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necessary conclusion about the "majesty of the people," which to me appears to have no more connection ' with Moral Philosophy, than it has with Astronomy or Mathematics. But you have fully removed my scruples, and I thank you for the candid manner in which you have received my blunt way of expressing my dissatisfaction. I have attentively read over the two articles "MYSTERIES" and "MYTHOLOGY," and think equally well of both, at the same time that ' in both I perceive a defect, but such indeed as I find • common in great writers on the subject. As to mysie

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ries, I cannot help thinking that the religion, which, I ⚫ persuade myself, this sensible writer admires, presents us with many things under that denomination, in its grand foundation, in the various parts of its ceconomy, ⚫ and in the blessed design of the great whole. And as the article is entitled "Mysteries" in general, without any particular restriction, I could have wished, that the things I have in my eye, and which I am warranted to assign, under the character of mysteries, to the religion alluded to, had been brought into the account, and made a part of the elaborate and nicely arranged description especially as the word itself, by the learned writer's own explication, belongs to the language of a people, who had their religion immediately from heaven, and thereby, I think, shews that the thing signified by that word, had been known to, and as we might say, in the religious possession of, the people of that language; similar to what may be observed of many things of foreign growth, which are now familiar to us, under the names given to them by the people from whom we had them, such as tea, tobacco, pota

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toes, &c. May not the same be supposed of Mysteries?' And if so, what shall we think of the introduction to this article, which tells us, that "the Jewish dispensation was openly practised, nothing was performed in secret, every article was plain, open, and accessible," when it is certain, that the grand article of it, upon which the efficacy of all the rest depended, "was" performed in secret," and was not "accessible" to any but to the chief Hierophant alone, and to him only once in the year? I shall no doubt be told, that the writer had not these real SACREDS in his view, and I shall only say, that I am sorry for it, as from such a

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pen I would have expected an accurate discussion of my • favourite topic. Yet even on his own adopted plan, I miss something which I reckon material in all dissertations of this kind; so material indeed, that the dig< nity of the Jewish dispensation, and consequently of its Christian offspring, depends in a great measure

upon it; I mean the point, the leading point of CHRONOLOGY. We read a great deal of the "Egyptian mysteries," of Osiris and Isis, &c. which are generally held out to us, as the parents of the Theban, the Thracian, the Eleusinian, and even the Persian observances of that kind. But we are not told when these Egyptian rites began, or by whom they were instituted, whether they were originals, or copies ; in short, whether they were prior ar posterior to Moses. This point of chronology I take to be so essential to every thing that passes for historical narration, that the inquisitive mind can have little satisfaction without it; and in this point the Mosaic account of things must be

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* Hleb. ix. 7-28.

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allowed to have the undisputed preference. For my C own part, I look upon Moses to be the oldest and fullest <writer of even Egyptian antiquities that is extant, many ages prior to their famed Manetho, who has laid 'the ground-work of all the subsequent fuss about them: and in all that Moses writes of the Egyptians, from 'Abraham's first visit to them, down to the time of the Exodus, through a course of more than four hundred years, we find not the least trace of the Osirian mysteries, nor any thing that points at modes of worship, ' which, had they been in observance then, with all the 'solemnity of pomp which after-times have affixed to 'them, it is not to be thought that such a writer as • Moses, and with such a design, would have altogether ' overlooked. At the Exodus, indeed, we read of the "Gods of Egypt," as in opposition to "the God of the Hebrews," but no names or designations given to them, while the ELOHIM of the Hebrews is always distinguished by the name JEHOVAH : And in all that long contention for superiority between JEHOVAH • and his rivals, whoever they were, we may suppose 'some notice would have been taken of Osiris, Isis,

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&c. if they had been in fashion at the time, or known to the Egyptians of those days. From this consideration, among many others, I have been long led to 'conclude, that the Osirian mummeries, of whose in

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troduction we know no date, have been posterior to 'Moses, and may therefore, without any great stretch of fancy, be considered as imitations and gradual corruptions of the Mosaic system. I know what great ' names are against me in this opinion, Spencer, Mar6 sham, &c. and that there are others, Bochart, Gale, • Wit

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• Witsius, &c. on my side. It will also be said, that Aaron's golden calf appears to have been a copy of the Egyptian Bull-god Apis, who makes as conspicuous a figure in the Egyptian kalendar as Osiris or Isis. But is it not as likely that Apis was not the pattern, but the copy only? I know to what foolish, even horrid lengths imagination may go. But it has its bounds, and ane plus ultra" set to it. Upon given materials it may work strangely, " humano capiti cervicem jungere equinam ;" but it can create none. The devil himself, with all his powers of imagination, could not ‹ make a new object, but was obliged to take hold of one made to his hand, in his first and fatal delusion of man: And all his votaries ever since, priests, poets, and philosophers, have gone on in the same track of seizing upon prior and traditional institutions or transactions, and perverting them into their new-fangled < mysteries. Upon this hypothesis, fully as plausible as any other on the subject, it is easy to discover, and account for the original of the laboured fabric of Pagan mythology, if not in every diversified particular, yet in the general architecture of the whole. Your friend tells us, that "the mysteries were the offspring of bigotry and priestcraft." But who, or what were these priests? Priests and religion are allowed to be correlates. What then was the religion of the priests, before the invention and introduction of the mysteries? This, with me at least, is a principal "desideratum," and I regret the want of it. He tells us farther, in confutation of Warburton's and Mosheim's hypothesis, that the mysteries were performed in secret;" which strengthens my hypothesis of both the author

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' and design of them; and convinces me, that the main 'view of the grand deceiver, in all his rebellious usur

pations of divine things, has always been to keep out ' of sight, as much as possible, the GREAT MYSTERY,

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(1 Tim. iii. 16.) of which he knew the reality to his cost, or by his cursed perversions and superinductions, to turn it to his own account. There are some other

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matters of less moment in the article before me, at ' which I stumble, such as the character given of the 'ancient Egyptians, (paragraph 11.) that they were a gloomy unsocial race of men." This does not at all comport with the idea that Moses gives me of them in 'Abraham's, or even in Joseph's time. And the “inhospitableness to strangers," for which they are said to have been so infamous in what are vaguely called an'cient times, (paragraph 20.) may, if true, have been owing to their remembrance of the sad catastrophe to 'their King and nation, occasioned by a set of "stran'gers," whom they had for more than two hundred years entertained, for the most part very kindly. So again where it is said (paragraph 20) that "Cadmus is universally allowed to have been an Egyptian," I am ' rather surprised at the assertion, as all that I had ever 'heard of that hero of antiquity, whether real or fabu

lous, who is said to have first brought "letters" into 'Greece, had led me to suppose him a Phoenician, or in ' general a man of the "east," as his name in Hebrew ' imports, and I do not know that the Greeks ever class'ed the Egyptians among those whom they called Orientals. There is likewise a sentence in paragraph 17,

which, I wish, had been either omitted, or otherwise 'expressed: "To them it was given to know the mys

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