תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

and beheads his daughter Zillah. If the God would sacrifice his children, of course the man must, or obversely ; if the man did, the God must, and at last the prostitution of womanhood, and the sacrifice of manhood, symbolised by circumcision, were substituted for death. Tauthe or Thoth, is said to have invented the first alphabet made of serpents. Canaan had a brother who added to this Phænician alphabet three letters. He was called Aram; he was the Syrios of Herodotus, and Bunsen believes that it was Abraham the Syrian who thus completed the alphabet. What relation serpents had to the earliest letters it is now impossible to say. Philo says that the Greek Theta owed its form to the Egyptian habit of designating the Deity by a ringed serpent, with its head turned inward, the dot representing the eye of God in the world. But the serpent was the name and symbol of the Phænician letter Tet, which preceded the Greek Theta, and that Greek letter still represents the Deity in abbreviated writing. When knowledge was eonsidered a Divine thing, forbidden to the mass of men, it is not wonderful that letters should grow out of cabalistic signs. The psychical myth was represented by Osiris. His worship is the intellectual centre of the worship of Egypt. The perfect soul is the son of God, Osiris ;-Man who having passed through the judgments of the lower world was at last reconciled to his father.

NOTATIONS OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT.

I. Cosmogonic worship, as of Ptah, or Hephaistos.
II. Of the Solar Power, as in Ra, or Helios.
III. Of Time and Space, as Seb and Nu.
IV. Of Psychical worship or the Divine Rule of Man, as in Osiris.

Ptah is the oldest God, as yet unendowed with the symbols of the Sun. He is an Ideal. Only a Creator. He is the God, who shapes the Cosmic egg on the potter's wheel. Helios and his successors represent the solar power, and bear its symbols. In Osiris, God himself appears as man, the child of Time and Space, a myth which has not yet lost rule over the minds of men.

Upper Egypt calls this Divine man Osiris. Lower Egypt calls him Seth. Sech is the Phallic-god, type of the sun, in the rage of the Dog-Star. Osiris is not a deified man, but justified Man, is God as Osiris. The story of Osiris is the story of the circle of the year, of the sun dying away and resuscitating itself again. His name is a riddle. Isis is its first element. It is written Hes-Iri. This means “ eye of the world,” but it is probable that a better meaning attached to it, as a primitive Aramaic root.

HS. is the name and sign of the Throne of Isis. H. S toreth, or throne of Astarte, indicates this also, but how came the Egyptians to use only the first syllable of this name and what does it mean? Philo says that Astarte found a star which had dropped from Heaven. She picked it up and put it in the temple at Tyre. Now the polar star of the Phænicians was the brilliant Beta of the Little Bear, which the Arabs still call “ The Star.”

PHNICIAN.

Three thousand years before Christ this was nearer to the pole than any other conspicuous star. The above story merely tells us that it was sacred to Astarte. The Arabs call the square in the Great and Little Bears, the Bier, or N. Has. Therefore it is evident that the worship of Astarte was coincident with the period when this star became the Pole-Star. It is not an Aramaic name, it is the word translated Arcturus in Job. ix, 9 and xxxviii, 32. The Edomite colonies driven by the convulsions of the Dead Sea to the Coast, date from 2,800 B. C., which coincides with the suggestions of the above statement. “ Hes” has no meaning in the Egyptian. Hathor however meant the “world." The two “ Has toreth,” were thrown into one about 2,000 B.C. Has meant a bier, but HS, the accented form, meant “throne" or seat, the whole word Hes-Asar expressed the abstract conception of the Divine Power, “ Throne of the World.” Hesiri is a rebus. Now the date of 2,500 b c. is given as the earliest at which this Beta of the Little Bear, was likely to be used as a pole-star. The Chaldee system of astral symbols, has its date determined in a similar way. The Bull (Tor) indicated the vernal equinox and generative power. This became possible in its actual astral connection 3000 B. C.

Here is a Harmony of Names, which shows whence Egypt derived language and religion.

