Imatges de pàgina

From Virgil's account of the death of Dido, we learn that the topmost lock of hair, was dedicated to the infernal gods.

If the hair was rounded, and dedicated for purposes of this kind, it will at once account for the prohibition in this verse.”

A religion so extravagant as that of paganism could not have subsisted so long, had not the priests by whom it was managed contrived to secure the devotion of the multitudes by pretending that certain divinities uttered oracles. The researches of enlightened travellers have laid open the contrivances by which these frauds were managed, at least in Greece.” Various were the means by which the credulity of the people was imposed upon. Sometimes they charmed serpents, extracted their poison and thus rendered them harmless;–a practice to which there are frequent allusions in the Old Testament, and it must have been a gainful and an established traffic. Moses has enumerated seven different sorts of diviners into futurity, whom the Israelites were prohibited from consulting (Deut. xviii. 10, 11.), viz. 1. Those who used divination,--that is, who endeavoured to penetrate futurity by Sauguries, using lots, &c.;-2. Observers of times, those who pretended to fortel future events by present occurrences, and who predicted political or physical changes from the aspects of the planets, eclipses, motion of the clouds, &c.;-3. Enchanters, either those who charmed serpents, or those who drew auguries from inspecting the entrails of beasts, observing the flights of birds, &c.;-4. Witches, those who pretended to bring down certain celestial influences to their aid by means of herbs, drugs, perfumes, &c.; –5. Charmers, those who used spells for the purposes of divination; –6. Consulters with familiar spirits, Pythonesses, those who pretended to inquire by means of one spirit to get oracular answers from another of a superior order;-and, 7. Wizards, or necromancers,

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The sisters had not cut the topmost hair,
Which Proserpine and they can only know,
Nor made her sacred to the shades below—
This off ring to the infernal gods I bear;

Thus while she spoke, she cut the fatal hair. DRYDEx.

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those who (like the witch at Endor) professed to evoke the dead, in order to learn from them the secrets of the invisible world. Four kinds of divination are particularly mentioned in sacred his. tory, viz. by the cup, by arrows, by inspecting the livers of slaughtered animals,<-and by the staff. 1. Divination by the cup appears to have been the most antient: it certainly prevailed in Egypt in the time of Joseph (Gen. xiv. 5). and it has from time immemorial been prevalent among the Asiatics, who have a tradition (the origin of which is lost in the lapse of ages), that there was a cup which had passed successively into the hands of different potentates, and which possessed the strange property of representing in it the whole world and all the things which were then doing in it. The Persians to this day call it the Cup of Jemsheed, from a very antient king of Persia of that name, whom late historians and poets have confounded with Bacchus, Solomon, Alexander the Great, &c. This cup, filled with the elixir of immortality, they say, was discovered when digging the foundations of Persepolis. To this cup the Persian poets have numerous allusions; and to the intelligence supposed to have been received from it, they ascribe the great prosperity of their antient monarchs, as by it they understood all events, past, present, and future. Many of the Mohammedan princes and governors affect still to have information of futurity by means of a cup. Thus, when Mr. Norden was at Dehr or Derri in the farthest part of Egypt, in a very dangerous situation, from which he and his company endeavoured to extricate themselves by exerting great spirit, a spiteful and powerful Arab in a threatening way told one of their people, whom they had sent to him, that he knew what sort of people they were, that he had consulted his cup, and had found by it that they were those of whom one of their prophets had said, that Franks would come in disguise, and passing every where, examine the state of the country, and afterwards bring over a great number of other Franks, conquer the country, and exterminate all.” It was precisely the same thing that Joseph meant when he talked of divining by his cup.” Julius Serenus tells us, that the method of divining by the cup, among the Abyssinians, Chaldees, and Egyptians, was to fill it first with water, then to throw into it their plates of gold and silver, together with some precious stones, whereon were engraven certain characters: and, after that, the persons who came to consult the oracle used certain forms of incantation, and so calling upon the devil, received their answers several ways; sometimes by articulate sounds, sometimes by the characters, which were in the cup, rising upon the surface of the water, and by this arrangement forming the answer; and many times by the visible appearing of the persons themselves * We have no reason to infer that Joseph practised divination by the cup; ol. though, according to the superstition of i. times, supernatural influence might be attributed to his cup. And as the whole transaction related in Gen. xliv, was *rely intended to deceive his brethren for a short time, he might as well asses'

*otion by his cup, as affect to believe that they had stolen it.
* Trav. vol. ii. p. 160. 3:... vol. ii. p. 475.

