Volume I[867 pages]
VOLUME I - BOOK I - CHAPTER I
AGE OF THE WORLDFLOODPLANETS AND DAYS OF THE WEEKSTHE MOON
In the most early history of mankind I find all nations endeavouring to indulge a contemptible vanity, by tracing their origin to the most remote periods; and, for the gratification of this vanity, inventing fables of every description. Of this weakness they have all, in reality, been guilty; but the inhabitants of the oriental countries occupy rather a more prominent place than those of the western world; and I believe it will not be denied that, in the investigation of subjects connected with the first race of men, they are entitled on every account to claim a precedence.
All nations have a tradition of the destruction of the world by a flood, and of the preservation of man from its effects. It appears to me that the question of the existence of the human race previous to the flood will not much interfere with my inquiries, but will, if it be admitted, only oblige me to reason upon the idea that certain facts took place before it, and that the effects arising from them were not affected by it.
Of the sayings of the wise men, there was not one, probably, more wise than that of the celebrated Know Thyself, and probably there was not one to which so little regard has been paid. It is to the want of attention to this principle that I attribute most of the absurdities with which the wise and learned, perhaps in all ages, may be reproached. Man has forgotten or been ignorant that his faculties are limited. He has failed to mark the line of demarcation, beyond which his knowledge could not extend. Instead of applying his mind to objects cognizable by his senses, he has attempted subjects above the reach of the human mind, and has lost and bewildered himself in the mazes of metaphysics. He has not known or has not attended to what has been so clearly proved by Locke, that no idea can be received except through the medium of sense. He has endeavoured to form ideas without attending to this principle, and, as might be expected, he had run into the greatest absurdities, the necessary consequence of such imprudence.
Our information of the historical transactions which it is supposed took place previous to the catastrophe, and its attendant flood, which destroyed the ancient world, is very small. Mons. Baily has observed, that the famous cycle of the Neros, and the cycle of seven days, or the week, from their peculiar circumstances, must probably have been of antediluvian invention. No persons could have invented the Neros who had not arrived at much greater perfection in astronomy than we know was the state of the most ancient of the Assyrians, Egyptians, or Greeks. The earliest of these nations supposed the year to have consisted of 360 days only, when the inventor of the Neros must have known its length to within a few seconds of timea fact observed by Mons. Baily to be a decisive proof that science was formerly brought to perfection, and therefore, consequently, must have been afterward lost. There are indeed among the Hindoos proofs innumerable that a very profound knowledge of the sciences was brought by their ancestors from the upper countries of India, the Himmalah mountains, Thibet or Cashmir. These were, I apprehend, the first descendants of the persons who lived after the deluge. But this science has long been forgotten by their degenerate successors, the present race of Brahmins. The ancient Hindoos might be acquainted with the Neros, but I think it probable that Josephus was correct in saying it is of antediluvian discovery; that is, that it was discovered previous to the time allotted for the deluge. And it is a curious circumstance that we receive this tradition from the people among whom we find the apparently antediluvian part of the book, or the first tract of the book, called Genesis, about which I shall have much more to observe in the course of this work.
Throughout all the nations of the ancient world, the planets are to be found appropriated to the days of the week. The seven-day cycle, with each day named after a planet, and universally the same day allotted to the same planet in all nations of the world, constitute the first proof, and leave no room to doubt that one system must have prevailed over the whole. Here are the origin and the reason of all judicial astrology, as well as the foundation upon which much of the Heathen mythology was built. The two were closely and intimately connected.
It is the object of this work to trace the steps by which, from the earliest time and small beginnings, this system grew to a vast and towering height, covering the world with gigantic monuments and beautiful temples, enabling one part of mankind, by means of the fears and ignorance of the other part, to trample in the dust.
Uncivilized man is by nature the most timid of animals, and in that state the most defenceless. The storm, the thunder, the lightning, or the eclipse, fills him with terror. He is alarmed and trembles at every thing which he does not understand, and that is almost every thing that he sees or hears.
