« PoprzedniaDalej »
as having been polluted by the blood of human victims. This savage practice appears also to have been enjoined by the very code of Brahma, as may be seen in the Asiatic Researches, as above referred to. The self-devotions so common among this people, tend likewise to confirm the accusation. On these, and the several species of meritorious suicide extracted from the Ayeen Akbery, by Mr. Maurice, see Ind. Antiq. p. 164-166. The same writer asserts (p. 434.) that the Mahometans have exerted themselves, for the abolition of this unnatural usage, both in India and Egypt. This author indeed abounds with proofs, establishing the fact of human sacrifice in Antient India. 7. Of the same horrid nature were the rites of the early Druids, as may be seen in Diod. Sic. (v. 1. pp. 354, 355. ed. Wess.) The Massilian Grove of the Gallic Druids, is described by Lucan, in his Pharsalia, (lib. iii. 400, &c.) in terms that make the reader shudder :- -" that every branch was reeking with human gore,” is almost the least chilling of the poetic horrors, with which he has surrounded this dreadful sanctuary of Druidical superstition. We are informed, that it was the custom of the Gallic Druids, to set up an immense gigantic figure of a wicker man, in the texture of which they entwined above an hundred human victims, and then consumed the whole as an offering to their Gods. For a delineation of this monstrous spectacle, see Clarke's Cæsar, p. 131. fol. ed. 1712. Nor were the Druids of Mona less cruel in their religious ceremonies, than their brethren of Gaul: Tacitus (v. 2. p. 172. ed. Brot.) represents it as their constant usage, to sacrifice to their Gods, the prisoners taken in war: cruore captivo adolere aras, fas habebant. In the Northern nations, these tremendous mysteries were usually buried in the gloom of the thickest woods. In the extended wilds of Arduenna, and the great Hercynian forest particularly, places set apart for this dreadful purpose, abounded.
Phylarchas, as quoted by Porphyry, affirms, that of old, it was a rule with every Grecian state, before they marched against an enemy, to supplicate their Gods by human victims; and accordingly we find human sacrifices attributed to the Thebans, Corinthians, Messenians and Temessenses, by Pausanias; to the Lacedæmonians by Fulgentius, Theodoret and Apollodorus; and to the Athenians by Plutarch, (Themist. p. 262. et Arist. p. 300. ed. Bryan) and it is notorious, that the Athenians, as well as the Massilians, had a custom of sacrificing a man every year, after loading him with dreadful curses,
, that the wrath of the Gods might fall upon
his head, and be turned away from the rest of the citizens—See Suidas on the words Trepufoquece καθαρμα, and φαρμακος.
The practice prevailed also among the Romans, as appears, not only from the devotions so frequent in the early periods of their history, but from the express testimonies of Livy, Plutarch, and Pliny. In the year of Rome 657, we find a law enacted in the Consulship of Lentulus and Crassus, by which it was prohibited: but it appears notwithstanding to have been in existence so late even as in the reign of Trajan; for at this time, three Vestal virgins having been punished for incontinence, the Pontiffs, on consulting the books of the Sibyls to know if a sufficient atonement had been made, and find ing that the offended Deity continued incensed, ordered two men and two women, Greeks and Gauls, to be buried alive. (Univ. Hist. v. xiv. p. 588. ed. Dub.) Porphyry also assures us, that even in his time, a man was every year sacrificed at the shrine of Jupiter Latialis.
The same cruel mode of appeasing their offended Gods, we find ascribed to all the other Heathen nations : to the Getæ, by Herodotus, (lib. iv. c. 94.); to the Leucadians, by Strabo, (lib. x. p. 694.); to the Goths, by Jornandes, (De Reb. Getic. cap. xix.); to the Gauls, by Cicero, (pro Fonteio. p. 487. ed. 1684.) and by Cæsar, (Bell. Gall. lib. 6. g. 15.); to the Heruli, by Procop. (Bell. Goth. lib. ii. c. 15.); to the Britons, by Tacitus, (Annal. xiv. 30.) and by Pliny, (lib. xxx. cap. 1.); to the Germans, by
Tacitus, (De. Mor. Germ. cap. ix.); to the Carthaginians, by Sanchoniathon, (Euseb. P. Ev. lib. i. cap. 10.) by Plato, (in Minoe, Opera p. 565. ed. 1602.) by Pliny, (lib. xxxvi. cap. 12.) by Silius Italicus, (lib. iv. lin. 767, &c.) and by Justin, (lib. xviii. c. 6. and l. xix. c. 1.). Ennius says of them, (ed. Hess. 1707, p. 28.) Poenei sont soliti sos sacruficare puellos. They are reported, by Diodorus, to have offered two hundred human victims at once; and to so unnatural an extreme was this horrid superstition carried by this people, that it was usual for the parent himself, to slaughter the dearest and most beautiful of his offspring at the altars of their bloody deities. Scripture proves the practice to have existed in Canaan, before the Israelites came thither. (Levit. xx. 23.) Of the Arabians, the Cretans, the Cyprians, the Rhodians, the Phocæans, those of Chios, Lesbos, and Tenedos, the same may be established; see Porphyr. apud Euseb. P. Ev. lib. iv. cap. 16. Monimus, as quoted by Clem. Alexand. (Euseb. ibid.) affirms the same of the inhabitants of Pella. And Euripides has given to the bloody altars of the Tauric Diana, a celebrity that rejects additional confirmation.—So that the universality of the practice in the ancient Heathen world, cannot reasonably be questioned.
In what light then, the Heathens of antiquity considered their dejties, and how far they were
under the impression, of the existence of a Supreme Benevolence requiring nothing but repentance and reformation of life, may be readily inferred, from this review of facts. Agreeably to the inference which these furnish, we find the reflecting Tacitus pronounce, (Hist. lib. i. c. 4.) “ that the Gods interfere in human concerns, but to punish”—Non esse curæ Diis securitatem nostram, esse ultionem. And in this, he seems but to repeat the sentiments of Lucan, who in his Pharsalia, (iv. 107, &c.) thus ex.
Felix Roma, quidem, civesque habitura beatos,
On this subject, the Romans appear to have inherited the opinions of the Greeks. Meiners (Historia doctrinæ de vero Deo, p. 208.) asserts, that the more ancient Greeks imagined their Gods to be envious of human felicity; so that, whenever any great success attended them, they were filled with terror, lest the Gods should be offended at it, and bring on them some dreadful calamity. In this, the learned professor but affirms, what we have seen in p. 97. is the formal declaration attributed to Solon by Herodotus: a declaration repeated and confirmed by the Historian, in the instances of Polycrates and Xerxes: in the former of which, the prudent Amasis