probably present themselves without difficulty. The enclosed garden, the tree of life, the serpent, and the woman,-- the dark colour with which even the British females stained themselves, showing the Eastern origin of the rites,-- the cherubim, the fiery flaming sword, the impending curse, death, and simulated resurrection; the final attainment of the knowledge of good and evil; the entire laying aside of shame, in a reversion to other than Paradisaical innocence, the worship of the serpent still practised with mysterious rites and orgies; do not all these things point to one original?
I think there can be but one answer to this question. I suspect that, even in the modern system of Freemasonry, there may be a hyper-exaltation of the tree of knowledge above the tree of life. How can the highest good be obtained but by the knowledge of the Christian "mystery," in which are all the secret treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (See Alford, Greek Test., iii. p. 215.)
Nothing in the known history of mankind corresponds to the gradual progress of mankind from savagery, by slow steps to civilisation. We have, on the contrary, the remembrance of the first happy home in Eden,-- of the garden and river (to which the mysteries of Demeter had no obscure reference), of the ten patriarchs before the flood, of the lawless giants, and the time when the earth was filled with violence; and then of the flood, called in Hebrew by a particular word-- the Deluge. According to Babylonian tradition, arts and sciences had made great progress before this event; so much so, that it was worth while taking special care to preserve them. Berosus relates that after the death of "Ardates his son Xisuthrus (or as written on the baked tiles Sisit, 'the escaped of the Deluge,') succeeded him. In his time happened the great Deluge (----). The Deity, Cronus, appeared to him in a vision, and gave him notice that, upon the 15th day of the month, Desius, there would be a flood, by which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to commit to writing a history of the beginning, procedure, and final conclusion of all things down to the present term, and to bury these accounts securely in the city of the sun, at Sippara." After the flood, according to this account, they returned to Babylon, and, having found the writings at Sippara (near Babylon) they set about building cities, and erecting temples, and Babylon was thus inhabited again.
Several things are to be noted here. In the first place, that the Babylonians believed their history (like our Genesis) referred to the beginning of all things, man, of course, included. In the next place this is the first account we have of the art of writing being known before the flood. The Greek of the original, from Apollodorus, speaks more clearly of the writings as ----, and these records, it says, were to be buried at Sippara, and were again dug up. This would correspond well with their being recorded, as Pliny says, on baked tiles,-- a most lasting kind of deposit. The Temple of the Sun, at Sippara, was celebrated, and was repaired by an early Babylonian king.
Now, whatever truth there may be in all this, one thing is clear, that the Babylonians had no other conception than that of a religious history of mankind; that they believed in his early civilisation, and connected together in their thoughts the first and second home of mankind.
Another remarkable connexion to which I can only allude is the widely-diffused belief in Idris, or Seth, as a great astronomer, whose writings had come down to the Sabians, the star-worshippers of the new world. In the Babylonian account of the Deluge it is said that when the window of the ark was opened " the land appeared high and mountainous, for it rose 12 degrees above the horizon." This curious passage (according to Fox Talbot) seems to show that the Chaldeans used instruments for measuring and surveying. And since 12 degrees is a, very reasonable and probable elevation for a mountainous coast, seen not far off, it is likely that they divided the circle into 360 degrees, as we do.
Not only do we find traces of a remarkable amount of civilisation, but also, however hidden under a mass of idolatry, we see clearly that they believed in one Supreme Being,-- " the god One "; also in a future life of blessedness to the righteous and destruction to the wicked. See a paper by Fox Talbot on " The Religious Belief of the Assyrians."
A remarkable instance of a common knowledge of God as the Supreme Ruler is found in 2 Chron. xxxvi. v. 13, where we are told that Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah swear by God, i.e., by "Elohim,"-- passing by Nebo and all the gods of Babylon. This oath the Israelitish monarch is reprobated for not having kept.
In all this we do not see a trace of the modem figment of man raising himself by slow degrees to the conception of the Supreme Being. It is all the other way, and the primitive knowledge common to all the world was kept down or crushed by unrighteousness. The true God seems to have been known as El, and it was ----,-- the Most High God, whom Melchizedec acceptably worshipped. It is the Allah of the East to the present day.
Strange to say, and confirming the scripture history, amongst the very earliest idolatries we have the worship of Hea, the serpent, the god of wisdom, who takes possession of the Lady of the earth, and by her has the promised seed,-- the Mediator. Was this, then, the purpose of the Old Serpent? Did he thus seek to become the Lord of the whole earth, in the person of the Mediator, as his adopted Son? Do we not listen to the voice of the same personality in the temptation of our Saviour where he says,-- "All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou, therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine."