Of the different histories of the creation, that contained in the book, or collection of books, called Genesis, has been in the Western part of the world the most celebrated, and the nonsense which has been written respecting it, may fairly vie with the nonsense, a little time ago alluded to, of the ancient learned men of Greece and Rome.
This book professes to commence with a history of the creation, and in our vulgar translation it says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." But I conceive for the word heavens the word planets ought to be substituted. The original for the word heavens is of great consequence. Parkhurst admits that it has the meaning of placers or disposers. In fact, it means the planets as distinguished from the fixed stars, and is the foundation, As I have said, and as we shall find, upon which all judicial astrology, and perhaps much of the Heathen mythology, was built.
The following are the names of the Gods allotted to each day : Sunday to the Sun, Monday to the Moon, Tuesday to Mars, Wednesday to Mercury, Thursday to Jupiter, Friday to Venus, and Saturday to Saturn : and it is worthy of observation, that neither Bacchus nor Hercules is among them; on which I shall have an observation to make in the future part of this work. In almost every page we shall have to make some reference to judicial astrology, which took its rise from the planetary bodies.
This doctrine respecting the Moon will be thought paradoxical and absurd, and I shall be asked what I make of the goddess Isis. I reply, that it is the inconsistencies, contradictions, and manifest ignorance of the ancients respecting this goddess, which induce me to think that Moon never was an object of worship in early times, and that it never became an object of adoration till comparatively modern times, when the knowledge of the ancient mysteries was lost, and not only the knowledge of the mysteries, but the knowledge of religion itself, or at least of its origin and meaning, were lost. The least attention to the treatises of Plato, Phornutus, Cicero, Porphyry, and, in short, or every one of the ancient writers on the subject of the religion, must convince any unprejudiced person that they either were all completely in the dark, or pretended to be. After the canaille got to worship onions, crocodiles, &c., &c., &c., no doubt the moon came in for a share of their adoration; but all the accounts of it are full of inconsistency and contradiction : for this reason I think it was of late invention, and that Isis was not originally the moon, but the mother of the gods. Many other reasons for this opinion will be given in the course of this work, when I come to treat of Isis and the Moon.
BOOK I - CHAPTER II
FIRST GOD OF THE ANCIENTSTHE SUNDOUBLE NATURE OF THE DEITYMETEMPSYCHOSIS AND THE RENEWAL OF WORLDSMORAL EVILETERNITY OF MATTERBUDDHAGENESIS
I shall now proceed to shew, in a way which I think I may safely say cannot be refuted, that all the Gods of antiquity resolved themselves into the solar fire, sometimes itself as God, or sometimes as emblem or shekinah of that higher principle, known by the name of the creative Being or God.
The opinions here alluded to are of so profound a nature, that they seem to bespeak a state of the human mind superior to any thing to be met with in what we have been accustomed to consider or call ancient times. From their philosophical truth and universal reception in the world, I am strongly inclined to refer them to the authors of the Neros, or to that enlightened race, supposed by Mons. Bailey to have formerly existed, and to have been saved from a great catastrophe on the Himmalah mountains. This is confirmed by an observation which the reader will make in the sequel, that these doctrines have been like all the other doctrines of antiquity, gradually corruptedincarnated, if I may be permitted to compose a word for the occasion.
Sublime philosophical truths or attributes have come clothed with bodies and converted into living creatures. Perhaps this might take its origin from a wish in those professing them to conceal them from the vulgar eye, but the cause being forgotten, all ranks in society at last came to understand them in the literal sense, their real character being lost; or perhaps this incarnation might arise from a gradual falling away of mankind from a high state of civilization, at which it must have arrived when those doctrines were discovered, into a state of ignorance,the produce of revolutions, or perhaps merely of the great law of change which in all nature seems to be eternally in operation.
The human animal, like all other animals, is in his mode of existence very much the child of accident, circumstance, habit; as he is moulded in his youth he generally continues. This is in nothing, perhaps, better exemplified that in the use of the right hand. From being carried in the right arm of his nurse, his right hand is set at liberty for action and use, while his left is at rest : the habit of using the right hand in preference to the left is thus acquired and never forgotten. A similar observation applies to the mind. To natural causes leading men to peculiar trains or habits of thinking or using the mind, may be traced all the recondite theories which we find among the early races of man. If to causes of this kind they are not to be ascribed, I should be glad to know where their origins are to be looked for. If they be not in these causes to be found, we must account for them by inventing a history of the adventures of some imagined human being, after the manner of the Greeks and many others, whose priests never had a difficulty, always having a fable ready for the amusement of their credulous votaries.
