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became possessed of the souls of these creatures, which by a natural attraction, followed their bodies, and that they consequently received the influence of the god that used to accompany the souls. These diviners were maintained at Athens at the public expence, having their food delivered to them in the Prytaneum or Common Hall. Of these diviners, or Theomantes, there were three kinds, distinguished by the manner of receiving, the divine afflatus.
· One kind was possessed with prophecying dæmons, which lodged within them, and dictated what they should answer to those that enquired of them, or spoke out of the bellies of the persons possessed; while they who were thus inspired, remained speechless, not so much as moving their topgues, or their lips. These were called Demoniacs. Might not these deceptions bave been carried on by means of ventriloquism? This kind of divination was practised in the prophet Isaiah's days, even by the upgrateful and ivfatuated Jews, which occasioned this address to them from the prophet of Jehovah, “ If they say unto you, speak unto ther, whose speech is in their belly, and those that speak out of the earth; those that utter vain words, that speak out of their belly: shall not a nation seek unto their God? Why do they inquire of the dead concerning the living ?" They were also called Pythones, or Pythonesses, most likely from Apollo Pythius, the patron of divination. We find notice taken of this kind of divination in the Acts of the Apostles, in the following manner: “ And 'it came to pass, as we went to prayer, that a certain damsel, possessed with a spirit of divination, met us." In the margin, Python is given instead of divination.
A second sort of divivers were those who were not possessed of the deity, but only influenced by him, and instructed in future events by mental presentations, these were termed enthusiasts; of this class were O;pheus, Amphion, Musæus, and several of the Sibyls, of whose existence however we have reason to be very suspicious, since, I have sufficiently proved, that these were names given to the Egyptian Horus, when appearing under different characters; real persons bearing these names may however have lived at some remote period; but this is I think rather doubtful. :
A third sort of diviners, of this middle class, that I am now speaking of, were those who perhaps might with propriety be called extatics. These persons were thrown into trances, or extacies, in which they lay like men who were dead or asleep, being deprived of all sense or motion : but after some time, perhaps days or months, or even years, for Epemenides is reported to have lain in this state eighty-five years, they returned to themselves, and gave strange accounts of what they had seen and heard.
Divination by Dreams.', Philosophers have distinguished dreams into various classes, but the mythologist regards those only which were made the vehicles of divine or sacred communication ; of these there were three kinds. The first was when the gods, in their own, or under any assumed form, conversed with men in their sleep. There can be little doubt but that the well attested reality of dreams of this kind gave rise to many fictitious narratives of similar dreams; we have instances of this species of divine communication in various parts of sacred writ: the earliest instance is the vision of Abraham, when in a deep sleep, and under the influence of an awful solemnity, the . future condition of his posterity was expressly declared to him. The next is that, in which the angel of the divine présence condescended to hold a conference with Abimelech, king of Gerar, who appears to have been a person of uprightness and integrity. In this way also did Joseph receive instructions to take his wife Mary and her infant son down into Egypt: and in the same way was he advertised of the proper time to return with his family to Bethlehem. ,
In ancient prophane history and poetry we have numerous instances of similar intimations from the pretended deities of the pagans; thus Agamemnon is said by Homer to have been encouraged by the god of dreams, in the form of Nestor, to give battle to the Trojans, with as. surance of success. The second kind of significant or prophetic dreams, is that wberein the things that are lo happen, with the persons concerned in them, appear in their proper forms; such was that of Alexander the Great, mentioned by Valerius Maximus, in which he dreamt that he was murdered by Cassandra ; and that
of king Crosus, in which he dreamed that his son Atys, . a whom he designed to succeed him in his empire should
be slain by an iron spear. The third is that in which future events are revealed by types and figures: this the Greeks called allegorical, because one thing was „exhibited to the mind's eye, or ear, and another signified, as in the figure of speech called allegory, one thing is expressed and another understood. Dreams seem to have been very improperly classed with the various kinds of artificial divination, unless we 'except such as were supposed to be in consequence of means resorted to for the purpose, of procuring them: such means were
used by the ancient heathens, and still are practised in · our own country; they are the remains of Pagan super
stition, introduced into Britain under the domination of the Romans. Nor, indeed, ought they to have been placed after the oracles, which were mere impositions on the ignorant, since the Almighty has frequently chosen this means of conveying instruction to the minds of men: as it is beautifully expressed in the book of Job, chap. xxxiv. ver. 14. “God speaketh once; yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not; in a dream, in a vision of the night, wlien deep sleep falleth upon man, in slumberings upon the bed: then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.”
. In these passages of sacred writ two kinds of dreams or visions seem to be alluded to, viz. the plain and obvious,
and those that were obscured with some veil or covering, · and required an interpreter; this latter class has its
analogies in the dreams of Pharaoh'; in those of Joseph when a child; in the dreams of Daniel the prophet, and of Nebuchadnezzar, and others. The anxiety occasioned by those dreams which were so inveloped in mystery, that their import was not perceived, induced kings and princes to offer great rewards and honours to those who could relieve their minds by withdrawing the veil that covered the dream, the meaning of which was unperceived, though the dream itself had left a strong impression: this was a powerful motive to the study of the interpretation of dreams, and gave rise to a copious fund of quackery in this way; and the interpreters of dreams, those masters of artificial divination, got into high estimation, if they only hit on one or two lucky expositions, but the poor Chaldean astrologers, sooth-sayers, and diviners, were sadly put to it indeed, when they had to find both dream and interpretation. The circumstance alluded to, as it occurred about the time when pagan Greece was in the zenith of her lustre, serves to throw a seasonable light on the nature of these divinations, and the impositions practised by these privileged deceivers. The Chaldeans might well say " this is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with fresh ;” and to these the astrologers and soothsayers do not appear to have had access. How different the conduct of Daniel and his companions, and the means they had recourse to, was to that of the pagan diviners, appears from the following narrative.
Daniel desired his companions that they would petition the God of Heaven respecting the secret to be discovered: then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision; he then blessed the God of Heaven, saying,
“ Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever, for • wisdom and power are his-he revealeth the deep and
secret things—he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank and praise thee, O God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto us the king's matter."
It is remarkable that Daniel, though the thing was thus revealed to him alone, assumes nothing to himself, but considers his brethren as equally the objects of divine regard, and thus expresses himself, in the plural num'ber, “ hast made known unto us.” It appears that Nebuchadnezzar, on the dream and its interpretation being shown to him, was struck with a due sense of the superiority of the God of Israel, and publicly acknowledged this his conviction, saying, “Of a truth your God is a God of Gods, and a Lord of Kings, seeing thou couldst reveal this secret."
Another instance that occurred in the reign of Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar, shows that all their . * rules of art again failed the Chaldean diviners, and
they were not less puzzled with the hand writing on the wall, addressed to the son, than they were before with respect to the dream of liis father, but I forbear to enter into the particulars of this event, and wish to turn my reader's attention to one very striking circumstance, I mean the integrity, the sincerity, and the magnanimity of the Lord's, prophet. After adverting to the calamities which befel his father, and the cause of his singular sufferings, he concludes in this plain unflattering language, “ And thou, his son, O Belshazzer, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this, but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of Heaven; and thy people have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know, and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.” Where is the classic author that can afford an instance of such magnanimous sincerity, such digoity of feeling, and such eloquence of address as the one before us.
But to return to the frauds and the absurdities of the pagan soothsayers and diviners, as they are farther exemplified in their