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minate the stars in heaven.* All here asserted is that the Egyptians thought the souls of their hero-gods had migrated into some star ; but not the least intimation that they were deified upon this opinion of their migration. These are two very different things. The opinion of their migration might, for any thing said by Plutarch, be an after superstition ; nay we shall make it very probable that it was so : for the Connector not resting on this authority, as indeed he had small reason, casts about for some plausible occasion, how men come to be deified upon so strange an opinion ; and this he makes to be their FIRST notice of the appearance of a particular star. But how the new appearance of a star should make men suppose the soul of a dead ancestor was got into it, and so become a God, is as hard to conceive as how Tenterden steeple should be the cause of GoodwinSands. Indeed, it was natural enough to imagine such an inipávela, when the cultivation of judicial astrology had aided a growing superstition to believe that their tutelary God had chosen the convenient residence of a culminating star, in order to shed his best influence on his own race or people. This seems to be the truth of the case : and this, I believe, was all the Egyptian priests, in Plutarch, meant to say.
But from a sufficient cause, this new appearance is become (before the conclusion of the paragraph) the only cause of deification : Julius Cæsar was not canonized until the appearance of the Julium Sidus : nor could the Phenicians have any notion of the divinity of Cronus until they made some observations of the star which they imagined he was removed into. As to Cæsar's apotheosis it was a vile imitation of those viler flatteries of Alexander's successors in Greece and Egypt ; and the Julium Sidus an incident of no other consequence than to save his sycophants from blushing. But abandoned Courtiers and prostitute Senates never wait for the declaration of Heaven : and when the slaves of Rome sent a second tribe of Monsters to replenish the Constellations, we find that Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, fc. who rose into Gods as they sunk below humanity, had no more Stars in their favour than Teague in the Committee. But of all cases, the Phenicians' seems the hardest : who with their infinite superstitions could yet have no notion of Cronus's divinity, 'till they had read his fortune in his Star. I am so utterly at a loss to know what this can mean, that I will only say, if the reader cannot see how they might come by this notion another way, then, either he has read, or I have written, a great deal to very little purpose.
VI. We come now to the last cause assigned by the Ancients for • Ου μόνον δε τούτων οι ιερείς λέγουσιν, αλλά και των άλλων θεών, όσοι μή αγέννητοι μηδέ άφθαρτοι, τα μεν σώματα παρ' αυτοίς κείσθαι καμόντα και θεραπεύεσθαι, τάς δε ψυχάς εν ουρανώ λάμπειν άστρα.-Page 640, edit. Steph. 8νο.
brute-worship, as we find it in EUSEBIUS ;* namely, That it was the invention of a certain king, for his private ends of policy, to establish in each city the exclusive worship of a different animal, in order to prevent confederacies and combinations against his Government. That an Egyptian king did in fact contrive such a political institution one may safely allow, because, on this very supposition, it will appear that brute-worship had another and prior original. For it is not the way of Politicians to invent new Religions, but to turn those to advantage which they find already in use. The cunning, therefore, of this Egyptian monarch consisted in founding a new institution of intolerance, upon an old established practice in each city of different animal-worship. But supposing this king of so peculiar a strain of policy that he would needs invent a new Religion ; How happened it that he did not employ hero-worship to this purpose (so natural a superstition that it became universal) rather than the whimsical and monstrous practice of brute-worship, not symbolical, when direct hero-worship would have served his purpose so much better; religious zeal for the exclusive honour of a dead citizen being likely to rise much higher than reverence to a compatriot animal ?
The only solution of the difficulty is this, Brute-worship being then the favourite superstition of the people, the politic monarch chose that for the foundation of his contrivance. So that we must needs conclude, this pretended cause to be as defective as the rest.
These were the reasons the Greek writers gave for brute-worship in general. But besides these, they invented a thousand fanciful causes of the worship of this or that animal in particular ; which it would be to no purpose to recount.