EGYPTIAN. Set,

Set, Ba'al,

Bal. (Ptah) the opener, with seven forces, Pth. Hephaistos.

the Semitic week. Esmun,

Esmun. Eighth Hermes. Tet, the Serpent,

Tet. Hermes. Amon, the Sculptor,

Amun, the concealed. Nebo,

A-nebu. Kon Heracles,

Khonsa. Heracles. Ur, God of Light,

Her. God of Day. Asar, The Mighty,

Hes-Iri-Hesar. Hanokhe,

Anuke, Teneth, Tenait,

N.T. Athena-Tenait. HaS. (toreth) Throne.

HS. Throne. Yet Renan denies that there is any philological connection between the Phænician and the Egyptian. The studies of George Rawlinson, Master of Ancient History at Oxford, however, sustain Bunsen, even when Rawlinson is not aware of it himself. Ancient Cushite (Kossite) tribes possessed the central Asiatic plains, and he shows that the ancient sacred Chaldean tongue was the Galia of Ethiopia, the Biblical Cush! Set was an Egyptian Moloch. Egypt soon abolished human sacrifice. Osiris, who suffers like Christ, ruled it with a law of conscience. The Egyptians were the first who made a dogma of the immortality of the soul. (See the Book of the Dead, and the assertions of the Greeks confirmed by the monuments. The belief in the transmigration of souls was a provincialism of their own. It was because of it, that the Ethi. opian animal worship at last conquered Egypt; or had that provincial belief been the first evidence of the Ethiopian influence? The “ Book of the Dead” exhibits as the ground-work of their religion, moral responsibility, of which we find few traces in the Vedas. There is a great similarity between their ideas of duty, and those of the Decalogue, or the seven commands of Abraham, supposed to be so much older. The immortal soul is banished from God by misconduct. Faith charges the body with all sin, and would annihilate it, but Man shall see God at the end of his wanderings.

In the Egyptian novel of “ The Two Brothers,” the belief in transmigration furnishes the machinery. The hero may die as many times as the author pleases. He may become a tree, but at last his sin will be overtaken and he will become a man. The builders of the Pyramids must save their bodies, if they would remain immortal, thus their fear of a people's indignation indirectly caused the erection of their monuments and the preservation of their records. Their literature consisted of religious books, hymns, prayers and incantations and novels. Its wider scientific scope may be discovered by studying the character of the forty-two books of Hermes, as described by Clemens. Fragments of these books are gradually coming to the light. To one class of them, the “ Ceremonial books of the Stolists,” belongs the “ Book of the Dead.” From its pages, we quote a few significant sentences. " I am the one who knows,” says the Departed. “The Osiris justified in peace is the Sun himself.” I went in as a hawk, and came out as a Phænix,” and this sentence, which might well be graven over the entrance of the Museum at Cambridge, and which it would be well for Owen and Darwin to consider as they write: The Sem-sem or genesis of a type is the greatest of secrets !“ Mashallah” a stele dated 4,000 B. C. and translated by Chabas for the Archæological Review of April 15, 1858, contains these sentences. “ Having the courage which knowledge gives thee, converse with the ignorant as well as the learned. Is any master quite perfect ?” “If it humble thee to serve a wise man, thy conduct suits thy own relation to God. He knows thou art among the little ones! Do not make thy heart proud against him.” “The interior of a man is no secret to him who made it. He is with thee, though thou be alone.” The plot of the “Two Brothers," of which we have spoken in a theological connection, is genuine. It indicates the moral government of the world, and is illustrated by satirical drawings. In these the world appears upside down, mice are eating cats, women are seizing men, and here, if not in the common heart and wit of man, the authors of the Batrachomyomachia, and the Ecclesiazousæ might have found inspiration ! The sacred art of Egypt was conventional, but its artist possessed skill of a very different kind. All the portraits in the great work of Lepsius indicate individuality and character. Tuthmosis 11. has an unmeaning face, his sister's (whose escutcheons he erased!) is commanding. Tuthmosis, the oppressor, is handsome. Horus looks like the weak enthusiast he was. The Asiatic profile of Ramses II. is well known, and his great father Sethos I. has a still nobler face. Statues of private persons confirm this impression. A squatting attentive figure of a scribe, now in the Louvre, is especially remarkable. Ot

he Science and Learning of the Egyptians we have indicated enough in the course of this article. The time has not yet come, when we dare, by talking about steam engines and telescopes, to provoke the incredulity of our readers. Lepsius found the roll of papyrus on the monuments of the Old Empire, and an inkstand is carried by a scribe of the Fourth Dynastý. Before Joseph was, Egypt had records and a literature.