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about whom the oracle was consulted. Cornelius Agrippa" tells us likewise, that the manner of some was to pour melted wax into a cup containing water, which wax would range itself into order, and so form answers, according to the questions proposed.”

2. Divination by arrows was an antient method of presaging future events. Ezekiel (xxi. 21.) informs us that Nebuchadnezzar, when marching against Zedekiah and the king of the Ammonites, and coming to the head of two ways, mingled his arrows in a quiver, that he might thence divine in what direction to pursue his march; and that he consulted teraphim, and inspected the livers of beasts, in order to determine his resolution. Jerome, in his commentary on this passage, says that “the manner of divining by arrows was thus: They wrote on several arrows the names of the cities against which they intended to make war, and then putting them promiscuously all together into a quiver, they caused them to be drawn out in the manner of lots, and that city, whose name was on the arrow first drawn out, was the first they assaulted.” This method of divination was practised by the idolatrous Arabs, and prohibited by Mohammed," and was likewise used by the antient Greeks and other nations.”

3. Divination by inspecting the liver of slaughtered animals was another mode of ascertaining future events, much practised by the Greeks and Romans, by the former of whom it was termed ‘Hrarozzoria, or looking into the liver. This word subsequently became a general term for divination by inspecting the entrails of sacrifices, because the liver was the first and principal part observed for this purpose. To this method of divination there is an allusion in Ezekiel xxi. 21."

1 De occult, Philos. l. i. cap. 57. 2 Dr. A. Clarke on Gen. xliv. 5. Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. i. p. 54. * On this subject see some curious information in the Fragments supplementary to Calmut, No. 179. 4 Koran, ch. v. 4. (Sale's Translation, p. 94, 4to, edit.) In his preliminary dis. course, Mr. Sale states that the arrows, used by the idolatrous Arabs for this purpose, were destitute of heads or feathers, and were kept in the temple of some idol, in whose presence they were consulted. Seven such arrows were o: in the temple of Mecca, but generally in divination they made use of three only, on one of which was written My Lond hath commanded me, on another, My Lord hath forbidden me, and the third was blank. If the first was drawn, they regarded it as an approbation of the enterprise in question ; if the second, they made a contrary conclusion; but if the third happened to be drawn, they mixed them and drew over again, till a decisive answer was given by one of the others. These divining arrows were generally consulted before any thing of moment was undertaken–as when a man was about to marry, to undertake a journey, or the like. (Sale's Prel. Disc. pp. 126, 127.) * Potter's Antiquities of Greece, vol. i. pp. 359, 360. & Ibid, vol. i. pp. 339, 340. The practice of “divination from the liver is very old, and was practised by the Greeks and Romans, till Christianity banished it, together with the gods of Olympus. In Aoschylus, Prometheus boasts of having taught man the division of the entrails, if smooth, and of a clear colour, to be agreeable to the gods; also the various forms of the gall and the liver.” (Stollberg's History of Religion, vol. iii. p. 436.) Among the Greeks and Romans, as soon as a victim was sacrificed, the entrails were examined. They began with the liver, which was considered the chief seat; or, as Philostratus expresses himself, (Life of Apollonius, viii. 7. § 15) as the prophesying tripod of all divination. If it had a fine, natural, red colour; if it was healthy, and without spots; if it was large and double; if the lobes turned outwards; they promised themselves the best success in their undertakings: but it portended evil if the liver was dry, or had a band between the parts, or had no lobes. It was also considered an unfortunate omen if the liver was injured by a cut in killing the victim. (Matern. of Cilano, Roman Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 164.) Rosenmüller. Burder's Oriental Literature, vol. ii. p. 185. 1 Selden de Diis Syris. Synt. 1. cap. ii. p. 28. Godwin's Moses and Aaron. P. 316. Pococke and Newcome, in loc. Potter's Antiquities of Greece, vol. i. p. 359. (Edinb. 1804.) * Josephus de Bell. Jud. lib. i. c. 8. in fine. Ant. Jud. lib. xviii.c. i. § 4. *Ibid. Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 5. § 9. De Bell. Jud, lib. ii. c. 8. § 4. *Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 10. § 6, lib. xviii. c. i. § 4.


