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The last, and by no means the least, important characteristic of this work that we shall notice, is its signal impartiality. As a general rule we regard it as rather an unsafe matter for a son to attempt the biography of a distinguished father; and most of those who read such a work are prepared to make many grains of allowance for concealment or exaggeration. But the reader has nothing of this kind to encounter in these volumes. There is no attempt to make it appear that Dr. Miller did not share the ordinary infirmities of humanity; nor the slightest indication of a wish to attribute to him any thing beyond his deserts. There may be a difference of opinion in regard to the writer's estimate of particular acts, but all must agree that the work gives no evidence of filial partiality.
We rejoice that so worthy a monument should have been erected to the memory of such a man. We are sure that there are those scattered all over the church who honor him as a friend and a father, and to whom these volumes will come as a most grateful offering. Let the work live through successive generations, not only to honor the memory of its subject, but to open fresh channels of blessing through the remembrance of his eminently useful life.
Art. IV.-A Fragment. What the Greeks thought of the
Religion of the Jews. The following extract from the Moralia of Plutarch is from the version of the learned Abbé Ricard, who devoted forty years of his life to the study and translation of that author.
The Romans and Greeks appear alike to have held the Jews in detestation, whether from their turbulent and ferocious character, or from traditions respecting them, handed down by the Egyptian Priesthood,--perhaps it would be difficult to say. Doubtless much of the cruel persecution of the earlier Christians is to be attributed to their identification
VOL. XLII. —NO. I.
with the Jewish race. Singular indeed is it, that this nation, to whom alone the knowledge of the true God had been imparted in all its grandeur, should have been looked down upon by the rest of the human family ; across whose Pagan darkness the divine light had been permitted to flash at intervals only, like the sudden, crinkling lighting in the tempest; for such must we view the elevated ideas of the Deity occasionally emanating from the master spirits of the human race,-from Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, and other philosophic minds.
Plutarch was born A. D. 50 or 70, within a few years of the crucifixion of the Saviour, being contemporary with St. John the Evangelist. It is sad to think, that one so virtuous and learned, should not have had the privilege of hearing, and reflecting upon, the simple teachings of Jesus Christ. When intellect like his was thus smothered in the mists of Paganism, how deep must have been the darkness of the masses, through which the Christian revelation was destined to pierce.
When Lamprias had finished, Callistratus said, to the other guests, "What do yon think of the reproaches which Lamprias makes of the Jews; that they abstain from the flesh of the bog, of which, of all nations, they should be the first to make use ?.”
“ They merit indeed this reproach,” replied Polycratues; “but I am uncertain, whether it is from reverence or horror of the hog, that they abstain from eating its flesh. What they themselves say, bears the air of fable, unless, indeed, they entertain secret reasons which they are unwilling to divulge.”
“For myself,” said Callistratus, “I believe that the log is honored by this nation. It is objected that it is dirty and hideous; but I do not see in what it is more deformed and disgusting than the beetle, the griffin, the crocodile, or the cat; each of which has worshippers, among the Egyptian priests, and which pass for wholesome animals. The Egyptians reverence the hog, also, out of gratitude; for it is said, that this animal first taught them the art of agriculture, and that the rooting with his snout gave them the idea of the ploughshare; the name of which instrument is derived from it. The inhabitants of the lower part of Egypt are unacquainted with the use of the plough. When the Nile retires from their fields, they sow their seed broadcast on the alluvial deposit, left by its recession, subsequently turning in the hogs, who, digging with their feet, and rooting with their snouts, soon upheave the earth and thus bury the seed to its proper depth. It is not surprising then, that there are peoples who, for this reason, abstain from using the flesh of the hog, since we see, with the Barbarians, other animals receive the highest honors from trivial and often ridiculous causes. It is said, for example, that the Egyptians have deified the Musaraigne on account of its blindness; because they deem darkness more ancient than light. They also consecrate the lion to the sun, because, that of all the quadrupeds with crooked talons, its young alone are born with their eyes open; that it sleeps but little, and that its eyes shine during sleep. They ornament the spouts of their fountains with lions' heads, because the Nile inundates their fields when the sun is in the sign of the lion. They also assert that the ibis, when it is born, weighs two drachms, exactly the weight of the heart of an infant when it first sees the light, and that the spread of its feet forms with its beak an equilateral triangle. Wherefore, then, should the