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Some of the individual deities of the Homeric mythology may have suffered degradation, in order to bring them into their place in the Olympian council. All could not be first. There could be but one Zeus. If gods that had been the sole or chief objects of worship in Crete or elsewhere, who had been great local or national deities, were transformed into sons and daughters of Jupiter, we should find certain attributes and certain traditionary fables clinging round them inconsistent with their new position-we should feel that a certain degradation had taken place.

These are some of the general conclusions upon the Homeric mythology which have received the sanction of our best authorities.* Mr Gladstone does not set these aside, or entirely contradict them, but he considers that the facts here glanced at are not sufficient to account for the Homeric mythology. He regards it as the debasement or corruption, the breaking up and adulteration of the monotheism of Adam and the patriarchs, and of the Messianic traditions that had descended from their times.

There is one great fact which goes far of itself to disprove this theory. The idea of Creation which is so

prominent in the Hebrew theology, and in that also of some other Eastern nations, is absent in the early Greek mythology. Jupiter does not create the world-he is born in it, and lives in it, as part of the great system; he is not eternal-he came like ourselves; he is immortal, and Kronos has taken precaution that no god shall be born who will supersede him, but he is neither eternal nor a creator. Could such great ideas as eternity and creation be lost out of the intelligence of a people, lost by its highest as well as its lowest? In the history of religion we frequently see a great idea put forth by superior minds, to be distorted by the multitude, who perhaps take the mere symbol by which it was expressed and worship it. But this does not prove a backward movement even of the multitude, for they never were in clear possession of the higher idea. Is it probable that a whole people, the intelligent as well as the unintelligent, after having once possessed the idea of a creative god, should resign it for the conception of a god born like themselves into a pre-existing world? This seems highly improbable, whereas such lower conception of the god

The following extract from K. O. Müller's History of the Literature of Ancient Greece, may not be unacceptable to our readers. "In the religion of these nations, (the Phrygians, Lydians, and Syrians,) the combination and contrast of two beings, Baal and Astarte, the one male, representing the productive, and the other female, representing the passive and nutritive powers of nature, and the alternation of two states, viz., the strength and vigour, and the weakness and death of the male personification of nature-of which the first was celebrated with vehement joy, the latter with excessive lamentation-recur in a perpetual cycle, which must in the end have wearied and stupified the mind. The Grecian worship of nature, on the other hand, in all the various forms it assumed in different places, places one deity, as the highest of all, at the head of the entire system, the God of heaven and light; for that this is the meaning of the name Zeus is shown by the occurrence of the same root (Diu), with the same signification, even in the Sanscrit, and by the preservation of several of its derivatives, which remained in common use both in Greek and Latin, all containing the notion of heaven and day. With this god of the heavens, who dwells in the pure expanse of ether, is associated, though not as a being of the saine rank, the goddess of the earth, who in different temples (which may be considered as the mother-churches of the Grecian religion) was worshipped under different names, Hera, Demeter, Dione, and some others of less celebrity. The marriage of Zeus with this goddess (which signified the union of heaven and earth in the fertilising rain) was a sacred solemnity in the worship of these deities. Besides this goddess, other beings are associated, on one side, with the Supreme God, who are personifications of certain of his energies-powerful deities who carry the influence of light over the earth, and destroy the opposing powers of darkness and confusion: as Athena, born from the head of her father, in the height of the heavens; and Apollo, the pure and shining god of a worship belonging to other races, but who, even in his original form, was a god of light. On the other side are deities allied with the earth, and dwelling in her dark recesses; and, as all life

would naturally arise out of a theology which in some measure identified the god with the forces of nature. Here the gods would, in fact, rise out of nature. Nature would not be, at first, regarded as the creation of the god.

But though the idea of creation is not present in the Homeric poems, we see it emerging in the Orphic poets of a later date, and we see it growing still clearer in subsequent poets and philosophers. Critics have also noticed that between Homer and Pindar a higher conception had grown up of the state of the dead, of the hopes man may entertain of the future. We can fairly attribute these improvements, these advanced thoughts of God and immortality, to nothing else than the general development of the Greek intellect. If the highest ideas we know of can thus develop themselves normally, why should we have recourse to any other explanation for such measure of truth as may appear in Homer?