That the sun was the first object of the adoration of mankind, I apprehend, is a fact, which I shall be able to place beyond the reach of reasonable doubt. An absolute proof of this fact the circumstances of the case put it out of our power to produce; but it is supported by reason and common sense, and by the traditions of all nations, when carefully examined to their foundations. The allegorical accounts or mythoses of different countries, the inventions of an advanced state of society, inasmuch as they are really only allegorical accounts or mythoses, operate nothing against this doctrine.
When, after ages of ignorance and error, man became in some degree civilized, and he turned his mind to a close contemplation of the fountain of light and lifeof the celestial firehe would observe among the earliest discoveries which he would make, that by its powerful agency all nature was called into action; that to its return in the spring season the animal and vegetable creation were indebted for their increase as well as for their existence. It is probable that for this reason chiefly the sun, in early times, was believed to be the creator, and became the first object of adoration. This seems to be only a natural effect of such a cause. After some time it would be discovered that this powerful and beneficent agent, the solar fire, was the most potent destroyer, and hence would arise the first idea of a Creator and Destroyer united in the same person. But such time would not elapse before it must have been observed, that the destruction caused by this powerful being was destruction only in appearance, that destruction was only reproduction in another formregeneration; that if he appeared sometimes to destroy, he constantly repaired the injury which he seemed to occasionand that, without the light and heat, every thing would dwindle away into a cold, inert, unprolific mass. Thus at once, in the same being, became concentrated, the creating, the preserving, and the destroying powers,in India, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; in Persia, Oromasde, Mithra, and Arimanius; in Egypt, Osiris, Neith, and Typhon; in each case Three Persons and one God. And thus arose the TRIMURTI, or the celebrated Trinity.
We may venture, I think, to presume that adoration must first have arisen either from fear or admiration; in fact, from feeling. As an object of feeling, the sun instantly offered himself. The effect arising from the daily experience of his beneficence, does not seem to be of such a nature as to wear away by use, as is the case with most feelings of this kind. He obtrudes himself on our notice in every way. But what is there in the earth on which we tread, and which is nothing without the sun, which should induce the half-civilized man to suppose it an active agentto suppose that it created itself ? He would instantly see that it was, in itself, to all appearance %( tëu, %"& ubëu,* an inert, dead, unprolific mass. And it must, I think, have required a exertion of metaphysical subtlety, infinitely graver than my trinity must have required, to arrive at a pantheism so completely removed from the common apprehension of the human understanding. In my original theory, everything is natural and seductive; in the other, every thing is unnatural and repulsive.
* Gen. chap.1.
Of equal or nearly equal date, and almost equally disseminated throughout the world with the doctrine of the Trinity, was that of the Hermaphroditic or Androgynous character of the Deity. Man could not help observing and meditating upon the differences of the sexes. He was conscious that he himself was the highest in rank of all creatures of which he had knowledge, and he very properly and very naturally, as far as was in his power, made God after the being of highest rank known to him, after himself; thus it might be said, that in his own image, in idea, made he his God. But of what sex was this God ? To make him neuter, supposing man to have become grammarian enough to have invented a neuter gender, was to degrade him to the rank of a stone. To make him female was evidently more analogous to the general productive and prolific characters of the author of the visible creation. To make him masculine, was still more analogous to man's own person, and to his superiority over the female, the weaker vessel; but still this was attended with many objections. From a consideration of all these circumstances, an union of the two was adopted, and he was represented as being Androgynous.
