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temples, or places consecrated to religious worship. In every people we discover a reverence and awe of the Divinity; a homage and honour paid to Him; and an open profession of an entire dependance upon Him in all their undertakings and necessities,-in all their adversities and dangers. Incapable of themselves to penetrate futurity, and to ascertain events in their own favour, we find them intent upon consulting the Divinity by oracles, and by other methods of a like nature, and to merit his protection by prayers, vows, and offerings.'


The truth of the foregoing observations is fully evinced in the mythological history of ancient times; for to what other source can we ascribe the uniform and perpetual consent of all the nations of the globe, in paying adoration to some object for the blessings they received, but to the inherent principle implanted in the breast of man, that a Supreme Being had eternally existed, to whose munificence they referred all the advantages they enjoyed?

The doctrine of the Omnipresence of the Deity was but little understood amongst the heathen nations, and, to remedy this deficiency, their imagination created gods and goddesses, to preside over the several parts of the universe, and over the various passions and properties of men, in order that they

• Rollin's Ancient History.

should never suppose themselves removed from the cognizance of one or other of the superior beings in whom they believed. It is very evident that the origin of many of the fabulous histories may be traced to holy writ, as, for instance, the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, and numerous others might be cited to support the assertion; several of them are mere fables, and totally unworthy of credence, while others, again, are to be looked upon in the light of allegories, under the veil of which the ancients conveyed many sublime and instructive sentiments.

Sir William Jones, in one of his learned essays, on the Religion of the Ancients, refers all Mythology to four principal sources;-"The perversion of historical and natural truth into fable, by ignorance, imagination, flattery, and stupidity; hence beacons, or volcanoes, became one-eyed giants, and monsters vomiting flames; and two rocks, from their appearance to mariners in certain positions, were supposed to crush all vessels attempting to pass between them; of which idle fictions many other instances might be collected from the Odyssey, and the various Argonautic poems. The next source of them appears to have been a wild admiration of the heavenly bodies; and, after a time, the systems and calculations of astronomers;-hence came a considerable portion of Egyptian and Grecian fable, the Sabean worship in Arabia,

the Persian types, and emblems of Mihr, or the sun, and the far-extended adoration of the elements, and the powers of nature. Thirdly, numberless divinities have been created solely by the magic of poetry, whose essential business it is to personify the most abstract notions, and to place a nymph or a genius in every grove and almost in every flower; hence Hygeia and Jaso, health and remedy, are the poetical daughters of Esculapius, who was either a distinguished physician or medical skill personified ;—and hence, too, Chloris, or Verdure is married to Zephyr. Fourthly,-The metaphors and allegories of moralists and metaphysicians have been also very fertile in deities, of which a thousand examples might be adduced from Plato, Cicero, and the inventive commentators on Homer, in the prodigies of the Gods and their fabulous lessons of morality."

Were the legends of mythology to be divested of the splendid ornaments with which the transcendent genius of its votaries have enriched them, they would appear, in general, barren, and void of interest; but embellished as they are, by all that the sister arts of poetry, painting, and sculpture, could devise, they cannot but compel our admiration, and excite in our minds regret, that talents so exalted, should not have been employed in a higher and nobler cause; and that men so calculated to feel and to express all the sublimer passions of

human nature, should have lived and died in pagan darkness, before the "glad tidings of the gospel brought life and immortality to light." The perfect freedom which we enjoy under the Christian dispensation, when contrasted with the trammels of idolatry, is thus well described by a celebrated divine of the present day.

"What a full emancipation from ignorance has Christianity achieved, wheresoever it is dominant! In ages that have passed by, what darkness has prevailed in regard to the nature of God and the destinies of man! and as a necessary consequence of this, men have been tied and bound with the chain of superstition, and utterly unable to walk abroad in the consciousness of their immortality. Until Christianity came, the doctrine of the unity of God, and the deathlessness of the soul, lay for the most part beyond the reach of vision; and those most distinguished by their reasoning faculties, were in bondage through the multitude of deities, and were harassed with the uncertainties that thronged on another life. But when Christ arose as the teacher of the nations, how did he wrench off the chains by which they were shackled-illustrate the attributes which placed JEHOVAH on the throne of the universe, and open to the view of man his own unbounded existence in an invisible world! He cleared off those mysterious doubts which held men in slavery, and death was no

longer to be regarded as a tyrant whose chains were everlasting."

The feeling with which Pagan and Mahometan nations should be regarded by Christians, is similar to that which the benevolent master of a numerous household would entertain towards his dependants; exercising over them that dominion which knowledge, intelligence, and virtue, must ever possess over ignorance and degradation; but tempering his superiority with kindness, and using patience and lenity towards those whose misfortune, not whose crime, it is, that they have been less favoured than himself.

We will now proceed to speak of Mythology more particularly with reference to Greece and Rome.

Mythology, in its limited and generally accepted sense, is the history of the fabulous gods and heroes of antiquity, and has been well styled the hand-maid to the classics;-—the key which unlocks the stores of other times, and the fertile source whence the poet derives that beautiful imagery, and the artist those embellishments, which adorn their respective works. Although it must yield, in point of decided usefulness, to many other branches of knowledge, it is yet so intimately blended with ancient history, classical reading, and in fact, with all the higher walks of literature, that no liberal educa

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