« PoprzedniaDalej »
Then he gave to Sherma the wide domain, on the south of the snowy mountains, and to Jyapeti he gave the north of the snowy mountains ; but he, by the power of religious contemplation, attained supreme bliss.” The identity of this detail with that recorded in the ninth chapter of Genesis, cannot be doubted.
We are informed in a subsequent chapter, that “the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east (or eastward) that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there and they said one to another, Go to, 'let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”* The simplicity and perspicuity' observable throughout the Sacred Records are two of the principal features of truth. It presents itself unveiled to the scrutiny of the world, while facts confirm its title to all acceptance. In process of time, the descendants of the patriarch “became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened.” That city, and that tower, in the ruins of Babylon and the Birs Nimroud, remain monuments of their folly and impiety. Their language which was one, was • confounded,” and they were scattered over the face of the world: confusion is written in the very name, Babylon; and we find, in every country, memorials of a common offspring. “The LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel ; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” Without entirely consenting to the uncouth monosyllabic intonations, into which that distinguished orientalist, the late Dr.
Genesis xi. 1, &c.
Murray, considered all languages under heaven finally reducible, numerous circumstances concur to prove, that in one period of the earth's history, the nations were of “one language and of one speech." We cannot otherwise account for the universality of the tradition of the deluge. This information must needs have been acquired before the language of the earth was founded” and the “nations were scattered and peeled.” However difficult we may find it to account for the distribution of mankind over the globe, the fact adverted to, determines, firm as the rock of truth, the dispersion from an original stock, and a language once common to all; while it decidedly negatives the extremely foolish and unphilosophical dogma once, at any rate, entertained, of distinct races of the human species having sprung from as many separate originals. God, in his providence, makes “the wrath of man to praise him; and this remarkable event became the means of populating the renovated earth. Celebrated philologists seem to have considered the diversified languages of the globe as having sprung originally from one simple type. When we consider the simplicity of the structure of the letters, as well as the alphabet, in some languages, compared with the more complicated and confused letters and alphabets of other nations, we may reasonably infer, that there may have been, originally, a simple basis, when the nations of the earth and their language were one ; and that the complexity observable in some cases, is an evidence that peculiar circumstances have produced the confusion. This view of it is corroborated by the remarkable fact, that some individuals seem to have acquired a common key to almost every language: such as Dr. Murray, Professor Lee, and others; not to mention that remarkable philological phenomenon, Roberts Jones, of Liverpool. Facts like these attest a common root, and that the diversified languages of the earth possess some simple key or cipher. The characters of Persepolis, Nineveh, and Babylon, are remarkably simple in their structure, and so are those called Virgular. The Hebrews possessed a simple character, and their alphabet had a corresponding feature; the other hand, the Chinese have an elaborate alphabet, and characters of the most complicated structure, which seem built up of those of Babylon or Persepolis. The Hebrew and Samaritan letters differ very inconsiderably, the characters in the former being square, and in the latter having a slight curve, as may be seen by referring to the letters on the Shekel. While other nations have almost entirely changed their language and the form of their letters, (of which our own country is a remarkable example) the written and expressed language of the Hebrews seem to have undergone little or no change. The awe and reverence with which they regarded the Sacred Writings contributed to this remarkable preservation ; the whole being overruled by Divine Providence. By comparing the characters in which the Pentateuch has been written
for instance, the M.S. brought from India by Dr. Claudius Buchannan, and in all probability more than two thousand years old—with modern Hebrew, there seems to be no perceptible difference.
This unchangeable peculiarity in the structure of the Hebrew characters from the earliest period of the world's history, has often forcibly impressed our mind as having no parallel, save in the unvarying aspect of that unchanged people whose records they are;—they seem to wear the impress of their sacred and immutable original.