Of all the different attributes of the Creator, or faculties conferred by him on his creatures, there is no one so striking or so interesting to a reflecting person as that of the generative power. This is the most incomprehensible and mysterious of the powers of nature. When all the adjuncts or accidents of every kind so interesting to the passions and feelings of man are considered, it is not wonderful that this subject should be found in some way or other to have a place among the first of the human superstitions. Thus every where we find it accompanying the triune God, called Trimurti or Trinity, just described, under the very significant form of the single obelisk or stone-pillar, denominated the Lingham or Phallus,* and the equally significant Yoni or Cteis, the female organ of generation : sometimes single, often in conjunction.
* Religion de l'Antiquité, par Cruizer, Notes, Introd. p.525
The next step after man had once convinced himself of the existence of a God would be, I think, to discover the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Long before he arrived at this point, he must have observed, and often attempted to account for, the existence of moral evil. How to reconcile this apparent blot in the creation to the beneficence of an all-powerful Creator, would be a matter of great difficulty : he had probably recourse to the only contrivance which was open to him, a contrivance to which he seems to have been driven by a wise dispensation of Providence, the doctrine of a future state of existence, where the ills of this world would find a remedy, and the accounts of good and evil be balanced; where the good man would receive his reward, and the bad one his punishment. This seems to me to be the probable result of the contemplation of the existence of evil by the profound primeval oriental philosophers, who first invented the doctrine of the Trinity.
Other considerations would lend their assistance to produce the same result. After man had discovered the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, the metempsychosis followed the doctrine of the reproduction or regeneration by the third person of the triune God, by a very natural process, as the doctrine of the triune of God had before arisen by an easy process from the consideration by man of the qualities of the beings around him. Everywhere, throughout all nature, the law that destruction was reproduction appeared to prevail. This united to the natural fondness for immortality, of which every human being is conscious, led to the conclusion, that man, the elite of the creation, could not be excepted from the general rule; that he did but die to live again, to be regenerated; a consciousness of his own frailty gradually caused a belief, that he was regenerate in some human body or the body of some animal as a punishment for his offences, until by repeated penances of this kind, his soul had paid the forfeit of the crimes of its first incarnation, had become purified from all stain, and in a state finally to be absorbed into the celestial influence, or united to the substance of the Creator. As it happens in every sublunary concern, the law of change corrupted these simple principles in a variety of ways; and we find the destroyer made into a demon or devil, at war with the Preserver or with the Creator. Hence arose the doctrine of the two principles opposed to each other, of Oromasdes and Arimanius in perpetual war, typified by the higher and lower hemispheres of the earth, of winter and summer, of light and darkness, as we shall find developed in a variety of ways. What could be natural as to allot to the destroyer the lower hemisphere of cold and darkness, of winter, misery, and famine ? What so natural as to allot to the beneficent Preserver the upper hemisphere of genial warmth, of summer, happiness, and plenty ? Hence came the festivals of the equinoxes and of the solstices, much of the complicated machinery of the heathen mythology, and of judicial astrology.
Moral evil is a relative term; its correlative is moral good. Without evil there is no good; without good there is no evil. There is no such thing known to us as good or evil per se. We have no experience of moral good or of moral evil except as relative and correlative to one another; therefore, we are with respect to them as we are with respect to God.
Many of the early fathers of the Christians held the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, which they defended on several texts of the New Testament.* It was an opinion which had a very general circulation both in the East and in the West. It was held by the Parisees or Persees, as they ought to be called, among the Jews; and among the Christians by Origen, Chalcidius (if he were a Christian,) Synesius, and by the Simonians, Basilidians, Valentiniens, Marcionites, and the Gnostics in general. It was held by the Chinese, and, among the most learned of the Greeks, by Plato and Pythagoras. Thus this doctrine was believed by nearly all the great and good or every religion, and of every nation and age; an though the present race has not the smallest information more than its ancestors on this subject, yet the doctrine has not now a single votary in the Western part of the world. The Metempsychosis was believed by the celebrated Christian apologist, Soame Jenyns, perhaps the only believer in it of the moderns in the Western world.
The following observations tend not only to throw light on the doctrine of the Indians, the earliest philosophers of whom we have any genuine records, but they also shew that their doctrine is identically the same as that of certain individuals of the Western philosophers, who, recorded traditions inform us, actually traveled in very remote ages to the country of the Brahmins to learn it.
