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religion of ancient Europe, an examination of the pictures of the Trinity, of the Madonna and Child, of the Scriptural illustrations upon the stained glass of the ruined cathedrals, of the shrines of saints, of crucifixes, relics, and such fragments of the Bible—and especially of the Old Testament—as had survived the wreck of ages, supposing they could be preserved for so long a period, would lead them to construct a theology very different from the Christian religion, even as it exists at the present day in its purest form. They might possibly refer to it as a polytheistic or a pagan system penetrated with a very high moral quality, but nevertheless debased by many superstitions, degrading alike to the Creator and His worshippers. We are in the same difficulty in regard to the religion of the ancient Egyptians. If we assume the records of it which have descended to us to possess an esoteric meaning, they may contain a morality as pure, and a theology as profound, as any by which it has been succeeded. If we regard only its exoteric aspect, it possesses little claim upon our religious sentiments. Many of its external observances present a marvellous sim

ilarity to those of the Hebrews, which may possibly be accounted for to a great extent by the residence of the latter in Egypt. Thus, if we compare the ten Hermetic books relating to the Egyptian priesthood, with those of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, we find a remarkable agreement in ceremonial observance. The Egyptian altars of sacrifice may be seen in the Boulak museum; and we know that the laws concerning the choice of victims, purification, the dress of the priests, and the regulations to be observed by them while officiating, all bear so striking a resemblance to the Mosaic ceremonial, that we can scarcely suppose it to have been fortuitous. Wilkinson gives us in his book an illustration of “one of the sacred boats or arks with two figures representing cherubim,” and he tells us that the overshadowing wings were those of two figures of the goddess Truth. “This ark,” he remarks, “was carried with great pomp by the priests, a certain number being selected for that duty, who, supporting it on their shoulders by means of long staves passing through metal rings by the side of the sledge on which it stood, brought it into the temple, where it was placed on the stand or table, in order that the prescribed ceremonies might be performed before it.” The stand was also carried in the procession by another set of priests following the shrine, by means of similar staves. The same is said to have been the custom of the Jews in some of their religious processions, as in carrying the ark “to its place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, when the Temple was built by Solomon.” The analogy might be extended to great length, not merely in the ceremonial but in the moral code, as showing the influence which their sojourn in Egypt exercised over the religious observances of the Jews and their leader—as, for instance, in the mention of three out of the Ten Commandments already alluded to in the invocation to the Sun, and in some of the sentences contained in the code of justification. “I have not moved my neighbour's landmark; I have not caused my neighbour to shed tears,” recall the Mosaic injunctions, “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark; ”* “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Indeed it is certain that Moses, who, we are told, was learned in all the knowledge of the Egyptians—who, according to Philo and Clemens of Alexandria, had studied their hieroglyphics, and had been a priest of the Temple of the Sun himself-was not ignorant of the purer or more internal side of the Egyptian theology. He must have known that its apparent polytheism was only symbolical, and that it was a pure monotheism, that is to say, that it consisted in a belief in one God, whose qualities and attributes were personified by a corresponding number of active agents or obedient divinities. These, when they were represented by objects in nature, became objects of worship. Thus the sun, the moon, the hawk, the king, the bull, the beetle, all typified attributes, or were, in the modern parlance of Swedenborg, “correspondences; ” but while the learned only regarded them as such, the common people invested them with a divine character, and ultimately became worshippers of them. It is recorded that the Roman travellers of ancient times were entirely unable to reconcile the advanced culture and philosophy of the Egyptians with much that appeared to them degrading in their religion. Thus, on visiting their temples, and marvelling at the majestic beauty of their architecture, and the taste and harmony which characterised the decoration of their courts and chambers, they were disgusted, on arriving at the innermost sanctuary, and being allowed to peep round the corner of the veil of the temple, to find, instead of the magnificent statue of a god, as they expected, a solitary live animal, of a species common to the country, reclining upon a gorgeous carpet, and ornamented with jewels. The Egyptians explained the anomaly by affirming that it was more honourable to the Deity to worship him through an emblem pervaded with His life, breathing with His breath, and fashioned by His hand, than to invest a block of dead matter, formed by the skill of man into a human likeness with the attributes of Deity, and to worship Him in it. Again, the Deity, or divine abstraction, which in the belief of the early Egyptians appears to have been bisexual in character,

1 The Ancient Egyptians, i. 268. By Sir G. Wilkinson. * Deuteronomy xix. I4.

* Leviticus xix. 18.

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