Egyptians be censured for these ideas as ridiculous, since the Pythagoreans themselves worship, it is said, a white cock, and among fishes abstain particularly from the surmullet and the ortie de mer; and the Magi, disciples of Zoroaster, honor with especial reverence the ground hedgehog, while they detest water-rats; regarding the man that kills the greatest number of them as the happiest of mortals, and especially favored of the Gods. I think that if the Jews really held the hog in horror, they would kill it as the Magi do the water-rats, but they are alike prohibited from killing or eating it. Perhaps in the same manner that they reverence the ass from its discovering to them a source of water in a time of extreme drought, they revere the hog from its teaching them the culture of the earth. Is it to be assumed that they abstain from eating the flesh of the hare, because it is
“It is not for that,” said Lamprias; “but it is from its resemblance to the ass, of animals, the one they most reverence; for though these animals differ in size and quickness, on the other hand they are of the same color, have long cars and shining eyes, and resemble each other in other respects, so that there are none, great or small, which are so alike as the ass and the hare. Perhaps, also, with the Egyptians, who attribute a mysterious signification to the qualities of animals, the Jews recognize something divine in the activity of the hare and the acuteness of its natural senses. Its sight is so keen that it sleeps with its eyes open; and sense of hearing so delicate, that the Egyptians make use of the figure of its ear in their hieroglyphics, as the emblem of the sense of hearing. As for the Jews, I think that they abstain from the flesh of the hog from fear of disease, for there are no maladies the Barbarians so much dread as the leprosy and the mange; believing, as they do, that these diseases end finally in the entire destruction of their victims. The hog, as we see, has, nearly always, parts of its body marked with white and leprous spots, and these eruptions appear to be the result of interior corruption. The filth in which it lives must give an additional had quality to the flesh, for there is no animal which so delights to wallow in filth and ordure, with the exception of those which are borv and exist in it. It is also said that the eyes of the hog are so fixed on the earth that he can see nothing above him, nor look upon the heavens, unless he is turned on his back; his eyes then take a direction contrary to their natural position, and though at first very noisy, when he is thus revereed, le soon becomes silent and tranquil, astonished either at the sight of heaven, to which he is unaccustomed, or in terror at seeing it. If it were necessary, fabulous traditions might be cited. Adonis was killed, it is said, by a boar, and it is thought that Adonis is identical with Bacchus; and this opinion is confirmed by the ceremonies which are practised at the feasts of both of these divinities. There are those who assert that Adonis was the favorite of Bacchus, and it is the opinion of Phanocles, as is proved in this verse:
• Bacchus, in roaming o'er the fields of Cyprus,
Symmachus, surprised at this last allusion, said: “What! Lamprias, would you tolerate that the mysteries of the Jews should be confounded with those of the god of our country ! or, is it indeed probable, that this God may be identical with that of the Jews ?”
“Permit Lamprias,” interrupted Meragenus; “I, who am an Athenian, assert that he is one and the same God. Most of the proofs which confirm it, can be communicated only to those who have been initiated in the third, and highest, order of the mysteries of Bacchus. But that which we are not prohibited from revealing to friends, and particularly at the table where we are enjoying the gifts of this God, if you so desire, I am ready to impart.”
The guests all urging him warmly, he resuined: “First," said he, “the greatest and most solemn of their feasts is celebrated at a time, and in a manner, which proves its analogy with those of Bacchus. They give to it the name of the fast, and solemnize it in the height of the vintage, covering their tables with all kinds of fruits, and during the time that it lasts, living under tents constructed mainly of palm branches and ivy interlaced ; and the first day of this solemnity they call the feast of the Tabernacles. A few days after, they celebrate another, the connection of which, with those of Bacchus, is no longer even enigmatical, but formally consecrated to this God. It is called the feast of the Crateraphorie and the Thyrsophorie (the cups and the thyrsies). In it they bear in their hands branches of palms or thyrses, with which they enter into their Temple. What they do there, we are ignorant of; but it is probable they celebrate some Bacchanal ; for they make use, to invoke their God, of little trumpets, similar to those which the Greeks employ in the feast of Bacchus; other priests play on harps, and are called Levites, either from the name Lysius, or more probably that of Evius, two surnames of Bacchus. Neither is the celebration of the Sabbath as it appears to me foreign to Bacchus. Even now, in many parts of Greece they give the name of SABBES to the initiates of Bacchus, who, in their mysterious ceremonies, pronounce this word. The oration of Demosthenes on the crown, and Menander, furnish proofs of this fact. It appears also proba