"Pythagoras, returning from his Eastern travels to Greece, taught the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, and the existence of a Supreme Being, by whom the universe was created, and by whose providence it is preserved; that the soul of mankind are emanations of that Being. Socrates, the wisest of the ancient philosophers, seems to have believed that the soul existed before the body; and that death relieves it from those seeming contrarieties to which it is subject, by its union with our material part. Plato (in conformity with the learned Hindoos) asserted, that God infused into matter a portion of his divine spirit, which animates and moves it : that mankind have two souls of separate and different naturesthe one corruptible, the other immortal : that the latter is a portion of the Divine Spirit : that the mortal soul ceases to exist with the life of the body; but the divine soul, no longer clogged by its union with matter, continues its existence, either in a state of happiness or punishment : that the souls of the virtuous return, after death, into the source whence they flowed; while the souls of the wicked, after being for a certain time confined to a place destined for their reception, are sent back to earth to animate other bodies. Aristotle supposes the souls of mankind to be portions or emanations of the divine spirit; which at death quit the body, and, like a drop of water falling into the ocean, are absorbed into the divinity. Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, taught that throughout nature there are two eternal qualities; the one active, the other passive; that the former is a pure and subtle æther, the divine spirit; and that the latter is in itself entirely inert, until united with the active principle. That the divine spirit, acting upon matter, produces fire, air, water, earth : that the divine spirit is the efficient principle, and that all nature is moved and conducted by it. He believed also that the soul of man, being a portion the universal soul, returns after death to its first source. The opinion of the soul being an emanation of the divinity, which is believed by the Hindoos, and was professed by Greeks, seems likewise to have been adopted by the early Christians. Macrobius observes, Animarum originem emanare de clo, inter recte philosophantes indubitatæ constant esse fidei. Saint Justin says, the soul is incorruptible, because it emanates from God; and his disciple Tatianus, the Assyrian, observes, that man having received a portion of the divinity, is immortal as God is. Such was the system of the ancient philosophers, Pythagoreans, Brachmans, and some sects of the Christians."*
* Forbes, Orient. Mem. Vol.III xxxiii p.261
The oldest philosophy or mythology of which we have any certain history, is that of the Buddha of the Eastern nations, in which are to be found the various doctrines to which I have just alluded. From the Metempsychosis arose the repugnance among the Buddhists to the slaughter of animals,a necessary consequence of this doctrine uncorrupted and sincerely believed. From the circumstance in the first book of Genesis, or book of Wisdom, which probably a work of the Buddhists, the slaughter of animals is prohibited or not allowed. After a time the mild doctrines of Buddha came to be changed or corrupted and superseded by those of Crishna. Hence in the second book of Genesis, or the book of the Generations, or Re-generations of the planetary bodies, which is, I think, a Brahmin work, they are allowed to be used for sacrifice. In the third book, or the book of Generations, or Re-generations of the race of man, the Adam, they are first allowed to be eaten as food.
BOOK I - CHAPTER III
THE SUN THE FIRST OBJECT OF ADORATION OF ALL NATIONSTHE GODS NOT DECEASED HEROESTHE CHINESE HAVE ONLY ONE GODHINDOO GODDESSESTOLERATION AND CHANGE IN RELIGIONS
Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Zoroaster or Zeradust, &c., and all those initiated in the most secret mysteries, acknowledged one supreme God, the Lord and First Cause of all. And perhaps, though it can never be certainly known, those who only received the lesser mysteries,* might confine their worship to the sun and the hosts of heaven; but it was only the vulgar and ignorant who bent the knee to the stone, wood, or metal idols of the gods, perhaps only a little more numerous than the images of the Christian saints.
* An interesting account of the mysteries of the heathen will be found in Part II. of Vol. II of Dupuis's History of all Religions.
The Chinese, with all their apparent idolatry, had only one god.
