Imatges de pÓgina

sidered as a war-god, and represented holding in one the sacred horse-of which animal more will be said band a lance, in the other a globe of silver; at his when we come to speak of the Saxon mythology. feet were the heads of men and of lions. Such too Lances were arranged according to a prescribed was Zolotaia Baba, or the golden woman, for such order, and at a certain height from the ground; the her name imports. Her worshippers considered her horse was then made to leap over them; and by his as the mother of the gods. In her arms, like the Isis motions the result of the warlike enterprises for that of the Egyptians, and the Shing-moo of the Chinese, year were judged. she held an infant. Her statue was gilded; and But the ceremonies of the festival did not stop around was a band of musicians, who seldom left their here. After this augury the sacrifices began; human post, and who strove to render their homage as noisy victims, chosen from among the prisoners of war, as possible. This goddess, too, was oracular; and it were attired in their most magnificent arms, and was forbidden to approach her without some offering : mounted upon their best horses ; the legs of each the poor, therefore, tore off part of their garment, or horse were tied to four posts, and thus fastened, the plucked out a lock of their hair, to lay before the feet horse and his rider were surrounded with flames. At of the divinity.

the end of this barbarous ceremony, a huge cake, made The Sclavi of Rugen had deities peculiar to them- of flour and honey, was brought; so large, that the selves; the chief of which was Sviatovid, or Svetovid, edges could be raised high enough to conceal a man. known among the Saxons by the name of Suantovith. The priest was placed within it; and when he was His figure was that of a man with four heads; and he quite invisible to those without, he addressed bis was esteemed the god of the sun and of war. In the prayers to the god, and besought him to manifest his city of Acron, which was the capital of the isle of presence among his people during the ensuing year. Rugen, was his principal temple, and thither resorted Then commenced the banquet itself, no unimportant annually a great number of persons of both sexes to part of the rites. The rest of the day was consumed pay their devotions. The heads of his colossal statue in feasting; and it was considered a disgrace to conwere beardless, and the hair arranged in short curls ; tinue sober. whereas the Saxons depicted him with long waving In the temple of Svetovid were deposited one-third hair and four beards. He was attired in a short tunic, of all the spoils taken from enemies; and each year and held in his right hand a golden 'n, in his left a were devoted him three hundred horsemen taken bow; by his side hung a long sword, in a silver scab

in war.

This temple was destroyed by the Danes bard; and within reach lay a magnificent saddle and when they took Acron; the statue was broken, and bridle. In the midst of the temple was a sanctuary the fragments thrown into the fire. The Bohemians screened by rich curtains; and within this was the worshipped this god with the same veneration as the enormous statue of the god. On days of solemn fes- Rugians; and when they were converted to Christival, the priest entered alone within these curtains, tianity, their sovereign, Vytcheslaf, gave them St. Vitus taking care to hold his breath - a practice which, as their patron-saint, called in their language Suanas we shall see, was continued among the Saxons, tovit-- the same name by which they distinguished though there the whole temple was too sacred the ancient deity. Rugiivith was but the same god, to breathe in on that day; and there does not and derived his name from the isle of Rugen. Poreappear to have been any peculiar sanctuary. The nuth and Porevith were other shapes and names under similarity between this Sclavonic ceremony and

which he was adored. Schedius, indeed, says, that that which was commanded to be observed in the With was the original name of the god; and that Pore, temple of the Most High at Jerusalem, when once Suanto, and Rugii, were merely additions to distinin every year the high-priest alone was permitted / guish the place where, or the circumstances under to go within the veil, cannot fail to strike the at- which, the idol was worshipped — just as the Romans tention of the reader, and to point out the source had their Jupiter Stator, Jupiter Capitolinus, &c. from which the Sclavi derived the rite. Once in It will be necessary to speak of these deities as every year the priest filled with wine the horn in Saxon gods; for though there are but few traces of the idol's hand. This was done with many cere- their worship among the Anglo-Saxons, they seem to monies; and the wine remained in the horn till the have been extensively revered on the continent. After next year brought round the time to renew it: when Svetovid came Prono, a god also worshipped by the that day arrived, the chief-priest was obliged himself | Saxons. His statue was placed on a lofty oak; and to cleanse and sweep the temple; and then, with around him were ranged a great number of idols, with solemn sacrifices, he took the horn from the hand of two, three, or more faces. Seva was a goddess, whose the god, and examined how much wine had been eva- altars flowed with human blood. She presided over porated. If but little, he prognosticated an abundant the fertility of the earth; and as such she was repreyear, and a good harvest the year ensuing; if much, sented under the figure of a beautiful young woman but a small crop could be expected. The wine in the covered only by her floating hair, which reached as horn was then poured out at the feet of the image, and far as her knees. the horn filled afresh. The priest drank to the honour There were two other deities not universally worof the idol, and prayed on behalf of the people for shipped, but looked upon with great veneration by abundance, riches, and victory. He then replaced the more westerly of the Sclavi : these were the good the horn in the hand of the statue. As soon as this genius Bely Bog, and the evil genius Tcherny Bog, was done, the god was consulted as to the success of corrupted by the Bohemians into Zernebock-a name those military enterprises which were about to be un- which was long appropriated to the devil. Bely Bog dertaken; and the reply was expected to come from was represented by a bloody statue covered with flies ;

