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ponderate, though they descend into hell, do not feel the effects of the flames, and rise at once. Some who sin with their bodies, such as those who put their neighbours to shame publicly and who neglect the phylacteries, &c., are annihilated after twelve months' endurance of hell-fire. Adulterers, though they sin with their bodies, ascend to happiness at the end of the same period. Christians, informers, and those who systematically despise the words of the Rabbis, are consigned to eternal punishment. Of course, all may escape punishment altogether by repentance in this life.”

The rigid adherence of the Rabbis to their canonical texts, on which alone they allow themselves to found any statement, produces confusion in the descriptions of Hell which they attempt, for the simple reason that those texts, not dealing with such a hell, contain no description of it at all. Such, however, was the general idea entertained respecting this phase of the after life at the commencement of the Christian Era, when the missionaries of the new creed came into contact with the philosophical realization of the Hades of Greek and Latin mythologies. How far the elaborate Egyptian system of the judgment, with rewards and punishments, directly or indirectly influenced the Jewish

Hershon, “ Talmud," 100; and see Matt. iii. 11; Mark ix. 49.


mind, it is difficult to say; but there are certainly allusions in the Gospel narratives which are strikingly similar to some points in the Egyptian Ritual of the Dead, as to favour the view that such influence had been brought to bear.

We have now reached a point in the evolution of Hades, where we can without difficulty recognize in the Amenti of Egypt, the Sheol and Gehenna of the Jews, and the Orcus of Virgil, all the elements of the Hell of the Christian fathers, the medieval monks, the puritans, and of the Christian religion generally. Indeed, the Hells of the Korān and of


other creeds are easily seen to be merely offshoots from the same original stock, and do not vary materially amongst themselves. The Scandinavian Valhalla, with its Purgatory, Niflheim, and its everlasting Tartarus, Nāstrond, are only variants of the same idea, where ice and howling winds however have a larger share in the economy of punishment, as representing to the hardy Norseman a greater ideal of misery than a glowing crackling fire would do. As age after

age has rolled on, as the visible world has changed, as culture has advanced, and moral and religious sanctions have been developed, the invisible world has likewise changed, the realm of “the great majority” has changed, and so have the rulers of that realm.

At first through a haze of darkness Mul-ge and Nin-ge, the shrouding spirits of the Accadian Hades and spirits of the earth, are dimly seen commissioning Namtar (“the fixer of Destiny'),—the plague demon,—and other such emissaries, to collect souls for the dread abode of death, which has little else but negation as its characteristic.

The Sheol of the Hebrews was still less definite, for there is no trace either of a special god, or, which would perhaps be

perhaps be more orthodox, of a presiding angel of the realms of death. Sheol was indeed directly under the eye of Jehovah, for Sheol and destruction are naked before Him ;' and being omnipresent, He is also in Sheol. Sheol was too silent,' its inhabitants unmurmuring like sheep,' too unstrung, either to work, or to praise ;o or to require much governing : it has gates? and bars, and they constitute a power sufficient for it to be likened to jealousy in its cruelty. From the antithetical form of this simile it is to be inferred that fire was no part of the ideal of the Hebrew Sheol: “Love is strong as death: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame, many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it : jealousy is cruel as the grave " (Sheol). Finally, Jehovah alone “bringeth down to Sheol and bringeth up.


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The.queen of the Assyrian Hades, Allat, the “queen of the divining rod,” the spell-binder, is a true monarch fitted for the work of relentless vengeance, withering the condemned with curses, revelling in the exercise of her sway, and smiting her breast and biting her thumb when thwarted and overmastered by superior power. In passing, it may be remarked that Istar, the account of whose descent into Hades throws such light upon the subject, was the goddess of love and fruitfulness, and that Allat (like her Greek successor Persephone) was the goddess of death and barrenness; that a natural antagonism was likely to exist between them: and that when the waters of life had to be administered, the emblems of reproductive nature and the spirits of the earth, the old ideal of fruitfulness,-were brought into requisition ; not willingly, but by outside and superior authority; by Hea, the god of wisdom, who, by the ministration of his messenger or angel Marduk could alone annul the spells of Hades, and bring the dead to life again.

The Greek Hermes,—the Latin Mercury,--who was the same as Marduk or Merodach, and who like him was the messenger of the gods, carried a magic staff or rod given to him by Phoebus, and had the power of raising the dead.

In the Greek Hades a further development takes place: Hades, brother of Zeus the god of heaven, has permanently taken up his abode in the realms of doom, wedded to his childless queen Persephone, sombrely and silently ruling the vast empire of the dead. They are at times represented as receiving the shades, as they arrive conducted by Hermes the psychopompos; but, in the Odyssey, they do not seem to judge the dead, but to leave that to their vicegerents, of whom Minos is especially named, in a passage already quoted, as placed on a throne, waving a mace of burnished gold, hearing and judging the spectres, rolling the fatal lots, absolving the just and dooming the guilty.

The element of divination is still present, Allat had her divining rod; Minos has his mace of gold, and determines the fate of each soul by lot.

Hades himself was of exemplary justice, and was at one time so concerned at impediments which he found in the way of impartial judgment, that at his earnest solicitation, he obtained an amendment of the code of laws regulating the trial of the dead, which was carried out by the three judges, Minos, Rhadamanthus and Eacus.?

Osiris was also a permanent resident in Amenti, the Egyptian Hades, where, as above described, he sat in the Hall of the two Truths, and with the assistance of his forty-two assessors, and on the presen

1“ Odyssey,” b. 11.

• Plato, Gorgias.

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