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Perhaps Christians in general do not sufficiently consider that the Bible is an Eastern book, and that many of its obscurities do not arise in any intention of the sacred writers, but in the customs, manners, rites, ceremonies, and superstitions which by them are alluded to. Should these collections produce a similar effect on other minds that they have on my own, then will many be led to glorify God in the highest for His revealed system of purity and truth. I am not so weak as to suppose I have succeeded in casting light on all the obscurities I have contended with; but that I have, in many instances, attained that object, few candid minds will deny. For many years I lived in habits of comparative intimacy with the Hindoos, and mixed with them in their joyous and sorrowful scenes; and whatever I heard or saw, which promoted the object of my heart, was immediately noted down, and on my return home written at length, so that, on my arrival in this country, the manuscript had only to be copied in the order and books of the Old and New Testaments. I think it will be conceded, that no man who had not resided many years amongst the people, and who had not a tolerable knowledge of their language and various usages, could have written this book; and therefore I hope my readers will give me that degree of confidence which is necessary for the full enjoyment of the work. Some of my friends, either to excite my caution or my fears, have told me not to expect much mercy from the Reviewers; but my reply has been, there is nothing political or sectarian in these papers; that they relate to a book which is the common property of us all, and surely we ought all to feel pleasure in seeing its various and delightful truths illustrated and confirmed.

The allusions to the abominations of heathenism in holy writ are exceedingly numerous ; and no wonder, for most of the writers had extensive intercourse with the idolaters. Look at Moses nurtured in the palace of heathen royalty ; he “was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,” and the people he had to lead and govern were constantly inclined to the superstitions and impurities of heathenism. Who, then, can be surprised at the broad, the awful denunciations against that system as found in the first five books of the Holy Scriptures ?

Joshua, the pious and heroic successor of Moses, had to guide the same people through the land of the heathen, and in his book there are many affecting details of the contests and transactions they had with the idolaters.

The book of Judges contains some fearful accounts of the impiety of the Israelites, of their subjugation or slavery to the heathen at six different periods.

The book of Ruth is named after a heathen woman who was married to a son of Naomi.

The first and second books of Samuel relate to the heathen chieftain Goliath, to the fall of the god Dagon, to Saul and the witch of Endor, and various battles with the idolaters.

The books of Kings contain many appalling instances of the intercourse which existed betwixt backsliding Israel and the vile idolaters. Here we have Solomon and the heathen daughter of Pharaoh ; here we have an account of his attachment to pagan women, and of his fall into idolatry. Here also we have the glaring wickedness of Jeroboam in making the golden calves; and the wretched Baasha, who continued the system ; and here the abominable Ahab and

* Acts vii. 22.

the audacious Jezebel, who were succeeded by their heathenish son Ahaziah, who sent to enquire of the idol Baalzebub, whether he should recover from his sickness.

The book of Ezra describes the return of the Jews from their seventy years' inglorious captivity amongst the heathen.

Nehemiah is believed to have been born in Babylon. Esther was the queen of the heathen Ahasuerus of Persia. Job lived amongst the heathen, and the Psalms have many allusions to that system. Isaiah was most particular in his descriptions, and uncompromising in his denunciations against idols. Jeremiah, who was a prisoner to a heathen king, makes frequent reference to paganism; and Ezekiel, who was a captive in Babylon, is most daring in his disclosures and threatenings. See the faithful, the noble Daniel, and his office in the capital of Assyria; and look at Jonah, in the idolatrous city of Nineveh, and his subsequent voyage amongst the heathen mariners. Reflect on the minor prophets, and their vivid accounts of Israel and her idols; and who can be surprised at the numerous illustrations found in these pages of the same system as exists in the East at this day?

I submit, we are not to look at the supposed site of paradise, or at the holy land, for the primitive locality of the present human family, but to Ararat.* Is it not reasonable to suppose that Noah and his family would remain for many years at no great distance from the spot where they first settled ? And when they did remove, would it not be towards the most fruitful countries? Who built the splendid cities of Babylon and Nineveh ? did not Ashur, and probably the other sons and descendants of Noah? + Who were the first to study astrology as a guide to find out the good or evil supposed to be produced by the heavenly bodies? Who were the first to propitiate them in reference to their salutary or malignant influences on the destinies of men ? Does not

* For observations on Ararat, Taurus, Caucasus, and Himalaya, see p. 462. of this work; also on Isaiah xiv. 13, 14. + Gen. x. 11.

the mind instantly revert to the builders and occupiers of Babylon, to their dispersion over the earth, and the consequent carrying away of their superstitions, though then veiled in different languages. It has been well observed, “Whoever were the first planters of India, it could not have been planted till long after Persia and Elam had been sufficiently cultivated, and a considerable number of ages after Assyria and the countries adjoining Ararat had been planted. This is so apparent from Scripture and the nature of things, that it will not admit of a dispute." * As, then, Abraham, &c., the fathers of the Hebrew nation, came originally from near to India”t, can we suppose the customs and manners, the sciences and figures of speech, would not be preserved ?

But what were the idols worshipped by the Jews? The leading deities were exactly the same as those of India at this day. Calmet suggests that the Chiun of Amos is the same as the Chiven or Siva of the Hindoos. He is joined with the sanguinary Moloch, who corresponds with the bloodthirsty Kāli or Patrākaly, an incarnation of the consort of Siva. In the fragments to Calmetf it is said, “ It will, no doubt, be observed, that the Chiun of Amos is a term used many ages after the events to which the prophet refers, which are thus connected with the history of Balaam , and that the term in Numbers is not Chiun, but Baal Peor. Those who know the meaning of the word Peor, will immediately see it is the same as the Dandós of the Greeks, the Priapus of the Romans, the Osiris of the Egyptians, and the Lingam of the Hindoos. But I will now give an extract from an Essay on the Identity of the Gods served by the Jews, with those of Assyria, India, and other nations. Il

“ The Jews worshipped the Assyrian deity, Succoth

* See Universal History, vol. xx. 71. + See Calmet, vol. iv. 670. [ No. 537.

§ Numb. xxii. || See Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, page 87. article VI. by the Rev. Joseph Roberts, C.M.R. 1.S.

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