Speaking of the religion of the Chinese, Sir W. Jones* says, "Of the religious opinions entertained by Confucius and his followers, we may glean a general notion from the fragments of their works, translated by Couplet : they professed a firm belief in the Supreme God, and gave a demonstration of his being and of his providence, from the exquisite beauty and perfection of the celestial bodies, and the wonderful order of nature in the whole fabric of the visible world. From this belief they deduced a system of ethics, which the philosopher sums up in a few words at the close of the Lunyn. 'He (says Confucius) who shall be fully persuaded the Lord of Heaven governs the universe, who shall in all things choose moderation, who shall perfectly know his own species, and so act among them, that his life and manners may conform to his knowledge of God and man, may be truly said to discharge all the duties of a sage, and to be exalted above the common herd of the human race !'"
* Diss. VII. p.227.
Marco Polo informs us, that in his time the Chinese paid their adoration to a tablet fixed against the wall in their houses, upon which was inscribed the name of the high, celestial, and supreme God; to whose honour they burnt incense, but of whom they had no image. The words, Mr. Marsden says, which were on the tablets were three, tien, heaven; hoang-tien, supreme heaven; and Shang-ti, sovereign Lord. De Guignes tells us, that the word tien stands indifferently for the visible heaven and the Supreme Deity.* Marco Polo tells us, that from the God whose name was on the tablet the Chinese only petition for two things, sound intellect and health of body, but that they had another God, of whom they had a statue or idol called Natigai, who was the God of all terrestrial things; in fact, God, the Creator of this world, (inferior and subordinate to the Supreme Being,) from which they petition for fine weather, or whatever else they wanta sort of Mediator. Here is evidently a striking similarity to the doctrines of some of the early Christians heretics.
* Tom. II. p.350.
It seems pretty clear from this account, that originally, and probably at this time also, like all the ancients of the West in the midst of their degrading idolatry, they yet acknowledged one Supreme God, with many subordinate agents, precisely the same as the Heathens of Greece and Rome, and modern Christians, under the names of inferior gods, angels, demons, saints, &c. In fact they were Deists.
In addition to the authorities which have been produced to prove the whole of the different Gods of antiquity resolve themselves at last, when properly examined, into different names of the God Sol, it would be easy, if it were necessary, to produce many more from every quarter of the world, but what, it may be asked, will you do with the Goddesses ? The reader shall now see; and first from the learned and Rev. Mr. Maurice.
"Whoever will read the Geeta with attention will perceive in that small tract the outlines of nearly all the various systems of theology of Asia. That curious and ancient doctrine of the Creator being both male and female, mentioned in a preceding page to be designated in Indian temples by a very indecent exhibition of the masculine and feminine organs of generation in union, occurs in the following passage : 'I am the father and mother of this world; I plant myself upon my own nature, and create again and again this assemblage of beings; I am generation and dissolution, the place where all things are deposited, and the inexhaustible seed of all nature; I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things' " In another part he more directly says, "The great Brahme is the womb of all those various forms which are conceived in every natural womb, and I am the father that soweth the seed."
Manichæus, according to Theodoret, said, in his allegorical language, "That a male-virgin gave light and life to Eve," that is, created her. And the Pseudo-Mercurius Trismegistus in Pæmander said, that God being male and female, (ajrenoqhluj wn), because he is light and life, engendered by the word another intelligence, which was the Creator. The male-virgin, Theodoret says, was called Joel, or Iahl, which Beausobre thinks was "EL, God, and Joha, life-making, vivifying, life-giving, or the generating God." (So far my friend Beverly.) But which was probably merely the &% Ieu, -! al, or God Iao, of which we shall treat hereafter. Again, Mr. Beverly says, "In Genesis it is written, 'God said, Let us create man after our own image and likeness.' This, then, ought in strictness of language to be a male and female God, or else it would not be after the likeness proposed."
"The male-virgin of the Orientals, is, I know, considered the same by Plato as hisEjia, or Vesta, whom he calls the soul of the body of the universe. This Hestia, by the way, is in my view a Sanscrit lady, whose name I take to have been EST, or she that is, or exists, having the same meaning as the great of the Jewish Deity. Est is shewn in the Celtic Druids to be a Sanscrit word, and I do not doubt of this her derivation. The A terminal is added by the Greek idiom to denote a female, as they hated an indeclinable proper name, such as HEST or EST would have been." Extract from a letter from Mackenzie Berverly, Esq.*
* The A at the end of the word EST may be the Chaldee emphatic article; then Vesta would be the EST of the Self-existent.