"In the Assyrian system it was the special work of the god Hea and his son Merodach to check and reverse the work of these [seven] demons, the messengers of the vengeance of Anu, the Supreme God of heaven."
The Chaldeans divided the night and day into twelve instead of twenty-four hours, and the circumference of the heaven into twelve signs of the Zodiac, through which the sun passes in its annual course. These were the mansions, to each of which were assigned three stars (called, according to Lenormant, dieux conseillers, and, I suppose, alluded to in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, where he sees a watcher and an holy one come down from heaven). These twelve signs of the Zodiac corresponded to the twelve months of the year.
The heavenly host of stars were naturally regarded as a flock, and when they began to form these into groups and constellations it was most suitable to assign the leading place in the zodiac (from ----, animal) to the Ram as the leader; then followed the bull, the twins, the crab, the lion, the virgin, the scorpion, the claws of the scorpion, the archer, the goat, the water-carrier, the fishes. It will be noticed that they differ somewhat from the modern. A place was found for Ishtar the Virgin translated to the heavens as the mother of the young sun (the heavenly child in the mysteries). The zodiacal ram was the object of worship in all Syria and in Persia, when this was honoured as the sign under which the world had received its origin.
The vernal equinox corresponded with Aries (the ram). The sun would have entered the first point of Aries at the vernal equinox since 2540 b.c., and still at the time of Hippar-chus marked the beginning of spring. Before this time it would have accorded with another sign (the bull).
Laplace marked the probable origin of the zodiac at 2500 b.c., before
much of the above had been discovered.
The temptation and fall of man.
I approach now with some solicitude the most difficult part of my subject, in which lies, however, the very heart and kernel of the destinies of the human race.
It is some relief to think that science has nothing whatever to say as to the moral or spiritual nature of man. We cannot subject his actions to the test of ultimate analysis, neither can we project a prism of his spiritual nature and define the meaning of the dark lines which cross the spectrum.
It is with philosophy that our difficulty lies, for human wisdom might readily admit that the creation seems to find its crowning point in man. This has been admitted by deeply thinking heathen. But that man, created very good, should have fallen away from his Creator and become a rebel and an apostate ;-- that hence arise the sin and misery that surround us, of which we are all partakers; and also the doom of death that awaits us in consequence,-- this is so humbling, that without faith it is impossible to receive the truth. If philosophy could lay aside her pride, she would no longer be the dangerous guide whom we have been refusing to follow. In fact, she would give place to enlightened faith. In the meantime, failing to receive the help of religion, she becomes herself a notoriously unpractical teacher.
As before explained, I take religion as my only guide in seeking to investigate the early destinies of man, and consequently receive by faith the account given in the third of Genesis. In so doing I find that great light is thrown on the present condition of mankind; and the cheering promise mingles its rays of hope with the dark shades of the picture, leading to the assurance of the ultimate triumph of the Deliverer. The seed of the woman consequently becomes "the Desire of all nations," and the facts recorded mingled themselves with the traditions of all early times; although (as is well said by M. Lenormant), "the truth of the fall, and of the original sin, is one of those against which human pride has most constantly revolted, and that from which it has sought immediately to withdraw itself. Thus, of all the portions of primitive traditions concerning the outset of humanity, it is that which has the soonest become obliterated. As soon as men felt the pride which the progress of their civilisation inspired, and their conquests of the material world, they abandoned the idea. The religious philosophies founded outside that revelation, which is now deposited amongst the chosen people, have taken no account of the fall. Besides, how could this doctrine square with the reveries of Pantheism, and of Emanation? " He quotes Pascal, who eloquently says, " Sans doute le noeud de notre condition prend ses retours et ses replis dans cet abime, de sorte que 1'homme est plus inconcevable sans ce mystère que ce mystère n'est inconcevable á l'homme.'"
It is boldly asserted that no one is able to write the history of mankind but the author of the Positivist religion. I know not wherefore, unless that (as developed in the French law courts after his death) his own life so strongly illustrated the position I have been taking of man being a fallen, and apostate, and every way degraded creature.
