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and a sort of lofty poetical religious philosophy, with the most monstrous and incoherent superstitions, and the appearance of the profound political religion of Egypt in strange juxta-position with the most debasing Fetichism, the worship of repliles and vegeta
From this Nature-worship arose the beautiful anthropomorphism Anthropeof the Greeks, of which the Homeric poetry, from its extensive and morphism lasting popularity, may in one sense be considered the parent. The Greeks. primitive traditions and the local superstitions of the different races were moulded together in these songs, which, disseminated throughout Greece, gave a kind of federal character to the religion of which they were, in some sort, the sacred books. But the genius of the people had already assumed its bias : few, yet still some, vestiges remain in Homer of the earlier theogonic fables (2). Conscious, as it were, and prophetic of their future pre-eminence in all that conslitules the physical and mental perfection of our race, this wonderful people conformed their religion to themselves. The cumbrous and multiform idol, in which wisdom, or power, or fertility, were represented by innumerable heads or arms, or breasts, as in the Ephesian Diana, was refined into a being, only distinguished from human nature by its preterhuman development of the noblest physical qualities of man. The imagination here took anolher and a nobler course ; it threw an ideal grandeur and an unearthly loveliness over the human form, and by degrees deities became men, and men deities, or, as the dislinction between the godlike ( 980£ir£ão5 ) and the divine ( Ieños ) became more indistinct, were united in the intermediale form of heroes and demi-gods. The character of the people here, as elsewhere, operaled on the religion; the religion re-acted on the popular character. The religion of Greece was the religion of the Arts, the Games, the Theatre; it was that of a race, living always in public, by whom the corporeal perfection of inan had been carried to the highest point. In no olher country would
place, is happy, they tell us, to have an object the original undisturbed Fetichism of the prion which human feelings and human senses may mitive and barbarous African race. (Compare again find repose. To give a metaphysical deity Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assassinen, p. 57.) to ignorant and sensual men, absorbed in the On the whole, I prefer this theory to that of Cicares of supporting aniinal existence, and en- cero ( Nat. Deor. i. 36.), that it was derived from tangled in the impediments of matter, would be mere usefulness; to the political reason suggested to condemn thein to atheisin. Such is the mode by Plutarch (de Isid. et Osir.); to that of Porin which the brahmins excuse the gross idolatry phyry (de Abst. iv. 9.), which, however, is of their religion.” William Erskine, Boinbay adopted, and, I think, made more probable by Transactions, i. 199. Compare Colebrooke, Asiat. Dr. Pritchard in his Egyptian Mythology, from Res. vii. 279.; and other quotations in Bohlen, the transınigration of the soul into beasts; of Das Alte Indien, i: 153., which indeed might be Marsham and Warburton, from hieroglyphics; multiplied without end. Mr. Mill (Hist. of India), of Lucian (dle Astrol.) and Dupuis, from the conamong the ablest and most uncompromising op- nection with astronomy; or, finally, that of Bohponents of the bigh view of Indian civilisation, len (Das Alte Indien, i. 186.), who traces its oriappears to ine not to pay sufficient attention to girl to the consecration of particular animals to
particular deities among their Indian aacestors. (1) Heeren has eonjectured, with his usual in- (2) Nothing can be more groundless or ungenuity, or rather perhaps has adopted from De successful than the attempt of later writers to Brosses, the theory, that the higher part of the frame an allegorical system out of Homer; the Egyptian religion was that of a foreign and do- history and design of ihis change are admirably minant caste; the worship of plants and brutes, traced by Lobeck, Aglaophamus, i. 158.
the legislator have taken under his protection the physical conformation, in some cases the procreation, in all the development of the bodily powers by gymnastic educalion; and it required the most consummate skill in the sculptor !o preserve the endangered preeminence of the gods, in whose images were embodied the perfect
models of power and grace and beauty (1). Religion The religion of Rome was political and military (2). Springing
originally from a kindred stock to that of earlier Greece, the rural Gods of the first cultivators of Italy (3), it received many of its riles from that remarkable people, the Etruscans; and rapidly adapted ilself, or was forced by the legislator into an adaptation to the character of the people (4). Mars or Gradivus was the divine ancestor of the race (5). The religious calendar was the early history of the people; a large part of the festivals was not so much the celebration of the various deities, as the commemoration of the great events in their anpals (6). The priesthood was united with the highest civil and military offices; and the great occupation of Roman worship seems to have been to secure the stability of ber constitution, and still more, to give a religious character to her wars, and infuse a religious confidence of success into her legionaries. The great office of the diviners, whether augurs or aruspices, was to choose the fortunale day of battle; the Fetiales, religious officers, denounced war : the standards and eagles possessed a kind of sanctity; the eagle was in fact a shrine (7). The altar had its place in the centre of the camp, as the ark of God in that of the Israelites. The Triumph may be considered as the great religious ceremony of the nation; the god Terminus, who never receded, was, as it were, the deified ambition of Rome. At length Rome herself was impersonated and assumed her rank in heaven, as it were the representa
tive of the all-conquering and all-ruling republic. Moral Ele.
There was a stronger moral element in the Roman religion,
(1) Maximus Tyrius (Dissert. viii.) defends the (5) Et tamen ante omnes Martem coluere priores,
Mars Latio venerandus erat; quia præsidet armis,
Arma feræ genti remque decusque dabant.
Ovid, Fasti, iii. 97-
The month of Mars began the
(6) Compare the proportion of Roman and of
Hoc dederat studiis bellica turba suis.