On the whole, so little satisfaction did these writers afford to the learned Fourmont (who yet is for making something or other out of every råg of Antiquity, which he can pick up and new-line with an Etymology), that he frankly owns the true original of brute-worship is the most difficult thing imaginable to find out : Si on nous demandoit (says he) de quel droit, tel ou tel dieu, avoit sous lui tel ou tel animal, pour certain, rien de plus difficile à deviner.t
However, amidst this confusion, the Greeks, we see, were modest. They fairly gave us their opinions, but forged no histories to support them. The Arabian writers were of another cast : it was their way to free themselves from these perplexities by telling a story: Thus Abennephi, being at a loss to account for the Egyptian worship of a fiy, invents this formal tale, That the Egyptians being greatly infested with these insects, consulted the oracle, and were answered, that they
† Reft. Crit. sur les Histoires des
See « Divine Legation,” vol. i. p. 364. anciens Peuples, liv. ii. $ 4.
must pay them divine honours. See then, says this dextrous writer, the reason of our finding so many on the obelisks and pyramids.
But of all the liberties taken with remote Antiquity, sure nothing ever equalled that of a late French writer, whose book, intituled, Histoire Du Ciel, accidentally fell into my hands as this sheet was going to the press. Kircher, bewildered as he was, had yet some ground for his rambles. He fairly followed Antiquity : unluckily indeed, for him, it proved the ignis fatuus of Antiquity ; so he was ridiculously misled. However he had enough of that fantastic light to secure his credit as a fair writer. But here is a man who regards Antiquity no more than if he thought it all imaginary, like his countryman, Hardouin. At least, he tells us in express words, that the study of the tedious and senseless writings of Herodotus, Plato, Diodorus, Plutarch, Porphyry, and such like, is all labour lost. The truth is, these volatile writers can neither rest in fact nor fable; but are in letters what Tacitus's Romans were in civil government, who could neither bear a perfect freedom, nor a thorough slavery.* Only with this additional perversity, that when the inquiry is after Truth they betray a strange propensity to Fable; and when Fable is their professed subject, they have as untimely an appetite for Truth ; thus, in that philosophical Romance called La vie de Sethos, we find a much juster account of old Egyptian wisdom than in all the pretended Histoire du Ciel. This Historian's System is, that all the civil and religious customs of Antiquity sprung up from AGRICULTURE ; nay that the very Gods and Goddesses themselves were but a part of this allbounteous harvest :t
Nec ulla inter ea est inaratæ gratia terræ. Now the two most certain facts in Antiquity are these, “ That the idolatrous worship of the HEAVENLY BODIES arose from the visible influence they have on sublunary things ;” and “That the country- . gods of all the civilized nations were DEAD MEN deified, whose benefits to their fellow-citizens, or to mankind at large, had procured them divine honours." Could the reader think either of these were likely to be denied by one who ever looked into an ancient book ; much less by one who pretended to interpret Antiquity? But neither Gods nor Men can stand before a system. This great adventurer assures us that the whole is a delusion; that Antiquity knew nothing of the matter; that the heavenly bodies were not worshipped for their influences ; that Osiris, Isis, Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, Mercury, nay their very hero-gods, such as Hercules and Minos, were not
• This shews why Locke is no favourite of our historian : “ J'ai lû le TRES-ENXUIECX traité de Locke sur l'entendement humain," &c.-- Vol. i. pp. 387, 388. pp. 99, 315, et passim, vol. i. ed. Par. 1739, 8ro.
mortal men nor women ; nor indeed any thing but the letters of an ancient alphabet; the mere figures which composed the symbolic directions to the Egyptian husbandmen.* And yet, after all this, he has the modesty to talk of SYSTEMES BIZARRES ; † and to place the Newtonian system in that number. It would be impertinent to ask this writer, where was his regard to Antiquity or to Truth, when we see he has so little for the public, as to be wanting even in that mere respect due to every reader of common apprehension ? and yet this System, begot by a delirious imagination on the dream of a lethargic pedant, is to be called interpreting Antiquity. I However, as it is a work of entertainment, where AGRICULTURE has the top part in the piece, and Antiquity is brought in only to decorate the scene, it should, methinks, be made as perfect as possible. Would it not therefore be a considerable improvement to it, if, instead of saying the Egyptian husbandmen found their gods in the symbolic directions for their labour, the ingenious author would suppose that they turned them up alive as they ploughed their furrows, just as the Etruscans found their god Tages : $ This would give his piece the marvelous, so necessary in works of this nature, corrected too by the probable, that is, some kind of support from Antiquity, which it now totally
Besides, the moist glebe of Egypt, we know, when impregnated with a warm Sun, was of old famed for hatching men | and monsters.
