Page images

the support of religion; in the allowance of a general

toleration : the measure and causes of it: the nature of

the ancient tolerated religions : how, under the super-

vision and direction of the magistrate: and how first

violated and destroyed by civil tyranny - pp. 298-334

Notes to Fourth, Fifth, & Sixth Sections










HE NEXT step the Legislator took, was to sup

port and affirm the general doctrine of a ProVIDENCE, which he had delivered in his laws, by a very circumstantial and popular method of inculcating the belief of a future state of rewards and punishments.

This was by the institution of the MYSTERIES, the most sacred part of pagan Religion; and artfully framed to strike deeply and forcibly into the minds and imaginations of the people.

I propose, therefore, to give a full and distinct account of this whole matter : and the rather, because it is a thing little known or attended to: the Ancients, who wrote expressly on the Mysteries, such as Melanthius, Menander, Hicesius, Sotades, and others, not being come down to us. So that the modern writers on this subject are altogether in the dark concerning VOL. II,


their origine and end; not excepting Meursius himself: to whom, however, I am much indebted, for abridging my labour in the search of those passages of antiquity, which make mention of the ELEUSINIAN Mysteries, and for bringing the greater part of them together under one view*.

To avoid ambiguity, it will be proper to explain the term. Each of the pagan Gods had (besides the publick and open) a secret worship t paid unto him : to which none were admitted but those who had been selected by preparatory ceremonies, called INITIATION. This secret worship was termed the MYSTERIES.

But though every God had, besides his open worship, the secret likewise; yet this latter did not every where attend the former; but only there, where he was the patron God, or in principal esteem. Thus, when in consequence of that intercommunity of paganism, which will be explained hereafter, one nation adopted the Gods of another, they did not always take in at the same time, the secret worship or Mysteries of that God: so, in Rome, the publick and open worship of Bacchus was in use long before his Mysteries were admitted. But, on the other hand again, the worship of the strange God was sometimes introduced only for the sake of his Mysteries: as, in the same city, that of Isis and Osiris. Thus stood the case in general ; the particular exceptions to it, will be seen in the sequel of this dissertation.

* Eleusinia: sive de Cereris Eleusinæ sacro,

+ Strabo, in his tenth book of his Geography, p. 716, Gron. ed. writes thus: Κοινόν δη τύτο, και των Ελλήνων και των βαρβάρων εσό, το τας δεροποιΐας μεία ανέσεως εoρίασικής ποιείσθαι, τάς μεν συν ένθασιασμό, τας δε χωρίς και ταϊς μεν μιλά μεσικής, τας δε μή" ΚΑΙ ΤΑΣ ΜΕΝ ΜΥΣΤΙΚΩΣ, ΤΑΣ ΔΕ ΕΝ ΦΑΝΕΡΩι' και τα' ή φύσις έτως υπαξορεύει.


The first and original Mysteries, of which we have any sure account, were those of Isis and Osiris in EGYPT; from whence they were derived to the GREEKS*, under the presidency of various Godst, as the institutor thought most for his purpose: Zoroaster brought them into Persia : Cadmus and Inachus into Greece at largeI; Orpheus into Thrace: Melampus

• Diod. Sic. lib. i. Eudoxus said, as Plutarch informs us, that the Egyptians invented this fable concerning Jupiter Ammon, or the Supreme God,-That his Legs being unseparated, very shame drove him into solitude; but that Isis split and divided them, and by that means set him at liberty to walk about the