Let us then, once for all, admit that man is what the Scripture describes and experience proves him to be; and we shall find a clear light thrown at once upon all his religious history. Revealed religion is appointed as his relief and succour in this unhappy condition. Idolatry also presents its counterfeit means of salvation; but Philosophy must recommend him to end his miserable life as soon as possible; for she has no prospect to open out to him individually. She can only speak hopefully to future generations who may benefit by the advance of civilisation.
But man requires some better comfort than the above, some more glorious good news to illuminate his darkness. He asks for something or some person on which to place his trust. If the efforts of philosophy succeed in destroying his hopes, he will probably finish, as he began, by exalting some hero, some " benefactor," into the place of divine authority and power. Some centre of worship there must be; some visible authority to control all consciences.
The leopard skin of united priestly and kingly authority may, for anything I can see, be yet thrown around the shoulders of some glorious mortal greater than Caesar, claiming the homage of all!
Such a personage seems to have been the mighty Nimrod, whose career, though little noticed in Scripture, must have left indelible traces on the early destinies of mankind. It is most evident that the material on which he had to work was that of a fallen humanity; and if, as appears probable, he was the first to claim for himself divine honours, his career makes out very clearly the effect of the early infusion of the poison of the old Serpent, and the tendency of the race of man towards the attempted usurpation of the prerogatives of the Most High; indicated by the proud assumption, "Ye shall be as Elohim." It was as " a mighty hunter," rather than as a philosopher, that he found the means of establishing his kingdom.
The Rev. Mr. Sayce has attempted to show that all our evidence arising from recent study of early Babylonian history goes to identify this great hunter of the ancient world with Merodach, the primary object of Nebuchadnezzar's worship. Babylonia is described in the cuneiform inscriptions as "the land of Merodach," just as in the Bible it is called "the land of Nimrod." Merodach is the wild hunter of the ancient world, having his four celebrated dogs, "the Despoiler," "the Devourer," "the Seizer," and "the Capturer." The name Maruduc (in Assyrian) is a modification of the Accadian Amarud.
Merodach alone of the gods in Babylonia is symbolised by the human figure as a man walking. He is called Gusur, or the hero. According to Genesis, he was a descendant of Cush; and this brings us back to the land of Cush, of which we have already spoken. He was worshipped at a later period in a most famous temple, Kharris-Nipra, which was the especial dwelling-place of Bilu-Nipru. Rawlinson, in his "History of Herodotus," says that, after mature deliberation, no better explanation can be obtained for Nipru than the hunter. A strong confirmation of this being the right meaning is found in the expressions of Tiglath Pileser I., who boasts of having hunted the people of Bilu-Nipru (the Divine hunter). Sargon also speaks of the 350 kings from remote antiquity, who ruled over Assyria, and hunted the people of Bilu-Nipru, the verb napar being used in each passage, and the allusion being apparently to the original Nipru; or Nimrod, having proved himself a mighty hunter before the Lord.
The name of this chieftain had at first, in all probability, some reference to Nimr, the leopard. Whilst honoured by divine titles by his people, he is in the religious history of mankind noted as the Rebel. Another name by which he is marked out seems to be that of Chesil (----), or the Fool, in allusion to his arrogant presumption. This is the name given in Scripture to the constellation Orion, which the orientals call "The Giant," and the Chaldeans apparently Doumouzi or Tammuz.
According to the learned Assyriologist from whom I have quoted above, it is very difficult to distinguish between Bel Merodach (the planet Jupiter) and Bel Nimrod (the god Nimrod). He was identified with the star of Babylon's adoration, and the influence of his character impressed itself on many succeeding generations. In fact, as long as the world yields homage to " Caesarism " as simply the embodiment of power, it will yield its assent to the principles of Nimrod's government.
I am not writing as a theologian or as a politician, nor as competent to expound all the figurative language of Scripture, but I find exactly what I want to express my idea in striking metaphor, when out of the sea I behold arising (in Rev. xiii.) a wild beast (----, "a savage beast") like unto a leopard, acting on its own instincts, but invested by " the dragon" with his power and his seat and great authority. I have dwelt upon "the great authority " and the "seat" of "the serpent god," but must recall that his seat must be associated both with Eden and Babylon. "And all the world wondered after the Beast." "Whatever may be the fulfilment, this seems all foreshadowed in the history of Nimrod and the early apostasy of which he was the head.