We are inclined to consider Druidical monuments as existing mementos of the event of the dispersion. Lithoi, or single pillars, mounds, cairns, cromlechs, laggan-stones, and Druidical circles, together with the sculptured obelisk, and the far-famed pyramid, all spring from a
These remarkable monuments are not confined to “one kindred or tongue.” They are found on the plains of Hindūstan as well as on the plains of Egypt; in Mexico, and on the continent, as well as in the - islands of the sea.” The surface of the British islands is studded with these legends of patriarchal times. In Ireland and England, Scotland and its isles, the islands of Anglesey and of Man, these lithoi or rude
stones abound; and in all these monuments may be inferred an identity of origin. The pillar that Jacob erected on his journey to Padan-aram, as a memorial to the Deity, as well as that which was reared between him and his father-in-law, in the Mount of Gilead, are instances of similar erections in patriarchal times. Of the same description was the sepulchral stone which Jacob raised over the grave of his beloved Rachel, on the road to Bethlehem. Such, too, was the stone which Samuel set up between Mizpeh and Shen. All these were to commemorate some remarkable event; some vow or some promise--a remembrancer or memorial of gratitude or of grief. Sometimes it recorded a solemn invocation to the Deity; at other times it served as the memorial of a compact between contracting parties, as was that in Mount Gilead. That which Samuel raised “ under Betlicar,
to commemorate a signal victory over the hosts of the Philistines, in which Deity had visibly interposed for the armies of Israel. From these simple and rude pillars, up to the trilithons and circular arrangements of stones, at Aubery, and on Salisbury Plain, we may trace the same identity of belief which reared the Stonehenge on the plains of Gilgal, and the circular temple on Mount Gerizim. They were branches of a common root ; ramifications of a common stream. This dispersion, of which the Druidical stones and circular temples in Great Britain seem to be existing monuments, must have taken place before the call of Abraham: the institution of the rite of circumcision seems to afford a palpable proof of this. This was entirely confined to the Hebrews, as the lineal descendants of the “father of the faithful:” and this institution is preserved inviolate until now. We consider the Druidical rites and ceremonies as decidedly proving a patriarchal origin, which, though corrupted and shaded by human errors and depravity, carry in them the type of patriarchal times, as described in the Volume of Inspiration. The religion of the Druids has suffered an eclipse ; and it is only from the monuments they have left behind them, and a few
obscure circumstances gleaned here and there, that we are enabled to form even a faint outline of their history. The British Druids are mentioned in the Annals of Tacitus, and in the Commentaries of Cæsar ; but nowhere do we find the slightest allusion to the rite of circumcision having been practised among them.
This distinction preserved the Hebrew line of ancestry. In this they were “ diverse from all other nations. And, as in the days of our Saviour, they boasted that “Abraham was their father,” so they now continue to assert their lineage by sustaining and perpetuating the same painful rite.
The great emporium of the Druidical religion seems to have been Britain ; and the temples of AUBERY and STONEHENGE proclaim that it must once have been, indeed, a powerful sway. Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, is a monument of British antiquity altogether unique: it is splendid in its ruin and magnificent in its decay. This Druidical temple, now a mass of dilapidated grandeur, is composed of two circular and two elliptical ranges of upright stones, with horizontal ones capping the outer circle; the whole being encompassed by a circumvallation of earth. The diameter of the area within the vallum, is nearly three hundred feet. The total number of stones appears to have been one hundred and nine. Thirty of these stones formed the exterior circle ; forty composed the inner circle; fifteen were employed in the first, and nineteen in the second ellipsis. There is also a massive stone in the centre, called the altar stone, and is fifteen feet long.
“ The grandest part of Stonehenge is the outermost ellipse, consisting of five separate pairs of trilithons, or two large upright stones, with a third on the top as an impost. These stones are more regular in their shapes, and more carefully formed, than those of the outer circle. The interior oval consisted of nineteen upright stones without imposts.”. “By its vast extent, its peculiar character, quite distinct from the temples of upright stones found in various parts of the British islands and other countries of Europe, and even on the Asiatic coast of the