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Jovem,” and such the Deity of the still earlier Pelasgians, whom they invoked as the dweller in AEther, and the driver of the clouds. The transition was very ancient from worshipping the heavens in general to the worship of the sun as the eye of nature, the source of life and heat, the moon, the softened image of his brightness, and his kindred light, the stars. As the Pelasgians, the most ancient tribe of the Greeks, worshipped the AEther, or the shining firmament above them, so the Dorians, perhaps the next in antiquity, were peculiarly devoted to the religious service of Apollo' and Diana, the sun and moon, and as the one is communicant, and the other recipient of brightness and power, the distinction of the active and passive nature was introduced, and they became male and female deities. The sun, or universal fire, like the Egyptian Osiris, became the representative of active power; the moon, the lower air, or the earth, like Isis, denoted the passive nature. In addition to the heavenly bodies the whole of existence was first personified, and then worshipped. “Wherever there was motion there was soul,” according to the maxim of Thales. The earth, as the giver and support of existence, was early adored as the universal parent, feeding her unnumbered offspring at unnumbered breasts; while the Phenicians, or whoever first ventured upon the waters,

finding new agents disposing of the lives and fortunes of men, offered up their vows to the propitious or adverse winds, and their homage to the dark and restless power of the sea. Thus the mighty blank of inanimate nature was filled throughout with passion and intelligence, and the mind of man, in the mirror of the universe, beheld its own image reflected back wherever it turned its view, but multiplied, and magnified, and beautified. III. A second source of false religion, and the origin of idol worship, consisted in the veneration paid to the souls of deceased ancestors. This superstition is generally, by the best authorities, considered as more recent than the adoration of the heavens. It is, however, of very ancient origin; and at first, it is probable, it was scarcely to be considered as idolatry, but began in some superstitious respect to rude images made in remembrance of the dead. Such appeared to be the state of Laban's family, who acknowledged the true God, though a superstitious and culpable homage towards the domestic images of their ancestors was evidently springing up among them. Such, no doubt, was the origin of the teraphim among the Jews as well as of the household gods among the Gentile nations. Though generally small as well as rude in their carving, one of these teraphim, which was placed by Michal in the room of David, must have been

about the size as well as the shape of a human figure. Everywhere the souls of ancestors, like the demons of the Greeks, or disembodied intelligences of ancient heroes, were thought to watch over the welfare of their descendants; invisible, as Hesiod observes, in air or mist, but bringing speedy help to the virtuous, and punishment to the wicked. The progress from being the guardian of a family to becoming the protecting deity of a nation, was easy; when an individual was advanced to the sovereign power his household idols shared in his plunder and prosperity. Again, when a conqueror died, his troops still felt themselves led on by his spirit to victory; he naturally became their guardian deity, and new battles fought successfully after vows had been offered up to him, enlarged the supposed sphere of his power, and added new attributes to his divinity. The deified heroes made continual encroachments on the first religion, till both became blended together, or till, as happened in Egypt, some early Phaeton usurped the chariot of the sun, and drove, with a mortal arm, the coursers of the day. IV. A striking instance of complex superstition, from the blending hero worship with the adoration of the heavenly bodies, is found in the Grecian Hercules, who, among the Egyptians and the Phenicians, was the midsummer sun, in the fulness of his strength, personified along with the twelve signs of the zodiac, or the monthly labours of his annual revolution. The Hercules of the Greeks appears, from Homer, to have been a piratical adventurer, one of the early sea kings of the Grecian seas, whose descendants and numerous followers became, after some generations, the conquerors and kings of a number of little states. Hence the fame of their ancestor grew great with the successes of his posterity; and the contrast is very striking, in the Odyssey, between the ancient and genuine text, which represents him as a noble and heroic shade in Elysium ; and the spurious and additional verses which pay their court to the Heraclidae, by describing him as a demi-god in the heavens. The flattery of after times has so inextricably confounded the human hero with the celestial patron whosename he bore, that it is impossible exactly to say where the true labours of Hercules end, and where the mythological labours of the heavenly Hercules begin. But Polytheism was not only diversified by the union of two separate sources of superstition; it was still farther enriched by a diversity of personifications, and the introduction of a complexity of emblems. Thus the sun became a variety of deities, according to the different aspects in which he was viewed. The vernal sun became the infant Horus, as Hercules was the sun in his strength; at the approach of winter the distant and feebler luminary was worshipped as the dying Adonis, or at the winter solstice lamented as the dead Osiris; and, to bestow a still greater diversity upon the emblems which denoted their principal deity, the priests of the Nile gave the figure of every sign into which he entered to the sun; so that every new month afforded a new deity. Thus, upon entering Aries, the sun was worshipped as a ram, and was distinguished as Ammon. On entering the constellation Taurus, he was worshipped as a bull, and became the celebrated Apis. The variety of deities now produced were placed under one head, and subjected to one celestial king. Power tends to unity, in thought, as well as in fact; and one of the deified objects in nature was naturally considered as supreme. This supremacy, the generality of nations placed in the splendour and beneficence of the sun; while some tribes on the coast, more dependant upon the ocean, considered that as the divinest of beings which subjects to the eye, even of sense, the image of the multiform Infinite—immensity in space, in number, in duration, and in degree—the unbounded expanse of innumerable waves, and everlasting motion impressed by immeasurable power. The image of power is, in some measure, productive of fear, and fear would work upon imagination. The energies, which were at first dim abstractions diffused through the elements, were C

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