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and it would seem that there was some connexion between this god and the Baal-zebub of the Syrians: his festivals were celebrated with banquets and dances, while Tcherny Bog was only addressed in the language of deprecation.

son Igor, died pagans; but it is said that the wife of the latter prince embraced the religion of Jesus, and continued in it until her death. She was canonised, and is still a very favourite saint of the Greek Church. It does not, however, appear that she ever attempted to introduce Christianity into Russia, though for at least ten years, viz. from 945 to 955, she governed that country in the name of her son Sviatoslaf: probably one reason might be, that the religion of his ancestors was vehemently supported by that prince, who continued a pagan all his life, and brought up his family in the same faith. Jaropolk, his son, seems to have shared his sentiments; but Vladimir I., who succeeded, entertained the missionaries of the Roman and Greek Churches, of the Mahometans, and it is even said of the Jews. He listened attentively to their arguments; and finally choosing ten men among the wisest of his counsellors, he sent them to examine the state and effects of those several creeds in the countries in which they were acknowledged. The ambassadors visited the lands required; and, struck with the splendour exhibited at Constantinople under the Greek empire, they unanimously gave their verdict in favour of the Greek Church. Vladimir bowed to their decision; but as he was determined not to ask any favour of the emperor, he raised an army, invaded the empire, and after devastating whole provinces and shedding the blood of tens of thousands of men, he carried away captive bishops, priests, and

That the Sclavi believed the immortality of the soul, and a future state of reward and punishment,

is evident, not only from the identity of their my-deacons, and thus avoided what he considered the

thology with that of Greece, but by the union of re-
ligious ceremonies with funeral rites.
The greater
part of these nations buried their dead. After having
placed the body, not without prayers and sacrifices, in
a ditch or grave, they heaped above it a mound of
earth; around this they assembled to celebrate the
trizna, or funeral feast.

humiliation of sending to Constantinople for in-
structors. Vladimir now openly embraced Chris-
tianity; Novogorod was raised to the rank of a
metropolis; and Michael was consecrated by the
Greek patriarch its first archbishop. The grand-
duke, for that was the title then borne by the Russian
sovereigns, received baptism himself, and his whole
court followed his example. He issued orders that
his subjects should comply with the same rite, on pain
of severe punishment, but none was necessary. The
change seems to have been wrought at once, and
universally. The image of Peroun at Kief was
broken from its pedestal, and dragged along at a
horse's tail to the river, beaten with rods all the way,
and finally cast into the water. At Novogorod, how-
ever, the god did not, it seems, yield so peaceably to
his fate; for when his statue there was cast into the
river, he rose again to the surface, and casting a staff
on the bridge threatened them that they should have
cause to repent this sacrilegious act. The memory of
this was long kept up by a day of humiliation, pre-
scribed by the Greek Church to avert the effects of
demoniacal indignation. After the reign of Vladimir,
idolatry never recovered; it may be said to have
had its death-blow in the conversion of that prince,
A.D. 988.

IV. Of the Rites and Auguries of the Sclavonic Nations.

The Sarmatians formed no exception to that general rule, that man is desirous, eagerly desirous, of looking into futurity. They had, as we have seen, their oracles; and they had also their auguries, The most common was that performed by casting up into the air circles called croujki: these were painted white on one side, and black on the other; if, when they descended, the white side lay uppermost, the omen was good; if, on the contrary, the black appeared, the reverse was the case. Sometimes two or more circles were thrown up at once; and as those which exhibited the white side exceeded in number those of which the black was presented, so the inquirers judged of the success of an undertaking. Some drew their auguries from the return of birds of passage; others from the undulations of the sacrificial smoke, the cries of animals, the men or beasts which they met with in their daily walks. The deportment of the captives about to be sacrificed to the gods were all matters far from indifferent, and all conveyed some prophetic lesson.