The contrasted Conqueror in the Revelation is the Lamb as it had been slain in the midst of the throne (having there the fulness of power and the fulness of vision and receiving universal homage), and subsequently presented as coming forth to conquest as "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
A further contrast (I do not say intended) is that the claim of Nimrod was, as above, to have identified himself with "the star of Merodach" and consequently to have been worshipped as such in the great temple of Babylon, and to have descended to rest on the golden couch at the summit. The prophet Isaiah apostrophises the king of Babylon thus :-- "How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the Morning." Dilgan was the patron star of Babylon, the star of Merodach, i.e. the planet Jupiter, the same with the Phoenician Gad, the star of good luck, (See Isaiah lxv. 11, margin).
The claim of Christ is to be the Bright and Morning Star leading on to the eternal day and the worship of the heavenly city. Lucifer and Christ thus stand in contrast.
I am very much impressed with the permanence of conceptions early fixed in the memory of the race of Adam. I should instance as above the names of the heavenly constellations, but observe further that the formation of the zodiac dates from the same period, as also the names of the days of the week. The figure of a star, as indicating a royal personage, familiar to the Magi, dates from Nimrod. There is, moreover, a whole catalogue of Eastern legends originating thus far back.
Take, as an instance, "the women weeping for Tammuz." In reading the accounts of the Gnostics we find the notions of the "Demiurge" and of the creation as viewed from the serpent's point of view. The mysticism of Druids and serpent-worshippers, as well as of Ophites of a later age, all pointing to a common Chaldean origin. Demonology and magic, of course, are essentially Babylonian, but it is not so generally known that modern science, in some sense, returns to the same source and renews that which had passed away. The Pythagorean system, and Greek philosophers drinking in their inspiration at the fountain of Egyptian and of still earlier Chaldean lore, would easily furnish proofs of the above statement. It is enough to instance the atomic theory, and the conception of Empedocles of Eros and Anteros (attraction and repulsion), also similar ideas connected with the formation of the universe as told by Sanchoniatho.
Those who read the conceptions of Hades in the earlier poets will find
many of their thoughts anticipated in the account of the descent of Ishtar
to the infernal regions. The Chaldeans placed "the spring of the waters
of life" in the most profound abyss of Hades, guarded with jealous care
by the infernal Hecate. A commandment of the heavenly power could open
access to the fountain, and whoever drank of this water returned also to
the light of day. For the rest it was a road which one descends, without
returning, through seven gates into the prison-- the place where
one has only dust to satisfy the cravings of hunger, and mud for drink;
where light is not seen, and the inhabitants dwell in darkness; where the
shades of the dead, like birds
bats), fill the vault of
the temple of the dead.
When man, not content with a position of dependence, aspired to be as Elohim, he manifested that species of thirst after knowledge which distinguishes philosophy, and soon sought after this in forbidden ways. This seems to have been the first lie (----), which beguiled our first parents in their primitive transgression, and it maybe connected with the last " falsehood " (----) that shall consummate the "apostasy "-- the lie of Christian prophecy symbolising with the old temptation, "Ye shall be as Elohim." (See 2 Thess. ii. 11.)
Pride seems to be the ruin of the human race. The first who took the name of ----, and that on the ground of much superior knowledge (I allude to Pythagoras), was overthrown with all his followers on account of their intolerable pride. " The hatred which they had excited speedily led to their destruction."
The Scripture enlightens us as to the early destinies which man designed for himself, and his consequent rebuke and chastisement. Remarkably is this confirmed both by tradition and by the most carefully recorded history; such as that of Berosus, the Chaldean.
I think that I have succeeded in proving that the guidance of religion is the only true leading in the matters we have contemplated. I honour and esteem Science working in her proper sphere. Philosophy, on the contrary, viewed in the aspects I have described, is certainly doing her utmost to overthrow Christianity; but if successful, if she could for ever banish the idea of God from the world, it would not be to set up the reign of reason, but to introduce a period of lawlessness,-- (the ----, lawlessness said to be characteristic of the last days of this Dispensation, Matt. xxiv. 12; 2 Thess. ii.), resulting in the reign of supreme force in the person of a lawless one (----), the last embodiment of apostasy against God.