But it is not only the monotheism taught to man in Paradise by God himself, that Mr Gladstone sees in the dim light which shines through the mists of heathendom; he especially refers us to certain Messianic traditions, carried also out of Para

dise, and circulating throughout the
world wherever the dispersed family
of man betook itself. Many scholars
and divines have pleased themselves
with tracing in heathen nations the
idea of a Messiah, but they have
always recognised this idea as re-
taining the form of a prophecy, the
king or prince, or divine power yet
to come. We have lying before us
the Hulsean Lectures of the Rev. R.
C. Trench, which bear the title of
"The Unconscious Prophecies of
Heathendom." Whether such pro-
phetic views were considered as tra-
ditions, or regarded as spontaneous
products of our common Humanity,
aspiring after a better and happier
condition than it had yet attained,
they have still been always con-
sidered as essentially prophecies. Mr
Gladstone would persuade us that
these prophecies have, through the
imagination of the poet, or other cor-
ruptions, been converted into past
transactions, or the actual attributes
of the present god. But it is time
that we allow our author to speak
for himself :-
:-

"I know not whether it has been

owing to our somewhat narrow jealousies concerning the function of Holy Scrip

ture, or to our want of faith in the ex

tended providence of God, and His mani

appears not only to spring from the earth, but to return to that whence it sprung, these deities are for the most part also connected with death: as Hermes, who brings up the treasures of fruitfulness from the depth of the earth; and the child, now lost and now recovered by her mother Demeter, Cora, the goddess both of flourishing and decaying nature. It was natural to expect that the element of water (Poseidon) should also be introduced into this assemblage of the personified powers of nature, and should be peculiarly combined with the goddess of the earth; and that fire (Hephaestus) shall be represented as a powerful principle derived from heaven, and having dominion on the earth.

"The Homeric poems (which instruct us not merely by their direct statements, but also by their indirect allusions), when attentively considered, clearly show how this ancient religion of nature sank into the shade, as compared with the salient and conspicuous forms of the deities of the heroic age. The gods who dwell on Olympus scarcely appear at all in connection with natural phenomena. Zeus chiefly exercises his power as a ruler and a king; although he is still designated (by epithets doubtless of high antiquity) as the god of the ether and the storms. In the Homeric conception of Hera, Athena, and Apollo, there is no trace of any reference of these deities to the fertility of the earth, the clearness of the atmosphere, the arrival of the serene spring, and the like, which, however, can be discovered in other mythical legends concerning them, and still more in the ceremonies practised at their festivals, which generally contain the most ancient ideas. Hephaestus has passed from the powerful god of fire in heaven and in earth, into a laborious smith and worker in metals, who performs his duty by making armour and arms for the gods and their favourite heroes. As to Hermes, there are some stories in which he is represented as giving fruitfulness to cattle, in his capacity of the rural god of Arcadia, from which, by means of various metamorphoses, he is transmuted into the messenger of Zeus, and the servant of the gods."-P. 13 et seq.

festations in the world, or to the real incongruity in the evidence at our command, or to any other cause, but the fact at least seems to me to be beyond doubt that our modes of dealing with the Homeric poems in this cardinal respect have been eminently unsatisfactory. Those who have found in Homer the elements of religious truth, have resorted to the far-fetched and very extravagant supposition, that he had learned them from the contemporary Hebrews, or from the law of Moses. The more common and popular opinion has perhaps been one which has put all such elements almost, or altogether, out of view, one which has treated the Immortals in Homer as so many impersonations of the powers of nature, or else magnified men, and their social life, as in substance no more than as a reflection of his picture of heroic life, only gilded with embellishments and enlarged in scale, in proportion to the superior elevation of its sphere. Few, comparatively, have been inclined to recognise in the Homeric poems the vestiges of a real traditional knowledge, derived from the epoch when the covenant of God with man, and the promise of a Messiah, had not yet fallen within the contracted forms of Judaism for shelter, but entered more or less into the common conscious ness, and formed a part of the patrimony

of the human race.

“But surely there is nothing improbable in the supposition that in the poems of Homer such vestiges may be found. Every recorded form of society bears some traces of those by which it had been preceded; and in that highly primitive form which Homer has been the instrument of embalming for all posterity, the law of general reason obliges us to search for elements and vestiges belonging to one more primitive still. And if we are to inquire in the Iliad and the Odyssey what belongs to antecedent manners and ideas, on what ground can it be pronounced improbable that no part of these earlier traditions should be old enough to carry upon them the mark of belonging to the religion which the Book of Genesis represents as brought by our first parents from Paradise, and as delivered by them to their immediate descendants in general? The Hebrew chronology, considered in connection with the probable date of Homer, would even render it difficult or irrational to proceed upon any other supposition. Standing next to the patriarchal histories of Holy Scripture, why should it not bear, how can it not bear, traces of the religion under which the patriarchs lived?

