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recting all your Actions ---the least of which, in your high Station, is important---to the Glory of God, the Honour of your most gracious Sovereign, and the Good of your Country : That so, when, like theirs, your outward Splendor shall be diminished, and
you sleep in Dust, your Fame may flourish in happy Im-, mortality below, yourself may flourish in far more happy Immortality above. I am,
P R E F A CE.
S it is the design of the following notes to illustrate and explain such parts of the antient Mythology as occur in the hymns here presented to the reader in an English dress, it
be order to his forming a right judgment of particulars, to lay before him a general view of my sentiments concerning the rise and progress of what is called Mythology in the world. To do this at large, and produce the proofs and testimonies that are necessary from antiquity, would vastly exceed the bounds of a preface, which obliges me to content myself at present with giving only a short sketch of what I take to be the true state of the case.
The chief difficulty then, I apprehend, that attends an enquiry of this kind, and has rendered so many attempts fruitless, is the want of a.clue to lead us regularly up to the fountain ; which must have been originally one, however afterwards, in their courses, the streams took different tinctures in different ages and countries. For were we once well acquainted with the nature and properties of the water at the spring-head, we might easily, by following the current down again, perceive when and how it became adulterated and corrupted with adventitious mixtures. The Mythology of the Greeks and Romans, who lived in the midnight of Paganism, just before the day dawned, and the fun of righteousness arose upon the earth, is one vast ocean of confusion, which ingulphed into itself all the broken traditions of theological, physical, and historical truths that came near it, and converted them into fables, changing the truth of God (as the Apostle speaks of them.) into a LIE. Accordingly, if we look into the muster-roll of their gods, and the facts related of them, we shall find some owe their birth to the great things revealed to believers from the beginning concerning the Saviour of the world, and what he was to be, to do, and to suffer, for the salvation of men.
may be put to the score of theology. Another set of gods are the operations of nature and the mechanical agents, that perform them, deified, which may therefore be said to have a physical divinity ; while a third part of the annals of heaven is made up of broken and disjointed fragments concerning heroes and heroines that lived, or were reported to have lived, and acted upon earth ; and these venerable personages cannot, I think, be allowed more than an historical godhead.
These I take to be the three grand sources of mythology; and were they always kept distinct, it might be no difficult matter, perhaps, to refer each
copy to its original. But the misfortune is, they are not ; for generally, if not always, the theological and physical parts are mixed and blended, and often there is a jumble of all three together, nothing being more common than to find a god acting in a threefold capacity, sometimes as a theological, sometimes as a physical, and sometimes as an historical god. In this case, to untwist the cord, thew which was the original stamen, and how, when, and by whom the others were added, and woven into it-Hic labor, loc 0915—for here those insenious gentlemen the poets, that twisted it, can give us no asistance. They knew not what the materials were, or whence they came ; but they took what they found, added what enibellishments they fansied, and then worked them all up together, each according to his own imagination. From the time when the true history of the Grecks begins, to the first apostary of the Genciles from the patriarchal faith and worship to idolatry-a period which goes under the general denomination of the fabulous age—is a great gap in the mythological chain, by which we are deprived of the first and most valuable links of it. If we knew what were the objects of the heathen worship at their first going off, and afterwards in particular of the Canaanites, it would guide us downwards to unravel the mythology of the Greeks, who (as most learned men seem to agree) were some of those that fied weitward, when dispoffefled by Foliua. "Till we have this knowledge, we are in a labyrinth without a clue ; we find matters in a great confusion, and after all our labours shall leave them in a greater.