To return. From what hath been last said, we conclude, That the true original of brute-worship was the use of symbolic writing : and, consequently, that Symbols were extreme ancient; for brute-worship was national in the days of Moses. But Symbols were invented for the repository of Egyptian wisdom; therefore the Egyptians were very learned even from those early times : The point to be proved.
And now, had this long discourse on the Egyptian Hieroglyphics done nothing but afford me this auxiliary proof, which my argument does not want, I should certainly have made it shorter. But it is of much use besides, for attaining a true idea of the EASTERN ELOCUTION (whose genius is greatly influenced by this kind of writing), and is therefore, I presume, no improper introduction to the present volume, whose subject is the religion and civil policy of the Hebrews. The excellent Mr. Mede pointed to this use : and the learned Mr. Daubuz endeavoured to prosecute his hint, at large; but falling into the visions of Kircher, he frustrated much of that service, which the application of hieroglyphic learning to scripture language would otherwise have afforded.
See note YYY, at the end of this book.
† See p. 122, of his Revision de l'Histoire du Ciel.
1 “S'il y a même quelque chose de solide et de suivi dans l'histoire, que je vais donner de l'origine du ciel poetique, j'avoue que j'en suis redevable à l'explication ingénieuse, mais simple, par laquelle l'auteur des saturnelles (MACROB. Saturn. lib. i. cap. 17.) nous a éclairci l'origine du nom de ces deux signes." —Hist. du Ciel, vol. i. cap. 1.
$ “ Tages quidam dicitur in agro Tarquiniensi, cum terra araretur et sulcus altius esset inpressus, extitisse repente, et eum adfatus esse, qui arabat. Is autem Tages, ut in libris est Etruscornm, puerili specie dicitur visus, sed senili fuisse prudentia," &c.--Cicero De Div. lib. ii. cap. 23.
Ο Δήμος Ερεχθήoς μεγαλήτορος, όν σοτ’ Αθήνη
Θρέψε, Διός θυγάτηρ, ΤΕΚΕ δε ζείδωρος ΑΡΟΥΡΑ.- Ilias, ii. ver. 547.
A farther advantage may be derived from this long discourse : it may open our way to the true Egyptian Wisdom ; which by reason of the general mistakes concerning the origin, use, and distinct species of Hieroglyphic writing, hath been hitherto stopped up. The subject now lies ready for any diligent enquirer ; and to such an one, whose greater advantages of situation, learning, and abilities, may make him more deserving of the public regard, I leave it to be pursued.
But whatever help this may afford us towards a better acquaintance with the ancient Egyptian Wisdom, yet, what is a greater advantage, it will very much assist us in the study of the Grecian; and, after so many instances given of this use, one might almost venture to recommend these two grand vehicles of Egyptian learning and religion, the MYSTERIES treated of in the former volume, and the HIEROGLYPHICS in the present, as the cardinal points on which the interpretation of GREEK ANTIQUITY should from henceforth turn.
The course of my argument now brings me to examine a new hypothesis against the high antiquity of Egypt, which hath the incomparable Sir Isaac Newton for its Patron ; a man, for whose fame Science and Virtue seemed to be at strife. The prodigious discoveries he had made in the natural world, and especially that superiority of genius which opened the way to those discoveries, hath induced some of his countrymen to think him as intimate with the moral; and even to believe with a late ingenious commentator on his Optics, that as every thing which Midas touched turned to gold, so all that Newton handled turned to demonstration.
But the sublimest understanding has its bounds, and, what is more to be lamented, the strongest mind has its foible. And this miracle of science, who disclosed all nature to our view, when he came to correct old Time, in the chronology of Egypt, suffered himself to be seduced, by little lying Greek mythologists and story-tellers, from the Goshen of Moses, into the thickest of the Egyptian darkness. So pestilent a mischief in the road to Truth is a favourite hypothesis : an evil, we have frequent occasion to lament, as it retards the progress of our enquiry at almost every step. For it is to be observed, that Sir Isaac's Egyptian chronology was fashioned only to support his Grecian ; which he erected on one of those sublime conceptions peculiar to his amazing genius.