"The immense longevity of the early generations of mankind was eminently favourable to the preservation of pristine traditions. Each individual, instead of being, as now, a witness of, or an agent in, one or two transmissions from father to son, would observe or share in ten times as many. According to the Hebrew chronology, Lamech the father of Noah was of mature age before Adam died; and Abraham was of mature age before Noah died. Original or early witnesses remaining so long as standards of appeal, would evidently check the rapidity of the darkening and destroying process."-Vol. ii. p. 2.

It is characteristic of Mr Gladstone's mind-of his readiness to assume his premises-that he does not for a moment glance at the questions which he knows must arise in every second reader of this paragraph. He is content to cover himself with the broad shield of orthodoxy. But many very excellent Christians receive the earlier chapters of Genesis in an allegorical sense, and many learned critics assign this portion of the sacred writings to a date later than would answer the purposes of Mr Gladstone. All this he may have it in his power utterly to refute. him some word in support of preBut surely we might expect from mises which are to support all his subsequent conclusions, more especially as it is evident, from the above quotation, that he is greatly influenced by the consideration that, taking his stand on the literal interpretation of the earlier chapters of Genesis, he ought to find the traditions recorded in them extending into heroic Greece.

But it is not only the true and beneficent Deity that is supposed to pure idea of an eternal, creative, and be "the starting-point from which the human mind had to run its career of religious belief and speculation;" we are referred to certain Messianic prophecies, especially to Gen. c. iii.. v. 15, which are supposed in some way to be incorporated into the mythological figures of Minerva and Apollo. We find this to be altogether a fanciful supposition.

"The general view, then, which will be given in these pages of the Homeric Theomythology is as follows: That its basis is not to be found either in any mere human instinct gradually building it up

from the ground, or in the already formed system of any other nation of antiquity, but that its true point of origin lies in the ancient Theistic and Messianic traditions which we know to have subsisted among the patriarchs, and which their kin and contemporaries must have carried with them as they dispersed, although their original warmth and vitality could not but fall into a course of gradual efflux, with the gradually widening distance from their source. To travel beyond the reach of the rays proceeding from that source was to make the first decisive step from religion to mythology. "To this divine tradition there were added, in rank abundance, elements of merely human fabrication. which, while intruding themselves, could not but also extrude the higher and prior parts of religion. But the divine tradition, as it was divine, would not admit of the accumulation of human materials until it had itself been altered. Even before men could add, it was necessary that they should take away. This impairing and abstraction of elements from the divine tradition may be called disintegration.

"Before the time of Homer it had already wrought great havoc. Its first steps, as far as the genesis of the mythology throws light upon them, would appear to have been as follows: Objectively, a fundamental corruption of the idea of God, who, instead of an omnipotent wisdom and holiness, now in the main represented on a large scale, in personal character, the union of appetite and power; subjectively, the primary idea of religion was wholly lost. Adam,

says Lord Bacon, was not content with universal obedience to the Divine will as his rule of action, but would have another standard. This offence, though not exaggerated into the hideousness of human depravity in its later forms, is represented without mitigation in the principles of action current in the heroic age. Human life, as it is there exhibited, has much in it that is noble and admirable, but nowhere is it a life of simple obedience to God.

"When the divine idea, and also the idea of the relation between man and his Maker, had once been fundamentally changed, there was now room for the introduction without limit of what was merely human into religion. Instead of man's being formed in the image of God, God was formed in the image of man. The ancient traditions were made each to assume a separate individual form, and these shapes were fashioned, by magnifying or modifying processes, from

the pattern that human nature afforded."-P. 32.

This general view our author proceeds to develop more particularly, or more in detail, in the following manner. It is really not our fault if the reader finds the exposition obscure we have done our best in the selecting of our quotations.

"The earliest Scriptural narrative presents to our view, with considerable distinctness, three main objects. These are respectively-God, the Redeemer, and the Evil One. Nor do we pass even through the Book of Genesis without finding that it shadows forth some mysterious combination of Unity with Trinity in the Divine Nature.

"From the general expectation which prevailed in the East at the period of the Advent, and from the prophecies collected and carefully preserved in Rome under the name of the Sibylline Books, we are at once led to presume that the knowledge of the early promise of a Deliverer had not been confined to the Jewish people."-P. 39.