The following extract from Sir W. Jones's Dissertation on the Gods of Greece and India, "We must not be surprised at finding, on a close examination, that the characters of all the Pagan Deities, male and female, melt into each other, and at last into one or two; for it seems a well founded opinion, that the whole crowd of Gods and Goddesses in ancient Rome and modern Váránes, mean only the powers of nature, and principally those of the Sun, expressed in a variety of ways, and by a multitude of fanciful names."
Thus, we see, there is in fact an end of all the multitude of the Heathen Gods and Goddesses, so disguised in the Pantheons and books of various kinds, which the priests have published from time to time to instil into the minds of their pupilsthat the ancient Heathen philosophers and legislators were the slaves of the most degrading superstition; that they believed such nonsense as the metamorphoses described by Ovid, or the loves of Jupiter, Venus, &c., &c. That the rabble were the victims of a degrading superstition, I have no doubt. This was produced by the knavery of the ancient priests, and it is in order to reproduce this effect that the modern priests have misrepresented the doctrines of their predecessors. By vilifying and running down the religion of the ancients, they have thought they could persuade their votaries that their new religion was necessary for the good of mankind : a religion which, in consequence of their corruptions, has been found to be in practice much worse and more injurious to the interests of society than the old one. For, from these corruptions the Christian religionthe religion of purity and truth when uncorruptedhas not brought peace but a sword.
After the astrologers had parcelled out the heavens into the forms of animals, &c., and the annual path of the Sun had become divided into twelve parts, each part designated by some animal, or other figure, or known emblem, it is not surprising that they should have become the objects of adoration. This M. Dupuis has shewn,* was the origin of the Arabian and Egyptian adoration of animals, birds, &c. Hence, in the natural progress of events, the adoration of images arose among the Heathens and Christians.
* Ch. i. Rel. Univ.
M. Dupuis, in his first chapter, has shewn that probably all nations first worshipped, as we are told the Persians did, without altars or temples, in groves and high places. After a certain number of years, in Persia, came temples and idols, with all their abuses; and these, in their turn, were changed or abolished, and the worship of the Sun restored, or perhaps the worship of the Sun only as emblem of the Creator. This was probably the change said to have been effected by Zoroaster.
The Israelites at the exodus had evidently run into the worship of Apis the Bull, or the Golden Calf of Egypt, which it was the object of Moses to abolish, and in the place thereof to substitute the worship of one GodIao, Jehovahwhich, in fact, was only the Sun or the Solar Fire, yet not the Sun, as Creator, but as emblem of or shekinah of the Divinity.
BOOK I - CHAPTER IV
TWO ANCIENT ETHIOPIASGREAT BLACK NATION IN ASIATHE BUDDHA OF INDIA A NEGROTHE ARABIANS WERE CUSHITESSHEPHERD KINGSHINDOOS AND EGYPTIANS SIMILARSYRIA PEOPLED FROM INDIA
but I shall, in the course of this work, produce a number of extraordinary facts, which will be quite sufficient to prove, that a black race, in very early times, had more influence over the affairs of the world than has been lately suspected; and I think I shall shew, by some striking circumstances yet existing, that the effects of this influence have not entirely passed away.
It was the opinion of Sir William Jones, that a great nation of Blacks* formely possessed the dominion of Asia, and held the seat of empire at Sidon. These must have been the people called by Mr. Maurice Cushites or Cuthites, described in Genesis; and the opinion that they were Blacks is corroborated by the translators of the Pentateuch, called the Seventy, constantly rendering the word Cush by Ethiopia.
Of this nation we have no account; but it must have flourished after the deluge. If I succeed in collecting a sufficient number to carry conviction to an impartial mind, the empire must be allowed to have existed.
