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by no means certain that the new religion which might be substituted for it, would be in the first instance, sufficiently stable to uphold that fabric.

If, on the other hand, the attempt to dethrone the ancient deities miscarried, the individual making the attempt would array against himself the blind forces of fanaticism, and become a victim of the popular rage. It seemed then, the better course to make the new and dangerous truth the exclusive property of a small and select society—to choose from among the multitude such as might evince capacity for its reception, and admit them into fellowship, and to enwrap the sacred truth itself with a veil of mystery, which no one, unless specially qualified, should be able to draw aside.

For this purpose, Hieroglyphs were adopted—a speaking picture-writing, which concealed a general idea under a combination of sensible images, and whose interpretation depended upon a number of predetermined arbitrary rules. Since these sages were well aware from their observation of the nature and workings of the popular idolatry, with what power youthful hearts may be wrought upon through the medium of the imagination and the senses,—they scrupled not to employ this species of deception in the service of truth; they introduced, therefore, the new ideas into their disciples' minds, with a certain external pomp, and availing themselves of every imaginable expedient adapted to this end, they brought the novice's mind into such a state of passionate emotion as would render it readily receptive of the new truth. Of this description of expedients were the lustrations which the candidate for initiation was required to undergo; the washing and sprinkling, the linen vestments, the abstinence from all sensual pleasures, the excitation and elevation of the mind by song, a significant silence, a rapid alternation between darkness and light, and the like.

These ceremonies, together with the above-mentioned mysterious images and hieroglyphs, and the secret truths which lay enveloped in these hieroglyphs, and for the reception of which the forms just alluded to were intended to prepare the mind, were designated collectively by the name Mysteries. They had their seat in the temples of Isis and Serapis, and at a later period, furnished a model for the mysteries of Eleusis and Samothrace, and more recently still for those of freemasonry.

It appears to be established beyond a doubt, that the purport of the most ancient mysteries celebrated at Heliopolis and Memphis was, during the period of their pristine purity, the unity of God and the confutation of Paganism, and that the immortality of the soul was likewise inculcated in them. The

individuals admitted to participate in these momentous disclosures, were named Seers or Epopte, since the perception of a previously hidden truth may be compared with the passing from darkness to light; perhaps also on the ground that they actually and literally saw the newly-revealed truths in sensible exhibition.

They could not, however, reach this final stage of insight immediately and at once, since the mind needed to be purified of many errors, and to pass through several preparatory stages before it could bear the full light of truth; there were consequently, steps or gradations, and it was only in the inner sanctuary that the veil was entirely removed from before their eyes.

The Epoptæ acknowledged one sole supreme Cause of all things, a primum mobile of nature, the Being of Beings, which was identical with the Demiurgos of the Greek sages. Nothing is more sublime than the simple grandeur of their language respecting the Creator of the world. In order to distinguish him in a quite decisive manner, they gave him no name whatever. A name, they said, is needed only for the sake of distinction. He who exists alone needs not a name, for there is none with whom he can be confounded. Under an ancient statue of Isis, these words were inscribed, “I AM THAT WHICH is;" and upon a pyramid at Sais was the primeval, note-worthy inscription, “ I AM ALL THAT IS, THAT WAS, AND THAT WILL BE; NO MORTAL MAN HATH LIFTED MY VEIL." No one was allowed to enter the temple of Serapis, who did not bear upon his breast or brow the name Jao or J-HA-H0, a name nearly identical in sound with the Hebrew Jehovah, and probably of the same import; and no name was pronounced in Egppt with more reverence than this name Jao. In the hymn which the Hierophant, or president of the sanctuary sung to the candidate for initiation, this was the first disclosure respecting the nature of the Deity : 66 HE IS ONE, AND OF HIMSELF, AND TO THIS THINGS OWE THEIR BEING.

The rite of circumcision was an essential preliminary to initiation, to which even Pythagoras was obliged to submit before his admission into the Egyptian mysteries; this mark of distinction from others who were not circumcised, was intended to indicate a peculiar closeness of brotherhood and nearness of relation to the Deity, with which design Moses subsequently availed himself of it in legislating for the Hebrews.

In the interior of the temple, various sacred utensils expressive of a hidden meaning were exhibited to the candidate. Among these was a sacred chest, named the coffin of Serapis, and which might have been originally an emblem of secret doctrine, but at


a later period, when the institute had degenerated, served for the playing off of a number of priestly juggleries. To carry about this chest was the privilege of the priests, or of a special class of servants of the sanctuary, who were hence named kistophori (chest bearers). No one but the Hierophant was permitted to uncover this chest, or so much as to touch it; of one who had the temerity to open it, it is related that he suddenly became insane.

In the Egyptian mysteries, the candidate was afterwards introduced to certain hieroglyphic symbols of the divinity, which were compounded from the forms of various animals. Of this description was the well-known Sphinx :it was intended by this symbol to indicate the attributes which are united in the Supreme Being, by bringing together into one body, all that is most powerful in living creatures. Something was taken from the strongest bird, the eagle—something from the strongest wild beast, the lion-something from the strongest tame beast, the ox—and something from man, the strongest of all animals. The form of the ox, in particular, or of Apis, was used as the emblem of strength, in order to typify the omnipotence of the Supreme Being now the ox, in the primitive language, was called Cherub.