Mr Gladstone cannot surely mean that the Trinity suggested here of God, the Redeemer, and the Evil One, is anywhere the Trinity of the Holy Scriptures. If he leaves this impression, it must surely be the result of some obscurity of language. After some further account of these traditions-of which it seems the Sibylline books of Rome are called in as evidence he proceeds:

"Let us now observe how these traditions severally find their imperfect and deranged counterparts in the heroic age of Greece.

"First, as to the Godhead.

"Its Unity and Supremacy is represented in Jupiter, as the administrator of sovereign power.

"The combination of Trinity with Unity is reproduced in the three Kronid brothers, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, or Aidoneus-all born of the same parents, and having different regions of the material creation severally assigned to them by lot.

"Next, as to the Redeemer.

"The first form of this tradition is represented chiefly in Apollo. But neither the various attributes which were conceived as belonging to the Deliverer, nor the twofold manifestation of his character as it appears in Holy Writ, could, we must conclude, be held in combination

by the heathen mind. The character, therefore, underwent a marked disintegration by severance into distinct parts; and while it continues, in the main, to form the groundwork of the Homeric Apollo, certain of its qualities are apparently transferred to his sister Diana, and others of them are, as it were, repeated in her.

"The second form of the tradition is that of the Wisdom or Logos of the Gospel of St John; and this appears to be represented in the sublime Minerva of the Homeric system.

"Lastly, Latona, the mother of the twin deities Apollo and Diana, appears to represent the tradition of the woman from whom the Deliverer was to descend.

"Thirdly, with respect to the Evil

One

But perhaps we have already given our readers sufficient to reflect upon for one time. They would like to take breath and pause a little at the aspect in which Apollo and Diana and Latona are here presented to them. This Latona, who represents, we are elsewhere told, the general idea of "honoured maternity "—and for that reason, we presume, was revenged on Niobe by the slaughter of all her children--is indeed a very obscure goddess, and lies open to many interpretations. She is sometimes represented as the wife, sometimes as the concubine, of Jupiter-suffers strange persecutions from Juno-and becomes the mother of Apollo and Diana. Turning to the classical dictionary of Dr W. Smith, we find that she represents, and very aptly, "the obscure," or "the concealed; that, in fact, her legend seems to indicate nothing else than the issuing of light from darkness. The night ever precedes the day. Such simple explanations are not to be accepted by Mr Gladstone. Scarce will he allow the heathen imagination to have any independent play or exercise. "The rainbow of Holy Scriptures," he tells us, "is represented in the Homeric Iris." The rainbow comes after rain; and the god of the clouds and the shower could hardly have been provided with a more likely messenger. This is surely as probable a process of thought as the converting a sign of God's will into a messenger of the god.

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But it is about these Dii Majores, Minerva and Apollo, that Mr Gladstone gathers all his marvellous subtleties. With the Talmud on one side, and his Homer on the other, he revels in ingenious analogies. He makes distinction between gods of tradition and gods of invention. Minerva and Apollo are gods of tradition, Venus and Mars of invention. In elaborating this distinction, he appears to us to forget or to remember at pleasure what Homer really says of these his two favourite deities. But, without insisting on this, we find Mr Gladstone drawing a quite arbitrary line between what may or may not be of human invention, or, in other words, the spontaneous and normal product of the human mind. In one sense, all the gods of Homer are probably traditional,-that is, they were the invention of other times. He has brought his own additions to these traditional inventions, often enough, perhaps, of a very inconsistent character. But there is no greater difficulty in believing a Minerva the goddess of wisdom to be invented by man, than a Venus the goddess of love. Whether we consider Minerva to have been originally one of the great naturegoddesses, who assumed, in Homer's system, a quite personal and ethical character, or whether we consider her to have been, from the commencement, an impersonation of heavenly wisdom-the wisdom of Zeus-in either case, there seems nothing beyond the bounds of human inven

tion.

It is curious to notice with what dexterity our ingenious author contrives to extract materials for a theological system, and special prerogatives for these deities, out of the mere incidents of a poem, out of descriptions and events in which the artist, and not the theologian, was manifestly at work.

"Both Minerva and Apollo are generally exempt from the physical limitations, and from the dominion of appetite, to

which the deities of invention are as generally subject. Though, when a certain necessity is predicated of the gods in general, they may be literally included within it, we do not find that the poet had them in his eye apart from the rest, and the

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