(3) The Palilia and other rural rites. The sia. Moyle's Works, ii. 86. Compare Tac. And. i. 39. tues of the goddesses Seja and Segesta, of seed
(8) The distinction between the Roman and and of harvest, stood in the great Circus in the
Greek religions is drawn with singular felicity in time of Pliny. H. N. xviii. 2.
the two supplemental (in iny opinion the most (4) Beaufort's République Romaine, b. i. ch.5.
valuable and original), but unfortunately, unfiCoinpare the recent and valuable work of Wal
nished volumes of M. Constant, Du Polyihéisme ter, Geschichte des Römischen Rechts, p. 177.
nfor of the mos pre re:
sented, in their collective capacity, as the avengers of great crimes;
Amidst all this labyrinth, we behold the sacred secrel of the di- Religion
(1) The most virtuous woman in Rome was
Pro magnâ teste vetustas
3 ed 28
Fasti, iv. 203. (3) 11. 533. The Lemuria (Remuria) were instituted to appease the shade of Remus, V.
(4) See the fine description of Ma estas (Fasti, 451, etc.
v. 25-52.), who becomes at the end the tutelar Oxid applies on another occasion his general deity of the senate and matrons, and presides maxim
over the triumphs of Rome.
spiritual purity; as though the Deity condescended to the capacities of the age, and it were impossible for the divine nature to maintain its place in the mind of man, without some visible representalive; a kind of symbolic worship still enshrines the one great God of the Mosaic religion. There is a striking analogy between the Shechinah (1) or luminous appearance which “ dwelt between the cherumbim," and the pure immaterial fire of the Theism, which approaches nearest to the Hebrew, that of the early Persians. Yet even bere likewise is found the great indelible distinction between the religion of the ancient and of the modern world; the characteristic, which besides the general practice of propitiating the Deily, usually by animal sacrifices, universally prevails in the præ-Chris
tian ages. The physical predominates over the moral character of God under the Deily. God is Power in the old religion, he is Love under the and the new. Nor does his pure and essenlial spirituality, in the more
complete faith of the gospel, attach itself to, or exhibit itself under gion.
any form. “God,” says the divine author of Christianity, “is a Spirit, and they thal worship him, must worship him in spirit and in trulh.” In the early Jewish worship, it was the physical power of the Deity, which was presented to the wind of the worshipper : he was their temporal king, the dispenser of earthly blessings, famine and plenty, drought and rain, discomfiture or success in war. The miracles recorded in the Old Testament, particularly in the earlier books, are amplifications, as it were, or new directions of the powers of nature; as if the object were to show that the deilies of other nations were but subordinate and obedient instruments in the hand of the great self-existent being, the Jehovah of Jewish worship.
Yet, when it is said that the physical rather than the moral character of the Deity predominated, it must not be supposed that the latter was altogether excluded. It is impossible entirely to dissociate the nolion of inoral governtnent from that belief, or that propensily to believe, in the existence of a God implanted in the human mind; and religion was top useful an ally, not to be called in to confirm the consciously imperfect authorily of human law. But it may be laid down as a principle, that the nearer the nation approaches to barbarism, the childhood of the human race, the more earthly are the conceptions of the Deity; the moral aspect of the divine nature seems gradually to develope itself with the development of the human mind. It is al first, as in Egypt and India, tho prerogative of the higher class; the vulgar are left to their stocks and their stones, their animals and their repliles. In the republican slales of Greece, the intellectual aristocracy of the philosophers,
(1) Even if the notion of a visible Shechivah veil, in the unapproachable Holy of Holies; and was of a later period, (note 10 Heber's Bampton the imaginatiou would thus be even more pow. Lectures, p. 278.); God was universally believed erfully excited than hy a visible symbol. to have a local and personal residence behind the
tion for new Reli.
guarded by no such legally established distinction, rarely dared
Gradually, however, as the period approaches, in which the reli- Prepara-
Judaism gaye manifest indications of a preparalion for a more essentially spiritual, more purely moral faith. The symbolic pre- the Jews. sence of the Deity (according to their own tradition (1) ceased with the temple of Solomon; and the heathen world beheld with astonishment a whole race whose deity was represented under no visible form or likeness. The conqueror Pompey, who enters the violated temple, is filled wilh wonder at finding the sanctuary without image or emblem of the presiding deity (2); the poet describes them as worshipping nothing but the clouds and the divinily that fills the Heaven (3); the philosophic historian, whose profounder mind seems struggling with hostile prejudices, defines with his own inimilable compression of language, the doctrine to the sublimity of which he has closed his eyes. “The worship of the Jews is purely mental; they acknowledge but one God.—and that God supreme and eternal, neither changeable, nor perishable (4)". The doctrine of another life (which derived po sanction from the Law, and was nalurally obscured by the more immediate and intelligible prospect of temporal rewards and punishments,) dawns in the prophetic writings; and from the apocryphal books and from Josephus, as well as from the writings of the New Testament, clearly appears to have become incorporated with the general sentiment. Retribution in another life has already taken the place of the immediate or speedy avenging or rewarding providence of the Deity in the land of Canaan (5).
Judaism however only required to expand with the expansion
(1) Hist. of the Jews, ii, 10.
(3) Nil præter nubes et coeli numen adorant.
(1) Judzi mente solà, ununque numen intelli.
Suminum illud et æternum, neque mutabile, neque interitarum. Tac. Hist. v. 5.
(5) See Chap. II., in which this question is re. sumed.