Few banquets among the Sclavi were equal in magnificence to these trizna. Hydromel or mead was consumed in so great a quantity, that the guests rarely left the tomb in a state of sobriety; while at the death of a prince cruelty was added to drunkenness, and captives were sacrificed, to be useful to the departed in another world. Those who burned their dead instead of burying them, commenced by the celebration of the trizna; after which they carefully gathered the ashes and bones which were not entirely consumed, placed them in urns, and set those urns on pillars near their cities.

The funeral ceremonies even yet in use among the Russians are plainly derived from the trizna. The body to this day is carefully dressed in the richest apparel that belonged to the deceased; the hair is elaborately curled; and the body is then placed upon a painted bier, with the hands covered by white gloves, and holding a cross and a bouquet of flowers. Women are dressed in new robes. Then the friends of the deceased meet, and drink around the body; while refreshments are plentifully distributed to those without.

V. Of the Decline and Fall of the Sclavonic Religion.

Scarcely was Russia established as a separate monarchy under Rurick, than Christianity began to be preached. Rurick himself, his kinsman Oleg, and his


the pleasant interest and refreshment enjoyed a Sermon,

in studying the word of God; the serenity BY THE Rev. R. L. Cottox, D.D.

and illumination derived from the holy comProvost of Worcester College ; and Vicar of Denchworth. munion ;-could you have a lively apprehenJohn, iv. 10.

sion of all the spiritual blessedness which the “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest gift of God bestows upon men, even in this the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, life, you would indeed earnestly pray for it to Give me to drink ; thou wouldest have asked of him, that heavenly Father, who will give the Holy and he would have given thee living water."

Spirit unto them that ask him. How much We find here a woman in the presence of the more if you could know the blessings which Saviour of the world, but unacquainted with flow from it in the life to come ; if you could bim, and with the great and glorious things know the misery, the pain, the anguish, both which he was able and willing to do for her. of mind and body, amidst the never-dying Jesus having been in his lowly manner jour- worms and everlasting flames of hell, from neying on foot, fatigued with the toil of it, in which it can save you; if you could know bumble simplicity sat down on the wood the sweet, the delightful, the triumphant work, or some part of the machinery, of a nature of the angelic joys, the "pleasures at well, which was called Jacob's well. He had God's right hand for evermore," the everperhaps directed his steps especially to this lasting delight of living in the presence of place, because he knew that a woman was God, in the presence of Christ, among pure there, who, though hitherto ignorant and sin- and righteous and glorified beings, angels ful, was blest with an honest and ingenuous and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, and heart, ready to receive and follow instruction; triumphant saints; could you know the naand that intercourse with her would lead to ture and extent of the felicity and glory of the edification of many others. The blessed those things which "eye hath not seen, nor Jesus, ever intent upon carrying on his work ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of of love, was not to be restrained by the fatigue man," but which “God bath laid up for them under which he was labouring, from exercis- that love him;"—could you form but the fainting his affectionate interest in the salvation of est idea of one-thousandth part of them, you man. He sat by the woman ; he began to would not surely pass them by with neglect, speak to her; he said, “ Give me to drink.” as if they were not worth seeking; you would She, little thinking that the lowly man with pant for them, you would long for them, you whom she was sitting was the blessed Son of would seek them with all your heart and God, the Saviour of mankind, asked him how mind and soul. he, being a Jew, could beg a favour of a Sa- Again, the blessed Saviour might say, maritan, since the Jews and the Samaritans Could you know who it is that speaketh to were enemies. The gracious Jesus takes no thee; could you, my people, know what notice of what she had said : he took no part manner of person that is who saith to you, in enmities and quarrels ; his holy mind was "Come unto me;" who promiseth, "him occupied with another and a better subject. that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast He knew the sad state into which her dark

out;" could


know his meekness and genness and iniquity had brought her; and he tleness, his righteousness and justice, his wisknew the salvation which he could work for dom and prudence, his mercy and love ; her. He addressed her to this effect: "Could could you know all the beauty of his holiyou but know who I am, and what I could do ness, sweetened and softened as it is by his for you, you would long for the great bless. gracious tenderness, compassion, and condeings which I am able to impart to you." scension ; could you know the glory and His compassionate heart felt that it was a greatness of his divine majesty, as it appeared pity that there should be such grand blessings when the seraphim "cried to one another, ready for the woman, while she was losing and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of the enjoyment of them, because she did not hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory;" know what they were, and therefore could or, as it will appear when he shall come in not seek them. Therefore he saith, “If thou his glory, and all his holy angels with him, knewest the gift of God.”