The satisfactory conclusion to which I arrive is that, when man is brought
humbly to accept Divine teaching, he is furnished with what I have designated
Divine Philosophy founded on Divine Revelation. He is made acquainted with
his fallen state, and led to accept the peace and reconciliation provided
for all who thirst after the blessing. The spring of the water of life,
rising not from the depth of Hades but flowing from the throne of God and
of the Lamb, will have this effect, that he shall never thirst again,
the water which the Prince of Life gives shall spring up into everlasting
life. Man's first destinies were noble and worthy of the goodness of
his Creator. His aspirations are still noble, but for some reason (inexplicable
except by religion), the more noble his aspirations, the more cultivated
his intellect, the more perfect his civilisation,-- only so much the more
splendid is his misery. To judge by the preparations of nations at the
present moment, the highest ambition is to perfect the arts of destruction;
and yet at the suggestion of Philosophy we are called upon to bow down
and worship Humanity! If such be the teaching of the nineteenth century,
I prefer that of a poet of the past, which presents in a condensed form
the subject for this evening's consideration and the happy result of the
teaching of Divine Philosophy.
Then we are free. Then liberty like day
Breaks on the soul, and by a flash from Heaven
Fires all the faculties with glorious joy.
A voice is heard, that mortal ears hear not,
Till Thou hast touch'd them; 'tis the voice of song--
A loud Hosannah sent from all Thy works,
Which he that hears it with a shout repeats,
And adds his rapture to the general praise.
In that bless'd moment Nature, throwing wide
Her veil opaque, discloses with a smile
The Author of her beauties; who retired
Behind His own creation, works unseen
By the impure, and hears His power denied.
Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
Their only point of rest, Eternal Word !
From thee departing, they are lost, and rove
At random, without honour, hope, or peace.
From Thee is all that soothes the life of man,
His high endeavour, and his glad success,
His strength to suffer, and His will to serve.
But O, thou bounteous Giver of all good,
Thou art of all thy gifts Thyself the crown ;
Give what Thou wilt, without Thee we are poor,
And with Thee rich, take what Thou wilt away.
|Epochs of the Year.
|Assyrian (and Jewish) Names of the Month.
|Symbolic Accadian Names.
|Corresponding Signs of the Zodiac.
|Cosmogonic Legends attached to the Months.
|1. March-April .........
|The Altar of the Creator (Bel) The propitious
bull ... The fabrication of bricksThe blessing of the seed Fire producing
fire...... The message of Ischtar
The pure tumulus (sanctuary?)
Opening the foundation
|Anu and Bel ...............
|Creation and organisation of the world Creation
of man The two brothers, enemies. The foundation of the first city The
untimely death of TammuzDescent of Ischtar into Hades Entrance of evil
(p. 267) Combat of Maraduc with Tiamat (p. 507) Death of the sun (solstice
of winter) [Birth of the sun 25th Dec.] (p. 258) The Deluge
Renewal of the culture of the earth after the Deluge
|Air(Yiar) ... Sivan .........D o u z (or Tammuz) Ab ............
|Hea, Lord of humanity... Schin, eldest brother
of BelSandan (Moloch?), the fierce summer sun (p. 524). Allat, the lady
of the magic wand Ischtar Schamash, the supreme and equitable judge ; the
scales, equinox (p. 256). The herald of the gods, Maruduc The great
hero, Nergal, the lord of the tomb (p. 257). Papsoukal, the messenger of
Anou and of Ischtar The god Ramman, the Inundator (pp. 241, 260, note).
The seven great gods ...
|6. August-September . 7. September-October ..8. October-November
. 9. November- December 10. December-January . 11. January-February...
12. February-March ...
|Ouloul (orEM) Taschrit (or Tisri) Arakh Samna (or Hesvan)
Kisiliv (or Kisleu) Tebit (or Tebet) Shebat (or Sebat)
|The thick clouds... ......The cavern of the
rising (of the sun) The curse of the rain Month of good augury .
|Aquarius ...... Pisces .........
Chiefly from Lenormant, Les Origines; see the Tableau, p. 598, and also the pages of the same work referred to; see also Sayce, Soc. Bib. Arch. Trans., iii. 162. The Pleiades.
This table (above) is put together chiefly on the basis of one constructed by M. Lenormant, and published in his work, Leg Origines. It is simply tentative, and may probably be much improved by subsequent discoveries in the cuneiform inscriptions. Even in its present shape it may show how inextricably interwoven are the traditions of events recorded in Genesis with the earliest astronomical science of the most civilised nations of the early world. Long before the time of Moses these appear to have been commemorated in a series of tablets adapted to the twelve months of the year, as shown in the last column.
