Графични страници
PDF файл

tation of Horus, his son, the Egyptian psychopompos, judged the souls of the dead, and awarded them their destiny. It is curious to trace how this idea of Osiris, as the judge, was imported into the Greek religion, and became incorporated in their system. Rā and Osiris were identical, both the Sun, the one the orb of day, the other the same orb as it passed at night through the under world : Osiris was then Rā in Amenti :-Ra-t-Amenti— whom the Greeks named Rhadamanthus. Another personification of the Sun became invested with the character of the judge of the dead : Dianysus, as the Sun, was the god of the Arabians ; according to Plutarch, Dianysus and Osiris were identical ; and according to Heraclitus, Dianysus and Hades were the same: it is probable that the name Dianysus was derived from the Assyrian words Daian-nisi or Dian-nisi, which means " the judge of men ;” moreover, Dionysos was the Greek Bacchus, the god of the fruitful vine, and of the rising sap of vegetation, and thus a deity of earth's productive nature.

The Roman mythology repeated that of Greece in a revised and enlarged form, and we find not only Pluto, and Proserpine, the latter the childless daughter of fruitful Ceres, and the three judges ; but we recognize Rhadamanthus,- the quondam Ra-t-Amenti, the supreme deity, the sun,--as judge of the dead, specially told off to inflict the tor

ments of Tartarus upon rebellious gods and incorrigible men :-

These are the realms of unrelenting fate,
And awful Rhadamanthus rules the state.
He hears and judges each comunitted crime;
Inquires into the manner, place and time :
The conscious wretch must all his acts reveal;
Loth to confess, unable to conceal;
From the first moment of his vital breath,
To his last hour of unrepenting death.

Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
And throats of brass, inspired with iron lungs,
I could not half those horrid crimes repeat,
Nor half the punishments those crimes have met.'

From the judge and inflicter of punishment for sins, in a Tartarus of fire, to the medieval or Moslem devil, who receives the wicked soul into hell fire, with the appliances of whips of flame, red hot pincers, vipers, vultures, poison and filth, there is but a step, and we can understand how this latter development followed


that which had been building up for untold

ages. True to their original conceptions, the Jews did not create a monarch of their Gehenna, nor did the early Christians really do so: the Epistles of Peter and Jude and the Apocalypse show that Gehenna, the

[blocks in formation]

bottomless pit, and the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, were prepared for the Devil and his angels; and that Satan, the Devil, that old serpent, classed with all the irretrievable wicked of the earth, were to be cast into it, not as a hierarchy with varying positions and powers, but in one common destruction. Asmodeus was the Rabbinic prince of the demons; Beelzebub was the gospel prince of the devils; and Satan, the accusing angel of the old system, was gradually growing into power, but there was no god of Hades, or of Tartaros, such as the Greeks and Romans described. The nearest approach to the expression is in the Apocalypse, where Abaddon, or Apollyon, as the personification of destruction, issuing from the bottomless pit in the form of locusts, is described as their king and the angel of the bottom

less pit.

In other religions there were also judges of the dead, such as Yama, the Hindu god of hell and justice, one of many types of a first ancestor, ruling the souls of his descendants in the land of shades; and who is probably identical with Yami, the Vedic spirit of darkness, Yima, the Iranian king of paradise, O Yama, the Japanese chief of the demons, and Amma, the Sintoo god of hell. Many religions recognize death, destruction, and other abstract ideas as personified in a monarch of Hell; such as the Hindu Kali, destruction, the Gothic Kalja, the black one, and Hel or Hela, the Scandinavian goddess of death. But all these personified abstractions came too late into the Christian system to influence the evolution of the Christian ideal of the monarch of hell, the modern Satan.

With man's first belief in a future state, came his first idea of Hades,-invisible and eternal,—the abode of all the dead, both good and bad. The invisible gods fought amongst themselves, the

conquerors monopolized the realms of bliss, and put the conquered under durance vile. The disembodied souls of men lived on, but practically unconscious and unnoticed, re-embodiment alone revived them. A few distinguished by great deeds or great impiety, rose to the rank of demigods, and were favoured with a god-like life of bliss or woe. As by degrees, men convinced themselves that they were equal to the gods, they claimed their privilege of conscious life, and a share of heaven and hell. Hades then required judges, executioners and varied regions of bliss and woe. The judges grew in grimness, the executioners in terror, until fear invested many of the judges and all the executioners with such hateful attributes, that their merger into the personality of the Devil,-man's adversary and accuser,—was the result. Hatred led to revenge, and this concentrated judge and executioner has been himself at last linked with his prisoners, and condemned to everlasting punishment.




Man without Fire-The Fire-drill-Pramantha-The Forbidden

Fruit-Prometheus-Fire-worship—Sacred Fire-Fire-godsAgni—Izdhubar-Spirits of Fire-Red Spirits—The Sun-Lightning—Metal-working-Magic Wands and Iron-Metal-working Gods - Consuming Fire - Cremation - Devouring Deities Moloch-Gehenna - Impure Fire-Hebrew History-Persian Fire-spirits—Asmodeus-Solomon and the Temple-Iblis—The Devil-on-two-sticks-Mephistopheles.

presence of

THE element of fire has in all ages appealed to the deepest feelings of mankind. This is not surprising: the most prosaic utilitarian is bound to admit its value in daily life: the least poetical observer of Nature can hardly stand unmoved in the the sun in all the golden glory of his setting: and the lightning flash, the rocking earthquake, and the volcanic outburst, must arrest the attention of the most indifferent. The brute creation is equally impressed by these developments of fire: animals court and enjoy its mild warmth : the rising sun awakens the woods to melodious joy, and makes them teem with life: the storm and earthquake paralyze all Nature into deadly silence with overwhelming dread : the lava stream and prairie fire make hungry beasts

« ПредишнаНапред »