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ments. Among other attributes, he was believed to be the god who presided over the heart and swayed all its actions.

The priests and sacred scribes of the temples of Egypt, a body of men deeply skilled in the secrets of human nature, appear to have infused into the minds of their superstitious followers the belief that they possessed supernatural powers and could predict coming events; and as the Pharaohs included in their persons the office of priest and king, it is not difficult to understand how a slavish people would raise to divine honours the mortal who had ruled them on this earth, and whom, there was reason to dread, might be supreme in another world, where his revenge would be wreaked on those who neglected to pay him posthumous honours. Nothing is more surely known of Egyptian manners than the adulation of the subjects and the tyranny of the rulers of that land; and the famous Valley of the Kings, at Thebes, with its splendid rock-cut chambers, sculpture, painting, and sarcophagi, manifest the costly labour spent in surrounding, with every art and decoration, the mummies of Suphis and his royal descendants.

It may be observed that many attributes of mortals are confusedly mingled with those of supernatural powers. Thus there seems to have been a mortal Osiris, one of the early kings of Egypt, who first taught his subjects the benefits of agriculture, the value of the cow, and the method of preparing corn. He was, for all these good benefits, enrolled among the powers divine, not, however, as a peculiar deity. His attributes were given over to swell the attributes of the solar Osiris, and that the lessons of the mortal were gratefully remembered, is evidenced in the fact, that the statue of Osiris was almost invariably represented with a winnow, or hoe, in his hand as a symbol of his connexion with agriculture. Another god, adding to his spiritual powers those of a canonized mortal,


is Thoth or Hermes, already alluded to as the god whe presided over the wisdom of the heart. But the most extraordinary, and perhaps the most interesting division of all the objects of Egyptian worship, is the adoration of animals, to some of the forms of which, as evidences of the character of Egyptian mythology, reference has already been made in a former chapter. On a first consideration, nothing seems more extraordinary than that men should bow down before a brute or a loathsome reptile. An adoration of so strange a kind seems at variance with every feeling of our minds, and every recollection of our sensations or emotions. Nevertheless, there can be but one opinion as to the sincerity of the worship paid to them; the death of the sacred animals was bewailed with bitter lamentation; the slayer of one was immediately put to death by the multitude without waiting even the semblance of a trial. The dead bodies of cats and dogs were buried with the most solemn funeral rites, and it is even believed that mothers looked with horrible delight on their children devoured by sacred crocodiles.

"The walls of this temple," says an ancient author, "shine with gold and silver, and with amber; and sparkle with the various gems of India and Ethiopia; and the recesses are concealed by splendid curtains. But if you enter the penetralia and inquire for the image of the god, for whose sake the same was built, one of the pastopheri, or some other attendant on the temple, approaches with a solemn and mysterious aspect, and putting aside the veil, suffers you to peep in and obtain a glimpse of the divinity. There you behold a snake, a crocodile, or a cat, a fitter inhabitant of a cavern or a bog than of a temple." Yet the feelings of contempt with which we first regard this animal worship, are diminished on closer examination, and we find it based on certain simple and not unnatural ideas, involving proofs of greater acuteness and ingenuity than

other circumstances would warrant us in imputing to the Egyptians.

We have no reason to believe that the Egyptians worshipped animals in admiration or dread of any of their own attributes. Though many of the brute creation possess powers to inflict pain and injury on man, the feeling of terror is but a transient one. It is far more natural to man's proud heart and invincible reason, to glory in the conviction that he can crush and utterly annihilate the most cruel and wild of the lower animals, and that he only spares brute power and energy, because, in the exercise of his selfish utilitarianism, he can turn it to good account. Nor can we imagine feelings of the opposite kind to have prompted to the adoration. Dogs and cats, or shrewmice, do not render such benefits to men that they should bow down and worship, yet these were famous divinities of the Egyptians. It is then to some other source we are to look for the solution of the enigma, and it is at once found in the knowledge of the facts that the ancient Egyptians looked on certain animals as the personifications of peculiar gods. That a people believing in the existence of supernatural powers, and that they beheld before them their visible incarnations, should pay to these devout homage, is no way unnatural, though sufficiently characteristic of the degradation of the most sublime conceptions of spiritual things, when wrought out by man without the light of Divine inspiration.