4. Rabdomancy, or divination by the staff, is alluded to by the rophet Hosea (iv. 12.); it is supposed to have been thus performed: The person consulting measured his staff by spans, or by the length of his finger, saying, as he measured, “I will go, or, I will not go; I will do such a thing, or, I will not do it;” and as the last span sell out, so he determined. Cyril and Theophylact, however, give a disferent account of the matter. They say that it was performed by erecting two sticks, after which they murmured forth a certain charm, and then, according as the sticks fell, backwards or forwards, towards the right or left, they gave advice in any affair."


I. The Sadducees.—II. The Pharisees.—III. The Essenes.—IV. The Scribes and Lawyers.-V. The Samaritans.—VI. The Herodians.—VII. The Galileans and Zealots.-VIII. The Sicarii.

I. THE sect of the Sadducers derived its name from Sadok, a pupil of Antigonus Sochaeus, president of the sanhedrin or great council; who flourished about two hundred and sixty years before the Christian aera, and who inculcated the reasonableness of serving God disinterestedly, and not under the servile impulse of the fear of punishment, or the mercenary hope of reward. Sadok, misunderstanding the doctrine of his master, deduced the inference that there was no future state of rewards or punishments. Their principal tenets were the following: 1. That there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit (Matt. xxii. 23. Acts xxiii. 8), and that the soul of man perishes together with the body.” 2. That there is no fate or overruling providence, but that all men enjoy the most ample freedom of action ; in other words, the absolute power of doing either good or evil, according to their own” choice ; hence they were very severe judges." 3. They paid no regard whatever to any tradition, adhering strictly to the letter of Scripture, but preferring the five books of Moses to the rest. It has been conjectured by some writers that they rejected all the sacred books but those of

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Moses, because Jesus Christ preferred to confute them out of these. But this hypothesis is no proof: for, though Josephus frequently mentions their rejecting the traditions of the elders, he no where charges them with rejecting any of the sacred books; and, as he was himself a Pharisee, and their zealous antagonist, he would not have passed over such a crime in silence. It is further worthy of remark, that our Saviour, who so severely censured the Sadducees for their other corruptions, did not condemn them for such rejection. • In point of numbers, the Sadducees were an inconsiderable sect; but their numerical deficiency was amply compensated by the dignity and eminence of those who embraced their tenets, and who were persons of the first distinction. Several of them were advanced to the high priesthood." They do not however appear to have aspired, generally, to public offices. Josephus affirms that scarcely any business of the state was transacted by them; and that, when they were in the magistracy, they generally conformed to the measures of the Pharisees, though unwillingly, and out of pure necessity; t qherwise they would not have been endured by the multitude. II. The PHARISEEs were the most numerous, distinguished, and popular sect among the Jews; the time when they first appeared is not known, but it is supposed to have been not long after the institution of the Sadducees, if indeed the two sects did not gradually spring up together. They derived their name from the Hebrew word Pharash, which signifies separated, or set apart, because they separated themselves from the rest of the Jews to superior strictness in religious observances. They boasted that, from their accurate knowledge of religion, they were the favourites of heaven; and thus, trusting in themselves that they were righteous, despised others. (Luke xi. 52. xviii. 9. 11.) Among the tenets inculcated by this sect, we may enumerate the following, viz. They ascribed all things to fate or providence, yet not so absolutely as to take away the free-will of man, though fate does not co-operate in every action.” They also believed in the existence of angels and spirits, and in the resurrection of the dead (Acts xxiii. 8.): but, from the account given of them by Josephus, it appears that their notion of the immortality of the soul was the Pythagorean metempsychosis;" that the soul, aster the dissolution of one body, winged its flight into another; and that these removals were perpetuated and diversified through an infinite succession, the soul animating a sound "and healthy body, or being confined in a deformed and diseased frame, according to its conduct in a prior state of existence. From the Pharisees, whose tenets and traditions the people generally reI Acts v. 17.xxiii.6. Josephus Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 10. § 6, 7, lib. xviii. c. 1. § 4. 2 Ant. Jud. lib. xviii. c. i. § 4. 3 Ibid.lib. xvii. c. 2, § 4. ..". lib. xiii. c. 5. § 9. lib. xviii. c. 2. § 3. De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 8. § 14. Acts *** Ant Jud in while 1. § 3. De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 8. § 14. lib. iii. c. 8. § 5. The author of the Book of Wisdom (ch. 8. 20.) seems to allude to the same doctrine, when he tells us, that, being good, he came into a body undefiled. WOL. III. 47

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