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§ 402. sacrifices, PRAyers, Festivals, etc. 511
ship, and it is no wonder, for it was an article of their creed, that their gods were not free from vice. The principal parts of idol worship were, o I. Sacrifices, viz. victims, salt cakes, libations, honey, and incense. It was necessary, that the person who offered them, should be washed, be clad in newly-washed garments, and be pure, i. e. have abstained from sexual intercourse. The victims were different according to the different deities; they were to be free from all defect, and omens were gathered from them by an inspection of the internal parts, especially the liver. Not only animals, but human beings also were immolated by almost all the nations to their gods, Eusebius, PRAep. Evang. L. IV. c. 16. p. 155–161. Pliny, Hist. Nat. XXVIII. 3. Diodor. Siculus W. 32. By the Canaanites especially, the most promising of their offspring were sacrificed, Lev. 18:21. 20: 1–9. Deut. 18: 9–14. Libations of wine were poured out between the horns of the victim, Ovid, METAMoRPlios Es, VII. 59: 3; but when no victims were slain, they were poured upon the earth. II. Prayers. The worshippers, in the intervals of time between the offering of the successive supplications, were accustomed to employ themselves in kissing or embracing the hands and knees of the idols. Great care was taken, in respect to the formularies of supplication, that nothing might be omitted or improperly uttered, and that no title of honour should be passed by for any thing of this kind rendered the prayers, to which the persuasive power was attributed, inefficacious, Pliny, Hist. NAT. XXVIII. 3. Valerius Maximus XIII. 1, 5. In consequence of these feelings on the subject, their prayers were uttered syllable for syllable, and both syllables and words were often repeated; a practice, which is condemned by our Saviour, Matt. 6: 7. When they prayed, they often wounded their bodies, or shouted and leaped around the altar, 1 K. 18: 26–29. Strabo. p. 801. Lucian De Salt. Athenaeus SYMPos, Lib. II. l. III. Festivals were celebrated by the heathen in honour of their false deities; on which occasions sacrifices were offered, feasts were held, there were various sports and exercises; and solemn processions, in representation of their mythological history, proceeded through the streets. To the Mysteries, which were celebrated on certain of these festivals, no one had access, but 512 § 403. conceRNING Diviniations, etc.
those, who were initiated; and still it does not appear, that any more correct religious notions were taught in them, than on other occasions. On the contrary, Cicero, (DE NAT. DeoruM Lib. I. 42.) remarks, that they were occupied rather with an explication of the nature of things, than of the science of the gods; but he makes a further remark, however, in his Tusculan Questions, Bk. II. 1, that the doctrine prevailed in them, that the gods were formerly men. IV. Purifications. These were performed by water, blood, fire, sulphur, and among the Mehestani, by the urine of oxen also; by which all impurity was taken away, and as they believed expiation could be made for any crime whatever, Zend-Avesta, P. II. p. 340–342. 343–378. P. III. p. 209–220. W. A part of the worship in question consisted in the prostitution of females and boys; and in Egypt bestiality likewise made a part of it, Herodot. 1.93. 182. 199. Valerius Maximus III. 6, 15. Athenaeus SYMpos. XIII. Strabo. p. 272. In the temple of Venus at Corinth, there were more than a thousand prostitutes, Strabo. 378. comp. 1 Cor. 5: 9–11. 6: 9, 13, 18. 2 Cor. 12:21.
§ 403. CoNcerNING Divisations, Etc.
In the early ages of antiquity, numerous divinations and sleights of hand were practised, and the imposters, who understood them, were held in distinguished honour.
I. As early as the time of Joseph, there appeared in Egypt persons of this description, called cost-ri, in the Egyptian dialect chentom, i. e. workers of miracles, otherwise called is 90/gauluarsts, or those skilled in the interpretation of hieroglyphical characters. We find, that, in the history of the patriarch just alluded to, these persons were held in much honour, as interpreters of dreams, Gen. 41: 8, and in the history of Moses, we find them making attempts at miracles, Exod. 7: 11–18. Two of these workers of wonders, the Jews agree in calling Jannes and Jambres, 2 Tim. 3: 8, comp. Jabloniskii opusc. I. 401. Eichhorn's Repert. XIII. 18. The astrologers, who are mentioned, Dan. 1: 20. 2: 2, 10. 4: 4–6. 5:11. and are denominated op-r, do not appear to have been the same with those in Egypt, although they professed to interpret dreams. Perhaps, in order to ascertain the
§ 403, concerNING Divinations, Etc. 513
true meaning of the term, by which they are designated in these instances, we ought to compare the Chaldee word tie-in with the c. * / C / Persian word Joo-\,- DhardaMANd, i.e. one skilled in science. II. Necromancers, nisiN, 5°23'3", were very numerous. It was one of the Laws of Moses, that persons of this description should be put to death by stoning ; for those, who attributed to the dead a knowledge of future events, which belongs to God alone, virtually disclaimed his allegiance, Lev. 20:26. The Hebrew words above quoted properly signify the spirits of the dead, and are applied to Necromancers by metonymy; for the Arabic Ain
Wav verb J. which is the root of six, means to return, so that we may consider the strict meaning of the derivative to be a spirit returned, i. e. from the dead; while the other word too, (from so to know) means those that know, i. e. the spirits of the dead, who were supposed to reveal the events of the future. In the same way, the Greek 6aluov is derived from Öalo, the Latin disco, Lev. 19: 31. 20: 27. Deut. 18: 1 I. 1 Sam. 28: 3–10. 2 K. 21: 6. 23:24. The imposters, who bore the name of Necromancers, and who were designated in the Hebrew by the words, upon which we have now remarked, pretended, that they were able by their incantations to summon back departed spirits from their abodes; and hence we find, that they are coupled in the same passage (Deut. 18; 11.) with enchanters, or -an. They themselves uttered the communications, which they pretended to receive from the dead. They doled them out syllable by syllable, sometimes muttering in a low tone, and sometimes peeping like a chicken. Hence they are denominated in Isaiah Evesto Evans, those, that mutter and peep, Is. 8: 19, 29:4. The ventriloquists, bot: N, mentioned in Is. 19: 3, do not appear to have been essentially different from these. III. Other sorts of diviners were, (1) those, who drew their auspices from the clouds, denominated in Hebrew boy, Bosn; (2) those, who founded their predictions on the condition of the internal parts of animals, and are called coop; (3) those, who drew their omens from serpents, called Bor: ; (4) the astrologers properly so called, boroz, E*E*=”. The latter class were, at a late period, known to the Romans by the name of Chaldeans. 514 § 403. conceaning Divinations, etc.