The stereotyped astronomy then early decided upon is not without
its influence to the present day. It is sufficient to cite the 25th of
December, of which M. Lenormant remarks :--
"Le jour du solstice d'hiver, jour de la mort périodique du soleil, est immédiativement suivi de sa résurrection, de la reprise de sa marche ascend-ante. C'est ce qu'exprimait, dans le culte Dionysiaque de la Phocide, la simultanéité de la cérémonie nocturne accomplie par les Hoséoi au tombeau du dieu dans le temple de Delphes avec la fête orgiastique où les femmes sur les montagnes, à la même heure, évaillaient par leur cris le Licnitès, c'est à dire, Dionysos nouveau né, couché dans le van mystique qui lui sert de berceau. A ceci fait surement allusion le nom symbolique accadien du mois qui succede immediatement au solstice d'hiver-- de Tebit-- itu abba uddu, ' le mois de la caverne (ou de l'adyton) du lever' (du soleil). Pour en com-prendre le sens, il suffit, en effet, de se souvenir des rites de la fete de la renaissance du jeune soleil; tels que la celebraient les Sarraceni, au dire de St. Epiphane, entrant a minuit dans un sanctuaire souterrain, d'ou le pretre ressortait bientot en criant 'La vierge a enfante, la lumiere va recommencer a croitre.' Cette ceremonie avait lieu chaque annee le 25 Decembre. On sait que c'est le desir de deraciner ces fetes essentiellement populaires, en les remplacant par une fete de la religion nouvelle qui fit fixer, dans le commencement du IVe Siecle au 25 Decembre par les chefs de l'eglise d'occident la celebration de la naissance du Christ, dont l'anniversaire exact etait inconnu."In Macmillan's Magazine for January, 1881, there is an interesting account of the observance of the Yule feast in the Black Mountain (Montenegro), in which it will be found that this festival, common to the allied nations in the early time, was essentially a commemoration of the same thing-- the birth of the sun from the dying embers of the old represented by the Yule log.
"La doctrine des ages successifs et la destruction de l'humanite du
premier de ces ages par un deluge se retrouvent dans le singulier livre
du Popol-Vuh; ce recueil des traditions mythologiques des indigenes
de Guatemala, redige en langue Quiche posterieurement a la Conquete par
un adepte secret de l'ancien religion, decouvert, copie et traduit en Espagnol
au commencement du siecle dernier par le dominicain Francisco Ximenes cure
de Saint Thomas de Chuila. Sa version Espagnole a ete publiee par M. Scheltzer;
le texte Quiche, avec une traduction Franchise par l'abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg."
Lenormant, Les Origines, p. 472.
Sir C. Wyville Thomson, it appears from a letter of Darwin in "Nature," Nov. 11th, 1880, "does not understand the principle of natural selection." The truth is, that he finds that the facts in his wide sphere of observation are against Darwin's theory. He says: --
"The character of the abyssal fauna refuses to give the least support to the theory which refers the evolution of species to extreme variation, guided only by natural selection."
A discussion ensued, in which the following took part:-- The Chairman; the Rev. C. L. Engstrom; Mr. J. Bateman, F.R.S.; the Rev. T. Aveling, D.D.; the Rev. T. M. Gorman, M.A.; and Admiral E. G. Fishbourne, R.N., C.B., who said that the earlier part of the paper must be understood as showing that, although theoretical science and philosophy might be opposed to religion, yet that true science and philosophy were not; after which the author-- Mr. J. E. Howard, F.R.S.-- remarked, that philosophy was the love of wisdom for its own sake. This was a noble attribute of man, but one likely to become perverted and misused. There were few things more misleading than the desire to know, to know for no good end, or when knowledge would do us no good service. As regards history, as far as we could obtain it, it was a corroborative proof of that which we read in Scripture; but we must remember that we were fallible in our use of history. With regard to the Divine Being being independent of all laws, God cannot act contrary to His own nature, e.g., He cannot lie, but in His upholding power, exerted throughout creation, He is subject to no law but His own will. He (Mr. Howard) had sought to bring forward evidence to show that man at the beginning had an amount of Divine revelation communicated to him. This in no way sanctioned the perverted idolatries gradually built up in connexion with original truths; the Vedas contained grand and glorious truths about Varunah or the Supreme God. The passages were so grand that Professor Max Müller represented them as almost equal to those in the Bible; but what was the use of denying that these were fragments of an early revelation, and that they were only good as far as they went? This did not sanction polytheism, or the folly and idolatry of India, and were he an Indian missionary he would seek to impress on the people the fact that their own writings contained better religious knowledge than they had adopted.
The meeting was then adjourned.