06-11-2009, 09:56 AM
Of the different histories of the creation, that contained in the book, or collection of books, called Genesis, has been in the Western part of the world the most celebrated, and the nonsense which has been written respecting it, may fairly vie with the nonsense, a little time ago alluded to, of the ancient learned men of Greece and Rome.
This book professes to commence with a history of the creation, and in our vulgar translation it says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." But I conceive for the word heavens the word planets ought to be substituted. The original for the word heavens is of great consequence. Parkhurst admits that it has the meaning of placers or disposers. In fact, it means the planets as distinguished from the fixed stars, and is the foundation, As I have said, and as we shall find, upon which all judicial astrology, and perhaps much of the Heathen mythology, was built.
The following are the names of the Gods allotted to each day : Sunday to the Sun, Monday to the Moon, Tuesday to Mars, Wednesday to Mercury, Thursday to Jupiter, Friday to Venus, and Saturday to Saturn : and it is worthy of observation, that neither Bacchus nor Hercules is among them; on which I shall have an observation to make in the future part of this work. In almost every page we shall have to make some reference to judicial astrology, which took its rise from the planetary bodies.
06-11-2009, 10:00 AM
BOOK I - CHAPTER II
FIRST GOD OF THE ANCIENTS—THE SUN—DOUBLE NATURE OF THE DEITY—METEMPSYCHOSIS AND THE RENEWAL OF WORLDS—MORAL EVIL—ETERNITY OF MATTER—BUDDHA—GENESIS
I shall now proceed to shew, in a way which I think I may safely say cannot be refuted, that all the Gods of antiquity resolved themselves into the solar fire, sometimes itself as God, or sometimes as emblem or shekinah of that higher principle, known by the name of the creative Being or God. …
Many of the early fathers of the Christians held the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, which they defended on several texts of the New Testament.* It was an opinion which had a very general circulation both in the East and in the West. It was held by the Parisees or Persees, as they ought to be called, among the Jews; and among the Christians by Origen, Chalcidius (if he were a Christian,) Synesius, and by the Simonians, Basilidians, Valentiniens, Marcionites, and the Gnostics in general. It was held by the Chinese, and, among the most learned of the Greeks, by Plato and Pythagoras. Thus this doctrine was believed by nearly all the great and good or every religion, and of every nation and age; an though the present race has not the smallest information more than its ancestors on this subject, yet the doctrine has not now a single votary in the Western part of the world. The Metempsychosis was believed by the celebrated Christian apologist, Soame Jenyns, perhaps the only believer in it of the moderns in the Western world.
The following observations tend not only to throw light on the doctrine of the Indians, the earliest philosophers of whom we have any genuine records, but they also shew that their doctrine is identically the same as that of certain individuals of the Western philosophers, who, recorded traditions inform us, actually traveled in very remote ages to the country of the Brahmins to learn it.
"Pythagoras, returning from his Eastern travels to Greece, taught the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, and the existence of a Supreme Being, by whom the universe was created, and by whose providence it is preserved; that the soul of mankind are emanations of that Being. Socrates, the wisest of the ancient philosophers, seems to have believed that the soul existed before the body; and that death relieves it from those seeming contrarieties to which it is subject, by its union with our material part. Plato (in conformity with the learned Hindoos) asserted, that God infused into matter a portion of his divine spirit, which animates and moves it : that mankind have two souls of separate and different natures—the one corruptible, the other immortal : that the latter is a portion of the Divine Spirit : that the mortal soul ceases to exist with the life of the body; but the divine soul, no longer clogged by its union with matter, continues its existence, either in a state of happiness or punishment : that the souls of the virtuous return, after death, into the source whence they flowed; while the souls of the wicked, after being for a certain time confined to a place destined for their reception, are sent back to earth to animate other bodies. Aristotle supposes the souls of mankind to be portions or emanations of the divine spirit; which at death quit the body, and, like a drop of water falling into the ocean, are absorbed into the divinity. Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, taught that throughout nature there are two eternal qualities; the one active, the other passive; that the former is a pure and subtle æther, the divine spirit; and that the latter is in itself entirely inert, until united with the active principle. That the divine spirit, acting upon matter, produces fire, air, water, earth : that the divine spirit is the efficient principle, and that all nature is moved and conducted by it. He believed also that the soul of man, being a portion the universal soul, returns after death to its first source. The opinion of the soul being an emanation of the divinity, which is believed by the Hindoos, and was professed by Greeks, seems likewise to have been adopted by the early Christians. Macrobius observes, Animarum originem emanare de cœlo, inter recte philosophantes indubitatæ constant esse fidei. Saint Justin says, the soul is incorruptible, because it emanates from God; and his disciple Tatianus, the Assyrian, observes, that man having received a portion of the divinity, is immortal as God is. Such was the system of the ancient philosophers, Pythagoreans, Brachmans, and some sects of the Christians."*
* Forbes, Orient. Mem. Vol.III xxxiii p.261
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