In a recent lecture on Immortality, Emerson quoted the following words from Van Helmont : “It is my greatest desire that it might be granted unto atheists to have tasted at least but only one moment, what it is intellectually o understand, whereby they may feel the immortality of the mind as it were by touching," and he then went on to say substantially, “the man of courage is he who has tested his parts, knows how they will serve him, what uses they will endure, and of what fibre they are made, so he who deals with eternal things, feels himself eternal.” This feeling Bunsen confers upon all those who study him faithfully.

It has been said that “Egypt's Place in History" is the “worst written book in the world.” A book that undertakes to create a history, by working out an untold number of problems, whose significance can only be felt, whose true sequence can only be perceived by an advanced student, may lay its author open to such a charge, but no one ever did justice to these books without “ being lifted upon unseen wings,” as Fredrika Bremer used to say ; without being kindled by a glow of enthusiasm, drawing nearer to God, and taking hold more consciously of the soul's destiny. This it is to deal with eternal things!" There is a peculiar fitness in bringing the work of Bunsen adequately before the public at this moment. It is not only that the progress of years has justified him, in many positions which challenged at first the ridicule of the world, but the publication of his fifth volume offers to every student an opportunity to investigate the questions, which have sustained an irreparable loss as it would seem, by the recent death of Dr. Boeckh at Berlin, and Dr. Hincks at London. To a clear statement of his Problems and their key, Bunsen here adds a dictionary and grammar of hieroglyphics, and a complete translation of the Book of the Dead, of which there are several copies, and one, we hope, still in this country.

To this is added interesting Egyptian texts with interlinear translations, on which the student may try the merits of the Grammar and Dictionary, and still farther a “complete comparison of the hitherto known Egyptian words, both Old and New, with the Semitic.” With such helps, we hope for a generation of Egyptian scholars in this country. We especially welcome the Appendix because it clearly shows the justification of Bunsen's work. True, the name of the Holy Mykerrinus was long a myth, and to-day, his coffin may be handled in the British Museum ! True, that men sneered at Bunsen when he demanded an antiquity of 3,300 years, for the reign of Cheops, and

lately the independent labors of a Mussulman astronomer claim that the pyramid of Cheops must have been erected in the year 3,285 B. c. !

Still there are not wanting respectable scholars who produce Blair's magni. ficent tables of Chronology, and devoutly believe with him that the world was made Oct. 23, 4,004 years B. C.

Bunsen's book is a wholesome rack for a cramped brain. In addition then to the great lists of kings, the palace registers and tablets of the monuments, we welcome in this volume the new text of the age of Cheops, the Sallier papyrus detailing the quarrels of the shepherds with the native rulers, the inscription at Tanis, which places 400 years, between Ramses II. and the Hycsos rule, and the inscription at Karnak record. ing an eclipse. The newly discovered tablet at San, containing the Greek translation of a decree, confirms the principles of hieroglyphic interpretation heretofore adopted. It bears witness to an immortal human intelligence, always competent to interpret transient human work. Here too are to be found the amended texts of Philo and others, who have interpreted the fragmentary traditions out of which the story has been in part woven. It is st necessary that a competent Editor should be found for these volumes, who will do in detail what we have attempted in general. The purpose of some of the tables is still obscure, and Dr. Birch only edits the philology of this last volume.

CAROLINE.H. DALL. Boston, October 5th, 1867.

[blocks in formation]
« הקודםהמשך »