and shall sit on the throne of his glory, and And to how many might he thus speak at before him shall be gathered all nations," the present day! If you could know the even all the thousands of all generations nature of that unspeakable gift which the which have lived since the world began; or blessed God offers you in the Gospel of his as he will for ever appear in "the light which Son; if you could know the soothing conso- no man can at present approach unto, King lation of pardon and reconciliation with God; of kings and Lord of lords," with the vast the comfort of love, and all other heavenly hosts of the holy angels "standing round graces; the sweet satisfaction found in prayer; about him, and falling before the throne on their faces, and worshipping God, saying, | me with favourable regard, with gracious acAmen; blessing, and glory, and wisdom, ceptance? Do I receive with joy and gratiand thanksgiving, and honour, and power, tude every sign and expression of his love, and might, be unto our God for ever and which I find in the comfort vouchsafed to me ever;" could you know that he " is the in prayer, and in the study of the Scriptures, brightness of the glory of God, and the ex- and in the holy communion, in the spiritual press image of his person;" could you hear consolation which at any time pervades my the Father himself, God Almighty, saying heart? Or is it the case, that I care for none unto him, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever of these things—that I hear of all the offers and ever ; a sceptre of righteousness is the and promises of the Gospel, and see nothing sceptre of thy kingdom: and, Thou, Lord, in engaging or attractive in them; that I hear the beginning hast laid the foundation of again and again of the righteousness, and the earth, and the heavens are the work of love, and glory of the Saviour, and “ see no thy hands;" could you see the "wonderful beauty in him, that I should desire him?" Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Surely there must be some sad disease inFather, the Prince of peace;" had you an fecting that heart that finds nothing lovely, enlightened knowledge of Christ in all the nothing desirable, in the blessed Saviour and loveliness of his beautiful character as man, his heavenly gifts. Surely they that possess “fairer than the children of men," and in all such a heart must be" dead in trespasses and his divine attributes and glorious majesty as sins." The darkness of the grave must have God; could you know all the goodness and overspread their minds, preventing them from the greatness and the glory of the blessed seeing the glorious light which shines over Son of God, the Saviour of the world, who them. “ The god of this world hath blinded invites you to

come unto him, that you may the eyes of them that believe not, lest the have life,” that you may " have it abund- light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who antly,"_life in all the abundance of living; is the image of God, should shine unto them." life, with every thing that can fill the living The cold hand of death must have been laid being with joy and peace; life, blessed with upon their heart, chilling all its feelings, and the perfect exercise of reason, righteousness, freezing all its affections. How otherwise and love--angelic, heavenly life; could you could people hear of the ever-blessed Son of know the gift of God, and who it is that God, and his inestimable gifts, without any speaketh unto you,-you would surely ask of interest, or concern, or admiration, or desire ? him, and you would surely pray to him, with How will they wonder at their wretched all the eagerness and earnestness of your blindness and stupidity, when they “ see the hearts, beseeching him to give to you that Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven which he offers to you.

with power and great glory;" when they see But if you have no knowledge of the the bright saints shining in the brilliancy of blessed nature of that “living water," or of their glory, and the heavenly light streaming the heavenly glory and happiness for which from the blessed heaven, manifesting to them it will prepare you, or of the beauty and ma- the radiant glory of the kingdom of God! jesty of that divine Saviour, who offers these What will be the anguish of their self-accusgrand spiritual and eternal blessings, you will ing hearts, when they find themselves driven not long for the living water; you will not away, and “punished with everlasting deanxiously desire the enjoyment of heaven ; struction from the presence of the Lord, and your soul will not be “athirst for God, even from the glory of his power;" while his for the living God;" you will not be eager to blessed saints are, with joy and triumph, “appear in the presence of God."

glorifying him and admiring him! Then Wherefore, beloved friends, I beseech you, there will be “ weeping and gnashing of “consider your ways.” Ask yourselves this teeth, when they shall see others in the king, question: Do I value most highly that living dom of God, and they themselves shut out." water, do I thirst for it, do I long for it, Surely, brethren, if you knew the gift of do I pray for it? Do I look forward, with God, and who it is that speaketh unto you, eager desire and hope, to the attainment of a you would ask of him, and he would give you place in the glorious heaven? Do I seek the the living water, But what is this living Lord? Do I seek an enlightened knowledge water? We find that the Samaritan woman of Christ? Do I eagerly desire to know the could not understand what the blessed Jesus love of Christ, which passeth knowledge? Do meant by the living water; and perhaps such I anxiously cultivate the knowledge of him, words, expressive and beautifully significant by reading of him, and hearing of him, and as they are, may convey no idea to many“ thinking of him, and imitating him? Do I they may be to them a mere empty sound. seek his face, and the light of his counte- They may not perhaps know, after all, what nance, eagerly desiring that he may look upon that gift of God is which is offered them, and