To this knowledge no book can help us but the Bible, which begins with the beginning of the world and man, and brings down a history of the true Religion instituted by God, with the deviations and corruptions introduced by Satan, to the times of the Greeks and Romans, thus filling up the deficiency, and couplcating the chain. By the light afforded us in Scripture we find, that two of the abovementioned sources of mythology, divinity and physics, were orie ginally united, the latter being used as illustrative and explanatory of the former. The invisible things of God from the creation of the world, from the beginning, ever since there was a revelation made of them, are clearly feen, not by the eye of sense, but that of faith, being understood by the tibings that are made, even his eternal power and godicad are exhibited to us by visible objects, and not otherwise to be known or conceived. The counsels of the eternal Three foreordained before, and executed in time, for the redemption of man, are shown us as in a glass by the operations performed in nature, and the bright rulers that carry on thee in the material world are representatives of the more glorious ones that carry on those in the spiritual. The beavens, by the light enhrined in their tabernacle the sun, placed in them, and thence irradiated on the earth, moon and stars, declare and hold forth to us an image of the glory of God, the divine light, that from the humanity of our Lord is poured forth on his Churches and Saints; while the air in conjunction with the light diffused thro' the universal fystem of nature, to
animate and give breath to all creatures, is a most expressive emblem of an omnipresent spirit, the author, giver, and preserver of spiritual life. The patriarchs and believers made that use of the knowledge of nature designed by him who gave it them; they regarded it as a ladder, whereby they might ascend to a knowledge of the almighty Lord of nature, and his spiritual operations in the economy of redemption. But the nations, after their apostacy ai Babel, dropt the originals, and worshipped the copies instead of them, serving the creature more, or rather than the creator. For, from that time, we find it constantly charged upon the Babylonians, Egyptians, Canaanites, and other neighbouring nations, that they paid divine honours to the Hift of Heaven, those powers in the service of Jehovah, which, from their tents, the solar, lunar, and stellar orbs, stationed in such beautiful order and array in the firmament, are divided, and sent abroad to all nations under heaven. Vos, o clarissima mundi lumina ! became now the general invocation ; and by the names of the idols and temples of the Canaanites, and others remaining upon record in the Bible to this day, it appears, that they knew what great and wonderful things the powers of the heavens performed in nature, for which they adored them as the Gods that governed the world. That the heavens were the ruling agents in this system was true ; but when they ascribed supremacy and independency to them, they forgot that there were higher than they, and that it was Jehovah that made the heavens. They were found philosophers, though rotteo divines. But in process of time, the knowledge even of philosophy declined, and was lost; people received the Gods and creeds of their ancestors without the reasons of them, and so worshipped they knew not what, they knew not why; only their fathers did it, and therefore so did they. The knowledge of philosophy being gone, the latter heathens patched up matters with fragments of history and fable ; and as it had been usual among the old idolaters for kings and great men to take the names of their Gods, they confounded the historical actions of the prince with the physical actions of the God, which introduced that intricate and often utterly inextricable confusion in the Greek and Roman mythology, lamented in vain by the critics and beaux esprits of modern times. The hymns called Orphic (whoever was the author of them) plainly appear to have been wrote when the physical mythology was declining, and the historical or fa. bulous gaining ground, are a fort of isthmus between the two seas, washed by the waves of both. In many places his descriptions of the natural agents and their operations are amazingly just and beautiful, and the compound epithets, he uses to describe thein beyond measure, full, strong, and expressive ; and in others, where there is a mixture of the fabulous, a great deal of true philosophy is still discernable. But in Homer the case is widely different. There the fabulous almost wholly loses fight of the physical.” And though there are many particulars, which may be referred to nature, the
labyrinth is so intricate, that it requires a clue far more exact, than we can at present have, to carry us through its mazes.
It cannot be expected, that matters should be much better in this particular with our author, who is but a modern, in comparison of Homer, and who lived, though in an age of polite learning, yet, in the very darkest times of Paganism. Notwithstanding, this, by some means or other, he has mixed in the present hymns, several particulars well deserving notice, and which may fully satisfy the reader of the fitness of the key above-given to open the heathen mythology. Spanheim bas proved, beyond controverfy, that he was no stranger to the LXX translation of the Bible; an opinion which the following observations will, I imagine, abundantly confirm, as to remember it, in the perusing of them, will be of service to me, as well as my readers. I have been so large in my notes, that there is little occasion to say more on this subject : and as I have provided a copious index, it will be easy to refer to any particular.
It was my original intention to have given Mr. Prior's translation of the two first hymns of our author, which are incomparable pieces of poetry: but upon a close examination, I found many misunderstandings of the original, which would have occasioned so frequent carping, that I determined to translate them afresh; which I have done in rhyme, for no other reason than because I was unwilling to enter the lists with so excellent a master as Mr. Prior, in blank verse, conscious how much I must lose by such a competition :- The rest are in blank; which, doubtless, is the most
for such compositions. I have spared no pains to make the work as acceptable as might be to my worthy friends and subscribers, whose generous assistance I thus beg leave to acknowledge; and though so long time has intervened since my proposals were first delivered, I trust the work has loft nothing thereby, as I have not been wanting in a diligent revifal of it; indeed the pains and labour it has cost me will very greatly over balance every thing I can expect from it : for though the work was nearly finished, before I took iny degree, in the year 1750, at Cambridge ; the toil of correcting, printing, and a long &c.
amidst my many necessary avocations, has been truly grievous and burdensome. And after all perhaps, I am only making myself a stage for ill-natured criticism to display its malignity : be it fo: yet let me assure every reader of this work, that if they enter upon it with a mind as candid and open to truth, as unprejudiced and unbigotted to any man's notions or opinions as my own, they will never censure others for differing in judgment with regard to such matters, but with fatisfaction hear all, and give cool impartial reason the final decision : the treatment which through my notes I have given to others, will, I hope, gain to me the like. However, be the remarks of the envious and ill-natured what they please, I shall always find cause to rejoice in the cbliging readiness of my friends to assist and promote my endeavours : and