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there is nothing in them which does not easily correspond with the outlines of their system, as they have here been drawn. The character and the influences of their religion need be no further told. In this, as in the laws we have actually read, there is but the beginning of civilization; and the purity of which a true religion permits the expression, and the vigor of which a true freedom allows the exercise, could no more exist in this beginning, than the air can be soft or the sunshine perfect when clouds trail heavily through a winter sky. The trouble was, that the Brahmins would have hindered the heavens from clearing; they threatened an eternity of gloom in their metempsychosis, which kept the souls of men afar from the great substance into which they hoped to be received; and taught, as if too obvious to threaten, an eternity of subjection in the different heavens to which each of the castes was separately summoned.” Some words, at least, there are which would persuade us to believe that the spiritual life of the more thoughtful was not bereft of holy visions and upward hopes. Again we trace the influences of the outward world, to whose magnitude and luxuriance the Brahmin was so apparently alive. He could not behold the effulgence of the skies, the serenity of the mountains, or the various clothing of the plains belong60 “The heaven of the Pitris is the Vaisyas who are diligent in their the region of devout Brahmins. occupations and submissive. Sudras The sphere of Indra, of Chatriyas are elevated to the sphere of the
who fly not from the field. The Gandharbas.” Vishnu Pur., Book region of the winds is assigned to I. ch. 6.
ing to his land, without an aspiration after the truth, to him imperfectly and sensuously known. The common drama describes a man, “the treasure of manly virtues, intelligent, liberal, and upright, who in the plenitude of his virtues might be said to live, while others merely breathed.” With greater solemnity the poem of diviner authorship acknowledged a “spiritual application of the soul, exceeding even the word of Brahma.” Above all, the law, by which heaven and earth were believed to be secure, confessed, that, “ of all duties, the principal is to acquire a knowledge of one supreme god,” as “the most exalted of all sciences,” the only one which “insures immortality.” Perhaps the real explanation of the brighter gleams in all the ancient systems is, that they are the twilight" of the evening to some day that was passed, or of the morning to another day that was yet to come. But be this as it may, the Brahmin, who alone was able to remember, was utterly unable to hope.”
61 The Mrichchakati, Act I. 69 Bhagvat-Gheeta, p. 67. 63 Menu, XII. 85. Compare the Bh.-Gheeta, pp. 45, 55, 115. 64 The dpxasós ris A&yos kai träTptos träguy dvěpátrots, which Aristotle describes, De Mundo, WI., ed. Bekker. Cf. Cic., Tusc. Quaest., l. 13. And see Leland, Christ. Rev., Part I. ch. 2. 65 The following passage needs no comment; it is from the Vishnu Purana, Book VI. ch. 5. “Enveloped by the gloom of ignorance,
and internally bewildered, man knows not whence he is, who he is, whither he goeth, or what is his nature; by what bonds he is bound ; what is cause, and what is not cause ; what is to be done, and what is to be left undone; what is to be said, and what is to be kept silent; what is righteousness, what is iniquity; in what it consists, or how ; what is right, what is wrong ; what is virtue, what is vice.” Such is the epilogue to the liberty of a heathen hierocracy
CHA PTER III.
* Time . . . . . indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees scarce to be perceived.”—BAcon, Qf Innovations.
“Regiam civitatem AEgyptii. . . . . invenere.”—PLINY, Nat. Hist., VII, 57.
THE narrow valley of the Nile, encompassed on either side by desolate mountains and encroaching deserts, was crowded full of inhabitants in the earliest times of which the memory has been preserved. Nowhere had the human race more rapidly multiplied; yet nowhere, also, were the common resources of labor more inadequate to its subsistence, than in a country of such moderate extent and such slender soil. Every year, however, witnessed the return of an almost miraculous relief to the wants of the people, who would have perished, had they depended upon the labors of their own hands alone. In summer and autumn, the river by which they dwelt poured, as at the same season it still pours, its overflowing waters above the level lands upon its banks, not only moistening the seeds in the ground, but increasing the soil with fertilizing deposits from its own channel. The feverish air was cooled; the exhausted earth was strengthened; and the whole people betook themselves to festivals, while waiting for the waters to subside, and the country to bud and bloom anew, as with the life of spring.” But the very rising of the flood, to which the Egyptians owed their lives, obliged them to undergo unusual toils; to build their dwellings with especial care, and to seek expedients of cultivation and sustenance which were necessary to no other people, at least to no other so numerous. As population multiplied, labors increased; trade followed upon agriculture, and larger numbers than the land seemed able to support found means to live by various employments of a lower or a higher kind. The temple rose in solemn and stupendous forms. The city gathered round it in masses of walls and columns, that still uphold themselves. The long canal was dug to supply the thirsty fields in which the living toiled. The pyramid was piled in enormous proportions upon the sands, to give the dead a resting-place. Upon all these a countless multitude was set to labor, day after day, and century after century, at the same time that the priests who ordered the temple were learning the secrets by which it might be constructed and hallowed; at the same time, also, that the warriors and the kings of a later generation, for whom the pyramid was reared, were struggling in arms to drive out invaders, and keep the land and the people of Egypt to themselves. The field, the market, the conflict, the places of study and of mystery, were all alike, to one and to another class, the scenes of industry, and, in a greater or less 2 “Where Nile, redundant o'er his summer bed,
1 Of which Herodotus gives a quaint account, II. 59 et seq.
From his broad bosom life and verdure flings,
degree, of power. The feeling for nature, which a wider and a more majestic country might have inspired, did not touch the Egyptian, who, in the early times, at least, was driven to toil and enterprise. One sort of labor was for the people, and another for their rulers; yet the hum and the haste of a busy race must have been, originally, the lot of all. It is to be hoped, therefore, that the inaction of another hierocracy will not be found amidst the nation to which we now are turning. The Egyptian conqueror, Ramesses, or, as he was commonly called, Sesostris, of greater fame than any king before him, was said to have carried his arms into India, and to have left behind him there some of the monuments he was in the habit of erecting to his own glory” in the countries he subdued. It would be difficult to believe, though this tradition were true, that the institutions of India were much affected by the transitory conquests of the Egyptian hero, or, on the other hand, that the institutions of Egypt were changed according to the system which prevailed among the distant people who were too
3 The inscriptions upon them the account of the earlier Sesostris
were to “the king of kings, the lord of lords, Sesostris.” Diod. Sic. Hist., I. 55. One of these has been found near Beirout, on the old Phoenician coast. There were other traditionary expeditions from Egypt to the East before Sesostris. Osiris, the god, had penetrated as far as the Ganges, and Osymandias, the king, had conquered Bactria. See
WOL. I. 6
(of the 12th dynasty), in Manetho. Diodorus Siculus (the Sicilian), just quoted, wrote a universal history, extending from the earliest period to that in which he lived, near the close of the old era. Of the fragments of his forty books, the most valuable relate to the history of the East, Egypt, and Greece.