for which they may ask in prayer. Let us undefiled” by sin. Do we, then, find that we hear, then, some further explanation of it abominate sin ; and are we utterly ashamed from Jesus himself. “Whosoever shall drink of ourselves because we have been guilty of of the water that I shall give him, shall never it, and because of the badness of our hearts, thirst; but the water that I shall give him, shall so prone to evil, so wanting in piety and love? be in him a well of water, springing up unto Do we find that we are ever seeking the pareverlasting life." The living water, then, don of our sins in prayer, with grace to give means something which, having been im- us power to master our sinful nature, and parted to us, becomes to us the means of our excite in us good affections? Are we ever attaining eternal life. What can this living maintaining a struggle with our vile passions water be, then, but the Holy Spirit? That and all our tendency to sin ? and do we really blessed Spirit poured into the heart of man, keep the command over them? Are we ever by the goodness of the gracious God, causes endeavouring to cherish every good feeling, good principles and holy dispositions to arise to cultivate every good disposition, to seek in it. The fear of God, trembling before his the improvement of the whole frame of our justice and holiness ; faith in God, resting mind and heart ? and do we find, as a matter upon his divine mercy and promises, and the of fact, that we are really devoted to the sermerits of his blessed Son ; the love of God, vice of the Lord--that we are really “ in the admiring his divine perfections, and feeling fear of the Lord all the day long,"endeavouring grateful for all his goodness and all his bless to please him by all that we say and do—that ings ; charity, filling the heart with kind we are really given to prayer and the study affections, and exciting it to active and zeal of the Scriptures, and attending the Lord's ous efforts to comfort, relieve, assist, benefit house and his holy table? Do we find that a neighbour ;-these, and other good princi- we really feel for our fellow-creatures -- that ples and dispositions appearing in our heart, we weep with those that weep, and rejoice moving us to lead a righteous and godly life, with those that rejoice—and that we not only to be diligent and persevering in acts of piety feel, but act upon our feelings, exerting and charity, testify that the well of living ourselves, and enduring loss, that we may water is really in the soul, and is " springing afford every assistance, and consolation, and up unto everlasting life.” For the presence relief to our distressed, and afflicted, and needy of the Spirit is known by its fruits. “ But neighbour ? Do we find that our affections the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long- are set upon things above, and not on things suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meek on the earth”--that we are not "carnally ness, temperance." And to such signs of the minded, which is death, but spiritually minded, presence of the Spirit we must look, if we which is life and peace ?" wish really to discover whether we are fa- These are no vain, or impertinent, or needvoured with the effectual enjoyment of that lessly curious questions. They are of the inestimable blessing. We must watch the deepest concern to us. For if such a stream feelings, and affections, and dispositions of of holiness is really proceeding from our our heart; we must continually look into, hearts, it testifies to us that the fountain of and observe, and examine the ways of our life is there, the “ living water.” And this life; if we would, indeed, discover whether pure and holy stream, derived from that the living water is springing up in us to ever- sacred fountain, tends in its course to the lasting life. What, if there should appear ocean of everlasting life. Such is the tenour of in us adultery, fornication, hatred, variance, our Lord's promise : "It shall be in him a well envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and of water, springing up unto everlasting life." such like ? Could we hope that the blessed Happy and thankful may those blessed children Spirit is a fountain of life to us in such case of God be, who find that, notwithstanding The Holy Spirit would not send forth a stream the dreadful flood of iniquity which seems to befouled with filthy ways, and perverted by be overflowing the world and overwhelming devilish tempers. The Spirit of Christ would mankind in misery and ruin, in them appears dispose us to follow the example of the blessed a stream, though far from the purity which Jesus in his holy way, and engender in us his they desire to see in it, yet running in the lovely dispositions. He" went about doing right course, the course of honesty and truth, good.” In him was the Spirit of wisdom the course of chastity and sobriety, the course and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of piety and charity,-a course spiritual, not might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the earthly-tending to heaven, not to hell. To fear of the Lord;" and " righteousness was find the heart set heavenwards, seriously, the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness was the earnestly, constantly " hungering and thirstgirdle of his reins." He " loved righteous-ing after righteousness" - to find the life ness, and hated iniquity." He “ fulfilled all directed heavenwards, running through a righteousness," and was " holy, harmless, and channel of good and religious ways towards

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