The Hebrew words, however, which are found not only in the books of Moses, but in all parts of the Old Testament Scriptures, are much broader in signification, than the term used by the Romans. (5) There was another class of persons, who pretended, that they could render serpents innocuous by their incantations. If the serpent happened to bite, notwithstanding the skill of the charmer, they said, he was deaf, Ps. 58: 4, 5. Jer. 8: 17. Eccles. 10: 11. Pliny, Hist. NAT. XVIII.4. XXVIII. 6. These persons, who are very well known by the name of Psylli, are found at the present day in the East. IV. Omens and prodigies were noticed by all nations, especially by the Romans; hence they are carefully mentioned by their historians. We have to reckon among these prodigies not only monsters, comets, eclipses of the sun and moon, meteors, showers of blood or stones, and the speeches of cows and oxen; but also others, which occurred every day, as the flight of birds, the sneezing of men, cross or squinting eyes, a ringing in the ears, words spoken in one sense and understood in another, the casual meeting of certain men and animals, for instance a negro, a cat, and a hare. But they were none of them supposed to be attended with any injurious effect, provided they were not seen, Valerius Max. I. 4–7. Suetonius in Augusto's 92. Pliny, XXVIII. 5. 7. Arrianus, Exped. Alexandri, VII. 24. Jer. 10: 2. There was also a sort of divination or lot practised among the inhabitants of the East, by means of arrows of different colours, to which custom one may notice a reference in the signification of a number of Arabic words, Hos. 4: 12. Ezek. 21:21, 22. (Comp. Jerome's Commentary on these passages.) Dreams also were considered in all places, as possessing an ominous significancy, Judg. 7: 13, 15. Deut. 13: 2, 3. Jer. 23: 32. Macrobius DE SoMNio ScipioNis, I. 3. Walerius Max. I. 7. W. Oracles were consulted previously to any transactions of great moment, especially before the commencement of warlike expeditions, but not without the presentation of gifts. Croesus, before engaging in war with Cyrus, interrogated almost all the Oracles, but received nothing but ambiguous responses, Herodot. I. 46–55. 90, 91. Is. 41:21–24. 44; 7. The Oracle of Beelzebub was in the city of Accaron. He, who consulted the Oracle, was first obliged to purify himself. He then offered up $ 404. STATE of Idol ATRY IN THE TIME or chaist. 515
sacrifices. In many temples, especially those of Esculapius, Isis, Osiris, and Horus, he slept on the skin of the victim through the night, with the expectation of obtaining some information by a dream respecting the means and medicines, by which his disease might be cured; or of hearing some response purporting to come from the Oracle, but produced in reality by the deceitful machination of the priests. Virgil, accordingly, uses the following expressions, “Pellibus incubuit stratis, somnosque petivit,” Aeneid, VII. 59. comp. Plautus IN CURcul. Act. I. Sc. I. 2.61. The cures, that took place, were inscribed on tables for that purpose, and preserved in the temple, in order that the priests might produce them in confirmation and proof of the power of their idol deities, Diodorus Sic. I. 25. Is. 65:4. Amos 2:8.
§ 404. STATE of Idol.ATRY IN THE TIME of Christ.
In the time of Christ, many of the practices, marked for their enormity, and others equally distinguished for folly, which had prevailed in the worship of the heathen deities, had gone into general desuetude, although they were not wholly abolished. That the cruel enormities, to which we allude, were not wholly done away, is evident from the fact, that at Rome as late as the time of Nero or Vespasian, a Greek, a Grecian lady, and some others of the enemies of the Romans, were buried alive for the purpose of appeasing the anger of the gods. The victims, offered for this purpose, were called xw8aguara, Pliny XXVIII. 3. Indeed so late as the second century, human beings were sometimes immolated in this metropolis of the world, Eusebius, PRAEP. Evang. IV. 16.
The heathen Oracles had, in a measure, lost their authority, but not altogether, and the old deceptions were still practised in the temples of Esculapius, Isis, Osiris, and Horus, Strabo, p. 801. Omens and prodigies were also accounted of less weight than formerly, but they still continued to be carefully observed, and are frequently mentioned by Livy, Suetonius, Tacitus, and Dion Cassius. Manners and morals grew worse and worse. Deities increased in number, and the Apotheosis of vicious emperors was not unfrequent. About these things, the Epicurean sect cared nothing, the disciples of the Academy did not pretend to affirm much one way or the