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But though much of the traditions of the heathen appear to corroborate the Mosaic account of the creation, the most of them appear to leave God very much in the back ground of their systems, and none of them make Him the earth's direct Creator. *
2. Faint shadows of the fall of man, appear in the traditions of different nations. All nations, have traditions of some kind on this subject. Hessiod's Pandora, or the Grecian Eve, is represented as a beautiful and modest virgin, adorned with numerous gifts and graces ; but, at length, was unluckily gifted with speech, and filled with all deceitfulness by Mercury, and hence, she became the corrupter of mankind.
The Persians believe in two principles, Ormudz and Ahriman, the good and the evil. A conflict once arose between them and Ahriman, the evil principle prevailed; and hence the fall, and subsequent imperfections of man. The same idea seems to be prefigured by the two races of the Hindoos—one gigantic and wicked, and ever making war against the races of the Brahmin patriarchs.
A people called Tschudas, residing in a mountainous range of Asia, are said to have preserved the very names of Cain and Seth, but with a change of character. Cain is the father of an enterprising and a good race. The Greeks, Romans, and all other ancient nations, held, that
See on this subject-The History of Hindoostan; its arts and sciences, as connected with the history of other great empires of Asia: book 1: chapter 1.—The Patriarchal Age; by George Smith F. S. A., chapter 1.--Ancient and Modern Nations ; by Thomas Dew, chapter 1
man had greatly deteriorated since his creation, and Ovid represents the gross wickedness of man, as determining Jupiter to destroy the world with a flood. It is also remarkable that the Chinese represent the wickedness of their emperors as the cause of the flood. *
As the serpent bore so conspicuous a part in the defection of our first parents, we might expect to find him represented in the traditions of the nations, as filling an important place in their mythology. Now, the fact is, the serpent has been, not only an object of dread, but of worship, by all heathen nations. “ The mystic serpent entered into the mythology of every nation; consecrated almost every temple; symbolized almost every deity; was imagined in the heavens, stamped upon the earth, and ruled in the realms of everlasting sorrow. His sublety raised him into an emblem of wisdom ; he was therefore pictured upon the ægis of Minerva, and crowned the helmet. The knowledge of futurity which he displayed in Paradise, exalted him into a symbol of vaticination; he was, therefore, oracular, and reigned at Delphi. The opening of the eyes of our deluded first parents, obtained him an altar in the temple of the god of healing ; he is, therefore, the constant companion of Æsculapius. In the distribution of his qualities the genius of his mythology, did not even gloss over his malignant attributes. The fascination with which he intoxicated the souls of the first sinners, depriving them at once of purity and immortality, of the image of God, and the life of angels, was symbolically remembered, and
* Ancient and Modern Nations; by T. Dew, late President of che College of William and Mary; pages 5 and 6.
fatally celebrated in the orgies of Bacchus, where serpents crowned the heads of the Bacchantes. But the most remarkable remembrance of the paradistical serpent is displayed in the position which he retains in Tartarus. A cunodracontic Cerberus guards the gates; serpents are coiled upon the chariot-wheels of Proserpine; serpents have the abyss of torment; and serpents constitute the caduceus of Mercury, the talisman which he holds when he conveys the soul to Tartarus. The image of the serpent is stamped upon every mythological fable connected with the realms of Pluto. Is it not then probable that in the universal symbol of heathen idolatry we recognize the universal object of primitive worship—THE SERPENT OF PARADISE ?''*
In the Bhagabat, one of the sacred books of the Hindoos, Krishnu is represented as encountering a great serpent in the pool of Kalundea. This serpent had poisoned the waters, and had destroyed many of the inhabitants, and it was not till after a long conflict, and with much difficulty, that the god succeeded in overcoming him.
Krishnu is often represented in the paintings, and in the statuary of the Hindoos as standing his foot upon the head of this serpent. No one can doubt, that, in this serpent, we see a manifest tradition of the serpent, who tempted Eve, and whose head was to be bruised by the woman's seed.
3. The longevity of the patriarchs, as recorded by Moses, finds a confirmation in the traditions of many nations.
Josephus, referring to the length of patriarchal life, says:
*Patriarchal Age, pages 139 and 140~quoted from Dean's Worship of the Serpent, page 446.
“I have for witnesses to what I have said, all those who have written antiquities, both among the Greeks and the barbarians; for even Manetho, who wrote the Egyptian history, and Berosus, who collected the Chaldean monuments, and Mochus and Hestiæus, and, besides these Hieronymus the Egyptian, and those who composed the Phenician history, agree to what I here say; Hesiod, also, and Hecatæus, Helanicus and Acusilous, and besides these, Ephorus and Nicolus, relate that the ancients lived a thousand years."*
If such declarations of Josephus, in the face of the world, had not been true, how easily they might have been disproved, and would undoubtedly have met, at least, with contradiction.
“In relation to the longevity of the primeval race of man, Hesiod
says, of the silver age, it was much worse than the golden, and adds, the 'growing child was nursed one hundred years by his careful mother—very infantine in his home.'' The aborigines of North America, have similar traditions.
That the great number of years ascribed by some heathen nations to the ancients, should not be sneered at as mere fable, appears from the fact that in many cases these years, in a most remarkable manner, coincide with those of the Bible patriarchs. In the records of the Chinese, it appears that between the aggregate reigns of eight of their emperors—from Fo-hee to Yao, and the aggregate time of eight
riarchs—from the death of Noah to the death of Serug, there was a difference of only seventy-seven years. Such
* Josephus' Antiquities, book 1, chap. 3.
a tradition, covering a period of seven centuries or more, and coming so near the Scripture history, can scarcely be regarded as accidental. *
4. The Flood finds confirmation in numerous traditions of different nations. According to Blair, "The Deluge begun Dec. 7, 1656, and continued three hundred seventyseven days. The Ark rested on Mount Ararat, May 6, 1657; and Noah left the Ark, Dec. 18, following. The year corresponds with that of 2348, B. C.”
Now, about all nations have their traditions of a Flood. Ovid gives an account of the Deucalion Flood, which he takes from the traditions of his day. The Egyptians made Deucalion an Egyptian, while the Greeks made him a Grecian.
According to the Greeks, Deucalion was the grandson of Japetus. May not this refer to the Japhet of Moses, the son of Noah ?
In the annals of the Chaldeans, Berosus gives an account of a Deluge, in which Xisuthrus, King of Babylon, was saved, through a warning from Cronos. He minutely and graphically describes the Ark, the animals in pairs, and the birds that were sent out to see if the waters were dried up. Similar traditions to these existed in Media and Assyria.
Pliny speaks of a Deluge, as though it were a point. generally acknowledged in his day.
The Magi, amongst the Persians, were believers in a. general Deluge, and the Chinese philosopher Confucius ,
Patriarchal Age, page 186..