These mystic shapes, to which none but the Epoptæ possessed the key, gave to the mysteries themselves a visibleness and tangibleness of exterior, which deceived the people, and had something in common even with the popular idolatry. Superstition, consequently, received, by means of the external clothing of the mysteries, perpetual support and nourishment, whilst she was ridiculed within the sanctuary.

It is easy to understand how this pure theism could live side by side with idolatry; for whilst in its essence it was subversive of idolatry, in form it upheld and promoted idolatry. This contradiction between the priests' and the people's religion was vindicated by necessity in the case of the founders of the mysteries; it appeared to be the less of two evils, since it seemed easier to check the evil consequences of the concealment of truth, than to arrest the mischievous results of a premature disclosure. But when, in the course of time, unworthy members intruded themselves within the circle of the initiated when the institute degenerated from its pristine purity,—that, which in the first instance, had been a mere temporary expedient, (the secresy,) became the main end of the institute; and, instead of gradually purifying the regnant superstition and preparing the people for the reception of truth, it was thought expedient to lead them further into error, and plunge them deeper into superstition. Priests' juggleries now took the place of the pure and innocent purposes before described; and the very institute which had been designed to preserve, and cautiously to diffuse, the knowledge of the true and only God, began to work most powerfully in the opposite direction, and to degenerate into a school of idolatry. The Hierophants, with a view to maintain their lordship over the minds of the votaries, and to keep expectation perpetually on the stretch, thought it advisable to interpose new and ever-increasingly protracted delays, before making that last disclosure which would for ever dispel all false anticipations, and to render access to the sanctuary as difficult as possible by all sorts of theatrical tricks. At last the key to the hieroglyphs was entirely lost; and now these were themselves taken for the very truth, which, in the first instance, they were merely designed to veil over.

It is difficult to say, whether, at the time of Moses' education, the institute was still in its full perfection, or had already begun to degenerate. We may presume, however, that it was even now upon the decline, from certain juggleries which the Hebrew law-giver borrowed therefrom, and some not very commendable artifices which he adopted. But the spirit of the founders was not yet extinct, and the doctrine of the unity of the Creator of the world still rewarded the aspirations of the initiated.

This doctrine, (which involved as a necessary consequence an utter contempt of polytheism,) together with the scarcely separable tenet of the Immortality of the Soul, constituted the rich treasure which the young Hebrew carried away with him from the mysteries of Isis. At the same time he became acquainted, in that school, with the laws and powers of Nature, which, at that period, were likewise hidden lore; and this knowledge empowered him subsequently to work miracles, and to compete, in Pharaoh's presence, with his former masters, the magicians, whom, in some things, he was able to over

His after career evinces that he had been an observant and apt scholar, and had reached the last and highest grade of initiation.

In this same school, he also collected a large stock of hieroglyphs, mystic forms, and ceremonies, of which his inventive spirit made ample use in the sequel. He had traversed the whole realm of Eyptian wisdom, examined the whole system of the priests, estimated its faults and its excellencies, its strength and its weakness, and gained an extensive and valuable insight into the Egyptian king-craft.

It is not known how long he remained in the school of the


priests; but the lateness of his political appearance (towards his eightieth year,) renders it probable that he may have devoted twenty years and more to the study of the mysteries and of state policy. This residence with the priests, however, appears in no way to have precluded him from intercourse with his countrymen; and he had sufficient opportunity of witnessing the oppression under which they groaned.

His Egyptian education had not extinguished his patriotic feelings. The maltreatment of his countrymen reminded him that he too was a Hebrew, and a righteous indignation arose in his bosom whenever he saw them suffer. The more he began to feel his own powers, the more was his anger roused at the unworthy usage of his brethren.

One day he saw a Hebrew assaulted by an Egyptian_taskmaster: the sight was too much for him,-he slew the Egyptian. The deed soon gets notoriety, his life is in danger, he must leave the country, and he takes refuge in the Arabian desert. Many writers date this flight into Arabia in his fortieth year, but without evidence. It is enough for us to know that Moses could not be very young when it occurred.

This exile begins a new epoch of his life ; and, if we wish to interpret rightly his subsequent political appearance in Egypt, we must accompany him through the period of his seclusion in Arabia. He carried thither a relentless hatred towards the oppressors of his race, together with all the knowledge which he had acquired in the mysteries. His soul was full of ideas and projects, his heart full of bitterness, and there was nothing in this unpeopled waste to dissipate his thoughts.

The record represents him as feeding the sheep of Jethro, an Arabian Bedouin. This deep degradation from all his prospects and hopes in Egypt, to the condition of a herdsman in Arabia,from the future ruler of men, to a shepherd's menial,-how sorely must it have wounded his heart !

Under the garb of a shepherd, he bears a fiery ruler's heart, a never-resting ambition. Here, in this romantic waste, where the present offers him nothing, he has recourse to the past and the future, and holds converse with his own silent thoughts. All the scenes of oppression which he had already witnessed now pass in review before his memory, and there is nothing to prevent their sting from going deep into his soul. Nothing is more intolerable to a great mind than the endurance of wrong; besides which, it is to his own brethren that the wrong is done. A noble pride awakes in his bosom, and this pride is reinforced by an impetuous desire of action and renown.

Is every thing which he has treasured up through a long

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