Osiris, the first god, was believed to be personified in the bull, and his consort, Isis, in the cow. In the cities of Memphis and Heliopolis, no god was worshipped but Apis the sacred bull, to whom the most gorgeous temples that Egyptian genius could execute were consecrated, and in whose honour festivals and ceremonies were continually celebrated; nor was Isis less adored. The inhabitants of Aphroditopolis invoked her as their chief goddess, and on a white cow was lavished the most devout

worship of her pious votaries. Osiris was symbolized in the bull as the god who presided over agriculture, but from some strange and truly Egyptian connexion between some astronomical cycle and the constellation Taurus, each individual four-footed Apis was believed to live on this earth for twenty-five years and then to drown himself in the Nile, on his way to a better world, and the whole of Egypt was astir till a new bull-god was procured. We need not stop to remark on the jugglery with which the cunning priests must have deluded the superstitious Egyptians.

To Isis was given the cow, both because her husband was the bull, and that the colour of white animals of this species seemed to associate them with the white silvery light of the moon, of whom Isis was the personification.

The domestic dog came in for a large share of veneration; he had a whole city, Cynopolis, dedicated to him; but besides this, he was also associated with the worship of Isis, and looked upon as the incarnation of Anubis, the impersonification, as is thought, of Sirius, the Dogstar, one of the heavenly bodies, which occupied a most conspicuous place in the Egyptian astronomical calendar. If such were his attributes, it is not difficult to understand how the symbol of a star came to be worshipped along with that of the moon, or Isis. Cats, too, received no inconsiderable share of Egyptian adoration, being dedicated to Bubastis, the deified light of the moon; from the observance of the peculiar contractions of the pupil of the cat's eye, when exposed to different degrees of light, which was believed, by the superstitious votaries of the goddess, to increase or diminish along with the waxings and wanings of the moon. Other analogies of a like nature contributed to the causes of veneration in which these animals were held; and, accordingly, all cats that died in Egypt were embalmed and sent to the city of Bubastos, the great seat of the worship of the goddess in question.

The wolf, according to mythologists, or more probably the jackal, for we have no reason to believe that the Egyptians were acquainted with the wolf, had a whole city dedicated to himself, and named Siscopolis. Horus, the consort of Bubastis and god of the sun's light, was believed to have been suckled like Romulus and Remus of old, by an animal of this species. It is difficult to assign a satisfactory origin for a fable by which so savage an animal as the wolf or jackal should have been supposed to overflow with maternal kindness. Yet it is curious that in two very dissimilar countries the same office should be assigned to the same animal. To Hermes, as the patron of learning, was dedicated no less strange an animal than the monkey, from a singular belief that this animal understood hieroglyphics; and, if we may trust the narratives of classic commentators, on the death of one of the monkey gods, the priests of the temple tested the abilities of his successor for his new office, by placing before him a writing table, with pens and ink. It may perhaps be assumed, however, that the sagacity of animals of this class gave them their claim to be enrolled as the living symbols of the god of learning.

The hippopotamus and the ass were abhorred by the Egyptians, and for their uncouth appearance and perverse habits were dedicated to the evil and abhorred god Typhon. Every animal loathsome or hostile to man, was looked on as an incarnation of this demon, hence serpents, some kinds at least, and occasionally crocodiles, were worshipped as Typhonian animals. In particular districts of Egypt, however, serpents and crocodiles were worshipped as the personifications of different deities. In the whole of Egypt, serpents were regarded with peculiar reverence; it is not easy, however, to ascertain in what light they were viewed,- -one species was dedicated to Osiris, (as Serapis,) another to Isis, the rest seem to have been looked upon as the agents of Typhon, certainly as

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