The religion of Buddha, of India, is well known to have been very ancient. In the most ancient temples scattered throughout Asia, where his worship is yet continued, he is found black as jet, with the flat face, thick lips, and curly hair of the Negro. Several statues of him may be met with the East-India Company. There are two exemplars of him brooding on the face of the deep, upon a coiled serpent. To what time are we to allot this Negro ? He will be proved to have been prior to Cristna. He must have been prior to or contemporaneous with the black empire, supposed by Sir William Jones to have flourished at Sidon. The religion of this Negro God is found, by the ruins of his temples and other circumstances, to have been spread over an immense extent of country, even to the remotest parts of Britain, and to have been professed by devotees inconceivably numerous.
The circumstance of the translators of the Septuagint version of the Pentateuch having rendered the word Cush by the word Ethiopia, is a very decisive proof that the theory of two Ethiopias is well founded. Let the translators have been who they may, it is totally impossible to believe that they could be so ignorant as to suppose that the African Ethiopia could border on the Euphrates, or that the Cushites could be African Ethiopia.
Eusebius* states the Ethiopians to have come and settled in Egypt, in the time of Amenophis. According to this account, as well as to the account given by Philostratus,** there was no such country as Ethiopia beyond Egypt until this invasion. According to Eusebius these people came from the river Indus, and planted themselves to the south of Egypt, in the country called from them Ethiopia. The circumstances named by Eusebius that they came from the Indus, at all events, implies that they came from the East, and not from the South, and would induce a person to suspect them as having crossed the Red Sea from Arabia;
* In Chron. ad Num. 402.
** In vita Apollon. Tyanei.
Herodotus says, that there were two Ethiopian nations, one in India, the other in Egypt. He derived his information from the Egyptoian priests, a race of people who must have known the truth;
Philostratus* says, that the Gymnosophists of Ethiopia, who settle near the sources of the Nile, descended from the Bramins of India, having been driven thence for the murder of their king.** This, Philostratus says, he learnt from an ancient Brahmin, called Jarchas.
* Vita Apoll. C. vi.
** Crawford, Res. Vol. II p.193.
Another ancient writer, Eustathius, also states, that the Ethiopians came from India. These concurring accounts can scarcely be doubted; and here may be discovered the mode and time also when great numbers of ancient rites and ceremonies might be imported from India into Egypt;
Mr. Wilsford, in his treatise on Egypt and the Nile, in the Asiatic Researches, informs us, that many very ancient statues of the God Buddha in India have crisp, curly hair, with flat noses and thick lips; and adds, "nor can it be reasonably doubted, that a race of Negroes formerly had power and pre-eminence in India."
This is confirmed by Mr. Maurice, who says, "The figures in the Hindoo caverns are of a very different character from the present race of Hindoos : their countenances are broad and full, the nose flat, and the lips, particularly the under lip, remarkably thick."
Justin states, that the Phnecians being obliged to leave their native country in the East, they settled first near the Assyrian Lake, which is the Persian Gulf; and Maurice says, "We find an extensive district, named Palestine, to the east of the Euphrates and Tigris. The word Palestine seems derived from Pallisthan, the seat of the Pallis or Shepherds." Palli, in India, means Shepherd.
It is a well-known fact that our Hindoo soldiers when they arrived in Egypt, in the late war, recognized the Gods of their country in the ancient temples, particularly their God Cristna.
The striking similarity, indeed identity, of the style of architecture and the ornaments of the ancient Egyptian and Hindoo temples, Mr. Maurice has proven beyond all doubt.
In my Essay on The Celtic Druids, I have shewn, that a great nation called Celtæ, of whom the Druids were the priests, spread themselves almost over the whole earth, and are to be traced in their rude gigantic monuments from India to the extremities of Britain. Who these can have been but the early individuals of the black nation of whom we have been treating I know not, and in this opinion I am not singular. The learned Maurice says, "Cuthites, i. e. Celts, built the great temples in India and Britain, and excavated the caves of the former."* And the learned Mathematician, Reuben Burrow, has no hesitation in pronouncing Stonehenge to be a temple of the black, curly-headed Buddha.
* Maurice, Hist. Hind. Vol.II p.249.
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