World. Φησί σερί τε Διός ο Εύδοξος, μυθολογείν Αίγυπλίες, ώς των σκελών συμπεφυκότων αυτώ μη δυνάμενος βαδίζειν, υπ' αισχύνης, ερημία διέτριβει. Η δε "Ισις διατεμέσα και διασήσασα τα μέρη ταύτα τα σώματος, αρτίποδα, την πορείαν παρέσχει. De Is. & Osir. Vol. 1. pag. 67ο. Edit. Steph. 8vo. The moral of the fable is plainly this, as we shall see more plainly hereafter, That the FIRST CAUSE was kept unknown, till the Egyptian Mysteries of Isis revealed him amongst their απόρρηλα; which Mysteries were communicated to the Greeks, and, through them, to the rest of mankind. But the Image under which the fable is conveyed, was taken from the form of the Egyptian Statues of the Gods, which the workmen made with their Legs undivided. When the Greek Artists first shewed them how to form their Gods in a walking Posture, the attitude so alarmed their Worshippers, that they bound them with Chains, lest they should desert their own Country. For the people imagined that their Gods, on the least ill humour or disgust, had a strange propensity to shew them a fair pair of heels.

t"οτι δε των Διονυσίων, και των Παναθηναίων, και μέλος των Θεσμοφορίων, και των Ελευσινίων τας τελείας Ορφεύς, άνής Οδρύσης, εις τας Αθήνας εκόμισιν, και εις ΑΙΓΥΠΤΩΝ αφικόμεν@», τα της "Ισιδο- και το 'Οσίριδα. εις τα της Δηές και το Διονύσε μελαλέθεικεν όρια. Τheodoretus, Thera

peut. i.

1 'Εκείθεν δε αρχήν έσχε τα σαρ' Ελλησι μυσήριά τε και τελείαί: πρότερον παρ' ΑΙΓΥΠΤΙΟΙΣ, και παρα Φρυξη, και Φοιν.ξί, και Βαβυλογίοις, κακώς έπινενοημένα με ενεχθένιά τε εις “Ελληνας από της των ΑΙΓΥΠΤΙΩΝ χώρας υπό Κάδμα και αυτά τα 'Ινάκε. "Απιδε» πρότερον κληθέλο», και οικοδομήσας, την Μέμφίν: Epiphan, adν. Ηer. lib. i. Heres. iv.

Β 2

into ή –Καθ' εκάτην φιλοσόφων αίρεσιν εν “Ελλησιν και Βάρβαροις ΜΥΣTHPINAH. Orig. cont. Cels. lib. iii. p. 160. Sp. ed.

into Argis; Trophonius into Bæotia; Minos into Crete;
Cinyras into Cyprus ; and Erechtheus. into Athens.
And as in Egypt they were to Isis and Osiris ; so in
Asia they were to Mithras; in Samothrace to the
Mother of the Gods; in Boeotia to Bacchus; in
Cyprus to Venus; in Crete to Jupiter ; in Athens to
Ceres and Proserpine ; in Amphissa to Castor and
Pollux; in Lemnos to Vulcan, and so to others, in
other places, the number of which is incredible *.

But their end, as well as nature, was the same in all; to teach the doctrine of à FUTURE STATE. In this, Origen and Celsus agree; the two most learned writers of their several parties. The first, minding his adversary of the difference between the future life promised by the Gospel, and that taught in Paganism, bids him compare the Christian doctrine with what all the sects of Philosophy, and all the Mysteries, amongst Greeks and Barbarians, taught concerning it f: And Celsus, in his turn, endeavouring to shew that christianity had no advantage over paganism in the efficacy of stronger sanctions, expresses himself to this purpose :

“ But now, after all, just as you believe eternal punishments, so do the Ministers of the “ sacred rites, and those who initiate into, and preside " in the Mysteries 1.."

They * Postulat quidem magnitudo materiæ, atque ipsius defensionis officium, ut similiter cæteras turpitudinum species persequamur : vel quas produnt antiquitatis historiæ, vel mysteria illa continent sacra, quibus initiis nomen est, & quæ non omnibus vulgo, sed paucorum taciturnitatibus tradi licet. Sed Sacrorum innumeriritus, atque affixa deformitas singulis, corporaliter prohibet universa nos exequi. Arnob. adv. Gentes, lib. v. p. 165. Edit. Plantini, 8vo, 1582.

1 Μάλισα μεν, και βέλτισι, ώσπερ συ κολάσεις αιωνίες νομίζως έτω και οι Tây isgür iraísw igningad tolerai To xj uusalwyos, lib. viii. p. 408. And


[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »